Saturday, August 30, 2008

Took a SnookerLoad of Photos Last Night

And they all live up there. Enjoy, ya'll. In the one conformation (I think it's left) shot, can anybody else see that cute face looking at me? I almost hear him, "Momma, what're you doing?!? Can I go back to munching on the lawn, now??"

Pulse last night was still evident in both fronts. The left was pounding, and the right was weaker. I was a bit shocked by that, but I'll take it.

Lunged briefly in both directions. Sound left, sound straight in-hand. Still a wobble head-bob or three headed right. If I left him lead his head out of the circle, he limped less. Durasole on all frogs, and sent him back out to pasture.

Hurricane Gustav - GET! Scram! ShoO! Get outta the sea, and float back where's you came from! You ain't welcome here! Now, if that red-neck fussing doesn't chase him off, we're screwed... :)

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Little Good News

Sarah Palin. Andrew Wilkow from Sirius Patriot 144 has been calling for her. I did a little pre-selection research, and figured she'd be good. I wasn't 100% sure John McCain would have the guts to pick somebody that conservative.

He got it right. McCain hit the ball out of the park! Home run that's still floating over the atmosphere. She's Pro-Life, Pro-Drilling, Pro-Gun Rights. She has the state of Alaska under control, with executive experience. Joe Lieberman has his work cut out for him in the VP debate. He'll most certainly shove his foot down his throat at some point, making some regretting remark about her being female, or conservative.

Good Job, Senator McCain. You got this choice correct, and I'm incredibly satisfied. This just might earn you a little extra donation to the campaign. Thank you for finally putting some Conservative Gumption behind your election.

I just heard in McCain's bio speech on Palin she's been in the Union, and her DH is in the Union. Hmm... is that good? Is Union really a Conservative good idea? I thought Conservatives lived anti-Union, not wanting a larger body to spread-wealth over large people groups... hmmm.. will study more

I Wish I Understood

I wish I was rich enough to pay for all the xrays I could ever dream of to figure out what's going on with Chewie. I've been trying so terribly hard to get credit cards under control, and a huge vet bill based on curiosity just isn't in the plans.

I also wish I understood a heckuva lot more about the whole hoof problem(s). I am a scientist by trade - I study things in an attempt to understand not just how things happen, but why they happen the way they do. I don't settle for "just because I'm a farrier and I'm smarter than you about hooves.. this is how it is... the hoof told me it belongs there".

I'm going to add more Durasole tonight to the thrushy frogs. (That's a whole other debate worth discussing, by the way.) I will check the pulses. I did run my fingers down Romeo's legs to the hooves, and noticed not near the indent that exists on Chewie. Kind of surprising how different they are.

The thrush debate. Mr Don says that thrush is caused by bad hoof balance, not horse's environment. He says thrush is evident by a "crack" line where the heels meet up. I'm not 100% convinced thrush is only balance. My reason? If hoof balance is the cause of thrush, why did he point to a "crack" line on a rear hoof, saying it is thrush, and to treat it? I asked him as he trimmed each rear hoof, "How do they look?", and he thought they were in good condition. Good balance, good size & shape.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Holy Hooves

Took Chewie to a new farrier this morning. Mr Don is a "friend of a friend". We spoke on the phone yesterday afternoon. He said a few things I liked - questions about Chewie's diet, weight, riding habits, ground manners, when do the shoes fly off. He said a few things I didn't like - riders cause shoes to fall off, and pastures cause shoes to fall off, but farriers aren't to blame, and it's nearly impossible for a horse to remove a shoe on his own, most horses in the area are overfed, and Chewie is probably fatter than I say he is.

So, I agreed to take Chewie to him today, a little apprehensive about the whole thing. Chewie loaded up like an angel, almost telling me he was okay. The trip was foggy as pea soup, but we made it. Arrived about ten minutes early - I thought I'd be there earlier, but I didn't plan on driving through soup.

Mr Don was very serious, and very firm. He watched Chewie walk just a little before starting. I asked him to explain everything he was doing, and he wasn't so much able to do that. I do wish I'd thought to take pictures before, during, and after. Perhaps ya'll farrier folks that read the blog could've explained more for my little scientist brain to understand. Mr Don set the left shoe on about 1/2" behind his toe, and after hot-setting it, nailed it right in place. I was a little puzzled, but when I asked any question like, "Why are you doing it that way?", he would respond, "Because that's where the foot is telling me it needs to be."

