Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hoof Update, and Other Remarks

Chewie's hoof is improving. He was a little happier to walk out on it yesterday, so I soaked again, lathered it up again, and bandaged it safely. He's still cooperating taking his meds, which is much appreciated. His lost shoe still hasn't been located in the pasture, so I think I'll saddle Romeo tonight & go searching. Pathetic excuse to ride the pony... Little Man will have a purpose.

In my "other remarks" for the day, I just went on a discussion board I frequent to dispell the use of DMSO for pain relief. Holy geez! This stuff is even cautioned on use for horses, for crying out loud. I pulled out an MSDS for the stuff, where it plainly states "chronic skin use over time has shown central nervous system effects such as dizziness, nausea, etc."

For crying out loud! Why can't we just go to the doctor when we're sick?! Is it really worth the risk to "self medicate", when there are over-the-counter creams and medicines to try? What level of common sense is required to read labels & research thoroughly before pill-popping? I'm all for herbal medicine, and mineral treatments, after they're suggested by a medical professional!! Those folks study hard in school to be qualified to treat us for our ills. I'm taking chromium picolinate & L-glutamine everyday for hypoglycemia, at a GP doctor's recommendation. The same folks that think DMSO is still safe probably want to insulate with asbestos & paint lead-based junk on the school room walls.

Please don't self-medicate, please don't diagnose over the internet. Save the cash & go to a doctor if you don't have insurance. If it feels bad enough to miss work, miss school, or leave you spending hours on the internet trying to guess the diagnosis, go to a doctor!

this little moment brought to you by my chemist little mind. tune in next time for "regular folks self-diagnose and end up in the ER for side-effects"... HMPH

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fricking Fracking mumble mumble mumble

Sunday Chewie gleefully flung his right shoe off. I almost thought I saw him giggling when he galloped by me, kicked up, and the shoe departed his hoof. I checked the foot, and it looked okay, not tore up or damaged. The epoxy padding was still on there, and I figured it couldn't do too much damage for a day or so.

Monday morning I called Farrier Mike, reported the missing shoe. He responded he'd go to put it back on, I replied "okay, but if he needs barefoot & soaking, please let me know that, too". Response? "K" .. hmm.. awful professional, but *whatever*.

3:45pm Monday I got a phone call, "Jennifer, this is Mike, we just went to look at Chewie's hoof, and it's too tore up to put a shoe on. He's going to have to regrow his hoof, and build up a hoof wall so I can put a shoe on it, and not have the same risk of quicking him again. That means he'll be off for about 6 to 8 weeks while his hoof grows back. Put some terpentine on his sole so it will toughen up, and he can put normal weight on it. He's got some wrap on there now, but he's real tender, and doesn't want to put weight on it. I'll call you again later so we can talk."

Good grief. I was terrified. What could have honestly happened in 24 hours that would've taken that much foot off?! I called my vet. Dr. Moscatelli was a hero. Doc says, "Come to the office. I'll give you a penicillin shot to give him, a tetanus shot, antibiotic pills to mash in his food, iodine to pour over the nail hole. It probably looked like it was healing then got worse because it's an abscess brewing. Come get the drugs, we'll talk."

On the way home from work, I stopped at Doc's office. All the girls that know Chewie reassured me in their "nursey ways" that it'd all work out, just as abscesses before. I gathered my drugs, paid my bill, and headed home.

I changed clothes, settled the dogs, cats, and reassured Romeo. Found Chewie standing in his stall (voluntarily), with pink vetwrap & duct tape on his hoof. Gathered my abscess supplies, hoof bucket, hay bag with a flake, and "caught" my horse. His eyes just said, "Momma, make it quit hurting, please?" He took his shots like a champ, one in the hiney ("It's a pretty easy muscle to stick", says the Doc), one in the skin of his neck, and while he seemed sore, he was putting more weight on that hoof than the last abscess, which was comforting. I took the farrier's wrap off, and noticed it wasn't tore up, that bad. It looked like the equilox on the inner-outside of his hoof (need to learn what that's really called) had come off, and took a little hoof wall with it. Overall, the sole wasn't squish to the touch, and the wall was mostly intact. I gave the sole a good push with my fingertips, and he didn't angrily pull it away, but he did flinch a bit when I pushed near the quicked nail hole.

I've become somewhat of a "hoof soaking expert" since Chewie and I became family. With hay in his face, and a sore foot, that good boy will stand in the bucket of salt water.

*Sturdy and somewhat small black thick rubber bucket, warm water, add handful of epsom salts, stir
*Clean hoof, place in water bucket, stand for 15-20 minutes (insert hay in face here)
*Rubber glove hands
*Remove from water, drip-dry
*Iodine over nail hole, Ichthammol on sole
*Cotton padding
*Vet wrap
*Duct tape patch (I'll take a picture - it's a nifty shortcut to wrapping the duct tape in strands around the hoof, and seems to hold up pretty good)
*Reward with a cookie or three

Overall, it wasn't in as bad shape as Farrier Mike had me fearing. It might still be infected, but the drugs should address that pretty easily.

