Red

It just hit me the other day, since I wrote the “Turning Red” post, http://starstonestenfalk.wordpress.com/2014/12/14/turning-red/

using the word “red” as a way to describe Saleem.

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Saleem

Maybe it was a bit too unclear what I meant by that, because we can all agree that Saleem is red. Always have been, always will be. So, why would I call him “red” when instead of hysterical, for instance? Or unreasonable? Or unforeseen? Unexpected? Slightly impossible? Dangerous? Because all of the above is what the word “red” means to me.

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Apollon

Poseidon and Apollon was half trotters and half Frederiksborger, the Danish national breed. Now, the trotter blood has a good reputation amongst vet’s and Ferrier’s, but the Frederiksborger horse, not so much. Where the trotter is known for being gentle and easy going, the Frederiksborger is known for its explosive and rather dangerous temper. At least amongst my vets. I know, it’s a cold blooded breed, they should be nice and easy, and most people would swear that cold bloods are much nicer horses than race horses, for instance.

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Legacy and Apollon (Legacy was a trotter)

Most people would be wrong. Try and do something to a cold blooded horse, it doesn’t want you to do, like inject it with antibiotics, or sedation, or anything really, and you’ll find that it is lethal.

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Apollon

The Frederiksborger horse is famous for its deep red colour.

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Poseidon

Since I had Poseidon and Apollon for most of my life, my vets did sometimes, accidentally, drop snide remarks about them, and I always took offence and defended my lethal boys. Right up till the moment where one of the female vets stopped herself in mid sentence, not wanting to offend me, while saying something like, “Well, he is very…. red.”

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Poseidon

I had to admit, I laughed. Being red, the way she said it, just summed up everything that is dangerous about the Frederiksborger horse and I will be the first to admit, it was completely true. Both of my boys could be lethal, Apollon more than Poseidon, but still… They were very, very red.

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Poseidon

My Ferrier always called them “Red cat’s” because they were all over the place, hanging off the walls and mostly, because we all know that red cats are kind of evil…

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Poseidon

Over the years, the word “red” just became a word I used as in inside joke, to describe something very precious to me- my two red boys. I know I have called them my red boys on this blog before, and I swear it was never because of their colour. I just never explained it before, did I? My mistake.

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Apollon

So, sorry. I’ll try not to write any other “turning red” posts, where I am proud of my obviously red horse, for being red. It was never about Saleem’s colour, but all about his mindset. I guess it came across somewhat anyway, but still, I think I should explain, hence this post.

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Saleem

And no, I am not proud of Saleem for being lethal, or acting up or… who am I kidding, I am. Anything unexpected I get from Saleem is fantastic. I have been waiting for six years for him to come out of his shell. I am so happy that he is finally turning, just a little, red.

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Saleem

Saleem is Arabian by the way, not related to Poseidon and Apollon at all.

 

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Christmas Spirit

I know, I’ve been slacking on my blogging lately. Truth is, I don’t have any new and exciting things to talk about at the moment. I am busy editing the Danish version of The Unicorn’s Horn, wanting it out before the end of the year, and pretty sure I won’t make it, because soon Christmas will be getting in my way. I can’t edit more than three or four chapters a day, simply because by then, I become sloppy and let words slide, I wouldn’t normally have approved of. So, it takes time. Hopefully I will have time, most days, to work through a few chapters.

Not today though, since my girlfriends and me are holding our very own before Christmas, with each other today, exchanging gifts and making an evening out of it. I know, I am full of lousy excuses to postpone editing. Like I have been doing with the Danish version of Surviving the Equestrian World for almost a year now. I’ll get to it. Once The Unicorn’s Horn is out in Danish, I’ll get back to it…

Being a writer is easy for me, but editing, setting up the book for release, battling Word every time, because no matter what version of Word you use, something is always wrong, most likely the table of contents, but it could be anything, really, that is just not something I look forward too, no matter how much I love the story. Reading it critically, asking myself if every sentence makes sense, to someone who isn’t me, gets tiresome. Especially the second time around, in the second language.

