Driver Education

Firstly, I can’t thank you guys enough for all the support, love and shares that was given to my recent post, you guys have helped make a dint in a topic not spoken a lot about.

Some of the comments made brilliant points, isn’t it still law that horses have right of way? I’ve done some researching state to state and found that yes, in fact, in ALL states horses still have right of way (I’ll share my findings but state below), so why isn’t this common knowledge?

I completely understand that not every person using our roads have been lucky enough to own an equine friend, or know someone that does ride. I also understand that not everyone understands that horses are a flight animal. Yep, that plastic bag that has been hanging off the float for the last 3 weeks, might actually eat us while they’re tied up there today.

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The more I have thought about the incident the more it rattles me. No, it won’t stop me from riding out on the road doing what I love. Why should it? Why should I have to stay off the road due to obnoxiousness drivers that don’t follow the road rules and try act like a hero in front of their mates.

What does scare me is what would have happened if I had been an inexperienced rider? I can tell you now, I would probably be grieving for my best friend from a hospital bed. What if we had been out riding with a child on a pony? Very lucky that we weren’t. Doesn’t mean other people had been so lucky.

Why are these incidents still happening? Yes, I completely understand you can lead a horse to water but cant make it drink. Education in these things is so important. How many lives would it save if all government authorities in transport showed a short 3 min video at the start of a learners test of a horse freaking out, the impact that horse can have not just on the riders life but also the drivers. Why not have people talking about their own personal experiences? If we do ad campaigns for speeding, drink and drug driving ( all extremely important topics).

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Why are riders forgotten? Because it’s something the higher people in their offices never come across? It’s still law, so why is such an important rule so forgotten? I have no doubt that watching a video of a horse out of control and scared would (hopefully) be enough to have people at least have a second thought when approaching horses and riders in ANY circumstance.

I’ve been compared multiple times in the last week to cyclists regarding sharing the road. As you can imagine, this infuriates me. Riders and Cyclists are chalk and cheese. Not that my safety is more important than theirs by any means, it’s certainly not, we all want to go home to our loved ones. I am riding an unpredictable animal, yep, that is my choice but the difference of choices cyclists make, they occasionally have the option to ride to the left of the white line, I don’t. There isn’t always room for my horse on the other side of that line.

Even the best horse can spook at something. Imagine the damage caused from the impact of hitting a horse at 100km, not to mention the rider. I would believe that horse would rip off your roof, come straight for you and end up in your backseat.. Where is that rider and driver after this impact?

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Below are my findings- It is law in ALL states (I could not find any information Re horses on the NT transport website), let’s make it known. Let’s campaign to have OUR voices heard!

 

NSW- Page 58- NSW Road Rules

South Australia- Towards Zero

Victoria- Road Rules- Animals

Tasmania- Page 53- Tas Road Rules

QLD- Sharing the road with Animals

Western Australia- Page 109- WA Handbook

ACT- Page103-ACT Road Rules Handbook

 

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Mr Who?

Struggle to ride when the weather is cold? Just me? I feel a bit like the boys below!

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The last month has been horrible, cold, wet days never seem to end. I know I will praise the high heavens in a months time when I hopefully have grass up to my shoulders.          ( Wishful thinking!)

While the riding has been non-existent, the horses have resorted to entertaining themselves. The last few weeks ALL personalities have been in full force!

This week alone I have witnessed Buddy do a very competent 360 degree jumping motion spin thing due to being pushed away from the others buckets. I don’t understand why he has to ask his neighbors for sugar when he owns the factory .He gets the same amount of food as the other two but instead of eating from his bucket, He much prefers to be bitten trying to get their buckets, Go figure?!

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George has really started showing his personality. I have never again witnessed George picking up a sheep by the wool and semi tossing it in the paddock due to the sheep trying to eat his feed. Unlike Buddy, George protects his feed, even if he does have to spit out a mouthful of wool. For a horse that is normally very concerned with eating, than getting up to mischief, We have witnessed him pick the gate up in an attempt to unlatch it. As recently as this morning, while waiting to get his feet done, George decided to pick up a beautiful stack of buckets and hurl them across the paddock. George and Charlie are inseparable. Tweedledee and Tweedledum..

