Wednesday, September 30, 2009

09/29/09 Drunk Fish

That's what I felt like riding Ransom hunter last night. My left heel didn't want to stay down, and when it did, my ankle was jabbing. I couldn't keep my bottom in the saddle with the stirrups where they were. So I lengthened them out one, and it got a little bit easier to use my seat cues.

We did some bending in and out at the walk for warmups, and some work at the trot to get his attention. Broke the canters up with plenty of walk and trot in between. As I loosened my little self up, I snuck in a little sit trot, though I felt him shorten his stride as we did it.

Ransom perhaps took advantage of my lack of balance, by refusing any efforts of collection. He was incredibly irregular in his speed, I'm sure from my lack of balance, and irregular leg pressure.

I'm way too used to my long stirrup length and ease with which I can control leg on, leg off. In that hunt saddle, it was too easy to rest my calves on him, and he responded in kind.

I seriously felt like a drunk fish flapping all over my tack for our 45 minutes of fun in the arena. He took good care of me, and kept me in the tack, just not pretty.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

09/28/09 Romeo

I grabbed my full chaps, slid 'em over my breeches, grabbed Romeo and his English bit, and offs we went.

Walk, trot, whoa, backup, and his turns, all bareback, between the side yard, front yard, and his pasture. Working out a good extended trot in the pasture - flat fun! With everything shredded down short, he did very well. Not bad for about a month off. A neighbor fellow went scooting down the road on his bicycle. Romeo planted all four feet & stared at the bike in sheer amazement. I got a good giggle out of it.

After a good half hour of flat goofing off, I called it quits. He did great, for the time he's had off. Need to saddle him up Western sometime this week, stick him in his Western bit, and check his neck reining & remind him of his instant-brakes a bit more.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Are You Kidding Me?!

First, the beer sloshing party.

Then he can't learn when to shut his mouth.

Now, he is appealing for... the Olympics?

C'mon! Good grief, Man! You have a job to do! You have a country to run! Would you please stop goofing off & GET TO WORK!

Well, you know... Maybe I should shuddup, huh? If he's goofing off in Denmark, that means there's less radical-left bills getting signed, right?

09/27/09 Back to the Ponies

After church and lunch, I ran home. Short time window between lunch & the football game, I grabbed Ransom.

We worked for an hour on dressage basics. Well, about 40 minutes total. Warmup was good, lunged in the center & far end to check the footing. Much MUCH better with the sun-drying time. I warmed up undersaddle with counterbending down the long sides at walk. Both neck bent towards the rail, and towards the center, both directions. He quickly started bending at the poll, realizing I'm sure that was much easier than fighting it. After a few walk transitions, Ransom got right to work, settled into some nice canter (set with plenty of trot & walk in between), and a few nice halt transitions. I kept our canter work to either all the way around, or circle on the far end, staying out of the center and out of the low circle, to keep his little brain guessing. I also didn't "canter left and quickly canter right", to get out of another habit we've formed. Cute boy even let me sit the trot a while... confusing him even more.

In good Sunday-resting fashion, we spent the last 15 minutes walking around the pasture to the right of the house. Playing in the shade. I even made him step up & walk over the pallet-bridge twice. He sure didn't want to, and walked around it a few times. His brain quickly realized he wasn't going to get out of it, and walked over it. The last time he did, it was all four feet, and with good confidence. That's when we called it quits.

Football game was good, a good watch, a crappy outcome. My team just isn't showing up this year yet - lucky break the first game, and they showed their disorganization in the second two. I'll be happy when the first-string free safety is back to work, in another couple of weeks.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

09/26/09 Birthday Celebration

Nope, not mine. My regular readers should remember mine's in June. This was R's birthday, and I was anxious with antici...pation! The concert Friday night was really the big-event, but I'd put some time & thought into our Saturday, and we got off to a great start!

Up & ready to go, we departed the hotel, and loaded back in the truck. What's that?! Hey, look, sweetie! There's a package in the back seat! Hey look! How'd that get in here? I'd purposely left it in the truck, mostly to see the surprise, and not wanting to miss a second of it.

I had neatly arranged two cards (one absolutely beyond goofy silly, and another quite *mush*), and a paper-chain like the one seen here. See, for nearly a week, I'd been gathering my thoughts, famous quotes, and a favorite set of verses of mine, and "chaining them" together. I won't embarass him here with the details of them (no, ya'll, calm it down.. all were rated-G, and entirely appropriate for young ears, just personal stuff). The first of the chain was an explanation of what the rest were. Thinking now, I never did count how many were in the total, but there were quite a few. The smile he wore grew with each link - how neat! Judging by his reaction, I did good!! His day was off to a very successful start.

With that complete, we headed off the first of two gun shops. The clerks there were cheerful and helpful. One fellow handed me a pistol that just about topped my day. =) I was a little shocked when he demonstrated the laser-grip to me - holding it in his hand, he pointed the laser right at another clerk, who shouted "bang!" and bowed in a bit. What?! Isn't that about the first rule in gun safety, never point at another human being unless you mean it? Ouch! :)

We snuck away to the Galleria Mall (same place Jen and I went, but this time, we stayed out of the parking garage, thank goodness). Did a ton of window shopping, and left there a little disappointed one shop R wanted to visit had closed. We did, however, leave there with Godiva chocolate, my fave!

After the Galleria, another gun shop. In fact, the same one as before. Upon entry, I scoped the place, checking for the grouchy-guy. Thank goodness! He's clear in the back. This trip, we found a really fabulous clerk, very willing to teach & help me out. Knowing more from my range-trip, I had a better idea what I felt comfortable holding. He even let me dry-fire a couple times, and marveled, "Wow, good job pulling the trigger. Nice & slow squeeze. Good job!" thanks sweetie - you're the one that taught me that. We had a good trip this time, and even snuck in a brief discussion about riding Romeo. Ah Hah! Now I just need to get him to try it.. Sure need to work on Romeo then, tune him up a bit, and get those breaks steady.

