Monday, August 31, 2009

Last of August, Rest of the Weekend

Saturday night, R and I travelled to our hometown to watch Los Lonely Boys in concert. A very good show - I won't lie and say I'm a huge fan, but I am familiar with some of their music. They perform live very well, and the crowd was controlled - nice for an outdoor event. I was nursing a headache all of Saturday after my ride, despite Tylenol, Advil, a few naps, and oodles of water. In the mid-afternoon, it was all I could do to muster the energy to go for a few groceries. I was entirely glad to get back home after that. I was committed to go to the show, however, and was glad I did. Another event where, even though I've got the live performers on stage, I caught myself leaning against R, listening to him singing in my ear. *smile* There's at least one song now I can listen to on my mp3 player & remember that night.

Sunday, filled with church & choir kick-off event. Church was a blessing, as always. Without even knowing it, our Pastor, not even the speaker for the day, blessed me with his words. We had a guest speaker in, who did a marvelous job, and seemed to get quite a few folks' attention, which is good. In between church & choir, I had a quick lunch, did some laundry, and crashed out on the couch, that headache still mumbling around the back of my head.

The choir kick-off was a success for certain! We had guests from another church that will be joining us at Christmas, but even still, the room was FULL!!! How incredible to see so many in each singing part rustling through music & listening intently to our director. A fantastic time. The music this season will bring some challenges, but, if everyone comes to practice, I saw nothing we can't handle. Our staff provided a wonderful supper, filled with things even I could enjoy. Of course, again, listening to the voice behind me, and watching all the oogling eyes at supper. Take a picture! It'll last much longer! No need to stare, ladies.

08/29/09 Bug Check

With an abnormal start to my Saturday morning, I was faced with the opportunity to ride Ransom early in the day. I sprayed on the Mosquito Halt, noticing the little stinging monsters falling to the ground. Neat stuff.. And off to the arena we went.

I gave him just a few minutes free lunge around the arena before settling him into side reins & the line. Worked for about five minutes free. To start, he was leaning on the side reins, head in the sky, quite hot & disorganized. His mind & body caught up to each other, and after about ten minutes at mostly trot, with some canter. When his trot to canter back to trot transitions started looking pretty, I asked for walks to whoa. Both directions were nice, so I got on. A quick mosquito check found a few on his belly, but none surprisingly feasting on me, or his neck & legs. I decided this would be good enough for a working ride.

I got through the "parts" of Training 1, with the ask for canter in the corner, travel down long side, 20m circle over the center, ask back to trot on the last 3/4 of the circle. He did well. In each direction, I'd first ask for canter in a comfortable spot, on the low circle. Canter the circle, canter all the way around the arena, ask back to trot. Ask canter in the deep corner, head down long side, turn for 20m circle in center, ask trot last 3/4. This went much better than the last time I tried it, when he thought it'd be blast to blow full steam ahead down the long sides. Much better - I felt him in my hands rather than pushing through them.

Lots of trot to walk down transitions - And probably 75% of them were good. I was a bit surprised, as he'd had a few days off with the bugs, and I was asking for hard serious work. After some more trot/canter/trot and walk/trot/walk work, I trotted him over the ground pole series, hoping to keep him consistent down the otheg long side, and keep the trot the same whether in or out of the poles. A few go's each direction, and it became very fluid, and if I didn't know the poles were there, I might not have known the difference.

We rode together for about an hour total, including a long loose rein walk out. The mosquitoes were still at a minimum at the end of the ride. Hosed him down, scraped the water off, and quickly added more bug spray. It's expensive, for sure, but good stuff that should get me through the remaining mosquito season.

Friday, August 28, 2009

reFlective Friday

How's that subject title for forcing it to sound like it Fits together? *laugh* I'm a nerd,, sorry guys. Ain't intentional, it just happens. Aren't you glad I get paid to be a nerd? If I did this daily for no good reason, well, then.. there's a thought to give ya nightmares. *giggle*

I'm in a Like It Don't // Like It Mood Today.. So here goes.

Like It ... When his number's on caller ID at work
Don't Like It ... It's August, and COLD in my office

Like It ... I'm cantering Ransom on every ride without fear
Don't Like It ... The mosquitos have overtaken my property

Like It ... SonnyBunz is doing better
Don't Like It ... Haven't seen an update from Mikey in a few days
(*of course, as soon as I blow this smoke, I see she posted an update.. Darnit*)

Like It ... Hurricanes are missing the Gulf so far this year
Don't Like It ... We need rain, desperately

Like It ... I've still got a good job
Don't Like It ... I want my promotion, and I want it NOW. I'm getting mixed signals worse than a bowl of spaghetti around here, and I'm sick of it

Like It ... I've got plenty of folks around that want to be around me
Don't Like It ... I can't replicate myself and do everything I want to

Like It ... My sweetheart's back in town
Don't Like It ... I'm still at work for another 40 minutes *smirk*

Like It ... Evenings are getting a little cooler
Don't Like It ... It's getting dark earlier

Like It ... When he holds me close
Don't Like It .. When the darned alarm goes off

Like It ... Choir starts back up Wednesday
Don't Like It ... Practice means one less ride-day

Like It ... I'm looking forward to the next Dressage Show
Don't Like It ... Part of me is terrified I'm making big plans for it. Nucking F-V-T-S

Okay.. Tag... Who's Next ..
looking, thinking, looking, thinking ...
I'm tagging Always There Are Horses AND Texas of All Places
Make a list!!! This will be fun! I listed 11 - why don't ya'll go for at least 5??

Friday Fill Ins

1. He was a patient horse, despite the blood sucking mosquitoes all over the arena.

2. Waiting on cooler temperatures, knowing they're closer is what I look forward to most this time of year.

3. My best friend in Texas has great horse news! Go check it out.

4. Before last night, I wondered if Hwy 59 ran North after 6pm to be honest with you. =)

5. Appearances can be truthful. I look tired today, and I am tired today.

6. The last person I gave a hug to was R (and it was worth "5 over").

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to home-cooked supper, tomorrow my plans include mow grass & chase mosquitoes and Sunday, I want to enjoy the new choir season kickoff event!

08/27/09 #$&*% Bugs

I ate dinner early, as did the kids.. Got my clothes changed, sprayed with bug repellant. I caught Ransom, saddled him dressage, and as the mosquitoes swarmed, I realized we'd do a very quick warmup and work on nothing but walk - on the bit, off the bit, coming & going. But nothing much else.

He had a very brief warmup, I donned my helmet, and hopped on. By the other end of the arena, we were both covered in mosquitoes. I'm tolerant of the heat, I can handle some sprinkly rain, I'll even fight cold winter winds. But mosquitoes, I just don't do.

Rides are "on hold" until the monster mosquitoes subside. I hate that, but I can't force myself, or the boys, to concentrate while the needle-jabbing evil critters are eating me alive. nasty little bitches I hate Mosquitoes! Hate them hate them! Bad itchie allergie reactions that last at a minimum two weeks for each bite. I'm miserable when I get bit, and the more the nibbles, the worse I feel.

I unsaddled him, hosed him down, and added more bug spray. I'll be picking up something a bit stronger tonight, as the cheap spray I'm using doesn't seem to hold up very well. Even covered in monster mosquitoes, Ransom was still patient & easy going.. good boy!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

08/26/09 Romeo Lesson

Pulled Romeo out of the pasture for his probably last time this week. In fact, until those pesky mosquitoes ease up, it might be my last ride for the week. Snotty monsters BITE! Saddled him up western, english bit, and wandered to the arena.

