Friday, November 20, 2009


Today's post will have even less of a unifying theme than normal.

I didn't ride this morning. I got up at 7, to go ride at 8 after Dixie had finished her breakfast, but the wind was already howling. The weather said sustained winds of 40 and gusts up to 65, and I believe it. I was going to study a bit, but I ended up studying with my eyes closed under a warm blanket, if you know what I mean.

I headed into town shortly before noon to get a haircut and do the grocery shopping. The wind was amazing! On the highway, I hit three tumbleweeds and one fairly large chunk of wood, and barely dodged a big piece of hard plastic and a flappy loose sheet of tin. While I was stopped around town, I started recording some videos to try and show yall what it was like. (I have wide ranging tastes in music - you are forewarned.)

You can't take a picture of the wind, not under any normal circumstances. But you CAN take video of large metal poles swaying in the wind, so here's the Dancing Poles at Plumb and Kietzke.

Crazy wind in Reno, NV from Funder on Vimeo.

When I went to get gas at Costco, the wind wasn't howling quite as badly but the storm clouds were coming down the mountain. The trees are whipping, but the whole truck is shaking too.

More crazy wind in Reno from Funder on Vimeo.

When I got out of Costco, it was sort of slush-raining. As I climbed out of the valley back to our home on the mountain, it turned into snow. Please remember that I was born and raised in Mississippi, where it NEVER snows. Any snow at all is cause for panic, school and work closures, and lots of celebration by kids. Our grocery stores sell out of milk and bread. Little old ladies publicly implore Jesus to save us from the white death. Little kids run outside to make 12" snowmen, everybody slides off the road into the ditch, and rednecks do donuts in the empty parking lots. I am fully aware that other parts of the country get so much snow that they're just jaded about the whole thing, but I am not. I get as excited as a little kid when the white stuff appears!

SNOOOOOOW! from Funder on Vimeo.

Cersei, on the other hand, doesn't approve of water falling from the sky. She loves to snuffle snow and wallow in mud puddles, but she doesn't like feeling the snowflakes or raindrops falling on her back. She's kind of torn between snuffling the snow and running back home to get away from the flakes! (I actually talk in this one - a rare video indeed. I probably sound like you think I sound.)

Cersei is not so sure she likes snow from Funder on Vimeo.

And now for the horse stuff. Dixie needed a cooler to help her dry off, but I wasn't sure if I should get fleece or wool. Plus, those things are really expensive, and I can't turn her out in a blanket! The weather here fluctuates too much (see above), and one of the other horses in the field is a master at undressing his friends. So I decided I'd only blanket her to dry her off after rides, and something homemade would do - at least for now. So I bought 2 yards of soft, fairly absorbent fleece and one of those horribly ugly grey wool "emergency blankets." I clicker-introduced her to the fleece, made some markings, and brought the fabric home. I sewed some velcro to the neck and belly of each piece of fabric, and I have homemade coolers.

Would you like to see Dixie's fleece? I thought you would! Here is a rather long video of me and my obviously colorblind horse. This is the fitting, where I just tossed it on her and marked it - tomorrow I will see how well it velcros on.

Dixie must be colorblind from Funder on Vimeo.

I really think everybody should do a bare minimum of clicker training with their horse. It's like teaching a horse a one-rein stop - it doesn't take very long, and you don't have to c/t every interaction, but it's there if you ever need it again. I showed her that fabric, asked "touch it," and she got a treat. You can see she's not too sure about it the first couple times I wave it around, but she clearly knows that standing still will get more Frosted Mini-Wheats. And she was totally unconcerned - after I turned off the camera, I kept fiddling with it and it flapped wildly in the wind and she did. not. care. one. bit. What a good girl! C/T is a really easy way to make Scary Horse Eating Things seem like Good Things Where Food Appears, and it complements classic training quite well.


  1. That's some wind! Where in Mississippi? - my husband's from the Delta - Marks to be precise. Like your home-made fleece! I agree about basic clicker - it comes in handy for lots of things like that.

  2. I'm from Olive Branch, which is up in the NW corner of the state, in DeSoto County. Marks isn't too far away. Real pretty country down there, and it's still real small.

    With you, I'm preaching to the choir about clicker training! I do hope somebody considers it to help a spooky horse open up. Such a good way to show them that scary things can be really good.

  3. "I really think everybody should do a bare minimum of clicker training with their horse."

    I wish people would try a bare minimum of clicker training, enough to see how powerful positive motivation can be.

    If they're doing it right though, they see the results, and I think they usually realize they want to be doing a whole lot more than just a minimum of it!

    Just found your blog, am enjoying reading through it.


    Mary H.

  4. Funder, you and I have the same hair!!!! (except yours is longer than mine right now because I just got it cut even shorter than usual so I won't have to deal with it again until the holidays are done).

    And you're right. The fleece isn't Dixie's most flattering shade

    But my whole staff gathered around my terminal to watch the funny vid of snow through your truck windshield. >G<

  5. Funder....whooooa nelly wind-o-rama!
    That material is great for your the color(s)!
    She is such a beaut of a mare!

    I do use the click(cluck) that most people use for getting the horse to move...and she always responds favorably so, to what ever I am trying...even catching!

    I have totally too many Fleece coolers...all given to me(Green quilted one/ Bright Red one/ And One- Red, White and Blue) save ONE I bought...the Rambo Newmarket fleece. A perk to myself and Wa when we got kicked outa that crappy barn last year!

    Looking forward to seeing yours on Dix- at the end of a long ride post!


Feel free to comment!