We paused for Applebee's dinner on the way home, and took our time driving back. My kids and his were all happy to see us when we got back to town. In summary, so I'm told, it was a fabulous day overall.

Mission accomplished!

Friday, September 25, 2009

09/25/09 Concert , Um , Wow

I hi-tailed it out of work a bit early, with a few birthday errands to run, and a handful of chores to complete. The workweek had been pretty dern stressful, so it felt good to leave, feeling kinda like I'd "gotten away with something."

By 4:30pm, we were well on our way to Houston. Stopped for a quick supper, and back to the Woodlands. The crowd and the traffic on the way in were pretty minimal. Yet again we found ourselves in a different parking lot, this time a totally different direction walking it. Commit to memory where the truck got parked, important for leaving later.

Ever walked towards a concert before, heard the warm-up band, and wondered, "Geez, who is that?!? I know I know that voice from somewhere! Who on earth is that!!" Staind opened up for Creed, and did a great job. We found our seats & got settled before they finished up - a first. Sitting for the warm-up band! :)

The seats around us slowly filled up, with quite the variety of crowd. Waiting on Creed to start, I saw what looked like an ittie bittie flame in the middle of the stage. Oh yeah, that was fire, alright. That little flame spread into a huge fire spread across the width of the stage - absolutely cool! They were absolutely awesome! Great sound, fabulous voices, not a lotta yapping, and a ton of singing. The event was also being simulcast with cameras all over the venue, broadcast live to troops overseas. Now, that is pretty darn cool!

The folks sitting around us, were, um, colorful? Yeah, that's a nice way to say it. One lady was, um, rhythmically challenged? Well, no, she did move in a rhythmic fashion, but I think it might benefit her to watch Footloose about, hm, a dozen times. The few in front of us, um, again, same deal. Didn't help their cause that they were all considerably taller than I am, making it just a bit hard to see if they smooshed all together. Between these two "bunches", they were very, um, "touchie feelie" - high 5'ing complete strangers around them, including us. The lady across the aisle had the "touchies on everybody" boogers. There was a younger group of folks in front of her, the girl directly in front of her started showing signs of really not feeling well. I don't mean a little bit, I mean sitting down, head between her knees, left for a while, not feeling well. Poor girl... All that, to come back to her seat, and have the lady behind her constantly patting her on the back & hollering in her ears.. Yeah, glad that wasn't me. On the opposite of those personalities were the girls sitting to my right - talk about polite! The girl right beside me very accidentally bumped into me one time, and apolgized, then elbowed her friend to "scoot over" & give me a little bit of room. Very very polite girls. Their parents should be awful proud of their maturity. By far the most entertaining crowd-watching, was near the end of the event, behind us & over a section. One gentleman was, um, preparing to cause fire to reach one said illegal substance. =) He was asked to stop by security, shook his head "no", and was promptly shown the way out of the seating area. By then, I quit watching, but it sure was fun to see two very large security guards, one each at his shoulder, "showing him out". *giggle*

There was another outdoor event at the same grounds, causing a HUGE bottleneck crowd on the way out. At one point, I had a guy, um, leaning up against me, shoving me, and quite honestly, parts of his body were entirely too close to all of me. I stepped back and introduced the top of his foot to the bottom of mine, twice, in some effort to show him that his space and mine were to remain two different things. R quickly recognized my frustration, and got in between us - good thing, too (for the guy, that is). After the bottleneck chaos, it felt good to see most of the crowd turn one way getting to their parking, and us a different direction.. *whew*

We grabbed a midnight breakfast before slipping of to sleep. At check-in, our hotel clerk got a little mini-free-lesson on "how to NOT tell the customer where there room is at check in." I could post an entire entry on hotel & travel safety, but let me give you a snippet right here.

Never, never, never, EVER, let the hotel clerk announce your room #, room location, or even brief directions when you're checking in. Take the card, your room #, and ask for a map. Go sit in your car and read the map, and find the room on your own. If you're still not sure, go looking without your bags first. This is especially true if you're checking in alone. I don't care how safe you feel, how armed you are, or how "big & powerful" you think you can be against a criminal. If the clerk even gives remotely useful directions to your room, he/she has also given them to the other customers in the lobby with you. And which of you wants the boogity man showing up at your hotel room door faking to be room service? Huh? Not I, as I scolded the girl, "That's quite enough. You can stop there." while she was offering the floor & general directions to our room. She had a look on her face of absolute shock, and said to me, "I wasn't going to say the room #." And I responded, "That's fine, but everyone else here in line doesn't need to know the floor number, or directions to the room. You've done enough, thanks."

09/25/09 Ziggy

Poor Ed the Water Guy ... I was reminded of Ed just yesterday when I got into a discussion with some folks about the benefits & disadvantages of drinking distilled and/or bottled water.

Friday Fill Ins

1. One week ago I was at home sleeping at this time, just waking up.

2. I've changed my life expectations and goals from when I was young.

3. Mama told me I'd end up with kids just like me someday. Gosh, I hope she was kidding.

4. That's a secret just between you and me.

5. Take your time and read all about my riding successes.

6. My gloom over the cancelled show will pass!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to Creed at the Woodlands Pavillion, tomorrow my plans include a special birthday and more gun shopping and Sunday, I want to work it up with Ransom and Romeo!

09/24/09 Regroup & Back to Training

With the show cancelled, I could've done more pouting and fussing, or I could get my saddle back up & get to work. Ain't no reason why I can't make those transitions even better over the next month, right?

So, I had Jen come over & meet Ransom and I in the arena for a dressage lesson. The weather was just about perfect for riding - low 70s temperature, light winds, overcast skies. The back half of the arena was still a bit too mushy for real work, so we stuck to the low circle.

Ransom lunged out in side reins beautifully. No goofy fits, no stiff transitions. He actually was slowing down on my body language and a subtle "shhhhh" verbal cue. Very sweet! I was about done lunging as Jen arrived at the arena. Mucho perfecto timing!