Warmed him up free lunge a bit, no issues. A little goofyness, but I figure he knew something was different about me - I meant business. Jen arrived, and I hopped on.

Neighbor's cows were grazing through the pasture, and Romeo's ears pinned on them. Cute! So, for a few minutes, Jen "played cow", and walked up & down the long side, turning frequently. After quite a few turns, Romeo started sticking his rear and turning on the haunches really nice... cute cute - his own little version of a rollback.

We had a great flying lead change lesson. Pick up canter on the low end circle, circle twice, cut across the diagonal, break to trot briefly before switching back to canter on new lead. Travel on new lead around the arena, and repeat on the circles. Worked through this exercise a number of times. Closer to the end we had some great results - it seemed to start making sense to him. Though.. some humorous parts of the lesson, as he was flipping his feets all over the place, trying to figure out what to do, combined with his general "lack of fitness", it probabably resembed this:

(I know, I know... I shouldn't tease him. Surely Romeo is sneaking on the blog & reading up on our antics, but I can't help myself...)

Rode for about 45 minutes, a good time. Nothing too spectacular, but we were having a good time. For now, I can feel like we're working towards something when I want to ride him more than a trail hack.

Tonight, mosquitoes pending, Ransom dressage. Anxious for this - I need to get started on picking up canter in the corner heading down a long side and into a 20m circle in the center. hmm... This makes me think. I bet, if I were courageous, and felt so darn ambitious. I bet Ransom will do flying changes. In fact, I bet I can practice on him, and see if I'm really giving the cues right or not... hmmmmmmmmmm

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

08/25/09 Romeo & the Mailbox

Fed the boys early, ate supper myself, tended to the kids inside, and headed outside. Grabbed Romeo, western saddle, english french link bit. I had mosquito repellant on both of us, but hid under a long sleeve shirt & thick blue jeans. It was hot out, but not so hot I was willing to be a living sacrifice for the blood suckers.

Warmed him up only on the end of the lead line for about two minutes, just to see how he was feeling. Seemed calm enough, so I hopped on. We walked away from the house to the left on the side of the dirt road, for our standard "three driveways" distance. I didn't see anything interesting, neither did he. One neighbor was outside, but otherwise, we didn't have any traffic. Bugs were b-a-a-a-a-a-d. Headed back towards the house, and I had a thought.

I hadn't checked the mail yet. I had one lesson where I worked on getting closer to the mailbox without Romeo spooking or shying. I hadn't seen the one neighbor's horses in the roadside pasture, so I figured, "Why not?! I can always hop off & lead him if I need to."

Headed away from home, headed towards the mailboxes. Did as much of the trip towards the boxes as I could in the grass. As it turned out, the mosquitoes, while damaging and monster-chewing size, were a needed distraction. I was so busy swatting & squashing them on my pantlegs, I wasn't fiddling with Romeo's face, and stayed mostly on a loose rein. He looked hard at the neighbor dude's goats, but they weren't right at the fenceline, either. He also searched intently for the little Arab cross mare that used to live on the other side of the street up a few houses, but she's been sold, so no little mare to say hi to.

We approached the end of the dirt road, headed out on the pavement. I have this weird fear of steel shoes & pavement - I'm always afraid of a slip & fall... so I dismounted, and led Romeo over near the mailboxes. Grabbed the mail, looked through it, folded it up & shoved it in my back pocket. Looked back at Romeo, shaking at the skeeters and licking & chewing. He was quite pleased with himself, and I was, too. So I led him back to the dirt, and hopped back on.

We saw the neighbor that has all the horses, goats, and ponies standing at the end of their driveway, on the paved road, watching us with great intent. "What's she looking at?", I wondered. I quickly dismissed her curiosity, and realized in my mind, "She usually has a pasture full of skinny horses. Probably don't know what a fat one looks like."

Approached the freshly mowed grass roadside where the mare used to live, and I decided to pick up a trot. We trotted the about 0.1mile that is the front of their yard. Romeo was happy to trot along, even collected up a few strides. Cute!!!

We giggled and swatted mosquitoes the rest of the trip home. I measured it this morning. From my house, to the mailboxes, is about 0.5mile. So round trip, about a mile. Not a long trip, but plenty of opportunity for surprises in the form of deer, bunnies, other livestock, and a blind turn that could've greeted us with a 4-wheeler or auto traffic. Had a fun time.

Total ride, about 30 minutes. He wasn't even sweaty when I untacked, except for a spot or two where the saddle pad rested. Happy little monster... sent him back to pasture with a hug, a few cookies, and a flake of hay.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lyrics of the Day

Oh yeah, today's a different flavor of a day. In the grand scheme of it, things with me is pretty good. On the flip side, however.

SonnyBunz had a disaster
The Milk Man's wife had a near child-disaster (and problems on the farm)

I could tell ya'll a few more, but I'll save 'em....

I heard this song this morning getting ready for work, and, today, it fits. Enjoy... and I hope you're blessed reading it. I figure since, Sunday, I didn't get my weekly "Whack in the heavenly noggin" from our pastor, God sent it another way.. I haven't been grateful enough lately, so here it is.

33 Miles, Thank You
What if in morning when I wake up
Even before I fill my coffee cup I said thank You
Thank You

What if I look at the day and the hours ahead
And before I move forward I bowed my head
And said thank You
Oh I said thank You

What if I looked at my life in a different way
Took a little more time to stop and pray
I know it would change all the moments in between
So here I go

Thank You for everything
Thank You for loving me
It don't even matter what tomorrow brings
Well I will sing my

Thank You for sun and rain
For what You give and take away
For all Your goodness I will always say Thank You
Oh I'll say thank You

What if I lost everything that I had
I could smile and somehow still be glad
And say thank You
Thank You

'Cause life is joy, life is pain
But the prayer on my heart will never change
I say thank You
Oh I'll say thank You

What if I looked at my life in a different way
Took a little more time to stop and pray
I know it would change all the moments in between
So here I go

08/24/09 Ransom Lesson - On His Neck

If anybody wants to share my stiff muscles, or give me an "atta girl, it'll all be okay, they'll stretch out eventually", I'm accepting.. ;)

Ransom, hunter. Warmed him up on the lunge line in side reins, and found him to be pretty soft & compliant. This made me very glad I exercised him on Sunday, since Sunday's start wasn't nearly as pleasant. I mounted up, and after a little walking, a few halts, Jen said to me, "C'mere, and halt." So I did, and she said, "Let's shorten the stirrups a hole."

NOW! I see how those little hunter teenagers keep their heels down. Stirrups are so short there's nowhere else to put the heels but down. Hmm.. And THAT'S Where those knee rolls are on the saddle. WOW! I wondered why they were visible but I couldn't ever feel them under me.

With that taken care of, I rode a little trot. Ransom felt, um, okay, not Ransom, but me, I felt forward. Felt as if I was inches from tumbling over his shoulder. Worked a LOT on two-point at the trot. Went over the trot poles a while, and learned a few things...

I need to lean forward at the hips, more
Need to open up shoulders, more
Need to lengthen back, more
Heels-down no longer an issue
Stick tooshie out, more

After the trot poles, before swinging back around the arena and doing them again, I found it easier to sit his trot. How fun is that?! Easier and more relaxing on my lower back to sit the trot,, cool! If my shoulders are bent in, and I'm too far upright, Ransom stumbles through the trot poles. If my shoulders are opened up, chest-out, "mooning the crowd behind me", and reins are decently loose, he moves right through clean. Reins too lose, he'll squirt into a canter mid-way through the poles. We worked on some trot with what felt like my entire upper body laying down on his neck. From elbows forward, my arms were on his neck, and I still felt that "weeble wobble right over his shoulder" feeling. From the jumping with Romeo, I was used to staying upright, so I didn't lean too far forward & inhibit his shoulders lifting. With Ransom, I need to lean way forward, not worry about the shoudlers, but let his toosh push him up over jumps and through the poles.