And it always feels like it is taking me away from writing on my books, when I have to spend my free time editing. All those stories in my head has to take a back seat for a while, and wait their turn. Most of them don’t like that. I’ve got some pretty rude characters in my head, they start screaming at me, I swear…

In other news, it’s still raining, most of the time, my pasture is muddying up, killing my grass, but my horses are in good spirits so far. The swelling on Apocalipse’s leg (from his tiny wound,) even went away at long last. So, no real complaints, aside from how I find everything a little hard cope with at the moment, and that does take a toll on my blogging. But I figure it gets bothersome to keep reading about me, complaining about rain and muddy pastures, and how I won’t have any grass left, come summer, if this goes on much longer…

Just not feeling the Christmas spirit so much at the moment. I am thinking the girls are going to help me out tonight, when it comes to that. They are hopeless that way. Santa’s happy little helpers. You got to love them for it.

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The Christmas Series

I know, I did say that I wouldn’t be posting about My Little Pony on this blog, since I started my collectable blog… anyway, this is the first kind of Christmas decorations I have done since school, so I figured it was worth a few pictures.

Custom My Little Ponies, Christmas Theme, by Dark Mare Customs, here goes,

Rice Pudding;

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Ice Heart;

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Silent Night, (I adore her;)

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Blue Bells, (I may draw up her bells and even them out, but I figured I had better take pictures of her, before I messed it up by trying to do better…) ;

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Cherry Red;

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And Baby Ornament; (I may retouch her as well,)

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The Christmas series; (And my other custom ponies in the back… Toxic, Banshee and Baby Silver Toe.)

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Happy Christmas everypony!

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Turning Red

Like I may have mentioned in my previous, depressive post, it’s been raining, raining, raining. On that note, part of my pasture has been turned into a lake, and with the random frost at night, a half frozen one.

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I am usually all for encouraging the horses to play in water, and as long as it is only half frozen, I am okay with it as well, but I do not cheer at the prospect of this lake freezing, rather than draining away.

I have been trying to move the drinking spot for months now, sneaking two water barrels up on my gravel, to prevent the ground from becoming muddy around the water, but Saleem and Apocalipse has stubbornly refused to drink from the new spot. They have walked right past it, into the rain, through the mud around the old spot, just to drink from the right barrels. Don’t tell me that horses are not creatures of habit… As much as they hate mud, even more so, do they hate the prospect of having to drink from barrels that was placed in the wrong spot…

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Well, there is a first for everything, and Apocalipse surrendered today, trying out the new spot, for the first time in months. I was so happy, I had to take a picture to prove it. He was totally drinking from my drinking spot on the gravel!

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I know, I could just remove the barrels in the old spot and force them to drink where I wanted it, but that is not how things work on my pasture. Knowing my horses, knowing Apocaplise and Saleem, that would have caused a lot of trouble and they would have probably been drinking muddy water out of puddles, (or the lake), for months before they gave in. No one forces my kids to do anything. They will fight back, anyway they can.

Another strange thing that happened today was that I found one of Marble’s brushes. It went missing months ago, two, three months ago, I hardly remember anymore. At the time, I thought I may have dropped it out of the grooming box, or maybe Ablaze had snuck off with it, when I wasn’t looking, (he does that,) but it has been gone. As in, gone, swallowed by the earth, gone. Today though, it fell out of the hole in time and space it had been hiding in and appeared at the far end of my pasture.

I noticed from a distance that there was something red lying around, and I thought it may be some idiot having thrown a bottle or a soda can into my pasture, (people do that, bastards,) and hysterical as I am, I went to pick it up immediately. Ablaze plays with everything, I have wrestled quite a few soda cans from his baby teeth in our time… But this, was what I found as I came close.

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Didn’t see that coming. It doesn’t even look like it has been buried in mud at any point. So where it may have been, I’ll never know. I do know that I am glad to find it. I have been buying these things for months now, since the mice at the stable has a tendency to go for them, and Marble hates it if the brush has been chewed on, and may have sharper edges than it should… This one, having been gone for so long, is in better condition than the others I have. And I know, I should set up poison, or traps and get rid of the mice, but… As long as they are only eating my plastic brushes… I am not much for killing them, really… (All the horse food is safely locked away.)

Saleem and I went out yesterday, for the first ride in a week. It turns out, that riding Saleem just after a whole week of rain, is quite a mistake. He needs at least a day in good weather to return to normal, otherwise he is in fact, very, very… red.

The problem with constant rain, is that Saleem shares the house with at least Marble, but a lot of the time, Ablaze as well. That means that his patience is tested a lot, since they are everywhere, adoring his every move.