As I was warming up, Ransom showed us what we would work on for the day. I got my canter-left in, and as I turned him around, he got a bit antsy at the trot-right, in AnTiCi...Pation of the canter-right. I let him canter right, just as Jen said, "Okay, let him walk." She suggested I needed to start mixing up my canters, not put them one right after the other, and work on a lot of different things in between, so he'd never know when his canter-fun would commence.

And we did. Worked on circles of posting trot, sitting trot, walk to halt, back to posting & sitting, a few figure 8s in the circle-space, and then some canter mingled in. Also worked on keeping my legs on and him collected up on the bit for transitions. I was happy to say most of them were pretty darn good. Ransom got a little fussy on the shoulders, sticking whatever shoulder out that was on the outside of the circle, in an effort to avoid work. I'll fix that! Work at walk and trot with his head bent in and then out of the circle. Bent-in at the walk, on the circle, rough stuff! Bent-out, at walk and trot, not so difficult. At least not difficult for me to control. Now, for my Ransom to hold it, funnie! He'll try to duck that head out in working trot, I forced him out in an exaggerated bend, for a circle or two, then let him go back to 'normal', and wow did he look good then!

Even with the weather-related two days off, Ransom was phenominal! We had an awesome ride, and in fact I lost track of time. He had a 20 minute warm up, and an hour ride! A whole hour! Got to love the weather, when I wasn't sweaty, wasn't feeling exhausted, and my horse still felt awesome. Forward-going, and light on my hands. Very Very sweet!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

09/23/09 A Day to Dry Out

With the show cancelled, I saw no reason to fight the looming sprinkles or the still soft arena. I walked it, and it's gotten much better.

So I gave everything another day to dry out, and Ransom another day to chill. I went out to see him a few times in the evening, and he was an adorable snuggle-bug. Pretty cool when my horse knows just what I need.

Lesson is scheduled for tonight.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

CountDown to Sienna Cancelled

Email arrived just a while ago...

We are re-scheduling the September 27 schooling show to October 25.
Sorry for the inconvience.
Please email me to refund your money or apply it to either the October 25, November 15, or December 13 Championships

Darn it all! I've cancelled my room, rearranged my plans, and I'm searching for new ones. I've got a birthday to celebrate that same weekend.

09/23/09 Splish Splash

Over the last 24 hours, there was 1.76" of rain reported at the airport, about three miles from my house.

Neighbor's pasture was a flooded mess when I drove home. It was still raining lightly, and I braced for the arena to be flooded, too. I was surprised to find it really soft & deep, but only one puddled spot, which was soaking in.

Walked the perimeter of the arena, decided it was too soft to risk injuring Ransom even for a lunge, and fed the boys supper. I swear I heard Ransom snickering when I gave him grain and said, "Night off, my gentle friend. Night off. Maybe lunging tomorrow, back to ride Thursday."

The rain is good. The timing could be better, but the rain is good. At the last show, this happened with a day or two of rain before the show, and we still did alright.

Countdown.. Yikes! 5 days!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

09/21/09 Easy On the Bit

Curious if Ransom had learned anything last week about leaning on the forehand, I let him work in the french link bit. Oooh Laa Laa.. Whatta good boy!

He lunged so light in the side reins. He was a bit lazy, a little slow, but very round. It looked marvelous. I lunged him for work , hmm, 15 minutes or so, then hopped on.

His walk was great. His working trot was a little short, but round. Canter was amazing. Transition from canter to trot left as in TL Test 2, not so good. He didn't want to slow down, and decided it was a good time to arch his back hollow, throw his head, and outright refuse to ride it pretty. Ugly Ugly down transition. The centerline to halt wasn't even so horrid. A few of them he was slow to stop, but he didn't toss his head up. The free walks? Phenominal! No pulling on the bit at all. The trots towards the end did stretch out some, though it felt a little like he was either hoping I'd let him go long & low, or leaning. Either way, it was still light enough I didn't feel pulled forward in the tack.

We had about 30 minutes of hard work followed up by plenty of working walk to free walk and halts to cool down. We're well on the way .. Sunday is fast approaching. I'm going to keep alternating between the twisted bits for the rest of the week, admitting our halts won't be real pretty as Ransom will be bracing for the yuckie bit pressure. However, if that makes the french link feel so sweet he's as pretty Sunday as he was Monday night, we'll have great rides!!

Countdown to Sienna .... 6 days. Yipes!

Monday, September 21, 2009

09/20/09 Ransom's Up!

We had our day off, now it's time to get back to work.

I rode for about 25 minutes with real determination. His transition down the centerline to X was a little bit better, a bit more relaxed. Still not real pleased with his giraffe-head at X. Hoping to improve that a bit this week. What does impress me, is his long-neck free walk. He has all but ceased tossing his head & pulling the bit out of my hands. I need to wiggle-wiggle those fingers to keep his attention, spread my hands just a bit apart for him to recognize it's a stretchie walk, but at least he's not sensing the break and yanking on my hands. Much improved from our July show.

Rode through most of Training test 2. It was getting a bit warm out, and despite some breaks, he was breathing pretty hard. So, I opened the arena gates, and we went walking. On very light contact, around the open parts of his pasture. It was almost serene, his head bobbling around, varying that walk stride, focusing my apprehension on trees. Yup, on trees. Rather than get anxious about being out of the arena, and afraid he'd get spooked and give me a flying lesson, I was concentrating on riding from one tree, to another tree, to another tree.

We played together for nearly 45 minutes including the long walk. Had fun. Now, starting Monday, it's back to serious intense training. I'll figure in one more goof-off day in there somewhere, maybe Wednesday, if I skip choir.

I gave him a brief hosing soapy bath with one of those "hose on, rinse off" products. This will happen again Saturday morning, with some scrubbing added in. I also trimmed his mane up, and clipped bridle path, ears, face, and feet. He's starting to sparkle, and I can tell by his general disposition he knows something is coming, and soon. Get your game face on, big buddy. We're fixin' to go sparkle at a fancy show! Get ready to go show 'em what a big fancy show horse looks like, huh?

