Monday, October 31, 2011

Back In The Saddle Again

  What an awesome weekend!  I got to spend a lot of time with our new horse Bonnie and made quite a bit of progress with her.  This week has been a real test of patience as we have both been figuring out who is the "alpha" in our relationship.  I know that our little "herd of two" needs a leader and I intend for it to be me!  I've seen it the other way when the horse runs things and that's a disaster.  Up until this weekend, I've felt that I was in charge...but just barely.  This has been most evident when I had to catch her in the pasture.  There were a couple of days that I just couldn't even get close to her.  It seems like we turned a corner on Saturday with the help of one of the other horse owners at the stable.  She took Bonnie into the round pen and did some work with her.  It was really neat to watch Bonnie go from pure attitude to very cooperative.  The great part was that this lady not only kept up a running dialog of what was happening but then also let me try while she gave pointers from outside the pen.  There's nothing like a mentor to accelerate things!  I've worked a horse in a round pen before but I think that the person that told me what to do wasn't very knowledgeable either.  Their reasoning was "you just need to tire out the horse to make it easier to handle".

The results were nothing short of amazing.  I took her for our first ride in one of the small paddocks and it went great.  It's pretty obvious that she hasn't been ridden for a while but she warmed up nicely.  On Sunday, I whistled to her and she galloped across the pasture to meet me at the gate.  What a nice change!  I saddled her up and we took a few spins around the stable grounds.  She's a little spooky about water but it seemed like she got better through the day.  Riding back and forth across the yard got old pretty quick so we took off down the trails.  A beautiful day, leaves turning and the smells of autumn...I couldn't think of a nicer trail ride.

  I wish I had remembered to take some pics on the ride but I was just too absorbed in the experience; maybe next time.  We rode for about three or four miles and man was my hind end sore!  It's been about six years since I was in the saddle.  I also got out of bed this morning with very tired back muscles.  I imagine that this will get better as we ride more.

Just as an update to some earlier posts...
  Our homemade Sauerkraut hit four weeks old in its fermentation.  I didn't skim the scum off the top like I should have but I don't think it hurt it.  We had a little mold around the inside rim of the bean pot so we were just careful to avoid it when we dipped out the kraut.

I was pleasantly surprised with how it tasted.  It wasn't pucker your face off sour like the stuff you buy in the store.  It tasted a little like pickled cabbage with just enough sour in it to let you know it was there.  We only ended up with enough for about two meals so we just put it in the fridge instead of canning it.  We cooked some up with a kielbasa and it was a hit with the family.  As an extra added bonus, nobody keeled over from food poisoning.  We eat kraut once or twice a month so I think that it will be worth it to continue making it.  We need to keep an eye out for an old crock since the bean pot's shape is pretty hard to work with.
  Our other update is with the wool.  I started messing with combing yesterday and got some mixed results.  There is a real technique to this and I think I'm just starting to get the hang of it.  I ended up making three OK little roves but I have a long way to go!  I'll try to get some pics up soon.

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