A new family member

I think I have mentioned before that I’m looking for a new horse. My little mare that I’ve had for about 13 years is getting on a bit and I still want to do the more challenging rides. So a fellow trail rider who cannot ride any more offered me his horse on trial and I picked him up 3 weeks ago. A very sturdy palomino quarter horse gelding who spent the last 6 months or so relaxing in the paddock. 
He travelled well in the float, loaded and unloaded without issues and seemed happy to munch away on the grass in his paddock. When I took him out for a little jaunt around another paddock he seemed a bit stiff but obliging. I have since ridden him on the roads including crossing a highway with a group of riders, tied him up for a couple of hours while we were having lunch, took him through some cane fields, encountered a very noisy mulcher in an orchard, went for a beach ride, did 2 days of hills and the odd little ride around and in all this he never baulked, never spooked, never put a foot wrong and with more exercise has loosened up nicely – he was just the perfect gentleman. I am so happy I found him.
One other thing endeared him to me. When I finally put him in the paddock with my 2 mares, Oky charged him, as she does, trying to tell the newby straight away she was ‘top dog’. He casually turned around, did a double-barrel (without connecting though) and now HE is the master of the paddock. The first horse EVER to stand up to Oky and winning – what a guy!
He is now mine (how could he not be), so please meet Sam (for Samson, Samwise, Sam the Man…) aka Muscles, hopefully my trusty steed for the next few years, while Oky gets an easier life but still the occasional ride.
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Late again!

Oops, so I missed writing my blog 2 weekends in a row – my bad. But seriously sometimes life just gets in the way of writing and sometimes I just haven’t got anything to say. 

Had a lovely weekend horse riding in the magnificent hills east of Gympie – the views were just incredible and the riding varied and sometimes challenging.  We camped in the sports fields in Kinkin, a beautiful spot with good amenities, the pub right next door (had a scrumptious roast dinner there) and a lovely coffee shop across the road; so we were not exactly roughing it. 

About 30km climbing up the hills and scrambling down again giving the horses a good workout. What amazed me were the mountain bike riders we met on the way. If I was fit I might have considered walking these tracks, but cycling? You got to be dedicated! Definitely prefer my horses legs to do the work. 

A weekend like this seems to reset life and allows me to get back to business on Monday with renewed serenity and vigour. We all should have a hobby, whether horses or other things that allows us to gain distance from the daily grind and makes us appreciate the simpler pleasures. 
 

Horse riding vs Horse partnering?

For the first time in many years I went riding last weekend not on my trusty mare but on a borrowed horse. He is a very nice young gelding, still a little bit green but very willing and eager to please. He was a joy to ride and his longer legs made for a far more comfortable ride that on my little Oky. But something was missing. It took me a while to figure it out, and when I did I really couldn’t blame the horse. When I’m riding my horse of many years I don’t have to do much; point her in the right direction and give her an indication of desired speed and she does the rest herself: finding the best track around obstacles, keeping her speed to match that of the other horses and generally taking care of all the little fiddly bits. If I want to make a change most times it is enough to think about it and she seems to pick up on it. Of course with an unknown and young horse this cannot happen and there is more required from the rider, which took me a bit of getting used to but once understood we got on famously.

It made me think of what is generally called bonding. I don’t particularly like that term as it seems to have all sorts of other connotations with a lot of people that go well past what I’m describing here. It is just a way of knowing each other like an old married couple without having to spell everything out in detail. Living with and riding a horse for so many years seems to create that same understanding of the needs and desires of the other partner on both sides. And unless brought to your attention like it did to me last weekend, seems to go on completely unremarked upon. I know that my little mare has more than her fair share of attitude, and as I tend to point out to people, I don’t command her (NEVER!) but we always have conversations or discussions, and as long as she thinks she has some say in the proceedings, all is well. But despite of this, or perhaps because of this, we seem to have an understanding and she never lets me down (not without good reason anyway).

She is getting on a bit now and I am looking at replacing her with a younger, fitter trail horse, but I don’t think any horse will ever truly replace her. She was the horse that turned me from a person that could ride, into a horse rider and taught me so much about horses and how they ‘tick’ that I could fill books with it. I just hope that all you horse people out there have the opportunity to find a horse that can do for you what she does for me.