Yeah... speaking of. Canter in those short stirrups?! Now THAT is going to take some practice. I can't even think of how I used to canter in some long -stirrup two-point. Yipes. The canter in these short stirrups, my rear is not in the saddle as much as I'd like. Darn it.. something to work on. I will, however, laugh at Ransom. I guess I got a little spoiled on Chewie - I could perch up in a two-point, squeeze with legs, and kiss to him, he'd canter. Ransom?! Heck no, buddy. Toosh has to be planted in the saddle, squeeze with both legs, reins in contact, and mean it. Then, he'll canter proudly & beautiful. Don't put the hiney in the saddle? He'll just extend the trot more and more, waiting on the right cues. Very neat... Ain't no accidentally-canter with Ransom..

No crossrails in this lesson. I feel like I've got to be a little more secure in the canter with short stirrups before I can let him jump. Ransom has always landed in a canter, and I don't see any reason to upset myself or him jumping until my canter seat is a bit more relaxed.

Gonna need LOTS of hours in the new stirrup length on the flat & over poles. Lots! It got easier as the lesson progressed, but I'm feeling it in the body this morning. Sore & stiff. Everything feels a bit "stuck in spot", bending & reaching is a bit beyond difficult. argh... where's the heater... yup, *flick a switch* space heater in the office this morning it is.

Monday, August 24, 2009

08/24/09 Flavor De Jour

Had a song for my disposition last week.. Yup, got one for today, too. First verse applies better than the rest. Glass-ceiling... mutter mumble grumble.

Someone Else's Life, Jo Dee Messina (Delicious Surprise)
(John Bettis/Chris Farren/Danny Wells)

Lauralee had a headache, I bet you know the feeling
Bangin' your head all day long against the glass ceiling
Lauralee made her mind up, she had enough
She jumped the fence right there and then to go someplace she's never been

She waived the nine to five a big goodbye, she just got tired
Of living someone else's life
She heard the sky is full of stars in Buenos Aires
There gonna says she crazy
Cashing in her IRA baby
She's gonna start living
It's time to start living
Someone else's life
Someone else's life

Maryanne was a waitress, started out as part-time
Six years on she's in a cocktail apron doing hardtime
Maryanne called her sister said put my stuff in storage
Yah and feed the cat, I don't know when I'm coming back

She waived the nine to five a big goodbye, she just got tired
Of living someone else's life
She heard the sky is full of stars in Buenos Aires
There gonna says she crazy
Maxin' out her visa, baby
She's gonna start living
It's time to start living
Someone else's life
Someone else's life

There's a whole new world
Waiting for you girl

She waived the nine to five a big goodbye, she just got tired
Of living someone else's life
She heard the sky is full of stars in Buenos Aires
If you're gonna say she's crazy
You better say it in Spanish baby
She's gonna start living
It's time to start living
It's time to start living
Time start living
Someone else's life
Someone else's life
Hey Someone else's life

08/23/09 The Boys

I got up early. I was going to ride Romeo. Then I changed my mind, then I was, then I wasn't, then I was, then I wasn't. Oh, heck. He's not going to care if I hop on bareback and get a little goofing off in. Plenty of thoughts have been rambling through my brain as to is my house still the right place for him?. Romeo knew my thoughts, because he behaved famously. Walk, trot, english bit, he was a champ. For the new feed (higher fat), and the longer breaks between rides, it wasn't noticable. We played for nearly a half hour, and he still looked a little short-changed and disappointed when I put him back in pasture.

After a very blessed church Sunday morning (fortunately, with no dramatic "whacks to the forehead" moments, but a few full of blessed good news), R and I wandered off to lunch, settled in for a good nap, and I scrambled home for a brief bit.

Grabbed Ransom in the surcingle, side reins, and dressage bit, and headed to the arena. He was incredibly stiff & stubborn to start, but by the end, he'd settled into a nice collected trot. His canter could've used some more work, but I had already been out with him on the lunge for quite a while. We got a good half-hour of lunge-work in, preparing him more for my lesson tonight.

Good times with both horses. A little riding, a little functional working. Better yet, a nice afternoon & late evening with R. He's off to work again today, returning tomorrow evening. Sending up prayers for safe uneventful travel, and peaceful discussions with the boss-man, should they become necessary.

08/22/09 Why?!

Saturday was full of "oh Geez" moments. A few "Darn Its", and even a couple, "Can we have a do-over"?

The trip to Houston was delayed about an hour, and at Jen's brilliant suggestion, I sat peacefully listening to Enya & Norah Jones to stay quiet & happy. It worked, as we pulled out on the highway, me smiling away, humming under my breath.

We got almost all the way there, to be informed there would be a few hour delay for delivery. Hmm... they coulda shoulda said that before we woke up early & left. *sigh* Since we had some window-shopping to do, off we went! Now, girls in horses, we window-shop at saddlery shops, and try on breeches, and sit in saddles, look at bits, and ponder magazines & training books. Not boys... Nope! Boys go to gun shops. And gun shop we did!

Now, when we first walked in the store, one of the clerks, an older fellow, gave me a stern once-over glare. I thought to myself, "Dang it! I don't look that bad today! Jerk! What bug crawled up his butt?!" We looked around a while, and then approached the counter with a request. We wanted to try a few pistols in my hand, for size, and general weight & overall "hmm do I like this one or that one". That older clerk was, unfortunately, the first fellow to walk up and offer to help. One word - JERK! He knew I didn't know anything, and made sure I knew that he knew more than I did. I had one answer for him. "Yes, sir you're right I don't know much. Kind of the same as if you walked into a store for my hobby, you wouldn't know diddly squat, either." It's one of my pet-peeves, being looked down on by a self-proclaimed "field expert". I held a few, before walking off to another part of the counter, where we found one another clerk who was cheerful and helpful. Through this adventure, I found things I like, as well as a myriad of things I don't like. We did more looking around, and honestly, they all started looking the same... Much like I feel after trying on 4-5 pairs of riding pants, everything starts blending into everything else. With a bit of sensory overload, we got back to work.

About, oh, four hours or so later than we'd expected, we made the deliveries, and said farewell to our travelling companions to the city. It was, although long, a very uneventful trip - no wild flat tires, no "waiting for a strange engine problem", and the one travelling fellow I had bad experiences with before, this time, pleasantly surprised me by getting us out early. Good job, Professor!!

On the way home, we stopped for fabulous Italian dinner. Just love the place! Very Good food, great service, just a nice relaxing stop on the way. Heading towards home, we paused at an electronics store for a card reader. Wandering around for a few other things before checkout, I must've parted company with my driver's liscence. Arriving at the checkout, I didn't have it anymore. Darned thing.... That's on my replace-it-list for tonight after work. Darned thing..

So, our day thinking we'd get home in reasonable time brought us back home around 10pm. A very long day, but overall, a good one. Face it, a day with my sweetheart, even a working one, is better than a day alone.

08/21/09 It... Rained...

YahOo!! I spent most of Friday running errands, getting chores done. I got the oil changed in my truck, got the bug guts washed off, got a haircut, and a few other quick shopping stops.

