Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
Click on Logo (Original artwork by Lanie Frick for Messick Quarter Horses. Not permitted to be copied)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fall Days

A few weeks ago, I felt like fall was coming. Everything was still green though. The weather was still hot and humid most days. T-shirt and tank top weather. No shorts, as the little knats and bugs were still biting.

I remember that day. I was mowing grass and you could smell a dryness of grass in the air, not the usual fresh cut grass smell. As I walked through the yard, you could hear the crunch of dry leaves.

Even though it was green everywhere, grass, trees, corn and soybeans, something was different. Then I realized what it was, as I thought to myself that evening, “when did it start getting dark at 8:30?” Days were getting shorter. That is what I sensed.

I think the last humid, slightly hot weekend was Labor Day weekend, over Sept 3-5. We had 90 here, but it wasn’t too humid. I know the Kansas CTR, that I didn’t go to, had 102 on Saturday! A cool front came through from the north, dropping the temps by 20 degrees the next day. What a relief!

Most of the days have been just plain gorgeous the last 3 weeks. We had rain one day last weekend, but I was at a CTR, and we just got misted on.  But riding with friends was awesome!

Coming home last Sunday, I did have rain most of the afternoon though. But most of the days have been in the 70’s, a few nearing 80 and a few staying in the mid 60’s. I’ll take those lower temps, if it means sun!

Then I got busy with “stuff” and didn’t get around to blogging about that. But today’s Sunday Stills challenge is about the “First Signs of Fall”. And I remembered that 2 weeks ago, I felt those changes. Now we are seeing the changes. Crops are brown and harvest has started.

Trees are just starting to change, leaves turning yellow. 2 hours south of here, where I rode at Indian Caves near Shubert, NE yesterday, the change is even more distinct with less green and more color in the trees.

It’s dark before 8 now. We lose a minute of daylight each day. The mornings are cooler. We’ve not been near frost here, even though other parts of the state have been. I think my coolest morning was 39 or 41. Most mornings have been near 50. Today was only 44. The days are getting shorter and cooler.

Have I said how beautiful our weather has been since then? LOL. Lots of sun without the heat makes for beautiful days to be outside. These are the days that I appreciate working for myself. I can set my own schedule. I can take advantage the sunny afternoons to work my horses. We need these type of days before the days keep getting shorter, and colder.

A few days ago was the first day of fall. I love the fall the best. Days are beautiful. Air is crisp. Trees are changing colors. (Our trees in the back yard are just starting to get yellow).  The sun still warms the back, even though it is lower in the sky. Days seem brighter without the heat and humidity of the hot summer sun.

I grew up in the Appalachian mountain range of western PA, and the fall is just gorgeous there. I love the forest, the colors of the leaves in the fall, the white blanket of snow on the pine branches, the Mountain Laurel blooming in late spring, and the coolness and dampness you feel when you are under that canopy of leaves in the summer heat.

I know how the wild animals feel in the fall. Squirrels busy hustling, finding and storing nuts. Deer bedding down in deeper grass during the cooler nights. Animals busy during the day, preparing for winter.

The past 3 weeks, I’ve long at those “lists” we made before summer. What needs done before winter? Yet, finding the time to ride a few horses and to start working 2 young horses. That only gives hubby and I half a day to finish maintenance projects and start and finish new projects over the next 1 ½ - 2 months. That seems like a long time, but each day goes faster and faster. Some days, it seems like only chores get done. We stop and clean this area, we stop and put this away, and before we know it, the day is shot.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad I have the extra time this year to take care of these tiny projects, well some are not so tiny, and to get re-organized around here. We do need to stop and catch up, and I feel that is what this summer was for us. Those other areas on our “to do” list would be nice to get done, but it isn’t necessary. But if you don’t take care of the little things when they are little, 10 years later, they turn into big projects.

So I feel like those squirrels. Hustling around, doing this and doing that, preparing for winter. The warm, sunny fall days make me want to do these things. I enjoy being busy in this weather. I enjoy working outside in this weather. And it’s a great feeling to see things get accomplished, no matter how small of a job that it was.

But we've taken the time to play with the grandchildren.

playing and cooing with baby Tyler

Caden helping Pop go fix things

Grandma riding with Makenzie and Sara

Makenzie petting her Pody

and cousins Makenie and Caden help Ema and Pop to feed the pigs!

One new thing that we did this spring/summer was to clean a tree area that was too brushy to ever put horses in. A few times over the last 15 years, we thought of fencing it out to put a steer or 2 in to knock the brush down. Well, weather and time and bugs took care of that for us. We had 2 rows of pines in there, but the pine disease killed them. Early this spring, we cut and burned the dead branches. We picked up and burned some fallen branches and brush. We had ½ the fence line strung with wire, and we finished stringing the wire, making another turn out area. Without the trees in there, more grass grew.

Over the summer, the horses spent some time in there, eating the grass and knocking down the brush. I wanted to turn it into a small area to ride and practice some trail maneuvers, eventually using that area to teach my riding students some of the same maneuvers. Hubby and I just walked the area the other day, and it is ready to ride in.

Seeing the results of our hard labor is paying off. Believe me, all those hours of cutting, picking up and burning brush was long and tedious and a strain on the hamstrings. Lol

The other reason I love fall time is that at the end of the day, it’s nice to sit outside with a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy that time of relaxation. What a perfect way to end a perfect day.

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