I'm going to miss riding him these next few weeks. A lot ... Romeo's barefoot, and while shoes on him will make him more frequent to ride, he might not appreciate it, and the stiffness/soreness might rear it's ugly face again, making him chasey & goofy. I've talked to Cowboy Les, and he said, "You know you've always got four horses to ride (Romeo, Amigo, Sugar, and Blue)." This time away from Chewie might give me more confidence to canter the other horses. I won't have a lot of choice - Romeo isn't going to want to canter much, if at all. Amigo is easy going enough I can practice, and the others will have to teach me a bit more confidence.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Just Stay Calm, Don't Overreact...

That's about as likely to happen as pennies falling from the sky (where gravity & momentum don't cause said penny to crack somebody's skull).

Caught Chewie for a lunging last night, to some surprising sadness. He's limping. Not every stride, but eveyr few, and just enough "every fews" to cause lameness. I undid his surcingle, called Farrier and left a detailed message of his condition. Got a text message back stating "We'll be there tonight, after 6pm." I responded, "Can't be there, have to go out for brake repair."

Follow up Text message "If it's okay, we'll go anyway to check on him". My response, "Fine, but please call with any updates." Follow up "Will do". "Thank you" "No problem". Note the exaggerated effort to be kind... I tried. I really did. *gag*

Received a phone call later that evening. I'm told to "leave him some more days of R&R, and let us know if he gets better or worse." It's caused by the quicked hoof, and he's still healing, I need to be more patient.

So patient it is. I will wait a bit longer, and check him tonight. I am fearing abscess, but can't prove it. stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid...

Romeo & I worked out this morning. Focused on him, 99% of the ride. He is going to have to learn to be pushed up into the bit, that tossing his head upwards only yields more bit, stiffer arms, and less cooperation from me. I put legs on, asked for trot, and the second he popped his head up, was the moment I pushed more until he gave. He knows the right answer, he's just screening whether he wants to answer me or not. Overall, a happy hour's work.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

If I Were a Natural HorseTrainer...

Which one would I be... See, I've been sitting on my arse watching RFD-TV a bit too much. Can't ride, heck, can't even put any effort into my boys with the weather, and the hoof/back/whatever it is. So I've been watching the horse trainer TV shows, and reflecting on what I see..

Ryan Gingerich - tap the horse with a whip on his front leg, he goes forward. Stop him, make him go backwards, repeat, repeat, repeat. Get in saddle, tap with heel rather than whip, repeat, repeat, repeat. His only clients are spazy goofy, can't control 'em ever at all horses, and riders that don't seem to know anything. They've taught their horses that disobedience is acceptable. Lesson? Nada, nothing, zero, zilch

Julie Goodnight - Gadgets for headset, multi saddles, variety of riders. Each a specific problem, and a specific lesson. My fave had to be the young boy that rode with his legs far in front, and hands up as if holding a serving platter. She took his reins from him, asked him to stand in the saddle & almost perch forward. Second fave had to be the Ayyy-rab that couldn't be caught. I pondered to myself while she was following that goofy nut horse around the arena, "How'd they catch her & bring her here in the first place? Did they free-chase here to this arena?" Lesson? Nada, nothing, zero, zilch. The lessons are so specific to particular problems, there hasn't been an episode yet I could use

Pat Parelli - Lots of commentary while they tell stories & move horses about in a show demo. They advertise buying all their gadgets all through the show, explaining only enough of the methods to make a curious horsewoman want to buy the gadgets and books. Horses step on boxes, push balls, scary-trot past plastic squishy barrels, and spook at their shadows. Maybe I got in on the parelli-game a bit late, because I don't see education, I see advertising. Lesson? buy the junk to get a better horse, because we've got secrets to training, and you have to pay for them.

Clinton Anderson - Chase the horse, chase the horse, chase the horse, chase the horse, flex, flex, flex, flex, chase the horse, repeat. LOL.. I'm giggling just writing it. On the ground, it's a lotta horses cantering around, and a gazillion lateral flexions. Under saddle, plenty of flexions, bending necks, and a gazillion rollbacks. Then, fast forward through all the training lessons you'd have to buy to see, and the horses are suddenly in a curb bit, performing bridleless training activities. I missed something in the middle here, too. Anytime I've tried these techniques, I get the basics, and somewhere along the way, we miss something, because I just end up with goofy spooky sensitive horses galloping out on a rope halter & lunge line. Lesson? Buy the junk for a better horse. Nose knots are necessary, as is the $100 version of a lunge whip. All the secrets must be in the purchase dvds.

Ken McNabb - Useful, but again, I feel the "middle" is missing. His latest shows have been with wild colts, and horses with attitude. The last one I recorded was with a horse that was supposed to be horribly difficult to saddle. He pulled hard about 3 times on a rope halter, and that gelding gave up. He quit fussing, quit trying to buck, accepted saddle & rider, and never once got yanked in a one-rein stop. Ken used that one rein just long enough to get the horse's attention, and pushed him back forward. Lesson? Good for getting nervous-nelly control, but not particularly helpful for me.

Where do all these trainers fill in the blanks? What happens between "playing a game with my horse" and getting him to happily jump over barrels? What steps did I miss between "flexing my horse's head side to side 300 times", and scoring 1s and 2s in a reining pattern? How do I get from walking on the ground with dressage whip, tapping the horse's front leg, to neck reining & going on a trail ride?

Why can't they run an episode with a horse that has the basics, and demonstrate a middle-step? Why is it "basics" or "experts"?? Anybody ever wanted to see an episode of "intermediate" other than me?

