About me!

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bftlovesRDA
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Re: About me!

Post by bftlovesRDA » Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:22 pm

So nice to read about your experiences in the "country". The environment comes through loudly and clearly in your writing. Must be (or have been) a wonderful place! Thanks for the retelling. :D :D :D
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Stoneridge
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Re: About me!

Post by Stoneridge » Thu Oct 16, 2014 2:44 am

Thank you B. Living in the country could be considered by many as "undesirable" or "an acquired taste" and I've had many people tell me that over years. I've come across some - what could be considered peculiar people as well. I once had a woman who had arrived with a friend of mine ask me the strangest question. She wanted to know if we had flies in the country, after my stunned mullet look I explained to her that yes we do, however the flies prefer city living and houses as there is much more for them to devour. That statement didn't go down to well with her I think in hindsight, but it is true. What kind of an odd question was that though, I was wondering if she lived under a rock or a cave somewhere, however - she may have actually been serious!

I had a close girlfriend who lived in the city - we call them "townies" and her statement was that it was very dangeous to live in the country, it actually took me some time to explain to her that she had that completely around the wrong way and city living is dangerous. It's rare that criminals or undesirables go out of their way and venture into the countryside, albeit they are also noticed straight away as they don't blend in with the rest of the community. However, in cities they look and act like every other person so are not noticed and blend perfectly amongst the thousands within city limits. LOL
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Re: About me!

Post by Stoneridge » Thu Oct 16, 2014 10:58 pm

Another exciting Journey Begins.

We had settled into farm life amazingly quickly, we never even blinked missing the shopping malls, hunting for an empty car park, crowds of people on endless missions of shopping, queues of people in hot buildings. Our lives could not be further removed from all of that urgent purpose in life, instead we were sitting back and enjoying living for a change.

One of my first animal purchases for the farm was Yogi (my miniature horse). Life was good and having an equine back in my life was awesome. I would pick him up and carry him sometimes, albeit he soon got too big and heavy for that. I would lay in the long grass in the paddock beside him as he was happily snoozing everything was bliss and so much more. As my father and myself began building post and rail fences and sectioning off marked areas for individual paddocks we came across a problem. We had a stand of Ti-Tree which were really tall and although we could chop them down easily enough I had a real problem moving them from where they fell, I just don’t have the muscle power. “I’m always telling myself, I am a girl” that’s my decent excuse in any case. Even with that said and done, it didn’t stop me trying to shift these trees once felled but I’m afraid I seemed to be moving and they were not.

“Ti-tree also known as Manuka is a thin trunked spindly tree, relatively light weight but can be very tall. It is where NZ Manuka Honey is derived from.”

I can remember looking at Yogi happily grazing away in his paddock and glancing at what my dad and myself were doing, then it dawned on me that Yogi is actual real horsepower and that horses had been harnessed for work since the beginning of time. Well I got stuck into designing and manufacturing a harness with which I could put on Yogi to pull these trees over to the other side of the farm where we needed them to be. The very first time I put this makeshift harness on him he seemed to change, he was nosey at the best of times and seemed intrigued but completely unperturbed at what I was doing. He’s such an easy going little guy that nothing phased him at all and he had some serious muscle going on too!

I hooked my first tree onto the back of his harness, gathered his lead rope in my hand and asked him to go forward. At first he gave me a look of “I can’t I’m stuck and my hooves won’t move” the tree was holding him back. I gave him some encouraging words and hugs then tried again. He obviously wanted more cuddles because he willingly moved forward with the tree easily sliding across the ground behind him. He gave it a few sideways looks but after my encouragement he finally paid no notice to this tree chasing him along the ground behind him and was happily trotting away beside me.

That was tree number one, we had many more to move. I had presumed that one tree would be more than enough for him as this was the first time that he had ever done this. I was wrong! When we got back to the pile of trees he got really excited, Yogi’s behaviour was indicating to me that he really wanted to do this some more. He was enjoying this new found task and was really happy about it, we moved a couple more much smaller trees that day just to keep him happy. He certainly earned his warm dinner that evening and I bet he slept like a log too. I know I did.

