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post #1751 of 2283 Old 04-24-2019, 01:48 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: SE Oklahoma
Posts: 3,125
• Horses: 8
Came here after reading the trail riding thread. About dead horses... and cows too - as... difficult as it is to admit it, leaving their carcass to the elements, and for us here in Oklahoma, scavengers (Buzzards and coyotes) is the way Nature 'has done it' for millions of years. We put our cows at the far end of the 75 acres... husband will always say: Coyotes gotta eat too.

It horrified me, one time, when I was prowling in the woods on our neighbor's back 40, and I ran across this MASSIVE oak tree in the middle of a cleared area. It was huge, a giant of a tree and the most perfectly shaped oak I'd ever seen. I prowled the woods a LOT as a kid, and I'd never seen one this huge, with limbs as big around as trees themselves. Then I noticed why - at it's base was the place where our neighbor would lay his horses to rest.... either by putting them down there, or taking the carcass by tractor to that tree and leaving it there.

It bothered me greatly as a kid... then I grew up to understand why he left them there. And knowing that tree grew stronger for it meant the horses had served another purpose in death, and like that song The Highwayman says: Or I may simply be a single drop of rain, but I'll be back again, and again... and again.... Those horses are there, in a way, in that tree.

In 2011 a tornado hit Tushka, where I live now (I didn't then). It destroyed most of the ancient red oaks, some of which were my 'friends' as a lonely kid. I knew them all. It left me grief stricken to see them so decimated. The tree the horses had been laid to rest at is still standing though, and from what I can tell (Since it's now almost in my backyard) it didn't lose a single limb.

That pasture has been divided off into a 30 acre tract and a 10 acre tract. That tree is on the 10 acre tract and that tract is for sale. It shares a fence with our property. Hubs has been negotiating, off and on, with the owner trying to get it bought. ;)

"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."
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post #1752 of 2283 Old 04-24-2019, 02:59 PM
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Scotland
Posts: 872
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@SueC - Beautiful photos, especially the ones with clouds and mists. Your endurance mare looks like a different horse in every photo, she's gorgeous in the one where she looks like a buckskin.

@AtokaGhosthorse - I like the idea of an oak marking the place where loved ones have been put to rest. My Grandfather used to take neighbours' horses and bury them under a large grape vine in his plant nursery. While we can still bury pet horses, we wouldn't be allowed to put one where it could affect people and water supplies.

I think the strangest and nicest farewell that I've ever seen, was for a little Shetland. He'd was cremated and they held a funeral with a Padre and piper. Even a large number of people turned out to say their goodbyes, despite it being a stormy day. A rose bush (white if i remember correctly) and a plaque were used to mark his position.

Last edited by Caledonian; 04-24-2019 at 03:06 PM.
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post #1753 of 2283 Old 04-26-2019, 12:51 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,209
• Horses: 3
@DanteDressageNerd , that beach ride also felt like paradise! It's the only time I've ever ridden on Cosy Corner Beach, or any ocean beach - I don't have a towing vehicle or horse float, and the way this ride happened is that the horse-buddy on the palomino was agisting at the same place in Albany at the time (pre-farm), and had a towing vehicle, and I hired a float, and we took the horses to the beach together as a special treat. Brett came with us, with the camera - which was an interesting exercise while driving there and back, as the ute that was towing had only two seats in it. So, Brett and I sat on the same seat, sharing the one seatbelt, sort of like Siamese twins sandwiched on top of each other. I should post some other photos from that day here sometime... I loved your Morocco photos, by the way, and your travel accounts back at your "house"! Looks so exotic!

@Knave , you have an uncanny knack for picking which are the best aspects of life! Are you planting your garden yet, or is it still too early?

@phantomhorse13 , I took lots of Vitamin E, so didn't ache badly afterwards, I just ran out of energy and felt like a deflated balloon, and wished for a crane to shift me around in the evening, or perhaps a trolley with a kind operator. I've learnt a thing or two from endurance riding. Will you tell me what you've personally learnt from endurance riding, that you are applying to your own body / fitness?

@AtokaGhosthorse , hello! Thank you for a beautiful story. It's true that when you think about it, life doesn't just end, it begins again in other life. Good luck buying that 10 acres!

On that topic I'm trying to index this increasingly unwleldy journal so I don't lose various topics in this giant, in addition to Flower Memorials (, another recent reflection on this topic, The Lego Of Life, is at

@Caledonian , thanks also for a lovely story. Bagpipes always make me weep when I am sad, and I think this might be very therapeutic at a funeral. Do Scots have upper lips anywhere near as stiff as the English culturally, or are they more emotional beasts?


I'm only back at the house because I was hyperventillating after cutting Chasseur's front feet, and needed a drink or two before doing the hind feet. In part, it's because I played "Eat and Feet" with him - the horses are grazing in the garden this morning, and when I do front feet, I occasionally cut them while a horse is eating. Because Chasseur was grazing, this meant a lot of putting hooves down and picking them up again - which doesn't happen when they have a bucket. So, later on I'll tie him for doing the last two hooves.