From what I saw, he set the shoe back 1/2", rasped the front down, set the shoes a little wider than the hooves on both (front right inside more than any of the other three side edges). He added a nifty pad to the right front, it was thin around the outside, and had an oval-shaped pad squishy part in the middle. Good thing, because Chewie's sole was soft & tender on that hoof.

Essentially, I did learn a few things. Well, let me rephrase. Mr Don said a few things, and some of them I understood, some of them I need to learn & study more.
1) Chewie's P2 & P3 are separating from the laminae, evidenced by the inner sag just above his hoof. I need to read more .... But, Mr Don said this has been caused by the lack of balance on his hoof, and the bones have been pushed down further & further. We're hoping the trim he did today will begin the rebalancing process, and when the coronary band "sees" the extra shoe, it'll start to stretch out, and the laminae will reattach their little selves to P2 & P3, bringing them back up where they belong.

2) Chewie was quicked three times at his last shoe-ing. Once on right front, twice on left front. I was shocked. Saw it with my own two eyes - the nail holes were inside the hoof wall, set on the sole. OUCH!

3) When the shoes were set, but toes not rasped down, Mr Don asked me to lunge him briefly at trot. Chewie was sound headed left, lame headed right. Right front inside still brought pain. Later, after all four hooves were trimmed, he had me lunge again. Chewie was better... still a bit lame going right, but better. When we got home, I tried again, with a little bit more improvement.

4) Found a pulse above the heel, but above all the ankle bones. Found the right front to have a heavier pulse than the left front. Mr Don asked that I keep checking it, and we're hoping the left front will go away completely (i.e. won't be able to detect it), and the right will decrease a little every day. Right front pulse won't go away for a long time, due to the shape the hoof is in.

I am going to take some pictures this weekend & post them up. Any farrier folks reading the blog, please feel free to email me (address found in the profile), and any advice you can offer, or explanations, I'm all-ears. This is something I've left to somebody else for too long, and it's high-time I start knowing enough to be aware of what questions to ask.

Oh! And, Mr Don is "CLF certified"... whatever that means. Need to study up on that, too.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Romeo Over Obstacles

Since I was in such a bad horse mood, I grabbed Romeo in the evening (after soaking myself in mosquito repellant), and saddled up.

He knew exactly what his job was, walking up the road & back. Didn't look hard at anything. I said, "whoa", he'd stop on a nickel, and look back at me curious. We wandered back to the house, I sat a little trot, mostly to change up what I thought would be a complicated ride (since I hadn't been on him in weeks). He acted like it was all no big deal. Layed a tarp down on the grass, and he swished across it a number of times, almost as if he enjoyed the noise. Played a little sending game between me and the pasture gate - no problem. He trotted past a few times, then realized walking was much easier. Worked about an hour, without incident. Plenty of cookies to say, "thank you".

A much needed work, but I'm more anxious to get Chewie back online, and in the round pen, to get back to cantering. He's obviously a little anxious himself, as he watched with a sad face while I rode Romeo last night.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's a Bad Mental Horse Day

Mosquitoes have come out in full squad. The horses are aggrevated, and so am I.

I'm also having a bad mental day related to the boys. Both mean a lot to me, but when I go this long without rides, I start wondering what each is worth, can I sell, can I find a more suitable show horse in place of either, should I even be considering selling? Is there anybody that would want either for a reasonable cost? Can I even find something that would fit my style, riding frequency, and not either fall down lame or go bonkers keeping up with me?

This too will pass, I think. It's nearly impossible to go with them in the pasture as long as they've been there, doing nothing under saddle, and not wonder why in the world there are two of them out there that I do nothing with. I want to be riding... They're not pasture ornaments, and that's not what they came here for. They were to be for trail riding, lessons, and pleasure. Grooming mud and walking over tarps is good, but not as often as I've been doing it lately.

I'm bored, and something needs to change, and soon.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Obstacles on the Ground

Can't ride, might as well groom, add a rope halter & long lead, and see what we can tackle. Romeo was up first. He walked over the tarp, trotted over a small barrel, walked in between two trash cans placed close together, sniffed a roll of black belt-like material he always spooks at, trotted over the flower box, all without issue. I was shocked. Put him under saddle & crawl on, he would've looked hard at all but probably the tarp. Instead, he just walked over & around & between it all as if nothing was scary.

