Sunday, January 31, 2010

I Survived My First Lesson!

I woke up at 5:15 a.m. on a drizzly Saturday with an awful migraine wannabe. OH NO! I can't miss my first lesson! I got up, ate something, took Advil, and went back to sleep.

Luckily, I felt better a few hours later and was able to rouse myself and get ready to head to the stable. It was an early lesson so I was the only one there besides the instructor and a stall cleaner.

After reviewing my past experience and what I wanted to get from the lessons, the instructor debated what horse to put me on. I told her I had no problem with her having me ride a beginner horse and assessing my riding ability. After all, I know instructors probably have plenty of students show up that say, "Oh, I've ridden before." Meaning, they rented horses while on a vacation in Colorado. I am fairly comfortable admitting I am an intermediate level rider, but wanted her to be the judge. And, since it was my first lesson and I was a little nervous (but not as nervous as I thought I might be) I figured I'd rather start gently and work my way up!

Since I was 1)new to saddleseat, 2)knew how to post, and 3)haven't ridden much this winter, she put me on a "Steady Eddie" Arabian in his twenties, a retired western pleasure show horse. She did put a cutback saddle on him, but used an English bridle with a kimberwick bit and one set of reins.

I have no pictures from the first lesson, but I am hoping to feel comfortable asking the instructor to take some of me in the future. After she gets back from Scottsdale, Paint Girl is going to come watch one of my lessons so she can see what I'm doing and I will have her snap some photos and video.

The horse in this picture is not the horse I rode. I found a random photo on the web that looked like him. The horse I rode was completely grayed out, almost pure white, with large dark eyes and a long white mane and tail. You know, I think this lesson was the first time I have actually ridden a purebred Arabian!

I have to tell you, it was very cute, she started me out on the longe line! A few rounds at the trot and she said okay, I can take you off the longe line. It's obvious you know how to ride!

The Arabian, being a western horse, needed a lot of encouragement to move forward from a western jog to a trot. It is not easy to post on a slow trotting horse! I was trying to get the position in the cutback saddle figured out. You sit back in the saddle. Roll the thighs in (it's all in the thighs) keep the calves off the horse, your weight on the ball of your foot, in your big toe. Lift your ribs! So much to remember. I have no muscle tone from lack of riding. At one point she had me try, and I say try, a two-point, I could not even stand up in the stirrups for more than 2 seconds! Sad!

At times, I felt like a bumbling idiot, loosing a stirrup or bouncing around or on the wrong diagonal. I think I felt worse than I looked. We are always our own worst critics. The instructor told me I did very well, she said she's had students ride in a cutback for the first time who have their legs swinging all over.

But the Steady Eddie's canter, oh golly! I loved it! For all the issues I have with cantering, I could have cantered him all day! Nice smooth lope, he stayed in it, it was slow (but not his western show horse lope.) I felt like I was on a carousel horse. I've decided my issue is not with loping, but with loping my horse! His lope is not comfortable nor is the speed consistent. Something I need to work on.

Overall, it was a good lesson. I enjoyed the instructor, I felt she gave me good information and critique, as well as praise and encouragement when I was on-target. I have a lot of muscle strength to build. I also tend to over analyze everything I'm doing, I need to just relax.

Once I get on a Saddlebred, a horse that is more upright, she said I won't have my leaning forward issues as the horse's head will be raised and you'll naturally sit back (steady Eddie had a western head set.) The more advanced lesson horse will have a much faster trot and momentum, which will help propel that post. To the point she said I would have to remember to sit down!

I'm not going to be able to take lessons very frequently due to finances, so, my learning curve will be slow. I can practice the leg positions on My Boy, even in a western saddle. The instructor said riding in a cutback is a lot like riding in a western saddle. Although, she said a cutback saddle does nothing for you. She said it's all you- you have to do all the work!

And let me tell you, I am suffering. I am feeling the work! I am walking like an old lady today. It's better when I keep moving. If I sit down for any length of time then get up....yowsa!

For the next lesson or two I get to ride the Arabian again. After that, we'll see if I get to ride the horse she calls a "pistol."


What have I gotten myself into?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ask PG, Part 4

If your house was on fire, what would you rush in to save?

Everything is material. As long as my family and I were safe, and our pets, I could live without the "stuff." However, I think it would be hard to lose pictures and mementos. A week ago I went through a shoebox of old items I'd had since childhood. Horse show ribbons, a little toy animal lamb that belonged to the cat I had when I was a child, a cross bookmark my mom crocheted for me, a handwritten letter from my grandmother, my diary from when I was 9 years old, a magazine from 1986 that featured my published work. These are things I can not replace, when they are gone, they are gone. Until I pulled them each one by one from the box and recollected the circumstances and memories in which surrounded their presence in my life, I might not have remembered them. That is what mementos do, they remind you of special times in your life and keep them part of you.

Do you enjoy your work? If you could pick any career, would you do what you are doing now, or would you pick something else?

