Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Playin' around

I've been playin' around a lot this summer and I love it.  Work is kind of making me tired though.  It couldn't be the long weekends of non stop fun. It is definitely the job that makes me tired.  I wonder if I could sell that to my employer? 

Let's see.... a couple of weeks ago I showed at California State Fair in the Ranch Versatility.  It was an AQHA show they opened up to all breeds. The big white horse was the only "other breed" there. My bestie went with me.  She makes me laugh, distracts me from over thinking, keeps things in perspective for me and is one of my biggest supporters.  Her sense of humor is beyond comparison.  She posted this picture of us on Facebook with the caption: 

" In a sea of browns, one color stands alone... Sigs Semper Fi"

It just cracks me up!  Where does she come up the this stuff? 
We did exceptionally well at State Fair.  We won the limited class and brought home a beautiful buckle and ginormous ribbon for our efforts.  Semper was on, there was no doubt about it.  I was super proud of him.  We also did the Ranch Horse Pleasure class.  We placed 5th out of 26 in that class. That was the most satisfying 5th place (we actually tied for fourth)  I have ever taken!  The winner of the Ranch Pleasure won the Open Ranch Horse Versatility, the second, third and fourth places were all trainers.  The horses were all extremely well trained "finished" quarter horses.  5th was not a bad place for a non pro on a white horse to land.  For me - it is placings like that one that let me know I am definitely on the right track.  The picture below is of us waiting for our cow during the working cowhorse portion of the show.



I think this picture is from the Ranch Pleasure Class - the extended trot.
(Thank you Sachorse.com for the picture)

Last weekend we took a break from the showing thing and went to St. Bernard Lodge.  Rode from there over to Drakesbad. The same ride we did last year.  This year 10 of us went. What a great time with great friends!  The weather was glorious. We didn't get lost this year and made it to the lodge in record time.  Ate lunch and then rode up to Devil's Kitchen.  It is a geothermal site in the park.  Water boils, mud percolates, and as my bestie said "you can fart here and not get in trouble".  The smell of sulfur is overwhelming.  

Look at these HOT women at Devil's Kitchen!
I asked for the sorority girl pose... I am not sure what sorority they belong to?
That is my daughter on the left, Ruth (we have been friends for close to 40 years!) in the middle,  and my bestie Laura on the end.

My daughter went along and she refuses to ride any horse but the big white one - she has pretty "high brow" taste in horses. (I mean really, it is like giving your kids the keys to the Corvette.)  I rode Bob.  The more I ride him, the more I like him. He was the youngster on the trip but he out performed some of the older more seasoned horses.  He took everything we put in front of him in stride.  Even the bear!  In the park they are putting up a lot of elevated walkways. Mr. Bob went across them like he had been doing it for years. Even when he had to go out first. 
(Thank you Brandy for the picture!)
We are about half way across the meadow and you can see Drakesbad Lodge in the back ground.
Don't you just love Laura's HOT PINK saddle bags?   



 Hope you all are having a wonderful summer.  Spending time with your families, friends and horses. Pursuing your passions and living life large! It doesn't get any better. 






Friday, July 6, 2012

3 years and counting....


It has been three years since I had my stomach cut down to the size of a large walnut. My brother-in-law refers to it as when I was "filleted like a fish" which isn't really true. I wasn't filleted; I had six little one inch holes... let me see him gut a fish with only six little holes. Hmph.
 
Weight Loss Surgery is one of those things that everyone has an opinion about but no one really knows what to think. That didn't make sense but it kind of does. To some it seems so drastic and extreme while others feel it is the easy way out. It seems to be a knee jerk reaction either one way or the other. I look at it this way. My body was broken and I had it fixed. Like a broken arm or a ruptured appendix. Whether I created the problem or not...my stomach to brain signals weren't working for whatever reason. I would over eat and my stomach wouldn't tell me. It would let me eat, eat, and eat some more without saying - o.k. enough already - you don't need anymore! I believe it was 48 years of over eating, gaining weight, starving myself, losing weight - literally dozens of times that got me to where I was.

The good doctors gave me baby stomach again. It is up to me to take care of it. It is a new chance, a new beginning, kind of a do-over. I know that sounds cliché but that is how I look at it.

Every year I go see the good doctors on my WLS anniversary. About a week before I go have blood work done. Yesterday was the big day. First off - they weigh me. I still absolutely dread it. I weighed myself before I went. I knew that I was on target. But the scale has never been my friend. In the doctor’s office I got on the scale and I swear to goodness it took forever for those numbers to appear. Long enough for my pea sized brain to think the scale was broken or maybe my scale at home was broken and had I gained too much for this scale to weigh me? None of this is logical because I know I haven't, but that is what was going through my mind. I was just getting ready to ask and the numbers flashed up. Whew... the number was the a few ounces different than what I had weighed at home. A wave of relief swept over me. Then the thought crossed my mind of just how ridiculous all this overthinking was.
 
I met with the doctor and we went over my blood work. Everything looks good. Great actually.  We talked about how, when and what I eat. We talked about what vitamins and supplements I take. We talked about my exercise routine and  when I tell him that I am riding two horses five to six days a week - he is impressed. Thank goodness my WLS doctor rides horses. I am not completely convinced a non-rider would understand that riding is a good form of exercise.
 
I have maintained my goal weight for 3 years OR over 1,000 days OR over 25,000 hours OR over 1,500,000 minutes. I have learned to eat better, I feel one hundred times healthier, I definitely ride better, I can move freely, my joints don't ache anymore, my shoulders don't have ruts in them from my bra straps, I sleep better and clothes are comfortable again, I don't worry about whether or not I am going to fit into a chair or god forbid break one when I sit down, and last but definitely not least... the pp leakage problem (TMI - SO SORRY) is completely gone.
 
I have had bumps in the road along the way. It hasn't all been peachy. I had a twisted intestine and had to have colic surgery. I have to work at maintaining my iron/feratin level. I gave up some of my favorite things - avocados, ranch dressing,  Sees candy, beer, Diet Pepsi, Mike's Hard Cranberry Lemonade and my penchant for drinking vats of Margaritas - along with a few dozen other things that just don't like me anymore.

Was it extreme or the easy way out?  Who knows.  All I know is that I am riding better and that makes me happy.  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Stocking Up

It seems that I have plagued with vet issues lately.  It all started with Semper last fall, then Lily, and now Bob has a little issue going on.   His hind legs started to get "stocked up" in the stall.  At first it was just one and pretty minor. Then it got worse. Then the other hind leg started swelling. With exercise they would go down, not completely but some. A week ago last Monday I had just had enough... and called the vet.  Decided to take Lily and have her rescanned to see how her healing was coming along.  I am all about the "two birds with one stone" thing.

The vet scanned Lily first and she is doing marvelously.  Visually they look much better to the Vet.  I see them everyday so it is hard for me to see a difference.  It made me feel better to have her comment on how good they look.  When she did the scan we couldn't see any open spaces, the tissue is looking very good and got the o.k. to increase her paddock size. The vet even said maybe some light riding in 6-8 weeks. Since Lily doesn't understand the concept of light riding, I think we will just wait it out till the healing is just a little further along.

Then Bob.  He was pretty swollen in both hind legs. No visually apparent reason. No cuts, scraps, etc. The vet presses her thumb into the inside of his leg right about his fetlock joint and holds it for a about 30 seconds. When she moves her thumb out, there is a depression that stays for minutes - this is called pitting edema.  She explains that this means that each individual cell is retaining fluid. Not that the leg has fluid building under the skin.The body is not being efficient enough to get all the lymph moved out of his limbs. It can be caused by over work or lack of movement and excessive heat exacerbates the problem.  She watched him move and he isn't lame, but he isn't comfortable either.  She flexes him and when I trot him off, he is lame for the first few steps. She decides that we should bute him and turn him out for 7 days to see if we can get it to go down all together. I take him home for turn out and give him a loading dose of 2 grams of bute.  The next morning -  no swelling. Both hind legs are back to normal. I give him another gram of bute and go off to work.  When I get home - his legs look perfect -  but I followed Drs. order and give him another gram of bute with is dinner. The next morning when his legs still look great I decide to see what happens if I take him off the bute.  And guess what? Nothing, nada, none, zip, zero, no swelling.  He looked fine with just the turn out.

