Saturday, December 30, 2006

With the rush of the holidays passed, I can once again keep my blog more active. I hope that all of you who read this had a joyous time with your family and friends, no matter which holiday in December that you celebrate.

This fall, and now, winter has been about change for me. It is time to put "Adria" first in many ways. Guin will be 17 in the spring and she no longer needs me as much, so I can begin to form my 'own' life after spending the past 26 years being a mom.

To that end I have begun taking lessons again. Not just riding lessons, which are wonderful, but also driving lessons. And I am having a blast!

Driving a horse might, at first blush, seem less intimate a relationship compared to riding one. After all, the only connection you have with the horse that you are driving is through the reins and bit. But let me assure you that this connection is an intense one, and the feedback...the communication...that occurs from horse to driver and back again, through those reins is deep, committed, and fabulous.

Marcy Baer, of Briar Hill Farms, is my instructor, and I could not possibly ask for one that is better, or more committed to having me get the most out of my lessons. She teaches more than skill, but enjoyment as well, which makes it all worth it to my way of thinking. You can read/learn more about her at her website: I will be forever indebted to her for sharing her love and skills with me. I also am thankful to Susan Cook, who's horse, Bryhyl Aryel, I get to drive. Aryel is also a wonderful teacher.

Yesterday, during my lesson, Marcy shared with me the three things one needs in working with a horse: relaxation, rhythm, and contact. Once all of these are achieved well, the lesson, for both horse and rider/driver goes well. It was interesting to note that as I worked on achieving these with Aryel, I also worked on achieving these within myself. The more relaxed I became, the more relaxed Ayrel became; the better my focus on her rhythm, the more I could set my body within Ayrel's rhythm; the more secure, yet soft, my connection through the reins, the better the communication became.

All of this led to a state that, for me, was akin to Nirvana. A oneness with Ayrel whereby the slightest move of my hand, contraction of my arm muscle, or even a turn of my torso caused a response in her direction. My breathing deepened, and I felt truly connected to her, as if we were one being traveling together through the sand of the arena, negotiating the cones.

At the end of the lesson, Marcy pointed out to me that Ayrel had created that foam around the bit, that indicated she too had received pleasure from our interaction. A horse who is relaxed and bent properly at the pole, will salivate and create foam around the bit. Only a horse who is in a "zen" state during that time will create the foam. It seems I am making progress in my driving, afterall.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

This time of year is so busy! Yet, because of the horses, one is forced to slow down and set priorties. These lovely beings that share their lives with us are dependent on us for food and water, and a clean place to live.

So, each day, one of us (usually me) must take the time to clean their paddocks, refill the water vats, and bring up the hay that is needed for the day. Since it has been so unusually warm the horses have not been eating the same amount of hay as they had last year at this time. But still, eat they must.

Then there is the twice a day graining. I pay especial attention to what my horses eat, and try to do what is best for them. Presently all the horses get a 2:1 oats to alfalfa pellet mix, BOSS, a vitamin/mineral mix based on our hay mix, flax seed, Apple Cider Vinegar, and 2 drops of Iodine. Vermont is known to be iodine poor in our soil, so I opted to give the horses just a little extra.

They get more grain in the winter time than in the summer when they are out on pasture. Truly forage is the basic component of all they need, and I like knowing that they are getting good forage from our land here.

After chores, I try to work with one horse each day, though I hope to increase that to two each day after the holidays. I have been exposing them all to the "thinking" exercises I've learned through the weekly TEAM workshop, and I will also soon begin teaching the youngest about climbing into the trailer.

If this isn't enough to keep me busy, add in housework, web site maitenance, and 2 lessons per week. I lead a busy life. It is hard to change routines and take the time to bake, cook, shop, and decorate.

Yet, I love this time of year. For me it is not only a time of reflection on what has been, and planning ahead to what is hoped to be, but a time to celebrate the return of the sun.

My wish for all of you is that the return of the sun brings great light into your lives!

Happy Winter Solistice!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

As the year draws to an end, it is a good time to think about what has been accomplished and what your goals for the future are. To that end I thought an update would be great and I hope it interests you. If not, feel free to delete!

This year we participated in the Everything Equine in April. Although we didn't take horses this time, the booth was a success with lots of visitors and so many asked "Do you have a Curly here?" To them I said, "Put a suggestion in!" That was the EE's third year and it has grown each year. I understand that there are plans for improvement for next April and we already have our booth there (more about this below)

We hosted a small, but successful, The Equine Touch workshop in May and it was wonderful to learn of yet another way to help our beloved 4 legged friends feel good in their bodies.