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Charlie, Charlie,Charlie. The man known as Mr personality in our heard. Charlie’s personality is one in a million. He is the cheekiest. Three times in the last month George has been moved to the top paddock due to needing more feed than the other two ( and for the other horses safety, George is a tad cranky and gets a bit carried away). Apparently when we moved George, We forgot to get a permission slip written for him to be in that paddock, so, on three separate occasions,  Charlie has let him out. Yup. Charlie has opened George’s gate. Still haven’t worked out the logistics of it as that gate needs to be lifted then pushed..but the obvious drag marks followed by the hoof prints at the gate not sporting shoes….only leaves me one suspect.

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The moments below are extremely precious. Normally Charlie lays down 20% of his day, but when someone comes into the paddock and approaches him, he will normally get up. ( Although I have had two people concerned that he had passed away because he refused to get up). Last weekend was an exception. Even with all the riding and time we have spent together over the last years, never have I been witness to something to incredible intimate. He makes me feel safe, loved and protected. A moment in this time was like tunnel vision, I saw nothing but him. It wasn’t about photos, Just about love between a woman and her extremely cuddly equine baby.

Oh Buddy!

The month of July feels like its moved in a speeding motion and I haven’t had time to catch my breath ( or write! )

The month of July has bought us some much needed rain ( must have been from my naked rain dancing…. or my cursing the rain gods). There is nothing worse looking into the eternity that is winter and starting that pre spring panic.

With spring comes a handful of emotions for me as an equine lover. One big question.. How silly will Buddy be this spring when the good grass comes back?

Beyond spring is that dreaded Summer. Now, even though Winter gives me no feed on the ground and continues to turn my paddock into the neighborhood mud pit, It gives me some kind of hope that come spring, I might actually have some nice grass to help with the Charlie weight gain game.

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Summer on the other hand returns me nothing but the promise of dry, dusty paddocks. I have no doubt that Buddy would gain 5kgs just from catching a sniff of nice pasture 15kms away. Plus the snacks he HAS to take every 3 steps while out trail riding ( thinks he is starving) but Charlie is a completely different story!

I know there are people out there that share my pain when it comes to rug wreckers. Charlie’s brand spankin new rug that I generously gave him at the start or winter is destroyed. I’m hoping it hold out until this cold weather is gone. Buddy’s new rug didn’t last long either. I can confidently tell you that one of Buddy’s rug’s is no longer a combo. Missing In Action- 1 neck piece.

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Whilst all this rain has made it way to hard to ride. Everything is so slippery that I wouldn’t risk the horses or myself being injured, especially when I have just recovered! Because I haven’t been riding, I am going a little insane. If it wasn’t for the 1000 other things going on with my health, I probably would have ran away and joined some wild horses just to get a fix.

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The best thing about all this rain and not being able to ride is bonding. One of the most important thing I have discovered is that bonding doesn’t start nor does it come from the saddle. Bonding starts on the ground, something as simple as giving a brush and pats while they eat. Whilst spending time on the ground with them, I’ve had time to reminisce about my favorite memories with my big fluffy ( I hate winter coats! ) babies.

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I had so many with Charlie, It has taken me a week to narrow it down. My Charlie memory is being reminded what freedom felt like, It’s galloping through the bush with nothing in front of us, It’s feeling my smile and heart grow at the same time his strides did.

My Buddy memory was an easy one. Well, I struggled to pick just one, but everyday I’m reminded of the memory I have chosen. There is still nothing more satisfying than seeing a horse who was so scared ( and still can be at times) of everything and everyone. There was a time where I couldn’t catch him let alone fathom rugging and un-rugging Buddy. Everytime he see’s me and runs towards me, my heart sings. My Buddy memory is the first day he did so. The first day he saw me pulled up and started trotting towards me, and then let me catch and love him. The day he decided I was trustworthy is my Buddy memory. The day we both fell in love.