Bob was rechecked last night and the vet gave him a clean bill of health. We talked about what causes the "stocking up",  how to avoid it and what to do when I happens.

Solutions that we talked about are: cold hosing his legs after he is worked and turn out.  Pretty simple. 

I haven't ever had a horse that did this so any insight from those of you that have been there would be more than welcome.

Another feather in Bob's cap... he has never been a horse that likes having his hind legs messed with, but he has been a perfect gentleman during all this. Absolutely perfect. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bob Upate #2 - general observations

So things are chugging right along with Mr. Bob.  I have taken him out on the trails twice since our Memorial Day ride and he hasn't spooked or got the least bit silly.  He sure walks out nicely.  The only thing he does that I find odd is that he has to smell EVERYTHING. I mean everything. At first I thought he was trying to take a bite of the vegetation along the trail because he kept swinging his nose over to every tree, shrub and rock, etc.  He never slows down and he never opens his mouth to take a bite so I started watching him and he is smelling it.  Weird. 

In the arena he is getting better and better.  As long as you keep it quiet and have a spot to bring him back to when he gets a little anxious he can learn by leaps and bounds.  I have found that my trot circle is where we can go to give him that mental break when he needs it. Yesterday we were working on him staying in frame and transitioning from a walk to a trot to a lope. He does the walk to trot well. The trot to the lope he wants to give me attitude.  I put him in his circle, pushed him into the bridle and asked him to trot in frame, then ask him to lope, letting him have his face if he stayed on his arc and quiet. He would do it, but he would shake his head and get all wiggly. So back to the trot and pushed up and into frame he would go.  It didn't take long for him to figure out that loping off quietly and not giving attitude would give him some "relief" from the working trot. And... he is much better if I pay less attention to his head and more attention to where I want to go.  Big lesson right there!  He is going to train me to look where I want to go.

Funny thing about Bob... We also worked roll backs on the fence. With Semper, Scooter and Lily, if you were to work a roll back on the fence and you did the same thing 3 or 4 times, they would begin to anticipate it. They would all start to slow at the fence and be thinking "turn now".  Not Bob. I must have done the same thing at least a dozen times each direction yesterday and he never once anticipated the turn. He never even gave it a thought. 

It was kind of nice that he wasn't thinking as much about what we were going to do next and more about what we were doing right then.  It can get a little tough when you are riding those big thinkers.  They are pleasers and get so tuned into what you are GOING to do next that they don't pay attention what you are actually trying to get done.  Bob stayed with me and went when he was asked instead of constantly saying "want me to do it now" & "how about NOW". 

I keep thinking I should have one of those OSHA signs posted in the barn that counts the number of days accident free.  It would say... "60 + days and counting since Bob had a meltdown". He has been with me at the barn for 8 weeks and he is still not exhibiting any bad behaviors. In fact, he is turning into a rather solid citizen.

Herdwork

At the ranch versatility show I said that I sucked out loud at the herdwork and I did.  But I did learn something. 

First let me say that the herdwork at a NVRHA versatility show is a little different that herdwork at a NRCHA show.  At a NVRHA you are given a specifically numbered cow to work out of the herd. When you are done working it in front of the herd you must drive it between a cone and the fence and pen it.

Things learned:
It is important to watch the riders before you to see how the cattle are working.
Don't focus on your numbered cow to early.
Make a deep cut and drive the herd out into a good working position.
Use and communicate with your herd help.

I went into the herd quietly, maybe to quietly. The cows weren't moving out of my way. Semper was wanting to take a bite out of them to get them to move. I was having to remind him that wasn't acceptable but he was still showing his teeth and penning his ears.  Not a pretty site.  I found my cow  and I tried to drive her out. But she wasn't having it. She would stop and turn into Semper. I got behind her and tried to drive her out but she didn't want to go away from her buddies (they are herd animals duh!)  I would get her to move out a little but I couldn't get HER out far enough to work out of the herd.  I unsettled the herd made a mess and used all my time just trying to get her unstuck from her buddies. 

After it was over I spoke with the judge and he gave me some pointers and told me where he felt that I went wrong.  It was like the light went on and I thought... how come I didn't think about that? 

First off let me tell you a little story... My daughter was the a pig princess... she was a superb hog showman. Ridiculously good. When she would get to the show ring and her pig would take off running...she would just show someone elses pig till she found hers then switch. She never lost her cool just moved through the "herd" showing whatever came in front of her till she got to her animal and continued on. She never lost focus and keep her eyes on the judge continually. You may not understand any of this unless you have actually watched 30 white pigs with 30 kids dressed in white carrying sticks or canes in a small show pen. Showing hogs is an art. Trust me.

That is what I should have done. I should have driven the entire herd out or at least a good part of it, with my cow in the mix and then let the others filter off when I had them out far enough that I could actually work a cow. I might not have ever been able to work my cow but I would have gotten points for driving the herd out and making a deep cut etc.  I focused on my cow and tried to no avail to get HER out. She would have gone out if her buddies were out there with her. Duh - herd animals remember. 

Because of the way things were scheduled at this show I wasn't able to watch the previous rider work the cattle. If I had been able to watch the riders go before me I would have known that the cows were sticky and pretty much done with being worked.  Not that my brain would have engaged but it might have. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Prizes!

I finished up the reining series at Saddle Creek and won the Non-Pro Limited and the Prime Time (for those of us over 50) Non Pro.  Even though it wasn't a super competitive field, I feel like we got something done.  For our efforts we won these beautiful buckles. 

I like prizes but I have to say that winning two buckles on the same day was a little odd.  I mean you can only wear one, right?  I tried to give Mr. Wonderful the one that I won for the old folks class but he wasn't having it.  He says they are too big and gaudy.  Can award buckles be to big and gaudy?  I think not.  This year I also got back about half of my entry fees in winnings.
That is just icing on the cake. 

Last weekend I went to my first Ranch Versatility Show of the season.  I have five planned for this year.  It was in a small town about 3 hours from home.  Mr. Wonderful and I went down for the clinic and then showed the next day.  I was kind of having fits about going because it is expensive to go.  The clinic and entry fees are not cheap. The cost of diesel isn't cheap. A hotel isn't cheap. Meals aren't cheap. And what for? Another buckle? Not to sound like a whiner, because you know that is like counting your chickens before they hatch. It is only "another buckle" if you win. If you don't win it is just money spent on a fun weekend. And there is nothing wrong with that as long as Mr. Wonderful is enjoying himself too. He at least pretends to be having a good time. He is a much better sport than I am. Much. Much. Better.  He didn't whine at all.  Not even when they asked him to stand in the sun and wind for four hours to reset a log in the trail course. Mr. Wonderful is a trooper.

Semper and I won the Ranch Riding and the Working Cowhorse. We did mediocre in the trail and conformation. And sucked out loud in the herd work.  In my defense... the cattle had been worked by the open riders prior to the limited and novice riders working them. It was hot. They were roping steers.  Talk about the deck stacked against you. The little suckers wouldn't move. Semper gets really annoyed when they don't move. He doesn't want them in HIS bubble.

We came in Reserve Champion for the Novice Division.  I might be jaded but I am pretty sure that the toughest competition is in the novice division.  I mean really. 
These ladies are I N C R E D I B L E! 
What an amazing group of riders. They are so nice. We all rooted for one another and were excited for each other when we did well.  They make you feel like part of the group.  Really nice. 

For our efforts we won this beautiful breast collar.  Can you say AWESOME PRIZE? 

I love useful prizes. Love them. And this is a custom made, very high quality piece of tack. That makes it doubly wonderful.  The gentleman that made is a skilled craftsman.  The silver was done by a local silversmith and is stunning.
I generally don't use a breast collar.  I put this on the big white horse and he does look smashing, dashing, sexier than a bag of Doritos in it.
But he does look that way without it. Just saying. Not that I am biased or anything.

