There are two reasons for the title of today's post. The first one concerns Zak. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how to muck out (English style!) and commented that I am not a fan of rubber matting. The tradition here is to put rubber matting on the stable floor and only put a little bit of bedding down, usually shavings. I'm not keen because the horse will lay in it's droppings and make their rugs smell.
But no matter how much bedding I put in Zak's stable, he absolutely trashes it. He is by far the muckiest horse I have ever had to muck out (and I've done a few). He must box-walk and kick his droppings about all over the place, which leaves him with no clean bedding in the morning. It takes hours to muck him out as you try to save a few wisps of straw so you don't have to put a whole bale of clean straw in every day. The deeper the bed, the worse it gets.
Missis has rubber matting, so I asked her what she thought, and she said she thinks it definitely helps with her horse's stiffness. She does put a full bed down on top of it, though. I started to mull over the possibility of rubber matting. Then, to my surprise, last Saturday, Mr O, totally of his own volition, said, "This horse needs rubber matting!" I couldn't agree more. So Mr O has ordered some, and it came yesterday, and we'll be putting it down tomorrow. It's not like Missis has got, which is very hard, it's like what I used to have for Penny, very thick and spongy, and comes in sections cut like jigsaw pieces. Imagine the time saved on mucking out, if this works. It'll be a real godsend.
I have finally, at last, finished the christening card. I knew roughly what I wanted, which was:
1) it must look like a christening card, not a new-born baby card.
2) it must be personalised. If you're going to put 'Baby's Christening' you may as well go and buy a card from a shop.
So here is the result. This is the other 'less is more' item for today. When I make a card I'm often tempted to use lots of patterned paper, but it doesn't work with a christening card, and card making is not scrapbooking, is it? I'm really pleased with the result, and feel I can meet Abby next week and talk 'wedding invitations' with confidence.
My Kelly Marks book still hasn't come. I am so annoyed. It was dispatched on the first of February. Grrr!
So today I took matters into my own hands and decided to do some 'de-spooking' exercises with Max. I put a couple of (bright, flappy) feed sacks on two electric fence posts and stuck them into the ground. I pulled the bright blue barrels out and stood them up. Then I had a brainwave and got a piece of the old, rubber matting that used to be on the walls of the lorry and laid it down in the lunge ring as a 'bridge'.
I hadn't realised the three horses were watching me set all this up, and Max's eyes were on stalks when I went to get him in. At first he refused to move, and just stood, transfixed, staring at these new items on his horizon. I managed to get him in, aided by Barnaby, and then put his lungeing gear on.
I walked him round to the lungeing pen, and he expanded to at least 15.2 with the shock of being confronted by all these spooky objects.
I gradually led him round, and he snorted and stared (and probably looked rather good with his head down like that!) and pranced round everything. He went round once and I gave him a mint, then took him round again. This time he was marginally more relaxed, and at the end I let him eat some grass. He wasn't bothered by the blue barrels, just the 'sacks-on-sticks', but gradually got closer until he was eating right next to them. I was very pleased.
Then I walked him over to the rubber matting, and decided to lead him across it, exactly as if I was leading him up the lorry ramp, and he stepped straight on it. I was thrilled. He was a bit wary of the sound his feet made on it, but I let him have a bite of grass, then went round again, and he walked straight on as if it was nothing. I know he doesn't have a foot phobia, as he will load in the lorry straight away, and will walk through water, so I was fairly confident. Now I just need to keep repeating it, until I can bring the sacks closer and closer together, and get him to walk in between them, then I'll put them one either side of the rubber matting. I will keep putting different objects in front of the rubber matting, by which time Mr O will have made me a wooden bridge at work, that Max has to step up onto, then when he's confident with that, I'm going to get on him and ride him over it. I was thrilled with his progress today, though, and he knew I was pleased. He seemed to enjoy doing something different, something that occupied his brain for once. He's very bored just going out to the field, and coming in again every day.
And finally, as you know, Missis' aunt died a couple of weeks ago. Missis has had the arduous task of going to the house and sorting through her aunt's things, never an easy thing to do. However, as she was sorting through the cupboards, she came across a couple of things and thought, 'I know who would like those!' and brought them home to me, so here they are:
This is a butter dish, from the days when butter was sold in round pats. I don't know how old it is, but I think it's very sweet, and it now occupies centre stage on my kitchen table.
Then there is this little chap. Isn't he cute? It says 'pork dripping' and is also quite old. I think I might use it as a mustard pot, or for apple sauce or something.
Have a good weekend everybody, and let's hope it doesn't snow!