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From all of us at Two Old Horses and Me:

Jean, Rick, Pepper, Chickadee

& the Herd of Oldsters

We wish you the merriest of holidays.

And thank you for being interested in our little slice of life in the pasture here in northern Colorado.(Because what good is a blog if no one reads it?)

Thank you, thank you!!

P.S. If Santa needs two more reindeer tonight, he’ll find volunteers in the pasture 🙂

Three Year Anniversary

Wow!

Even I can’t believe that I’ve been sending you posts from Two Old Horses & Me for three years.

Man oh man, where did that time go?

When I started writing this blog, I’d challenged myself to see if I could show up on the page five days a week, every week. And with a few exceptions I’ve done that.

Yea, me! This is my 699th  post.

The year brought changes of course when our sweet Appaloosa Bud died. At first I wondered if I should change the name of the blog to One Old Horse & Me.  Or quit the blog altogether. But neither of those options seemed right.

And, Bud is still with us in spirit, teaching us in one way or another.

Thank you so much for showing up to read about our antics and observations from the pasture.

You are very dear to me.

Many of you I’ve never met and yet, I know you. We’ve become a family of sorts.

A blog family.

And I love that. And you!

Now it’s your turn.

Leave a comment below and tell me what has been your favorite part of the blog. What keeps you coming back?

Is it the stories?

The photography?

The horses?

Mija?

My attempts at becoming a more mindful person?

I’ll be giving away three notecards of my photography and everyone who comments will be entered to win! So take a moment or two and tell me what you like about this blog.

Most especially, I want to thank you for sharing this journey with me/us.

So on we go, to see what life has in store for us in Year Four.

I’m trying on a new Wednesday feature for size. Let me know how you like it.

Postcards From the Pasture will be a little blast from the past where I sort through the old family albums and give you a peek.

We’ll kick things off with a collage of me and Miss P. circa 2006.

Enjoy!

Jean-Pepper Collage

We both were looking darned good!

Lately I’ve noticed a change in Miss P.

There was a time when she didn’t like having any horses at the gate when I put her back in the pasture.

She would kind- of- sort- of tolerate Red or Amigo being there, because they’re members of her herd.

But in truth she wanted a clear shot for re-entry.

She’d get skittish if any of the younger, stronger horses were hanging out by the gate. We’d have to “encourage” them to move along before Pepper would even consider walking through.

But that’s changed.

These days, she marches through the gate, punching a hole through the cluster of horses assembled. She gets this look on her face that clearly states she is not to be hassled. “Out of my way fools,” she seems to say as she slips through even the tiniest opening.

It seems Pepper has mastered her fear.

And it makes me happy to see her acting strong and confident.

She isn’t quite as sure of herself when she exits the pasture. She always works up a head of steam and dashes through the opening as if a predator were on her tail.

But re-entry is another story.

And because of that, I think she’ll eventually feel stronger as she exits.

This makes me happy for a couple of reasons.

First, it seems that as we age, many of us lose power and confidence.

Horse and human.

Old age can bring vulnerability, which never feels good. I much prefer the image of staying strong and confident as I age. And I’m using Pepper as one of my role models.

Second, Pepper’s change in behavior shows me that we can indeed “teach an old horse new tricks.”

I like that.

Because I know that I’m going to want to keep on learning new tricks.

Why should age stop me from learning?

From growing?

From getting better, stronger, more confident?

I don’t think it should.

So thanks Pepper for showing us how it’s done.

Do you have a story about conquering a fear? Pepper and I would love to hear it. Just jot it down in the comment section below.

And thanks!

It’s a terrible choice.

Who in the world would even ask the question?

Such torture!

But as the temperature has plummeted here in Colorado, and we’re dealing with our second big snow, my dear, sweet Pepper has been forced to ponder this very question.

She’s been weighing the pros and cons.

 

Stay with Fred and his harem of mares?

OR

Hang out with the Herd of Oldsters and be first in line for grain?

 

Thank goodness she has taken this dilemma quite seriously. “It’s a no-brainer,” she said after careful consideration.

In the winter when the pasture is frozen, food is on every horse’s mind. And Pepper is no exception. That daily feeding of grain keeps her warm, and in her own way, she knows it.