Countdown to Sienna show .... 7 days.

Weather men are playing with my mind, with a significant prediction of storms a few days this week. Bah humbug.. Maybe it'll rain & soak in, settling the mixed up arena a bit, and give us some slightly cooler riding weather.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

09/19/09 Bang!

Bang! Bang! Bang! I have found the perfect stress relief. Never thought I'd even be saying it loud, no mention of thinking it would be so much fun I'm looking forward to doing it again.

giggle* I'm in fact sitting here, grinning to myself, and even chuckling a little bit at the notion.

Jen and her DH finished up shredding down the pastures and discing up the arena. My back, my legs, and my poor Ransom were all crying out the same things - give us the day off! So I skipped riding on Saturday. Spent the morning finishing up more house & yard chores, like mowing & a bit more laundry.

Early evening, R and I gathered up a few things, and went to the gun range. Yup! Yankee-girl gone mad. We've been window-shopping for a pistol that fits my hand & I am comfortable with. And after this old trip, I thought I had a pretty good idea. After our evening, I have a slightly different idea. I almost hate to say it out loud, for fear that clerk ever wanders to my blog, but oh heck, I'll go for it. A few of those 9mm he handed me that felt big, heavy, and overwhelming, might've been right on the mark. Darn it! If he hadn't been so rude & ugly about my lack of knowledge, I might've been more open to listen to the cranky little turd.

Anyways, R handed me a 9mm, and I got my little mind all psyched. "Here we go. This won't be a big deal. Just pull. Worst I'll do is hit those darned weeds above the target. No big deal. There's nobody here I'm trying to impress. Can't get any better if I don't try." Bang! *giggle* That wasn't so bad. Peek - hey! I didn't do too bad, either. Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! (repeat repeat repeat some more)

We walked up to the target. With the exception of about two shots, I did incredibly well! And, hey, for that matter, I had fun doing it. We repeated this silly exercise in stress relief for a few hours worth. I had an absolutely wonderful time, and am looking forward to the next event. I learned a lot, and got a little more comfortable.

Afterwards, we went to see another friend & the band she's in play - Tin Star. More time hanging out & carrying on with some friends. They were also pretty good, and looked like they were having tons of fun doing it.

09/18/09 Ransom Lesson

I spent the morning doing some yard work, house work, and then sprinted back to town for a lunch break. Managed myself an awesome rotten headache to start off the day, which I nursed for a while in the afternoon.

Ransom warmed up pretty nice, though a bit distracted by the tractor & disc working in the arena. Jen's hubby Robert was discing up the arena, making it sweet & soft. When I got ready to ride, he quickly sprinted out of the arena.

We worked through Training test 1 twice, and found a stickie spot - From trot to halt at X. Only way Ransom wanted to stop was to toss his head up. I ended up settling on decent - not nearly what I'd like to see. I am hoping this will improve in the coming week.

Trot transitions weren't so bad, and the canters were alright. A bit less collection than I'd like, but really not so bad. Rode for about an hour total. Not really a particular homework - item to perfect, except to mix up the transitions, and keep things different down centerline for a few more rides.

Countdown to Sienna - 9 days.

After my lesson, continuing our music-filled weekend, R and I went to town & got to listen to a friend of ours play in his band, Pop Rocks Ugly. (NO idea where the name came from, but it's funny, huh?) They were quite good, and looked to be having a blast playing & singing. If you're in town & get a chance to listen, go for it! Great sound, even in a small room.

Friday, September 18, 2009

09/17/09 Ransom Lunge

*giggle* I had a date Thursday night, so Ransom got ... the ... day ... off? Oh no! He had to work.

And work hard he did. Read all about it here! Don't know much about them mosquitoes she lunged - pesky monsters.

R and I got surprise last-minute tickets to go see Chickenfoot in Corpus Christi. A fun time. To our surprise, the event was held in the side stage, not in the outdoor main stage. A bit discouraging - because the sound was squealing out of the speakers, and bouncing from the ceiling to the concrete ground & back. Made Sammy Hagar really hard to understand - something I find frustrating. If I don't know the music, I'd like to be able to understand it. If I do know the music, I really want to be able to understand it so I can sing along.

Their drummer is cool, but Nickelback's drummer is still better! *HAH*

Thursday, September 17, 2009

09/16/09 Mom, Add Leg, Right ... Yeah!

There ya go, Momma! Add a teensie weensie bit of leg pressure when you ask for down transitions. No, I know you're not used to it.. But if you don't add a little leg, look at the neat giraffe impression I can do?! Ain't that cool!!

Ransom & the loose ring twisted wire bit. Much better! I was in , um , a bit of a strangled hurry. I had supper plans and choir to scramble off to. As I warmed him up free around the arena, skipping the side reins, I prayed he'd get my message quickly and choose to cooperate. The last two times I'd tried to get a "quick ride in", we argued and half hour rides turned into two hour arguments.

He got my drift. I hopped on, and we did debate a couple transitions. Overall, he was pretty awesome. I picked up some warm-up canters on the low circle, then travelled all the way around the ring, almost giggling. Ransom's canter-right felt pretty long-strided, especially down the long sides. Goober - third straight riding day, and he was *still* set to fly.

We worked through a bunch of trot and walk transitions. A *whole* bunch. I did them down the long sides, transitioned at the imaginary letters, transitioned on the low circle, anywhere I could. The more we did, the better he got. I think he's getting the hint, and I'm also learning.

If I wanted a good down transition last night, I had to add just a little leg. If I squeezed knees-only, he'd toss his head up. If I squeezed with a bit of calf pressure while closing my hands, he had more collection in the transition.

So it'll be a balancing act to determine what kind of mood he'll be in, every day leading up to the show. We worked for a very brief 40 minutes total. Ransom's got a lunge-date tonight he doesn't know about yet. Mom is running off to the big city tonight, but I've scheduled you some muscle-building work anyways. Don't worry, monster. She knows where the cookies hide.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

She's Teasing Me!

