Photos my 5year old took today

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Today we had photography on the schedule. If you’ve been following this blog for a while you probably know that I was a teacher, before I was blessed with a daughter, and now I’m her teacher. We let school evolve around her interest, and work in projects, having all the subjects within the frame of the current project. Some projects covers a week, while others can be a month, and sometimes they are even longer. It’s about learning useful skills for life. Making learning fun, and interesting for my daughter is a high priority in my life. We have photography a couple times a week, since she is very interested in photography. (I wonder where she got that from..)

Since we just moved, and also moved our two horses, to live with us, the current project evolves around horsemanship. It’s very easy to involve; history, math, language (we have English, Swedish, and Spanish on our schedule,) art, reading, writing, science, and nature around this subject. We’re having lots of fun!

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I usually give a couple basic instructions in the beginning of every photography class, trying to add some new knowledge (it can be about lighting, framing a picture, or camera techniques.) My daughter is only 5 years old, and a lot of  instructions makes it boring for her, and she looses interest.  Sometimes I decide what we’re going to photograph, sometimes I let her decide. Today she decided. She wanted to photograph Ghost, my young half Arabian. He’s one of my favorite models, so I can definitely understand her desire to photograph him. I agreed to clean him up for her. Naturally he had rolled in mud just minutes before..

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To make it interesting, I asked her to document the process of making a young horse comfortable with a training session. To use a few photos to show different steps, that shows that the horse is OK with what’s going on. We have been talking about different ways of documenting events lately, so this was in line what we had discussed earlier. Even at this young age, having been around horses since before she was born, she knows what to look for! I think the photos in this post, are the five best photos of Ghost, that she took today.

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I hope you enjoyed the photos, I enjoyed them very much when I saw them. It’s a wonderful thing seeing the world through the eyes of your child. Every photography lesson leads to interesting conversations with my daughter, and I learn a little more about what’s truly in her heart, and how she views the world. It’s usually easy to speak your mind about a photo you took. I can highly recommend encouraging your children to document their world with a camera. Thank you for sharing our experience!

How was your day? We had a very comfortable 65 degrees today. I managed to finish fencing in the garden area. Tomorrow we’re planting our seedlings. I can’t wait!

I’ve spent lots of time with my new horse Fancy since I brought her home two days ago. She is a total sweetheart. I knew she was, but she is just wonderful. The more time I spend with her the more I understand about her past, and it have made me cry a couplet times so far. She has scars on her body, and other signs of abuse, that no-one should have to experience. Despite her rough background, she is so eager to become friends. If I open the round pen she comes trotting up, trying to get in. It took her no time at all to understand that the round pen is a pleasurable place, where she gets undivided attention. I like that she figured that out by herself. I LOVE having two horses that competes about being the first one to get a halter on.

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OK, I’m giving you a 6th photo that my daughter took, Fancy watching Ghost and me play in the round pen. You can see her watching through the fence in some of the other photos as well.

I hope you had a wonderful day. My heart is filled with gratitude as this day goes towards its end.

 

Love,

Ms Zen

 

Ghost’s New Friend

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I’ve been boarding my horse Ghost (the horse in the background,) at a training facility for the first four months of our budding friendship, to get a good start on our relationship. We just leased a new house (we slept in our new house for the first time this weekend,) with property, and plenty of room for horses. It was finally time to bring Ghost home. I did that earlier last week.

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I’ve spent a lot of time carefully selecting a friend for him. There’s so many things that has to be just right, to make it a good match for everyone – the new horse, Ghost, and our human family situation.

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My hope was to not only find a new family member, but to make a difference in a horse’s life, that really needed a home. It’s easy to just go and buy a horse, but there’s so many out there, good horses, that for different reasons find themselves in bad places. Through the years I’ve fostered around 20 abused horses, that I’ve helped nurtured back into good health, physically and emotionally. This time my intention is to keep the horse for life. Therefor I really needed to make a good decision. I wanted the horse to be gentle enough for my 5 year old daughter to be around, and preferably be able to (eventually) take my weight as well, so that I can work with the horse. (A horse that only has kids riding it, sometimes forgets some of its training/manners.)  

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After looking at several horses, I found the mare in the photos, two weeks ago. After spending some time with her, I purchased her on the spot. My intuition is usually right. Yesterday we brought her home, FTB Fancy Traditions, stable name Fancy. She is a 12 year old, Quarter Horse. Fancy have a solid foundation, but experienced some rough times for a while. I can’t wait to spoil her with attention. She needs to gain some muscle weight, but she has the sweetest personality (and excellent cutting blood.)

Ghost and Fancy hit it off from he start. By looking at the pictures, you would think that they’ve been friends for a log time. In fact they just met for the firs time, ten minutes ago, when I took these. It rained all day yesterday, but I thought you’d like to see some photos anyways. I’ll take some better later. Fancy is gentle enough for my daughter to brush, and ride by herself. We (all of our two, and four legged family,) couldn’t be happier.

I hope your weekend was nothing short but amazing! Have a wonderful new week!

Love,

Ms Zen

Weekend Coffee Share 

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Have a seat. Can I get a cup of delicious, hot coffee for you? Or would you rather prefer the ice version? What’s the weather like at home?