In July we welcomed *GMC Coyote Bill and he has been a great addition to the farm. He is highly personable and always comes up to meet new folks. Not shy, that one! Yep, he's for sale (shameless plug). (Here's a picture of him from our Christmas photo shoot...unretouched)

Since October I have stepped up my horse work. I am taking lessons twice a week (one riding, one driving); participate in a Friday evening workshop learning TEAM concepts which I am then using with each of our horses; I am swapping time with the leader of the workshop also in that she comes and helps me with my youngsters and I help her with hers. This is loads of fun for both of us!

*GMC Jimmy Dee (aka Sage) has sold to a wonderful new family and he will go to his new home in Maine next spring.

And last, but not least at all, *Beau is living at our trainer's farm, Briar Hill, just 10 minutes away, where he is receiving instruction in riding and driving. To that end Marcy has offered to ride him for me in the Everything Equine show, should we get a slot, and my other trainer, Stephanie has offered to show him for me next show season in Dressage and English Pleasure. I am excited by this prospect.

This jumps us into our plans for next year, which do center around *Beau a lot. We have the EE in April and shows from then through September. Additionally, I hope to get a space in the HUGE Champlain Valley Fair over the Labor Day period. I will continue working with each of our horses and we hope to be able to take *Glory to Marcy's next year to be re-started for driving. She is an awesome mare, but we have pretty much decided that her days of becoming a mom are done, it is time for her to begin another job and we feel driving a cart/sleigh is a great one for her. We'll see! Additionally, I have accepted the challenge from Denise Conroy (, to ride/drive *Beau for 100-150 miles per month, for a consecutive 3 months, barefoot...with before and after shots of his feet, to see if a Curly "can do" barefoot as it is touted they can do!

We, at Green Mountain Curlies, Inc, wish you all a safe and joyous Winter season and a fabulous New Year!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Head, heart, hands, and health; the four "H's" of 4H. For many years our youngest daughter was a member of 4H. From this she learned so much that will go on to enhance her life. Because of her involvement, we are a great supporter of 4H and thus were glad to welcome the Blazing Saddles to our farm on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 for a visit to learn about North American Curly Horses.

The visit began with a brief history about Curlies and from there we branched into: Physical Characteristics; Types of curly hair; Smooth-coated Curlies; and Emotional Characteristics. Along the way I was able to spin stories about the Curlies with whom I've been blessed to share life. While I was talking, *GMC Yukon Jack, our long yearling, grazed quietly behind me.

As I lifted his lead to bring him in and invited those around me to feel his curls, he looked up and gazed at the 30-odd members of the 4H group. He sighed and promptly went back to grazing the grass at my feet. He was an oh-so-worried little guy, as you can see!!

Once I returned Jack to his paddock, I took the group around to meet the other horses. *Red Running Star, our 8 year old extreme gelding, garnered allot of questions from the group. "Where is his tail hair? Why does he lose his hair? Is he bothered by it?" I explained that it is just normal for him and that he doesn't seem to know he is the "Patrick Stewart" of the horse world; Red is just who he is. Characteristically, he had his head over the fence and visited the whole time we chatted about him. He is one friendly fellow.

But the hit of the whole day was our 4 month old colt, *GMC Coyote Bill. Bill had never seen so many "little humans" before; only one or two at a time had been to visit previously. He was fascinated and came right up to the fence to visit with everyone. His dam, *Glory of Philea West, paid a short visit, but as she is a very calm and easy-going mare, shortly returned to her hay and let Bill stay at the fence. All were amazed not only at his beautiful curls, but at how friendly and curious he was. Repeatedly I was asked, "And how old is he?" as if they could not believe that such a young horse would be so outgoing. Just a typical Curly, I told them.

All in all, the Blazing Saddles spent about an hour and a half learning about North American Curly Horses, and I'm proud to say that they went away know a lot more, and being impressed by, the breed we are proud to love.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Summer has advanced into fall, and it has been unusually warm, but also unusually wet. I have finally gotten to the point that it has become "my turn" to delve into more intricacies of working with horses, and I'm having the time of my life!