I’ve been lucky enough to be gifted these stunning Trollbeads Unique Bracelets that match Buddy and Charlie, the best part? I have three more to give away! All you have to do is share this blog post and comment on the Facebook post a fun or favorite memory with any of your pets! Feel free to add photos!

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Turn N Fall

The last few weeks have passed so quickly, I have been trying to write this update for weeks! Thanks to Buddy on Sunday, I am currently nursing a hairline fracture in my left hip, gravel rash down my shoulder, arm and legs not to mention the bruising that is tarnishing my ego.

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I was thinking back to when I first bought Buddy. I was in contact with someone that knew him in the life that bought him to me. When asked the question if there was any tips to catching my new evasive family member, I was informed “He’s just a brat. He has always been hard to catch”. I have watched this horse develop into something I question if they ever got to experience.A bit of love and attention seemed to be all that was needed.

Buddy has become the first horse at the gate, the horse that will canter across the paddock to see your face. Hold your hand out and his face will happily be in your palm. Buddy has come in leaps and bounds.

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I’ve been trying to start Buddy on the barrel pattern for weeks. He was flat out refusing at the start, would just stand in the center of the pattern and buck or do these little jump rears. If Buddy could throw himself on the floor and scream, he would. When I first found Buddy, the first few rides we would have these kind of argument maybe between 10-15 times on a trail, now my odds are in my favor with only one or two tantrums.

Barrels

Last weekend was a huge workout for Buddy ( As you can see from his unimpressed face below) and George, 26kms we rode, up and down hills with the fastest speed of 23.4kph. We went further than our normal trail ride, it was a beautiful day and I make terrible choices, We (I) decided was the day we go that little bit further. That little bit further resulted in us getting a little lost for a while and then the panic set in when we released we had at least an hour and 15mins till home, but only an hour left of daylight. That extra 15mins in the dark, with no lights would be the 15mins we would be riding along the very fine edge of a 100kph zone.

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Some cars don’t respect the horses on the road in the middle of the day, let alone at night where you can hardly see us. We were so lucky and very grateful that we didn’t come across any cars during our sprint home in the dark.

While I have typed out my story from weekend’s past, I can’t help but smile. I don’t know when I will be able to get back in the saddle and that not knowing is killing me. Not for a second was it Buddy’s fault. He has been starting to really enjoy and becoming brilliant on a barrel pattern, picking up speed, finding his confidence in the turns. Being able to feel the progress and his love growing for it is incredible.

Nothing frustrates me more than a rider blaming the horse for these kinds of accidents. Saying the horse did the wrong thing. I believe as a rider, you should take blame where blame should be dealt. Buddy was on fire Sunday, every time around that pattern he was getting faster, stronger, his turns were getting better. All it sometimes takes is a mixture of things to go wrong simultaneously that create a bigger bang. My foot knocked the barrel, causing it to move and make a noise, at the same time a car with a trailer was going past making a lot of noise. All I remember is looking down and seeing my boot hit the barrel, then I remember being on the ground.

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The above is not Buddy’s fault. He was just as shaken as I was. He was scared and acted accordingly. I’m not angry at Buddy. I managed to crawl but up in that saddle and take him for one more pattern at a walk. I am so scared to going back to having no confidence, I wasn’t going to let this be my decider.

 

 

Bronc.

Last weekend I decided I should get some professional photos done of the horses. Neither of them are getting any younger and I’m not getting any skinnier, so why not?!

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Now, naturally, the photos were to be taken Saturday afternoon, So while checking on the horses late Friday night, Charlie graced us with a big cut on his leg, one that needed attention then and there. The horses live 20mins away from us, in a small town where the supermarket closes at 7pm.