We eventually moved all of the trees out of the way and every single time Yogi saw me with my makeshift harness in my hand he would come up to the paddock gate and start fiddling with the gate latch to get to me. We certainly had a few laughs over his enthusiasm. It was the beginning of Yogi helping us out and doing great things around the farm like pulling water troughs from paddock to paddock where they were required. He just seemed to love having a serious purpose in life and doing something with us to help us out. I no longer have Yogi but a girlfriend of mine has him and I can see him anytime I want to, he is in his late twenties nowadays and is still the same little character that he has always been.
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Re: About me!

Post by bftlovesRDA » Fri Oct 17, 2014 8:02 pm

A warm hearted story! Thanks for it. Yogi sounds like a truly remarkable horse - and one who loves doing the hard work that was needed. Glad you get to see him even if it is at your girlfriend's house. Thanks again for the story.
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Re: About me!

Post by cmbj67 » Sun Oct 19, 2014 7:36 pm

Stoneridge wrote: Rain pelting down on the roof at night is a really special and mesmerizing sound.
I really like the sound of rain too.

What a good horse Yogi is! :D Thanks for the story.
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Re: About me!

Post by Stoneridge » Sun Oct 19, 2014 8:03 pm

Yes he was and still is Claudia - my number one equine buddy! If you all knew him then you would know how awesome and kind hearted he is along with being a real clown of a character, he always makes me laugh and smile even to this day. I swear he thinks he's human, probably something to do with the way in which I raised him and have always treated him. Treat an animal with kindness and respect and you will always get that back two fold.


Yogi and our escapades.

Yogi was one of many dozens of Horses which we had, basically owned by me and my mother. With the exception of Yogi, he was all mine and he was not involved in our Stud side of things on the farm as such. We did engage his services for babysitting any weanling foals as he was great with them, like a big brother. But other than that Yogi was my full time fun horse and we had quite a few adventures together.

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Yogi at a show - all grown up!

One of which was our tree moving escapade. But this prompted me to thinking that instead of walking and leading Yogi everywhere then why couldn’t I break him into harness and we could go out and about driving around the local countryside.

I did a lot of reading and researching in regards to how I would go about this, how difficult it could be, how dangerous it could be and what I would require. My theory was such that why couldn’t I do this myself. I’m a great one for believing that if I do something myself then I inevitably end up with a Rolls Royce instead of a broken down Mini Minor in a manner of speaking. I mean seriously how hard could it be….right! I know animals very well and I had Yogi since he was a couple of weeks old so he also knew me extremely well and then there was the rather large matter of the rapport that we had with each other.

That kind of combination couldn’t go wrong in my eyes. I was correct and as I had done the ground work with him everything else was bound to be easy and plain sailing - it was.

I purchased a brand new Miniature sized harness and a two wheeled horse gig. I did notice though that the gig did not have a working swingle tree, this is really important as without one it can cause undue pressure and does not give a horse the necessary shoulder movement that they require. No problem, I had it modified in a hurry to a moving and swinging swingle tree with the help of my brother and his welding equipment.

I initially put all of the harness including breeching (brakes basically) on Yogi and he simply just looked at me. So I walked him around the house a few times and no reaction from him at all. I’m thinking at this point in time that this was easy….any idiot can do this and I was it! Then I connected the gig to his harness, still no reaction at all, he really didn’t care. The most I got out of him was he gave it a few looks and then ignored it. I needed a victim of sorts to get into the gig so that I could lead him around with someone in it just in case he went off his rocker or started to buck or worse. My father was commandeered for this purpose. Yogi still did nothing at all. I had the gig balanced so well (as you should do) that the horse is actually pulling virtually no weight whatsoever, this is extremely important. One of the worst things that you can do is have the weight of a gig and a person bearing down on a horse; it’s stupid, dangerous and can do unbelievable damage. Pulling is always done through the shoulders on a horse and not their back as if you were riding, hence a moving swingle tree is important as it frees the shoulders to move back and forth and does not hold the horse back from what you are asking him or her to do.