Didn't get a ride in, however. R came over in the late afternoon to help repair my non-functional push mower (water in the gas, stupid thing), and install a motion light on the back porch. Jen came over to help with some chores around the house. We all got all the chores done around my house. Light installed, mower's working, grass is cut, laundry's done, house cleaned, dishes washed, kids all tended to.

I had made my choice to accompany R on a work trip to Houston Saturday, so Jen graciously agreed to feed the kids all the next morning. Enjoyed a very peaceful evening with my sweetheart after a long & busy day.

Friday night, IT RAINED! I estimate about another inch of liquid miracle fell on my property. Jen reported Saturday morning there was standing water in the stalls & in the paddocks. Yippeee!! Much needed water for the lawn and the pasture, especially right after mowing everything even. Very Very good, indeed.

08/20/09 Ransom's Up!

With my weekend plans mostly made, I decided that when I got home, I was going to ride Ransom.

I got home a little early, grabbed my dressage saddle, walked out to the trailer, and unlocked everything. I walked out to catch him, and found his neck and underneath his hips sweaty. Yuck! Gotta love the 100F+ temperatures in this glorious weather.

Changed my mind. We weren't going to work hard, that would just be foolishness. I was already hot & miserable, and so was he. So I tacked him in his hunter bit & my western saddle. Headed to the arena for a brief warmup. Walk, trot, canter, free lunge around the arena, and he was slow and hard to get moving. It took some deep discussions, but he seemed to calm down quite quickly. I bitted hmi & hopped on.

Whee! Goofy on the brain! I guess the big monster thought that was his cue to be a nut. I asked for walk, good. Trot, good. Canter, whee! I asked in a corner heading down the long side, and he just felt fast fast. Not really controlled. After some, um, arguing, and more discussions, I was able to get his mind and his attention.

Unfortunately, in the wicked heat, he was puffing & breathing very hard. So, I walked him in hand down to the shady part of his pasture, and mounted up again. We worked around at the walk, with deer & bunnies bouncing in the trees. A few cars went down the road, which briefly got his attention. It took nearly 15 minutes walking around before the breathing slowed. Hosed him down, hand-walked him down the road, and hosed again.

Total "work time" about 40 minutes. Entirely not the peaceful trail walk around the pasture I'd hoped for, but he obviously thought work would be more fun. Goofball.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

08 15 09 We Can Fly


08/19/09 Romeo Tracking

Ate an early dinner, and even debated if I wanted to fight the heat to catch & ride Romeo. I wandered outside to let the girls potty, felt it cool down just a bit, with a good breeze. I decided it was a good day to pick up the Little Guy & go play.

Saddled up Western, Western bit. I wanted to tune up his neck reining, and play at the canter. Let him goof off run around the arena just a little, I said "whoa", and he turned & walked towards me. Good 'nuf for me, let's get to work.

Bitted & hopped on him without the mounting block. He's short enough, and I don't really want him depending on it (or me, for that matter). If I trail ride him, or take him out to "play cows", I'm not always promised an easy way to mount up. He didn't move, of course, so we walked on.

Lots of warmup walk & trot, my mind anywhere but on where he was going. I kind of let him auto-pilot around the arena. If his feets kept going in the gait, I pretty much left him go. He voluntarily hopped over Ransom's lesson-set ground poles & stepped over the low crossrail. Okay, maybe he was following my eyes better than I thought.. *giggle*

Picked up a canter-right, no problems. Soared around the arena a while, then switched to canter-left. Wrong lead, wrong lead, wrong lead, wrong lead, LEFT lead! Geez, there we go. Flew about a bit, then brought him back to a walk & tried again. Wrong, wrong, left. Geez, buddy.. brain in the can, or what?!

To help make him aware that the leads do matter, I did some figure 8s in the same lead. So one circle was correct lead, one circle was counter-canter. I think Romeo quickly figured out the counter-canter ain't so fun. He fumbled around one time heading right on the left lead, and when I looked down, he'd changed it to the right. Neat-O! So, we played with this a bit.

Canter left circle
Head to "X".
Little trot, change direction
Canter right circle
He got his leads 5 out of 6 times playing this game. It's something to repeat another time. I think it will be a bit easier on his French link English bit.

Preparing to cool him down, Ransom showed me a little trick (little fart)! Ransom slipped underneat the "rope gate", and proceeded to walk & trot around the arena. I decided it was a neat time to see if Romeo could still "track" and stay with him. So I stared at Ransom's inside hip, and pushed Romeo up towards him. What a good pony! I think he wasn't real sure why we were tracking another horse, but he did it anyways, ears switching between me and Ransom. Ransom surely didn't understand why we were tracking him, and would kick up every once in a while, though not towards Romeo.

We played together for nearly 45 minutes. Fun stuffs. Hosed him down, scraped off most of the water, and tossed 'em some hay to occupy their minds a while.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Am Indeed a Scientist

I really needed cheering up today. So, I formulated my answer to "Ed the Water Guy". Poor Ed...

Here goes!! =) Enjoy Ya'll...
Mr Ed H,
We met at the Pittsburgh Blues Festival, Saturday, July 25th. You challenged me to try your product, and, whether it worked or didn’t, to send an email, and let you know. You would either use me as an advertisement for your Perfect Water, or you’d send me to some scientists to prove I’m still wrong. You told my boyfriend he “must have big hands to deal with me, because I’m a handful”. We’re still laughing about that – I am a handful, but I’m also an amazing scientist.

Well, as a Chemist, I conducted a very detailed study. On both occasions, I kept every condition I could the same except for the water.
Saturday (To ensure a good night’s rest the night before, something not always achieved during the work week)
Hazy, Hot, Humid (let me clarify – South Texas H, H, and H – Heat Indeces near 110F)
All “Human Conditions” nearly the same (use your imagination & interpret that one), eliminating unscheduled water retention
I worked some in the yard (one time, I was busy with routine chores, another time I mowed the backyard with a push mower, both about an hour tasks)
I rode one horse for about 45 minutes, with a few minutes for free longe warm up before mounting
I cooled down the horse, fed them their supper
Came inside, and retrieved the water from the refrigerator

Drank the water
Swiftly, but not gulped…
And I waited approximately 30 minutes for “results”.

My study as you see is performed with only one variable as best I could control it. I don’t have infinite power over the weather, though I wouldn’t mind doing so. I also don’t have infinite power over my body (otherwise, I can only imagine how intellectual our conversation would have been).

My study conclusion? … (drum roll please…….)
Your Perfect Water doesn’t perform any better than the city water that undergoes 12 steps of filtration that I purchase from the water coolers in (My Hometown), Texas.

Sorry, sir, but I didn’t feel any more energized, I didn’t bound across my house gleefully, and I in fact, found myself still quite thirsty after drinking both products. One bottle just isn’t enough in the Texas Sun, even one bottle of Perfect Water.

It was a fun experiment, though.


For Mrs Mom's Little Ones...

She knows what I'm up to...
In a Rainstorm
About to drive Momma

Here go Mom.. this might help. =)

All in Love, Mom.. really! =)

Hey gang, bear with me, huh? I'm looking for humor & sunshine in a stormy snarly day...

The Mood I'm In

I like it when I stumble on a song whose lyrics fit my general disposition. In the middle of a few small fires in life, and this one fits pretty dern good.