Meaning it was an hour before we got back out there with supplies to do anything with it. A quick cover up to keep the dirt out was enough until we had enough light in the morning. My next question was how am I going to disguise it for the photos?

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Buddy was first off the ranks that morning for a bath. He got shampooed twice due to my under estimation of how filthy he was. I even found out he had to very white socks on his two back feet, crazy! IMG_4774.jpg

By the time the photographer arrived, I had spent so much time trying to clean the filth from Buddy, I didn’t have time to wash Charlie, I couldn’t decide how to either with the leg the way it was. He got to stay gloriously Charlie filthily.

I had hoped to get a few photos of the stunning big Charlie under saddle doing his flowing, stunning movement. I think he knew he was coming back into work Saturday morning and better pull an injury. He didn’t quite get out of it..

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Instead Buddy was saddled for the photos. Well, He had something to say about that! As soon as the saddle went on, Buddy decided to throw out an almighty buck. Lifting me from the saddle, thumping back into it and leaving a surprised look on the photographers face. Then again. and again. I had not even asked him to walk forward. He was just bucking on the spot. I know his back was fine as it was just done. This came down to attitude.

I could no longer put up with his behavior, I dismounted and continued to lunge and work him until he decided to be a civilized part of this family.

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Eventually he worked out it was easier to do what I was asking than go against me. The result was establishing his the kind of horse that needs to be worked a few times a week, unlike Charlie who can go un ridden for months and is still unchanged when you decide to saddle up.

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I can’t help but share some of these photos! If you would like to see the progress of Charlie’s cut, just ask me! It’s quiet graphic so didn’t want to post it as I’m sure not everyone wants to see it!

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The Little Engine That Could.

When purchasing a new horse, one questions that should cross your mind is “what do i want this horse for?” The answer is anywhere from trail riding,  show jumping or just to love in the paddock. They are magnificent to look at. There is something so magical about looking out into a paddock and watching horses run and play.

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The plan with Buddy was cattle work. Team penning was what I had in mind when I was looking for a Quarter horse, one that had been around cattle, worked cattle and was comfortable. Then I bought Buddy from the sales knowing nothing.

Buddy turns on a dime and that’s impressive in itself. I was always worried with those little legs he wouldn’t have the poke to take on horses at barrel racing events or have the ability to chase after cattle.

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This weekend was a busy one, Saturday flew by at the Man From Snowy River Bush Festival in Corryong  and I didn’t even compete! It’s a day filled with many events taking place to go and watch, markets full of horse gear, quality leather and all the clothing your little riding heart desires.  The craftsmanship of some of that leather work blew me away! It was an early start and a late night for us girls, but so worth it! If you ever get the chance, Check it out! The Man From Snowy River Bush Festival

Everyone has those days where they hate the world, We were still so tired from the late night before that everything looked horrible when you’re still so tired and you want to curl up and self loathe, unless you have a friend like me. I can’t think of anything better in a time like that to go and spend a day with your best friends.

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Last week during the storm, Buddy’s fence broke and he ended up in the paddock with the other two horses, which is why he now is pretending he is to scared to be caught or touched, unless you have the promise of a feed bucket, his consideration level becomes in depth.

Once caught and saddled, Charlie proceeded to give us both cuddles while we were trying to ride out the gate without him. He got his payback by opening the car door while we were out, pulled out the feed buckets from the backseat and began consuming half the food before we returned.

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While out on our trail rides, we conquer some big hills. Buddy struggles with his little legs to out run the big thoroughbreds, and he just doesn’t have the same stamina. George and his rider make it look like a picnic in the park while Buddy’s reminded me of the little engine that thinks he can keep up, without actually putting in effort.

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Well, after cantering up and down hills most of the day, the little engine who thought he could, most certainly can! After unlocking the secret to a Buddy gallop, he tried his little heart out at every stint, kept up with the big boy and loved every minute.

The determination and the heart that horse put into Sunday, makes my heart explode! I am falling more and more in love with this horse, I cant explain the feeling of love that radiates from me when we have these moments. He has come to far in such a short amount of time. I could not be more impressed by my little engine that can!

