Outside The Fence

The guy who owns my stable came by a few days ago, and asked if my horses wanted to eat the grass in his courtyard for him? We could just park a tractor at the entrance, and let them roam the area until the grass was gone- all I had to do was clean up after them.

Now, as tempting an offer as that may be, I had to decline. Mostly, I did so in instinct, based on my old horses, Poseidon, Apollon and Amalia, and the havoc it would have caused to let them lose, but also, and more reasonable, I did so, because the farmer has about a billion dangerous things in his yard. Like, old metal, all over the place.

He told me that the horses would back off, if it hurt… Yeah, sure, no… Not happening.

I did, slowly, agree to fence off a small patch of particular green grass and let them eat that, mostly because the boyfriend and I were set to muck out the house, and that is always easiest to do without the kids “helping”…. Sticking their nose in the wheelbarrow, getting in the way, nearly getting stabbed by the fork… Nah, it felt like a good plan, to let them find entertainment elsewhere, while we cleaned up.

So, I fenced off the small patch of grass, equipped them all with halters,  (just in case, you know,) and opened my fence.

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Now, if I had done this with my old gang, this would have happened;

Amalia would have started running around at top speed, (for a thoroughbred, that is very fast,) for the first five minutes, out of excitement.

Poseidon would have freaked out, both that she was running and that there was new territory to claim, and grass to eat. He would have been standing in the middle of the small space, kicking and biting anything that came within reach.

And Apollon, trapped between his brother’s mental meltdown and Amalia’s hysterical celebration, would have grown instantly frustrated, confused and scared, and would have run straight through the new fence, to escape the situation, letting all of them lose on the road…

This is sort of, what I expected would happen. Boy, those three taught me caution well. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong…

But no, my five kiddos, they just walked onto the grass and started eating. I mean, sure, Marble did find it very funny, and did try to make the others run with her, (what is it with thoroughbred mares?) but when they wasn’t up for it, she settled for eating. And sure, Tardis knew they were crossing the borders of the pasture, which always scares her; she never wants to go through the fence, not even when I lead her, but all in all, no drama at all.

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Apocalipse still can’t wear a halter for more than two seconds, (headshaker,) without becoming frantic, and scratching his face, so he was excused, but the others, luckily, did not complain about wearing halters all of a sudden, so I let them keep them on, while they were on new ground. I know, I should trust them more, but well… I learned the hard way, with horses I trusted with my life, at all times.

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Apocalipse and Ablaze did find my Wrap Bales and had fun, biting them open… One has to wonder why, with a lot of grass to eat, why spend time, eating plastic, sabotaging my hay supply? But no, it is better to not ask those kinds of questions, I guess.

And Tardis, found the door to the house, where I was, cleaning out, and had a look at it from the other side. She is an extraordinary young girl…

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And after we cleaned up and I ruled that they had had enough grass for the day, they were easily let back on the pasture, no fuss at all.

Marble and Ablaze had a little energy left to play,

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And Ablaze, to play with the boyfriend,

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But mostly, they were just tired. Here is my lazy teenager, having had to do chores and mow the lawn all day… Impossibly evil child labour. He could not be more worn out, if he tried…

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And here, with a lazy Tardis. She actually gave up on the grass and walked back on the pasture, before I asked them too.

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So, yeah, I am a totally proud horse-mom. I cannot believe that I could let five young horses onto such a small space and there was no kicking, so screaming, no fighting, no running, no explosions and most importantly, the world did not end…

Poseidon, Apollon and Amalia… I love you guys, but boy, did you tend to complicate matters for me. I never knew how much, until now, when I am slowly learning how it can also be, to have horses. Sensible horses. Unimpressed horses.

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Orphan Black- Season 1- 3- Series

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It is pretty awesome. Really, it is. I know, I don’t say that, about a lot of series, but Orphan Black has a lot of great ideas and elements.

It is very spot on at first, everything happens fast, and you hardly see it coming. When the German is killed in Sarah’s car, for instance, you are just as surprised as the Sarah is. That is an awesome scene, one that really draws me in. I love most of the scenes where Sarah is pretending to be Beth, and how little it comes natural to her, to be a police detective.