Chewie was nearly the same. Anything he tried avoiding wasn't really because it was scary, but more that he didn't want to work. When he stepped on the tarp the first time, it made it's normal swishy noise. He stopped, looked down, sniffed it, sighed, and kept walking. It was incredibly funny. It's almost like his ears said, "Whoo! What's that sound?! Oh! It's underneath me! Well, mustn't be a problem that'll eat me, I'm already standing on it. Oh well.. Keep going."

I want to ride again.. Meanwhile, I would like to find a book on Groundwork that makes it fun & keeps me & the boys connected. Going to search sometime today for somethin'. Ya'll have a nifty good day.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Drip Dry

Rains may have finally passed on. It's been doing anything from drizzle sprinkle to downright pouring almost every day for a week or so. Pasture's greening back up, as is my front yard. Riding mower battery was pretending to be dead yesterday. I charged it back up, and can only hope it's healthy again today. It's a lotta yard to push-mow.

Attended a concert put on by the local churches yesterday. The choir group I was in were first to sing. We did good enough, for practicing each song once, have not sang together in two months. The sound system wasn't incredibly cooperative, but we were joyful enough to make the evening news. I don't have local channels at home (stupid DirecTV), but I'm told my face was plastered across the screen. I asked the person that told me, "Did I at least look happy to be there?" The answer was a resounding, "Yes". Good!

The overall event was good, in my opinion, for the first time it's ever been put on. There were plenty of sponsors, admission was free, food was cheap, and the music was pretty darn good. There was a wide spread of denominations there, thus a wide spread of ways to worship. I'll avoid the "hot topic" by simply saying -- Not everyone was in his or her comfort zone. There were a few folks quite uncomfortable, and I wasn't one of them.

Politic update --- Joe Biden. UGH. Just what the Dems needed - another Liberal. One opinion was discussed I found amusing - Obama is yakking change, yet he picked a long-term Senator. Who would have ever thought that "change" has been in the Senate for 36 years, sneaking around.... good place for "change" to hide, I suppose. ;)

A morning of sattire & sarcasm... sorry ya'll. I'll get back to horses just as soon as I can get back in the saddle. Wet, shoeless hooves.... So I talk about what I can until I get back to what I want to be doing.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

When is it Too Young to Start?

Talked to an out of state friend, and got an update on their little filly born earlier this year. He was proud of his daughter for training the little baby. "At 5 months old, she'll already walk, trot, and canter on the lounge line."

Um, is she too young for that? Why is there such a push in the world to have weanlings "trained"? Why can't we just teach them to halter & lead, and then let them go be babies for at least a year, if not two? I'm not saying some lateral flexion and a few round pen games are totally inappropriate, and I completely think polite ground manners are a must. But when is it too much? We don't expect human babies to be athletes until they're teenagers - because we're not close to being "done growing". Why are our ponies any different?

Your thoughts?

Monday, August 18, 2008

What's Your Favorite Urban Legend?

We've all heard plenty of them, I'm sure. I have a handful of legends that irk me, annoy me, and flat out make me wanna scream, "You're Nuts if you believe that!"

Plastic in the Microwave... That has to be my favorite.
No it's not bad for you - I used to work for a food packaging company. Worst it'll do is cause minor digestive upset as your body tries to figure out how to process without digesting.

Snopes has disputed it, as have many other more scientific resources.

Whew.. got that off my chest. I feel better now.

No pony updates. Chewie got the mud & sweat hosed off, and I think he's happy about it. Bugs have settled a bit with the rain coming & going.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Come Rain or Come Shine

Just as I started to type this, sirens roared on the nearby road. Fire engines... again.. When will the idiots in town learn.. DON'T LIGHT FIRES WHEN THE GRASSES ARE DRY! We haven't had significant rain in about 3 weeks, yet they have to burn that brush pile, or the trash, or the newspapers, and off the blaze goes. Dang it. A pile of acrage burnt while I was on vacation, due to a controlled burn getting out of control (controlled burn with a water truck beside, burning brush for some clearing work to re-install train tracks by the highway). People are stupid... just plain stupid. God bless whoever's fighting that fire, and bless the idjits who lit it with a little more common sense for next time.