Jen's threatening to burn any white rubber mane bands I take to the show..

Awwwww.... C'mon, Boss! Don't those Dressage ponies look cute with their dark coat, dark mane, and white braid bands?!?!

09/15/09 Much better, Mom

Ransom saddled up in dressage, but his hunter full cheek slow twist bit. And, boy o boy, he still wasn't real happy, and after some brief lunge line side reins, we argued a little when I got on.

There was no getting that pretty little head down, and all he wanted to do was toss it up like an elephant trunk. Booger. After a little effort, he finally calmed down, and decided my way was significantly easier than his way.

We worked through the "Pieces & Parts" of both tests - well, the trot to canter transitions and circles in the center, at least. I did two far-side short end transitions into canter to the center circle, and two near-side short end transitions to the center circle. He did much, MUCH better on my easy leg cues into the canter. In fact, one of the requests on the far-side was supposed to be a near-side ask, and he picked it up early. That could be a serious disaster in the show, but, for that one moment, I enjoyed the snot out of it. Why? Because we're starting to ride as a team - and he's starting to read my subtle body language, antici-pating the request before I ask. I sat the trot, tucked my toosh, and was thinking "okay, squeeze in the next corner, look for the circle", and he was in the canter. Smooth as ice. Just awesome... He also gave me two solid halts at X. Neither were perfect, but he did stop through only a step or three of walk. I'll take it. With strength and muscle, and the next week and a half, it can't get anywhere but better.

I kept the ride fairly short.. 45 minutes including lunge warmup. After our initial argument, he settled in very very nicely. After the test pieces, I worked on trot to walk, and walk to halt. His trot to walk is getting really nice. Walk to halt still needs work, but hopefully it'll improve as I keep riding.

I do wish I had time to ride or at least lunge briefly tonight, but I'm not seeing it yet. maybe, just maybe, if I sneak out of work an hour early... that would be enough time to get a lunge in, to keep him stretched & thinking .... hmmmm... 3:00, 3:45, 4:00-4:45 lunge, shower, supper around 6:00... hmmmmm...

Talk me into or out of it, folks... =) There's a thought, ain't it?! Have a great Wednesday. I'll try to snag some song lyrics & stuff 'em in here somewhere today.

CountDown to Sienna ... 12 days

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

US Senate Vote S. Amdt. 2355 - ACORN

I'm about beyond sick of hearing "we dislike the government but don't do anything but loudly protest & carry-on about nothing". Fine! I'll start putting feet on my protest. I don't have time to attend Tea Parties - I have to work to pay taxes to send checks to folks that aren't working. *ahem*

Senate Votes to end funding to ACORN.
83 Yea
7 Nay
9 Not Voting

Here's the 7 - if they're in your state, and you disagree, I'd let them know about it.

Burris (D-IL)
Casey (D-PA)
Durbin (D-IL)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Leahy (D-VT)
Sanders (I-VT)
Whitehouse (D-RI)

Cornyn (R-TX) YEA!
Hutchinson (R-TX) Not Voting - Trust me, I'll find out why.

09/14/09 Just ... A ... Little... Less...

Right.. There! That's perfect! Hold that thought, now, will ya?!

That had to be what Ransom was thinking last night. I surprised him with a loose ring twisted wire bit, and the flash noseband, none of which he was too happy about. We argued on the lunge line just a little while about the definition of canter-to-trot and trot-to-walk. He can, in fact, walk-on on the lunge line. Dingaling.

After about fifteen minutes on side reins, I hopped on. I found him hesitant to start out, so I tried giving him a decent amount of rein & light contact. But just as soon as I felt him leaning on my hands at the trot, whack! I tugged on the reins, both legs on. His head popped up sharply, but at least he got off my hands & carried himself. We repeated this a handful of times at trot, both directions.

I did one set of canters in each direction, asking in the first short side corner, down long side, 20m circle at the center, down to trot between centerline & the rail. Just like Test 1 is going to be. He did pretty well - certainly didn't lean on my hands at the canter.

Realizing I was having a bit of trouble with that left stirrup staying with my foot again, I focused on some transitions with Ransom, a little spurt of sitting trot, a few sets trot to walk to trot to walk, and then I got down to my low-end circle, and started working on myself. If I am going to canter in the test, I better darn well figure out why I keep lifting my legs in the up transition.

Got it figured out, too! I was swinging my leg back to ask. Yuck! I discovered this by sitting a circle of trot, then asking. All I need to do on a circle, or in the corners for that matter, is look up into the circle/corner, and squeeze. He gets his leads all on his own (smarty pants), and the transition is a heckuva lot smoother. Quite magical, actually. With just a little squeeze (rather than the almost kicking taps I was doing), I'm also able to keep stirrups right where they go. I repeated this drill a number of times in both directions, sit trot to canter, then rising trot to canter. Found the light squeeze makes for much prettier collection and even a tucked / dropped head into the transition. That's what he's been waiting for all along, I suppose.

Cooled down with a few reminders of how to transition from working walk to free walk, and halts. Total including lunge line warm up, an hour. We'll need to continue this level of activity all the way up through the show.

Which reminds me.. Countdown to Sienna, 13 days.

Even My Mom Taught Me

To think before opening my mouth.

In some way, this is outright funny. Yet, in some other, what was he thinking?!? First, it's beer in the White House. Now, he can't control his tongue on camera.

Which of you Libs wants to go teach the man how to behave out in public? Huh? If I do it, he's gonna get slapped upside the head too many times. Yup. The Conservatives call him a LIAR and it makes national news. He uses cuss words to describe another human being, I wonder if that will be "okay."

And, yes, Kanye West didn't think before he grabbed the microphone from Taylor Swift. He admitted he screwed up, he apologized. But is this really a matter involving a Presidential response? Seriously?!

Last I checked, the economy still needs work, health care bills are floating all over D.C., and we're still at war!

Monday, September 14, 2009

It Ought to be Obvious, But ...