What really matters to me, in this series, is that I like most of the characters. That is so important for me. I will say, it’s been a long time since I have bothered to watch anything with women in the lead, because female characters are hardly ever cool, but these girls are. All of them, in their very own way.

Sure, Helena is a bit too insane at first, and since she has been a psycho killer,  it feels very strange how the others forgive her and love her as a sister, all of a sudden, and Alison’s story line is turning more and more into Desperate Housewives, but all in all, two and a half season into it, (waiting for Netflix to air the rest  of season 3,) I still like it a lot.

So, what is it about? Well, Sarah sees a woman commit suicide, right before her eyes. The dead woman looks exactly like her and at first, you have no idea why. Sarah quickly steels her purse, and her name and her identity, and her life, as it turns out, this woman had a good life, compared to Sarah’s.

Only, Sarah quickly finds out that there was a reason why the woman killed herself.

It turns out that Sarah, and Beth, the dead woman, were clones, and that there are quite a few of them, all over the world.

At first, someone is killing them off, and once they manage to stop that, it turns out that some of them are sick and are dying, unless they can come up with a cure.

I am not too big on the whole project Castor idea, that feels a little annoying to me, but all in all, this series, is entertaining, interesting, and surprising, most of the time. The woman playing the clones,  Tatiana Maslany, is a fantastic actor, and she plays all the parts very well. She, and how she can change her body language to fit four different characters in every episode, sometimes more, makes it worth watching, to me.

So give it a go. It is not creepy, scary, but it is… Intense.

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Barefoot So Far

I think it’s time for a little update on Saleem’s life as a barefoot horse.

First off, I will say that removing his front shoes has so far, been painless. I was terrified of doing that, due to the reason why he got them on in the first place; his leg position, but it turns out, I am handling that for him, without the shoes, and he hasn’t even been sore.

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He has been much happier lately, seeking me out much more than usual, but I don’t contribute that solely to him being barefoot. I haven’t ridden him much the last few months, because I wanted to see how it worked out with his hooves and I didn’t want to ride him if he may feel sore without showing it. Yeah, that is me, a little hysterical, but I can’t help it.

So, maybe he is happier lately, because I am not riding him. Maybe he is seeking me out, because he is bored, when I am not riding him. Maybe he is actually finding some safety on his own legs for the first time in years, and that is giving him courage and energy to seek me out. Because Saleem always used to stumble, sometimes even fall, no matter if he walked or cantered, his front legs would just disappear underneath him, and he never saw it coming. That, of course, would make him nervous, and make him shake his head, which made him fall even more. I have spent years, trying to break that circle, haunting my Ferrier, trying to make him shoe Saleem so he didn’t trip himself, and to no avail.

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But here we are, without shoes, and Saleem has become surefooted, all of a sudden. No more stumbling, no more headshaking, just a happy young man, who actually wants my company.

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I started last year, on riding him without the bridle, and then, he surprised me by not daring to trot, when I did not have a rein. (To support his head with. I presume, that was what he was missing, which was exactly what I was wanting to get rid of.) This year though, without the shoes, he trots easily, when I ask it of him, and he is happy about it. No headshaking, whatsoever.

I haven’t dared ask him to canter yet, as I am terrified of pushing him away, by asking too much of him, but for him to find it amusing to trot around the pasture with me, without tripping himself, that is a huge change in him, not just mentally but physically as well. He feels capable and able now. I have compared him to a snail before, not because he is slow, but because it takes a lot for him to peak out of his shell and it takes very little for him to withdraw back into it, but these days, he is not hiding in his shell. I cannot begin to describe how happy that makes me.

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It is not all perfect though. We do have a rather annoying issue, that keeps coming up. He keeps getting minor bruises or abscesses in his left hind hoof. Nothing too horrible, I usually find them and open them easily, because with Saleem you are always sure where to look for the problem. He will tell you where to cut…

But it bothers me. Why that one hoof? Why is his front hooves and the right hind hoof doing so well, why is the whole horse improving, and then this one hoof keeps getting injured?