I am taking lessons twice each week, one riding and one driving; plus, I am participating in a Friday evening workshop learning some TEAM techniques. TEAM stands for Tellington-Jones Equine Awareness Method, and this style of working with horses really helps the horse develop their own intelligence and a better sense of self. It is great fun learning and working with the various horses available, as well as working with other interested people, especially since I do spend so much of my time with my horses alone.

At home I still do the majority of chores by myself....mucking, watering, haying. Any repair or clean-up work also, though the big projects wait for Chuck's help on the weekends. And I work with all the horses at least once per week, although the goal is twice each week. It becomes difficult to accomplish this when "housewife" type duties impinge on my time (but I know, we humans DO have to eat ). Add to this that I am responsible for running the business, updating the website, and writing this blog....well I guess you can see why I have let so much time lapse between entries.

However, I am now going to try to become a better blogger. I have recently linked to a new website,, and if you are interested in learning more about Curlies, please visit them.

Blessings to you and yours and if you are a resident of the United States, have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Sunday evening, 7/16/06, we went out to feed the horses as usual. Also as usual, I checked Glory’s milk status as her due date was 7/25/06. The moment I squeezed the milk into my film canister I knew that tonight would be the night. Her milk had gone deeply white, not just the color of condensed milk.

As evening came on, we readied two stalls, the larger for Glory and a smaller one for Walker to keep her company. I also brought down a sleeping bag and the foal kit. I had set up the little white Christmas lights already and they would give plenty of light to see by. It was a hot summer night, and all was quiet.

We left the two ladies there while we finished things up in the house. About 10 p.m. I went down to bed down on my sleeping bag.

Glory was so curious, and came up to the fence to watch me. I told her that I would sleep with her to keep her company and that I knew it was strange, but humans lay down to sleep. That seemed to satisfy her and she went back to noshing on hay.

I had an alarm with me, that was set to go off every hour, and go off it did. It was no problem to wake me up, and the first alarm also brought Guin down with her sleeping bag to keep us all company.

Each time the alarm went off, I would rouse myself and check on her; however that did not mean I was getting a lot of sleep. I admit that I have never slept with horses before and the tremendous variety of noises they made during the night made for a restless time for both of us.

About 2 o’clock Guin asked if I was awake and I said, “Yes”. She said, “Glory seems a bit restless now.” and I replied, “It probably won’t be much longer then.”

We both drifted in and out of a half-sleep for the next hour and then by 3 a.m. we really knew it wouldn’t be long. Glory had begun to circle in the stall, and when she would stand she would reach back with her nose and touch her abdomen, stretching out to both sides to do so.

Neither Guin nor I could go back to sleep now, and so we lay quietly watching the miracle unfold.

At about 3:20 her movement increased and she passed gas, then stood and spread her legs as if she was going to urinate; however, her water broke and gushed out several times. Glory’s pacing increased and then she lay down. Her head was facing the opening but her back was quite close to the fence line, so Guin and I decided to open up the stall walls to give her more room if she needed it.

Glory began to grunt with the contractions and because I know she is comfortable with me, I quietly walked around back to check on the progress. I could see two legs and a nose beginning to poke out and told Guin so. After a few more grunts I sensed that Glory was not happy. She actually got up and turned around, having her backside face out of the stall now. That was when I realized that one leg was MUCH further out than another. A locked elbow!

Without thinking, just knowing what I had to do, I reached inside, following the shorter leg up inside to the bent elbow. I attempted to get my hand around it, but, quite honestly panicked. I sent Guin to wake up Chuck in case I needed him, and once she was gone, I centered myself; knowing that I had to help Glory.

I said to her, “Don’t worry honey, I’ll help you get this one out.”

Once again, I reached inside and this time I was able to work my hand in around the elbow and cup it in my hand. The pressure inside was amazing, but Glory seemed to know what I had to do. With gentle, but firm pressure I lifted and slightly pushed back on the elbow, while also pulling on the leg that was further out. It took me three times of repositioning my hand and body, and the whole time Glory had her head up, with one eye on me and worked with me. Then, sluuuurrrrppppp, the foal was born!! It happened so fast and he was almost born into my arms! Glory let out a deep sigh and laid her head down to totally relax.

Within seconds both Guin and Chuck arrived, and the little guy began to rock up onto his sternum and shake the water from his ears! All was well!

To see pictures of our newest little guy, *GMC Coyote Bill, please visit our webpages. Thank you!!