Summer will officially begin in three days, on Father's Day actually. In the state of Michigan the seasons change each week and we just go with the flow. While summer begins in three days the heat began on June first. Yesterday was in the eighties but a steady down pour of rain cooled us down. The day before was also in the eighties with no rain to refresh us. Michigan really needs to get with the program.

I volunteered yesterday at the Beekman Therapeutic Riding Center again. I work there Tuesday,Wednesday and Friday every week. My day usually lasts over five hours on Tuesday and Wednesday and over four hours on Friday. Yesterday I worked from 8:15am-7:00pm helping a group of autistic kids ride for three hours,then we had our standard lessons. My neck has been sore due to a very bad rope burn I received due to a horse bolting from another horse. Rufie,I mentioned him before,isn't getting along with Money,a sixteen hand Paint gelding. I noticed their tense behavior when I witnessed Rufie bucking and kicking Money in the shoulder. After checking Money for any injury I haltered Rufie for his lesson. All these horses are socially awkward and some are fearful of people. Money is one of these awkward horses and he and the rest of the herd seem to enjoy following me everywhere I go when I go out to pasture. It was no surprise when Money followed Rufie and I up to the paddock. Two horses were already up there,Sulley(I've claimed him as mine) and Sandman(we'll discuss him soon),waiting for me. I was planning on grooming some horses as they're all dirty,so I brought a halter and grabbed Sulley. In doing so I had draped Rufie's lead rope over my shoulder(loosely draped) as I tied Sully's halter. Behind me,Money watched Rufie who was coming to see what I was doing. Before I could react Money pinned his ears and lunged past me at Rufie who in turn whipped backwards,dragging the rope against me. I don't know what was worse,that I wasn't watching Money's body language or the hot,searing pain in my neck. Now a big,ugly red burn reminds me of the unpredictability of horses. Our lessons went very well. We went on some trail rides and saw a doe and her tiny fawn in the woods. A student's mom brought us volunteers and riding instructor(s) subs from Subway and chips too. The office secretary stocked the fridge with cold juice and cookies and we supplied water.

One of the activities we did was painting a pony and a Norwegian Fjord named Flash(pony) and Colby(Fjord) with the autistic kids. It was a blast and I gave both equines,who wouldn't hold still,baths. There is something satisfying seeing those children be treated normal with big smiles on their faces,paint up to their elbows. It's not just the children who warm your hearts but the adults too. I don't do much with the students as I don't do well with children, the riding instructor and I have a system that we created,kind of. The horses and I get along very well and I love them and working with them. The riding instructor likes the horses but loves the students. I have more experience working with horses than what she does,as she explained to me. She has more experience working with students with disabilities than I do,obviously. So I take over the horses and she handles the students,it works perfectly and we both love our jobs. 

Yesterday was very interesting as animal control was called by an anonymous(I have a hunch as to who called) on one of the horses. Sandman is a chestnut QH gelding who stands sixteen hands and has dinner plate hooves. He is rather skinny and yes,you can see some of his ribs and a bit of his hips. His back is beginning to sway but I think that has to do with age. He is known to get chronic abscesses every summer that will break through his hoof walls and is still used sometimes by the manager,resulting in him going lame for four days. Sandman is very sweet,stiff and old. The animal control officer was friendly enough as she had me bring him out. I did and she asked me questions about his feet and him. I haven't been volunteering long but I answered her questions. She took pictures of his feet(a lot) and of him. She stayed for over an hour in her truck calling people and going through papers. The officer wanted to look at all the other horses and ponies but decided to focus on Sandman instead. We'll see how this turns out. Two days ago the head vet at MSU(I wanted to talk to her since I had to hold the horses,but she wasn't very friendly)and all her students came out to give shots and prior to that the farrier visited. Not only that but fly spray has been requested to be put on the horses,which is very odd considering it's not allowed. Perhaps changes are coming after all.......

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Comment by Jackie Cochran on June 18, 2015 at 7:48pm

Yeah, you learned a lesson about lead ropes and your neck.  I am VERY glad you just escaped with just a rope burn.

I get rather rabid about the proper way to handle a lead rope that is attached to a horse.  No loops around my hands or limbs, I coil the excess lead rope (or lunge line) in a figure eight in my hand, and I don't drape it over my body.  Rope burns can HURT.

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