We’ve had a cooler week, with some light rain. Not like the floods we had earlier. It’s actually been perfect weather for preparing my new garden, with temperatures in the 60’s. It could of been in the upper 90’s, I believe it was this time last year. Then the ground would of been so much harder. I’ve been planning out my garden, and carried out the work by hand. Digging, measuring, and digging some more. (Maybe you’ve been following the progress on Instagram?) I’ve worked hard this week. I feel it in my body. I like the feeling. I feel strong. 

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I’ve been moving some of my things to our new house, and will (hopefully) move the rest this weekend. The plan is to move at least all the heavy stuff today, and sleep in the new house tonight for the first time. I was hoping to have both my horses at the new place by now, but because of circumstances out of my control, Ghost is the only one there. I moved him yesterday afternoon. They were both supposed to come together earlier in the week, but sometimes things doesn’t go as planned. I’m bringing Fancy tomorrow morning, so it’s only two days/nights Ghost is there by himself. Our new neighbor have horses, that he can see, and talk to, so I think it’s going to be OK for a couple days. It is however the first time in his whole life that he is without other horses.  He enjoys company, very much. Horses are herd animals, so that’s to be expected. He is pretty independent, especially for his young age, and doesn’t go crazy without other horses. I take him out alone on walks every day. I started doing that three days after bringing him home in January. As soon as I felt that he would listen to me. (He wasn’t halter  broke when I got him.) I believe our walks, and everything we had to overcome to feel comfortable around humans and our crazy things, (he spent his first almost 4 years in a pasture with very limited human contact,) have helped him to become braver and less herd bound. 

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The story of trailering him to our new house is a story in itself. When the original plan of trailering Fancy (the new, older, already trained horse,) and Ghost together in a big trailer didn’t work out, I asked a good friend if he could help me. He was very willing to help me, but his trailer is a very small trailer. Horses are claustrophobic by nature, and it takes time to teach a horse to be comfortable in a horse trailer. Something I haven’t had the opportunity to really work on, since I don’t own one. I have however, walked by a big stock trailer every day, encouraging him to smell all sides, even banged on the door (to make scary noises,) and we’ve been standing next to it for a few minutes every morning, just relaxing. I usually give him a carrot, or an apple as soon as he relaxes. I tell him “good boy”, and pet him for a while. Doing this before letting him out to the pasture in the morning have been a part of our routine. That’s the closest to trailer training that I’ve been able to do with him. This we’ve done very successfully though. I thought to myself that I’m going to make this tiny trailer a similar learning experience. I would love for it to result in Ghost coming home, but not if the cost is to high. I’m against using force in training. Getting a little out of your comfort zone is necessary sometimes, but I want the end to be on a positive note. 

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For a couple hours I worked with Ghost being comfortable with this little trailer. It didn’t take to long until a couple hooves were in the trailer, I gave him the rope, and let him step up and down as he pleased, but never walk away from the ramp (I do not like ramps on horse trailers, but this one had one.) After a while we had three hooves, then four. He walked in and out a few time, with all four hooves. He had an apple in the trailer. He wasn’t comfortable. He still walked in and out a few times. I was contemplating closing the door, and taking him home. When I asked the owner to the stake to come and close the door, since I was going to be in the trailer with Ghost, while leading him in (there was a small door in the front, where I was going to leave later.) When she came to help us, he said NO, and started to get really nervous. After a few minutes I decided to call it a day, after all he had been so brave and done everything I’ve asked, despite it being very scary. No reason to end on a bad note. I could rent a bigger trailer another day. I told the owner of the boarding facility my thoughts. She offered to drive him in her big stock trailer, if I loaded him. The very same trailer we’ve been walking by every day. I was thrilled. Ghost walked right in the first time I asked, and we were on our way home. I was happy with my decision, and very proud of Ghost. He has a huge heart. He was very happy while exploring his new home, and tasting the delicious green grass. We spent a few hours exploring the pasture together. 

For the past four months while I have been boarding Ghost at Norcal Trailrides, in Anderson (CA,) I’ve been going there twice a day every day. I’m very happy to have Ghost where I live now, but I need to say that Alicia Ryan, the owner of the training facility, have been more than awesome during these four months. The facility itself is more than just kept up with maintenance, there’s constantly improvements being made. The atmosphere is friendly. It’s the first boarding facility I’ve used, and I’ve been to many, in different countries, with zero drama. She offers; scenic trail rides along the Sacramento River, boarding, riding lessons, birthday parties for kids, and colt starting – I’ve only seen happy customers ! I’ve seen clients come and go every day, and never a disappointed face. She makes everyone coming to her facility feeling on top of their world. She’s a really cool, hard working lady. I would highly recommend Norcal Trailrides to anyone in need of training, lessons, or boarding. It’s been awesome  to have access to their indoor, and outdoor arenas while doing the initial work with Ghost. The atmosphere in the stable among the horses is very calm, they all seem to like it there. It’s a great place.

It’s been a rewarding, good week. I see things coming together. That is a feeling I like very much. Spring, I’m ready! Bring it on! How was your week? 

Love,

Ms Zen