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the year of the horse

January 28, 2014

2014 is off to a glorious start,

worthy of being the year of the horse in my book

(even though the chinese year of the horse actually begins on january 31).

i’m healthy and strong once again,

and that means the ability to spend hands-0n  time with the horses,

whether my hands are on a lead rope, a brush, or a muck-rake!

(or a camera…)

i’m pretty excited to get some reins back in my hands, too,

but i’ll get back to that in a little bit.

*warning*:  my attempt to spend less time online this year

has resulted in a bit of a backlog on photos,

so bear with me as i catch up!


every horseman knows that pen-cleaning is a necessary part

of horse ownership, and we welcomed a new little member

to our cleaning crew this month!

addie learned to drive the john deere,

which is admittedly the more glamorous aspect

of an otherwise dirty job.


she is a natural,

and the fact that this job is fun means a good likelihood

that we can count on her help whenever possible.

addie, in turn, has learned that she can also

count of the help of certain others…


it’s all a working partnership.

the horses have been up to their regular antics:

caoinlean had his mane frosted


while meadbh also decided to try a new hair treatment.


the donkeys have taken to calling their dinner time

“the blue hour”


while the neighbor’s llamas have taken a real interest

in what goes on on our side of the fence!


it seems that all of the varied weather changes have been exhausting for the herd,

and they have declared the late morning hours their napping time.




the donkeys, whose shapes strongly resemble bass drums with feet,

have been kicking up their heels in an effort to get fit in the new year.


with limited daylight after work combined with crazy temperature fluctuations,

sara and i have been coordinating our efforts to get at least one of the horses

groomed and worked each day.

lately this has taken the form of taking the horses for a “walk”

around the fields that surround our property.

we all rather enjoy it, and there’s always something new to discover.

(sara actually started with meadbh and sunny,

but i wasn’t along for those treks so there is no documentable evidence.)

cormac was very enthusiastic about our little outing,

paying no attention the the rest of the herd racing down the length of the arena

in disbelief that we were leaving all of them behind!

since our property is bordered with irrigation ditches on three sides,

the only way to get to the fields out to the west is over the ditches.

cormac hesitated only briefly before deciding that if

we could get over there, he could, too.


jump, little cormac, JUMP!!

this turned out to be so much fun that he wanted to keep jumping:



whee, whee, whee–  all the way home.

the next day the girls were occupied with the AFC football championships,

so i took the opportunity to give rose a beauty treatment.


i took out the remaining braids, combed her mane and tail,

and brushed her fluffy winter coat until she shone.

caoinlean stood on the other side of the fence watching.

when she was finished i turned her out with him,

and suddenly their attention was riveted on two new horses

a couple of fields south of us.


never mind that to the north of us is a horse facility

where they see horses all day, every day…

the fact that these new ones were galloping wildly around their pasture

was snort-worthy, in their opinion.

rose was a little miffed that on her grooming day i took a picture of caoin by himself,


so she photo-bombed it!

soon it was tireachan’s turn to go for a walk.

apparently he had heard how much fun ditch-jumping is,

and he joined right in:


it was a gorgeous sunny day, and tir really enjoyed the sights…


until he caught sight of the llamas and the yaks to the north of us!


boy, that was a scary moment!

we’ve got a little bit of everything around us:

sheep, goats, llamas, cows, horses, and even yaks!

all’s well that ends well, though,

and tir hopped happily home.


si gaoithe, usually the most eager and coolest head in the bunch,

was far less sure that she wanted to go out without her friends.


it must be a girl thing.

the whole time we were away she was calling back and forth

to someone she left behind.

you’d have thought she was a middle-schooler with a cell phone…


she was more than happy to return to the herd,

but once they were in her sight she couldn’t help but point out to sara

that she could just step over the stupid ditch.


i love that girl.

we took a day off from walking the horses because

charlie and jan came to pay us a visit!

they were eager to see how the boys and girls had been faring

for these past few months.

boy, were the horses glad to see them!


si gaoithe instantly took center stage and demanded full attention.

while everyone was watching this spectacle

cormac took the opportunity to see if perhaps they had brought carrots…




cormac and meadbh showed them how grown up they had become,

(almost to the point of annoyance, guys…).

and charlie saw his girl rose,

one of the original broodmares that he and jan imported from ireland

for foundation stock at the irish rose farm.


when i bought rose from them they sent me some of the photos of her

from that first meeting,

including this one:


gasp, right?!

so you can imagine my surprise when they gifted me with this little beauty that day:


no, it’s not a photo–

it’s a commissioned hand drawn portrait from that photo!

i’m still walking around the house looking at walls for the absolute

perfect place for this to go!!!!

thank you, thank you, thank you!!

then we took a couple more days off to set fence posts after the little ones

took a fence down the other night.

