Friday, November 21, 2008

Christmas Opportunities

It was a cold afternoon out Christmas scramble shopping before the holidays. I was home from grad school just a few days before the big day, and didn't have my shopping done. Mom and I spent the day out spending my money I didn't have on gifts for everyone - so no one in the family could say "Jennifer didn't bother to think of me this holiday - she was too selfish, I suppose", or some other ill-intentioned remark... especially for the poor grad student who was earning below the national poverty level...

We were checking out in line at Wal-Mart. All our spoils were settled on the rolling rubber mat that auto-scrolls up to the checkout. Two women filed in line behind us, setting down all kinds of toys & little clothes. One was older, one was younger. I heard the younger one say, "Mom, we can't afford all these gifts this year. We've already explained it to the kids, and they said they understand. Santa has to take a year easy to catch up."
The older woman said, "No bother. We're doing this anyways. I don't know how, but we'll figure something out. Those kids shouldn't have to understand what hard years are. We will figure it out, sweetheart, don't worry."
I was heartbroken. Here I was, using what little tuition stipend I'd saved, and I was buying half-decent things for family that didn't need a darn thing, while this mom was trying to buy gifts for little kids with a harsh reality to face.
I leaned into my mom, and said, "Mom, did you hear that? I know I shouldn't eavesdrop... but it's sad." I explained what I'd heard.
As the clerk scanned our things, she gave me the total, and I paid up in full. All cash. Mom looked at the clerk, looked back at the two women, and dug through her purse. She pulled out some amount of cash, I didn't see how much. There were at least three twenty-dollar bills in the pile. She folded it up neatly, and, as we walked off.. said to the clerk, "Here. Put this towards the next people's bill. Don't tell them where it came from, and have a Merry Christmas."
We left the store. I was nearly in tears. "Mom, that was so sweet. I can't believe you did that."
Mom said, "I do that every year. Each Christmas, I end up in line in front of somebody like that. I hear what they say, like you did, and I reserve Christmas money every year for that situation. Take note, and do it yourself. You will be blessed Christmas morning thinking of the kids tearing open gifts that were really from Santa."

And I have. Each year, I look at how much I have to spend for the holiday. I make a list, include all of the family and close friends. I handmake some gifts, I personalize others. I set aside a little cash, and stick it in a safe spot in my purse. Each person gets something that is useful, or necessary. I don't buy "hang it on the wall without a use" gifts often. I eavesdrop, I listen in, and I stare at what's on the checkout lines around me... And for the last five holidays, I've had one of those families behind me in a checkout line, and every year, I've been Santa.

Charity - Whose Responsibility Is It?

I'm going to preface this... If you don't wanna argue politics, skip the details. If you do, keep your response comments clean enough small children can read it & not ask questions. Cheers!

Who do you give to? How much? How often? I'm a regular giver, but at church mostly. If there's a toy drive, or a food drive, or a physical "giving" campaign, I try to participate. When Hurricane Ike blew in, I organized a gift card drive at work, and participated.

All that being said, I get bent out of shape sideways when I see begging. Begging on street corners, begging in restaurants, begging in grocery store parking lots. Begging on the internet, too. I reguarly see folks that, while not Bill Gates or Oprah, aren't suffering; however, because they don't have the nicest house on the block, or the means to have high speed internet, satellite cable with premium movies, or the latest Blackberry cell phone, beg. It burns my bum! I hate seeing people begging! I hate it more when they beg on the internet - behind this wireless curtain where, I can't see if they physically need what they say they need. "I'm starving and might be stuck living on the street, so please feel bad for me." I can't do it! How do I know you're bad off? How do I know for sure you're not sitting on vacation in a nicer house than my double-wide, lapping up cable-speed internet, surfing the web all day roving for sympathy?

It's not the government's responsibility to provide charity-care for those able to work. It might not be a fun job, it might not be a high-paying job... But if you can physically think for yourself, there's work to be had. I'll admit, it ain't gonna pay for high speed cable & internet... but it will keep beans & rice on the table and the heat on low. If you need help, seriously need assistance, get your rump to a church, and get involved. If you've got the calories to beg on the internet, there's certainly some calories there that can be burned entering data in the church computer, or visiting the shut-ins in a nursing home.