I like what I am doing (education.) It is rewarding. It is also exhausting, hard work and it is easy to burn out. I do not know if I will teach forever. I still have many other dreams and pursuits.
Truly? Sometimes I wish I didn't have to work, and that I could just pursue creative pursuits that didn't also have to be my livelihood. I would like to be a novelist...own my own vintage home decor

I don't know about the questions, maybe just exactly WHAT you have against mayonnaise. Why do you hate it so, what did it ever do to you? Just kiddin!!!

I don't know! I don't dislike it all of the time. I'm moody about it. Some days I like it. I tolerate it mixed into most food, like tuna.

What is your dream for the future?

To be happy, to live simply. To have a family, and always have horses in my life.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

On a ranch. I do not know where, that would be a hard decision. But I'd love to have property, with pastures, fields, woods, a barn, and a cozy cabin!

No question - just a comment that my daughter and I have spent many a happy afternoon with Lorelei and Rory. Don't you wish they would bring back that series?

Wait, that IS a question, hee hee! YES! It's always sad when a favorite series goes away. Often, it's time- a show has ran it's course. I really liked
Men In Trees and Everwood, two other great shows that didn't last long. I love those ensemble cast style of "dramedies."

If there was one thing you could change what would it be? Besides not having writers block, that is.

Probably my financial situation.
You know- less debt/more income.

Wow! A lot of good questions!! Here's mine! Who is the one person in your life that has influenced you the most in what kind of person you have become??

I honestly can't say there is just one person. I think many members of my family, mentors, and friends, have shown me bits and pieces of themselves, which has helped me become who I am. My parents were always open and trusting and supportive. I have loving relatives who enjoy each others company and we have family traditions- ways to spend meaningful time together. I have friends that I know are always there for me, even the ones I don't see on a regular basis.

One more...if you could spend one more hour with one person that has gone to be with the angels who would that person be?? AND "If you could go back and talk to someone that you've lost, who would it be and what is it that you need to say to them."

I would want to see my Nana Vi. She was my father's mother. She passed of a heart attack after Thanksgiving dinner when I was a senior in high school. I never really knew her when I was actually a mature adult. At 18, I still saw everyone as invincible. There was always tomorrow, because I need to be more worried about prom now. Looking back as an adult, there are many things I wish I would have talked to her about, or could talk to her about. That chance is gone.

What song would you sing at Karaoke? Do you like the Bee Gees? And what is the grossest food you've ever eaten?

Grossest food? I'm not a fan of calamari.

I do NOT karaoke. Believe me, you would not want to hear me behind the microphone. I have done it once, with a group of girlfriends. We sang "Miss American Pie." It's a long song. Not a good karaoke song. and that is all I'm gonna say about that.

And yep, I like the Bee Gees!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Light! The Light!

Do you remember Tattoo on Fantasy Island....."The plane! The plane!"

Oh goodness, I loved that show!
I was probably too young to be watching it. I remember a mermaid episode. Am I dreaming? Or was there a mermaid episode? I think it was my favorite.

I digress.

Last Saturday I was working on a post at my laptop in my dining room-ish area (too complicated to explain) and suddenly, I looked to the window towards the south and saw the most amazing light coming through the {ghastly vinyl} blinds.

It'd been overcast most of the day. But this light, oh this light. It was glowing a reddish orange, and it was as delicious as a bowl of summer cherries.

I grabbed my camera, threw on a jacket stocking cap and my snow boots (they are the closest thing to my front door. I have not given up hope.) I knew this light would not last. In fact, by the time I got outside, it was already sinking fast, and the rich color was starting to fade.

I have said it before, but there is nothing trying to capture the light in a photo.

I wandered around my yard and snapped a couple photos, desperately trying to find something interesting to shoot. In my yard, it is few and far between.

Silly stocking cap-headed-photographer.

This late afternoon light, I love it. It is so rare, to get that perfect winter's glow.

And there it goes.

Ah well.

The light! The light!

I celebrate it so.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Few Words From My Boy


Aw mom, do I gotta work? I'm really tired. Rough night. The shavings weren't piled quite right in my shed and I tossed and turned all night and THEN Paint Girl's mares were snoring. Puh-lease! I just really, really need a nap today.

Fine. I'll walk around if you insist. But take it easy on me.

You want me to what? Go faster?

Yee-haw, Stinker Girl, don't wave that carrot stick and make "sissing" sounds at me!

(Besides, it's kinda funny,
you're the one doing all the running trying to make me run, mom!!)

Lookeeeee, it's my pretty trot! I'm an Arabian! {Wannabe} With spots and fuzzy hair!

I know, I know. I look like a fancy P.O.A. at best.

Are we done? Are we done? Are we done?


By the way mom, I really need
these trimmed up! Can you take me to the salon now?

Thanks everyone, for your encouraging words and advice about my upcoming lesson. I appreciate the support you've shown for me trying something new!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chain Reaction

A week ago fellow blogging friend Mama H wrote about "chain reactions."
On a sidenote, I have met Mama H briefly twice in person. Actually, I know her better from her blog than I do from the two times I've met her, isn't that funny? I do hope that sometime in the next year, myself and some of my pony cousins get to ride with her!