My musings & rants for the day.... A reminder to the weather it needs to stop raining so I can go shut my brain off & just ride.

OOOOH... Response to Comments, firing back up...

Thanks, ladies, for the kind remarks to yesterday's blog, along with the one I received externally. I was horribly ticked off when I wrote this, and after I sent a follow-up note to him similar, he responded a bit kinder.

What ticked me was a remark that with his clients there is "no room for mistakes." When I brought that back out as justification for me being upset, I got this long lecture about how difficult my horse's contracted heels, thin walls, and sensitive soles are. There was some other remark like "doing me a favor" by performing the service. Yeah, a "favor"... costs me every month.

He offered to clear my balance as a truce-gesture. I told him, "thank you, it is your decision to do that, and while it's horribly generous, and not necessary, I won't argue". If I have a chiro bill, and any subsequent abscess charges as a result of that bloody nail, the balance I owe should about make us "even", nothing to be said for all the days off work for both of us.

It's worth mentioning that, the last time my horse was quicked this severe, it sat dormant for about a month, a festering abscess. One Saturday afternoon, I found him three-legged lame, swollen, and stagnant, acting like he'd torn a tendon or broke his leg. After an afternoon on the phone, convincing him to limp on the trailer, driving 30mph for an hour and half to the vet, an Equine ER appointment and many heartbreaking tears later, I had a $400 bill and a blown abscess at the coronary band. The stupid thing is finally about grown out. Every time I see the Equilox rasped off, and get a view of the leftover 'hole' growing out, I want to cry all over again. Yes, I was justified in being upset last Friday. It was a miracle I didn't cry or scream on the spot.

Rain bands continue to hammer the area. Work evac'd early yesterday, but I got tied up trying to figure out to do with getting other co-workers out, and left "on time" (for the first time all week). Boss is back in town, and that finally relieves me of the extra responsibility. I can go back to just doing my normal job now. Chewie and Romeo stand in the pasture, patiently grazing and waiting for the storms to pass.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Maybe I am, so What?!

Farrier confronted me yesterday afternoon & this morning. In his not-so-humble opinion, I'm uptight, selfish, and get upset too easily. This all in response to my recent frustrations - cancelled lessons, misplaced nail, injured horse, scratched show...

Yeah, so? I am allowed to have any reaction I want, I think. I'm allowed to have a frowning face, and a sad expression when my life goes unexpected. I think I'm justified asking for an explanation for a cancelled lesson (when I made special plans for the event).

They've told me before they like coming to my house, and like working with my horses. Now that I'm upset, I'm not a favorite client. Too bad.

I never said a mean word when the blood came out of his hoof. I never made any accusations, never said, "you ruined my weekend." In fact, when I felt like crying about the whole thing, I tried to hide behind Chewie's neck while they worked, ashamed I was upset by the event. When the comment was made, "it'll be okay. You can still probably compete Sunday, even with this problem.", I responded, "I've scratched, and I don't want to look like an idiot & change my word again.. I'm not going, it's that simple."

I live alone, my family's halfway across the country, I moved here knowing nobody, yep! I'm going to look out for myself, and I will be upset when I perceive mistreatment or being taken advantage of.

Plenty of Cat 2 Dolly rain bands around - the eye is far south, but living on the "Bad Side" yields rain & wind... yuckie.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Chewie 07/21

TS Dolly, is, well, still TS Dolly. Looking like it'll stay south, give Brownsville a soaking, perhaps a few inches of much needed precip here.

Pulled the big Moose out of his pasture last night, polo wrapped front legs, and headed to the round pen for a romp. He seemed a bit better, tho' irregular. One little fit at a canter-left transition, but that might've just been "happy horse". Worked free lunge for about 20 minutes. To mix it up, I sacked him out with the whip a bit, over his back, head, neck, and legs. Then we worked on lateral flexion. Ended up he was happiest when I just tapped the girth area, rather than pulling on his halter. I either need to find a rope halter with the nose-knots, or keep going with the web halter and carry sugar cubes with me. Total work, including the flexion, about 45 minutes.

Participated in a telemarketing survey yesterday while cooking supper. Weirdest thing... the fellow asking the questions insisted he didn't know anything about politics, and didn't know the slightest thing about the upcoming Election. Posh - ImPossible! There's no way Junior isn't wondering why gas cost so much, and I don't believe he hasn't had a single lunch discussion about the Presidential Candidates. Bull-schmookey. The longer the survey went on, the more I was convinced he was lying. Most of the survey questions progressed towards, "Do you blame global warming for high fuel prices?" I answered vehemently "NO", and steered my answers more towards gas costing so much because Congress won't get off their rumps & approve offshore drilling, allowing us to increase supply, reducing demand, reducing the price. Anytime I'd give a conservative answer to his questions, he'd respond with a sad, frustrated, "oh". The man was lying - he was a bleeding heart liberal, and obviously didn't appreciate me skewing his "global warming is my fault" survey. I'm going to keep living in the country, drive my truck to work 35 miles each way, and buy as much gas as I need to keep it running. I'm whining about the high cost too; but I'm not going to blame Exxon Mobile & the like for making a profit. They've got kids to feed, too... some of them probably even have horses to feed.