This concludes my rant of the season... I usually get one neat God-driven opportunity to help someone every Christmas. It's a tradition I picked up from my mom, and I've done it every year since I've had a full-time job. See the next post.. If I've offended, or caused you pain, I am sorry. I am entitled to my opinion.

You know what they say about opinions? They're like armpits - Everybody's got at least two, and usually, one stinks. Cheers all.

Friday Fill Ins

1. The last band I saw live was Newsboys.
2. What I look forward to most on Thanksgiving is friends & trail rides.
3. My Christmas/holiday shopping is not even started, but I have a mental list for most family and friends.
4. Thoughts of what to do after work with the horses fill my head.
5. I wish I could wear regular jeans without folding the bottoms up.
6. Bagpipes blow. (That is funny!)
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to Riding Romeo in pasture, Chewie in the round pen, tomorrow my plans include shopping for new jeans & helping at the memorial roping and Sunday, I want to get off to a great start at my new lesson!

11/20/08 Chewie

I think the shoulder was a game to get out of work. Anyways, it was an unsuccessful effort with me. I did wrap his legs with polos before work, hoping any scuffle temper fit he'd throw in the round pen would be muted by the leg protection.

I didn't warm him up as fiercely as Les did, but eventually got him at the same high gallop. One thing Les wanted him to do was at "whoa", stop going at the rail, come to the pen center, and stop. I needed to remind Chewie of the game with a lunge line, but after a few minutes, he remembered. He went forward nicely, and on "whoa", came in, licking & chewing. One time he got out there really fast, tearing around the pen kicking up dust. I said, "Whoa!", stepped just in front of his shoulder, and he came in, breathing hard. I let him stand for a few minutes, rubbing him all over and told him what a good boy he was. After he caught his breath, we went back to it. The "whoa"s were easier after that. I took off the line, worked on it some more, and also worked on transitions up & down. Put his french link snaffle in, climbed on bareback, and worked on neck reining at the walk, and rode a while at trot on the rail. I was searching for the lameness Les described, but there was none to be found. I think he was messing with us...

One friend suggested saddle fit. I mentioned it to Les, and commented, "I didn't feel anything bareback, so that might've been it. You have other saddles.. Let's check those out, huh?" He agreed to try others.

Romeo has a busy weekend ahead. Let me dig up some hot coffee somewhere's... I'll find the Friday Fill Ins, get that accomplished. I've got a rant in my head I need to phish out, so ya'll will have to tolerate my temper tantrum. Sometimes society baffles me, and if I don't type it out, someone over the holiday season may hear my opinion too loudly.. that would be bad.

where's the coffee???????

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

11/18/08 Respecting the Bit

Tacked Romeo in my Western saddle, English bit. I love my hunter bit - It's a loose ring snaffle, steel with a copper french link in the middle. It's so flexible, and the copper brings out nice happy horse-spit!

I wasn't really sure if he'd obey me in the bit, stopping on "whoa", without a lot of bit pressure. His go's and whoa's were great! His neck reining, well, that left a gap. I think the english bridle, with the nice cotton web reins (I Love holding onto, they're so soft!) wasn't enough. I have english leather reins, and it might be time to use them, or pick up a pair of rubber reins.. something. Anyways, Romeo didn't want to obey neck reining cues for flip, even with added leg pressure. I think it was that the cotton reins weren't getting through his winter fuzz to his skin. Not sure... But I cantered him neck reining, and direct reining. Had my elbows bending on light contact and all. Both leads, both directions. It was a pretty neat feeling. Reins in each hand, legs securely on the horse, his mind totally on me. He had his ears turned on me more last night than he has in a while. We wrapped up with a walk down the road, plagued with goofy redneck neighbor whistling (at the deer, I assume, looking for antlers to shoot at; sad for him, they're a herd of does.. he doesn't know that I guess), and another neighbor trolling behind me in his 4-wheeler. I waited a couple times, thinking he'd pass, and Romeo could get a look at the ATV. No such luck... Oh well. Total work about a half hour. Not as much as I'd wanted, but good enough.

Talked to new instructor Miss Susan. Western saddle, western bit (tom thumb), and fat-jeans. Les was asked not to attend, so she can see me all for herself, without any fear of me "worrying what my friend might think of my riding." She doesn't know that Les has seen me at my worst, and has a knack for forcing me a bit past comfortable just to develop more confidence. That's okay... we're still on schedule for noon Sunday. I can't wait!!!