Last year I won a halter with the NVRHA logo and Reserve Champion it. I haven't used it yet.  I only wear the buckles when I am showing. I don't know how I feel about using "trophy tack".  I have never been one to draw attention to myself. I would never sit in the front row, raise my hand, dye my hair pink, get a honking tattoo or be the first one on the dance floor cutting a rug.  Unless I have had WAY to much to drink. And I mean WAY - like to infinity and back - to much.
(I know... I know... All this coming from a woman who rides a ginormous white horse.)

What do you do with trophy tack?  Leave it at home and admire it or use the living heck out of it?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The old girl and greener pastures....




This is the pasture where the twisted sisters live. Pretty much, year around, it looks just like this.  It isn't quite 5 acres and they share it with one resident goat.   I am pretty sure the goat thinks he is a horse.   Tough life huh? 

We had a tragedy last week.  It was bad, bad, bad.  The gate from the pasture to the yard at the ranch was accidentally left unhooked.  It has a chain that wraps around and hooks with a large snap and I think someone just didn't get it clipped right.  The horses and the goat left the green pastures and went for a little run down the drive way.  The drive way is probably 1/8 of a mile and comes out on a two lane road. You all see where this is going.  Old girl ran out in front of a car and was hit.  This is the first time that Mr. Wonderful can remember that they have lost an animal on the road. Not bad considering the family has owned that property since the late 1800's.  Not that he can remember back to the late 1800's - he is old, but not THAT old. She was killed instantly and no one in the car was hurt.  Since our family has always had livestock of some sort we are insured for accidents like this.  It is still tragic for everyone. The horse, the family in the car, for my mother-in-law (bless her 82 year old heart, she was so upset), my daughter who had to go down and see the Old Girl laying along the side of the road. 

What I'm having trouble wrapping my head around..is what would possess the horses and goat to leave the green pastures they have for a romp down the gravel driveway towards an asphalt road, surrounded by flooded rice checks. They have never set foot in a rice check, won't go near them. As green and lush as they look, horses won't have anything to do with them. So why leave? And the 3 in the above pictures - were back standing in the yard before anyone was even aware they had gotten out. As far as we can tell they were only out for about 15-20 minutes. I know this isn't something to joke about but I swear I can here Mystic and Rosie - the original "twisted sisters" cheering on the Old Girl... "Run, run for it Old Girl, the pastures are even GREENER over there" as they stand by the side of the road with that darn goat - snickering.  Then they beat it back to the pasture like nothing happened.  Bitches.

I rescued Old Girl several years ago. She was 25 or 26 this year.  You can read about her here.  We think that she had a slight stroke about 18 months ago and she hadn't been quite right since but her weight was holding and she seemed to be getting around o.k.  She didn't appear to be in pain or anything like that, just not quite as bright eyed and aware. I feel horrible about her passing the way she did. You always want it to be a natural, painless, fearless ending.   I hope that the years she had with me were good. 

RIP Old Girl. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bob update...



I took Bob for a ride at the lake on Memorial Day.  I picked my favorite trail because I thought that it would be less traveled.  Ha ha ha.  We saw lots of house boats with loud music blaring and dogs barking. We saw rabbits, turkeys, ducks, geese, and a whooping crane. We saw bicyclers clad in Lycra and shiny helmets. We had a game warden come at us an his Polaris ATV at about 30 miles an hour. We went through gates, over bridges and creeks. Up and down hills, through grassy areas, over logs and down rocky paths. We walked, long trotted and loped. Bob spooked and whirled several times. What you would expect from a green 3 year old.  We had been out for about two hours on the trail and were about to the point where I was going to start heading back and we came around a corner to see - picture this...  an older, heavy set, gray haired man, in a red Hawaiian print shirt, Bermuda shorts, hugging a large pine tree.  Actually he was trying to untie his house boat that was tethered to the tree. The tree was kind of leaning over the lake and he had shimmied up the tree had his body laying on the tree and both arms and legs wrapped around the tree.  As I approached the man turned his face towards me and said hello.  It was at this point Bob literally looks back at me as if to say "o.k. I give. I don't know what you are expecting but I have seen it all and I don't care anymore."  Bob turns back to the trail, drops his head and just continued walking like the guy wasn't even there. From that point on... he didn't spook at a thing. He just put his head down and walked, trotted and loped like an old seasoned horse.   I think we had a "moment".


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What the heck color is he anyway?

The last working cowhorse show I took Semper to I had at least three separate people ask me "What color is he?" and  "Is he Appy or Paint?"  To which I respond "He is paint but to be truthfully honest... I have no idea what color he is."








I get asked all the time. At a clinic this weekend a nice lady asked me if he was some obscure breed from Europe - a Mangalara? never heard of it. I googled it and didn't even show the same coat color.

So today we are going to decide once and for all...What the heck color he is.

Look at the pictures and weigh in with your best guess and reasons.  Also...does he have a war bonnet or a medicine hat?  Now you should know that he has some white in between his ears - his color isn't solid across his poll.  Both ears are brown and there is a small bit of brown connecting them, but his forelock is white because the skin there is white.   He is registered Sorrel Overo but looking at pictures I would say he is Tovero. He was born solid white with brown ears. As he has aged he gets more and more roaning on his chest, flanks, and above his tail. 

Let the games begin! 


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bob Harley, Bob Marley's redneck cousin

When events happen in your life do you try to make a learning experience from them? I want to learn something from every experience I encounter.  In some instances that might be a big expectation but in my horse life, I examine everything for a lesson learned.  The problem is that I do end up making the same mistakes over and that makes me feel like a total loser.  I find it helps if I write my "lessons learned" done. And then you all get to read what a big, fat, dorky loser I can truly be. My current lesson is an "in progress" lesson.  I think. Maybe.  I really don't know. But I do know that there is some kind of lesson to be learned here, it just isn't crystal clear yet.

Today you all are going to meet Bob Harley, Bob Marley's redneck cousin. AKA In a Smoking Instant


We went to a UCDavis sale a few years back to bid on a a stud horse for a friend of ours.  He was going to be out of town and really wanted the horse so we took a trailer and went to do his bidding. Before we got there they pulled the horse he wanted from the sale. We decided to stay and see what they had to offer.  Mr. Wonderful gets a bidders number. Now.... Mr. Wonderful with a number is not usually a good thing. He likes auctions and he loves to gamble.  I figured it was a horse sale and I was safe. Not so much.  The last horse through the sale was a bred mare. She was eight years old, an AQHA pleasure bred mare, but looked more like a cow horse than a pleasure horse. She was bred to the stud we were there to buy, Little Doc Belle.  He is by a big time cutting horse sire out of Texas - SR Instant Choice. Mr. Wonderful couldn't help himself and placed the opening bid of $375.  No one else bid. No one. Nada-nother bid. So we went home with a bred mare.  He just kept repeating... But the stud fee was $750. I got a good deal. 

Bob was born the next spring. Mr.Wonderful always refers to him as HIS horse. Whatever. The minute he hit the ground I said...oh baby, baby- What a looker, he is all mine.  And he has always been a real looker. Very stylish. You got to love a pretty bay horse. But Bob has had his issues. Bob is not like any of my other horses. He has always been a little obnoxious. At about 3 weeks old, he learned he could push his momma away from her feed. He would literally run backwards and kick the crap out of her. She would just move off and act all butt hurt. She never did the momma mare thing and discipline him. He grew increasingly bold. At four months I decided to have him gelded to see if that put a damper on his attitude. That along with the ground work was helping but he still was a bratty little thing.  After  I got him to the point where you could catch him, lead him, trim his feet, etc. I pretty much left him alone to grow.  But the mistake I made was I left him alone, as in without other horses to teach him some manners.  I should have put him out with the twisted sisters. Hindsight is 20/20.  So he spent the winter and most of his yearling year on his own. As a two year old I sent him to a cowboy to get him started.

This is the post after I picked him up:
I took Bob Harley to the trainer to start his education. Here comes some of the bad. The trainer feels that he has no sense of self preservation. Not good. I sent him to the same trainer that started Scooter for me. I really like and respect him. I listened to what he said when I picked him up last week and am mulling it over. I turned Bob out with the broodmares and am going to give him until next spring to kind of soak up what he learned and then give him one more chance at a trainer to see if he matures or changes in his time out. I hate to give up on a horse to easy, but on the other hand I hate to throw money away too.