Regarding my last post....yep, you guessed it. Very soon, I am taking a saddleseat lesson. I know it sounds a bit crazy.

Last week I had a case of LSR (lesson scheduling remorse.) I mean, what kind of loose noodle cowgirl am I? How exactly did this all come about?

Here's the truth. I don't really know. What provokes us to make a random decision in our lives, leading us down a road that's never been on our map? I'm sure being around Paint Girl's workplace has gotten the ball rolling, by fostering a resurgence of my childhood interest in this style of riding (as well as the horse horse breeds you ride this way- Morgans, Saddlebreds, Arabians, and National Show horses.) The rest has been a
chain reaction. I'd been reading a few blogs about Saddlebreds and recently subscribe to The Morgan Horse magazine, a favorite of mine when I was a teenager. I don't get to ride my horse much around here in the winter, due to weather and outdoor arena conditions. It's the perfect time to move myself indoors and keep learning.

As I approach that magic last year of my thirties, I think I am feeling brave about trying new things. One day, with these thoughts in my head and while surfing online, I ended up searching for barns around my area that might give me this opportunity. I happened to find one. I wrote down their phone number and browsed the site for almost two weeks before getting up the nerve to call and set up a lesson.

I have a theory that riding different horses and learning something new will help build my confidence. It's never easy to walk into a barn you've never been in, meet someone you've never met, and climb on board a horse you don't know. I think it will make me a better horse person. A better rider. It will be a great experience for me. Who knows if I will like it or not. I don't want to make judgments before I try it.

In the end, it's about taking chances. Continuing to be a learner. Get better at my passion. I'm going to be nervous that first day. I know nothing about this barn, or the people there. Will they snicker at my clearance sale paddock boots, western riding jeans and riding helmet? I have no clue what I am doing. This is not my world. I consider myself an intermediate rider, but I have had little formal instruction. I have a natural seat and I'm good with horses, but most of what I know is self-taught.

Yes, I'm going to be anxious. But in a good way. There is nothing like something new to motivate you, to help you become a stronger person. Who knows what kind of new friends I will meet. I love meeting horse people. In some way, I know that I will get something out of this experience. What, I am not sure. That is to be determined. Isn't that exciting?

Did you know they show Appaloosas saddleseat, in both pleasure and equitation? Really! Here is an old picture from one of my issues of The Appaloosa Journal.

Funny story, but when I first started leasing My Boy, I nicknamed him "Saddlebred-head" and "the Saddlebred," because he loves to raise his head upright. He is not a peanut-pusher kind of horse, that is for sure! My Boy can breathe a sigh in relief- I have no intention of riding him saddleseat! Maybe.

I have my first lesson soon. Stay tuned!

p.s. All of the pictures of My Boy in this post were taken on a film camera, developed and loaded onto a CD, around 3 years ago. They were from when I leased My Boy. The pasture photos are from his first day in his new home at the Painted Creek, while he was under my "care lease." Three short months later, he officially became mine!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Taking Chances

{First off, let me start by saying that I know I haven't answered all of your questions yet, I am still working on the last batch.

Many of you who read my sister's blog have heard about her opportunity to travel to a large Arabian horse show with the barn she works at.

I recently spent 3 hours hanging out at Paint Girl's barn.

I am very sensitive to spending time at her workplace. I don't want to be a distraction to her, or be in the way of anyone else working there. I always have checked with her first, asking about the activity for the day. If there are a lot of clients or potential buyers scheduled, I won't stop by.

This time, if possible, I wanted to stop by and watch some horse's being ridden. In the two brief times I've stopped in previously, I've just watched horses turned out and no trainers were riding.
This particular day, my sister told me a trainer would be riding, it was going to be mellow, and that it was fine by him for me to stop by.

Of course, when I arrived (after my exciting felon-on-the-loose-farrier-adventure) things had changed and the barn was hopping. Someone had come by to try out a horse for sale. The halter trainer was there working with the halter babies. Speaking of the halter trainer, he kindly introduced himself to me and sang Paint Girl's praises, telling me he'd steal her away to his barn in a heart beat if he could.

I was asked to hold a halter. And then to hold a bridle. And then to hold a horse, because the new groom had accidentally put another horse in his stall and had to switch him out. If you stand around in a busy barn long enough, you get put to work.

Later, after the prospective buyer left, I was able to watch one of the head trainers at the barn work horses. Paint Girl had told him I wanted to watch English (saddle seat) horses. Some of them are working in full bridles (two bits) and some still in snaffles. I also watched a western pleasure horse work. Paint Girl came into the arena to watch, too.

What I really liked about this trainer is that because he sensed my interest, he took the time to talk to me and show us things. He explained what he was doing, and answered my questions. He didn't act like I was wasting his time. I could tell he was excited to share a bit of this Arabian world with me. I could tell it's his passion.