I know, it could just be coincidence, but I do somehow feel that this hoof is a little off. It never grew nicely when he had shoes on, it was always too flat and annoying, no matter what my Ferrier did. The toe was always a little too long.

I know all the things you must make sure off, (I think) if you want your horse to do well barefoot. The vitamin and mineral balance, (counted and mapped out to the last detail, and I even had blood samples taken on him, to check,) the not feeding too much sugar, limiting too fresh and green grass, the correcting the hooves a little, often, rather than a lot, once every 8 weeks, keeping the ground has hard as possible using gravel on the pressure spots, (since Saleem have a very hard time in mud, with his hooves,) I mean, I do think this could work, it should… And most of the time, it does.

I just can’t ignore how he keeps making abscesses in that hoof, no matter how easily I cut them out. And maybe it is just a transition period, maybe I just need to hang in there over the summer and one day we will look back on this and laugh, at how I was freaking out… But what if we won’t? I can’t help it. What if it won’t stop coming back? How much can I ask him to go through, when I could easily fix it with a pair of shoes?

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That is the thing, really. Animal wellfare. That is what it comes down to. I may be convinced that the best thing for him is to be without his shoes, but if he keeps getting hurt from it, isn’t it my responsibility to keep him safe from harm? Isn’t that what it means to own an animal? To keep it from unnecessary pain? I know our law says so… So what is unnecessary? How long is it fair to keep trying? Does his pain when he bruises his hoof, outweigh how happy he is, that he is no longer stumbling when he plays with his son, or when I ride him?

Yeah, I can always drive myself crazy. If anyone has been through it, please feel free to comment, I would appreciate it.

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And in other news, as I was preparing an Animalintex dressing for his bruised hoof today, I poured boiling water on my hand, because… I wasn’t thinking, really, but I think the main idea was that I had to check that it wasn’t getting too hot… Even though I knew it had just boiled… Not my brightest moment. For those of you, who haven’t tried to pour boiling water on your skin, all I can say is that I don’t recommend it. It doesn’t look too bad. It’s a little red, that is all. But it feels a lot worse than it looks…

And Saleem? He ran off, snickering, and no longer stumbling, not looking like he was in too much pain at all… It is not every day ones human does stupid things, but when she does, one has better make sure to take advantage of it. He should know though, having known me for 7 years, that I’ll catch him, bandage him and then I’ll cool off my hand, because his dressing was ready now, so I’ll be damned if I wasn’t going to use it… Don’t worry, it wasn’t boiling on him, I checked…

(Most of the pictures are from 2014, when he was still wearing shoes. The pictures, where I am running with him, is barefoot.) 

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The Tree

I was playing with Apocalipse the other day, or to be fair, I was training Tardis and Apocalipse had to show off. Tardis and I are training signals from the ground at the moment, because she feels too unsure of me to ride without a bridle and with the bridle, or a halter, she gets cross instantly. So, I am trying to figure out a way to get her motivated and to let her understand what it is that I want, without her feeling forced in anyway, because that breeds an instant negative response.

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But, Apocalipse. He has always been awesome at playing, but now we have a fir tree on our pasture. Just lying there. I had to try and see if he would jump it, if I ran across it.

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He did, without a seconds hesitation. I cannot begin to describe how awesome that is. To have a four year old horse, that follows you blindly like that… I am astounded by this young man.

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And I know, it may not seem like a big deal, but it is. Saleem, for instance, dares not jump. Ablaze hardly bothers. With all my horses in the past, I doubt that I could have asked any of them to follow me across a tree like that, with no rope or halter or anything. Apocalipse sure has his mothers courage and her self esteem. He knows he can do anything he sets his mind to. I am over the moon, of having managed to raise him to believe that much in himself and in me.

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The difference between him and his mother, is that she would have jumped too, without blinking, but not voluntarily. She never would have followed me like that. She would have needed at least a rope and a halter…

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He is just so positive, and so inspiring to work with.

