Tag Archives: miniature horse

Katie Is All Ears

5 Sep

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Dear Katie, I am a 9.2 hand pony.  I have not gotten a reply to the question I asked in 2014.  I hope you are well and I am still am waiting to hear if it is better to clip your ear hair before a show or leave it long.  Signed, Shetland Pony Problems.

Dear SPP,  thank you for your patience.  I have been trapped in a gravel paddock because my owner wanted me to lose weight.  I was not allowed to eat any grass or go near computers.  My only food was dry hay and vitamins.  The computer is in the kitchen and she was afraid I’d eat grapes or corn chips.  I have finally lost a tiny amount of weight and gotten back to type a reply.

Your ear hair is an important part of your identity.  Do not clip your ear hair or your whiskers.  Or anything.  Look as shaggy and unkempt as possible.  This will keep your owner from taking you to more shows.  – Katie

Katie Explains that When it Rains it Pours

15 Feb

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Katie understands the unique challenges of being a miniature horse or pony.

Dear Katie, I’m 10 hand tall Shetland pony.  I don’t know where spring is.  I’m shedding like crazy and it keeps snowing.  What can I do?  Signed, Snowball

Dear Snowball, here in the Pacific Northwest we don’t get snow storms.  It only snows for decoration, shuts down entire cities for a couple of days and then melts.  An inch of snow here is known as Snowmageddon.  You can move here.  But you will need some rain gear and to learn to drink coffee – Katie

Autocorrect Nightmare: Curse of the Smartphone

23 Jan

Yesterday I was texting our trainer on my new (refurbished cheap) smartphone, proud that I had entered the 21st century.

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After two successful sentences, complete with punctuation, I got too cocky.  I had finally learned to hit the space bar instead of “send” after each word.  Or so I thought.

As I was typing “Duke didn’t bite” (he has a slight biting problem), autocorrect turned “Duke didn’t” into “Duke DIED” and I hit send instead of space.

In a panic of bad typing I attempted to text an explanation that Duke did not die.

I hope I didn’t give her a heart attack!   I am going to turn autocorrect off today after I have the courage to face my dastardly phone again.

A Big Napoleon Complex

6 Jan

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We finally started some serious work with the Dukester.  The pictures are unfortunately still in the camera.  Dukie has a small Napoleon complex.  Or is that a big Napoleon complex?

To help with that, he was forced to wear Katie’s fuzzy pink harness pad for ground driving.  I discovered he also takes a smaller bit that I have, so I had to order a new bit.  And thanks to our trainer, his bridle now fits since his head is extremely small even for a mini.  He also likes to bite people so some ground work is in order to build respect.

But he is an athletic little guy.  He is show ring rather than dressage trained, so we are working to have him become more responsive to half halts.   I’m looking forward to working with him more.   Macho is doing really well so he is going to get out and start getting into driving condition again, too.  It is a big challenge to go from a well-trained schoolmaster type driving horse like Macho to a greener, younger horse.   There’s also a bond with the old horse that needs time to form with a new horse.

Katie Advises Against Weighty Thoughts

3 Jan

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Katie understands the unique challenges of being a miniature horse.

Dear Katie,  I am a 29 inch tall miniature horse.  My New Year’s resolution is to lose 50 lbs.  I already eat a high fiber vegetarian diet.  What else can I do?  Signed, Heavy Thoughts

Dear Heavy, the first question you need to ask is why you want to lose weight.  If you can’t come up with a good reason, keep eating.  It also might be all hair.  Wait until you shed out in Spring and see if you look smaller.  Good luck!  – Katie

Merry Christmas!

25 Dec

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Merry Christmas from Macho, Katie and all the gang!

Katie Spreads Some Holiday Cheer

18 Dec

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Katie understands the unique challenges of being a miniature horse.

Dear Katie, I am a 36 inch tall miniature horse.  My people decided I needed a new friend for Christmas.  I think they bought the new horse for themselves, but I can’t prove it.   Is there anything I can do?-  Signed, Holiday Cheer

Dear Cheer,  they did buy the horse for themselves, and you can try to make them return the other horse by biting him.  Pin your ears like this (see my picture).  Sometimes your people will just give the new horse his own paddock.  Once, they gave MY stall to a new horse after I bit him.  People can be so rude.- Katie

Life in a Herd

9 Dec

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Living with a small herd of horses can teach you things you would never learn otherwise.

With a herd, you see the relationship between the horses and realize that this interaction is crucial to their well-being.  We kept a pony alone for awhile, and she was fine with us as her herd.  So people can be a substitute for the “horse herd.”  But you do miss out on seeing some amazing things.