I think Chewie was faking-me out. I poked his shoulders.. both sides, in fact. He gave, but it was more a "Gimmee a cookie, witch" give than it was a "owwie that hurts, stinkie!" give. I think he isn't in pain any more than normal on his ever-changing right front.

need hoof pictures need hoof pictures need hoof pictures... if I type it over and over and over I'll remember, right??

Ya'll have a ducky good day. If you live where the snow flies, bottle some up for me. It's been cool here, and I wish there was white stuff to go with it... better than just "cold" with no particular purpose.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

11/17/08 Update on All

Chewie's shoulder still sore. Dangit... I'm having serious "sell the horse" thoughts. He's great, when he's great. Those are far between. Les insists I sell him online. I don't want to do that... There are a select people or three I don't want anywhere near him, because I know he won't be treated well. I don't even feel like discussing the matter with them, or having their notes in my inbox... Might shoot an email to the lady I got him from. I don't know... I'm almost getting too much pressure from Les to "get out of the habit of feeding a horse I can't use for anything or get any benefit from." My real hesitation is I don't want to give him away for nearly nothing, and I don't want him in an abusive cowboy home where he winds up with spur marks all over him... Hard to ferret out evil people...

Shorty came home. Report is he was staggering & weak wandering around the pasture, but ate supper grain & breakfast hay. Vet said "get him a salt block so he'll drink more." UM! Great idea, but if the horse won't drink because of cold weather, salt won't convince him. Anyways... he's back home & I look forward to seeing him again soon. I hope he isn't ridden in a while, but that's incredibly out of my control, and I hate that.

Romeo and I worked in the pasture before dark. Walk, Trot, Canter. I put a ground pole out, and asked him to canter over it. He was a little stickie, but eventually did it mid-stride without fuss. It was pretty neat to get him over it, and give him the reins in front of the fence. Sort of let him figure out where to put his feet. Total work about 45 minutes.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Shorty Goes Home Today

Les called the vet for an update, and they said, "Oh Yeah! He's good. You can come get him." Just like that... No details, no updates, nothing. I had utmost respect for these people, they were so polite, so kind,, all of that.

They called us once Sunday to let us know he was comfortable... that was it. Then suddenly today, it's "all better".

Is that normal? Are vets normally that uninformative?

Anyways, D's going to Bay City to pick the fellow up today. I'll be happy to see him standing back in the pasture at Les' house munching on grass & hay.

Chin up, Shorty.. I missed ya!

11/16 Ride Away!

After we settled Shorty at the vet's, we drove back home, made supper plans, and took off to my house.

Les tacked up Chewie, and they headed to the round pen. Les pushed him pretty hard at canter & gallop around the pen, and then added a lunge line to teach Chewie at Whoa to stop & come to the pen center. It looked harsh, but knowing what he did with Romeo, I assumed it would be okay. Les got on Chewie to ride, and immediately said to me, "He's lame, something's wrong." He said it was on the front left hoof. He got off, and I got on (in his saddle & bit). Chewie to me felt stiff, but there was no head-swinging at all at trot, either way.

Les said he "didn't want to torture or punish him", and abandoned the notion of work at canter. They walked & trotted a bit in the round pen, then went to the arena for more of the same. Work was solely on neck reining. I noticed Les was asking for neck rein much higher towards his head than I have. He got off, I got on, and while hew as a bit stiff, he still seemed to respond a bit better to me. Worked on circles & figure-8s walk & trot in the arena. Les unsaddled him at the house, and poked & pushed on Chewie all over, certain he'd find lameness in the left hoof. No such luck. The sore-spot was on his right shoulder...

I don't know what happened... Maybe the pushed warmup was too hard on him, and he over-extended trying to get out of Les' way... maybe he just wasn't physically fit enough for what was asked of him. Perhaps the strain occurred because he thought he could do more with the right leg & hoof than he can yet. Either way, Chewie stood tied while we caught & rode Romeo.

Les rode Romeo first, took him to his pasture, and immediately asked him to canter out. Romeo obeyed cheerfully. He was a saint... demonstrating I've worked very hard on him, and I guess I've done okay. I crawled on him , and worked a bit on canter up & down transitions. Romeo wanted to toss his head straight upwards for both transitions. I initiated about a dozen transitions, and he started to get it right. He'd drop his head for both, and seemed to glide in and out of the canter a bit more. It's something to work on until the lesson Sunday.