Paint Girl has talked about this trainer as being the kind who is willing to take an amateur or youth under his wing. To help them learn and grow. I think this is a wonderful opportunity for her. An opportunity that most horse crazy girls can only dream of. Who knows if Paint Girl will become an Arabian horse trainer down the line or not. Regardless, the experience she gains will benefit her greatly. She can apply it elsewhere, maybe starting her own training business, giving instructions to youth, or working with Mustangs.

This trainer even told me that once I got a few saddle seat lessons under my belt, to come back and he'd put me on a horse. Yikes! How many trainers from a big barn would say that to one of their groom's sisters? Not very many, I think.

And saddle seat lessons? What exactly did he mean by that?

Hmmm...... To be continued.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Apples, Eyeballs, and A Little Red Dot

I had a nice moment in the pasture with my horse the other day.
Paint Girl was going to groom her filly in her pasture, so I decided to do the same with My Boy near the back of his, so we'd be in sight of Chance.

He ate his bucket of apples and carrot cookies and then stood nicely with the lead rope tossed over his back while I brushed him and cleaned out his hooves.

Eventually, he was pretty sure that if he checked, more apples and carrot cookies had magically appeared in his bucket.
Or that the bucket had turned into a giant apple itself.

I tried my hand at our self-portrait, by holding my camera out at arm's length. This is much more difficult with a heavy DSLR than my little point and shoot. After numerous attempts, I realized that part of the problem was that I was zoomed in wayyyyyy too much. I adjusted my lens and it got a little easier.

My first attempt.

Not much better.

My Boy looking across the property to the road.

You could barely see it between the trees, but there was a gray horse going down the road. The horse was being led by someone, and there were a couple of kids tagging a long, one on a bike. They were far away. But my horse's keen eyesight spotted them. Uncanny at times, these prey animals' senses. I would never had noticed the horse it if My Boy hadn't caught the movement behind the trees lining the driveway and turned his head.

I took off his lead and walked to the back fence to watch Paint Girl work on teaching Chance a lesson on backing up.
My Boy walked up and stood at the fence by me, also watching.

He's really relaxed a lot about me being in the pasture with him. Some of you might recall my past posts about my hard to catch horse. His fear of being "caught" has seemed to diminish a lot. I can't wait to start working with him again this spring, once we have the round pen set up, and his pasture is dried out.

I want to get that ghastly turnout halter off of his head.
For good.

The only thing good about the turnout halter? It's broken his previous pattern. We don't have the issue of being caught or haltered in the pasture right now, because I am not haltering him there. At almost sixteen years of age, I'm not sure this problem will ever go away completely. So far, it's been a "come and go" issue over several of his owners, including me. There were months where he'd literally push his nose into the halter, and months where he wouldn't let me get near him and gallop around for half an hour until he was too tired to fight anymore.

One more thing. I have a mystery happening and I need my Scooby Doo gang to help me solve it. Look closely at this photo.

Do you see the red dot?? Now look at all of the photos on this post and see if you can spot the red dot on them (they are there, I found them.) Camera experts out there- what on my lens is causing the red dot? Any recommendations on operation red dot removal?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ask PG Part 3

Okay, let's interrupt horse shoes and crime scenes and get back to these answers. Are you tired of hearing all about me yet???

Don't blame me. You're the ones with all the questions!

Oh yea. I guessed I asked for it.

What is your very favourite food in the whole world?

Oh, it is SO hard to pick just one! I love Mexican and Italian style food equally, hands-down. I really love Recess Peanut Butter Cups. And Trader Joe's frozen Mac 'N Cheese. I know, I know, but it's really good!

If you could go anywhere in the world for a holiday, where would you go, and why?

Do you think it is strange that I've never been to Europe? I would like to go to Italy or England or France or Australia. I would like to take a holiday to a working dude ranch somewhere in the that would be cool, too!

If you could choose anywhere in the world to live and work, how far would you go from "home?"

I wouldn't go far from home. Maybe as far west as Colorado. At least not permanently. I think it would be a good experience to live someplace else for a while. I couldn't be far from my family indefinitely. But never say never.

What 5 things are most important to you in a potential spouse? Of those which two are the absolute most important "Deal breakers" and which one is something you would like but could live without?

1. Honesty and ability to communicate 2. Sense of humor. 3. Compassion 4. Ambition 5. Love of animals.

A love of animals and sense of humor are important. I like to laugh, I am sarcastic and (I try) to be funny and I think you have to be able to laugh at life and each other to try to stay sane and healthy. And how could I be with anyone that doesn't love animals? It's who I am. And if someone loves animals, compassion and kindness are usually already there.

Tell us your favorite book, movie, actor, and actress. Also...when you belly up to the bar...what do your order?

Oh wow! Okay.....
no favorite book (see next question.)
Actor: Robert Redford, Tom Hanks, Robert Duvall
Actress: Sandra Bullock,Kate Winslet, Diane Keaton
Bar order: I don't drink much anymore, but if I do: sour apple martini (if I'm out with the girls.) Jack and Coke (if I'm at a concert.) A Corona (if I'm at a sports bar having appetizers.)