Flu/ cold/ viral germ booger season has arrived. Everybody wants a "shortcut" - I mean, why bother washing your hands with soap & water, when Purell made a hand sanitizer shortcut. But maybe it's not that simple, after all...

Watch this stuff if you've got kids around that can get anywhere near it. Please remind any and everyone you know with small kids.

Hand sanitizer has ALCOHOL in it! How else would it work that well, huh? Kids will try ANYTHING - and too often, it's a taste-test. Unfortunately, they won't just get drunk. There's enough else in Purell (and all the others), you and your loved ones will spend too much time in the ER and recovery. The Snopes link tells two stories of sick kids, and their parents' anguish trying to figure out why their little ones were so sick. Purell puts "KEEP OUT OF THE HANDS OF SMALL CHILDREN" for a reason!

If you've used the sanitizer, please consider it a "short cut fix" until you can get your paws in some soap & water. When washing with soap & water, sing "Happy Birthday" to yourself - It's just about long enough for the soap to really work. The new and latest and greatest is a nice idea, but sometimes, the old fashioned stuff works just as well. And, besides, the soap gets rinsed off, and if your child decides to lick their fingers, they'll just get slobber on their hands, and not soap in their system. Soap will, *cough*, flush on through without too much technical difficulty. Hand sanitizer, not so much.

Pass it on to those you love & care about to help prevent the spread of flu . cold . and all those other cootie germs this viral season.

09/12&13/09 The Rest of the Story

Like a Paul Harvey moment, huh?

Saturday early afternoon brought a local church concert event in town. Our choir and praise band were all in the action, and, except for some general sound issues, it went rather well. We did start a little early, rather than the ridiculous late they'd anticipated. I got the honor of opening up our choir set with my solo from last year. Nifty Neat! Singing on another sound system, with somebody else working the board that I'm not familar with, makes me appreciate our church's sound guy all the more. He's already my fave, but we try to not tell him that too often. Inflates his ego a bit too much.

Got rolling on the road after the concert, picked up Jen and her DH, and off to Houston we went. Found our way to a fabulous Italian supper, and then to the Woodlands to hear Nickelback - final US concert of the show season. Yahoo!

They were musically just as fantastic as they were in June, though the second concert was more yapping & less music. I wasn't super happy with all the BS in between each song, and recognized there was less music this show than last. Still, they did all but one of my favorites, and were still awesome.

Drive home was a bit eventful. Nasty heavy thunderstorm about an hour from the house, but R carefully carried us through it. Thank you, baby. Ain't no way I would've kept driving, but you got us home, all in one piece, and we appreciate it.

I slept soundly once I found my bed, about 2am Sunday morning.

Sunday found a blessed church service, a well-earned nap, and a baby shower / housewarming party R was invited to. Nice pretty new house, all cute baby gifts. I wish the happy couple all the best for their third.

09/12/09 Ransom Lesson

Friday the rains were still playing peek-a-boo with the property, so I decided squeezing a ride in between showers wasn't worth it, and I could better serve Ransom, and me, to ride hard Saturday morning.

Jen and I focused on continuing Ransom's re-conditioning back to shape after the time off. I found him responsive to my leg, transitions decent, but in any particular gait for any amount of time, he was leaning forward, resting on the bit. Plan of action - to switch up to his hunter bit and a twisted loose ring that I've got, and remind him how awful sweet the french link loose ring is to play with. Also going to put that french link back on my bridle with the flash noseband - get him to quit flinging his mouth open any time he wants to avoid work.

His trots into canter were pretty darn good, and back down to trot not so bad, either. He was leaning nasty at the canter, which again I hope to fix with a bit switch. A good solid hour of work, and we ended on a very good note, with some nice transitions. I had his mind, he just didn't feel like carrying himself, and I think I can fix it.

We're hoping that, if the weather holds up this week, with a good week of hard work, I can have him back in shape enough to lesson on tests as a whole rather than just pieces & parts. Here's hoping.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Fill Ins

1. That's a Superstar to be. That's what I want to hear at the show at the end of the month.

2. Hey You! Yeah You! Staring at me from across the room!; I'm over here!

3. The possibilities include: Sleeping in, getting up early for chores, or getting up early to ride.

4. Chicken Curry with vegetables is one of my favorite cool day recipes. Cool day? What's that?! It's still Summer September here.

5. How will you know unless you ask.

6. Patchy sunrise and a stormy sky.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to complete reckless goofing off, tomorrow my plans include Nickelback concert with my R and friends and Sunday, I want to be blessed at church, and enjoy time with my sweetie!

I Haven't Forgotten

Sept 11, 2001. 9:00 - 11:30, Graduate Student 311, Organic Mechanisms.

We were in Grad Student Organic Mechs. Doc Shawe was mad at us because a few students showed up late, and so he was grilling us individually, calling us out to explain a reaction mechanism. I wasn't on my total A-game, and it showed. I knew about 85% of the questions he asked me directly, and about 65% of the ones he asked others. Fortunately, he wasn't nearly as mad at me as my peers. He was so irritated we weren't all speaking up enough and answering his questions, we took a break "so he could have a more useful conversation with the coffee pot."

After about ten minutes, he came back in the room, we all sat back down, and class resumed. He mentioned "Some weird sh~t going on in New York City, but nothing that affected us. Looked like a building or two caught on fire. Let's get back to it before we waste any more of your or my time." After class was over, a few of us wandered up to his office with some questions about the material. We were trying to do a little "professorial damage control hiney smooching" to please him, admitting we weren't all smart enough to remember it all, and needed his experience & help.

He put FoxNews website up on his screen. This was a normal activity. Doc Shawe is a HUGE Conservative, and hated the University's All-Liberal policy. Often, he'd pull up FoxNews almost out of spite to the mostly Liberal student body. I usually smirked, and grinned at him, knowing he couldn't care less about the news of the day, but simply wanted to annoy other students or staff.

Suddenly, everything about Organic Mechanisms, and the reactions from class, were pointless. All of us in his office fell silent. He hit "refresh" on his IE window a dozen times, and every third or so, the text would change.

