Thursday, January 21, 2010

AKA - Conan the Destroyer

First let me thank all of you who have expressed their condolences. It means more than you know. I have often told people that Princeton owned me, not I him. Now I know just how true that statement really is. I am truly lost, but for Remi's sake I have put that away til I can help him thru his loneliness. He spends a great deal of his days just standing in the middle of the common area that he and Prince shared nickering for his buddy.

Now before you get all weepy. Know that this weekend I will be picking up his new best friend, and I expect them to bond almost immediately. You see the horse we picked is the same breed as Princeton (English Shire) and in many ways is very similar; same color, markings, size, and if the breeding runs true a very similar temperament. Maybe a little less grumpy, as Princeton did get a little curmudgeonly at times. Here is a head shot of his new pal Woody.

As for the Conan reference... One learns quickly round here to identify sounds. I can tell the sound of the feed room being broken into blindfolded. Same goes for the never ending sounds of breaking wood as in fences etc. However the other day while cleaning the big lugs bedroom I heard sounds that not only could I not identify, but they are getting very loud and then I hear the sound of breaking wood and the pounding of big feet. As I rounded the back corner of the barn at a run I was almost run over by a big gray and white blur running in the opposite direction with something blue attached to its back feet.

I knew immediately what it was, but I couldn't believe it. You see, we built our own barn. Its not pretty, but we built it with the knowledge that it would house draft horses, so it is sturdy. However, before we built there, the previous owners had a large A frame swing in the back. We didn't have the equipment to unearth the posts so we converted it to a shavings bin by adding a roof and 4x8 plywood sides. To finish the job we took a commercial tarp, the kind used on semi trucks to cover their load, and put that over the entire shavings bin to further protect the shavings from rain. Now if you have never seen one of these close up let me tell you they weigh 200 lbs, maybe more. By the way, did I mention that we nailed it to the sides and the roof.

You guessed it now.... Remi has pulled the tarp off the structure. Along with the tarp came some of the plywood, and all this apparently got caught on him and the flatbed trailer that had been parked next to the bin. He heard me coming and decided to escape the scene of the crime, but the tarp had gotten caught on his back shoe and came with him like a huge blue and yellow cape. I swear we could have entered him in the Derby for as fast as he came around the barn, mud flying twenty feet in the air behind his huge feet, nostrils flaring and a look on his face that told you that he just knew that a flying saucer had just landed right on him... To the best of my knowledge he has not been around to the back of the barn since. I have, however, seen him looking around the corner at the big blue pile of debris that he left in his wake. Remi may be lonely, but some things will never change. If you can build it, he can break it!!

I just had to take pictures. Here is what is left of our shavings bin. Click on the photos to see them. Anybody needs to see me next week I will be sitting on top of the roof of a shaving bin recovering it. You can bring your own hammer or I will lend you one. LOL

Trainer Mom, Bunny

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Remi's New Buddy

When trainer mom and I put our mind to something, we shift into high gear and get it done! And so it has been with the quest to find a new buddy for Remington to help heal the huge hole in his heart. And you know what, we did it! But, I'll save that bit of news for a little later in the post. And no fair scrolling down to the end to see the news :)

For the most part, Remi has been standoffish and not allowing any hugs or kisses. Bunny tried to brush him the other day and all he wanted to do was pull away and head to the center of the pasture where he has been standing and looking around for Prince. Persistence does pay off though because between the both of us, we keep trying and a couple of times, there has been a breakthrough.

Last weekend while we were at the barn cleaning his room, he wandered up for a brief moment to see what was going on. He toyed with the hay pile in front of the stall a bit and then began his pacing up and down the aisle. I went up to him and asked for a kiss and lo and behold he put his nose down and I got my kiss. Just one and he pulled his head back up. Hey, I'll take it because it's progress.

I walked down to the feed stall and started making up a hay bag for him and in no time at all, there was the big guy at the gate watching me work. Hmmm, he's here, he's interested and I have alfalfa cubes close by. So, with a handful of treats, I walked toward him and beggar pony emerged. Another step in the right direction because he is thinking about food and he's begging for treats. Ok, I'll take that too. Baby steps you know. A broken heart takes a long time to heal.

We moved Remi into Princeton's stall so he could be closer to the house and have two side windows to look out and see the dogs and us when we are in the yard. He seems to like his new digs and in the mornings when I leave for work, I get to see him and say see ya later Remipup. In fact, the last couple of mornings have been so special, because he has been laying down in the stall and all I see is his ears. When I tell him so long and I love him, the ears go up like a submarine periscope. I can't see his head, but the ears do perk up and it's been a great way to start the day.

Yesterday, Bunny was preparing the stall for our new arrival. Remi was in his stall and he didn't know she was there at first. She popped her head up over the top slat and he nickered at her. How cool is that? She talked to him and kept him company for awhile and in that short time, Remi seemed to forget his sadness. We are both trying to spend more time with him, but we can't be there for the amount of time he needs, so we're going to leave that up to the new kid.

Ok, so now that you've been patient, I'll tell you a little about the new kid coming our way who we hope and pray will be that special buddy that Remington so desperately needs. His name is Woodhouse (Woody for short) and he is a six year old English Shire gelding. He's black with four white stockings and a white blaze and is absolutely gorgeous. He has a docile personality and our gut instincts say this is the one.