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Saleem and I are doing a bit of playing these days as well, seeing as for the first time, he no longer stumbles when he walks, trots or canter. I am contributing that to having removed his shoes, after 7 years of failing to help make him surefooted any other way. Being bare footed sure seems to have made him aware of his legs and it is slowly giving him his confidence back. He is very happy at the moment, and very positive to work with as well, even if he dares not jump.

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With Saleem, it is not that he doesn’t want to do as I ask, it is because he dares not. Saleem always want’s to. He want it so much, it is breaking his heart, if he can’t do what I ask of him, so I have to be careful not to ask something from him, that he is not ready for.  Having him follow me on his own, without a halter, is huge for us. No head flicking, no stumbling, just a focused young man, following his silly little human around. I have waited for that, for 8 years…

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Ablaze is unimpressed by the tree. He easily walks across it, but he can’t be bothered to jump it. It is just a tree… What’s the big deal?

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Tardis is still at a state where she is being asked to turn and move with signals, rather than by her own free will entirely, but she is shaping up quite great now that I figured out to remove the halter. I get a much more positive attitude from her, this way.

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And Marble. Marble is still wearing a halter, because she kicks. She is super fast, and if she explodes, she does so, in your direction.

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Her aggressiveness is wearing off though, and she loves to play with us these days. As it turns out, her happiness is almost as dangerous as her anger, so for now, we still need the rope, to stay alive.

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She is doing very great these days. I have to say, looking at the picture of her, and the pictures of Apocalipse, it displays a very clear difference in talent and technique.

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Marble has technique. She is careful, she pulls her legs high up under her and makes sure not to touch the tree. She has talent too, no doubt about it, but she doesn’t jump with the same ease as Apocalipse.

Apocalipse has talent. He easily estimates the height and width of the obstacle and rather than pulling his legs up, he just jumps a little higher, because it comes so easily to him, and he doesn’t care to use the extra energy on being careful. He does not own the shadow of technique and he does not need it.

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He is the king, and he knows it. Queen Amalia’s son.

Amalia

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Peaky Blinders- Series

I watched a new series yesterday. Oh, yeah, all of it…

To be fair, there is only one season so far, and that season consists of only six episodes, but still… How often do you get  to say that you watched a whole series in an evening?

Right, okay, far too often… Anyway…

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Peaky Blinders is set in 1919 in Birmingham. I will be the first to say, I don’t like gangster movies or series, and I only watched it because my boyfriend was kind of taken by it. The gang mentality never appealed to me and I am not impressed by people who make a living of tricking the system and the police. Especially not, like in this series, by betting on horses on the race track. That instantly makes me root for the police…

I spoke to my boyfriend about it yesterday, after we watched it and I said that I was missing a character I cared for, while watching it. He did not understand how I did not find Thomas cool. And I get it, I do. This emotionally numb war hero, haunted by the past, to the extend where he won’t or can’t care anymore. He could have been awesome, but somehow he never was for me.

It took me a while to realize why he felt too hollow for me to relate to him. I think it is the part about the horses that alienated me.

Thomas has a rather beautiful scene where he has just had to shoot his horse, and he tells the barmaid that during the war, he got used to seeing people die, but he never got used to watching horses die. They die badly, he says. That was a kind of cool scene, making him feel like a person that may not be completely numb inside after all, even if it took a sick animal to get to him.

And then he proceeds to make a living from betting on horse racing.

Okay, granted, horse racing may not have been as horrible back then, as it is now, I would not know. I dare not find out. But I instantly feel that any man who says that he loves horses, and bet on racing, is a hypocrite of the worst kind. Gangster or no gangster. That feels wrong to me. And I know, I may be overly sensitive when it comes to horse racing… No, you know what, I am not. It is a horrible game, killing horse after horse, every single day. One cannot be too sensitive about that.

Aside from that, I am still missing a character I can relate to through this series. The barmaid who is an undercover police woman, is really very unlikable most of the time, no matter her reasons. The way she readily and easily betrays the people she is around every single day, makes one hope that she is killed off fast, even though you see the romance between her and Thomas coming from a mile away.

