Whew, today was a completely and utterly crazy day, and hopefully not the template for the next two weeks, as I'm pretty sure I would pitch over with total and utter exhaustion if it is. We got up at 6:53, which we've discovered is the magic time in order to get on our cow clothes, which sit festering in two piles by the door fireman-style, possibly eat a granola bar, and possibly brush our teeth. Then it's off to the barn for 2 hours of morning chores, which today also included Cecilia helping T pull a dead sheep out of a first-time mom, as well as two live and very adorable new sheep out of a different mom. After chores, it's breakfast time, which seems to often be oatmeal, and then this morning, instead of rest time like we had been getting, it was straight out to the barn to help train the ponies.
We each rode a pony at a brisk tolt down the road and back, which was quite good fun, as our first horses were well trained and seemed mostly to be out and about for a conditioning jog. The saddles are quite funny (very flat dressage saddles) and sit very far back on the horses, with no saddle pads. The horses are also caught and groomed in the first part of a bridle (including bit), and then they add on what is essentially the nose band. They're all well behaved for the grooming and tacking up, and most of them stood obligingly for their grooming without being tied or held.
After our first ride, it was on to pony two, which for me was a bit more than I bargained for. T asked me if I'd ever ponied a horse before (essentially leading a horse from the horse you're riding) and I said no, but that I'd watched. She was like, OK, you'll try, and take this one. Which seemed fair enough, because since it seems we're mostly doing fitness jogs for our part, but then she put a surcingle on it, and went to catch the pony that seems to have been handled least, a gorgeous little buckskin paint mare. She got the bridle on it, and then clipped its head to the surcingle of my (second) pony, and proceeded to do some grooming while the young pony freaked out and the babysitter pony stayed remarkably calm. She then got me to mount my pony (A), giving me the reins to pony B, who was thoroughly attached to pony C, who decided to lean most of her weight on to the poor sandwiched pony, who decided to nip me to tell me about it, and trap my leg in the middle. Lovely. Actually, it went better than it might have, in that there were no major traumas, but half way down the road the pony I was on, who I was trying to neck rein with the reins in some sort of galloping bridge so as to free up an extra hand for the other two ponies, decided that we were doing a random circle, and I nearly lost the plot entirely. The rest of the ride was much improved when T took the two ponies off me, and I got to concentrate on riding my 18 year old school master with a big tolt.
Then we got a brief lunch break, which was lamb sausage and potatoes with a sweet milk-based gravy (if it can involve milk, it will, around here), and we did a bit of laundry, and then were settling in to watch Friends when T came in to tell us that it was back down to the barn for more pony time. This time I was on a gorgeous but green little paint, who decided she absolutely wasn't going to cross the rivers we had to get over on our ride. I got her over the first one, but it took two of us and quite some time to get her to cross the second one. Luckily we didn't have to cross the rivers on our way home!
After we got back to the barn, I went to saddle up pony two for the second time in order to pony the littlest on a short trail ride. She has a sweet, obliging paint that didn't do much except threaten to nibble my leg. The girl was funny as I looked back towards her and she had her eyes closed and was listing scarily to one side. It actually seemed like she was well on her way to falling asleep, which was pretty funny.
After that, I helped Cecilia complete the pony swapping she had been tasked with, which had included moving a stud from one part of the property to the other, and then moving the mares to the other part of the property so that his outing was completed, and no one was going to have babies on us.
Then it was straight up to the house for a quick snack of bread and cheese and to feed the two youngest kids the same, and then out to grab laundry and straight down to the barn for cow chores, which took 45 minutes longer than they should have because we had to wait for T to get back from taking the two oldest into town (soccer and gymnastics, I would have loved to have gone to either!!) in order to complete everything we need to do.
Back to the house at 7:45, we had time for very short but appreciated showers before dinner of museli and cheerios and pourable yogurt, which is a pretty cool product, especially when it is caramel flavoured!
Now its 9:20pm and definitely time to fall into bed, read for a bit, and get up at 7 to do some or all of that again. If anyone wants to fedex me a caramel macchiato or a diet coke, I'd love you forever!