I got a new camera recently. It is a Samsung NX1000, which is what is known as a “compact system camera” or “mirrorless camera”. Although much smaller, it is sort of like a DSLR in that it has interchangeable lenses, manual and automatic settings, and takes much better photos than a point and shoot camera. Well… it is capable of taking better photos anyway. It’s not going to do that until I get a bit more of a handle on how to use it. And, let’s face it, until I get better glasses so I can see when it’s actually in focus! (Man, I hate getting old. )
I got the camera just before I went to Florida. So I took it with me. But I am used to my little pocket camera that charges from my laptop. And I assumed that I could do the same thing with the Samsung. And I left the charger at home. The battery did last all the way to Florida amazingly. But died on the second day there. Whereupon I discovered what a dumbass I’d been to leave the charger behind. But I did get one or two quite nice photos with it in those few days.
Once I got home, got the camera recharged, and read the manual, I started taking some photos around here with it. I’m still learning, but getting there. We had quite an ice storm over Christmas. The power was out for three days in my house, and for eight days on the rest of the farm. The ice was rather magical to look at. But trying to negotiate it with a camera in hand was very precarious. And it sure did wreak havoc on the trees and the plumbing.
It’s been snowing madly here. I was starting to think we’d get away with another non-winter. But winter has abruptly arrived. It’s really helped the footing out though. The horses are all much more comfortable with a snowy cushion on the frozen concrete-hard ground.
We did a bit more driving practice this afternoon. First in the round pen, and then up and down the driveway. Anastasija wanted to watch, so she took the pictures this time.
Once we’d run through yesterday’s lesson and he was confident and forward (which only took a few minutes), we headed out the driveway.
He is quite responsive to voice commands, so I asked him to trot. He was unsure if that was the right thing to do and stopped a couple of times, concerned he might be doing a bad thing. But with a bit of encouragement he was happy. I was surprised at just how nicely he handled it. A very slow and surprisingly rhythmic jog. It’s very like dancing with your horse to trot them in long reins.
The weather is absolutely foul here today. It’s snowing heavily, and the wind is fierce. It’s not all that cold, and this is all supposed to turn to pouring rain this evening and then rain steadily for a couple of days. King and Zamaluck are both in stalls, and Dressy and Diego are keeping to the run in area at the end of the barn.
It would be nice if it would melt all the snow. But if history is any guide, it’ll just get all the snow soggy, and then freeze to sheet ice. Then there will be no riding for another week or two. I am waiting very impatiently for spring to arrive, so I can get on with conditioning King and I for the ride season. He’s really ready to go out and put some miles on after all the snow wading we’ve been doing this winter.
Meanwhile, at work, we are awaiting the arrival of three new foals this year. The three broodmares are Exclusive, Bernice, and Freckles. They are all looking quite large. But Freckles is just enormous. The poor mare has got to be very uncomfortable. I told her owner that perhaps breeding her to a stallion with “Megas” in his name was not such a good idea. The last baby she had was by a perfectly normal sized stallion and the baby ended up being called “Monster” because he was so big when he was born.
Bernice is pregnant with her second foal (and wasn’t in foal last year), so she’s been off the track for a few years now. You’d think she’d have gotten fat and lazy. But every morning I take her out to the paddock, with her snorting and blowing beside me. Then she cavorts around the paddock, doing pirouettes and other unnameable things in perfect, impossible balance, defying the laws of physics. Looks like her feet aren’t even touching the ground. I guess I should take some video of her.
I’ve started taking my camera with me to work every day. Soon there will be baby pictures!
Sunday today, so Brooke was here to ride Dressy. Misha came, crippled up from a fall in her driveway, but rode with us anyway. It was a pretty good ride. Six miles in around two hours. I used the GPS, but neglected to turn it on until we’d been out for about 20 minutes. The snow was not too deep, but was very wet and heavy. So it was hard slogging. We walked almost all of it. King has been doing this all winter and he’s showing obvious improvement in his strength. He really plows through even big drifts without much effort.
Dressy had the heart rate monitor on, and she’s actually running a bit lower than I expected. Though she definitely started running a bit higher towards the end of the ride. And Diego is looking very good. He’s put on weight through this past winter and is looking much rounder and not so weedy as he did originally. He doesn’t like the heavy snow, but he is still pretty fit considering how little he did through the fall and winter.
I’m getting pretty tired of winter. We had a little taste of spring last week, but we paid for it with a winter storm right afterwards.
I have, however, been virtuous and have ridden King quite regularly since the end of December. Mostly walking through the snow. It got quite deep, and even after our big thaw, there are still some leftover deep sections. At first, he seemed to find it quite hard work. But now he ploughs through it like a big freight train.
Today I put the heart rate monitor on him for the first time in about a year. It was only reading intermittently, but the highest that I saw was 110. He does get quite damp, but he has a very heavy winter coat, so it’s not surprising.
Speaking of the winter coat…. holy cow. He’s starting to shed, and it’s like a great big exploding down filled pillow. There is hair everywhere. In the barn, on my clothes, in the house. Up my nose…