It means too, that he doesn’t get to sleep as much as he wants, and at the same time, not going out because it rains, he doesn’t use his body as much as he usually does, which all adds up to Saleem being worn down mentally and over energetic psychically. I know he needs a day of sunlight to reset. Still, I didn’t know if we would have more than one day without rain and I figured that I really needed to go out. So, I took him out. He is usually so sensible, not red at all, so I figured we could handle it by now.

I won’t lie, it was kind of a mistake on my part. Not only did I take him out a day to soon, I tried to go down a road we haven’t been down a long time, which led to us, suddenly spinning on a hind leg and running off towards home, full gallop in the middle of the road. I swear I have no idea what spooked him and he has never spooked like that before. Luckily, it didn’t take too long before I could reason with him and get him off the road, making sure he wouldn’t hit the (rather offended) cars that had to hold back for us.

So, I tried going back the way he wouldn’t go, and he insisted that there was a saber- toothed tiger in the bushes, and flat out refused. I won’t lie, that doesn’t happen often with Saleem and sine I wasn’t wearing a saddle, I couldn’t jump off and walk him past it, because I am too uncoordinated to jump back up without something to stand on, when I don’t have a stirrup with me. So, I caved and we went down the road we go down the most.

Saleem kept being jumpy and spooky and he even started reminding me a little of my old boy, Poseidon, deliberately misunderstanding my signals. Like, when he would happen to go sideways into the road, instead of staying in the road side, and I would push him with my leg, asking him to move back into the roadside, he would instantly jump into a trot. And of course, he would be very offended when I told him, no, that was not what I asked. Sideways, not forward. I could almost hear him screaming, “But you used your leg! That totally means forward!”

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Which it kind of doesn’t, but he was so adorable I found it hard not to smile at him. Who would have thought, Saleem, turning red, at long last. I almost didn’t miss Poseidon for a second there…

And now, we are preparing for the next week and all the rain they are promising is going to come… the kids are ready. Poor Saleem is too.

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It’s not easy to be the grown up.

 

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Rain, Rain, Rain

This is so depressing. It’s been raining for days now, just pouring down. Everything is wet, muddy and altogether, sad… The horses are holding up, although they haven’t been outside at all, for what feels like weeks. That is, I guess, what you get from letting them chose. Rain? Hell no, we’ll stay in today.

I am very happy to see how they have divided into two little herds. Saleem and Marble lives in the little house these days, and much to my surprise, did Apocalipse move out into the big house, and Tardis is okay with it most of the time. She used to be hysterical about not being near any of the other horses when she was inside, which was why we build a second house to begin with, but right now, she is playing house with Apocalipse and her son, Ablaze, and most of the time, they look like a very happy family.

Apocalipse has had a huge swelling on his one front knee, and has refused to walk for days, simply because he didn’t want to bend the knee. I will admit, I have held up on calling the vet, because I know him and I know that if it had been any of the others, a swelling like this would not have required treatment. It is only because he is fussy and feels much more sorry for himself, than the others do. I have been checking his temperature twice a day, to make sure his blood wasn’t infected, and I keep telling him to go outside and walk that swelling off. The more he stays inside, the less it’s going to go away.

He has a tiny wound on the leg, having probably pissed off Saleem at some point, and taken a blow to the upper arm, which is where the wound is, and where the swelling started. It’s a bruise. A really big one, but as far as I know, not one that requires antibiotics, which is why I haven’t called my vet. They always tell me that as long as the swelling is moving with gravity, downwards, it’s fine, and that is what it is doing, ending up in his knee…

Ablaze takes turns being bored with the company of the others. Luckily he can slip in and out of both houses unharmed and he does so happily. It does show, in my little house, where I keep my things, how bored the horses are with being inside so much. They have taken to reaching across the wall and emptying my closets at all times, playing with my things. Aside from finding my blankets and such, trampled, slept on and played with, they do reach much further than I expect them to, once in a while, and get a hold of other stuff. Like Aston’s helmet.

Yeah, that’s dead… You should see it on the inside…  Terror kids…

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And me? I am not doing anything. I am sick of muddy rain clothes, slippery roads, unwilling scooters who hates rain, wet horses, wet hay, wet gloves, wet, wet, wet everything… I know I should be editing the Danish version of The Unicorn’s Horn, I apologize to all of you who is asking for it, but I just can’t wrap my head around anything at the moment. This weather is truly getting to me by now.