Moments later, we were all gathered in a conference room in the Sci building, discussing how in the world we were going to get students focused enough for afternoon undergrad labs, if the college was even going to have afternoon classes.

The college made the executive decision that, if students wanted to go to class, professors would be there. If students chose to not attend afternoon classes, that was alright, too. We had about 75% attendance in my afternoon lab section, students dazed, trying desperately to focus on "the normal life".

I spent the evening in church, who scheduled an emergency blood drive for PA victims & rescue crews. The rest of the time around the blood drive I was in the sanctuary, singing & praying, hoping for something close to normal. Campus activities were slowed to a crawl for nearly a week, students piling up in vans to assist with victim assistance & rescue crew counseling. We were close enough to the PA crash site to do something, and many put their skills to use.

09/10/09 Ransom Lesson

I was startled when I got home. I had zero puddles on the pasture. I had zero watery spots in the arena. Signs Ransom had walked through it with disturbed dirt hoof prints but no mud. No Mud at all!

Get out the breeches, t-shirt, and party hats! I was getting a lesson!! YahOO!!!

Ransom was a little stiff, from all the time off, of course. But we had a blast! Worked on walk to halt transitions, and walk/trot/walk transitions. My tests calls for enter working trot, halt at X. I need to figure out if this means I can halt through a few steps of walk. Otherwise, it's gonna be ugly ugly.

We finally got to ride in some shade. One huge advantage of the days ending a little earlier, the far end of the arena gets shaded by the neighbor's trees. So we worked at that end for quite a while. I in fact lost track of time near the beginning of my ride, searching for just the right transition. Ransom loosened up by the end, with a pretty trot down to walk and walk to halt, all heading left (his bad direction). Knowing any trot/canter/trot transition work would just wind him back up again and get him hot, we ended it there, satisfied he'd gotten better over the ride.

My signals are getting clearer to him for up & down transitions. I can tuck my toosh & squeeze for the ups, and settle deep with an exhale for the downs. Some downs come with a bit more rein than I'd like to use, which I hope will improve as we get back in shape.

Most importantly, I'm happy to report I don't feel all that sore this morning. Happy happy about that. I anticipated feeling really sore & stiff, after the long break I'd also had. I'm hoping Ransom feels about the same.

I got to ride! So begins my commitment to take this all very seriously leading up to the show on the 27th.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

09/10/09 My Promise

My Commitment...

When it dries up outside, I will be riding Ransom routinely, reguarly, and with purpose. Regardless of what else pops up in my life, I will be riding him. Even on the mosquito days when I just don't feel so motivated. I'll grab a diet soda, dress myself, and scramble my bum out to the pasture. I will ride my horse.

I will train hard, I will focus, I will memorize my tests.

I will then, of course, beg Jen to call my tests for me the day of the show, just in case!

09/09/09 Cool Title!

Day, Month, Year. Neat!!

I had prayer garden duty this week, along with choir rehearsal.

Beyond that, it poured rain in the region yesterday. Reports of about 1.5" at the airport down the road a bit. I didn't have puddles around the barn, and didn't have time to wander to the arena to survey the water damage.

It's going to rain again today. Great for the ground & pastures - bad for riding. As of now, it's not looking good for lessons tonight, either..

*sigh* I know we need the rain.. but darn it.. talk about all the bad timing.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ed The Water Guy Lives!

He's Alive! He's Alive!

Ed's Response... Laugh everybody!

Sorry it took so long to get back to you, but I wanted several people to properly analyze your letter to see if they all drew the same conclusion.

Not to my surprise, they did. They all believe the product worked as described, but you would never be the kind of person to admit it.

Of course I agree with them. Given that, enjoy Texas. Tell your boyfriend I said hi.

P.S. I am sending more water for the horses....

Critter of the Day

Jen says so.

Critter Of The Day.

Very fitting

Twenty Questions

1. My ex ... works down the hall.

2. Maybe I should ... get back to work so I can succeed.

3. I love ... only a few, and I mean it when I say it.

4. People would say that I am ... intelligent & highly opinionated.

5. I don't understand why ... anybody in the country would want a Liberal hand-out, and wouldn't want to actually work for their checks.

6. When I wake up in the morning ... I can smile before I briefly pray for those I love.

7. I lost ... my mind a long time ago. Let me know when you find it.
8. If I had my way ... There'd be more daylight free hours outside of work.

9. My past ... is forgiven.

10. I get annoyed by ... stupid people.

11. Parties are ... okay, but I won't clear my calendar for one.

12. I wish life was not ... full of grouchy bad news!

13. Dogs ... love unconditionally.

14. Cats ... have a maintenance staff, of which I lead.

15. Tomorrow... is another work day.

16. I have a low tolerance ... of those who lack common sense.

17. If I had a million dollars ... I'd pay off debt, invest, and relax a while.

18. I'm totally terrified of ... being alone.

19. My spouse is ... (n/a) As I told a lady at a laundromat soon after I moved here, "If you find him, would you tell him to hurry up & get to the house?! I've been waiting over twenty years, and I'm getting a little tired of waiting." LOL

20. My life is ... pretty darn incredible.

09/08 And Then the Rains Came

I could make some snarly comment here ... something like "You All had to work, I didn't".. but nah, I won't do that.

Woke up too early for a vacation day. So have you done the math yet? I was first excited to have four days off, Tuesday makes five. Yup, took an extra vacation day. Had some repairs on the house scheduled for Monday, that got postponed to Tuesday.

My leaking roof was repaired, at a very reasonable cost, with discounted supplies. Fantastic! As the last shingle was being nailed, sprinkle-showers started. (I'd almost forgotten what true rain looked like.)

Then, in the afternoon, the clouds opened up. It absolutely positively, POURED at my house. It rained solid-steady for almost a half hour. Not so much to make puddles everywhere, but enough to water the pastures, the yard, my flower beds, and my ponies.

Tuesday lesson cancelled, well, postponed to Thursday. The rain is appreciated, though it delays my riding even further. Darned weather. Choir tonight, along with garden duty at church beforehand.