Monday, July 21, 2008

That Ew Yuckie Face

Stopped in here to get to an Intellicast weather update for TS Dolly..

Amidst a crazy, chaotic, pulling me like Gumby in 5 directions kind of day... I glanced up and saw Chewie's "EW YUckie Face"...

I couldn't help but laugh. Just might need to get him to make the Ew Yuckie face tonight to cheer me up.

C'mon Dolly,,, make up yer mind.

Chewie Update

Bute Friday night, Saturday morning & evening, and Sunday morning. He wandered around the pasture all weekend, allowing me to drug him without a halter, and scratch all over without fuss or fight. Seemed overall just sad that I'd come out to him with nothing in-hand, except the occasional paste of drugs. No halter, no cookies, no obvious aim to "catch" him for work. He watched from the front of the pasture yesterday while Romeo and I worked, and it appeared he was pouting, sad he didn't get "chosen" for the day's ride. Last night, after riding with cowboy-Les, I intended to give him another dose of bute, and he galloped off from me, whizzed around the front of his pasture, trotting happily all around, almost to say, "Mom, I'm fine. Can we get back to work now?"

Romeo eased the lonely yesterday with a barefoot romp in the round pen. He warm-up free lunged like a genius, rather than the nutty goofball I had previously. After about 15 minutes, I concluded he didn't have any goofy in him, tightened a bareback pad on him, put on his french link bridle, and hopped on.. He carried me through a nice loose rein walk, loose rein trot & jog, and stopped easily every time. In warmup I did a little "neck to leg rein", hoping to get him at a neck rein walk & trot one of these days. He was peaceful, much like he used to be, before the hunter series & shoes. Maybe the saddle girth irked him, maybe the shoes hurt, maybe the arthritis is just too much for jumping & strenous training, who knows. Nevertheless, I had my Old Man back Sunday, and he knew I appreciated it.

Spent the evening with Cowboy Les & his Roping crew of horses. I enjoyed some romping rounds loping on Amigo, him enduring me learning to stick my feet out in front of me, and focus solely on balance, without white knuckles bracing on the saddle horn. For grins & giggles, I got a walk & trot on Blue, a friend of his' horse. o O ( SHhhh.. Blue.. don't tell your PaPa I rode you.. it's our little secret.. besides, he isn't an www-user, nor a blog-reader ... shhhh ) O o We enjoyed about an hour & half's ride, then bumbled on back to Les' house, where I walked & trotted on his mare, Sugar. All three are AQHA, but incredibly different to ride. Each has their own bad habit, Amigo only lopes on one lead & cuts the arena small, turning sharply on the short sides. Blue acts insensitive, then over-reacts to leg pressure at what seems no apparent reason or timing. Sugar swishes her tail in anger anytime inside leg pressure is applied, obviously annoyed that the rider is confident enough to make her move out. Perhaps after Les puts some sweat in her saddle pad on an arena day-out, I'll have confidence to lope her. She was probably the softest of the bunch, giving to rein pressure, cooperating with leg cues, stopping on a request. It was an awesome distraction to missing the show.

None are as good as my boy Chewie, but all were better than sitting at home moping around upset about missing the event.

News reports say TS Dolly is bouncing around in the Gulf. Allright you stupid storm... Bring me rain, fine. Bring me bad rain & bad wind, I'm going to be a GROUCH. Anybody gotta wild, strong box fan I can borrow? We'll blow that stupid thing far south of us, so we'll just get a toucha rain from it. Don't want mud.. mud leads to abscesses.. abcesses lead to a grouchy momma, and a sick horse, and huge vet bills... no strong weather, puh-leeze...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Have I seen You before?

Hey lady facing me in Burger King in the carpy looking t shirt, and shorts... playing with that $100+ cell phone... haven't I seen you before?

As I sit here, blogging away and checking for cheap gas before I hit the grocery store, I swear I've seen that lady before.

She looks an awful lot like the lady that was begging for gas money about a week ago at a ChicFilA in town. She came up to me, teary-eyed, begging for money for gas. I explained I would give her gas, if she'd wait for me to order, but no cash. I've done service work in NYC, and I never gave their beggars cash, but offered food if I thought they were real.

The lady said she'd wait while I got my food. Even pointed out her car to me. I bought my chicken caesar wrap, decided $25 was generous enough, and left with my order. When I got outside, she was gone. No car, no lady. I went to two neighboring stations, and still no lady. I laughed it off, figuring she was begging for cash, and her SO, whoever it was, was T'd off I didn't give her $$.

Now she's sitting over there, looking awful uncomfortable. I guess it would be hard to eat Burger King fast food, and stare at the person that offered you good will. Especially since I saw her & two other men get out of that four-door F150 (with a U-Haul car trailer hitched up behind it).

I don't like being taken advantage of... but right now, I'm awful glad she didn't wait around for the gas, because I'd be over there, asking for my money back.

OOOOOH... People are stupid.... stupid stupid stupid...

Three steps back, and Punt!

I've learned a painful lesson.... when I spoke to my farrier earlier this week, I specifically asked him to use great caution, and try to shoe Chewie so he was a bit "straighter" in front. Confirmationally, Chewie's prone to long toes & in Tuesday's lesson, I felt him almost putting one front hoof directly in front of the other, tight-rope style.