The other issues that my cowboy trainer warned me of was that Bob would try to bite or kick him while he was mounting and dismounting and that he would charge the stall cleaner while she was cleaning the stalls. But the good news was that he was not a bucker. 

I did as I had planned and I put him out with the twisted sisters and left him to deal for about 5 months. Beginning of this year, I brought him in and started taking him up to RD's with me.  She and I worked with him several times on the ground and then one of us would get on him in the round pen.  Things were going o.k.  He was a little spastic but I wasn't seeing any of the behavior that the cowboy trainer had mentioned. He was standing still to be mounted and dismounted. He is reactive still but he seemed to be really trying to be good. When I brought Lily home, I left him with RD.  I shared all the information that I had from cowboy trainer and we decided to give him some time and see where it went. She called me three days in and said "get rid of this horse, he is dangerous".  He had gotten untied and she grabbed at the lead rope he was dragging and he had kicked her in the back. RD has a young daughter and the thought of her possibly getting kicked by my horse overwhelmed me. If he was so ready to fire, he wasn't safe.  I corresponded with another horsey friend and asked her opinion. She said the same thing... get rid of him. I had made my decision. Mr. Wonderful was NOT on board with this decision.  He said that I was being to quick to judge. He said that I had not spent enough time on this horse to know if I was making the right decision. Frankly I didn't care what he thought, he wasn't the one that had to spend the time or take the risk of getting kicked, bit or bucked off.  A week later, RD calls me back and says that she was too quick to judge. That he was coming along nicely and she admitted that it was probably her fault that she got kicked. That she had startled him, she knew what kind of young, reactive horse he was and that she had put herself in a position that she shouldn't have. Well. o.k.  Now what?  I scrapped the plans to sell him  and decided to leave him there for now. 

My original plan was to have Scooter go out for training first as he is a year older than Bob. Not being to sure that RD is a perfect fit for Scooter, I sent him to TL. Which is MY choice. But that also means that I have to pull Bob out of training.  RD is more than annoyed with me over pulling him.  She says he is coming along fine, that he isn't displaying any BAD behaviors but he has a huge motor and that he can and will put up a fight if he doesn't want to do something.  She is worried that I can't get through to him or that I will be afraid to go there with him.  When I went to pick him up she rode him for me.  He walked off while she was getting on, which I hate. She said that she could fix that. He was grinding on the bit and was a nervous mess. She had ridden him that morning and said he was way better in the morning than he was that afternoon. I hate to say this... but I felt that her annoyance with me, had flowed over to my horse.  And then I felt guilty. 

I decided that Mr. Wonderful was right. Now... here comes the lesson part, finally.   I was relying on second hand information to tell me what to do with this horse. I should know this horse better than anyone and I don't. (You would have thought I would have figured that out by now - see Lily posts) I owed it to Bob Harley to get to know him for myself.  I took him to the boarding facility where Semper is and started over. 

The first day, he was... na,na,na,nervous. Gnawing on the bit. Wouldn't stand still to be mounted. He didn't offer to nip or bite, just would not stand still.  So that is all I worked on. I must have gotten on and off eight or ten times before he gave it up and stood still. I just sat there for a good 15 minutes. Wouldn't let him walk off. When he was standing relaxed I got off and put him up. No fight. No mess. Just quiet. Went out the second day and started again. And you know what? He was quieter. It only took two tries and he stood still. Less chomping on the bit and he didn't offer to move off until asked. I walked him around and he was in a hurry and anxious.  I quietly asked him to go into a small circle when he got in a hurry. After a few circles he just soften and relaxed.  We walked and jogged for about 20 minutes and when he was good and relaxed, soft and willing, I quit, got off and put him up.

This has been the scenario for the last several weeks. Each day adding a little more. I changed things up and put him in  a bosal, I spent time working him from the ground, some days before I rode, some days after.  TL rode him and she likes him.  Sunday I took him out on a trail ride with a good friend. She rides a seasoned trail horse and it was a perfect outing for our first time. We met Lycra clad, helmet wearing bicyclist and he took it all in stride. We even saw a snake on the trail - not a rattler but a snake none the less and he was fine.

I have to say, I couldn't be more disgusted with myself and pleased with him all at the same time. Disgusted because I was so willing to become a sheep and just go along with the hype. Disgusted because I didn't do my due diligence in spending time getting to know this horse. Disgusted because Mr. Wonderful might have been right. (OK not really - I am actually happy he was vocal and persistent) Pleased to know that this horse might just become a good citizen after all.  I am not saying he is perfect, or that he is going to be a fabulous show horse, or a kids horse, but pleased because he is teaching me something.  



Thursday, May 3, 2012

Barnstorming

I have been reading the Gail McCarthy series of mystery books by Laura Crum for the last 3 or 4 years. Barnstorming is the 12th in the series and Laura says it is her last. I surely hope not. Gail hasn't reached "armchair" status yet. She is still a vibrant character with lots of life and possibilities left. The series starts with the book Cutter and introduces you to Gail and her life as a new Veterinarian. I was hooked immediately. Gail ages with the series and each book presents a new life challenge for her. Very identifiable to the reader. I love books with solid, strong, believable characters and a surrounding story that is based in fact and not "guessed at" or "made up" details. Laura does a beautiful job blending the facts of horsemanship and equestrians and the fiction of murder and mayhem.

I thought back to all the books before writing this post to see if one stood out for me, but each book offers a part of her life that is important and integral to the set. I couldn't have just one favorite. Each book brings something to the reader that makes it a favorite. Another positive aspect of the books is that Laura doesn't go overboard with graphic details or strong language in her descriptions of the murders. When she writes of the area she is riding in the detail is so clear that you can see it. When she describes how a horse is moving you can feel it. And when someone dies, they die. She didn't feel the need to shock the reader so that all you remember is how horrific of a murder scene it was. Even though you know the book is going to have a killer and a victim - you would be willing to ride along with Gail on her adventure.

Barnstorming was another installment in Gail's life. She is at a crossroads and needs to see where the next phase will take her. We have all been there. She spends time riding alone on her favorite horse trying to work things out. Boy, haven't we all been there? Then Laura works her magic and starts setting the scene for the mystery, murder and mayhem.

I am not going to say anymore... you are just going to have read it.

The first eight titles are out for Kindle Here

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bowed Tendons

This post has taken me a little while to put into perspective. It has been a real learning experience for me. I want to share what I have learned so that others may not have to experience it first hand.


Ms. Lily is a tough mare. She never backs down from work. She thrives on it. She is like the Energizer Bunny on steroids. Turns out this is as much to her detriment as it is to her benefit. RD had Lily for 5 months when she noticed some swelling in her front legs, no heat, but some swelling she wasn't comfortable with. She called and said that she was going to lay her off for a week and just see if the swelling would go down. I was up there that weekend and we looked at it and it wasn't significant and Lily was not lame, sore or off one iota. She just had some puffiness and RD didn't want to ride her while it was there. That was fine with me. She had been working pretty hard and a week off would do her good. The swelling went down over the next few days and Lily was her usual energetic self. No unsoundness or signs of pain when her legs were palpated. So after 10 days RD went back to riding her. Her legs seem to be fine for a couple of weeks and then the puffiness came back. This happened to be the around the time I was planning on bringing her home. The day that Mr. Wonderfuland and I went to pick her up at RD's, Lily was saddled and had sport boots on, ready for me to ride. We worked some cows and loped some circles. When it was time to go home, we unsaddled her and took the boots off and started really looking at her legs. The swelling was pretty pronounced on her front right. Much more noticeable than it had been previously. And it wasn't in the same place as it has been the first time that I saw it. It was about mid way from her knee to her fetlock and protruding to the back and outside. She still showed no signs of pain when palpated and wasn't lame or off in anyway. I decided that I would take her home, give her some much deserved time off. I really wasn't overly concerned at this point because she never showed any signs of lameness or pain.