The police officer, Campbell, could have been very cool as well, and a worthy adversary to Thomas and his gang, only he is not. Campbell is the kind who tortures first, breaks deals, and is in every possible way as dirty as the men he is trying to fight, which is a shame. I could have gotten behind the “two sides of the story” kind of story, wanting both of them to win, but as it is, I kind of don’t want any of them to win.

So why did I watch it? I am not sure. Curiosity, I guess. I always like a good story, and no matter if you like the characters or not, the story is ensnaring. I sure wanted to see where the story was going.

It is a very good series, in fact. The setting is fantastic, and it has a lot of super cool shots. I love the way it is edited. It is very artistic and beautiful. The actors are great, all of them, all the way through. Those six hours it takes to watch the first season is time well spent, don’t get me wrong.

I just really, really wanted to LIKE Thomas, or Campbell, and I am disappointed that I did not. Mostly I am disappointed that Thomas did not ring true for me, because on the whole, he is a fantastic character, well written, well played, you name it… I just… Can’t… Like him. And that ruins the series for me.

I am watching season two though, when it comes along. Maybe then, I’ll get over myself, and learn to like him. I am just terrified that he is picking up where he left off with that barmaid, Grace. I know, we think she is dead now, but really, that was the kind of cliff hanger that does not work on me at all.

Want to guess what happened on that train station, in that last scene? What we did not get to see?

My guess would be that Campbell did not shoot her, (sigh), but she shot him with that gun she carries in her handbag. And of course, her aim was off, so he did not die, and both of them returns to be annoying in season two…

Fingers crossed, I am wrong. I wouldn’t mind if they both left the series, but especially Grace. She has run her cause. Kill her off, please, and I don’t know, let Thomas be angry about it, let him start a war over it, anything, just…

Grace makes him smaller somehow. Makes him human again, where he is in no position to be. His humanity is not why we follow him.

Should you watch it?

Yeah. If you like gangster movies, this is the series for you. If you want to see a well produced, well filmed production, then yes as well. It won’t let you down. And even if you don’t think that is something you would care for, give it a chance anyway. You are never bored, while watching it and I guess that is kind of the main purpose of a TV series, isn’t it? To capture and entertain the viewer? It sure does that, even the critical bastards, like me.

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Losing To A Woman

I was at an X Wing tournament this weekend. I know, again, don’t worry, that is not what I am here to talk about today. Not much, anyway. Because all in all, this game is starting to bug me. It is so dependent on the dice, it is mind boggling. No matter how skilled you are at flying your ships, or how sneaky you are, or how good you read your opponent, you are never more than an unlucky dice roll from getting wiped off the board, and that… Well, let’s just say, I don’t like that much. I said so right from the get go, when I first started playing this game, that at some point, the dice would kill my interest for it.

I like playing games, I like it when I can train and when training pays off. Training in X Wing feels rather like a waste of time, because no matter what you do, you never know if the dice is with you or not, and if they are not, you will simply not make the cut.

So, yeah, I am kind of losing my passion for this game, about now. But, that was not what this post was supposed to be about. We had a great tournament, nice people all the way through, (some better losers than others, some more graceful winners, than others, but whatever,) and then I came home to find that some of the guys from the tournament had been having fun, posting pictures on Face Book, of one of the guys I played against, giving him a hard time because he “lost to a girl!”

Here is where my head explodes.

Not only were the people who posted the pictures of him “losing to a girl” having a field day about it, but others from the group joined in as well. Not a single one of them said anything against it, so let me list my reasons for being pissed off about it.

Is it especially humiliating to be losing to a girl? More humiliating than to be losing to a boy? Because if so, that would imply that girls are worth a lot less than boys, am I right? A post like that one does not read, “that was one cool girl,” no it reads, “that was one sweet little girl with her My Little Pony mascot, and you could not even beat her. You must be the saddest excuse for a man, like, ever.”

I have to admit, I asked them if they played X Wing with their genitals, because if they did not, I have a hard time telling why it is worse to lose to a girl, than to a boy.

Funnily enough, I never got an answer for that….