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Breaking in for driving


One extremely pertinent point to remember is that a horse is a flight animal, therefore if they are frightened they will run and do whatever they need to in order to be well clear of anything scaring them. The concern with a horse pulling a gig is that all of a sudden they can think that something is chasing them and they can panic very fast and without warning, doing an unbelievable amount of damage to themselves, yourself and any equipment that may be involved as well. I was very aware of this as I have seen what can be done and it’s not nice. As they say “Forewarned is forearmed”

Everything went exceptionally well and I got into the gig myself, it was as if Yogi was born to drive. It was not long before he was listening and acting on my voice commands for walk, trot, stand etc. He was a natural and another journey of fun was beginning for both of us.

We went all around our country neighbourhood; we frequented the beach and travelled on roads we had never been on before. We actually managed to stop a fair amount of traffic as well. People would stop their cars and comment on how awesome he was. Children would shriek with excitement and we even came across the odd person who had driven horses on farms in their childhood and seeing Yogi and myself brought back fond memories for them. Life was great!


Yogi and I even competed in a show or two (and won) but our real passion and absolute favourite thing to do was just driving around our own area and having nothing more than a whole lot of fun and special times together.

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Driving at a local show
(NB: how his colour changed as he matured and got older - he also changes colour with the seasons)
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Re: About me!

Post by bftlovesRDA » Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:27 pm

Thanks for the added information/story about Yogi and you - it seems as though you have had a splendid relationship and fun with him - driving around the countryside in the "gig" as you describe it.

By the way, we are all glad to see RDA in your country and evidently enjoying his visit there so far. Here's hoping the Expo events this weekend don't totally tire him out and you can see some of him on your local TV (if you have one, I can't remember about that detail from your stories).

Take Care.
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Re: About me!

Post by Stoneridge » Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:13 pm

Hi B, Yes Rick seems to be having a great time over here. He said that he loves our countryside and that we Kiwi's are a polite and friendly bunch of people. I have heard those same sentiments hundreds of times over in my lifetime from people of other nationalities, I wonder if it is because we are somewhat disconnected e.g.: not joined to other countries that perhaps NZ is so often called paradise untouched and we also don't have outside influences and trends setting us apart from other countries perhaps.

Yes I do have a TV, I have three of them ha-ha. Rick has so far appeared on quite a few channels over here. I doubt that he envisaged just how popular he was and still is over here. Dating back to "MacGyver" and that specific character is actually how a lot of Kiwi's are. Ingenuity is HUGE over here and so is DIY (do it yourself) we have this thing which we call a No.8 wire mentality. No.8 wire is actually fencing wire used for paddocks over here but the theory is that if you have a piece of No.8 wire then you can do and make anything. And believe me... we actually do. Kiwi's are full of "can do" attitude and in some respects perhaps that sets us apart from others. We seriously do have a clean, green NZ and that is the way that we like it. I've heard many a person stipulate that NZ is so beautiful, yet I've never really left here so I don't have that experience. We don't have the crime, graffiti, rubbish, gangs, overcrowding and as for guns over here they are usually used for vermin hunting in the country or just plain target shooting within a shooting club.

The expo itself was bedlam, 3 days later and my back is still killing me - I am running out of painkillers. We left home early enough but did not envisage that the motorway would be stopped for kilometers because of the show; there was also a near miss beside us in another lane. That was scary; a truck loaded with logs nearly took out a car beside us who had decided that it was a good idea to stop dead on the motorway – of all the crazy things to do!

When we got to Greenlane Road where the expo was all of the parking was full and there was no entry. We drove a couple of kilometers up the road and finally found some parking then it was a seriously long walk back to the expo entry. I took a photo of my car so that I could find it when we eventually left.