But speaking of hooves, Nelly and Benjamin had their trims earlier this week and have nearly normal hooves again! When we first got these donkeys six months ago, Nelly had completely collapsed heels - now she's got nearly an inch of heel already, with nice springy frog material growing back. Ben's hoof walls were broken halfway up the hoof in two big patches at the sides, on all hooves - possibly from having untreated seedy toe in the sides in the past, and/or trace element deficiencies. They're on our usual vitamin/mineral supplement now, and this has really improved the horn. Also, the Stockholm tar got rid of the rot. It was important to get that done before winter, and we've achieved that. Now, we'll keep up the Stockholm tar weekly whenever the grass is wet.

The best part about trimming the donkeys was lying in the grass afterwards looking at the sky, and having the donkeys come up and sniff at me before deciding they were keeping me company. Nelly positioned herself so I could scratch her shoulder blades from lying on my back on the ground!

Here's some photos of them cadging an ear scratch in the paddock the other day when we passed by walking the dog...
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post #1754 of 2283 Old 04-26-2019, 01:14 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,209
• Horses: 3

Yesterday was the ANZAC Day holiday, and we had a very active day, I trimmed Julian in the morning while Brett vacuumed the whole house, and then we took Julian for a walk with us. He enjoys exploring, and we may as well take him when we take the dog for walks and he's around. Since he'll be ridden at some point later this year, it's really useful to familiarise him with the whole area anyway, so he will be completely cool bananas when ridden on the same trails. He already is cool bananas anyway, he's never been frightened of emus or kangaroos or anything like that. When he was track training, I remember a time when an emu was running along with him and he was actually racing it with his ears flat back, and very successfully! Emus will do this from time to time on people's home training tracks. Some horses spook, but not this one. This one didn't even spook when the emu on the training track was running in the opposite direction!

Julian in his racing days:

...and Julian on our walk yesterday. Two donkeys followed us along - our newbies are quite athletic and adventurous - but we had to leave them on our side of the fence when crossing into the neighbour's place!
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SueC is time travelling.

Last edited by SueC; 04-26-2019 at 01:21 AM.
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post #1755 of 2283 Old 04-26-2019, 01:29 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,209
• Horses: 3
In the afternoon, I went riding. I posted this to the 2019 Happy Trails thread last night, so you may have seen it already.


Today was a public holiday in Australia, and I was able to catch up on a ride I had originally planned to do over Easter. However, on Good Friday we had apocalyptic weather! After a warm, humid Thursday which reached 25 deg C (77 deg F), Friday's cold, rain and hailstorms broke a number of local records, including coldest April day in over 40 years. Officially our maximum was 8 deg C (46 deg F), but the wind chill made the temperature go below freezing for much of the day (down to -2 deg C / 28 deg F), which is why the sheep weather warning (livestock hypothermia alert) was current. And when I say wind chill, most people can't imagine the ferocity of the wind in even a typical cold front down here on the South Coast. On Friday, it was really blowing, and pelting down at the same time. We had 60mm of rain, a fair bit of it as fierce hailstorms. We were sitting in the house just listening to deafening noise each time a wave of hail hit.

Some footage here:

Today was lovely weather again, so I finally got to do the Sleeman Creek Reserve ride. We did it late afternoon, so the light was amazing, and I have lots of lovely photos, so please excuse that I will have to break the posts to fit it all in. I don't do new trail sections very often, and when I do, I really document it - and last time I did that (, in my first post to this thread, people enjoyed seeing a bit of Australia. So here's another lot of photos, and I hope you enjoy.

I'll start with the trail map:

2019 rides! Happy trails-sleeman-creek-ride-20190425.jpg
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post #1756 of 2283 Old 04-26-2019, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,209
• Horses: 3
The white dot in the pasture (near the red hairpin bend loop on the left of the map) is our starting point - it's where our house is. I warmed the horse up on a loop of our own farm tracks. Ignore the white tracks - everything we did today is marked red. We headed out east across our pasture, swung south along our swamp track, then headed around our southern and eastern boundaries before leaving through our NE exit gate.

This is heading out across the place we call the common. Jess the kelpie is along for the ride.

I managed to get a good shot of our shadow as well here:

This is turning south into our middle meadow:

This is our swamp track:

Another shadow shot - the plant over the top of my head there is a Blackboy (Xanthorroea preissii), a sort of grass tree whose stem grows really slowly. It takes 10 years for a trunk to even form. The specimen in the photo has a stem as tall as me and is approximately 200 years old.

This is the tea tree flat we burnt last May (, and it has regenerated beautifully, with lush growth that attracts a lot of wildlife. If anyone is interested in Australian bushfire management, I've written a recent magazine article on that here:

These are Paperbark trees, with shrubby Tea-Trees in-between:

This is the southern end of our swamp track:

Turning the corner and heading east, we are at the base of the hill up which the dog and horse like to race each other - you can see Jess is waiting for it! A couple of seconds after this shot, we were pelting up the hill.