She needs calories more than sex.

Oops, I said it!

The s-word.

Sorry about that…

 I’d never dream of asking you how you would choose if the same question was asked of you.

And if I forgot and happened to commit such a faux pas, I’d never expect an answer.

Honest!

But my guess is, you’re thinking about it. Right this very minute.

You are, aren’t you?

 Is choosing food over spending time with a hot guy really a no-brainer?

 

 

 

Bud and Pepper are big on celebrating holidays, and today is a very special day – Talk Like a Pirate Day. Our good friend Pete reminded us of the exact date!

You might think horses have no sense of humor, though you’d be wrong. Our two old sweeties can be quite the comedians. Today in the spirit of total fun and silliness, Bud and Pepper offer you their best pirate lingo for the pasture.

From Bud:

  • Shiver me timbers, is that the hay wagon I spy?
  • Arrr! Get that bilge rat out of me sight.
  • Toss those hay cubes to me smartly me lass.
  • Avast me proud beauty! Leave that scum bucket and return to your true home.
  • Drink up me hearties, there’s more grog where that came from.
From Pepper:
  • Don’t even think about calling me your proud beauty!
  • Clear a path for me, and step to it mateys.
  • Ahoy you salty pasture dog.
  • Arrr! Get me a hay cube or you’ll walk the plank.
  • You’ll not be gettin’ your filthy hands on me booty.
Try it yourself.
Don’t let today be another ho hum day. Join Bud and Pepper and thousands of folks around the world and talk like a pirate.
Aye Aye Cap’n!
P.S. Leave a comment below with your favorite pirate phrase. Bud and Pepper are always looking for more material.

Pepper’s new boyfriend, and Bud’s arch nemesis has been a busy boy.  He’s systematically gone about building a harem.

What I’ve dubbed the “Love Triangle” has morphed into a quintet – Beau and four mares. He started with Pepper and Chickadee.

He’s now added a real looker of a buckskin mare named Vixen and a draft mare whose name we don’t yet know. She’s also a pretty little (big) girl.

Out of this group, Vixen is working hard for the position of lead mare. If any of the others get too far away, it’s Vixen that herds them back into the fold. And if she sees Pepper getting too close to the bachelors, especially Bud, she makes a big fuss and cuts Bud off.

That little move hasn’t endeared her to us.

I may be projecting my own feelings here, (ya think?) but it seems that Pepper is depressed. When we go to feed, she has no spark, no zip. The sparkle in her eye is gone.

It worries me.

I wonder if her old arthritic legs are giving her problems. Is she in more pain? Is the bute not working anymore?

I wonder if she misses her old friends.

I wonder if she’s okay.

 

I know Beau and Vixen and Pepper are simply being horses. Doing what horses do. Rick and I have worked to keep our horses in a pasture just so they can be horses.

 

I must admit that I’ve thought about moving Bud and Pepper to a different home.

It would get her away from Beau and back with Bud. But we like where they live, and it’s home to them. Besides, I’d miss Red and Amigo and the rest of my horse friends.

I’ve also sent out many little prayers that Beau will find a nice new home. I don’t wish any bad things for him; just that he leaves!

 

The horses are teaching me that I can’t control everything. In truth, I’m doing well to control myself. Some days even that doesn’t happen. Especially with any modicum of acceptance or grace.

 

In part, life is about learning to let go and accept the things you can’t change. I’m still in grade school when it comes to that particular lesson. The serenity prayer from AA puts it so well:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.


Yeah, baby!

It’s never too soon to introduce kids and horses. For some, and probably most, it’s a match made in Heaven. Children seem to inherently recognize the majesty and magic of these huge, amazing animals.

We recently took our grandson to visit the horses on one of the hottest days of the summer.

He was a very busy boy and didn’t notice the heat at all.

He had entirely too much fun exploring the pasture, watching the horses, and tossing hay cubes to Bud, Red and Amigo.

The three bachelors quickly figured out that they’d hit the mother lode with this little person.

They’d nose up to the fence as close as they could get, and he’d reward their effort with an explosion of giggles and hay cubes.

Lots of hay cubes.

We packed as much action as we could into a fairly short period of time, before the adults collapsed from the heat.