Les saddled Chewie again, and we went on a walk/trot trail ride up & down the road. One of my neighbors was driving aggressively down the road, came around a blind turn, and spooked both of the horses. We got them back calmed down, walked some more, and turned back for home. Walked the pasture fenceline a few times through the trees, and one time I looked back, I saw Chewie buck a bit with Les. He thought Chewie was being mean, I think he was just saying "Get that curb chain off my chin, and let up some rein pressure so I can just walk calmly."

The day was not as I expected, at all. I thought Chewie would be ready for the workout, and I guess I somehow thought Les wouldn't ask for the world from him. Neither was the case. I've considered leaving Chewie in my own lacking training abilities a while, just riding him myself. Then I fear he'll get bored with my round-pen canter, and my figure-9s trot in the arena. I am worried he's going to be this fussy for much longer, and fear that his feet aren't ever going to be right... I've thought about selling him, buy I don't exactly want to give him away, either. I have invested a lot of time and money, and I still can't do everything I want to with him.

Ahh.. stress... I hate it. But I will make no decisions today, but instead wait a while longer, let him rest from yesterday, and maybe it was a fluke, and he'll be sound & sane again soon.

Sick Shorty

Went to Les' house in the afternoon to help him paint the laundry room. We got the whole room painted, two coats on the trim, and called it done to dry a while.

Went outside to feed, and found D's horse Shorty laying down on his side. He was barely breathing... Les got him upright, and put his grain in the bucket. Shorty walked over to it, but didn't eat. We put him in a paddock by himself, and he laid down again. Crap!

Les hooked up the trailer to the truck while I walked Shorty in-hand. I got Shorty to poop a little bit, but it looked really painful when he did. We drove him around a while, and got a little more poop, but when we'd stop his feet on the ground, he'd try to lay down again.

Called D, and adventured on a 5-hour drive & stop rotation around the county. We'd load him up, drive him around, unload, walk in-hand, load, drive, repeat. The cowboys tell me the driving around "usually rattles the colic loose." I wasn't convinced, but he's not my horse, so I couldn't say much. Their regular vet was out of town, and not taking calls.

By 9:30pm I was exhausted, having been up since 4:30am for Chewie's appointment, and after having a very full busy day. I suggested a call to my vet in Victoria, and we could all drive up there together. D resisted, and didn't want "another vet working his horse. He'd be fine." I suggested we drive to my house, where I had some Banamine paste. Give Shorty the paste, and then drive him back home. They agreed, which confused me. They didn't want to drive to the south end of town to a vet's, but they'd go to the north side of town (farther away) to my yard for medicine. Hmmph. Arrived at home, gave them the whole tube. They gave Shorty one dose of Banamine, and headed back home.

Sunday morning, I called Les to check on Shorty. No good news. When they got home, he looked like he was improving, so they called it a night. Les got up Sunday morning early, and found Shorty laying down, again. I called every vet I knew in Victoria, nobody wanted to treat the colic call, or they were on vacation. Les found a vet in Bay City (ER horse hospital), and they agreed to take him. D said, "Do what you've got to for him, even surgery. I have to do something at church today, but go ahead." Again, I was puzzled.. D rode in the trailer all night Saturday, refusing to leave Shorty's side. But church calls Sunday morning, and he wouldn't even come see the horse. Hmmph. Whatever!

I drove to Les' house, and we drove to Bay City. The news was half-good, but of course not great. Shorty had a normal pulse rate, slightly elevated temperature, but cooperated so well with the appointment, the vet was optimistic. He was incredibly dehydrated. They gave him a shot of something to relax the stomach cramps, took some blood samples, tubed him with mineral oil. I've never seen that before - up the nose into the tummy. YUCK! The vet chose to keep Shorty for a day or two, wanting to see him urinate two or three times on his own before releasing him. He believed it wasn't a twisted gut, but rather an impaction. We got back in the truck, and left the little guy behind. I didn't get to see the vet try to "clean him out" from the back-side, something I thought I might see. Les figured the vet did that right after we left, and didn't want to scare me with the examination.

I have learned a lot about colic, now... perhaps more than I wanted to. At least if it happens to my horses, I will know some of the basics. I have an idea what things to do before calling a vet, and I also recognized I will call the vet early rather than late. Had we called on Saturday night, we might've prevented the dehydration, and possibly prevented the ER trip Sunday.