Thank You God, for the rain. It's not the best timing, with the end of month show coming and all, but Thank You.

09/02 Through 09/07 Updates

Where have I been? Geez whiz, I know folks. I'm entirely sorry. I had a few moments here & there in front of a pc where I could have updated & let everybody know I was alive.

Plain & Simple, the boys were dealing with loose shoes & over reaching (Romeo) or missing shoes (Ransom), so unfortunately there aren't many pony-stories to tell. Nevertheless, updates it is!

09/02 - Choir rehearsal. Back in the swing of things. We've got a pretty full room this year, and it's nice to see all the happy faces.

09/03 -Nothing much. A stressful week at work came to a relaxing end, with four days of time off scheduled.

09/04 - Again, with Ransom missing a shoe, I took the opportunity to haul him to the vet in town. Coggins and a brief exam. Vet saw nothing major wrong, though attributes the slightly runny nose & raspy breathing to allergies.

09/05 - Again, not much. I spent a good deal of time running here & there in town. Jen and I fetched breakfast together, and she tells the story pretty good here. Diaper Party. Hmm... Yes, it's double-dipping for gifts. Redneck ways of acquiring baby supplies for free, I suppose.

09/06 - Church choir is back in full season. The message was good, though the opening ten minutes or so left a foul taste in my heart I couldn't shake. Spent a good part of the afternoon at BBQ at Jen's place. I like it when she blogs before me - makes my typing less. *giggle* R and I enjoyed a late evening at his place - *hiccup* An entirely good evening, with just a speedbump or two.

09/07 - Mr Dale came to the house, Romeo barefoot now, Ransom a trim & four new shoes. Happy horses. R and I watched an afternoon movie together (HAH! I figured out "WhoDunIt"! HAH!). I grabbed Ransom outta his pasture, hoping I'd get to ride Tuesday, for a Monday night lunge. He was fabulous. A little frisky-fresh to start, but quickly settled into those side reins & really paid good attention. About 40 minutes total work for the big monster. Fun to be back in the equine-swing.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Lyrics of the Day

Now, who here is in the mood for some Chipper Cheery Happy Lyrics? I've done enough of the angry, upset, and frustrated songs for a while, don't ya think??

Sara Bareilles "Many The Miles"

There's too many things that I haven't done yet
Too many sunsets I haven't seen
You can't waste the day wishing it'd slow down
You would've thought by now
I'd have learned something

I made up my mind when I was a young girl
I've been given this one world
I won't worry it away
But now and again I lose sight of the good life
I get stuck in a low light
But then Love comes in

How far do I have to go to get to you?
Many the miles Many the miles
How far do I have to go to get to you?
Many the miles But send me the miles and
I'll be happy to follow you Love

I do what I can wherever I end up
To keep giving my good love
And spreading it around
Cause I've had my fair share of take care and goodbyes
I've learned how to cry
And I'm better for that

How far do I have to go to get to you?
Many the miles Many the miles
How far do I have to go to get to you?
Many the miles Send me the miles and
I'll be happy to
Follow you Love

Red letter day and I'm in a blue mood
Wishing that blue would just carry me away
I've been talking to God don't know
If it's helping or not
But surely something has got to got to got to give
Cause I can't keep waiting to live

How far do I have to go to get to you
Many the miles Many the miles
How far do I have to go to get to you
Many the miles But send me the miles and
I'll be happy to yeah
How far do I have to go to get to you
Many the miles Many the miles
How far do I have to go to get to you
Many the miles Many the miles
Been talking to God don't know if it's helping or not
Many the miles Many the miles
How far do I have to go to get to you
Many the miles Many the miles
Oh send me the miles and I'll be happy to
Follow you Love

There's too many things I haven't done yet
Too many sunsets I haven't seen

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

09/01/09 Making Lemonade

I hurried home after work, rushed the dogs to potty, changed clothes, sprayed down with bug repellant, and grabbed Ransom.

Brushed him off, looked at his.. feet.. dangit! Left rear shoe, GONE. That's the hoof that was buggered up to start with, a chunk of wall missing after a trailer-meets-hoof incident soon after I got him. Darn it! So I sprayed him with bug spray, and sent him back out with a few cookies & an apology.

When a Horse gives you Lemons, Get another Horse! =)

So I grabbed Romeo, Western saddle, English bit, running martingale, and off we went.

We worked for about 45 minutes, walk, trot, canter. Mostly walk/canter and trot/canter transitions, focusing on getting the right lead, staying at a decent pace, and staying collected. After a few intial road blocks of wrong leads and fussing with the martingale, he settled in nicely with some controlled circles & relaxed canter.

I had fun, though now I'm off Ransom until Monday when Mr Dale can arrive at the house. Darn it! I think Romeo will get one more day, though his feets are long too, and when he's not paying attention, his back feet meet his front shoes, clink clink clink. Turkeys. Everybody else in town has slow feet in this dry weather. Boy dog wow, not at my house - we got good food, good hay, and apparently just enough rain to have happy fast feets at my house.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I'm Told This is a Bad Idea

But I don't care. It's still funny!

08/31/09 Romeo Ends the Month

The sky looked gloomy, with rain on the radar just west of my house. It was a bit stagnant, sitting in the same spot, strengthening & weakening without warning. Ransom's lesson was set for Thursday, so a Monday ride would've meant two days off until lesson, which doesn't usually make for a good teaching session.

So I buried myself in long sleeves, jeans, boots, and an armor of bug repellant, and grabbed Romeo. He was happy to oblige, and a bit happier I believe when I slid over his back in his french link bit. He picked up a very long strided walk, ears pulled straight forward.

We wandered down the road each way from the house a bit. The deer were bounding around in the trees, squirting across the road from one side to the other.

I worked on walk & trot, and tried to focus on seat transitions. He was pretty compliant, but I could tell a bit annoyed we weren't going any faster. Need to work up courage to pick up bareback canter in the arena soon...

Played for about a half hour.