We spent from 10am until well after 5pm standing without being able to move at all most of the time and no seating at all. Hours of not being able to move more than a foot every so often. No chance of being able to get to a restroom or something to drink or eat at all, you could not get out of the doorways and if you did then your chances of getting back inside were nominal to say the least. The queues for Rick went backwards and forwards several times in loops, I don’t think that I have ever seen so many people crammed into buildings like that in my life. I was talking with many people in the line and they were all awesome, most seemed to be from the MacGyver era, the photo on this website of the guy standing with Rick dressed as MacGyver and holding that missile was just in front of us. A lot of people had their photo taken with him as well – he was very authentic and looked the part.

As for Rick himself, he was awesome, what a trouper, he endured a hell of a lot this past weekend and I don’t think he could have ever envisaged how popular and revered he was going to be over here. I truly hope that he has enjoyed himself immensely but I bet he is completely tired out. Somehow I don’t think he will forget NZ or New Zealanders for quite some time. I heard him say that he would like to spend an extended month over here just being a tourist by the sound of it. That would be great but to see NZ properly you really need a few months, we may look like a tiny country but in between places there is hours and hours of vehicle driving with nothing for miles.

As for the autograph session I’m afraid I think I really confused him, I didn’t mean to at all and if he ever reads this then “Rick I’m truly sorry” in fact you got me all confused as well. Great that Rick and I could both laugh about it though. I won’t go into it as I’m still attempting to un-confuse myself after this weekend. It was fantastic meeting Rick for a couple of seconds and I’m glad that I went along. However I don’t believe that I could ever do it again with my back broken the way that it is as I don’t think I could stand this much pain from it again, I am normally so careful that I have no problems at all but all the standing and the queues have really played havoc with me at the moment, hopefully in a couple of weeks I should be fine again and I hope Rick gets some seriously well earned rest from being in NZ this week.

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Re: About me!

Post by bftlovesRDA » Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:48 pm

(You might want to post your story over on the Armageddon Expo thread - since not everyone will read this thread and they don't know that you are from New Zealand. I know everyone would like to know about your experience!) :D :D :D

Wow! You did have quite an experience! I didn't know you were actually going to get to go to the Expo....so that is a pleasant surprise.

Yes, I am glad Richard said what he did about enjoying New Zealand and I understand about New Zealanders being DIY people who would admire MacGyver for that reason alone. I know New Zealand is beautiful and by the fact that RDA loves nature and all, he WOULD love to come back for a prolonged visit whenever he has the time to do so.

But I am sorry about your back hurting you so much! I could not have stood in line for that long or walked that far from the car - so you should congratulate yourself for just doing that.

When you are ready, I would look forward to hearing why the meeting with RDA was so "confusing".....but I am sure he enjoyed meeting you even if the time together was short and "confusing."

I am also glad that his visit was talked about on your TV (and that you have 3 TV's!!! :D) And, yes, it is gratifying to know he has so many fans in New Zealand.....even if it was difficult to navigate through the mob that was at the Expo.

Again, I am very sorry the trip to the Expo left your back hurting so much and hope it recovers soon.

Take care and thanks for your report (and if you choose, please put it on the News and Announcements / Armageddon Expo thread.) :D
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Re: About me!

Post by Stoneridge » Wed Oct 29, 2014 7:48 pm

Thanks B, I truly wish it had not been a painfull experience for me. In a way it kind of ruined the experience for me because by the time I got to RDA I was in so much pain that it was pretty much unbearable and it makes me cranky and upset. I was hoping that it would ease off but I'm afraid that I am going to have to go and see someone because it is increasing, I thought that if I gave it a few days and I was careful then it would ease off but I think all that standing has done some damage that I didn't foresee and it's now making me tearful because it hurts so much. I just cannot stand up for that long, I have to move around and there was no show of being able to do that at the expo.
However, Rick is an incredible man and I truly admire his stamina (expecially his stamina) amongst all of his other brilliant traits.
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