It's supposed to rain today. Weatherbug says 50% chance. It was storming in a nearby county, MacKenzie brought it to my attention following me around the house shadowing. I'm banking on it. I want rain really really bad. Pastures need it, yard needs it, all those crunchy oak leaves in the front yard need it. The place looks horridly dry, and I'm anxious for the precip.

Whether it rains or not, both boys will come out, get hoof cleanings, hose-down the sweaty dusty dirt they're covered in, dry in hand (mowing-munching a little bit of grass that's been watered by the septic underground), and sprayed generously with fly spray. If I can't ride, I'm at least going to let them know they're loved.

It's great to be home. I slept soundly on the couch last night until nearly 11, nobody to poke me awake & say, "Get to bed". I was woke by Kenzie jumping on & off the bed, and Allie wriggling up to my face, licking me like a popsicle. Breakfast was uber-healthy, now that I've been to the grocery store to restock. Snacks & meals are all back in the house, and I'm satisfied I can get back on my good-girl hypo diet.

Off to check the radar. All you riding-people, amuse me with some riding stories, will ya? Any gawd-boring detail you choose. Let me live vicariously through you. I can't ride the guys, weather pending, somebody ought to be doing more than scrubbing water buckets & grooming.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Whatta Trip

Some photos are owed, and I'll get around to that....

Friday, I packed, organized, cleaned, told the boys they were loved, and prepared for the journey.

Saturday, cleaned a bit more compulsively, packed more, and headed for the airport. Travel to PA was good. The first flight, IAH to PHL, was good. Long, but easy enough for dog & human. the second flight, I felt like I was in the middle of a family reunion. Each trip teaches me more about how uncivilized people can be out in public, I swear. PLEASE LEAVE YOUR SHOES ON DURING THE FLIGHT IF YOUR FEET STINK! For the Love of ManKind! NASTY! Lady sat beside me, flipping in and out of her shoes, the fumes almost as foul as a trash pile. Crying out loud.. I didn't deserve that stench! Happy to arrive in PIT in one piece, late in the evening.

Sunday, Mom & I startled Dad at the camp with a visit he didn't anticipate. Happy Birthday Daddy, your baby came home. We spent that day relaxing, sleeping, watching the camp fire. Allie-dog was a goof, startled by all the surprises, all the scents, the reminders that other types of animals lived there.

Monday, I adventured to a trail riding facility, and Pebbles the "almost 30" Appy mare took me on a nice wooded rocky walking adventure. When we pulled up to the place, first thing I looked at, were feet. No hooves, no happy horses. I watched each of the horses for disposition, paid close attention to their overall body condition (all were chunky & happy), and went to register. A mom scared the staff and her small daughter with "falling off the trail horse at other facilities" stories. I laughed out loud, because if the mom wanted to encourage her kid to ride, horror riding stories wasn't the trick. They chose a half hour ride, me, the hour. Why go all that way and only ride a half-hour? As the guide introduced each of the horses, calling out their names, I listened carefully to age & breed. As Pebbles was identified as the "older Appaloosa mare that everyone picks on in the herd", I knew I had the horse. "That one!" I hollered, and her ears perked happy as he untied her, and said to her, "Okay Pebbles, it's your turn, out alone with Comanche & me."

The guide was chatty, the trail was rocky & muddy in spots, and the horses enjoyed every minute. Pebbles tried me by seeing if I'd let her eat on the trail. I didn't, but instead thumped with both legs, and a gentle tug on the bit. She quickly figured out that wasn't going to work out, and behaved angelically. She let me direct her around some mud, and her ears said, "Lady, this is great! I have a leader! Been a while since somebody bright rode me." I felt satisfied with that, as she wandered up & down the steep hillsides, only sliding on a rock once. I love Appaloosas... I really do. If Chewie and I ever part company ...... It'll be an Appy in the barn.

Tuesday, the family scampered to a clothing store in Warren, PA. Bought some "dress up for church" clothes, gotta latte in a really neat little shop, and headed for camp. Ran off to a park attraction (Kinzua dam, pictures to follow sometime). Mom and I went to the park where I rode Pebbles, grabbed a few more photos, and then to a tourist souvenir shop, and I snatched up a coffee mug for my collection, and some moccasins that are to die for. Deerskin leather, and incredibly comfortable. ooh.. nice shoes!