I took her home and turned her out. My pasture is on a pretty steep hillside. She had been stalled for months and now she was getting some freedom to run and play. She did just that. She bucked and carried on for a good 5 or 10 minutes when I turned her out. The next day when I went to feed, I checked her legs and they seemed to be worse. The swelling seemed to be even more pronounced in her right leg and the left seemed to be worse too. No heat. No lameness. No pain. Just lumps. I fed and went in the house to talk to Mr. Wonderful. He kind of blew me off like I was being the obsessive horse owner. The next day, I swear to goodness it was getting worse. I made Mr. Wonderful come look. And he was clearly shocked. It was worse, visibly worse. But she still was sound and no pain when palpated. What the heck?

I called RD and as we talked, she and I both suspected a bowed tendon, but neither of us wanted to admit it. The next day I called the vet to have her looked at. I decided to use a local vet because a bowed tendon is a bowed tendon, is a bowed tendon. We could clearly see where the problem was so it wasn't like I needed someone to solve a mystery of where the issue was. The vet had me work her in circles, trot and lope on the lunge line etc. and with the exception of the lumps she was fine. No pain, no lameness, no heat. She said that it looks like a classic bowed tendon but without scans we couldn't see if it was just swelling around the tendon (a wrap bow) or an actual tear in the tendon. The vet hadn't brought equipment to do the scans that day so we decided to give her some stall rest and play the waiting game. She gave me some Surpass to apply topically to try to reduce the swelling and see if inflammation was all it was. Unfortunately stall rest didn't go over well. Lily was just beside herself with the boys being on the outside of her stall. She was kicking the walls, pawing squealing and carrying on like a fool. Of course she has started coming into heat during this time so that just intensified things. I turned her out into the pasture. I was afraid that I would not only have bum front legs but bum back legs if that continued.

The Surpass helped the swelling but didn't fix it completely. The front left leg looked pretty good after a week or so, but the front right still had a pretty good bump on it. After four weeks I called the vet back and made an appointment to have her scanned to see what the extent of the damage was.

Mother nature must have been pissed off at the world the day we went to our next appointment. It rained buckets, hailed, the wind blew and it rained and hailed some more. The scanned showed that she had tears in both front legs. A small tear in the front left and a pretty good sized tear in the front right. Horses have three tendons in the front legs. She had tears in the inner suspensatory. You could clearly see them on the scans. Now what?

Stall rest. Stall rest. and more stall rest. I have since moved the boys to a new boarding facility. (More about that later.) Put Lily in the stall at home and she seems to be fine now that they are gone. No kicking or bucking or pawing. She is relaxing into her new life pretty well. Of course she is supposed to come into heat again next week so that might all change.

Hind sight is 20/20. RD thinks she knows when this happened. She was working Lily, it was a long day of riding, working cows and riding some more. The footing was deep and the horses had to really work. Lily went all day. She never backed down from her job. She is the type of mare that will go until she drops over dead. She has no internal off switch. While this makes her a solid partner when you need to get a job done, it makes her a horse that you will always have to take care with. I didn't understand this or even think about it. Remember the scene in True Grit where the horse just keeps going until it drops over dead... That is Lily. I can never forget that.


The treatment....
Stall rest, stall rest, stall rest.
For the next three months Ms Lily will be in a stall with very limited hand walking.
I will have her scanned again in three months and if the tendons are repairing nicely we will give her a small - like really small paddock to go out into. And add some more hand walking. We will continue to scan every 3 months until the tendons have knitted themselves back together. My attitude is that it is going to take as long as it takes. No hurry.

The prognosis....
The good thing is we caught it early. She wasn't ever lame or sore so that is in her favor. She might not ever be 100% back the way she was, but she could be as much as 95% or not. As long as I don't put her in that type of working environment again, chances are she will be sound for a long, long time. Again... some human athletes come back from much worse injuries and continue on their career path without a hitch. With the right treatment and a boat load of patience there is no reason she won't. The swelling or lump on her front right may never go away. That might be a good thing... a little reminder of who she is.


The lesson...
Bowed tendons don't always present with pain/heat.
Bowed tendons don't always present with lameness.
Bowed tendons happen because of fatigue and stress.
Deep footing adds to the risk of bowing a tendon.
What we did wrong was...we should have never got back on her after we noticed the initial swelling. It was so minor and went away so quickly that we were complacent.
If you even suspect a stress/fatigue injury... get the hell off the horse and stay off until you have a confirmed diagnosis.
Patience. Patience. Patience.

I used to really blame trainers for poor management of their horses when I heard stories of bowed tendons, hock injuries, torn suspensatories and the like. I used to think that they were careless and didn't have a clue about how to take care of horses. And in some cases I will probably still have that opinion.

I won't play the blame game for this injury. It happened. And hopefully we have all learned something from it. It has really made me think. It goes back to horses having huge hearts and a lot of try. This mare just wants to please. She strives to be a solid partner. We are the ones that are supposed to have a brain. We are the ones that need to know when it is time to get off and let them rest. We are the ones that need to "RIDE THE HORSE YOU ARE ON". And just because that horse acts like it is an energizer bunny on steroids, it doesn't mean that she is or that she CAN go all day long. I am profoundly sorry that his happened to her. I am disappointed in myself that I wasn't smart enough to figure any of this out BEFORE something bad happened. If you read my previous posts on Lily you will see the signs. They were there. Hindsight....

I can't go back and change things but I can move forward and give her the time and patience needed for her to heal.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Defeating myself

Saturday was the second reining show. It was a warm and sunny spring day. I got up early and gave Mr. Semper a bath with the horse melting machine. He loved it. He was so clean you could see the pink of his skin. His coat literally looked like white satin. We got to the show with plenty of time to get in a good warm up outdoors and to visit with some old friends.

I was running patterns 6 and 8. The same patterns that I ran last show only in reverse order. They are very similar. That makes me a little crazy. The first class is limited non pro. The pattern was four spins to the right, four spins to the left, left lead departure, two large fast, one small slow, change leads two large fast, one small slow, lead change, wrap around, stop, roll back, wrap around, stop, roll back, wrap around, stop and back. I trot out to the center and stop. Feeling very confident that I know the pattern. I start my first turnaround and start counting and for some reason I stopped counting at two. And then panic set in because I couldn't remember where I was in my count and stopped the turnarounds. Now... not knowing whether I did three or four, my mind is reeling. I am thinking I only did three and if that is truly the case, I should just school the rest of the class. But since I didn't know for sure that I only did three, I finished the pattern as if I had done four. But I only did three. As I was exiting I heard them say "off course, no score". Semper did a really nice job - popped up a little in his first lead change and shouldered in a little on his large fast to the left but other than that he was on. The judge marked my run and if I had done 4 spins each way, we would have gotten a 68.

Turns out it was the day for big fat goose eggs... all the four riders in the limited non pro got goose eggs. At least we were all consistant.

I come out of the arena and both my husband and daughter are looking at me with this "what the heck" look. They have no idea why I have gotten a zero, but they know it isn't good. I am disgusted with myself. Now it really starts. All the doubting, all the second guessing and fretting. Once I make a mistake, it tends to just snowball. And it was an avalance on Saturday. At the lunch break they opened the arena to all riders so I went in and practiced my large fast to fix the shouldering problem and did a couple of nice lead changes. After that I decided to leave well enough alone. I got a copy of the next pattern to refresh my memory of where to go. This pattern is four spins to the left, four spins to the right, right lead departure, one large fast, one small slow, one large fast change leads, rinse repeat... you get the idea. I read that dang pattern at least ten times and every time I put it down, I couldn't remember how I was supposed to start. It was getting more ridiculous every second. Was it four spins to the left or right to start? Did I depart on the left lead or right? I could feel the anxiety building. I started watching the other riders hoping that it would sink in if I visualized it.

