Officially Retired

In March 2010, the hubby looked over at me on the couch and asked when I was going to find him a haflinger. I paused for all of 20 seconds before jumping online for a very quick search which landed on a small add for a 10 year old Haflinger gelding. We drove down to meet him and two things were immediately evident: he was neither 10 years old nor a Haffy. It didn't matter though, the hubby was smitten and there was no way we weren't going home with him.

Pete has been the perfect hubby horse. From day one, his personality just meshed super well with Dusty. He has a can do attitude for all things under saddle and has taken Dusty on countless trail miles, swimming in the river, over stadium fences and along a cross country course. I've never seen him say no to any challenge. 


On Dustys end of the relationship, he has come at Pete with a great sense of humor which has allowed Pete to blossom. When Pete decided he had no spine and was therefore incapable of bending, Dusty just laughed as they cantered sideways into a tree. 

When Pete froze in his tracks at the sight of a small butterfly and watched in amazement as it fluttered around for 5 minutes, Dusty chuckled and gave him a pat. I'm not sure anyone else could have brought Pete out of his shell like Dusty did. 


Pete even went on an endurance ride with us. He thoroughly enjoyed the first 13 miles, but decided that was about enough for the day. He did manage to complete is last place though. 


Dusty rode Pete typically twice a week up until Wyatt was born and then it was once a week. Slowly over time it has continued to decrease. Prior to moving him home he hadn't had any work at all for 6 months and only a few rides total in a year. 

He didn't seem to mind though as he ballooned up to whale size and enjoyed playing in the field. Pasture life suits him well. He gets along with everyone and if he can convince his friends to go galloping around and bucking he will. Unfortunately Gem isn't one to waste energy and rarely gets kicked up into a frenzy. 


The goal has always been to get him back into work once he was brought home. He is 26 by best guess, but still frisky and perfectly sound. He has always loved exploring the trails and getting to stretch his legs. We actually felt pretty bad about his mostly retired status all these years and figured he would be happy to get back into the swing of things. 


Our first trail ride in June he was more than happy to get caught and waltzed onto the trailer. He had an enjoyable ride going at a pace he was comfortable with and we walked when he needed a break. 

The next time out he was harder to catch, but still loaded just fine and while he seemed putzy on trail he moved without hesitation. 

Well apparently Pete is calling enough enough and has declared that he much preferred his retirement status. Ever since his third, and now sadly final, ride back out of retirement he has made it perfectly loud and clear that he is unhappy. He is impossible to catch now and won't even let me halter him to spray him with fly spray. 

He always enjoyed scratches with his dinner and now he is giving me the hairy eye and making sure he stands just far enough out of reach that he can leave if a halter comes into view. 

I had him checked to make sure he is still pain free and healthy and he is. I mean I can watch him gallop full title around the pasture throwing in fun bucks and rears for fun. He isn't sore. He doesn't have ulcers. 

He wants his retirement back. Honestly at 26 he deserves his retirement back. We brought him out thinking he would be happier with a job but that is blatantly not true. So, Pete is now fully retired with no plans to bring him out again. His tack has been removed from the trailer and put into storage in the garage. I'm a little sad to tell you the truth. 

Pete has a forever home with us though and he will be enjoying his retirement playing in the field. 

Happy retirement Pete!


Breach of Etiquette Makes My Blood Boil

I shouldn’t be allowed out of the house. It just pisses me off.

My mom offered up to watch the kiddo so we could go ride. I wasn’t going to pass an offer like that up, so Dusty and I loaded up and hit the trails on the 4th. Any trail time is good, but on a typical work day? Even better.

We go ride again. Ok.

Turns out we weren’t the only ones trying to beat the heat and get a ride in before the festivities began and we pulled into an already teaming parking lot. Of course, it wouldn’t have been so bad if people actually parked with any thought outside of themselves. It was a bad omen for the rest of the day when we saw several way too large rigs pulled in diagnonally taking up multiple spaces and making the trail head a maze.

Dusty told me not to let it ruin my day, a bad habit I have of letting things like this get to me. So I did.

A gorgeous day to be out on trail

We headed out to repeat the same loop we did a couple of weeks ago. The footing was even better and we made good time when we could before Pete got tired and asked to start walking more. The big old guy is starting to wonder why he was pulled out of retirement.

Things were going well until we came to an access road. We were walking along due to the gravel footing and I just happened to look behind me and saw a woman running. She showed no signs of slowing and never called out that she was coming up behind us. Had I not looked back I wouldn’t have known she was there until she spooked the crap out of the horses.

When she nearly ran smack into Pete’s butt she turned and called her off leash dog to her. I won’t even get into my complete hatred of dogs and horses mixing here because that would take a while, but this woman didn’t even apologize. Instead she stood right next to us shrieking for her loose dog and then proceeded to take off running again once he was in sight behind her. She was darn lucky our horses are both idiot and dog proof or they could have had some serious injuries from getting trampled or kicked.