What are your top 5 favourite books?

Don't have one favorite, but here are six (I added one for the question I didn't answer above!) that have really stuck with me and that I still have in my collection......Living, Loving, and Learning by Leo Buscaglia, A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, Hope Rising by Kim Meeder, The Dog Who Spoke with Gods by Diane Jessup, and Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger. I have linked you to the books in case any of them sounded interesting. Amazon has customer reviews and I found on these books, they are good feedback on what I enjoyed about them.

Do you like to travel? If yes, where have you been and where would you like to go?

On a trip to NYC around 5 years ago, we went to a taping of ABC's The View. My friend and I were chosen to do a commercial break announcement- yikes! Took 3 takes, but it was fun to watch for our 5 second spot!

I like to travel, but don't do it often. I am not sure why. Wait- I think I know why. Traveling is pretty expensive and I have a horse. So little there is fundage left for traveling. I also don't come from a big traveling kind of family. We must be missing that gene. We're homebodies. But if I had the funds, I would travel more! There are plenty of places in our great States that I have never seen. Maybe a road trip across the USA is in order first!

How many states have you traveled to? I know it's lame, but it is something I have always kept track of & now my kids do. And no, I haven't hit 50 yet, but I'm in the last decade!

Okay, I have been to Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, New York, and Rhode Island. So- not very many! I have been to Mexico and Canada, although those obviously aren't states. After typing this up, I am surprised I have never been to Idaho, Montana, or Colorado. I would really like to see those states! And Arizona, and the Dakotas, and Wyoming. Oh goodness, I really need to take that road trip! Think My Boy is up for a ride across the U.S.??

What is your favorite pair of shoes...the pair you reach for first?
And, why?

I love my cowgirl boots because they remind me that I am a horse girl. However, my go-to boots are my Uggs. Now, I want to clear something up. Uggs are a fad that refused to go away. But if you have worn real Uggs (or the brand Emu Australia, which I like better and costs a little less) you probably know what I mean. The fake ones you get at Target for $24.99 are not the same. Imitations are like walking on cardboard, are not sheepskin, and they stretch out something awful. I have learned to only invest in the real deal, and I can't be without them. I usually buy one new pair a year. If you want to try Emus, I would recommend the "Stinger" style (sheepskin.) I wear them shopping, to run to the grocery store.....the only place I can't wear them is in the horse pasture!

What photography experience do you have, if any? Have you ever considered or wanted to do it professionally? What are your favorite photography subjects?

My only photography experience is what I learned in a high school graphic arts class (we developed our own film. That was before digital.) The rest is self-taught. I got my first digital point and shoot two years ago, and my first DSLR last April. I have always loved taking pictures and had more pictures from events with family and friends than anyone else. It is only recently, since I start blogging, and even more so with the purchase of my Nikon, that I started pursuing photography more creatively. I love photographing horses and people best. I would like to do something with this hobby, but I am not sure in what capacity yet. I do have one idea, which I will share with you all soon, as I'm still working on it!

Why did you start this blog and what were your goals with it? Do you feel you've achieved them?

I started this blog on Freewebs, for my family and friends. I soon moved to blogger and the rest is history! I was really afraid to go public and I am still a very private person. I am not sure what my goals were/are. I just wanted to keep my family and friends updated on the adventures of me and my new horse. Over time, this blog has really become a place for me to just share all of my interests, which are eclectic. Sometimes I wonder if I should start another blog, and just leave this one to the ponies. But I am not just all about horses. Sometimes I think it would be nice to get paid to blog since I enjoy it so much and spend a fair amount of time at it. But then, if it was a job, I wonder if I would like it so much?

What collections do you have and which are your favorite?

Hmmm....what do I collect? I seem to collect magazines! I recently started collecting vintage ceramic horses. And snowman decorations for Christmas/winter. And jewelery. Funky, fun, costume jewlery. And Uggs and cowboy boots. Those are bad ones!

What is one of your pet peeves?

People who don't wait their turn at 4-way stops. That really gets me! I'm sure there is more, but I can't think of anything else right now.

If you had to live on an island for one month and could only take 5 belongings with you, what would they be?

Is my horse a belonging? Hee hee! 1. Cell phone 2. Book 3. Box of power bars 4. Fleece blanket (I know it's an island and all, but it might get cold at night! 5. Chapstick

Interestingly, a horse could be useful on an island. You could ride him around trying to find food and explore, and use him to pull logs to build a shelter. And he'd be good company. But I'd also worry about him, would there enough food for him, would some wild animal get him. So I'm not sure I'd bring my horse.

Tea or Coffee?

Coffee. Decaf. With french vanilla creamer or as a latte, to be more specific!

Speaking of which, I'm off to make my morning coffee.

