(am still having major internet problems but think i have managed to upload absent photos for chapter 11 and 12 and some of 13 but none for this yet, possibly!)
Weather continues to be quite dull so the morning’s work was fairly routine, painting doors, collecting discarded wood, more chain sawing and collecting rocks. In the afternoon we had the arduous task of desensitising 3 of the new horses and 2 of the babies, yearlings. It was lovely. Echo had transferred to us with 2 other horses from Brenda and Ray’ daughter’s stable but was not very happy with human contact. Thunder (2) and Jet (yearling) are the new pulling horses, the former being very manic and the latter is too timid so more work required there. Arizona and Pebbles are the babies who have been here since birth but need to get used to being handled.
We got Echo into the stalls and began brushing her with lots of soothing noises. Bailey started braiding her tail and mane which she tolerated very well. She calmed very quickly and seemed to enjoy the TLC and nothing being asked of her afterwards, i.e. 700lb pack. If horses could talk I think she would have been quite surprised just to go back into her paddock afterwards. We then went up to Meg’s corral where all the others were now located; the Canadians, the pulling horses, having only just moved in the previous day. Meg was keeping Thunder in line and unfortunately Jet was copping for her ire as he is always in the senior shadow.
We built a small pen just outside the gate and first in was Thunder, no surprise! Bailey haltered him and took him back into the corral to teach him some manners and respect. Meanwhile Jet had ambled in; the grass was a strong temptation. I managed to get the halter on him quite easily and we went for a lead walk around the corral, stepping over fallen trees and circling back when he decided to overtake me on the return trip. I enjoyed it anyway but also because I hadn’t been all the way to the back where a decent sized stream (creek) meandered immediately the other side of the fence.
Arizona was next in, investigating what everyone else was enjoying. She was considerably more uneasy but the halter went on without too much drama so she was rewarded with grain. We started brushing and braiding her beautiful ginger coat, more grain. Bailey even managed to get her to lift her foot a few times, more grain. Pebbles had been trying her hardest to insert herself, head first, through the fence, mortified at being left out. Once it was her turn though, she was much more reticent, even the grain bucket had limited appeal. Eventually she succumbed and we fussed her like a pair of mother hens, which she put up with grudgingly. Hopefully none of them found it too much of an ordeal as we have to repeat it every few days.
We sat and chatted with Brenda, who had managed to get off work a bit earlier than usual, discovering the plans for our new workaway colleague who was having a bit of a nightmare trip from Italy. Bailey set off home excitedly to collect her Mum’s BMW to drive the hour and a half to Hinton to pick up Martina so Roger and I were left to catch and stall the rides ready for the evening lesson.
We managed that without event but once in the tie stalls, the imposing clouds, which had been threatening all afternoon, decided to disgorge their load and an almighty thunderstorm ensued. It would appear that most of the times when it rains here it does so in earnest and storms are quite common, hence, possibly, the incidence of forest fires. The stalls to which we had taken the horses had a tin roof, the noise from the rain and hailstones was almost deafening. Coupled with the lightening and every closer thunder produced a fairly stressful environment! Hunter, a 12 year old novice, was brushing Meg before putting on her saddle so had her out of the stall tied to a post. She did not like the noise at all, I half pulled him away whilst she started to get somewhat restless on a short rope. Mitsy was in the end stall so was getting pelted from 2 sides by the hail and rain as well as tormented by the megadecibels. Her mount, Matthew hadn’t yet arrived so I went over to try to reassure her. There would be no way she could hear any soothing sounds above the cacophony so I just kept stroking her until she resumed eating which I presumed to be a positive sign. Matthew seemed in no hurry to take over when he did arrive so I just continued, counting the seconds between flash and thunder as the storm passed over and away. Meanwhile, Sparkles and Daisy stood by completely unperturbed!
Today has been the farrier’s visit (and tomorrow). Cody arrived about 10am so start on as many as possible. I was in the cabin, destined for Martina’s accomodation who, we only found out at 9am from Bailey, still wasn’t in the area. Bailey’s pick up had been aborted part way through the previous evening and Ray had left early this morning, supposedly to collect her but he returned solo mid morning. He informed us that he was then on his way to meet her in Hinton. Bailey thought she was going to Grande Prairie, 2 hours in the opposite direction. We were so glad that it was nothing to do with us but I was pleased to have a bit more time to make the cabin more welcoming. I swept up the insect carcasses again, saddened to see the demise of a dragon fly, laid out the rug and assembled the cot (camp bed). I used the cardboard tops from the large box, which had contained the wood burning stove, to fashion into a door mat and boot store. We transferred a set of drawers from the caravan and their was a battery operated oil-fashion lamp to make it look reasonably homely. I decided not to light the stove, even though it felt a little damp, as I thought it might not be a good idea to leave it lit with wooden floors and walls and a plastice tarpaulin ceiling.
No news as to when we move into the other one. It had rained all night resulting in the area infront of her tent turning into a quagmire. Slightly embarrassingly, the one we would be moving to was still reasonably high and dry. We fashioned a walkway of duckboards primarily do that she wouldn’t need to get her wellies on immediately on arrival.
The rest of day involved transferring horses too and from Cody for their hooves trimming. In the middle of this the fire permit assessors turned up and seemed more interested in the horses than the fires. Two was on his most attentive behaviour and actaully in transit between the stall and corral when they arrived. The permit was duly granted. All except 6 horses had their chiropody treatment completed before Cody called it a day. Roger and I swept up all the debris, mucking out the stalls for the first time since we rolled up. Also we had to collect all the large pieces of hoof as the dogs really enjoy them!! It was surprising that neither of them were trodden on as they weaved in and out of 3 legged horses to obtain the delicious remnants! They will be having them as their evening chew for the next few weeks.