Sunday, September 30, 2007

Big exciting saturday!!!

Duane Van Dyke of One Mile Shires agreed to help Chief and I with our training and boy am I grateful!

Saturday morning I was wide awake at 5am and my chores were done by 7. At 8:30 when My friend and neighbor Holli graciously showed up with her trailer, Chief was groomed, warmed up and ready to go. Chief and I have done lots of ground work but this was the day to introduce him to actually pulling weight... a little different then me ground driving him. Chief loaded very well it was like he knew this was a big day and he needed to trust me and things would be a-ok. Duane's place is about 5-10 miles away and down right stunning. We turned down his drive over a little wood bridge and then up along a big open pasture where we where greeted by about half his herd. His shires are beautiful and so happy and content.

Duane has been training and working horses all his life and is from a family of folks that farmed with horses. So needless to say he is a pro and well beyond the ego nonsense and just does what's best for the horse I found him firm, kind and very balanced.

He started by helping me to fit chiefs harness and equipment and getting him in a popper bit. It was fun to watch him pulling together bit's of this and that finding just the right pieces for chief and explaining to me the why's ... and then he even to fired up his forge and shape a hook for my single tree so I had everything working perfectly .. I was blown away... it was pretty neat and the kind of custom fitting that no tack shop could ever give me...

Then we started in. Duane first then me with each step...We did some ground driving and I got some more direction on driving then when chief got comfy with that Duane let down the chains, followed by the single tree and chief was great he was very brave and really gave everything his very best! We where doing all this in an area that was VERY rutted with big clods of dirt, deep furrows and holes so chief had to really work and pick up his feet. It was a challenge but a good one. I was also good for me to be very conscious of where I was walking while driving him. Then Duane attached the "tire" to the singletree which is a tire he has outfitted to work as a training tool and boy it is good!

I love this shot because you can see some a duanes herd cheering on mr. chief

These photos are of chief's first go with the tire with Duane riding one the tire which let me tell you - he makes it look very easy! It's not at all... It's kind of looked like water skiing on really choppy water with no tow rope to lean against in fact all his balance is on his feet on this uneven grounds and bouncy tire all while steering... it's was pretty cool to watch... I didn't even try it.. I got the beginners version of the hay bale on the tire and drove chief from that which was really fun: ) .. it was such a rush to actually get chief to this point it's been a along time coming!! and I feel like Chief was really mentally ready and really rose to the occasion... So in the next weeks I'll be going back to Duane for more training, refinements etc. and in the mean time I'll be putting some more miles on Duane's training tire till I can rig up my own.

I have deep appreciation that the world still has people like Duane in it - open, kind, and generous.

Thank you Duane for helping chief and I find a new job together and Holli for hauling our butts around : )


In other news we've started to get rain and it feels like fall is really here.. I've pulled out all my rain gear and quite frankly I'm pretty relieved. This summer was a ton of work and I'm glad to have a rest.

The wood is all ready, we have plenty of hay and the freezer is stocked. I feel down right prepared for winter. The garden is still producing lots of bounty and the new fall crops are all coming along including the cool weather lettuces yummm I was sad when the summer lettuces stopped being sweet.

So as I sit here happily typing eating homemade cauliflower soup while Brian is at the winery punching down and dealing with cold sticky grapes... burrr I feel a little bit guilty... This rain is no good for harvest but we are all crossing our fingers that we get another dry week or so after this storm.

Stay warm and eat well

the new pigs are growing up fast as pigs do... The're also finally warming up to me : ) which is nice .. they ate out of my hands today for the first time

(one of the roses I propagated from napa this particular one used to be outside my studio and smells sooo sweet : )


chou-chou said...

Wow - great post and LOVE all the photos!! good for Chief - he is really amazing.

Duane sounds super-nice and amazing. You have such great neighbors!

Anonymous said...

I love it!!! Way to go Chief! I'm so proud of that guy and don't even know him :)
This blog is priceless. I continued to be amazed at all you do (and how well you eat!!)