Now it is my turn to ride the rookie class. I go out and do four nice spins in the right direction! And another four spins in the right direction! I depart on the correct lead! I am starting to relax and think I got this whipped. Semper decides to shoulder in just a tad on the large fast to the left. Instead of just dealing with it and concentrating on my pattern, I decide to pick him up and try to fix the shoulder problom (that probably only I could feel or see) and he thinks I am asking him to change leads and he changes. (really pretty change though) With in one or two strides I change him back but now my brain checks out. I start thinking...is that an off course? or is is just a penalty? is it a half point or a five point penalty, should I just school this? My mind is racing. But in the wrong direction. Like a run a way train. Or like when they spin you around with a blind fold on in pin the tail on the donkey. Or blind folded, spinning around while on a run away train. I have no idea where I am at in my pattern. NONE. I know I did a nice lead change, and one large fast but for some reason I think that I am ready for my wrap arounds. So I do them and when I get to my last stop...(seriously that is how long it took before I realized I was off pattern) I realize I am ending the pattern headed the wrong direction. As I exit the arena I have no idea where or when I went off course or how much of the second set of circles that I did or even if I did my second lead change. It was akin to a drunken blackout. Of course I hear the "off course, no score" and get the looks again. Only this time they had an air of pity to them.

Talk about being frustrated. Semper comes out to do his job and I check out. I went home, feed the horses, tucked Semper in and left to go to Reno. Pondering my morning the entire 3 hour drive. What could I have done differently? Why did I let the "keeping score" thing creep into my mind? What happened to just riding for that 70? What happened to staying focused on the pattern and my horsemanship? I seriously have no idea what happened on the first run. I don't know when the counting stopped or why. I don't remember a distraction. The only thing that I can think of is that I was concentrating on the turnarounds and forgot to count.

The second train wreck I made so many errors I seriously don't know where to start. First, I knew I was anxious and I did nothing to ease that. Second, I thought I was good enough to school a run at the same time I was showing. I can multi task at work, but on the back of a horse - not so much. Anyway..the shoulder problem was so slight that it probably was only a problem to me. Third, I looked at the freaking scores! I don't wanna care about anyone elses score - just my own. Last but not least...I lost focus.. BIG TIME. Now that I have identified the problem areas I can start to focus on how to fix them.

I have another show in two weeks. It is a working cowhorse show. My first herdwork class ever. Should be interesting. Any suggestions of how to quell my inner Anxious Annie and Nervous Nancy... let me know.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Orange



Well... since Friday was green - today is going to be orange. My place of gainful employment is located in an industrial area. The drive to and from work usually looks like this - only browner, and dryer, and hotter. Them there rocks piles ain't no pretty place. My goodness that was a double negative...


For a couple of weeks every spring we get treated to this.


They seem to thrieve just growing out of the rocks.


This bee thinks spring is here for sure. He was the only little fellow I saw. If I were a bee I would have been all over this place. Just saying.


As the poppys age they turn from a dark vibrant orange (as in the fruit) orange...


to sunshine yellow.


I am not a photographer, don't even pretend to be one, nor did I ever play one on TV. I took all of these with my iphone... not to shabby. I was pretty proud of myself on Friday. I sure did better as a photographer on Friday then I did as a reiner on Saturday. I'll bore you with the sorted details of Saturdays reining show later this week when I can lift my head up a little.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Green

See the dork with her hood up...Yep that is me on Scooter. The smart one in the photo with a warm vest and hat is Holly. We were out checking her cattle. We found them hanging out by the highway watching the cars go by. It was cold and kind of windy. But it was a glorious day spent with two good friends. The only problem with this pictures is that Amy isn't in it. Because she took it. I love, love love this picture. Love the green. Love the wind. Love the dog and horses. Love the sky.


I love the vastness of that area. This is the country I grew up in. Spring here is grand. Lots of wild flowers, green grass, wide open spaces. I grew up in town but this type of land surrounds us. Rolling hills studded with oak trees. And odd flat topped mesas.



And little hills that many moons ago where poking up through a vast ocean. O.K. so I don't know if that is true or not, but that is how I imagine it.


Thank you Holly and Amy for a grand day. Looking forward to many more.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Jim Paul

Last week I played hookie from work and went to a Jim Paul clinic. This is California and the end of March is supposed to be springtime. But mother nature hasn't been cooperating very well and last weeks weather was anything but spring like. It was in the 40s when I left home at 6:30am. I was meeting RD at her house and following her to the ranch where the clinic was to be held. It was about 20 minutes from her place out in the middle of no where. I took a picture of no where so you all would no I wasn't making no where up.

So no where has no indoor arena either. You all remember that I ride a desk five days a week right? Not really conditioned to be out in the rain, wind and weather for 6 or 7 hours.

Back to the clinic. RD was kind of the hostess with the mostest for this clinic. Jim was here for three days. Wed and Thur were for outsiders (me) and Friday was for RD and a couple other trainers. I had never met Jim or really heard anything about him. But when the offer came up to ride with him I did some homework. I went on line and googled him, asked a few horsey friends and the consensus was that I should go. It was a good opportunity to ride with someone who really knows their stuff.

I hadn't ridden Semper in 10 days (this is getting to be a pattern with me) and when I got there I wanted to get him warmed up before we started. I went out into the arena and just let him walk around, then we were trotting, then he went into a fast moving long trot, then to a lope.. you see where this is going? He was full of himself. After about 20 miuntes of just moving he started to settle in. Jim Paul came out and studied me. I could feel him watching me. It was somewhat unnerving. At one point he asked me if I ever showed Semper. To which I replied yes. Then he asked me if he could change leads and turnaround. I answered his questions but I was a little puzzled. Then he says... "show me". So off we go and lope a few circles, change leads a few times, stop - not hard because the ground is too deep and too wet, then did a couple turn arounds. He comes over and says "nice... no one yesterday could do that". I think that was a compliment. pretty sure. don't know for absolutely positive. He immediately started working with me. It was very nice to get some one on one time with him. He had me do some turns teaching Semper to roll over his hocks. He helped me with my hands and seat. He asked me what I wanted help with and said that when we started working cattle that he would show me some tricks.

A lot of times when I go to a reining or cow horse clinic with Semper I can feel the clinician rolling their eyes and saying to themselves... "what the hell does she think she is doing here with that big white wanna be halter horse?" I didn't get that feeling with Jim Paul.

So on to the boxing and fence work. This is what I went for. The reining comes together for us pretty well, but the opportunities to work cattle are few and far between. Unless you and your horse work cattle often, it can be a real challange. Semper tends to get a little ahead of himself and pushy when things get to moving fast. I told Jim that Semper will get pushy in the bridle, that he will get ahead of the cow when things get moving fast and that he tends to want to shoulder in to the cow. Of course this makes me want to hold him back some and I am usually behind on my cow. I was second to go to work. We started with the boxing, and I could hear Jim saying "you are behind, get up there!" He took his horse on the opposite side of the cow and had me mirror his position. This was extremely helpful for me. What I learned is when I thought I was in position I was about twelve inches or a stride behind. Eventually it should become second nature to me to know my position on the cow but for right now I have to really concentrate on position. After I got a little more confidence with boxing Jim said to take one down the fence slowly and get a turn. Semper did an outstanding job at rating and keeping himself together. We made a couple of nice (very rookie) turns. It felt good to me but you never know how it looks from the outside. I don't exactly know what I was expecting when I walked back to hear what Jim had to say. His comment was "I didn't see anything wrong with the run, good job". Then as the other rider was getting ready he looked over and said "nice horse, he is stout made and you can sure tell he is a solid broke horse". The sun wasn't out but I sure felt like we were shining!

After lunch we worked out of the herd. This is where I really needed work, experience, and guidance. When Semper walks into the herd he pens his ears and wants to take a bite out of whatever is close. So that was the first thing I needed to address. Jim had me bump him up with the bridle reins everytime he would start to move his nose out. Our first cut was deep and as we came out Jim said to keep my eyes on the cattle farthest out. When I got to the middle of the pen he said now just work right and left and keep my eyes on the cattle farthest out. The cattle all peeled off and I was left with a fugly little steer that worked pretty slow. Jim made it feel so easy and relaxed. We worked the little steer back and forth 5 or 6 times and kept it on a nice straight line away from the herd. Jim was still having to tell me - your late, get up there, go all the way to the fence, and stop straight. The other thing that I was doing was over reining my horse. I had asked Jim to watch my hands because when we were doing the boxing I felt like I may have been over using my hands because Semper was slinging his head a little. It didn't really show up in the boxing but it stuck out like a sore thumb in the herd work. Jim said to keep my hands in a 6 inch box in front of the horn and just use them to start the turn and use my legs to drive it through. The next cut we didn't make as deep and brought out a fiesty good sized animal. This steer kept us moving pretty fast, but we stayed in a better position and I concentrated on using my legs more and my reins less. When we finished working this steer, Jim said that the turns looked much better with me concentrating on my legs and letting Semper make the turns without me pulling on him. It wasn't pretty for sure. But it wasn't a train wreck either.