Last night, Gypsy the pony entangled her back legs in the electric fence.  She was probably being a mare and kicking at the gelding on the other side.  She had been trapped in the fence tape for some time when I found her at morning chores.  She could not move, but didn’t fight the fence.  The gelding stood behind her, a vigilant guard in the next paddock and refused to move until I had freed Gypsy.

Gypsy stood quietly while I got a scissors and cut the strands.  She looked at me with complete trust.  I unwound her back legs and she walked off, unscathed, to eat hay.  She did stop to take a treat and bump me with her nose.

I shudder to think what Katie would have done if she had trapped her legs in the fence.  Katie spooks at her own shadow.

But then again, Katie surprises me sometimes by being sensible.  She is not as ditzy as she looks.  She would probably have evaluated the situation and waited, too.  At least, I hope she would have.

Back to the herd.  They all have their place and they look out for each other.  The geldings play rough- the other day Duke and Macho were kicking at each other with their back legs as they grazed, then stopped kicking and continued grazing.  They may have a mock battle, flailing front legs like wild stallions, then drop to graze nose to nose.

The mares have to kick and run and then graze together and stick together like glue against the geldings.  But put Katie back in with her long-term gelding buddy after a few hours and they immediately groom each others’ withers like long-lost friends.

The herd is a place of endless fascination and reveals the depth of the relationships that horses forge.

Holiday Alienation

7 Dec

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I have learned the most from not getting what I want.  Often what I want is colored by what I want in terms of what I think is possible.   I’ve always felt out of synch with the modern world’s ideals.  Not that I am old-fashioned, as in churning my own butter.  It’s that I don’t value what society says I should value.

I found myself in a crowd, yet again, feeling like an alien.  I should have a lot in common with horse people, since I love horses and always have.  And I really enjoy being around some horse people.  But most of the time I find that I really don’t.   I feel more at home with artists.  Every city I’ve ever lived in, I’ve gone to an art class and felt at home.  I’ve felt accepted.  When I attended a large college of 40,000 students, I felt lost until I took drawing 101 and felt like I had landed back on my home planet.  No longer an alien!  Or else, we were all aliens and OK with that.  Most of the time, a group will ignore you if you’re different.  A group of artists loves you if you’re different!  The more different, the better.  But being just a tiny bit different is good, too.  Artists care about what is below the surface.  Anyone who creates is humbled by the process.

So, decades later, it seems if I really end up feeling at home with someone, it turns out they have an interest in the arts. This is my tribe.

Oh, back to the subject at hand about not getting what you want.  When I got my property, I wanted to own a riding horse again.  I went through a few bad experiences, ending with our perfect riding horse dying of a sudden and incurable colic.  During our future attempts to buy or lease another riding horse, I felt like I was in a bad movie.  Who writes this stuff?  It can’t be real.  But in the horse world, yes, it can.

A few months later, I tentatively pulled up Dreamhorse (a horse sales website) to kill time and forgot to limit my search to 150 miles from my zip code.  So I pulled up horses so far away I could not drive to see them.  One was an eye-catching miniature horse.  My daughter begged me to inquire about him.  That seemed ridiculous since I could not go see him, so I put off emailing for a couple of days.  A half-hearted inquiry led to one thing after another and the process ended up with a new horse on my property.  There was no drama in the purchase.  I had to do a few things I never do and I listened more to my intuition than what was possible.  I had to trust.  Sometimes you need to give up before things work out.

But back to alienation.  I still don’t know if I will ever feel at home in a group of horse people.  I connect with a few individuals here and there.  And I connect with my horses.  It’s dark and the stars are shining over a frozen landscape.  The crescent moon hangs in the western sky.  I went out and gave my ponies some treats- feeling their warm breath on my hand.  And I felt connected at last.

Katie’s Social Standing takes a Plunge: aka New Horse Arrives

1 Dec

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Katie once again finds herself at the bottom of the pecking order.  Even though she is fiercely dedicated to raising her social standing, her efforts are futile against an even more dominant miniature horse.  The few times she did move herself up in the social strata, it wasn’t pretty.  Katie does not handle power well.  Think Mussolini in a miniature horse body.  Life is much better if she is not in charge.

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The new horse has arrived– a little bay mini driving gelding who thinks he is 17 hands tall.  He needs a few reminders of who is in charge, but is sweet and easy to handle.  I figure if we want to ride, we can ride someone else’s big horses.  That way, if the horse goes lame I won’t be stuck with another large pasture pet.  The worst is that I can be stuck with a small one.  And we can drive and show and enjoy all the good horse stuff in a small package with smaller expense and a smaller workload.

I like having my own horse vs. school horses but am not up for the risk and expense of owning another large horse.  So we can ride school horses (when we get around to it) and train and drive the minis at home.

The new horse is actually my kid’s – to clarify.   She was getting suspicious of me discussing her new horse like he was mine!   But I am going to borrow him sometimes.