I should've just left the appointment as scheduled, and not said a word, I guess.... I got a phone call stating I needed to, "strongly consider scratching the show & scheduling a chiropractor for my horse", that he was "stiff, not picking his back legs up freely like normal, and was flinching in pain to points on his back & neck".

I hurried home, and found my horse stiff as a telephone pole. He wouldn't walk out, and, while he wasn't limping, it was clear something was wrong. I tacked him up, and off we went to the round pen.

He free lunged stiff, but relaxed. Side reins, same reaction. I climbed on, and the only way I can describe him - short. Short strided walk, short strided trot. Collect up okay, but really short. I called Robin, and asked, "Did anything else go on around here that I don't know about and need to?" She didn't think so, but I could hear Farrier talking in the background. I left the conversation end pretty abruptly, because it sounded like they were busy having their own conversation. (Thinking back, it seemed like they needed to "get the story straight before talking to me again".)

I gave up the ride pretty quick, convinced it was either his back, or a pulled muscle, or something unknown. I called the chiropractor Chewie has seen before, and she thought if he felt short strided and lazy, yes, maybe he did need an appointment. I told her I'd check my work schedule and call back. Meanwhile, I scratched the show, hotel, and dog boarding, all in heartbroken phone calls.

Farrier Mike & Robin showed up a few minutes later. They unloaded the truck, watched Chewie walk out, looking for a close nail. Mike pulled the shoe, and blood came out of a nail hole. It was worse than close, he quicked my baby. Chewie let out a huge sigh, obvious relief that the nail was no longer hurting him. Iodine, Equilux epoxy outside, and an epoxy rubber pack inside. Reset the shoe, one nail on each side. He seemed stiff, but easing up on the laziness afterwards. I dug around the house, found some bute, and dosed Chewie about 2g last night. Squirted him another 1g this morning, and plan to repeat for a few days. It's also worth mentioning, that just inside the sole from where that bloody nail hole was, his sole was awful soft. I have no earthly idea how Farrier Mike didn't notice the hoof sole was so soft, nor why he even considered nailing near a soft-spot. Anger & Questioning gets me nowhere.. so I will force myself to get over it.

Instead of bounding off for the show, I'm in town, pouting. Yes, Yes... I know,... We learned so much these past few weeks preparing, it's not training lost. Chewie and I were trotting out in patterns, in the arena, on contact, without incident. But, dangit! I was looking forward to getting out & showing my baby-boy to the hunter circuit crew. I couldn't wait to see the look on the barn owner's face when 16.2H Chewie bounded off the trailer, confidently carrying me around the tests. I was looking forward to seeing a judge I've tested for previously, to see the improved marks. I wanted to see the looks on those rich peoples' faces, when my cheap OTTB and I "cleaned house" in the AA division. I had hopes... and instead, we're off work for at least a few days, he's hurt, and we're both a bit heartbroken.

This afternoon, I walked out to him in the pasture. He gave all four hooves willingly, let me pick, poke, and prod at him without flinching in his back, or neck, stretched head to hip hoping for cookies (that I didn't have). We exchanged a few hugs & nuzzles, and he said "thank you" with licking, chewing, and a few big yawns. It's like we're both said that we're not leaving today... almost like he knows what he's missing.

If you're the praying kind, pray with me that it's a quicked nail, and the hole is blocked from bacteria, and an abscess is avoided. He's had a few in my care, and they're no fun for either of us. I'd rather not dive into another one. Not with as good as things have been.

Get well quick, Chewie. Momma needs you as much as you need her.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Fill Ins

Stumbled on this nifty blog... Friday Fill-Ins

1. If I could be a fly on the wall I would want to sit on top of the judge's table on Sunday.

2. Jealousy is rich people with automatic winning horses that can't ride.

3. When I see a shooting star my wish would be that I'd get a promotion at work sooner rather than later.

4. I'd rather be riding than leading an investigation at work any day!

5. Certain songs when I hear them make me wanna scream along, top of my lungs.

6. If time were in a bottle I'd set it free.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to review test elements with Chewie, tomorrow my plans include a safe trip to the showgrounds and Sunday, I want to give 'em something to talk about!

Time to Get Serious

When I got home from work Thursday, I had all intentions set on riding Chewie, in the arena, and working on test pieces. I was all pumped up reading other blogs, watching FSSunnySD videos of her canter in that open field. I figure, "If these other folks can ride that fearless, I can at least put on a calm show."

I fed the crew, ate dinner, relaxed a while, cleaned the bathroom, ran the vaccuum cleaner everywhere's, took out trash & loaded the trash can on the truck for drop off, walked outside to survey & water the flower gardens. When I saw Chewie standing asleep in the pasture, I lost all motivation. It was almost like a depression of, "I'm here all alone today, with nobody to talk to, nobody to answer to, and absolutely no reason to ride." I considered every excuse... I think he'll be grouchy by Sunday if I work him six straight days; his feet are long, trimming tomorrow, and he'll stumble a lot before we fight; he worked a good canter & tigger trot yesterday, leave that good thought in his mind." And the laziness set in. I went back in the house, didn't even wash pads or polos, I just sat in front of the TV, lazily watching boring re-runs. I gave up on the sugar-diet, chomping down three pieces of whole wheat garlic bread & two glasses of white wine. I was depressed, lonely, and flat feeling sorry for myself. By 8:30pm, I felt like a lazy dork for not riding my horse, and went outside to rub his neck, get a pony-hug, and at least let him know he's loved.