Be thinking of Martin Luther King Jr. today, everyone!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Who Knew Being My Boy's Farrier Could Be a High Risk Job?

I'm going to interrupt my Q&A session to give you an update on My Boy.

This morning was My Boy's farrier appointment. After a week of nearly constant rain, I was afraid I might have to postpone. My farrier won't work in a downpour. I don't blame him. Not just because rain running down your neck is annoying, but because he doesn't want the nails to get wet before they go in the hoof.

The morning dawned foggy, frosty, and not a cloud in the sky. I could not believe it. After two years of horseshoeing appointments, I have only had to cancel one because of the weather. And that was due to a pretty definite snow forecast, for which it did. I have gotten extremely lucky in the weather and farrier day department. Which is nice since my farrier accommodates me with Saturday appointments and rescheduling would have to be a week out.

When I arrived at the Painted Creek my pony was eating his breakfast in the far back of his pasture. Since he was engrossed in his feed he wasn't coming to the gate, I stomped through frozen ice puddles en route to fetching him. As I led him out of the pasture, he snorted and pranced and kept stopping, head up, looking into the woods alongside his pasture. He often imagines all kinds of monsters in those woods.

Little did we know, today there could have been.

I groomed him up. I like to towel all the wet mud off his lower legs and pick out his hooves out before the farrier arrives. As I was cleaning him up, I heard Paint Girl's other half warming up his car to run some errands. I looked out at the road they live on and noticed a police car driving by slowly with his lights on.

I hand-walked My Boy up and down the driveway a bit as we waited for the farrier to arrive. I noticed the police car had stopped near the end of Paint Girl's driveway, and I saw more flashing lights further down the road. Well, this was kind of interesting. Paint Girl's OH went to ask the officer what was going on. Turned out there was a felon on the run in the woods in the neighborhood. What?! Okay PG's OH, you can not leave for your errands now! At least not until my farrier gets here!

My farrier arrived around twenty minutes later. He was stopped on the way into the neighborhood. He was told to stay inside and that they'd be searching the area with police dogs trying to track this person down. I half-jokingly asked him whether he wanted to keep the appointment, since moving into the house with my horse was just not an option. He said well heck, if we hear gunfire, just hit the ground. He also suggested I could saddle up My Boy, hit the woods, and test out his ability at being a mounted police horse.

I told him not to expect any extra payment for working in such a hazardous situation.

The OH hung around and we all were enjoying the warm dose of vitamin D and chatting as My Boy got his hooves done. Steam was floating off everything the sun was hitting. It was a beautiful winter morning and hard to imagine that something really scary was going on close by.

I was happy to see that the farrier noticed the hole where MB's abscess blew out of his sole. I was proud of myself for diagnosing and noticing it. Despite hardly getting a start on his breakfast prior to the appointment, MB was really good for the farrier.

All ended well and we made it through the appointment without any additional excitement.

Oh, the things we go through for our horses!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ask PG: Horse Answers, Part Two

Well folks, here is the last bunch of the horse-related questions!

What animal (besides horses) in your life has touched you the most? Made the biggest impact on you?

Besides horses? I'd have to say cats or dogs. It'd be a toss up because I have known so many great ones. Growing up, we always had cats and dogs. My first pet was a cat that I owned for 18 years, even when I left for college and left her with my parents, she knew she was mine when I came home. I think cats and dogs taught me responsibility, affection, and respect. I had to give it to them, to get it in return. And they love unconditionally and bring so much joy to my life!

My questions are: Do you have a list of names for future horses, dogs, or cats that you may come to own? (and) Did "My Boy" have a different name before you came to know him?

I haven't had to name an animal in a long time! If I were to get a dog or cat right now, I think I would name it Bella. And I'd like to have a mare named Angel (and hopefully she'd live up to that name!) It also depends on the pet, it's color, and personality. I also don't like to change animal names unless it's something really awful or doesn't fit them.

In regards to My Boy, that is not his real name! His real name is part of his registered name. In fact, in a post somewhere on this blog, I reveal his real name. Does anyone remember what it is?? And shhh, family members- you can't say! I don't know why I gave my horse the "My Boy" pseudonym when I started this blog. I guess because I gave myself one, I thought he needed to also be under cover? Actually, now that I call him that, it seems more fitting on this blog than his real name. And when I see him, I always ask, "How's my boy?" so it just kind of fits.

My question is...which one of these would you rather follow the Desert Rose through on horseback...and why??? A desert windstorm, a swift river, or a snow covered trail?

Okay. Funny question, considering it preceded the great stuck-in-the desert-for-a-night adventure the Desert Rose just went on! So definitely, at this point, a snow-covered trail. Why? Because I detest riding in the wind and I've always wanted to go trail riding in the snow! And I would trust the Desert Rose to lead me home safely. As long as I packed my pup-tent, food, and thermal underwear- in case of an overnight stay!

A horse-related: What was the best trail ride of your life?