Need to restock my first-aid medicine kit with another tube of Banamine. Glad I had it, even if it only brought Shorty a brief relief.

11/15/08 New Feet & Romeo-Ride

Loaded Chewie up at dark-thirty, and headed out for Mr. Don's house. I really do need to get pictures this time... The appointment went great! Don was happy to see some of the progress Chewie has made in growth & balance. He commented in his trimming of the right front "This looks a lot better than it has. The bruising is getting trimmed out, he's not so sensitive on it. We're clearing up whatever was causing that laminitis-looking mess. He's not 100%, but it's getting better."

It was a pleasant appointment. We talked a bit about Romeo, and he mentioned a product to me designed for easy-keepers. It's called "Barn Bag", and it's from a company in Al. Supposed to have all the vitamins & minerals horses need in it, and then calories and starches are to come from whole oats and hay. Interesting concept, and something I will check into.

Took Chewie home in the windy cool weather. It was a snappy windy morning, northern front blustering through the area.

Caught Romeo, rode him about a while. I free lunged him in the round pen for about 15 minutes, out of complete curiosity 1)what he'd do in the round pen, if he'd still blow-up & be goofy, which he didn't, and 2)get the goobers out from not being ridden, then being asked to work in cool weather. He was great. Rode him for about a half hour, walk, trot, canter. Great ride, lots of easy transitions, cantered left & right without issue. I have learned if I ask for canter now on the straight-aways, he gets his lead, no head-leaning necessary. Don't even really have to concentrate on squeeze with my outside leg. It was a pleasant 45 minutes with him. I stayed in the pasture this ride, and didn't wander down the roadways.

11/14/08 Shots & Coggins

Didn't ride Thursday due to dog-hunt. Didn't ride Chewie Friday since he was six weeks due for feet trims, and I didn't see a reason to cause something bad to happen & ruin him before Saturday's appointment.

Romeo was due for shots & coggins on 11/23, the day of my first lesson. So I took him in Friday.

Current health is good. Cresty neck, vet says take some weight off. Not sure I understand. His neck's been like it is since I bought him - I think due to staying a stallion and breeding a few times before he was gelded.
Vitals good. Eyesight good. Legs & back still strong.
He got all of his shots. Coggins bloodwork taken, and a minor dental float.

Loaded him back in the trailer, and headed out. The vet jokingly said to me, "If he works cows, we might need you a time or two to help us move some cows. Help the cows get used to the horse, and help the horse get used to the 4-wheeler we've been using." Not such a bad idea. Might follow-up on that, since I trust him pretty good.

11/13/08 MacKenzie... Bad dog!

Went out to feed the boys, and I took the dogs, like I normally do. Didn't think much of it, as I let go of Kenzie's flexi-leash. She normally stays right around the stalls, comes when I call her... Yeah, you all know where this is going.

Off she went, like a flash. She dove into the pasture woods, ran down the fence line, and ducked underneath the neighbor's barbed wire fence. I took Allie with me in hopes she'd at least come back to see the other dog. No such luck. I called and called, and drove up & down the two roads in the neighborhood, called, and called, and called. Nothing.. Well after dark, I gave up, and went inside. Had a friend come over & call along with me, still no such luck. Nothing we did was getting her to come back home.

I went to bed, frustrated. Woke up a few times not able to sleep, but figured Kenzie had layed down somewhere in the shadows, and would be easier to find in daylight.

Got up 5a.m. Friday morning, took Allie outside for her morning dailies, and there was Kenzie, standing on the front porch, leash dragging behind her covered in sticks & rose hedge. Took her for the morning walk, and brought her back inside.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

11/11/08 Chewie

Tacked up, off to the round pen. Dark clouds were looming... and my nerves got frayed. Goofy neighbor (who defines Jeff Foxworthy's Redneck culture, and confirms it for me every time I see or hear him rustling next door) decided to shoot at something.. twice, actually. Once while we were standing at the trailer, I swear it was a hunting rifle, gunfire towards my house. Scared the jeebies out of me.. he's too close to be shooting towards my house...

Side rein warmup - with a lot of canter work. He fought the side reins a bit to start, then got increasingly better. I wanted to ride, so I walked back to the front, plugged the lights in, and crossed my fingers I still had two lights. Bingo! Two lights on the pole still work, and the round pen is fully lit. I jumped on, and walked him out, yapping on the phone the whole time. The hunting rifle went off a second time while we were out there, and I just didn't want to chance it going off a third time while I was on Chewie's back, asking for a transition. Nutty neighbor.

