Saturday, June 6, 2009


Just like people are all unique, so are horses. This morning's New York Times has an interesting Op Ed piece by Sean Clancy, a horse racing journalist, about racing. Today is the Belmont Stakes, the final leg of the Triple Crown. Mr. Clancy says:

"Horses are just like people; there are smart ones, dumb ones, miserable ones, honest ones, simple ones, cheats, freaks, leaders and laggards. They have good days, bad days and plenty of average days. They can be brilliant one minute, horrible the next. They can remember something that happened a year ago and forget what they learned yesterday. They’ll walk placidly into a metal starting gate that clangs and rings when the doors open, and then be scared of a bucket that wasn’t there yesterday."

I just think this is really interesting, and true! It describes us as all the contradictions you can think of - strong but fragile, brave but flighty. We are all unique! Today I start a series of posts profiling the horses of Fish Bowl Farm.

Nils is my half brother; we have the same sire (dad). Nils was foaled in 1989 in Stehekin, Washington. He is a brown dun Norwegian Fjord, so he looks like me. Nils is fun. He is one of those horses who adjusts well to his rider, but if the rider doesn't ask for things just right he ignores them. Some riders think he's stubborn, but really, would you know what someone wanted to do if they pushed you and pulled you? He is just waiting for the aids to be clear, and then he is light and forward and happy. Nils lived with his previous family for fifteen years! He came to Fish Bowl in 2007 when he was 18 years young. Nils is about 14.1 and weighs about 1000 lbs or more. He is really sturdy, but his body shape is more like a regular horse than a Fjord. His legs are short and very stout - he is a wonderfully heavy boned fellow. When Emily went to Wenatchee to meet him, she rode Nils for only about 10 minutes in a round pen and said "ok, I think I've seen enough." The nice owner who was sadly selling him was worried that she didn't like him, but Emily quickly explained that he was just perfect! The owner asked if she wanted to take him on a trail ride to see what he was like outside an arena, and they went for a short walk off the property and Nils was very happy and fun. He loves trail rides. He is a great longe horse - he goes steadily around and around for riders to learn balance and feel in the saddle. His canter is fun and his lateral (sideways) movement is really good. In the paddocks and the fields Nils is the boss of his group. I try to boss him a little, but he's older than I am and takes great pride in managing other horses. He knows he's not the biggest horse, but he is still the boss of the smaller horses. He is a fiend for carrots! Nils doesn't get treats very much because he gets so excited to have food that he is not very polite. Can you imagine? I don't know any other horses that are like that ...except maybe for me! Nils loves to go places - to shows, parades, other places to ride, and he gets really happy and energetic, but always keeps his wits about him. The only time he spooks is when he is concentrating hard for a student and something startles him, but he always calms right down. Nothing really bothers him too much. He is my neighbor and my "brother of another mother" and I love Nils.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Meet our new friend, Springstar!

She is a connemara mare, and she moved in on Monday. She has two horse neighbors who already like her a lot: Annie and Rio. Welcome Springstar!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Look at Me!

Emily snapped this photo of me and Ava this afternoon in our lesson. I think I blinked, but I don't take pictures of myself very often, and I thought I should show you how well my youngest rider is doing! We walked and trotted, and practiced steering all around the arena and between the dressage letters. Then we played a game where she collected fir cones and we walked them over to a barrel and put them on top. Fun! What did you do today? I had a great ride!

Don't forget to watch the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event on NBC at 12:30 PDT tomorrow - Saturday!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Walkin' Down the Trail

I like to go on trail rides, do you? I sometimes get skitterish when there are deer hiding in the woods, and sometimes the crunching of sticks and dry leaves scares me (I'm kind of silly), but I do love to get out of the arena. Before I moved to Fish Bowl Farm I lived in Ellensburg, and there aren't so many dense woods there, it's more sage brushy, so when I moved to Western Washington the Doug Fir and Madrona woods were something to get used to! Here is a really cool website where you can download and read a document about sharing the trails with others on foot, on horseback, bicycle or atv (where they're allowed). (Look on the bottom right of that website for ELCR News Flashes and the Trail Guide. The photo above is of one of the trails at Fish Bowl with the flowering apple tree.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Feed Bag to Tote Bag

Feed bags used to be made of cotton fabric. Then they morphed into paper or woven synthetic stuff. Then two paper layers sandwiched around clear plastic. Now they are also made out of tightly woven plastic a'la plastic tarp material. They are indestructible and amazing for many uses. They are also recyclable -- there is a smart human who has figured out how to recycle plastic feed bags and synthetic baling twine into plastic. I think that's smart. I don't know if we should have all this plastic around - I see tiny pieces of baling twine on the ground sometimes and it doesn't look like it will ever go away! Anyway... this feed sack stuff cuts and sews very nicely as you can see by the photo above! Emily tinkered with the sack and voila - a new tote bag for hay, farmers market produce, groceries, taking recycling to the center, donations to the thrift store, items to and from the library, and maybe even your boots and helmet to the farm for your weekly lesson or daily ride! If you need a sack to do some creative sewing on, let us know, we have lots of these beet pulp sacks just waiting for a new purpose.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Rainbows and Horsemanship

We had a wild weekend of rain and sun and clouds and wind, but not very many of those things at the same time. It was constantly changing, that's for sure! Sunday when Emily was driving her little electric golf car/truck around feeding us there was a complete rainbow in the sky and it was lovely! There was even a little vertical piece of rainbow right by our riding arena!

Horsemanship for kids ages 5-15 is starting up on Wednesday, May 6th, from 3:30-5:00. $10/participant, please wear your boots and helmet, and we'll have some fun! Learning, playing, handling me and the other horses, and talking about caring for us. It's a drop in program for any kids interested in horses and ponies - Fish Bowl students are encouraged to come, and also to bring a friend. Open to all, parents can drop their kids off at 3:30 and pick them up at 5:00. Rain or shine, see you Wednesday!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Rolex TV Coverage Postponed.... Saturday May 16th on NBC. It's right before the Preakness (those horses are FAST!), so check your local listings.

It was sadly pre-empted by Hockey Playoffs. But hockey does look fun!