I have been on a lot of great trail rides the past few years and many have been great, but none really stand out as being the "best" in my life. I will say that several years ago, when I had just gotten back into horses, I rode in the desert with my aunt, sister, and cousins. It was my first ride on a gaited horse (Tennessee Walker), we rode different and more difficult terrain than I'd ever been on, it was warm and sunny, and we even loped on the trail! After not really riding in 16 years, it was a fun experience, and a great one to share with family!

Have you ever had a reoccurring dream or how about this one....have you ever been dreaming a great dream, been awaken and went back to sleep and continued the same dream? Do you listen to your subconscious dreams or believe they don't mean a thing about where you are in life, hopes, desires or struggles?

This question doesn't pertain to horses specifically, but my dream does so I put it here. I have a reoccurring dream, maybe once or twice a year. I am in my early teens, and I am with my parents and sister on the property we lived on for 15 years, where we had our ponies and horses. And I realize at some point that I have not fed my horse in days. It is the most sickening feeling of anxiety. A similar dream is that I have forgotten to show up to a college class to take a test. I know I have had these dreams more than once. They are disturbing and I imagine they are tied to stress or anxiety in my life.

What are your favorite things to take on a trail ride?

My must-haves: Food! I always have to take snacks because I get hungry, and, I am afraid if we get lost, I will get hungry and get a migraine. I also always bring an extra shirt of sweatshirt, no matter the weather. I get chilled easy and that way, I am always prepared. I also bring a cell phone (hoping we have service) in case of emergency.

Do you like to ride the trails by yourself, just you and MB?

Nope. I wouldn't feel safe. I think if the trails were on our property, I would be fine and enjoy it. I really enjoy riding with others and feel I can do it and still feel "in my own world", especially since talking while trail riding, single file, isn't always possible.

If money were no object what brand of saddle would you buy?

I'd probably have to do some research and try different saddles out, but I sat in a saddle like the new one my mom is getting and I like it. It's a barrel racing saddle made by Billy Cook.

Can you ride bareback while trotting? Cantering?

I can trot bareback, I have done that recently. I have not cantered bareback since I was a kid. I am sure that I could now, but not sure I will be attempting it anytime soon!

What's the scariest thing that's ever happened to you while horseback riding (besides the crazy wild monkey experience. LOL!)

Hmmmm......lately, there isn't anything really scary. Things that made me uncomfortable for a bit, maybe. As a teen, we were riding home through the trails as it was starting to get dark, and we started singing songs. I remember being scared. Our ponies spooked and galloped away with us, I wrote about that experience in this post.

I got one: What is your ONE (maybe outrageous) horse-related dream? Mine is (or used to be I should say) competing in professional Show Jumping.

This is a fun question. Honestly, this might surprise some of you. I'd love to ride saddle seat, and in competition. Sounds kind of crazy for this cowgirl in the making, eh? I think being around the high-steppers at Paint Girl's new workplace has awoken (or re-woken) this interest. When I was a teen, I loved saddle seat. Never rode it (that is probably why I was so fascinated by it.) My favorite breeds were Morgans, Saddlebreds, National Show Horses, and Tennessee Walkers. Interesting, that I never ended up with one of these breeds, or rode saddle seat. It just seems so exciting and intense. I love watching it at the Arabian shows, hearing everyone hoot and cheer on the riders. The horses are so flashy and seem to soak up the energy and just strut their stuff! I guess it's never too late to learn......

Did you ever have a horse you are sorry you parted with? Have you ever seen/know a horse that you didn't buy, and were always sorry you didn't?

Saberdance, my 18 year old Arab/Appaloosa

Yes, I am sorry I parted with my Arab/Appaloosa pony and my QH mare. I didn't outgrow him in size, he was small but I am petite and could have ridden him my whole life. But he was older and was kind of "a been there done that kind of horse." He was really sweet though, and I wish I could have kept him just to ensure he never went into bad hands (we rescued him.) My friend was showing on the Quarter Horse circuit and although that wasn't an option for me, I wanted a Quarter horse. The barn I worked at gave me the opportunity to purchase a 2 1/2 year old bay QH filly. She had 120 days professional training on her. I cleaned a lot of stalls to pay for that mare! I enjoyed riding her until I went to college, took her to the fair with 4-H that year and did well with her in the training horse classes. I kind of regret selling her because she was such a nice horse. Even as a youngster, I don't recall her ever giving me any problems, either on the ground or under saddle. She didn't like to load in a horse trailer, but that was about it.

Would you ever sell My Boy?

There are some people out there that don't believe every horse they purchase has to be a "forever horse." They buy and sell depending on the horse, what they want to do with it, or their horse goals. I wish I was that kind of person. But I am not. I get too attached. It is what it is. At this point in my life, I can only own one horse. Therefore, to get another horse, I'd have to sell My Boy. There is no reason for me to sell him. I enjoy trail and pleasure riding, and he is perfect for that. He is easy to handle, I can manage his quirks, and we get along- we've bonded. He is kind of a one-person horse and I'm his person. I do not think I will ever sell him, unless circumstances left me no other option. And then I'd be begging one of my blogger friends to take him! At this point, I think I will keep him and retire him in ten years or so, depending on how his hocks are. I am hoping that in ten years, my life will be at a point where I can still keep him, perhaps for my own children to learn to ride on, and get a new horse for myself.