"Not The Doctor", Alanis Morisette
I don't want to be the filler if the void is solely yours
I don't want to be your glass of single malt whiskey
Hidden in the bottom drawer
I don't want to be a bandage if the wound is not mine
Lend me some fresh air

I don't want to be adored for what I merely represent to you
I don't want to be your babysitter
You're a very big boy now
I don't want to be your mother
I didn't carry you in my womb for nine months
Show me the back door

Visiting hours are 9 to 5 and if I show up at 10 past 6
Well I already know that you'd find some way to sneak me in and oh
Mind the empty bottle with the holes along the bottom
You see it's too much to ask for and I am not the doctor

I don't want to be the sweeper of the egg shells that you walk upon
And I don't want to be your other half, I believe that 1 and 1 make 2
I don't want to be your food or the light from the fridge on your face
At midnight, hey
What are you hungry for

I don't want to be the glue that holds your pieces together
I don't want to be your idol
See this pedestal is high and I'm afraid of heights
I don't want to be lived through
A vicarious occasion
Please open the window
Visiting hours are 9 to 5 and if I show up at 10 past 6
Well I already know that you'd find some way to sneak me in and oh
Mind the empty bottle with the holes along the bottom
You see it's too much to ask for and I am not the doctor

I don't want to live on someday when my motto is last week
I don't want to be responsible for your fractured heart
And it's wounded beat
I don't want to be a substitute for the smoke you've been inhaling
What do you thank me
What do you thank me for

Visiting hours are 9 to 5 and if I show up at 10 past 6
Well I already know that you'd find some way to sneak me in and oh
Mind the empty bottle with the holes along the bottom
You see it's too much to ask for and I am not the doctor

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sweet Justice

That lady had it coming! I hope the guards accidentally tell the other inmates what she was found guilty of...


Problem with the gene pool is?
There isn't a lifeguard.

Ya'll have a good day. Hug your kids if you've got any - Two and Four legged alike.

08/17/09 Collection Transition

Prepared Ransom for a dressage lesson. His warm up on the side reins was quite beautiful - he was alert, paying attention, and had nice up & down transitions. One or two were stickie-gross, but much better than it's been.

I got on, and found his walk to halts pretty darn good. Three to four steps. If I hang on both reins, he leans back. If I wiggle wiggle alternating reins in the halt, he'll stop a little easier. Wiggle Wiggle! Trot to walk was a little stickie yet, but improved as the lesson progressed.

Forward Forward down the long sides! We pushed ahead for lengthened stride down the long side, and I worked on sitting a few trot strides here & there. It got better, but without collection, that trot ain't sit-able. It's bouncy and uncomfortable. When Ransom is collected, the trot is sweet! All will improve with muscle development.

Jen set up four ground poles on the circle, and we trotted over those a while. I improved my eyes - look ahead, and not at his neck. Ransom's neck is NOT going anywhere - Look Up! The first few times over the poles felt very different from the rest of the circle. The more we did it, the more it felt consistent over the whole circle, and the trot poles were just slightly elevated in his feets.

She then moved them to a straight line set up by the higher crossrail. Ransom was a bit rushy after the jumps last Saturday. Jen proclaimed, "Oh we can fix that. We'll slow him down." As Ransom approached the standards, his mood changed, until he realized that the jump wasn't a jump, but only four poles, and spread out far enough he had to jump, and he had to concentrate.

Back down to the low circle, and we worked a little on our canter. Two go's of canter in each direction, on the circle. Asked in the middle of the circle, and in the corner coming out, and both were quite magical. I am still having troubles keeping my stirrups, but it seems like they're also not entirely necessary. It's almost easier to go without the darn things - I feel more "stuck" in the tack without them. What a funny thought, eh?

Lesson time was at least an hour, not including warm-ups. Ransom did great. He was attentive, alert, and worked harder with more collection than he has in a very long time. He was very forward, and his transitions are certainly improving.

Monday, August 17, 2009

08/15/09 It'sa Two-Fer

I took Friday off for, um, more important matters. R and I had been apart for the week, him being busy with work. I shot outta work like a bullet, scrambled home to the kids, and hurried straight to him. Romeo and Ransom were, I think, grateful to be on a break.

Saturday late afternoon I got off to a solid start with Romeo. Tacked up Western saddle, English bit, and off we goes. His halts from walk and trot were a little bit better, less on the forehand, but still needing work. I decided this was a good time to also work on a collected steady canter instead of a strung-out hollow back run-off. He did pretty good, impressive for the time off he's had. His stride was controlled - very nice.
Rode for about 40-45 minutes, going through all the normals with a few verbal "whoa" cues to keep him tuned to me.

R arrived to watch & help with some hunter for Ransom. I saddled him up, warmed up in side reins (on 8s) on lunge, and off we goes. Walk, trot, and canter on the flat to start out. Ransom was good at all three, brakes a little slow. Not as pretty as our last ride - so still needing some tuning. I concentrated on my heels down at canter, and even did a little stretched-out down the long side canter in two-point. Yeeha! Neat feeling, up in two-point with my upper body leaning forward, arms bending along with his stride. I told R, "I feel kinda like a jocky perched up here. That's a rush!" He said, "You kinda look like one, except you're a little big." tphpht!

Two fences set up as crossrails, and we got to it. With a teenie bit of camera battery left, R did manage a couple jump photos. (I've seen them, though not gotten a copy yet.) Some look pretty good. I did recognize a couple things from this jump-ride...

As soon as I release the reins, Ransom jumps. I need to learn *where* to release, because as soon as I put slack in the reins, he pushes out. The departures felt like they were in all different places - some way early, some last-second... Just different. He landed in a pretty enthusiastic canter from each jump, a few of the times with a bit more energy than I was ready for. No matter how quick he was, he was still taking care of me, coming back to a trot with minimal effort.

R made a neat observation - "Your heels are coming above level, pointing toes down in the air. Is that supposed to happen?" WOW! Kudos & Brownie points to the boy! Big'uns! So, next approach to the fence, I paid closer attention.
I release my reins, and lift my heels, and he takes off. This meant Ransom might've been starting the jump on a leg cue I didn't know I was giving.

So I concentrated - heels heels heels. Got them shoved way down on the flat approaching the jump, and, as R was watching, he said they stayed way down on the last fence. Ransom seemed a little bit neater on the jump, and a bit better timed on the departure. Still felt a bit early, but not such a dramatic jump from some others.

Neat to make progress on a ride I thought would only be a "Hey baby! Check this out! My pony can fly!" *laugh* A very good hour ride for all. Cooled him down on walk & trot on the flat on a long rein, encouraging him to stretch out.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Listen to the Rain

R sent this to me today. Wow! Neat and family friendly...



Friday Fill Ins

1. When will I get to sleep in past 4:30am?

2. In Plain Sight season finale was the last good book I read or movie I saw or tv show I watched.

3. Everything has its beauty but sometimes, it's too flat here, and I miss the mountains from home.

4. Egg and sausage taquitos is what I had for dinner.

5. I'd like your company more often. I'm n-v-t-s for ya, sweetheart.

6. Alone with my sweetheart is where I want to be right now.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to not being home alone, tomorrow my plans include sleeping late & riding Ransom and Sunday, I want to get back in my old Sunday routine!

No I Won't Turn it Down

Check it out! My hometown paper's editorial ding-a-ling, JD Prose, is back to work. Congrats for the new baby, I hope she keeps you up more nights - These last two articles are much more animated than a few before.

For a while, I was a HUGE JD fan! HUGE! He went right after former State Rep Mike Veon, who I had a personal beef with. Mr. Veon went on public television back when I was in grad school and boasted of "all the good he did for his region." I called him on it - he was a liar. Unemployment was through the roof, senior care was horrid, and kids weren't any smarter coming out his district than anywhere else. JD called him out on it, and later raised the roof when Veon was indicted for a variety of tax evasion & tax dollar misuse counts.