Today, I'm going to get serious. There's plenty to work on for the GAG tests. The show-times are posted, and I don't start until after 1pm Sunday. I considered going for the day, saving dog-boarding, hotel fees, and quickly changed my mind. This show trip is supposed to be a "get over the train, get used to the facility, and learn to concentrate on each other through distractions", and if I only go for a day, he won't get the full flavor I'm aiming for.

Tonight will be work on the pieces of the tests, finishing up with GAG tests II and III. As it turns out, if nobody else is allowed a last-minute registration, Chewie and I will be alone in our GAG division. That's an automatically meaningless blue-ribbon, but more importantly, it should result in good judge comments, and a $50 gift certificate. YAHOO! There are for AAs in our Intro division. I'm not looking for big-prizes here, but good scores. I don't ever want dressage to be about competition with other riders, but rather higher scores than any previous test ride. I've received good scores for other Intro tests, and I just want to be better than other rides.

Taking the Sony digicamcorder for the weekend, rather than my wimpy camera with camcorder capabilities. It's time for serious video that I can learn from, so it may not be postable. Any of you readers with uber-video knowledge, consider offering up your nerd-skills. grins

That "Nerd" word reminds me of a funny series of commercials running on Sirius Satellite Patriot radio - "AppRiver", a spam-software company, blocks email spam, pop-ups, and apparently all other garbage not desired on company email servers. They advertise themselves as "We're good. Because our nerds are smarter & more efficient than the nerds that create spam. AppRiver - We've got good nerds." The latest ad features "the nerds" complaining they don't want to be called "nerds", but rather "messaging experts", and desire "red capes with Spam-killer" written across the back. NERDS!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What Time is It?

When I got home last night, I noticed the clocks were all blinking... Power must've gone out while I was at work. There was a band of thunderstorms that rushed through the county, I figured I got more storm than I thought the radar showed. I reset the clocks all around, and went on with my evening.

In the middle of the evening at home, saddled Chewie dressage, sacked out in the round pen. A little canter left revealed that my western saddle holds me in better than I thought, and though it might not fit him 100% great, I might need to keep working on canter in it until I can sit my toosh easy in the dressage saddle. Total work near 45 minutes, good side rein warmup with plenty of slobbery flexion. His trot was phenominal - huge tiggery-trot. Transitions weren't as great up & down for walk. In his cool-down stretch-out trot, I was amazingly impressed how he immediately knew it was time to relax his trot, and stretch out. I don't know that I did much different, except that I wasn't quite as assertive mentally. It was neat that he knew when it was working-trot time, and when it was stretchie-trot time. Deer in the pasture, random wind bursts, but he did good throughout.

Went to bed like any other night peacefully. Woke up to the alarm music blaring, put on my bluejeans, put water in the coffee pot & hit start, went to the door, leashed MacKenzie, walked both dogs to potty #1, came back in the house. Turned the warm water on to wash my face, and decided to check my cell phone for any missed calls or messages. Hit a button on my phone... 12:10am.. What the? Looked at my alarm clock to confirm, it also said 12:10am. Hmm.. very bizarre. Then the lightbulb in my brain went off... When I reset the clocks, I forgot to reset the alarm time, so it defaulted to 12:00am, and like a soldier, I woke up & went on with the alarm noise. Took jeans off, shut off coffee pot & water faucet, turned all the lights back out, called the dogs, and went back to bed.

When the alarm went off again on time at 4:30am, I went potty, came back to fetch dogs for another brief walk out, and Kenzie looked at me, still in the bed, and I swear I heard, "Mom, seriously.. We don't need to go out every four hours. Just come back to bed." giggle Good puppies.. now c'mon. I need to get ready & get to work, this time, for real, seriously...

I think I heard dogs & cats giggling when I left for work...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

7/15 Lesson

Chewie warmup in side reins in the arena, pulled the lunge line from my hands four times, kicking out, bucking, rearing up, being a complete dork. After multiple circles at canter, he lost his will to fight. I think he was upset that the neighbor's cows, and a few deer were free whiel he had to work, because when he did "lookie see spooks", I pushed him forward.

Cooperated like a saint for a run through of all four dressage tests for Sunday's show. We won't be perfect, but improving over the last time I did a test, and much improved mentally between the two of us over the past seven months. For the first time last night, on the rail, headed "towards the barn", he didn't try to bolt, didn't throw his head up, and I didn't have to "force him easy" with my seat. He was amply rewarded with pats & praise, and had four more opportunities and didn't try it. His up transitions "at the letter" are improving, while his air-brakes are so solid in the down transitions, I will need to ask last minute for the trot-to-walk "at the letter".

On to a more humorous topic...

Okay.... It might be an inappropriate question, but I've always wondered...

Do you keep your home bathroom cleaner than the public restrooms? Who is it that leaves scraps of TP on the floor in the public restrooms? Do they do the same thing at home? And who tosses their hand paper towels near the trash can, but not in it? If they did that at home, wouldn't wife or Mom be hollering?

Have you ever wondered, "Who made this mess!?!" when you were visiting the public restroom? When that's my first thought, the second is always, "I wonder if they'd get away with this at home?"