Wednesday, we headed for home, had a dinner-out celebration for Dad's birthday, and cleaned up in preparation for the trip back to TX.

Thursday, all day travel.

Friday is here, and I'm glad to be home. Through some emails and texts, it seems Farrier Mike & I are back on speaking terms, socially getting along. Can't say the same for Robin, as she's still not trying to initiate conversation. I'm not going to waste calories on it. Chewie is still off for no riding, and Romeo is on light-duty until those shoenail holes grow out.

I'm resolving to learn more about barefoot trimming for Romeo - make him a more solid horse barefoot, and perhaps learn to trim & rasp him down myself. It could happen... If I can learn it on Romeo, maybe Chewie has a shot of growing out those evil front heels & being happy barefoot at least sometime of the year.

I'm off to get some chores done, grocery shopping, and all things necessary to be back at the house alone again... I'm responsible again for every calorie I consume, and every niblit that goes into my body. MacKenzie will certainly be happy to be home, later today. I'm happy to be back by myself, make my own choices, and keep my crazy life moving.

Vacation has taught me... I don't sit still well. That half-done word search puzzle book, two read magazines, and one full read book are evidence.

Cheers, all. It's good to be back.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sweet Vacation

The time has finally come. I feel like singing the Pampers "Pull-Up" song.. "I'm a Big Kid Now!" "I'm a big kid, look what I can do.. I can wear big kid pants too!"

I've finally had a career long enough to have earned enough vacation that, with no real work scheduled over a trip, I can take an entire work week off, and travel away, without my computer, without my phone, without the horses, on a full break.

Plane departs Saturday, returns Thursday. I'm going to take my personal pc, and will check in updating the trip details as I can. Planning on plenty of photos.

Ya'll Ride Safe!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Another 2008 China Olympiad Blog


And Blogging from an Announcer.

So Cool!

There's A Possum On my Pillow

Late last summer, I brought mix-breed (Pit, Terrier, Corgi, who knows what) MacKenzie into the family. She is about 34#, about 20" tall, and stood in the back of the kennel cage when I went dog-searching. She wasn't really "outspoken", but instead a bit timid, but horribly cheerful. I took her out for a walk, she pottied peacefully, wasn't interested in playing, and, when I sat on the shelter's floor, she came over, layed down in my lap, tail wagging, and just looked up to say, "Hey Lady, you'll do. Please get me out of here!"

Working out crating issues, along with some housebreaking confusion, I kept Kenzie kennelled a bit of time when she first came home. I wanted to be in-control of every situation with my little Schnauzer Allie, preventing any kind of argument or discussion.

One Sunday morning, Kenzie was a little too rambunctious, so I crated her. I was out in the kitchen, fixing coffee, and I saw her looking towards the bedroom, barking in an ominous way. I scolded her, figuring, "She needs to quit barking at the cats! Goofball!" She "boofed" a few more times while I watched the morning news. I went in the bedroom to start getting cleaned up for church, and

There was a Possum On My Pillow On the Bed!!!!!!!!!! SHREAK!

See, there was a soft spot on my house floor between the bathroom & the bedroom. I knew it needed repaired, but I was totally unaware it was completely all the way to the ground, and a curious vermin could find their way in from said soft-spot.

Turns out, she was trying to let me know there was an unwanted guest in the house. Good Puppy! I shut the bedroom door, praised her with cookies, secured the cats in another room, shuffled Allie into a crate, and went back into the bedroom, to identify the little booger. Called my parents, who suggested "Tossing a towel over it, catch & release". I tossed towels, blankets, pillows, nothing. Squirt just kept running out from under. I even tried tossing a laundry basket on top, with plans to "scoot" the basket to the front door, and release him there.

I went back out in the living room, shut the bedroom door, and tried to figure a way to catch it, and get it OUT of my bedroom. I re-assembled my thoughts, and went back in the bedroom. Possum was GONE, obviously back out the hole he came in. I tore the bedroom apart looking for him - closets, dresser, chest for blankets, bathroom, under the bed, behind the blankets, everywhere.