Worked him about 45 minutes total. Cowboy Les and I have been talking a lot about working with Chewie, and I'm trying to figure out when to get Chewie to his place for training. Romeo's so darn cooperative now, and I flat out enjoy riding him. I want Chewie and I to have that much fun together...

Rains are glooming up the skies again today. No worries - we need it. I still haven't had so much at the house to be sploshing in puddles to reach the barn. I won't complain about the rainfall until I have to wear galoshes and splosh my way around, with the round pen under water..

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Neat Day, and It's Vets Day

It's neat how I can walk in here to my desk, blog some sad song lyrics, and then just as quick, let them go. I was cheerfully greeted in what I feared would be a miserable day. Good conversation, and spent the middlest part of my day with an ex installing new lab equipment. There was initially enough tension in the room to cut cheesecake with a chainsaw, but it subsided, and we were almost getting along, having a complete conversation without saying a word... Much more relaxing than I anticipated.

But anyways, moving along.. "Back at the Outhouse, things are piling up..." =)

I read Mrs Mom's update, and realized, I'm a slacker.. It's Veterans Day. Thank you to our veterans. I'm going to list a few I know..

Thank you Carl A, for serving overseas, in secret intelligence, snooping in on the bad guys changing their boxer shorts
Thanks Dad, for having the courage to do what I don't
Thank you, Uncle Butch, for your service
Thank you Grandpa J, for your commitment, and example to your sons
Thank you Robin, for your service in the Reserves

Winter Rain

I've got occasional rainstorms at home, and downpours in my head... Listened to my Miranda Lambert CD today on the way in... this song pretty much sums up what's on my mind...

I don't want to see you or feel you
I don't want to look into your eyes
I don't want to touch you or miss you
I just wanna love your memory tonight

I can't handle all this pain
All we ever do is fight anyway
Why we even try I haven't a clue
With hearts involved there's way too much to lose

I don't want to see you or feel you
I don't want to look into your eyes
I don't want to touch you or miss you
I just wanna love your memory tonight

You were something else to look at
Your intentions they weren't all bad
You tried to make me something I wasn't
Lord knows there ain't no future in all that

Horses got rained on yesterday - Good for grass, great for the hay order I've got waiting. Pooey for riding. Trying to sort out feed options for Romeo, and considering a few upcoming ride options... Ya'll have a duckie day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Book Tagged

  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open the book to page 56.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the next two to five sentences.
  5. Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one - pick the closest.
  6. Tag five people to do the same.

Principles of Instrumental Analysis 5th Edition, Skoog, Holler, Nieman

3B Operational Amplifier Circuits

Operational amplifiers are used in circuit networks that contain various combinations of capacitors, resistors, and other electrical components. Under ideal conditions, the output of the amplifier is determined entirely by the nature of the network and its components and is independent of the operational amplifier itself. Thus, it is important to examine some of the many useful operational amplifier networks.

I am a nerd I am a nerd I am a nerd....

I'll tag a few of you tomorrow.... hide if you can. =)

A Goal Accomplished

I guess in the weekend recap it didn't even occur to me to mention the goal I've had since I bought my first horse... I finally did something I've been wanting to do.

Friday evening, riding with Les, as we turned just off the roadside on the first turnrow, it's more like a dirt grass road than a tractor path. Anyways, I shortened my reins a little teenie bit. Les asked me, "Are you going?" I replied, "Will it be a problem?" He said, "Nope. Go for it."

I squeezed Romeo up into a lope, and off we went. It felt slow, so I kissed & squeezed for more. It was a breeze-in-the-ears gallop, flying down the little lane. It was a long straight shot, no place for holes or surprises. The family Jack Russell, Ginger, was running out in front of us, and I kept Romeo going..

It's been a huge dream and goal for me to have the courage to gallop across an open space, looking nowhere but out ahead, wind rustling through my ears, nothing to worry about, no fear, no distraction, just an all-out run. And we did it...

Whatta whatta rush! Wheeeeeeeeeee...

