Saturday, April 7, 2012

Buttermilk Buckskin: Changing Colors

And a ride!

Since I was absent from the barn last week, Harley's coat changes have nearly gotten away from me!  His light, cream-colored fur is being replaced by more reddish tones, which should lead to dapples on his rump and shoulders.  The new red hairs are visible along his cheek bone and behind his eye in the photo below. 

I have always enjoyed watching his color changes, but this is the first time that I have tried to document the changes gradually.  His spring transformation seems to be picking up speed!

More red hairs on his nose.  The red and cream together give him that golden look.

Can you see the star on his forehead?

Red hairs on his hip points, croup, and...

...withers.  Sometimes he almost gets bands here, but I think that is in the fall.  The lines that you see are just shadows.

Check out the black patches above the backs of his knees.  Those were not there last week!

The fronts are just about there.  I guess knee-highs are always in fashion for Harley.

A lot more light hair has left his hind legs.

The good old-fashioned grooming block is the trick for helping the short hair shed off the front of his hing leg.

This is a totally insane picture of his mane.  The "frosting" is nothing new, but has grown quite long on top of his dark mane.  The lower section is growing in for the first time since I have owned him.  This is thanks to some foal fencing that I paid for and helped put up in 90 degree weather.  I was happy to have his mane grow in, but I was even more happy to not have him contorting himself through the fence to eat grass.  I do not think that he is as happy with the arrangement.  He would rather have the grass.

"Enough pictures already!"

Sorry Harley, but just look at that blue sky.  Unreal.

We did go on a trail ride after this long never-ending grooming session and photo shoot.  He was extremely pleased to be out and about after a week of waiting around and trying to amuse himself.  Although I am still getting over the cough and I do not sound great, I am feeling better, too.  We kept the ride to lots of walking and some trotting here and there.  I tried to keep Harley slow in trot for the sake of our company (we are always faster than our company), but he was not having it.  I got to feel some beautiful lengthened trot along a sandy trail and he rounded up into an equally powerful collected trot as we navigated a winding path around trees.  The path was cut to slow horses down on the way back home.  I guess no one told Harley that!  It was very, very fun to ride in sitting trot, changing the bend around each tree and feeling him push off his hind legs.  Dressage is beneficial even to trail riding!

Once we got back to our property, I let him canter along a wide path leading to the paddocks.  He did this beautiful collected canter-right and when we approached a gentle bend to the left, he lifted up into an expression and exciting flying change.  Totally clean and totally awesome.  I did not ask him for it deliberately, but I am sure that I shifted my weight and that is all the encouragement he needs for his favorite trick.  The left lead afterward was so full of excitement and joy that I could feel the power beginning to overflow and I could see what he looked like in my mind's eye: arched neck, flared nostrils, expressively articulating knees and hocks, and flying mane and tail.  Harley may be beautiful on the outside, but his true beauty is this fire inside of him.  The desire to show off his energy and spirit.  I feel completely honored that he chooses to share it with me.


  1. Harley is super cute! Glad I found your blog!

  2. "Now that's a horse of a different color!"

    Harley is beautiful any time of year. I love your description of cantering him at the end of the trail ride. :)

    1. Thank you, Calm, Forward, Straight!

  3. What a great color name - buttermilk buckskin. I'm amazed at how his color changes so much seasonally.
    Your ride sounds fabulous and how nice to get that beautiful flying change.
    Happy Easter!

    1. Happy Easter to you, too!

      Thanks, Carol! It was a really nice change. Powerful, but smooth to ride. :)

  4. I just let out a satisfying deep sigh.. Once again you have left me with a huge grin on my face. He is such a wonderful animal. His changing colors are spectacular too, I am glad you are trying to document it. It looks as thought you could pretty much get his mane to one length (almost) It's going to be so fabulous with those highlights. The fourth photo from the top is my favorite, and that blue sky is awesome!


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