Living in the country has its benefits. I'm not dependant on some boogers to care for my horses, and I don't ever come home to find them starved or being beaten by some stupid grown-up or kid. There's nobody close enough to the house to see me doing breakfast feeds in my PJs. I can mow my grass at 9:30am, without "waking the neighborhood", and nobody laughs when I mow in a sport bra. There are some disadvantages to living out of town. Groceries, gas, home depot, feed store, all at a distance, at least a 15 minute drive one way. Repair contractors charge a "rural fee", as does the trash company. Mail people operate at obscure, and often unpredictable office & delivery hours. Neighbors often don't hear me scream for help. Possums crawl in the house & try to nap on my bed. Raccoons tear into feed buckets, and live on a buffet lifestyle. Stray cats breed & deliver kits under the house. Overall, it's worth the disadvantages. The quiet at night is unbeatable, and the darkness is so dark that a full moon casts shadows from the trees. Birds flutter all around, as do the squirrels & deer. Unwelcome wildlife comes with the territory, and with the shotgun loaded, and the floor repaired, I am up for the challenge.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Politics, Gas Prices I couldn't help myself - I commented to the Aug 4th afternoon posting.

I'm happy they did it. I really am. I just wish they would've gotten off their rumps, oh, in May or June, when they knew the prices were high, and staged this little protest then. I made one meager contribution to the McCain campaign, and since then, they've spent probably my whole contribution in letters & postage begging for more cash. I have consistently told them, "Initiate or Co-Sponsor an Energy plan, whether it passes or not, and I'll help out more." I also told them, "Lower my fuel price, and I'll send you the overall difference for a month. Until then, quit begging, because I don't have it to give."

So, three cheers to our Conservative Politicians for staying at work, and not going on vacation. It's just too little, too late, because I don't see gas prices dropping severly because they're standing on the floor singing Patriotic hymns.

Bah humbug ... I won't even begin to comment on my local Rep, Ron Paul. He wants to "do what's right"... but won't stand with anybody on any issue. It's almost as if he disagrees just enough to make his vote not count, because he thinks it's funny. That's right, you little nitwit... I enjoy being broke, I really do. I don't see your name on the list of Representatives that stayed at work through the vacation - Must be nice to have a WHOLE MONTH off work. I wouldn't know. I'm too busy working, to pay my gas, to drive to work, to pay my gas, to drive my work, to pay my gas, to drive to work, to

What's Your Bad Habit?

OOPS! I bet that's a touchie sensitive subject. Each of us has to have one.. you know... that thing you shouldn't eat or drink, that goofy neurotic habit you know isn't good for you. I bet you're thinking of the "big ones" (Excess alcohol, smoking, drugs, pain killers, internet excess). But I'm talking about those "little ones" - The things that probably won't kill you, but you ought not to be doing it anyways.

Mine? Starbucks. I'm saying it out loud, because I'm going to "kick the habit". I was going on average once a week. Grande Vanilla Latte. Then the shop on the way to work announced it was closing, and I found other sources. I found a frozen skinny latte, even added sugar-free flavoring. Felt like I was doing the right thing by going healthier. But for the cost of a cuppa joe, I could be purchasing fancy ground coffee at the grocery store, enough to last nearly a month. If I added up my monthly charges at that evil place, it's nearly $30, a halfa tank of gas in the truck. I'm kicking the habit....

Anybody wanna fess-up and join me? C'mon.. we won't tease you, or harass you. Even if you just speak it, nobody will come to your front door & holler, "I saw you with that fancy coffee disposable cup, you heathen! Get out here & hand over the evidence!"

Raccoons , again

Raccoon #2 died of a gunshot wound to the gut Monday night. The death was at the hands of a wicked hunter, hollering, "Get out of my feed bucket, you little twit". He was survived by at least one more evil raccoon, evidenced by the open feed bucket Tuesday morning. Memorial services will be held this morning by noon by neighborhood crows, buzzards, and other insecticide committees. Those wishing to contribute in his honor may send a secure horse grain container to .... .

The evil critters keep coming back. Found the feed can lid open this morning again. I'll set the trap again tonight. I'm starting to feel defeated by the whole thing, sick of tiptoeing out to the feed stall, clapping my hands, jingling keys, trying to make a raucus and disrupt them before they spook me again. Every morning, I keep finding things tore up, rearranged, and more of my horsefeed gone from the bucket. I can't afford to keep feeding raccoons, and I'm sick of setting the trap & trying to coordinate a time to kill them.