  • Walked into the pasture to bring the horses in
  • Climbed on everything in sight
  • Tossed hay cubes to the horses
  • Stroked noses
  • Brushed horses
  • Walked in the tall grass
  • Visited Greta the goat
  • Ran in the barn
  • Looked at baby barn swallows

It is quite wonderful to experience the world through a child’s eyes.

Everything is new and amazing. Even the tiniest details bring joy.

I want more childlike wonder in my life, and a whole lot less adult stress and strain.

Now to make it happen….

I see them in stores, especially in the women’s clothing section, perched in a chair waiting. They look awkward and uncomfortable – so far out of their comfort zone it hurts.

Or they sit in a parked car in front of the store, sometimes listening to the radio; sometimes reading; and sometimes staring ahead looking bored out of their minds.

Men waiting for their women to finish shopping.

These days it makes me smile.

Early in our marriage, my husband and I had a “waiting incident.” He was being thoughtful and considerate.

I was being oblivious.

I was working late seeing evening clients in my psychotherapy practice and he worried about me alone in the building.

See what I mean about him being thoughtful?

So on this particular evening, he quietly took a seat in the waiting room, thinking I was still in a session.

He waited.

Thing is, I’d already left the building from another exit. I had no idea he was sitting there, reading Better Homes and Gardens or some other magazine he had absolutely no interest in.

He was worried about me.

Eventually we figured out what was happening, and he came home.

We talked, we laughed, and we coined the phrase:

Men who wait and the women who leave them.

Early this week I was reminded of the “men who wait” scenario when we were at the pasture. We’d finished feeding Pepper and were on our way to find Bud. It still gnaws at me that we can’t feed them together.

But I’m working on acceptance.

No, really I am!

Pepper and Chickadee were bellied up to the fence for treats.

And Romeo, aka Beau was right beside them.

Waiting.

We don’t give him treats. Not starting that. No sir.

Frankly, I’m still mad at him.

To his credit, he didn’t cause a ruckus. He simply waited while his women nibbled horse candy and alfalfa cubes.

For a while he tried to nose his way up to the fence, but when he realized there were no treats for him, he moved away.

He was cooling his heels, if one can use that old expression with horses.

Can one?

Do we even use it with people anymore?

I have to admit that it made me like Beau, just a tad.

At that moment.

Maybe just a little.

Do you have a “waiting story” to share? It will make me feel better if you do!

Beau, the romancer, the stealer of mares, the young upstart, hot pants, new comer to the pasture is getting to be a royal pain. I’m sure he’s a nice enough guy, and Pepper certainly is smitten, but he’s making feeding time a problem.

For me.

And the bachelors. Especially Bud.

Beau can’t be anywhere near Bud because he’ll charge at him, running like a steam engine, ears back, nostrils flaring. Beau is a fearsome sight, and Bud is appropriately afraid.  I tell Bud the good news in all of this drama is that Beau obviously sees him as a threat. An Appaloosa that still has his mojo.

My reassurances fly over his head. He’s not convinced.

To get both of our horses fed and medicated, we’ve had to get creative.

Real creative.

We strategize, think, finagle, plan, organize, and problem-solve. Sounds like some corporate think tank instead of a horse pasture.

You see we have to figure out how to get Miss P. fed and back to the love triangle before Bud notices we’re at the gate.

Or vice-versa. Feed Bud before Pepper sees us.

We’ve been closing a gate to keep Beau away, but that doesn’t always work. He’s getting on to our tricks.

I hate it when horses are smarter than I am.

And it happens enough to make me wonder about my ability to think.

Okay that’s a topic for another post.

A few nights ago when we arrived at the pasture we saw the three bachelors in the far end of the field, away from everyone. They were close to the road grazing in the tall grass.

We drove to the regular feeding spot, and sure enough Miss Pepper saw us and ambled toward the gate with Chickadee and Beau following.

The bachelors were far enough away to not even notice.

Whew!

Drama averted.

Once Pepper finished eating, we decided to deliver room service to Bud.

He deserved a little pampering.

Rick held the feed pan up to the fence and Bud happily munched away. Amigo and Red bellied up to the fence for their share of snacks.

It was quite pleasant.

I always think ordering room service is fun.

Bud agreed.

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