Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pickled green beans.

I love pickles and was looking forward to putting some up this year.  Well my cucumbers had other ideas.  Something is killing off my plants when the cukes are small.  So I am going pickle some green beans.  I had some last year and I really liked them.  Though I have NOT tried this recipe before so I cannot say whether it is good or not.  I will try a small batch first to try it out and in a couple weeks do more if they turn out good.

I borrowed this recipe from Hickory Holler Farm .  She had posted it for dilled okra but I am altering it a bit for my beans.

Pickled green beans

4 cups water

2 cups vinegar

1/2 cup pickling salt

5 1/2 pounds okra with stems

1 1/2 tsp celery seeds

6 cloves garlic

6 jalapeno peppers (optional)

Prepare beans, trim them 1/4 in from top of jars.  Heat water, vinegar and salt to boiling. Meanwhile pack beans into cleean hot quart jars. To each jar add 1/2 tsp dill seed or 2 head of dill if you have fresh dill. 1/2 tsp celery seeds and 2 clove garlic sliced. Add 1 hot pepper if desired. Cover beans with boiling hot brine and leave a 1/2 inch headspace. Seal and process in boiling water bath canner for ten minutes.  Let sit for about 2 weeks and enjoy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's amazing!

Just a few months ago I brought home a pushy, stubborn, anti-social horse.  Some of the things that were daily occurences with him were: any time I would go to pet him he would throw his head so far in the air I could barely reach him, when I would try to tie him he again would use his height to his advantage and throw his as high as he could, one time even snapping the metal clip on the lead line right in two.  How about brushing?  Well he really wanted nothing to do with me, he would  cow kick at me any time I got close to his hindend and if I turned my back I better watch out if I didn't want some skin missing.  Riding, well, he hated it but that I cannot blame him for we had some serious saddle issues. 

I honestly questioned more than once whether him and I were ever going to get along let alone have a real bond.  I thought maybe his past would be more that what I am capable of getting him past.  Maybe I bit off more than I could chew.

Well four months have past and I tell you what you would not recognize this horses attitude.  Tonight he followed me around the pasture like a puppy dog and when the other horses would come close he would walk between them and me.  Making sure they didn't get too close.  If you know horses you know this is big, it means that you are their herd and they are just setting boundaries for the others.  Needless to say we have bonded!  When I go to pet him when he used to call him a snob because he would do anything to avoid it, now he puts his head as low as my tummy and lets me love on him.  Tying, he will stand there all day long no antsiness and no more broken leadlines.  Grooming, when I go to brush his hindend he not only does not cow kick but he actually relaxes the leg closest to me so I can better reach his extremely high buttock, and the riding, oh the riding, the saddle issues have been settled.  We have been taking lessons with a fabulous trainer.  I never thought that dressege would be in our near future, it just seemed so far out of our grasp. He could not bend to the right AT ALL.  Now he is flexing nicely, definitely not perfect but, he can at least get his head all the way to his side in our carrot stretches.  His balance is improving, he is starting to learn to take cues with picking up the correct lead, when before a lead was foreign.  He would pickup one, do flying lead changes for no reason just because when your only goal in life is to run across the finish line first it never really matters what lead you are on.  I could go on and on about the miraculous turn around this horse of mine has made.  I couldn't be more proud of his intellegence, his love for me and willingness to learn this new lifestyle that is so foreign to him and all so quickly.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I need to make a correction.

So I just posted about my daughter and her new horse, Moonlight.  I said in the post that he is a Walker mix.   Upon further research he is definitely a Fox Trotter mix.  You can look at his ears and it is a dead give away.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Every little girls dream

In your dreams as a little girl you imagine a white horse that is all your own.

                                 You will wash, brush, ride and love this animal with all your heart. 

My daughter's drream came true about 2 weeks ago. Now what would you name this white horse if you are a 7 year old girl? Well Moonlight of course!

Steady and Moonlight make great trail buddies.

He is an 8 year old gaited Tennessee Walker mix.

They make quite the pair!

Now she doesn't look happy at all.

As this little girls mother my dream is similar with a few more things on the list.  Like SAFE, gentle and did I mention safe.  He is all of those!  Oh I couldn't ask for a better horse for her.  She does like a challange so he is not half dead but he is SAFE and that is all that matters to Mama.
This just warms my heart.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What I've learned about taking in a racehorse and giving him a new life.

I learning more and more about what it means to take a horse straight from the race track.  I have always loved the athletisicim of thoroughbreds and they are such beautiful creatures.  I love horses in general but thoroughbreds definitely hold a special place in my heart.  But I really had no idea what I was getting into taking one of these animals and give them a new purpose in life.  I first of all am thankful for the trainer that finally decided that Steady deserved to retire.  He spent 8 of his 10 years of life on a track.  He started racing as a 2 year old and his career did not end until January of this year.  His last race he won was September last year.  He was a come from behind kinda guy and that race was an exciting one to say the least.  He came from the back of the pack around the last turn to pulling ahead and winning by a nose at the line.  I tell you what for an old man that is pretty awesome.

His sire is Repletion
His Dam A Song and a Smile

He had 75 starts 8 wins, 9 place, 10 shows.  He raced mostly in Canada and then later came to the US.  Over his entire career he earned $335,801!!!  This man deserves to retire and enjoy the easy life. 

Well that is easier said than done.  See when horses race they are in amazing physical condition.  They have never been turned out in a field, EVER.  They don't even know what it means to graze.  They are in their stalls for the entirety of the day except when taken out to work.  They are handled quite a bit by many different people and don't always know how to create a bond with any one person.  They usually develop nervous habits that are created through bordom of a highly energetic animal being stalled.

Then when it comes to what they know.  Well what have they ever had to do?  RUN, and run fast.  Always in a straight line and as fast as they can.  Now I will pause for a moment to answer one of my biggest pet peaves about what most people say when they find out about his former career.  "Aren't you tempted to take him and run him and see how fast he can go".  I know this is asked out of pure ignorance and so I try not to let it bother me all that much but here is the answer to that question, NO!!!  NEVER!!  Is that simple enough for you?  There are many reasons why this is but I will not get into that now.  Just know it is not in anyones best interest to do such an ignorant thing.  Understand these animals are strong powerful and unpredictable those are a few reasons to start.  Ok back to what I was saying, they were never taught anything but run.  They don't understand leads, gaits,  or really other terrain.  Steady has the hardest time when he sees a hill.  This may seem dumb but trust me there is nothing dumb about this horse, he is incredibly smart.  He has never seen a hill let alone try and walk up one.  So the simplest thing may just set these OTTB's off their rocker and if you are not on your game at all times you will end up on your a__!  And from the top of a 17 hh horse it will not be a good ending.

So here is the first post about life after the track for a retired racer.  This is not even scratching the surface on this amazing and challanging journey I have been on with this new found friend of mine.