Sunday, April 19, 2015

Horses, Chickens and Facebook friends! Oh My! by Robin Janney

This past week has been beautiful weather.  A bit of rain here and there is nothing to complain about after the snow we had this past winter!  A lot of sunshine though, and no day was more beautiful than last Sunday.  Mostly because I went on an adventure.

I was on my own that day, as Mr. Janney couldn't be persuaded to join me.  His loss.

First I drove up to my friend Carol's home, where had I moved fast enough I could have seen their resident ghost.  I mean, all I had to do was step around the corner and peer down the hallway.  I was close enough to have goosebumps and that was good enough for me!  Today was a research trip for me and it wasn't ghosts I was interested in researching!

From there, Carol and her daughter Sydney led me to Foxwin Farm just over the border into NY state.  The reason for my research trip can be seen to the right.  Horses.

As I have been working on my third novel, I came to a point where I realized I needed to know more about horses since I had given my main female lead (Angela) a love of horses.  I had been able to fluff  my way through those parts of Ring of Fire, but the moment that Angela walked into the stables at the beginning of three...I knew I was in trouble since it's been a long time since I've even been near a horse and the only time I've actually been on a horse was when I was still in diapers!  Angela's horse Belle, a thoroughbred show horse had been instrumental in her healing from the traumatic ending of my first novel.  In the third novel, it will be a horse named Buster that gets more of the spotlight.

The horses at Foxwin are Morgans, and odds are once I get to know Buster a bit better he'll be one too.  Buster is a trail horse, with a mind of his own and an attitude to match Angela's independent flare.  Belle was her jumping horse, as is Lily.  Angela does not have the same rapport with Lily that she had with Belle, and because of a spooking incident early in Ring, she and Buster have a rocky relationship at the start of 3 and there will be focus on that being mended.

Pat and me posing for Carol
Pat Ross, owner and instructor at Foxin, was a pleasant guide that day.  She drew the horses close to us by filling the water trough.  All three horses in that section of pasture meandered over with a 'Don't mind if I do'.

The four of us spent a few minutes chatting while the horses wandered over,  I was given a crash course on who was who.  Diva was the first one to make it to the watering trough, her mother Twinkle taking her time.  Twinkle, I found out, is Diva's mother. The other horse in the background is Gem, who is related to the other horses.  Gem, Sonny and Twinkle share the same sire - the late Foxwin Jericho, also known as Tank.

Diva wasting no time
Sydney, who is classified as a "working student" at Foxwin, separated Twinkle out from the trio and led her off to be prepped for riding.  We of course all followed.

Something I will have to correct in my novels is saddling a horse by cross tying them.  The one time I show Angela saddling Belle they never left her stall!  Hmm, well she was upset at the time and Belle wasn't your average horse.  However, this didn't always work in Angela's favor as this lack of cross tying is what contributed to her incident with Buster.

Beautiful Twinkle!
Anyway, back to the real horses!

Isn't Twinkle a beaut as she stands waiting for her saddle and rider?  I don't know how it felt for Twinkle to be brushed down, but just watching Sydney run the brush over the horse was therapeutic to me.  Just the time she took, showing the brushes to the horse before using them was calming.  I did get brave enough to step closer and hold my hand out to the horse, but it wasn't until she was saddled and outside that I was actually able to pet her.  Whether she was able to tell I was nervous, I don't know, but she wasn't impressed with my attempts while she was tied here.

Once done with the saddling, we returned to the outdoors where Sydney donned her safety helmet and used a mounting step to climb onto Twinkle's back.

While Syd was trotting and cantering around the fenced in corral, I was given a brief lesson on the different strides horses have, the difference between posting and sitting.  Posting is rising up out of the seat every other step to take some of the stress off the horse, while sitting is exactly that.  Then there was something about diagonals and inside legs and outside legs that for whatever reason went right over my head.  I don't think I'll ever go into that kind of detail with Angela's riding, but if I do I know who I'll be messaging on Facebook for a clearer understanding!

One bit of interesting trivia that we learned is: the reason why horses are usually mounted from the left side, and led for that matter, is because of the placement of cavalry swords!  Which made sense after Pat said that. Which also means I'll need to come up with a good reason why Buster spooks when he's approached from the left side, something I wrote into Ring without much thought.  I don't have a fully realized thought yet, but I've been batting stuff around.

It was a great experience and I enjoyed meeting Pat.

Carol, myself and Penny <3
Afterwards Carol led me down the highway a stones throw so I could meet one of her friends, who I only knew through Facebook.  Penny was generously giving me one of her old Tracfones so I could activate it and have some kind of phone while mine is turned off.

The one I held is the gold one
hiding in the back

We were highly amused to realize that all three of us had all chosen to.wear purple tops that day!  Hey, great minds think alike right?

I've seen of Facebook where Penny has chickens, but somehow I missed the fact that she has two Silkies living in her kitchen!  And let me tell you they live up to their name as Penny didn't hesitate to hand one over to me despite the fact I'd never held a chicken before!  She also sent me home with a dozen of her homegrown eggs; she also has outdoor chickens.  Three of the eggs were from the Silkies though.

After this we all parted ways.  Carol and Sydney took off in their direction, Penny of course didn't go anywhere as she was already home, and I took of to go to Walmart to buy some minutes and activate the phone she'd given me.  I'm still learning how to use the thing as it's far different from the smart phone I had been using.

Out for a Sunday drive
On my way home, I was hit with another special treat.  While I am not into antiques as much as some of my family, one thing both my husband and I appreciate are antique cars.  And while I was sitting at a traffic light, look what I met!  Of course, the light turned green while I was trying to get my old smart phone out and the camera turned on so I just pointed and clicked, and amazingly got a somewhat decent picture of this oldie.

All in all it was a great day, one I won't soon forget.  I met some pretty cool people, got up close and personal with some beautiful horses, and breathed in plenty of fresh spring air.  As much of an indoor person I am, I do enjoy getting out and about.

What kind of adventures have you been on recently beloved readers?

Author's note: this was actually 90% done yesterday, but because I was spending time with my family it didn't get polished and finished until today.  Sorry for the delay, but I hope you all understand.  :)

No comments:

Post a Comment