But, since the Obama-nation has taken over the country, JD has gone beyond anti-conservative. I don't really know what's happened to him - got married, made a couple babies, and he wants the government to subsidize the family, or what...

But Lookie Here... He's gone goofy on the Health-Care plan, too.. I comment & respond here, because they won't approve my comments anymore - Guess I got a little too personal about six months ago when he was anti McCain.. Not real sure.. So I vent here, where speech is free, and my blog is my own.

JD - Way off the mark, man.. We're not all Right Wing nvts that hate socialist health care. The polls don't lie - most of the country wants change in health care, but not the same change Obama wants... Quit blaming Republicans for showing up to the Town Hall meetings. If the Libs aren't showing up, it's not our fault. They're too cheap to buy the bus pass, we can't force them to participate. Conservatives have very few avenues to speak our mind right now - if the Congress folks elected want to show up to a meeting & get their rears arranged, that's their fault. Can't blame us for trying. (Guns & Bibles in hand at that.)

Speaking of.. I heard the funniest video from an African-American radio talk show host. Watched it on a co-worker's pc, and I wish I remembered the fellow's name.. Man he was funny. Called Obama the "long legged Mack Daddy" over and over. I like that nick name. I might keep it, just call him "MD". *giggle*

08/13/09 Ransom Hunter Flat

Ransom and I worked on side reins on the lunge line to warm up - He moved out nicely, no lunge whip needed to motivate him. Stayed on a big circle, too. His down transitions are still slow for reaction. I had to use "Whoa" pretty forcefully a few times,, darn it!

I hopped on (hunt saddle), and we got to work. Walk, halt, walk, halt, walk, halt. I repeated this a while both directions. Threw a little free walk in there to change it up. Then I repeated all the same with trot, walk, trot, walk, trot, walk. Things improved quite a bit.

Focused the canter work on him having a little collection, but more focused on my balance & seat. Heels down heels down heels down. Both directions got better as we went along. I also did a little canter in two-point, and found out why that's so darn comfortable. With heels down, and balance just over the front of the saddle, I felt him "cantering into me" - pretty cool.

Finished up with more of the trot to walk and walk to halt transitions. Overall, not too shabby.
Total work including warm up, just about an hour.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Who Am I? The Answer

I asked it here. I thought about holding the answer a while, but geez, folks. MrsMom set me up for success... That's what I thought too , until I scrolled down.

It's not Obama

It's Adolf Hitler

Scary, ain't it? They sure sound similar ...

08/12/09 Weather Update

About 6:45pm last night, I checked the radar, to see if the sound in the sky matched the actual weather. It did - thunder & rain loomed in the distance.

The last time it threatened a storm that ugly, I prepared for the worst, just to get 0.5miles from the house & hear a warning cancelled, and head back home to watch clouds breeze by.

This time, however, was real. A sweet heavy rainstorm pounded my yard & pasture, and as my eyes closed for the night, gentle rain and the occasional thunder continued to water the ground...

As of this morning, reports 0.74" of rain landed at the airport, not far from my home. Absolutely fantastic! I had a small puddle or two in the side yard, which I expect will be long gone by this afternoon.

Beautiful, sweet, refreshing rainstorm. It postponed my ride for another evening, but fit my mood just about perfectly, and was a wonderful sound to fall asleep to last night.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Senator Specter (D-PA) Gets An Earned Earful

I would say I feel bad for the guy, but I don't. He was voted in by Republicans, only to "change the rules of the game", and let the Liberal Flag fly over his head. Sucker!!! As the questions roared around the room, while some were only pieces of their anger, one fellow summed it all up by asking him something like, "Who in the room believes this health care bill is a good idea?" (No hands went up.) He looked back at the Senator, and said, "The people have spoken. Take THAT back to Nancy Pelosi."

I watched the video in full on Fox - He got what he had coming. I grew up in Pennsylvania, so I would know. He earned every jab, every bite, every snarl. Somewhere's in the debate, he had the nerve to tell the constituents "It was his break and he technically didn't need to be there, because he wasn't getting paid more to do so, but he was doing everyone a favor by coming to the meeting for a fair discussion."

I heard someone from the crowd shout, "We'll see about that next election time."
The crowd erupted in applause...

Change is A-Coming... If my locals were having Town Halls, you bet your dollars I'd be there. But, we're a Conservative-voting community - Heck! We've got Ron Paul (L) in the Big House, with John Cornyn (R) in the Senate. Do I always agree with Rep Paul? Heavens, no. But do I ever disagree with him for being Liberal? Definitely NOT!

If you can make a meeting in your area, Do It! The change the country needs ain't coming from the White House, it'll come only from showing up at the meetings, and telling the Officials we elected that we won't stand for their nonsense. Don't wait to show your opinion at the voting booth - do it now, before they make a larger disaster of the mess already there!!!

Who Am I?

Jen emailed this to me... The answer tomorrow!

I was born in one country, raised in another. My father was born in another country. I was not his only child. He fathered several children with numerous women.

I became very close to my mother, as my father showed no interest in me. My mother died at an early age from cancer.

Later in life, questions arose over my real name. My birth records were sketchy and no one was able to produce a legitimate, reliable birth certificate.

I grew up practicing one faith but converted to Christianity, as it was widely accepted in my country, but I practiced non-traditional beliefs & didn't follow Christianity, except in the public eye under scrutiny.

I worked and lived among lower-class people as a young adult, disguising myself as someone who really cared about them. That was before I decided it was time to get serious about my life and I embarked on a new career.

I wrote a book about my struggles growing up. It was clear to those who read my memoirs that I had difficulties accepting that my father abandoned me as a child.

I became active in local politics in my 30's then with help behind the scenes, I literally burst onto the scene as a candidate for national office in my 40s. They said I had a golden tongue and could talk anyone into anything.

I had a virtually non-existent resume, little work history, and no experience in leading a single organization. Yet I was a powerful speaker and citizens were drawn to me as though I were a magnet and they were small roofing tacks.

I drew incredibly large crowds during my public appearances. This bolstered my ego.
At first, my political campaign focused on my country's foreign policy...... I was very critical of my country in the last war and seized every opportunity to bash my country..

But what launched my rise to national prominence were my views on the country's economy. I pretended to have a really good plan on how we could do better and every poor person would be fed & housed for free.

I knew which group was responsible for getting us into this mess. It was the free market, banks & corporations. I decided to start making citizens hate them and if they were envious of others who did well, the plan was clinched tight.

I called mine "A People's Campaign" and that sounded good to all people. I was the surprise candidate because I emerged from outside the traditional path of politics & was able to gain widespread popular support.

I knew that, if I merely offered the people 'hope' that together we could change our country and the world.

So, I started to make my speeches sound like they were on behalf of the downtrodden, poor, ignorant to include "persecuted minorities". My true views were not widely known & I kept them unknown, until after I became my nation's leader.

I had to carefully guard reality, as anybody could have easily found out what I really believed, if they had simply read my writings and examined those people I associated with.

I'm glad they didn't. Then I became the most powerful man in the world. And the world learned the truth.

*Who am I? ....................................................

08/11/09 Romeo

Grabbed my horse, and his english bridle, and headed to the arena. Decided to leave his saddle behind. I wasn't planning on anything dramatic or dangerous, and it was ridiculously hot around 6:00 when we got started.

Let Romeo warm up just a bit, then hopped on. Worked on really only one thing - getting him to stop on his rear end. I'd push him up into a walk on contact, sit back just a nudge, then say "whoa". Right after the halt, I asked for a back-up. Repeat repeat repeat.

