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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thursdays With Horses

Drifter in his turnout.
It's Thursday and that means, once again, it was time for me to go hang out with Drifter. I initially considered skipping Drifter this week because I have a dog-sitting gig that starts tomorrow and I want to be sure to have enough energy for it, but then I thought of how good for my soul last week's visit was and realized I couldn't bear to miss a week of spending time with horses! Still, it was my intention to do a shorter visit, maybe just one hour of grooming instead of two, until last night, when I learned that a crew of men would be coming to pressure-wash our roof, patio, and deck in the afternoon. I decided it was much better for me to hang out with Drifter and maybe wear myself out doing so than sit in the house listing to the pressure washer's air compressor and getting a terrible migraine!

Drifter dozing off in the cross-ties.
I decided to bring Abbey along with me, since I knew that she wouldn't be pleased to spend the afternoon in her crate listening to people walk around on the roof. I emailed the stable's owner to let her know that my dog would be in my car. Abbey was so excited when I told her she was going to get to come with me that she practically jumped into her seat-belt harness. She suspected good things were in store, but she had no idea that she was going to get to play with her squeaky ball! I decided to have a little picnic lunch at the park where I took my first riding lessons and once I was done eating, I threw Abbey's beloved squeaky ball for her. She had a wonderful time skimming across the grass and leaping into the air to catch the ball. It's great fun to watch and I knew if she was worn out from doing her very favorite activity in the whole wide world, she'd mind less when I left her in the car for a couple of hours while I hung out with Drifter. I'd like to emphasize that she's great at waiting patiently and the car was parked in a beautiful shady spot, so it wasn't really such a bad deal!

Drifter has shed most his
winter coat on this side of his neck!
In the past, I've just brought along my little point-and-shoot when I've visited the stable, but today I brought my Canon and both lenses to see if I could get a few high-quality horse pictures. Naturally, most of my photographic efforts were focused on the gorgeous Syndicate, but I snapped a few of Drifter, too. All the horses were feeling friendly and let me pet them today, but Drifter got the bulk of my attention--two more hours worth of grooming! My intention to do a less-intensive grooming session dissipated once I got into plucking hunks of loose winter hair out of his coat. I love doing this with Abbey, too; it's so satisfying to tug on a clump of hair and have so much come away! I got all wrapped up in doing that and then his owner came by and told me I could give his belly a shampoo if I liked to help calm down his itchy skin. I've never bathed a horse before, but she showed me the wash
Drifter at the wash rack.
rack and the tools and products and it seemed straightforward enough, so once I'd finished his coat and brushed his mane and tail and cleaned out his hooves, I led him down to the wash rack (Abbey sat up and barked with alarm when she saw me leading that giant animal!) and gave the patient old fellow a belly bath. I'd avoided grooming his belly prior to the bath because I didn't want to stir up his itchiness more than I had to, but massaging in the soothing product was a great reason to give him the belly rubs he'd been hankering for! He really is very funny how he stretches out his neck, opens his mouth, and sets his lips quivering with ecstasy
Drifter contemplates life after being groomed.
when he gets touched on the stomach. There's no doubt about it: he thinks it feel gooooooood! After the bath, it was time to get his blanket put back on and then he got a carrot for being a good boy. I thought he seemed a trifle subdued today, like maybe he was a little bit tired, but he also might have seemed somewhat more subdued in contrast to the other horses, who were feeling frisky. Regardless of how  sprightly he felt on the inside, when I departed, there was considerably less hair on the outside!

Drifter's ginger eyelashes.

Before I left, though, I made sure to get some pictures of the other horses with my good camera. The slope of the property made it somewhat hard to set up a good shot, especially when I was using my 100 mm lens, but the quality is definitely better than the ones I took with my point-and-shoot! I hope that one of these days I can photograph them when they are out in the pasture, which would make it much easier for me to get a shot of the whole horse and without all kinds of nibbled rails cluttering up the view! You may notice that the bulk of the pictures are of Syd, or Syndicate, but that's because he's the prettiest.

Beacon, the most aloof horse, surveys the scene.


I caught Bear mid-yawn with his tongue out in this photo!

Bear and Syd seem to be buddies. They often touch noses over the fence.

Such a handsome horse!

He has a very nice inquisitive personality, too.

Look at Syd's beautiful muscular neck!

He has a beautiful big head, too.

Be still my heart!

The handsome Hanoverian.

It was a rather exhausting afternoon, but it was good I spent all the time at the park and at the stable. It ended up taking the roof-cleaning crew five hours to do the job and I'm very glad that I was away for four of them, spending time outside on a beautiful May day with some of my favorite animals. It beats sitting around feeling cross and wearing earplugs! I'll be starting out my new dog-sitting gig a little more tired than I would like, but I've had my weekly horse fix and that goes a long way!


  1. Beautiful photos! Bear and Syd are just gorgeous! (I have a soft spot for Bays) ^^ I'm hoping to get out and ride this weekend, myself.

  2. I love all your photos, they're gorgeous horses. Horses are such good therapy :)