Oky doky artichokies...I will attempt to tackle the non-horsey questions next. Some of those might make posts on their own, as some interesting topics were brought up.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ask PG: Horse Answers, Part One

Unfortunately, I did not get any horse time this weekend, thanks to my cold virus. I spent most of my weekend recuperating on the couch, watching movies. It was actually a fairly nice weekend weather-wise, which made it even more irritating that I couldn't get my horse out and maybe even go for a ride.

Instead, I just had to sit here and stare at my little plastic Appy. NOT the same. Sigh.

The free time did give me a chance to work on answering the great questions that you emailed/left me in the comments section! There were too many to answer in one post. In fact, I decided to break down the horse/animal questions into two posts, and then I will address the miscellaneous questions in other posts.

If any of you are getting in on this late, feel free to leave me a question on the original post or on this one.

Alrighty then, let's dig in!

What was your first pet? How old were you when you discovered you loved horses and couldn't live without them?

I honestly don't remember my first pet! I am thinking it was a cat. Although being a lover of all critters, I'm sure it was probably really a caterpillar or a tadpole or something. Paint Girl and I were talking about how we came to love horses. Especially since we did not come from a horsey family. Paint Girl blames it on me. I am not sure how horses came into my life. I suppose for little girls, a love of horses is inherent, and whether it becomes your "thing" or not depends on the paths of fate. I do know that neighbors with horses, opportunities to ride, and access to horse paraphernalia probably helped encourage the passion to bloom!

Questions, hmmmm... what is your all time favorite moment with your horse?

That is a tough question! I would have to say competing at the family playday "rodeo" every summer. We had some fun events (like keyhole) and it was unlike anything I've done with him in the few short years I've owned him. Also, doing a Parelli groundwork presentation to music for my family one summer. My auntie said I made her cry! I have it on video but it's a weird format that my computer won't recognize, or I'd download it for you all.

If you and My Boy could spend 7 days riding any trail in the western USA, which one or where would it be?

Oh goodness! On My Boy? He's a darn good trail horse, but does not have mountain experience, which is where I think I would want to do a ride. I have heard parts of the Pacific Crest Trail are pretty amazing. Or maybe part of the Chief Joseph Trail. I know the Appaloosa Horse Club does a ride there every year. That would be amazing! I would qualify, since you have to ride a registered Appaloosa to take part.

Ok, here is a question for you: If I ever realize my dream of creating an Equestrian Park on our farm, and I finally organize a "blogging friends" ride in Pennsylvania some summer, could you and Paint Girl join in? I think it would be so great if blogger friends could all ride together. We probably wouldn't all be on our own ponies, but it still would be fun! There's a question for you, Pony Girl!!!

Oh this sounds like SO much fun, Juliette! I love this idea. If there was a way Paint Girl and I could get to Pennsylvania easily (like, we'd click our boot heels three times and chant there's no place like Pennsylvania, there's no place like Pennsylvania, there's no place like Pennsylvania....) then we'd be there in a heartbeat! As it is, Paint Girl and I are on such tight budgets, we can barely afford to visit our families in nearby states. But should an opportunity ever arise, we'll certainly let you know!

If you could be any breed of horse, what breed would you be and why?

This is an interesting question because I bet there is a difference in what breed others would describe me as, as to what breed I would want to be! But since the question is from my point of view....I think I would want to be a Morgan. I fit that breed because I am down to earth, yet stylish. I am good at a lot of different things and have a lot of different interests (versatile.) And I'm a bit old-fashioned. I love music from Frank Sinatra and vintage clothes and antiques. That seems to fit the Morgan breed a bit, don't you think?

This is a fun question, so I'm going to throw it back at you all. What breed do you think you most represent??

Would you ever want to have a ranch someday, and what would your ranch look like?

I'd love to own a big ranch. I would have a few horses of my own to trail ride, and a fancy show horse that I could take to big shows and the National Championships- just once! Then I'd adopt or rescue horses and ponies that needed a second chance at life. I'd like to have a program where children could work with these horses. Dream big, isn't that what they say?

What made you want to do western instead of English?

I don't think there is any reason in particular. I rode both as a teen. And I took hunter lessons around 13 years ago. But when I got back into horses around 3 years ago, I just ended up trail riding. My Boy can go both styles, but he is more "western" in his training (reining) so I just ended up there. I also feel more secure in a western saddle while trail riding. I would like to ride My Boy hunt seat more this summer, though! You can see here more about our first hunt seat ride last summer. In the next post, another answer regarding style of riding will be addressed.

Okay, that should about wrap it up for this post. Next time, part two of your horse-related questions.

I hope you all had a super weekend!

and... P.S. Thanks for helping me get out of my blogger slump!
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