Went in both directions, and tried to guide his turns mostly on legs, saving my reins for contact & to get his attention only. After only a few transitions, he started anticipating the back up. Right now, I don't think this is bad. I might change my mind in a month or two if he starts backing up for no apparent reason, but for now, it's good.

When the walk to back was significantly better than what we started at, I moved on to trot to halt to back up. This took quite a bit longer. Then, thinking the halts would be close together, he started trotting short & ittie bittie. So I focused on pushing the trot in comes and go's, and when he was adjusting his stride well, I went back to the halts. They weren't as great as walk to halt, but they should improve over time.

Rode for a total of 45 minutes. We both finished up sweaty yuckie. Romeo on the spots where my hiney was, and, well, me in all the spots that touched the horse. Yuck! =) Easily resolved as I peeled outta my breeches afterwards. =)

Neighbors were banging on something that sounded like pounding t-posts into the ground. Here's hoping they're replacing the two walls of fence we share. Romeo and I both listened intently while they pounded & banged, their shouting conversation that we could hear but not understand.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

08/10/09 Ransom Lesson

Grabbed the big monster for a dressage lesson. Jen arrived & found me a bit later than I wanted to be, so I shortened his warm up (he was being lazy anyways), and hopped on. At first, Ransom was a little short on his front right stride, but it turned out to be a "not stretched out & warmed up" issue, and the lesson was back underway.

Lots of transitions, transitions, transitions. Walk to halt, trot to walk, and reverse. Not the most exciting work, but work that needs doing anyways. Finished up with some pretty canter work. Overall, Ransom loosened up & improved throughout the lesson. Our transitions down are getting better all the time.

Jen shot some video for me to look at later on. I didn't get around to it last night, but hope to later this week. All three gaits are on the video, so I'm hoping to see some stuff I can't feel from watching it.

Feeling a bit drab this morning. I slept well last night, and ate a solid breakfast, but sugar's low anyways. Not real sure what's going on. Hoping to get it back in line shortly ... blehhhh

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Dems Make Their Own Jokes

It was later reported, the translator for the event misunderstood the question. The question wasn't asked about former President Clinton, but was asked about the current President.

Oops! She sure is sensitive, isn't she? Gee Willies...

LOL Thank you Dems for having enough snafus and bad reactions to keep government funny.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

08/08/09 C'mon Momma, Justa Bit More

Spent the earlier three quarters of the day driving to Floresville for hay. Family of R's knew of a fellow with fertilized irrigated coastal squares, relatively inexpensive. Hooked up the trailer, out the door by 7:30am. Minimal traffic up & back, and beautiful happy green bales. Loaded 30 squares up in the trailer, two guys helping R load. This was one of those hay buying days it was best I stayed clear during loading. Three guys, all in an organized manner, tossing hay, loading up in trailer... I stood by & watched. Hay-Man Mister Tom took R and I on a little gator-trip to look at grass that will be cut this week. Amazing. No weeds, all pretty much evenly grown up, and lush! Very impressive! He had plenty of hay in the barn, so I believe we'll be back.

When we got home, unfortunately, there weren't three guys to UNload & stack the hay, Just the two of us. =) After unloading & stacking with a broken shoulder last year, this wasn't much to do. R and I got into a "one then the other" little organized system, and, in short order, the barn was full. There's about 36 full bales in the barn now, and it's nearly full. It smells great, and it's about one of the best horse-owning feelings - walking into a barn full of grain & hay. It's a rich feeling.. one I appreciate given our current drought conditions in the pasture.

I looked out in the pasture later in the evening, and saw Ransom almost pouting around the barn, looking towards the house. Yeah, I was tired. Late lunch wasn't agreeing with me 100%, but I changed clothes anyways. Wandered out to the trailer, dressage saddle in-hand. Found Ransom at the gate, staring at me. Whatta pony!

We rode dressage, and concentrated on our transitions, and asking for canter more than once, and in different places. I need to keep asking in different spots, because my habits are starting to become anticipation. Primary concentration on our second spurt of canter - collection. I now have a rhythm to my elbow-bending tugs at the bit that brought Ransom's head down, and definitely changed his canter. Instead of up & out, it feels straight & energetic. Something neat to work on, for sure. His head came down, and poll bent in, and with minimal nudging, he held it nicely for 5-6 strides at a time. Muscle development, I'm sure!

Most of our work was quite good. I had my mp3 player going in my head, and we both enjoyed the first leisurely half of our work on Norah Jones. When I decided that was enough sleepie time music, I ramped it up with Third Day's Revelation album. That got the forward juices flowing!

We played together for about 45 minutes. I say "we played" because I concentrated on our practice, but also focused on having fun. I was singing out loud, laughing at his ears flapping with our gaits, concentrated on my hips opening up at canter, arms bending with his front end, and plenty of laughter... All fun!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

08/06/09 Yumping!

I found Ransom standing at the walk through gate, looking at his halter. "Hey Mom! I heard the word Jump this morning before you left. Let's go!"

Set up two cross rails. I was one ground pole short of being able to go either way without having a ground pole switched. Jen arrived to us in the arena on free lunge warmup. Ransom was forward, but not being goofy. A very good thing.

We warmed up walk, trot, and then concentrated a bit on my canter. I wasn't real sure why, but last Sunday canter-english on Romeo, I kept tossing my stirrups. It wasn't even in the transitions, but a bit after, they were swinging wild, despite my best efforts. Even keeping heels down, they were flapping free of my feets. So, in the canter, Jen started watching while I was telling her, "there they go." Hip Hip Hooray to her tuned-in eyes - she found it. And, actually, it's quite funny.

It's not me leaning forward
It's not my legs swinging wildly
It's the stupid knee rolls. Or in this case, the lack thereof.
I'm so used to canter in my dressage seat, and without realizing it, I've gotten into the habit of supporting myself on the knee rolls in the dressage saddle. As a result, the hunt saddle doesn't have those knee rolls, and I'm "reaching for what ain't there."

When she pointed it out, and I started focusing on nothing but heels, I found my new balance point. Homework there - Focus on canter heels down. Hours of canter will be needed to find my balance point in the hunt seat, concentrating on heels and seat, and spot-check that my legs aren't lifting looking for the knee support.

With the flat work accomplished (& better understood), I pointed Ransom at the first crossrail, heading left, trot to, canter from. Whee!! He's great! Jen once again caught us in bad rein releases. I'm tentatively holding on to Ransom's face a bit too long before the fence. I'm waiting too long before lifting to two-point, and staying too upright in two-point. Wow, a grocery list of things to work on, eh? It's good - He's enjoying the heck out of the fences.

So the jumping goes like so...
Crossrail left side, heading left, about centered with dressage-X
Canter away, and remain in canter a bit
Ease to trot, trot a circle
Point at crossrail right side, heading left, still centered at X

We worked a handful of fences this way, changed direction. I asked Jen, "Hey, you think we's ready to go the other way? Wanna switch that ground pole?"
She said, "I've got a better idea. Now you won't need to switch the ground pole at all." She took one cross rail out, set it on the ground, and lifted the other cross rail to the rail holder. Wait a minute?! That's not what I meant... That's ... A ...
Vertical! Crap! I've measured that before! That's a bit over 21" vertical rail! Crap-o-la!