If you're the one leaving a mess, clean it up, please! :) All meant in humor, but still worth discussion...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Updates, Rants, & Raves

Worked on flat with Chewie most of the week. One day lunged him over crossrails to discover he's learned how to trot to, and canter from, 18" crossrails. A very good week overall.

What a short update..

On to the Rants... I was supposed to have a lesson Sunday, and it was cancelled with late notice. This has happened before, and it's an issue that will be dealt with, I just need to figure out how. I don't usually get a good reason for cancellations, except a brief and useless text message of, "I can't come today." Knowing I am a paying customer, I'm not real satisfied with the service, and need to figure out how to complain without burning bridges. I ended up keeping my plans for Chewie, taking him to a nearby arena to work on dressage tests with another rider in the arena, and cow-horse arena spooks (barrels, pole tags on centerline, stray dog wandering about, noisy cars driving by, wind whistling debris all about, roping steers bustling in a pen, mooing furiously, emergency service vehicle sirens blaring... the works). He did great, and I was happy he handled it all so well.

Rant #2.
What a dork! I grew up in this guy's district. During graduate school, I saw an interview on PBS, where Veon boasted "he had done so much in the region with taxpayer's support"... It was a flat lie. Steel mills were closing all over the valley, big businesses were laying off & cutting back, taxes were higher than the average income, and welfare was more prevalent than a paycheck. I sent him an email, asking "What exactly are you doing with my money, because I don't see anything going well." He jumped all over me in a series of follow-up emails, assuming I was a "spoiled rich kid who never knew what it was to have a real job" (Yup, that scholarship & teaching assistant job sure spoiled me). We exchanged emails throughout my grad school tenure, and I followed his lack of a useful career after I moved to SC. I always tried to ask valid questions, and he'd always respond with name-calling, and immature nonsense.

Well, his time came that he was voted out of office, by a science teacher I had in high school. I disliked the teacher, but I disliked M Veon more. So I sent him a "farewell, you loser" email, and never heard a word.

Mr Veon, you slime of an individual - While my parents struggled to get by with their incomes & taxes, watching any "new" programs in the valley support either senior citizens or welfare-dozen-baby-mommas, you slithered around the region, ruining the middle class economy. I couldn't find a job that matched my education, since there aren't any real large businesses in the area anymore, but a slew of retail and low-paying WalMart jobs. You let it get that way. And YOU STOLE. How absolutely repulsive. I guess since you couldn't find anything helpful to do with the taxpayers' donations, you decided to pay off folks to work for your campaigns. You owe all of the district an apology, and a mature explanation. If I find an email address, you can be 100% sure I'll be right back on your tail, giving you my four cents worth of my opinion.

Woo.. that felt good!

And, the Raves... Three Cheers go out to Mexican QH "Amigo", for treating me to a few laps around the arena of "chase the steer", following my ride on Chewie. Amigo again was the perfect gentleman, loping & rolling back, keeping right on the steer's tail, making sure he was only as fast as I could stay on. That, my friends, is why the Western saddle has a handle - for me to stay atop Amigo. Way to go, good buddy!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

7-9 Lesson

Arena, Sir Chubacca. Whatta horse.. whatta very very good horse.

All that time working with Romeo taught me one huge lesson - Getting up the gumption & courage to firmly thump on the horse of the day. Chewie's lunge warmup, even with side reins, has been really good. He's got a great Tigger Trot going on, and a nice gentle canter. It's almost impressive, watching him warm himself up, trot getting bigger & better by the stride, canter freeing up his rear end, then back to a nice floaty trot those dressage-horses-for-sale ads always talk about.

Climbed on, worked out my muscle-bugs on walk. As soon as I asked for trot, I got a sassy-pants. Two-year-old in the candy store aisle screaming, "Mom, I don't want to!!" So I did what I've been doing for about the last week, a firm slap just in front of his withers with one hand, reins in the other. Chewie tosses his head, throws his tail, gets back to work, and then lazily drifts back to a temper tantrum. A few slaps later, I have his attention.

Robin & I focused on GAG II & III, talking through the 2-loop serpentine. Solution? I was making it MUCH harder than it really is. We've been working so hard on difficult movements and walk, and trot, keeping the canter relaxed & simple, that the simple two loop was nearly too much for our minds. Robin jogged the pattern a few times, each direction, and my lightbulb brain clicked on. We also worked through GAG III's horrid "20M circle at trot, with 2-5 steps of walk when crossing the centerline", and made a plan for the next few days before Sunday's next lesson. I'm going to work on the transitions, but on the rail. Give the boy the chance to "trot off" for a while, get that good energy chi flowing, then ask for a brief transition at walk, 2-5 steps, and right back to trot, back to a solid "work". This will be less mentally taxing for him than the little "less than half a circle trot" he gets to do between one walk & the next on that 20M circle. The lightbulb also went off as Robin explained how to improve my up & down transitions without the head-tossing fits. They're slowed down, uber-mini half-halts. AH HAH! That clears it up! Subtle half-halts... so the HDS crew, designing this test, apparently decided that lower-level riders weren't developing good half-halts, and put the test together to teach them in a slower fashion. I get it now!!! Darn me for already learning what they are, already understanding them from a few cross-country course lessons, because again, I was over-thinking each transition.