fortunately it was only between the donkey pen and the baby pen,

so no danger of anyone sneaking away.

you quickly learn on a little farm such as this

that a ready supply of t-posts and wire is essential.

but yesterday sara and i squeezed in a little work with caoinlean

when the wind suddenly subsided and the sky was all kinds of beautiful:


it was almost surreal as we walked him out towards the field.



yes, another gratuitous ditch-jumping photo.

just remember it was new to him.

he loved this little outing,

pausing only once at the sight of a cow and a bull in another pasture.


looks pretty grown up in his new blue large horse halter, doesn’t he?!

we’ll start him under saddle this spring.

oh, and remember the wind that suddenly subsided?

you’ve heard of the calm before the storm, right?


the walk back in the icy blast was decidedly less fun.


but don’t worry–

i caught sara’s hat.

and with that we fed the horses and loaded up the wagon with feed for morning…


and got it tarped just before the snow started to fly.

that was last night, and it continues tonight.

good times!


oh!  and that part about getting some reins back in my hands??

well, on the very day that i gave serious thought to when it might be time

to get back in the saddle again,

a very good friend paid me a surprise visit.

and brought this:

Screen shot 2014-01-27 at 12.22.56 PM

year of the horse, baby!!

it is a very good year!!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2014 3:12 am

    SNORTguffaw!!….rose, photo-bombing….LOL.

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      January 28, 2014 3:23 am

      HAH ha ha– i didn’t see that when i took it with my phone, but it was quite clear when i downloaded it to the computer!!

  2. January 28, 2014 2:04 pm

    Well, for the love of jumping horses! And barrel donkeys!
    I want to walk those donkeys. May I?
    This visit to your farm was so much fun! Great commentary, Janet.
    I think most of all what I find touching is the way those lovely furry horses are so willing and enthused about trying new things. Jumping and jumping some more, like trying to perfect their new discovery and perhaps wanting to please, all the while finding joy in frolicking about.
    This year is already off to a sweet start, for THE HORSE and for you, steed queen.
    I’m detecting pure bliss from this post!

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      January 29, 2014 7:20 pm

      oh, lynn! of course you can walk a donkey! you can walk two donkeys! they are a hoot. and yes, the horses are very willing and enthused about new things, which is primarily the disposition of the breed but i also like to think we set them up for success by being patient and letting them check things out before expecting them to do something. i absolutely love taking them for walks– it seems like such a great bonding time with them individually and is more about relationship than performance. did you get the snowstorm we got? COLD yesterday, but today the breeze is warm and the melt is on… just in time for more snow over the next three days!

  3. mary kelly permalink
    January 31, 2014 9:26 pm

    Love the necklace. Just in time, if you’re already thinking of reins in your hands. Please wear the necklace at all times, just in case, and also a double layer of bubble wrap. Or why not just take Rose for a walk? Addie seems to be going through a growth spurt … or is it just me? Lucky tall slim genes! How does she feel about basketball? Too early to think about a modeling career, I suppose… although her photographer is conveniently located. I loved seeing the horses jumping the ditch. Just from the pictures I can tell they love to please. That alone is worth its weight in gold. They aim not only to please, but to IMPRESS. Gotta love that! If those donkies (sp?) don’t foal soon, you might cut back their hay. Miniature donkeys are notorious for founder. We had two of them. They’re so cute you could just scream, right? Is this really the year of the horse? Wasn’t 1954 a Year of the Horse? Or did I just wish and imagine it so? We’re having the worst drought here we’ve had since 1820, when records started to be kept. And the coldest winter in a very long time. For here. Icicles and everything. Snow on the ground for a WEEK. Many of my experimental winter gardening plants croaked. But many didn’t! And lots of greens are starting to show themselves. I’m loving the Master Gardener thing. I’m going to start a worm bin. Not exactly a farm full of horses, but you gotta start where your ARE, right? Worms are kind of cute, if you don’t look too close. I like them best buried where you can’t see them. HORSE ON, Dudette! Or would that be dude-ette? Or doodette? Or maybe dude-ess? LOVE the Rose shot through the greenery … it would be the perfect shot to photoshop a unicorn horn on, eh?

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      February 2, 2014 2:24 am

      oh, yes– 1954 was INDEED the year of the horse! we are on a weather-induced horsing around slowdown here. we’ve gotten about a foot of snow in the last two days and next time i walk around the fields in snow this deep it will be with snowshoes! sara and i had thought about taking rose with us today but the snow was just too deep, especially where it drifts. more on the way, supposedly, so real purposeful activity will be limited. unless you consider shoveling manure purposeful, in which case that seems to be unlimited…

  4. February 3, 2014 7:42 pm

    So glad to hear you’re healthy and strong again! ❤

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      February 4, 2014 3:58 pm

      so glad to BE healthy and strong again!
      thanks, amy!

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