Next goal? To canter in a warm-up pen with other horses around at the same gait,, fearless. Les and I both cantered a bit together Friday night. He said to me, "Keep up with me now", and squeezed Blue into a lope. Blue launched upwards before shooting forwards, and it caught me off guard. I did get Romeo into a lope, and he certainly acted like he had tokeep up at the same speed.... But we did it. It wasn't relaxed, nor was it pretty, but we did it. That's the first step...


Weather was wonderful... I have decided that Romeo's so easy to ride, it's high-time Chewie get with the program and become that agreeable.

Tacked him Western, and gave him a good, hard warmup in the round pen. Lots and lots and lots of canter, hard canter at that.

Took him to the arena, and we worked on all neck reining, walk, and trot. All on a loose rein, lots of figure eights, lots of circles, lots of serpentines, and all on a loose rein. I pushed him on with my legs a little, and got most of my turns off of neck rein & leg pressure. More leg than I'd like to use. He stumbled a bit, and by the end, finally started picking his feet up enough to not be stumbling. About a solid hour's work - he was tired when we were done, because he quit arguing about turning on leg, and also stopped easily when asked on breath instead of sharp rein.

Caught Romeo, took him to the pasture, walk, trot, canter right, canter left, a little more trot. Again, had to push him on to keep him in the canter - might be a response to the 10% feed he's on. I'm entirely not sure what to be feeding him, because I don't want him hot & stupid, but I have a feeling the 10% sweet feed just isn't enough to keep him motivated. I don't want to ride in spurs, but it might be necessary. Not entirely sure what to do .... He and I cooled off with a walk-out down the road a bit farther. Neighbors next door spooked him up good on the walk back - tamping poles into the ground (or something,,, I didn't stare to figure out what goofiness he was doing), and clothes flapping in the wind. I stayed calm, with Romeo's head up in the sky, ears and eyes wide, trying real hard to just gallop home & get away from the boogers. No big deal, I kept telling him..

Quiet night - Watched some tv, had beans & cornbread for supper, relaxed & snoozed to bed early.


Spent the morning cleaning house & running errands. Before I knew it, it was 12:45pm, and Les & MG wife were in the truck in my driveway.

Loaded Romeo, and we went to Les' mom's house to trail ride a while. Wandered their cow pastures, hay meadows, shooshed a few deer. The biggest adventure of the ride was the small deep ditch. Les had been leading the ride, and I guess didn't anticipate the ditch- surprise. MG & Amigo ambled through it just fine. Les & Sugar had to hand-walk through it, after some serious arguing that ended in Les getting off & hand-leading her through it. Romeo hesitated a bit, but overall, went through it good. Les & Sugar were right at the other side, and I had to run into some bushes to keep from running into them. Dangit! I now know when I'm trail riding, if there's an obstacle, make the way clear before proceeding on. We rode for quite a while, mostly at a walk, but it was a good ride.

Celebrated Les' weight-loss efforts with a supper trip to Texas Roadhouse. I called it the "220 party". Les had been telling me, "I drop to 220#, I'm taking you girls out to dinner." I kept asking him, "Is it time for the 220# Roadhouse yet??"

I ate too much, or drank too much, either/or, I got a little sick, but was much better after we got home. Fed the kids, and curled myself up on the couch. A good day overall.


Scrambled home from work, fed Chewie, watered the dogs, and ran on my way... Romeo in-tow, to Les' house.

We tacked up, and off we went. Me on Romeo, Les on Blue. Blue was rather full of himself, jigging along the roadside. Short ride along a few turnrows before the sun set. I got some good gallops out on Romeo. *giggle* Had to push him to keep him going on. What a fortunate problem to have. Finished up back at the house, and I rode in a pasture lot past dusk. Could barely see where we were going before I hung up my saddle pads.

Dinner, massage (sleep), woke myself up long enough to drive home.

Good ride, good food, good company..

Friday, November 7, 2008

I've been Tagged

Book-Tagged, that is. I'll get to the details here soon, but to pique your interest (and demonstrate the level of nerdy-ness I often shield ya'll from)... Here's the first book I looked at in my office.

Principles of Instrumental Analysis 5th Edition, Skoog, Holler, Nieman

Warning to all the following readers - It ain't horses. I'm an Analytical Chemist by career and paycheck... Pg 56 is in Chapter 3 Operational Amplifiers in Chemical Instrumentation

Bet'cha can't wait for that book detail... *giggle*

Friday Fill Ins

1. My blueprint for success includes a secure horse that knows how to move out, but also how to stop without overreacting to rider fear.