I never thought I’d say it, but how about some frost, and some snow instead? At least that would enable me to groom the horses, once in a while, and it would make them go out and play again. All of this hiding indoors is killing me, just as much as it is killing them. And I know, we could just go out. But it rains…

So I stay home most of the time, looking up My Little Ponies on Ebay, that I am not going to buy, get in the way of my boyfriend and his work, by painting custom ponies in his work room, and try not to feel guilty about not editing my book. And when I do turn on my own computer, and doesn’t end up on Ebay, I usually write on my Science/ fantasy series instead of editing… Which of course, makes me feel guilty again… add to that, I have had the Kiss, the Dragon and the Werewolf, the book I am writing with my friend Noel, for months now, and I haven’t written my part yet… So many things I should be doing and truth be told, once the horses go to stand by, because of the weather, so do I. I cannot function without spending hours every day grooming, hugging, kissing and just sitting on my pasture, adoring them. This feeding, cleaning hooves and wounds, and swimming back home, is just not enough to keep me going, and everything in my life suffers from it, except perhaps the cat. Life loves it, that I am home and doing nothing, so much…

So I guess that what I need to do it pick up Saleem one of these days, and go for a ride, no matter how much it rains. I know he won’t complain. I just feel sorry for him, all the same… I mean, he wouldn’t chose to go out on his own, why then should I make him?

Here he is, sleeping with Marble, telling me to put that flash away…

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It has been years since I have seen him sleep inside. He hardly ever does. This rain is getting to us all…

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The Bigger Picture

After the pictures from the Open House Event at Helgstrand Dressage was published, displaying Akeem Foldager with a clear blue tongue, a lot has happened. It even went to court.

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Now let me make this clear, I don’t have any personal grudge against Andreas. I don’t think he is doing anything that most riders doesn’t do these days, be it professionals or private riders. Andreas was never the problem, he is just a symptom of a truly sick sport. A sport where riders are awarded for mistreating their horses, and where you have to play along, and to at least some extent, join in the abuse, to win. Being a professional rider, how could Andreas do anything else? He is not the worst rider there ever was, and I know, people love to hate him at the moment, but truth is, he is just better at playing the game, the sport, than so many others. Which is why he does get in trouble with animal welfare activists once in a while, when his horse turns up with a blue tongue.

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Andreas was acquitted though, and once again, as was the case with the law suit against the owner of Tortillas, we have the courts word for that riding your horse like this, is not abuse. All day people has been screaming about it on face book, how horrible it is that he could get away with it, and so forth…

I don’t know. I always felt that it was misguided to go for Andreas like this, because he is not the only one. All professional dressage riders these days, ride like this. I think it is taking the spot light away from the real problem; the sport itself. Going after one single person, makes it personal and it makes the problem smaller. In fact, all of those, hunting down Andreas, is saying that he is a horrible person and that he should go to jail, where as they are losing sight of the big picture. Andreas would not do it if it wasn’t allowed by the FEI, he wouldn’t do it if it didn’t win him ribbons.

I guess one can say a lot of things about Andreas. I don’t know the guy, but he doesn’t strike me as stupid. He is truly just doing what he does best; being a professional rider.

What we should be ashamed of, is not that Andreas didn’t go to jail for this. We should be ashamed of a sport that has gone astray, to such a point that animal welfare takes a backseat at all times.

As far as I understood it, a lot of the reason why the case was dismissed, was that it couldn’t be determined from the pictures, if the horses tongue was truly blue.

I know, they could have been photo shopped. There is no way of telling, since all we have access to is a JPEG original, and that can have been tampered with. The colours could have been darkened, it is not that hard to do. I will admit, I thought of it too, when the pictures were first published, by an anonymous photographer. They could have been tampered with. We can’t know. Based on that, I do think it is fair that Andreas get to walk. To hold up in court, that is just not good enough.

That said, anyone who knows anything about horses will look at the pictures and see the vertical pole bit, the tight chain, the flat tongue, and the overall desperate look in Akeem’s eyes. There can be no question, that this horse is in pain, but considering that most dressage horses these days, look like this when ridden, why single out Andreas? I repeat, he is not the problem. The sport is. And making it personal will diminish our chances of being taken seriously, if we truly hope to change the sport.