I watched others go and one thing that I noticed was that as people were working the cattle they would get closer and closer to the herd until the steer was back into herd. This makes it really hard to work your cow without unsettling the herd and it looks like you are out of control. So I asked Jim "how do you keep them out on that line and not let them come back to the herd?". Position, Position, Position. You have to be in that sweet spot to hold the cow out on that line. So he had me go again so that I could practice just holding that line and know where I was at in the pen at all times. The goal is to work your cow in the middle of the pen. When you are moving with the cow and things are really going fast it is easy to lose your bearings. We worked several more and really concentrated on just being in the right position. By the time we were done I was feeling pretty confident that I know where I want to be. It isn't second nature yet, but I am getting the it. Maybe if I work say... a couple more thousand cows... it will come.

All and all I really learned a lot and had a great day with a truly generous gentleman. It was a golden opportunity and hopefully I will get to do it again soon.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mother Nature, lameness, and brownies

How is that for a mixed up mess of a title?

Mother Nature needs an assistant. She either needs an assistant or she is getting senile or is on drugs. She seems overwhelmed and can't get back on track with the normal seasons. It is the middle of March and it was 42 degrees on my way to work. I live in California for goodness sakes, what IS she thinking? Not only it is cold, it is raining and everything is a muddy mess. I hate mud. I know I have bored you before with my mud loathing but really... the stuff is just gross.

I haven't gotten to ride much the last couple of weeks. Partly because of the weather and partly because I have been hit with a couple of lameness issues. First Lily has some swelling in her front legs. I had the vet look at her and she thinks that it may be stress related and some time off should do the trick. So she is off and at rest for at least 30 days. She was never lame or off or even acted like it bothered her. The swelling is going down and she is feeling pretty feisty. Wonderful.

Saturday the weather was the best that it had been all week, the sun was coming out intermittently so I decided to give Mr. Semper some time outside. Huge mistake. He went out and then really got his groove on. Bucked and ran around like a fool. I put him up and lo and behold, Sunday morning his right hind fetlock joint is swollen and hot. Not a mark, scrap or scratch anywhere. Just swollen. He was putting weight on it and moving fine so I am thinking that he just stressed it. I am going to give it a few days and see if it doesn't resolve itself. All this just before I have a cow horse clinic to go to. Great. Just fricking great.

Wow... I sound like Negative Nancy. Or Polly Pissy Pants. Or Debbie Downer.

I have been on a brownie baking jag lately. Last week I made "Slutty Brownies". For me...they are a waste of a perfectly good Oreo, but Mr. Wonderful and the boys at work thought they were the best brownie they had ever eaten. On Friday, I got the new Pioneer Woman's cookbook. I made the "Knock You Naked Brownies". They didn't knock any ones clothes off.. thank goodness... but they were sweet and chocolaty. I then made my favorite brownies because I needed to compare them. Had to. My favorites are still "Salted Carmel Brownies". The KYN's didn't hold a candle to them. Mr. Wonderful liked the KYN best. So I brought the KYN brownies and my favs to work for the boys to try. Of course they like the KYN's. Do men have taste buds or is it all about perception. If I had called my favs something equally as ridiculous as slutty or naked - would it have changed the outcome?

I guess I should add a disclaimer here....if you have read my blog for any length of time you know I am a weight loss surgery patient and posting recipes about brownies and eating is probably not proper etiquette. I want to clarify a few things...I do eat sweets once in a while. I don't eat candy ever. I don't drink soda pop (diet or regular). When I bake, I do taste what I bake. I don't eat the entire pan. I leave that to Mr. Wonderful, my kids and the boys at work. I had surgery almost 3 years ago and I have maintained my goal weight for the last two years. It is always on my mind. Food is always going to be a struggle for me. I am learning how to eat all things in moderation. It is a process. Making good food choices and trying to find a balance is what I work on daily.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Thinking to much, again.

I have been thinking about the first show a lot. On Saturday during a lesson I said to TL that Semper had done well even without been ridden the week before, without a proper warm up, etc. She responded "yeah, they do get to that point". I hadn't ever really thought about that. That he would get to the point where he didn't need to be schooled or trained on a lot. That he would get to the point he just knew what I wanted and did it. I mean, I know he knows his job and he wants to please me so why didn't I think we would get to the point where we could just get it done without all the schooling and ass kicking? Later that day I heard her say to another rider... "raise you expectations". Well there you go.

As someone that is not a trainer it is hard to know when to raise your expectations. How do I know when it is time to make those changes? I think, I think to much. my head is going to explode. I should ride more and think less. Definitely. Da,da,da definitely.

You know... I am pretty sure that I was supposed to be born independently wealthy. How can you be born with the HORSE GENE and be born poor. Is that someones idea of a really cruel joke? Am I being punked? This has been going on for far to long for it do be a reality show. Although, it might make for a very entertaining reality show. "Horsaii Women" It would be like Saddle Club on steriods.

Monday, March 5, 2012

First Horse Show of the Season

Saturday was my first horse show of the season.

Here are the facts:
I didn't ride all week. Mr. Semper was off for 6 days pulled out of the pasture, bathed and expected to go to work.

He hadn't been stopped hard or done any serious turnarounds since Oct. Yes-October.

The warm up arena was a sloppy mess and not usable.

We got about 7 - 10 minutes in the indoor to warm up before we had to go show. No time or space to stop. Got in a few turnarounds.

Had to run two different patterns. 6 and 8. They are very similar. And that can be deadly for a pattern challenged rider (like me).

We got through both - the non pro class with a 68 and the rookie class with a 69.

Not to bad for the odds.

I was truly elated that we just got through them both without schooling. Mr. Semper listened and was relaxed. His stops were better than they had been all last show season. Maybe the time off was just what he needed.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Buckaroo Girl

You all gotta check this out...

Buckaroo Girl has her third CD available. It is absolutely, completely, utterly and beyond many more adjectives that I can't think of right now - amazing.

You can get it at CDbaby

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/adrian22


There isn't one song that I don't like. Right now my favorite is "Hands". I know that all you horsey ladies out there will identify with this song. "My hands might not be your kind of beautiful." Kind of says it all, doesn't it?

I am sure that as I listen to the CD a zillion times over.. each one will be my favorite at some point.

Here are some links to her...

http://buckaroogirl.com/Home.html

http://buckaroogirl.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Adrian-Buckaroogirl/280524162956


Promise me that you will give it a try. Promise?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Have you ever seen a horse melt?

Have you ever seen a horse melt? No really.... just melt, you know, like the way you do when you climb into that big old bubble bath after a day when it has been colder than a well diggers behind and the horses have been humped up like show dogs. I crack myself up.

Melting horses... This is a good thing. It isn't like they get all sticky and gooey like the Hershey bar you left on the dash of your pick-up while the defroster was running 110 miles an hour. Thank goodness THAT didn't happen to me. My little friend Kate had a Hershey bar on Saturday. Her dad decided that she didn't need a candy bar at 8am and so he took HER candy bar and put it on the dash board. Let me tell you - if that puppy had been open, I shudder to think what her daddy would have said about all that chocolate down in the vents of his pickup. It would have served him right for taking her candy bar in the first place. I can say that because she isn't my child. Insert evil grin here. Back to horse melting...the hot water heater was a HUGE hit with the horses. I gave them a bath and I swear. to. goodness. they melted. Never moved a foot. Just stood there and said..wash me, wash me, wash my face.. well not really on the last one, but they did really like it. And they didn't protest to much when I really did wash their faces.