I just want to go on vacation & get away from all of it. If only they'd be gone when I return.

No riding last night. Horses are safe & sound, and I miss my Chewie. TS Eduoard got lost on his way to South Texas, landing on the TX-LA border. I don't even think we'll get much-needed rain from it.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Borrowed horses, Increased Confidence

Rode Romeo Sunday morning. It was so incredibly hot Saturday, I decided not worth the stress on either of us. Sunday morning was really no different, 80s, with ultra-high humidity. Romeo and I worked through some tempered fits of his - he wanted to be chasey, and after a dozen one-rein stops just made it worse, I let him. A few wild laps around the arena, he decided that wasn't fun, and I pushed him through two more. Then, amazingly, his speed was quite controlled. Little Man must learn, going too fast only yields more going too fast, until tired, then Momma pushes more & more & more. I could see Chewie's eyes, watching us just outside the arena, "Dude... she's gonna get after you if you don't quit... Dude.. I'm telling you... you better ease up.... Oh man, you're gonna Geeeeeet it .... I'm saying... seriously.... Oh boy, here it comes. I'm going back to the barn, good luck Dude. you're gonna need it..."

After all the fix-its were done, and the roofing complete, Les gathered Mare Sugar, and I jumped on. She tolerated many laps of canter in the round pen, somewhat annoyed with my skills. Her first 9-10 lope strides were choppy at best, I'm fairly certain she was trying to buck her toosh, and get rid of me, or at least make me nervous. Surprisingly, I wasn't scared, wasn't shook up. I grabbed my saddle horn, and pushed her, inside leg. Her tail swished, she fussed a storm, then quickly went into a faster, smoother canter. I was impressed with this new-found confidence, unshaken by her attitude. If Chewie had done that, I don't know that I'd be so calm. I'm pretty proud of myself. We cantered both directions, she even counter-cantered one time, and I wasn't paying attention. Les corrected us, and I was able to tilt her head just to the outside when I asked again. That's another big one - being able to control any part of the horse in the transition. I'm making progress. We finished up walking & trotting in a plot of pasture, Sugar acting like she'd done it a zillion times, alert to the cows outside the fence, and the tractor off in the distance. It was a wide-open feeling, where she could calmly see everything. I got to focus on staying calm in that wide open field, knowing she was taking care of me. This is the same mare I've seen rear up in the roping box, go bonkers for no reason on a trail ride, and show Cowboy Les how to still ride a bucking bronc, yet she took incredible care of me, only tossing herself around a bit. Had she gone bucking goofy, I would have bailed for sure, so I'm thankful for that.

Switched horses to my secret-love-affair with Blue. His "whoa" left a little to be desired, me hanging on the bit, hollering, "Whoaaaaaa", him cantering on. Les crawled on him, and reminded Blue that "whoa" means something. I got back on, asked for a canter, went about a circle & half, and said "Whoa" with some deep voiced authority. Blue stopped so quick, and on his rear end, I popped up out of the saddle, giggling. That's what I call brakes. Cantered again, two big circles, asked for whoa, got it agreeably, and called it a day.

Good rides, good lesson horses, and patient given my learning.

4-days until vacation... 4-days,... four more working days until vacation.. mumble mumble repeat.

Raccoons, Mice, Redneck Sunbathing

I'll get back to the horses in the next update.. For now, a little South Texas "single girl living in the country" amusements.

I've had at least one raccoon munching down horse grain in the barn for a few weeks. A borrowed trap served no purpose other than a minor distraction - twits kept opening the lid & setting themselves free. I bought new trash cans, bungee corded the lids shut, and still no success. One morning last week, I swear the whole county heard me scream - Opened Chewie's feed container, and ACK! Little dork was IN the feed can. He split the scene, me hollering him into the pasture. That's when I decided I needed him to DIE! :)

Went to Tractor Supply Co, bought a "humane trap", considering it only a containing device, and set it. Saturday morning, there was a fairly small raccoon in the trap. "Stinks to be you, don't it?" I told him while I gathered morning grain & fed the boys. Cowboy Les and I brought the little fellow to his end courtesy of quick hands & a 20-gauge shotgun. Still, the next morning, with stray Kit-Ten in the trap, meowing her teenie little head off, the feed can lid was flipped over.