The only time the extremely affable Pete gets upset is when Gem gets even a hair ahead of him on trail. I love that I caught his glare while taking my favorite shadow picture

From there it went down hill although we still enjoyed the ride immensely and the horses were most excellent. Pete handled the terrain better than last time although I think he was a bit foot sore with all the rain making his dinner plate hooves soft.

There had been a deer up ahead in the large field

The trail has two road crossings at the end and both can be a bit hairy as cars tend to go flying down the country road. We came to the second one and saw a large group of six riders on the other side immobile. We paused on our side and watched for a little bit but the group were just chit chatting and effectively blocking the entire trail on the other side making crossing the road impossible. Our side wasn’t safe for just chilling out at: a small clearing right at the road without any shoulder and with a deep ditch on either side. We were growing restless and needed to cross but no amount of nicely asking them to move away from the road was producing results.

We did a lot more trotting which Pete handled very well. A few more times out and he may get in shape yet

Dusty hates confrontation and while I don’t go looking for it, well depending on who you talk to, I won’t back away either and started ramping up to tell them they had until we crossed to move or get bowled over. Dusty asked me not to make a scene and fortunately for him they deemed it time to move right about then any way.

At this point I was a bit tired of dealing with stupid, rude and self absorbed people. We ended up back at the trailer with two very sweaty and hot horses and stripped tack quickly to go use the single hose available. We walked over to find three of those same ladies already there. We settled in to wait for our turn while the horses enjoyed grazing.

Hot and sweaty at the end of the ride

I was doing just fine until the remaining three from their group came walking over and completely cut us off. I glared. Dusty asked me to bite my tongue. I was doing pretty well with that until the one lady looked at me and said “sorry our group of six got here before you” in a condescending not really sorry and making me really angry type of way. My mouth dropped to the floor. “Um…no your group of three were here first. The rest of you cut us off by some sort of group association and should actually be behind us in line” Dusty groaned but the woman just turned away.

The ever patient Dusty losing it a bit

So there we were waiting our turn behind six horses at the hose on an extremely hot morning. If I had been at the hose, I would have watered my horse quickly and efficiently so that everyone got cooled off quickly. Nope. These ladies held their beer in one hand, the hose in the other and talked, washed off their boots and girths before their horse and in general didn’t give a flying crap about anyone but themselves. I was seething mad by the time the last horse was being led away.

Except that wasn’t even the end because they didn’t actually move away from the hose area and I had to plow my way through telling them that they will be lucky not to be kicked if they continued to stand in my path. Rude people make me want to teach Gem to kick on command.

It was bad enough that my very non confrontational, much easier going then myself, husband even made comments. That’s a rarity. As we sprayed our two off we noted that these same people were the ones who parked diagonally across multiple spots making an already busy parking lot near impossible to either park or drive in. Shocking.

Trail etiquette people. It’s important. Or you know, just don’t be an asshat when out in public. That works too.

Horses are better than people

Dental Work

Teeth floating is a bit of a sensitive topic in my household. The hubby has very strong opinions on the subject which is odd since he does his best to have no opinions when it comes to the horses having long ago decided equine medicine was not his thing.

I have very strong opinions based on…nothing really but I can still have them. 

We tend to go round and round on the subject and have come to the compromise of every other year to avoid my anxiety about being a bad horse mom yet taking his experience and education, which has taught him that the vast majority of horses are over floated thus resulting in senior horses with no teeth and no way to eat, into consideration. He has shown me numerous articles and has had his educated opinion substantiated by every single vet we have had out for the horses the last 7 years. 

This just looks wrong. Poor Petey.

What this means in real life is that we don’t float our horse’s teeth very often. In fact, it has been three years since they were last attended to. I’m comfortable at every other year and felt three was pushing it. 

In any event, we finally came to an agreement and the vet came out to do them. I was very worried that we would be yelled at and that their mouths would be full of waves, hooks and bad ulcerations. 

Why hello there Gemmie. Feeling the good drugs, are you?

The reality? The vet said they looked fantastic and that they were happy to see us not floating any more often than every two years. Gem had some very minor hooks and Pete had two superficial ulcers just starting to form. 

I was a happy owner until they added that they were both very fat and needed a diet. I knew Pete was fat. We have safely gotten about 100 lbs off him since we moved him from two barns ago. But Gem? I didn’t think she was that bad. Rose colored glasses and all. 

I’m sure I will pay for this the next time I ride

I should have taken her off her competition feed when I stopped competing her last summer. It wasn’t such a big deal where we boarded last because there wasn’t really any grass. The Duo is out on a ton of grass now though and it is showing in thier expanding girths. 

So Gem is now officially taken off her snickers bar equivalent competition feed until such a time as I amp up her training again. Now it’s kale: Triple Crown Lite with only 9.3% NSC to help offset the rich grass and 3 flakes of hay at night to keep them eating. 

Waddling off into the sunset

She won’t be happy with the change, but it is for her own good. Once I start riding her more regularly again, hopefully later this month once things settle again at home and work, and the grass burns out in the summer heat she can have her feed back.