So in case you are interested in building your own little magic horse melter...

I purchased a instant hot water heater off EBay from Baytreelane http://stores.ebay.com/baytreelane
Great ebay seller for sure. Super helpful.

It was $296.99 for a propane unit that pushed 4.6 gallons per minute

Then I bought a hand truck, some chain, pipe and hose fittings, a 50 ft. garden hose and a propane regulator and hose at Home Depot. All together about $125.00 worth of merchandise.

At this point Mr. Wonderful was starting to question how much money I was willing to spend to give my horses a hot bath. So I pilfered the propane tank from the BBQ. Hey... I am thrifty. kind of. o.k. not at all. The best part is that when my neighbor saw that I was pilfering the tank from the BBQ - He realize that he had an extra tank that he liberated from his employer that we could put on the BBQ. Now, not only am I not thrifty, I have accepted stolen property. Well Mr. Wonderful accepted the stolen property. I will visit him in jail. I promise. Right after I give my horses a hot bath.

Here she is...


First things first.... I was so dang proud of myself that I put this puppy in the back of the pickup and toted around to show it off. Hence the scratches and the little small dents. Rut-ruh. It was pristine when I took it out of the box but I managed to put my mark on it pretty handily. What isn't in the picture is the two garden hoses that you need.

It is portable, it will give you hot water till the cows come home. It is awesome and I am thinking of all kinds of new uses for it. Like camping...with the simple purchase of a little 12 volt pump you could have hot water straight out of any creek or river or lake. What a concept. I might even go camping if I could have hot water on demand. Of course then I would want to have one of those old claw foot bath tubs out in the meadow and some bubble bath - you know like in the commercial for man drugs. Wait... maybe not.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Little sayings...

I don't know if you all know this but I got along with men much better than I get along with women. I get along with males of any species better than I get along with females. One of the reasons that I like men is they way they talk. Real men anyway. You know the ones... they talk about hunting and fishing constantly. They drive dirty trucks and open the door for you. Wipe the muck off the seats too. One thing that always cracks me up is the little sayings they have. I am always repeating the things they say and usually get a raised eyebrow or two. But what the heck - you only go around once, right?

One of my favorites...(are you ready?)
"Well that went over like a turd in a punchbowl."

Every morning Jack comes by my office and says good morning. I say "how are ya Jack" and he says "finer than frogs hair". Love it.

The guys in the shop will describe how cold the shop is one of two ways... "colder than a witches tit" or "colder than a well diggers ass". If it is really hot it is "hotter than a popcorn fart". Who dreams up this stuff?

I went to see my old trainer friend the other day. I call him my boyfriend. He isn't really my boyfriend, he is old, married, chain smokes, and is a completely harmless flirt. He was telling me about how high the price of cattle was. He says "can I tell what my friend told me?". I know it is going to be a dirty little saying when he askes if he can tell me. Of course I have to know. "The price of cattle was higher than a pussy on a Ferris wheel". Well all righty then. It made me chuckle.

We used to have a draftsman here that would constantly repeat lines from movies. He was a hoot. His favorite little sayings were "humped up like a show dog" or "humped up like a rat on Decon".

My mom used to say "by the skin on my teeth" when she barely got something done.

Another one Mr. Wonderful uses a lot lately is... Let me set up this scenario for you... Have you noticed how many young girls and even some older women are wearing low rise pants and they have a lot of extra skin and fluff pouring over the top. He says it looks like "10 lbs of sh*t in a 5 lb bag". I explained that it is called muffin top and he said it was more like the whole darn cake. Got to love real men.

I'll keep adding them as I remember them.

How about you guys... got any good sayings?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Idle hands and the devil made me do it

I think we have beat up the lightness issue like a blacksmith beats a hot horse shoe!

I have had some idle time this week. Scary for my credit card. Bought two saddle (one by accident kind of), a hot water heater, a tub of platinum plus, two tubs of daily wormer, several coolers and Irish linen horse blankets, and a few clothing items from my friend Eddie Bauer. Oh and a couple of cases of protein shots. Protein shots are the nectar of the gods - not really but they have become a necessity in my life. And anyone that works out and is watching their weight should try them. Women don't get enough protein in their normal diet. Trust me on this. The doctor told me. He is an amazing man. Just go get some protein and I will stop the public service announcement.

Two saddles you say... I swear to goodness the devil made me do it. This information is top secret - at least from my beloved spouse. I mean how am I going to explain that I bought one saddle let alone two? And do you really think he is going to buy that the second one was an accident? Sometimes he isn't the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to the ways of the electronic shopping galaxy but this might be a tough sell. Would you prefer to hear about how I ended up with two or what I ended up with? Silly question. You are horsewomen. Being the logical beings that you are, you know we can't change the grievous mistake I made so, you want to hear about the saddles.. I love you all for that. First purchase is a Dale Chavez cutting saddle. Square skirt, basket stamp, padded seat. Ad says 17" seat. The photo shows 16 1/2 to the padding. I think it might be a little big but it was $825 pretty reasonable for a Chavez. I don't feel like I wouldn't be able to get my money back if it doesn't work out. The next one was the oops. I have been looking at these Don Rich saddles on eBay for months. They look great. He offers a ranch versatility/cutter/reining saddle. Did I mention they look great? So I made an offer on one. Ok so you are going to get the story of the Oops. He had an hour to accept the offer and when he didn't I went ahead and bid on the Chavez. The next morning I get an invoice for the Don Rich saddle. Shit. It seems his acceptance went into the spam filter. Crap. Now I own two. I am on pins and needles wondering if the quality of the Rich saddle will be worth the $1800 that I put on my credit card. I have 7 days to return it so if comes and it doesn't meet my expectations I can return it. I will let you know how this all turns out. Unless Mr Wonderful takes my technology and credit cards away.

Then there is the platinum plus and wormer. I have heard through the grapevine that this is what a certain very successful, very pretty rider, very handsome cow horse trainer uses. His horses are always drop dead gorgeous. They look happy and fit. This certainly handsome trainer won the snaffle bit this year on a horse that truly looked happy to do his job. He is certainly a handsome successful trainer on certainly happy gorgeous horses. Hahaha. So why not give'r a try. If I turn into a handsome successful trainer riding drop dead gorgeous horses you will all know why.

On to the hot water heater. RD put this idea in my head. She has a client that built their own portable hot water washer thingy for bathing horses. She tasks me with helping her find a tankless hot water heater. Now...let me just say that we have a tankless that runs our house. Best darn investment we ever made. Not because of the energy savings or the green technology. The reason is so much more than that. Picture this... Your in the tub and you NEVER run out of hot water. That is right ladies... An endless hot water bubble bath. For hours or days if you want. The glory of it all. If my house was on fire that is what I would want to save. Not really but I do love it. The plan is that we mount the hot water heater on a hand truck then mount a propane bottle underneath hook them together then add a garden hose and voila we have a portable instant hot water for days. Now the drawback it can only push 4.6 gals per minute. I know what that means but I have no idea how that is going to work for our application. "Application" sounds like I know what I am doing.


Durning one of my boarding stints with a trainer who shall remain nameless... I learned the secrets to getting a horse to dry quickly on a cold day. My dear friend Jennifer - the horse blanket goddess - taught me about the virtues of a good old Irish linen cooler. Jenny used hers year around but they are not vey stylish for the winter. So when winter came I bought a fleece one like my dear friend Laura had. She always goes for style baby! One day we show up to the barn and said nameless trainer is using our blankets to dry his horses - only he is layering them. He puts the Irish linen on then puts the fleece over the top. And guess what - the horses are drying FAST. Really fast and they are not to hot and not to cold. They were just right. Like porridge. Only dryer. From that point on we all used this method and cut the time we spent drinking Mikes hard lemonade while waiting for our horses to dry in half. The money we saved on Mikes covered the cost of the extra cooler. I introduced this method to RD - the two cooler method, not the Mikes, and now she is hooked. So with the devils hands I ordered some for her and some new ones for me.

All I can say about Eddie...40% off clearence prices.