The next step – week 2

What a week! On Sunday our horses moved – and do they enjoy the lush green grass after 4 months of draught! Got to be careful to avoid them overeating but sofar they seem to have adapted well, they are even getting used to drinking bore water after some judicious addition of molasses  and they already made friends with the geldings next door 😉

Monday the removalists picked up our furniture – the only hitch was that we could not dismantle the pool table, there must be a trick but we couldn’t find it. So the table has to stay. After loading some more boxes and stuff we and the dogs went to the new but still empty house.

Tuesday the furniture was delivered and now the house starts to look like a home. The rest of the day we spent sorting out some of the stuff we had already brought up and organising the kitchen cupboards. It’s strange how a new kitchen doesn’t just fall into place but has to be set out a few times before it all works.

Speaking about working: the toilets don’t; so we have to get the plumber in on Monday.

The remaining days were spent travelling backwards and forwards carrying more and more gear including tractors and we even somehow managed to get the spa onto the car trailer with the help of Caroline Andrea Matt and James and also managed to unload it at the other end.

By Sunday night we both have had our fill of lifting, carting, driving and decided to put in a rest day tomorrow. The upside: I’m getting 9-10 hours of sound sleep each night.

Older and wiser?

My little mare (on the right) was the reason many years ago that we started separating our horses at feeding time. No matter where we put the food, she ran around protecting it against all comers – and no one got any food. 

I never tried to feed my horses together after that and saved myself a lot of problems. Over the years Oky did settle down a lot as my fellow riders can attest. Taking her out in company was an exercise in patience, perseverance and brute force. But she has slowly developed into the most fantastic trail horse you could ever want – so it must have been all worth it. But apparently she has matured not only as a ridden horse as the photo above shows: all three of them munching contentedly on their bit of hay. 

So all you frazzled horse owners out there: by the time they get to 20 most problems will have solved themselves 🙂

Were did the time go?

I have to apologise for not posting for so long, but real life (in contrast to cyber life) has been a bit busy. Just lots of unrelated things happening but nothing that really made for a good story.

Im WaldOn the horse front there was a weekend to be planned (and then almost didn’t happen because of heavy rain forecast) and it went of really well. Met some new people and realised that even my boring neighborhood can make for a good ride. The beach ride was cancelled though, as the weather started to come in – we managed to get 128mm of rain during that day. There will be a next time.

Technology: I have been playing around with a number of Linux distros trying to find the ideal one to run on my little EeePc, 900HA which is still going strong after about 8 20160709_155414years or so. I upgraded it to 2 GB RAM some time ago, but the Atom Processor is the bottle neck. I found Bunsenlab works really well on it and the grey colour scheme matches the plain look of the hardware. Together with the extra large battery I put on after the original battery died, this machine keeps going almost all day. Just a shame that both the keyboard and the screen are so small.

I had less success with another distro dual-booting my little Medion Akoya e1232t. The machine is so locked down that the only distro that I can load is Ubuntu. I unlocked what I could but still no luck with anything else. It works ok except for shutting down/restarting – both hang on the Ubuntu logo. The Windows side has been upgraded to Windows 10 but I really don’t use it.

And of course I’m currently in the process of setting up my brand new desktop (Core I7 processor, 16GB RAM, 2TB HDD, separate graphics, etc) with Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon, and then restoring my trusty laptop to normality (speak Windows 7) for my daughter. Although 5 years old, it is still better than a lot of machines in the shops now. Core I5 processor, 8GB RAM, 750GB HDD, separate graphics, TV tuner and more. Should be more than enough for her to surf the Internet and play a few games.

Craft: I have been working on a Puss-in-boots for what seems forever, I could not find 20160619_165548a pattern that I liked so I did everything from scratch and had to redo a few parts when they did not turn out the way I wanted. The end result is not too bad. A couple of smaller projects fitted in between; but the next big project is a realistic looking Schnauzer. The original pattern includes wires and discs and it is a completely new way of amigurumi for me. I do love a challenge.

And last not least, I still have a coat to finish. If anyone out here is familiar with Vash the Stampede you know the style; daughter wants to go to Supernova with it later in the year.

Horse Trailriding free eBook

Some time back I wrote a monthly column for my website for the Wide Bay Trail Riders in Queensland. It was intended to give some guidance to horse riders new to trail riding and horse camping and covered everything from food to horse training. I have combined these articles into a small eBook and am making it available here for free download.
Although originally intended for our club members,  I believe the subjects covered apply to trail riding and camping everywhere and perhaps it will give some of you a few new ideas.
I welcome any comments, feedback and perhaps you have some additional info that should be added in.

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My apologies for the problems with this link, it has now been fixed.

Click here to download eBook