Can you remember that moment your heart exploded with your fur baby? Share it with me in the comments!

 

 

Traffic Jam

I am like a proud mum watching her child achieve milestones. Guess I kind of am.

 

Buddy last weekend was released into the big paddock with Charlie and George, for a few days only. His membership in this paddock quickly expired when he decided to play the old game of cat and mouse. Again.

This weekend was a BIG step for Buddy. We headed out on our normal trail ride. Riding Buddy is like a ticking time bomb. He seems calm and collected but if you pay attention, he is ready to explode at the next thing he doesn’t like or is scared off.

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I had thrown so much at this horse in the last few weeks.We’ve ridden in the bush,through creeks, on the side of a rural highway. He has taken it all in his stride. I had never asked him to ride through town, till this weekend.

Buddy has little tantrums when he doesn’t want to do something. Like anything, these are never when you’re alone in the bush with your riding partner.It’s when there is people watching, cars coming towards you at 100kms or when you are dancing in the middle of a road with a milk tanker that’s trying to turn into the lane where you are practicing your choreography ( who patiently waited).

Three tantrums we had on Saturday. Not one of those battles did Buddy win, and each tantrum was shorter than the last.

As we ride through the bush, we always stop in the creek for the horses to have a drink and play. I was so ecstatic to have another water baby. I love the bonding moments of playing in the water with my horse.

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As you can imagine, heading in and out of the bush, we come across a lot of bush walkers. Only twice this weekend did we come across walkers. Buddy is not a fan. First pair came out of a walking path, sent Buddy to the other side of the road in what I think was one solid leap. The other was as we came over a hill, cantering up a hill and having people walk out of the bushes at the top, sent Buddy flying. Going to have to start calling him Pegasus.

The look I got the next morning off Buddy was a ” No Mum, I have filled my weekend quota, take the big white horse” Sorry Buddy, out of luck. Normally I wouldn’t ride two days in a row, I’m generally sore and I like to give him a recovery day. Unfortunately for both of us, not this weekend.

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Our local ARC ( Adult Riding Club) was having a rally. We rode the horses down there to seen how our green horses would react in that environment before we paid joining fee’s. They were perfect! Buddy didn’t care about the people around, other horses or the loud speakers. His only issue was that there wasn’t a lot of food on the sidelines and as always, he was STARVING. Buddy informed me a lot about how terrible of a standing spot it was.

I am so proud of him, he was perfect, even through battling traffic again. Once my sweaty horse and co returned to our paddock, off went the jeans and on went the shorts. I rode my big booty baby into the dam bareback. Buddy sat ( like a dog) in the dam, with me on his back.

This horse is so cheeky. I am so grateful for him not getting on that meat truck that day.  We just work.

 

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The Main Voyage

“When your horse follows you without being asked, when he rubs his head on yours,
and when you look at him and feel a tingle down your spine…you know you are loved.”

~ John Lyons

Three weeks ago Buddy ran from me. I couldn’t catch him and if I did it took nothing short of 45mins and cornering him.

Two weeks ago I asked myself what in the world I had got myself into.

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One week ago Buddy was tied to a hitching rail after getting his back fixed. He knocked something off the rail, went into absolute panic, broke the twine he was tied to and backed up like the speed of lightning. The lead rope was now chasing him. In that moment, when he finally stopped and looked at me as if to say ” Human mummy, please help”. As I approached him, he didn’t run for the first time ever. Instead embraced the fact I had just saved him from the lead rope.

Something so small and something I had never thought would make a difference, did. From that horrifying moment on, Buddy starts walking up to me in the paddock when he hears me. He stands calm and lets me throw the rope around his neck and put the halter over his nose. I thought these moments would take months.

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Since Buddy had his back fixed a week ago, I rode him twice in his paddock. My thought process was at least in a smaller space if I come off or something happens he cant run to far. He had given me a bit of spunk but nothing I was afraid I couldn’t handle.