2.Sugar-Free Lifesavers, tropical fruit flavors was the last candy I ate.

3. The best facial moisturizer I've ever used is Cetaphil, Sensitive Skin.

4. Hot Stone Massage, from Woodhouse Day Spa can be good therapy.

5. I'd like to tell you about my snowmobile rollover incident from my childhood.

6. Being very Independant is my strongest characteristic.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to trail ride with Les and a massage, tomorrow my plans include housework chores, laundry, and another ride on both boys and Sunday, I want to enjoy a peaceful nap late afternoon!

Reassembling my Life

Coming back home has been refreshing. As I moved here four years ago end of November, I wondered, "What am I thinking? This is too far from anything I've known. I can't be this far from everything I am used to. Family being so far is bad enough... I'm not like anybody here."

I've quickly fit in, got a good job, and good friends - All things I didn't have much luck at in South Carolina. Here, I get ribbed with Yankee jokes, get jostled for being a little girl learning how to grow up, and it's all in jest. Nobody seriously insults me, or jabs me for being single, independant, and addicted to my horses. My pets are my life - They're four legged children, and they know it.

I was off work Wednesday, and decided the day was theirs. All of them... for being in the pasture with basic care and no affection, and for being locked up in little vet pens, with food & potty breaks. I walked the dogs, loved ferociously on the cats, and played with the horses.

I caught Chewie, and planned on only free-lunging him in the arena. He was such a champ, I moved him all over the arena in varying circle sizes. Since that wasn't a big issue for him, I decided to make it more of a challenge, and put four ground poles along one rail. He trotted them, walked them, jumped two or three at a time, and even cantered a couple. He was having a blast, and I was having fun watching him. His total work was about 40 minutes. He did a lot of licking & chewing during the work, so I think it was a good time for all.

Tacked Romeo up, and kind of braced for a fast ride. I planned to ride him as long as it took for an easy canter I could sit comfortably, both leads. When I asked for his first canter, I thought, "I didn't warm him up long enough at the trot, and he's probably going to fly, but here goes nothing." He was a dream. Romeo cantered on like he'd never had a day off, and within about six strides, I gave up the saddle horn, and focused on where he was headed. We cantered left, cantered right, and finished up working on speed adjustment to the left. In twenty minutes' time, I had his full attention, a canter I was sitting in securely, and his brakes were amazing. We finished up the work with a long walk and a little trot on the side of the road. I even got good trot on the roadside, something he wouldn't agreeably do in the past.

A great Wednesday with the kids...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It was a Trip

And a half. I'm in Charlotte now, half-way back home. The trip was one I needed to make, but not one I can say I enjoyed. I was asked, "Will you miss being home?" and I answered, "I won't lie. I'm looking forward to getting out of the middle of this mess." Maybe unkind, but honest.

Had the chance to ride Sunday afternoon with a co-worker of Mom's. He has a 20 YO AHQA mare, Caramel, and a 2YO Percheron-Paint cross, Orion. I rode Caramel extensively, walk, jog, lope. Very sweet, well trained pleasure horse. She responded to every cue I gave, including leg & seat cues. Very relaxing and encouraging that I haven't lost my knowledge of how to ride a trained horse. Also rode Orion just a little, and learned how much I don't know about riding an untrained baby. I asked him to turn left, bit and leg, he refused, I thumped with my right leg, he crow-hopped. He landed, I thumped again. *giggle* He turned. Caramel was just what the doctor ordered on Sunday afternoon... much appreciated. I have a short video clip and a picture I'll get out here eventually.

USAirways surprised me with a middle-seat from here to Houston - An unfortunate surprise. I would have much more appreciated an aisle or window (as I thought we paid for), and even tried to upgrade to First Class, but no success. The middle it is. I didn't get a boarding pass for this second flight in Pittsburgh, and here, when the lady handed me the boarding pass, she said, "It's not a great seat, but you have one." I thought, "What the heck?! That wasn't what I paid for... oh well. It's not worth the argument. People are stupid!"

I am blessed... and I'll be very relaxed in my home-state, even if it does mean being stuck in Houston traffic headed home. I will leave you with the same message I'm sharing with everybody I talk to today...
Vote Early
Vote Often!
Can't complain for the next four years unless you participate!!!