Even if Andreas had gone to jail, what would we have won then? Would it have changed anything? So we could have celebrated, gloated and patted ourselves on the back for a while, feeling that justice was served, all the while Andreas would have taken the blame alone, for everything that is wrong in the equestrian world, and nothing would have changed at all?

I never wanted to be a part of that. I never wanted a witch hunt, singling out one rider after another, ruining one life after another. I want  the sport to change. I want FEI to make rules, where the justice system can’t. I want all of us to remember what truly matters here; making the equestrian sport horse friendly.

It should be possible. But not by gathering our pitchforks and torches, going after the Frankenstein’s monster, who happen to play the game better than the others. If we want things to change, it is the federations that needs to find us hammering on their doors, demanding rules to protect the horses, demanding rules that will allow the judges to actually judge, demanding rules, that will make this kind of riding obsolete.

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Because it is not just Andreas, it is not just dressage; it is show jumping, driving, racing, you name a sport and you will find horses like Akeem, screaming for help, and no one is listening. Let’s not make it personal, please. That won’t change the sport and it won’t help the horses. Taking down Andreas would have probably not even helped Akeem. He would have just got a new rider, who would have ridden him exactly the same way, because that is what the judges expect to see, that is what the audience expect to see, and it is what we applaud and reward. I did see the video of Akeem from that day, where the pictures were taken. I did hear the audience clapping and cheering. Like it or not, this is dressage sport now a days. Nothing will change for the individual horse, unless the sport changes entirely.

I would like to point out though, to wrap this up, that I am VERY ashamed of the president of Horse Protection, (Hestens Værn.) I don’t understand how you can lead an animal welfare group and still come up with arguments like “you should see some of the abused horses we find. This, is nothing.” So according to that kind of thinking, it’s okay to abuse your horse, as long as someone is doing it worse than you. Or taking that argument out of the equestrian world and into the “real world;” as long as the neighbour beats his kids, I can to, because he is worse than me… Is that how we want our animal welfare organisations to think? Is that how it works?

Yes, I think Akeem is being abused. Yes, I think these pictures are criminal. Just as criminal as any starved horse one may find on a pasture, forgotten and left for death somewhere. Abuse is abuse, pain is pain, no matter if it could be worse. After all, Google the Tennessee Walking Horse, or look up how many race horses dies on track every single day, and we can all agree that Akeem is a lucky, lucky horse, because someone is being treated much, much worse than him. But does that make it all right?

Hestens Værn? FEI? What will it take? How far should the sport go astray before someone calls a halt? When the horses start dying in the show ring, like they do on the race track? Or do we even accept that, because someone else might have it so much worse?

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I could go on….

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In Memory

It’s been two years today, since Apollon was euthanized.

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Three years and five days since Amalia was euthanized. Got to love December. Lots of days I want to remember…

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I still don’t know what killed Apollon, not really. I have a lot of ideas, a lot of theories, as to why his arteries would rupture like that, but no answers. Just enough to drive me crazy.

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Two years ago, it was snowing like crazy on this day. Two years ago today, I gave up on fighting for my 13 year old baby, and my vet braved the blizzard to show up and help him escape this world. Two years ago, today, the snow was turning red where he fell, the small needle mark where he was injected, refusing to stop bleeding like a faucet, long after he was gone.

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Today, it is storming as well, only today, it rains.

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The world cries for you tonight

Clouds keep rolling in above

Pouring rain into our hearts

 

The world holds its breath tonight

The calm before the storm

In silent disbelieve and horror

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If this is your song

Can we make it a happy one?

If this is your legacy

Can we sing it a loving tune?

If this is your melody

Can I print it to memory?

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The world crashed and burned tonight

Flames ran across the scarlet sky

As the sun failed to shine through the rain

 

The wind sings your song tonight

Every rain drop in perfect harmony

As your blood seeps into the ground

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If this is your song

Can we make it a happy one?

If this is your legacy

Can we sing it a loving tune?

If this is your melody

Can I print it to memory?

 

I know, I haven’t written an “in memory off” post for Amalia, five days ago, and truth be told, I forgot. I take that as a good sign. At least, I  now remember her birthday, her life, her kind and gentle nature and I almost accept (most of the time) that she is no longer with us.

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She got to be much older. She had a pre-existing heart condition. I know what killed her. That is so much easier to handle.

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Still, we do not forget you girlfriend. Not ever. And we do miss you, like crazy, every single day of the year.

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And Baby. I am sorry. I am so, so sorry.

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