Yesterday I set off on a trail ride on Charlie. We didn’t make it to the end of the road before Charlie was showing signs of being sore in his back legs. Not wanting to miss out on the ride I had been working all morning to achieve, I turned Charlie back around.

I unsaddled my noble stead and saddled up Buddy. My riding buddy for the day was Charlie’s best friend George. An off the track thoroughbred with separation anxiety from Charlie. How was this going to go? We didn’t do a lot of thinking before I had a saddle on Buddy and was riding towards the road.

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I didn’t know what Buddy was like with cars, motorbikes, or the outside world. George relies on Charlie while out on a trail ride to keep him safe, and now I was hoping George would keep all of us safe from the scary world.

When we left Charlie had a melt down because we had left with out him, we could hear him neighing out for George for what seemed like forever, in turn caused George to have a little melt down.

Buddy stayed cool, calm and collected while this was going on. Suddenly the tables had turned, the horse I was worried about I didn’t need to. Cars cruising past at 80-100kms were a bit scary at first for Buddy but not as scary as tree trunks!

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We were in the thick scrub for about 20mins before Buddy’s first melt down. Little rears just because he didn’t want to go that way. If Buddy could have spoken in that moment imagine a toddler stamping their feet and screaming NO! in your face.

We had some discussions about this behavior and he soon worked out it wasn’t going to roll with me like it may have his previous owner.

All in all. I want to scream how proud I am. Buddy was scared at times, I could feel it. Three weeks ago was a horse that didn’t trust me at all and now he has instilled his trust in me to keep him safe in an environment that he was petrified of (like walking through a running creek, or confronting those tree stumps!)

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I am completely in love. Every day I am seeing new aspect of his personality come through. Yesterday after our ride he decided to nibble on a tree as I lay in the grass to recover, I couldn’t avoid snapping some photos to show you this cheeky side!

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Never doubt yourselves. Our ride may not have gone this way without my confidence in the saddle. Baby steps are just fine!

The New Kid on The Block

Remember when I bought Charlie and I impulsed bought him? (If you haven’t read it, you can find it here! Finding Charlie) This one is worse. I didn’t see this horse. I didn’t ride this horse and I didn’t know his history.

I knew that my riding had excelled, I knew that thanks to Mr Naughty ( Charlie) I had been through the works of bad attitude, So anything this new horse could throw at me, I would be sweet, Right?

Buddy’s story is filled with heartache. Every week thousands of horses go through the sales after being discarded by previous owners for what ever reasons. No one knows the reasons, but we do know that a fair majority of those horses get sold to what we know in the horse world as the doggers or knackery.

If you hadn’t guessed it already, its the slaughter house. Horses are purchased from the sales and then moved to the doggers for slaughter- some for human consumption where the meat is sent overseas and other for well…..dog food. It’s a horrible place but unfortunately, not everything in this world is pretty and I can’t sugar coat it.

I had been looking to purchase a new horse in case Charlie gets sick and heads to live out his days in the paddock.

Buddy was placed for sale on the Friday, Unfortunately this scared horse was not bid on by a private home and was purchase by the doggers.  Now, Lucky for Buddy is that when getting to their last stop, Some horses are put aside and given a week to sell to a private home for double the original purchase price or they go back on the truck.

Come the Saturday morning a girlfriend has tagged me in the below picture, Informing me he only had a week. He was just what I was looking for, a big booty QH. Instantly I did that non thinking thing and said I would give this boy a home.

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For the next two days I battled with myself, What the hell was I doing it again for? This time I was buying sight unseen and knew nothing about this horse.

I had decided by the Monday morning he was running out of time and I was over thinking things. I deposited money and two days later he was on the float home to me. I have never been so nervous, and even now, I’ve only owned him for two weeks. 16706992_10154337294783170_262347883_n

Have you ever bought your horse from the sales or sight unseen? Share your stories below!