The newspaper crew, in all their liberal-gibberish garbage, says the rains are coming to a close for us for a while. Let's hope they're right - the show's in about a week & half, and I can't afford too many more "right light for the weather days".

It's "Friday" at work - I'm off tomorrow, and I'm grateful for that... Need the break. Anybody wanna hire a competent chemist? I've only got a small house, and an ark-ful of four legged family members to move... *giggle*

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Dodging the Storms, and Check This Out!

Gotta big yuckie thunderstorm again yesterday late afternoon. When I arrived home late, there were puddles all over the yard. Good for grass, good for grazing hooves, not so good to ride. Glad I got my work in the morning.

Tonight, a tentative lesson is scheduled - arena, dressage. Woo Hoo! No promises, as I don't know footing conditions, or what today's weather will bring. Mister-Can't-Predict-Worth-a-Phooey Weather-dorks say 50% chance of more rain.

Check it Out! Max Corcoran from the O'Connor eventing team, has a blog going. It's about as cool as being there in person. I can only dream of having horses, or courage, as amazing as those riders.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What did I ask for?

June 30 - Rain
July 1 - Rain

July 2 - Chewie, hour's work, arena. W/T, preparing a few dressage movements from the tests.

July 3 - Rain

July 4 - Rode in the early AM, brought on a brief shower. Round pen,, western, w/t/c. About an hour's work.

July 5 - Chewie, hour's work, arena. Lots of focus on making straight lines, straight diagonals, stopping at "X" without some dramatic fuss.

July 6 - Horse-hookey. I gave Chewie a free lunge about 15 minutes before a rain storm battered the property. Round pen was really a bit too sloppy to ride anyways.

Decided after church Sunday to hop in the truck and drive to Houston. I needed those goofy white full-seats for the show, and the last time I ordered breeches through a catalog, I was more than disappointed. Girl at the store was uberly helpful, and earns a GOLD STAR in my "Book of Store Clerks I'd like to work with again". Three Cheers for the helpful clerk! Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray!

Last night, it rained in the afternoon, and I was horridly afraid it'd be too wet again for a sound ride. I was pleasantly surprised to find a dustless arena, and quiet skies. Thunder all around me, so I rode late after it passed through. W/T in the arena, worked on figure eights (2-loop serpentines, so says the test movement), diagonals at trot, and decided against the "circle 20M at trot, with 2-5 steps of walk when crossing centerline." That says to Chewie, "okay, Boy. Get yourself in a nice BIG trot. Okay, good.. Five trots, now "whooooaaaaa" down to a walk, three steps, goood... now, back to that big trot." Anybody ever tried to put quick brakes on an OTTB? HAH! I repeat that drill too many times, my Big Baby Chewie just might thump me, or bite me hard. Poor baby don't like that go & stop thing so much. I did learn one important thing - leave the gel pad off when riding in my dressage saddle. It seemed to lift the saddle a bit far off his back last week, and when I just used two square pads Monday night, it seemed much better. I felt more connected to his back, and was able to feel front & back legs' movement at walk. Much much better.. and good to know.

This morning, with a long work day ahead, I decided to come in late. Fed the boys brightly early, and at 6:15am, I was in the round pen, western with Chewie. Crisp morning air, bright blue sky with a few clouds, fog looming in the pastures just above the grass, does, fawns, and a 4-point buck grazing around us. It was one of those picturesque mornings when I realized I could retire riding that horse, on this property, and enjoy every morning like this. Alas... I'm too young to even think about retiring. It does, however, motivate me to keep dumping into my 401k every month. :) Total work, about an hour, canters left & right. Good solid trot, stretching down, but giving me back contact & upright trot when I asked for it. He's coming along nicely for the dressage show, and more importantly, we're getting better together at canter, which is prep for September hunter series.

All the rest of life, is, well, ... life. Knowing the four-leggeds around the house are well cared for, well fed, and loved, that's just enough for now.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My July 1 Gift

It finally finally RAINED at my house. Probably total accumulation .05-1", which might not seem like much if you live in a wet climate.


No riding adventures to share - the clouds loomed just SE of my house all evening, sprinkling rain after the big storm. Thunder, lightening, and that eerie "no wind barely blowing" feeling... often that accompanies a gentle rain storm.

Grow, grass, grow... Grow, hay, grow... die, weeds, die!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Trot at A... Or was that F...

studying studying studying

My mind is in gear, brain in action, and it's almost like BioChemistry all over again.. I'm memorizing dressage tests. It's nearly as intense as memorizing the metabolism of sugar or carbs in the body. I printed up all my w/t dressage tests, Intro A&B, HDS I, II, and III. I have A, B, and I in my head, I think. Discovered this morning I had too many "double diagonals" in B memorized. It's two straight diagonals at trot, one double-diagonal at walk. JEEZ!

Show is July 20, same stables as the other. I had full intentions on riding last night, put Chewie in the arena, and show him what real work with Momma meant out there... I had all of the standards, and ground poles out of the arena, halter in-tow. Boom, boom, boom goes the thunder overhead. I thought, "No big deal, I can do this." I looked over my shoulder at the storm clouds, and saw the lightening flashing. OOPS! Insert big chicken here! I don't mind noisy thunder, but not visible lightening.

Repeat plans for tonight, instead. Both boys were happy to have the night off, and the puppies appreciated my company on the couch.