I avoided it for a few trips heading right, then finally realized there was no getting out of it. Ransom is Steady-Eddy, and has been careful over every jump I've pointed him at, so, here goes nothing.
Trot Two-point, Glance at it, and stare at the trees
Heels down! Look UP!
Pause, tuck, JUMP! Airborne, Landing, canter BIG! Ease to trot, circle... Look at the cross rail, lather, rinse, repeat

We repeated the cross rail (which is now lifted to 2nd hold on the rail holder) and the vertical some more before calling it a day. Very much fun, with a lot to focus on - mostly for me, and not sweet Ransom.

Homework on the lesson
- Flat work canter without losing stirrups
- Crossrails, with trot to, canter from. Bring back down to a trot before the jumps.
- Get more comfortable with the vertical rail

08/05/09 Ransom

Lesson postponed to 08/06. We would've gotten an uber-late start, and I had someone patiently waiting for me at the end of my ride. Um, sort of patiently, well, kind of, maybe not so much, but waiting anyways...

I grabbed Ransom, explaining to him if he behaved, the ride would be short & sweet. We'd get much done in short order, I wouldn't expect perfection, but I would demand an effort. Saddled up dressage, and happily presented him with his french link bit. He was quite the happy man.

We toodled around the arena, his ears flapping to the sides. It was cute how he was kind of alert, but really responsive to me. Went through all the gaits, free walk, working walk, working trot, extended trots (down diagonals), solid canter all 'round. Pushed him through some canter 20m circles at the far side and in the center.

Then, quite suddenly, I could hear the #$*&%^ neighbor's dogs yapping. We were headed down long side towards their pasture. There they were! Dogs yapping, chasing three heifers and one calf. Ransom stopped cold from a working trot, shaking. Head up, back hollow. Knowing that pushing him back to work right away wasn't the answer (from the past), I chose to let him halt. Rubbed his neck, and talked to him in a soothing tone of voice. "It's okay, baby. Big strong Ransom, you're alright honey. Those big bad mean cows won't get you... neither will the puppies. You're a good boy, and you're going to relax here real soon."

He started to walk off, but head & back still nervous. I brought him right back to a halt, and kept talking & patting. This repeated three more times, but even with the cows out of sight, he was still nervously looking thatta way. I left us at the halt until his head came down, back relaxed, and he was licking & chewing. One big heavy horsie sigh, another solid pat "atta boy", and we went back to work.

And ya know what?! Much better than the last Cow-Fight we had. He relaxed right away, and went back to work. We walked a bit working walk, free walk, then popped into a nice working trot. He had his same cheerful ears, and happy work attitude.

"Work-Work" for nearly 30-35 minutes, followed up with lots of working walk to free walk transitions for about another 10.

Lesson tonight... We're Jumping! We're Jumping! I hope!!! =)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I'm Back

I hid for only a few minutes. Okay, a little over an hour. So let me just say this..

I know you are reading and that's fine. I'm not hiding anything... If every sentence doesn't make sense, I'm sorry. Some of my words are personal, and have inside meanings to only me, but they make me smile, and I've left them written for the memories.

If anybody else sees anything worth gossiping about, cool. Email me, and maybe I'll tell you more. Then again, maybe I won't. That's the joy of the blog - and email for that matter - delete button works!

That makes me think of another funny... I need a funny..

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

08/03/09 Ransom

Tacked up dressage. I really, seriously, need to oil up his new bridle and get his french link bit back in-service.

Warmed him up real quick. He was a bit beyond lazy to get started, so I hopped on. Lots of working walk to free walk transitions to get his mind on collection & stretching down into contact.

Tried a bit of trot, and found him to be stickie & short strided. So I pushed him up into canter for a few times around the arena in both directions. After the canter work, I found him to be quite a bit better. His trot stride was much more flowing & extended. Very nice indeed.

Finished up the work with some walk to trot to walk transitions. Cooled down with more walk to halt transitions.

Total work about 40 minutes. It was beyond yuckie hot out, and both of us were flat pooped worn out after the session.

Monday, August 3, 2009

What were They Thinking?

My thoughts and prayers are with the three, as well as their families. It stinks that they were captured by Iranians, and it's great that our Government officials are trying to get them brought home.


What were They Thinking?! Iran HATES the US! Hates us! Why on earth would anyone voluntarily travel there, on a hiking trip, then throw a fit when they were captured & held hostage? Seriously?!!!

Okay kids.. Let's all use the thinking side of our brains now.. Cancel your vacation &/or holiday plans to the Middle East &/or any other Terrorist nation.. If you choose to go, and something bad happens, stamp "oops I screwed up" on your forehead, and don't whine to the rest of us!

08/02 Romeo's Turn

Grabbed Romeo before the morning of thick humid clouds even broke for the day. Saddled up hunt seat, and headed to the arena. He bobbled around for a brief warmup solo, then walked straight up to me to be bitted & ridden. This is usually a sign of a good ride with him - when I don't have to holler "whoa" to get him to stop avoiding me...

I rode him walk, trot, and canter. His canter was not in any way collected, but it was flat. So flat, in fact, I did plenty of long sides without stirrups and without reins. Reins were swinging in the gait around his neck, and my legs automatically lengthened and wrapped around him.

I found it a bit difficult to keep feet in stirrups & heels down with the short hunt stirrup length. Not real sure what's going on there, except that maybe it's different leg muscles and I'm not using them well.

We played together for about 45 minutes, and had fun. It's neat to ride him without expectations, though some part of me still feels he's got more to offer that I need to discover.

08/01 Ransom

I intended on lunging him only. Hunt seat, Romeo's english bit, I was even in shorts...

After lunging on side reins for about twenty minutes, I just couldn't help myself. He was resistant at first, but gave promptly to the side reins, and was putting out a really nice collected trot.

So I hopped on. It was a fun ride! I focused on opening up my shoulders, and some light seat to two point transitions at trot. When I went to light seat - every single time - Ransom would stretch out his trot, and flip both ears back to me, as if to ask, "Go 'head Mom. Ask for canter. I'm ready, Mom. Really. You just squeeze easy, I'm here for ya, Let's ROCK!" *laugh* He can be a complete comedic relief sometimes.

Our ride lasted about 40 minutes, so total work, about an hour. It was more than intended, longer than I intended, but worth every moment.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

07/31 - 08/02 The Weekend

Friday, boys got new feet, right on schedule. Thanks, Mr D for rearranging a few other clients - Ransom sure appreciates having all four shoes again!!

Friday party was fun. Miss Connie was mucho surprised, which was great! When I got home, there was time to feed, change, and clean up just a bit. Then R and I went to dinner, and enjoyed a little time together before arriving at the party.

We got Connie one darn funny card. On the cover, was one butt-ugly-nasty-looking-middle aged fella. UGLY! Inside said, "See, there are things worse than birthdays." LOL The party was My Little Pony themed, a very fun idea for a 50yr birthday party. =) Much fun had by all. Had more than double the legal limit of sugar consumption, something almost needed since I didn't get much sleep Thursday night. The sugar crash was just enough that I slept like a dead weight Friday night.

Saturday morning my phone alarm went off super early. R had a work day, and Jen's R had a workday of sorts, so off we girls went. By 7:40am, we were pulling out of the WallyWorld parking lot, and on our way to Houston.

We went to Charlotte's, tried on plenty of things, and bought a few others. Then we wandered closer to the city, and went to the Galleria Mall. Much fun. Lots of window shopping, people watching and a bit of real shopping. A few CD's, Godiva chocolate, new pair of shoes... but lots of window browsing & overwhelming crowds. From the mall, we made one more browsing store pit stop headed towards home. Met up with my R at the same Buc-ees for a drink stop & check-in.

When I arrived home, I was greeted by happy horses. I ran inside, changed clothes, and headed for the barn.