Woody is currently in Tennessee but will hopefully be with us on the ranchette by the end of the month. He's 17.2 hh and has a high enough back that he should be able to be hooked with Remi for training and for that little extra bonding that is so desperately needed.

So, there's the scoop. And, until Woody gets here, the two of us will continue to keep the big boy as happy as we can and spend more time with him. I won't go as far to say that we will don a horse costume, but we will do what we can to ease his heartache in the meantime.

We'll take some pictures and share them with you as soon as he joins the family. We're excited and hopeful that he will help heal Remi's broken heart and ours.

Stay tuned, Stay happy and Stay with us!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lonesome Remi

To every thing there is a season and a purpose and on Tuesday January 5th, 2010, Remington's beloved buddy and constant companion Princeton, passed away, leaving us all with a very huge hole in our hearts.

Bunny lost the horse with whom she started her company and who helped her work through the sadness she felt after loosing her mother. She has lost her best friend who always gave her a soft nicker and always let her know how much he loved her. In the last couple of years she has spared no expense, or time caring for his every need and making his quality of life rich and comfortable.

Princeton was my first encounter with draft horses and I loved him right from the very beginning as if he were my own. He was gentle and kind and everyone loved him. He was a beautiful horse who at times seemed like he understood every word you said to him and I learned a lot from him.

We are very lost and sad right now, but it is Remington who is the most lost and lonesome. Prince and Remi were buddies. When Remi first came to the ranchette, Prince let Remi know right from the beginning that he was the boss and he had better pay attention. But he also took Remington under his wing and showed him what horse etiquette was all about.

When Sara went to her new home, Remi was lonesome for her, but he had Princeton to pal around with and keep him company. They had a special bond and he misses him terribly. He has been looking around to see where Prince might be and bellowing loudly in the hopes that his buddy will hear him and come to his side. The little horses never developed a bond with him and Prince, so they are of no comfort to him.

Our challenge now is to find a suitable companion for him so that his broken heart can mend and he will once again have someone in the pasture to keep him company. This morning I stayed with him while he ate his breakfast. He's not as interested in his food or his hay right now and we are both keeping a close eye on him to make sure he eats. He is not talking to Bunny or me very much right now and any attempt to kiss his nose or hug him is met with resistance and that's just not Remi.

Remi is lonesome and lost and we are doing everything we can to help ease those feelings, but ultimately we have to find him a new friend and we are hot on the trail. Trust me, we are giving it top priority.

Princeton was 38 years old and was loved very much. We will remember the good times, and there were many good times. We will remember his gentleness and his grace and all the love he gave to us as well. He had a good life and lived longer than a lot of horses or other animals do, and for that we are both thankful for the time we could share.

As for Remington, we know that our visits to the barn can not replace the missing piece of his heart, but we will find someone who will. We want our Remi back to being his usual happy self and for now, he's not there. I'll keep you posted.

Rest in Peace Sweet Prince

Stay tuned, Stay Happy and Stay With Us!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy 2010 to everyone from the ole ranchette! It's a cold and frosty day around here and my trip to the barn to serve breakfast has left me with some pretty chilly fingers. The horses were more than ready to chow down on their feed and hay and I was more than ready to get 'r done and get back to the warmth of the house :)

Remington began his usual wake up call of kicking the gate several times, which prompted Tuck to start doing the same. Good grief, you would think that they hadn't been fed in days. Give it a rest boys. This musical talent of alternate gate clanging is not something I relish, especially on my day off. But since they're persistent, I will usually put the kibosh on the concert by giving in and feeding them a little early. Hmmm, me thinks I am the one who is trained :O

The past year certainly was filled with all sorts of interesting and life changing events, from finding a new job to Remi's world record whirlwind. There was good and bad, happy and sad, but we found the strength to work through whatever life threw at us.

Sadly, we lost our little pet chicken Drumstick, who by all counts was the queen of the barn. Who knew that a little chicken could have so much personality and take hold of our hearts so quickly. She is sorely missed.

We said so long to our mare Sara, who happily found a new and loving home and was able to retire from the carriage business. That was what we truly wanted for her and it finally happened.

Princeton the Shire is up there in years, and trainer Mom has worked tirelessly and endlessly to ensure he has a good quality of life. We treasure each and every day we get to hear his soft nickers.

Remi's story went worldwide and we have been able to share his adventures with so many wonderful people. You are all truly appreciated and I sincerely hope you have enjoyed the stories and that they help bring you a smile.

We said goodbye to Doc the Percheron who now has a new home with a loving new owner. And we said hello to Nip and Tuck, who are quite challenging and full of themselves. Ah yes, there's abundant energy in those two. Remi isn't quite sure he likes it either, because they interrupt his lazy time.

Keiko the Akita finally got over her little run in with the black and white fur creature that helped earn her the nickname Stinkerbell for awhile. Bailey (Doodlebug) maintained his 24x7 energy level and I swear sometimes acts like a miniature version of his big brother. And Gabe, the kitty, had quite a full year of long and refreshing cat naps after his many night hunts for meeces.

I don't know what this new year will bring, but my hopes are that it be wonderful and blessed for all of us. Take time to enjoy and celebrate your life. If you see someone without a smile, share one of yours with them. Look to your inner courage and strength to make it through whatever life brings and the good things will come, I know they will.

Happy New Year and may all good things come your way in 2010 and for years to come.

Stay tuned, stay happy and stay with us!