Overnight, I set the trap again, absolutely 100% convinced I was going to nab her before heading out of town on the 9th. Woke up this morning, had that "got somethin'" feeling. Headed to the barn at 4:30am, the "morning fuzzies" not worn off, MacKenzie in-hand on the leash. She and I cautiously opened the feed stall door, heard a little rustling, and turned the light on. SUCCESS!! That same raccoon that scared the living beejeebies out of me last week, in the trap, looking at me with that same terrified face I had. Mr. Coon may have had a good life the past few weeks, but that happy life will be ending tonight. Cowboy Les is going to head back to the house again tonight, and he will find his end. Inhumane, maybe, but I don't have time to rescue every vermin that lives in my pasture. I'm not hauling the trap off to "set him free" just so he can terrorize someone else's feed barn. There are plenty more raccoons in God's wild creation, and I'm not tolerating one in my barn at 5:30am every day when I wander out in the dark to feed.

Had a mouse in my bathroom, living in the cabinet, for about a week. I was certain the cats would serve their purpose in the family, as they have before, and the critter would end up belly-up in the bathtub, cats smiling. But not so much. Bought some traps, set one with Pnut butter in the cabinet. Woke up Saturday morning, opened the door,,, BINGO! One dead mouse, squashed by the trap. Again, inhumane, maybe... But I have low tolerance for unwanted house guests.

That reminds me.. Must tell the "Possum on my Pillow" story sometime... one sure to get your creepies crawling.

Yesterday afternoon, Les & I tackled some fix-its around the place. The power to the barn is now in a more secure switch box - a little left to do there. We also repaired some PVC water pipe at the barn, and now I have water at the stalls again. That'll be great when it's time to water again. No more dragging a long, heavy hose around the back yard trying to get the boys water. Also a bit easier for soaking beet pulp when it starts cooling off (but before it's 35F and I'm stupidly dragging buckets of warm water out there "so they don't have to drink cold water" hmph spoiled).

Having my fix-its done, went to Les's place, and finished a horse-lean-to that had been blown apart by Hurricane Dolly's winds. Two weeks ago, we put up the framing, and I became a "wood hammering" expert of sorts, in some tiny little girl way. I climbed up & down the ladder, in the 90+ humid heat, battering sun, and got the work done. Yesterday we got the tin sheeting up for the roof. Nailing the tin to the wood wasn't so hard, however, screwing the tin together, a whole 'nother ball game. The power screwdriver was attached to wimpy arms, and I had to bear down, my whole upper body pushing the screwdriver into the screw, into the tin, to secure the pieces. All that's left now is to nail up some flashing, and the roof is complete. That's one more stall and a tack room someday. For now, it's another place the horses at Les' house can get out of the wind & rain. None too soon, either, as Edouard hasn't decided where he's going to land yet.

As I was sitting up on the tin, nailing it down, work shoes, goofy frog ankle socks, blue shorts, blue shirt, I looked at Les, and laughed.. "Hey, Les ! LooK! Redneck sunbathing!" with the sun reflecting back off the tin. The roof was about the only place mosquito free. The blood-sucking monsters arrived in a blast last week, and haven't let up at his house yet. They're moderate at my house, but just insanely thick at his. Monsters... I'm covered in nasty little red itchie bumps, that will last at least two weeks before going off. Don't scratch, don't scratch, don't scratch. Yup, I told myself that, tearing up my left leg on the couch last night scratching about 6 all at one time.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Friday Fill Ins

Friday Fill Ins #83

1. If I could travel back in time, I'd go to my time in the Youth Conservation Corps, and I'd pay closer attention to what they told me.

2. Give me dark chocolate or give me healthy hooves.

3. I am listening to a polyethylene tape extruder whizzing in the background.

4. Somewhere, someone is thinking what were all those gunshots for Tuesday night?

5. I'll always be stubborn & opinionated.

6. My idea of a good time includes a horse, a jump, and a sunny day.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to taking Romeo shoe-searching, tomorrow my plans include housework and shopping, and Sunday, I want to lay in the pool & ride at least two horses that aren't mine!