Normally I don’t bother to join in, or start, those kinds of discussions. My life feels too short to argue with strangers online. This one though, I had to start, because no one else did.

This is exactly what is wrong with society today. Why women still don’t have equal rights. Because we all think that it is okay, to post things like that online. To shame a man for losing to a woman.

By all means, shame him for losing, I could not care less. Shame him for losing to a person with a My Little Pony mascot, I would have snickered and not bothered to comment. But shame him for losing to me, because I am a woman, that is not alright. That is exactly why women doesn’t play board games. Because when we meet people like this, we are made to feel like lesser human beings, and they do not even see it.

One of the guys in the group tried to explain that it was a boys club, and I could not expect them to change, just because a girl joined in.

Well no, but I do expect common decency, in all aspects of my life. I know a lot of “boys” who doesn’t think that it is cool for the gaming environment to treat women like that. So by all means, keep being Neanderthals, but don’t expect me to laugh about it and think it is funny, because no matter how you twist and turn it, it never will be.

The guy who posted the pictures wrote me a personal message after I left the conversation and the group, and ensured me that it was not ill will towards me. In fact, he had liked the way I had played fair, all the way through.

To be honest, that only made it worse for me. So, he did think I was kind of cool and still, he did not think twice about making fun of the guy that lost to me, and of me and my pony, in a public forum on the internet.

Is that where society are today? Where we so easily degrade women, even if we kind of like them, without even thinking about it? Without even understanding, no matter how much I explained, how wrong that is?

I was told too, that if I wanted to be part of the gaming environment, I had to be able to take friendly banter. You know, “toughen up.”

All I can say, again, is that shaming me for being a woman, is not banter, it is not friendly and it is unacceptable. You might as well shame me for being a red head, or having freckles, or for being gay, or for I don’t know, something else I could not change. Stubbornly holding on to your right to put someone down because of the way they were born is very unlikable, to me, in a person, no matter how “friendly” they mean it.

So let us be clear. I can take banter. I grew up in the worst kind of environment there is. I grew up in the equestrian world, where “banter” is never friendly, where everybody hates you if you do well and ridicule you if you do badly. There is no winning in the equestrian world and either you toughen up and learn to ignore it, or you break and leave the sport, and possibly horses behind.

I am a musician, I know what “boy clubs” are like, and I know that the musicians I have met, are some of the most blunt people you will ever meet, most of them with a drinking problem, (no offence,) and they always speak their mind. Never, in all of my time as a singer, have I been put down for being a girl.

Sure, the “singers are not real musicians” jokes always came my way, but you know what, so did the “drummers are not real musicians” to our male drummer, and I never thought twice about it, because I chose to sing in my bands. No matter what you chose to do, it opens you up to “friendly banter,” or in the equestrian world, bullying, and I never let it bother me.

But I will not accept that people find it degrading for a man, to lose a bloody board game, to a woman. I will say it once again.

You can find it degrading to lose, as much as you want, period. But not to me, because I am a woman. Find it degrading, because you did not play a good enough game, or for whatever reason you may want to come up with, (really, it is just a game, guys,) but not because your opponent was a girl. And if you do feel that way, keep it to yourself, or to your private, secret, women hating groups, not in public forums. We are writing 2015. Get over it.

I am a woman. I can do anything a man can do. And if I do it better, sometimes, so what? Must women always make sure to lose, to be liked?

I did notice that, at the last tournament I played. Some of the guys that clearly did not like me the first time we met, suddenly started talking to me, after it turned out that I was losing alongside them.

I will say one thing for the equestrian world. For all the wickedness and mean spirited bullying, we never did discriminate based on gender. At least in the equestrian world, we are all equal in hating each other. No one ever told a man that he was less of a man, if he got beaten by a woman.

I guess in the equestrian world,  people blame the horse when they lose, but  that is another story…

And now, I have rambled on enough, haven’t I? For those who wants to understand, I guess I made my point a long time ago, and for those who just won’t understand… Nothing I say will make a difference.

So I’ll just go away now. To my stable. To take care of my ponies.

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