Turning left at the top of the hill, we rode along our eastern boundary. Our neighbour has a gravel pit bordering on our fence line:

A little further along is a machinery shed:

We rode to the end of the boundary and out our "cocky gate" to cross the Redmond-Hay River Road, and ride the unsealed Halls Road to the Sleeman Creek Nature Reserve:

This is an internal trail traversing the southern end of this reserve:

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post #1757 of 2283 Old 04-26-2019, 01:35 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,209
• Horses: 3
This is in the southern end of the Sleeman Creek Nature Reserve:

Sleeman Creek just started running again, after our Good Friday weather dumped 60mm (2.5 inches) of rain and hail in 24 hours. Over the summer it is usually reduced to a few stagnant pools. There is a narrow rock causeway here, which was only ankle-deep in water - the rest of the creek is running nearly 1m deep at the moment.

For those who don't know it, Sunsmart is a hydrophobe and has been that way since birth - he's never liked puddles. So, it's nice that he's learnt to cross things like this with me. This was a new one to him - we've not crossed this in flood before - so he took some persuading, but finally he gave himself a push and crossed the causeway. After that, we headed up the big hill.

There's an emu in the photo above. If you click to enlarge it, you can just see it in the distance between the straight and the crooked fence post. It's an emu-shaped black shape. And for @egrogan , there actually is a kangaroo in the next two photos:

It's really hard to spot. There's a sandy patch ahead on the track, before it gets grassy again, and the kangaroo is squatting at the boundary of the sand and grass, near a horizontal log that shows up bright white in the photo. It was doing a "freeze". I saw about half a dozen kangaroos with this one before I could get the camera out. One day, I'll get lucky and snap one that's not a dot in the landscape. They came quite close to the horse several times today, but always on the move, and by the time the camera is out, they are usually gone.

If you look at the ride map before all these photos, you will notice a little side diversion from the straight track up the hill in the reserve. This is a lovely little diversion which also means you don't have to ride through a bog. We've just turned into it, and you can see the dog haring off after a kangaroo here:

At the end of this little detour, we met the boundary track again heading north, and came up to the NW corner of the reserve:

The days are getting shorter here now, and the sun was starting to drop low:

And now - drum roll - the corner beyond which we've never previously explored, as we used to ride mostly in the extensive forests to the west of our farm (which I will have to go out and take photos of for the trail group on this thread):

This is really gorgeous scenery. You can see on the ride map that it's theoretically possible to ride all the way around the reserve (barring deep creeks and bogs), and I definitely want to do that this year. But today, I had to head back, as the sun was setting!

I turned Sunsmart around, and took a photo.

After that, he had a good long canter all the way back to the corner. From there to the detour, we mostly trotted. This is the start of the detour track:

It's a downhill - uphill section. Once we got to the uphill, Sunsmart had a flat-out gallop, in which he passed a very surprised Jess, who is not used to being overtaken!

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post #1758 of 2283 Old 04-26-2019, 01:38 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,209
• Horses: 3
At the top of the hill we met some cattle that had strayed into the reserve:

Then we headed back along the reserve's western boundary:

Sleeman Creek, which Sunsmart crossed really well on the way home, so I told him how clever he was etc:

Back through the southern end of the reserve:

Returning along Halls Road:

This is back on our Common - you can see the house amongst the trees:

Don Quixote to the left of the Paperbark tree, and Benjamin to the right:

And this is a new feature I am adding: TailCam!!! Our donkeys like to tag along when I go riding...

Hmmm. I must learn to keep my horizons straight when doing a contortionist trick to implement TailCam...

Don Quixote, with Chasseur behind him, Julian off camera, and more donkeys and cattle to the right:

And the concluding photograph, a whole lot of beasties.

Apart from the three horses, five donkeys and Jess, there's currently four 2-year-old Friesian steers, and four nearly yearling Simmental cross steers. Also, many kangaroos, emus, possums, snakes, lizards, frogs, etc; and countless birds, insects etc, living in our on-farm bushland reserve and shelter belts.

It was getting cold quickly, and Brett brought us two buckets of hot water from the house, which I used to make warm water to wash my horse, who'd gotten a bit sweaty. Sunsmart tells me he always wants warm water from now on - didn't move a step while I was actually washing him, unlike the situation you saw in the recent clip on this thread, with cold water. He was actually enjoying being washed today, and especially the towel drying after using the squeegee...and tucking into his feed afterwards! Later on, he was nearly dry, and I rugged him and the other horses, as there's a cold night ahead.

Brett asked me to rate this ride. I give it 10/10 - it was hugely enjoyable. Perfect weather, beautiful scenery, gorgeous golden afternoon light, a super horse, wildlife, exploration, and donkey antics - what more could I possibly want?

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post #1759 of 2283 Old 04-26-2019, 04:15 AM
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Toledo, Spain
Posts: 1,130
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Can I give this post a "Love" instead of a "Like"?
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post #1760 of 2283 Old 04-26-2019, 10:51 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 2,637
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Wow! What a pretty ride. I loved the pictures.

On the gardening question, no, it’s still too early. It doesn’t feel like it these last couple days, and the grass is green and some flowers have bloomed, but the standing rule is June 1. Sometimes I cheat into May, but sometimes it freezes on June 15 too. ;)
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Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaam’s Donkey
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