Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Fill Ins

1. It's time for a weekend and a party.

2. Houston; it's not a bad place for a girls' day out.

3. I must be N-V-T-S.

4. A bareback ride on my horse is the best thing I have ever known.

5. My life is simply a bit more stressful than I need it to be.

6. The last time I laughed really loudly was last night at Jen's text messages.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a party, tomorrow my plans include girls' day shopping in the big city and Sunday, I want to play with the ponies!

(Y)our Beer Drinking President

Well, the more he acts, the more he talks, the more public decisions he makes, the more I dislike Obama, and the more I'm starting to like VP Biden. Check out the link, then see which part below that got my attention...

Gates and Crowley, dressed in dark suits, had Sam Adams Light and Blue Moon, respectively, while Obama, in rolled-up shirt sleeves, had a Bud Light. Biden joined them for a non-alcoholic Buckler beer.

So, while our US Troops are in Iraq, Afganistan, and numerous other countries, protecting our freedoms, standing up for what is right, in the face of armed & dangerous terrorists every minute of their days.... While folks are lining up for unemployment, losing the utilities in their homes, sometimes losing even their homes.... While Large Company employers try to figure out how to surge past the lousy economy and keep their staffs (& keep them paid fairly)....

(Y)our President was slamming back an alcoholic beverage, to "ease the tension" over some stupid misunderstanding where one guy appeared to be breaking into a home, and a police officer confronted him. A misunderstanding between a man appearing to break the law and a law official, and nothing more. All charges have been dropped, both men apologized, the President said "Yup, I should've thought a bit more before I opened my mouth."

Isn't this country grand? NEVER ONCE in my short life do I EVER remember hearing ANOTHER incident where the President of the United States was drinking with anyone in this fashion... NEVER! It's APPALLING! What an example he sets for the country - When life gets hard, you shove your foot in your mouth, and do something you shouldn't have oughta done, just drink a beer! It makes it all go away... All things are better with alcohol, and a beer with your buddies makes it all good.

Thank you Joe Biden for participating, but thank you more for not drinking.. At least somebody in the Big House was sober & with full awareness that night.

(And no, I'm not a completely dry, never-drink-a-day-in-my-life kind of girl.... But I also think VERY hard before I swallow that first drop - Where else am I going today, What else will I be doing, and Will I have a negative impact on anyone watching me by doing what I'm about to do.)

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I've been Hugged!
Jen from Texas of ALL Places sent me a Hug! Sure can use it today.

So, I'm going to send it off to two I know who can use it.


I'll post blog comments, but you two girls consider yourselves hugged in your current somewhat snarly situations. Now, pass it on to two others who you know can use it.

07/30/09 Romeo... Romeo...

Romeo, Western, western bit. We played. Well, no, really, we worked. I spent my time focusing on controlling his speed with my seat. At each gait, I was trying to increase & decrease with toosh & thighs, and general mental energy.

For the most part, it was working. He is finally understanding that just because we pick up canter doesn't mean every up transition after is canter. I only had one "runaway nut" moment with him near the end of the ride. It was "rewarded" with backup around a corner & a good bit after that, and he quickly realized that wasn't a game I was playing.

The cows & their babies were at it again. One mom & baby pair scrambled across the pasture, and Romeo peeked, but didn't spook. Then, quite suddenly, he was five feet in off the rail, and I was "whoa'ing" him to a sharp bending halt. We turned to face the pasture to find about 4 more heifers and their babies, one quite new, uncoordinatedly bumbling around the pasture, trying to learn how to run, and sliding to a splat more than running. I rewarded Romeo for the quick halt, and while he did spook, he didn't focus on it nervous. We quickly walked off from them, and he peeked over once, I wiggled inside rein, and he focused right back on me. Good Boy! o O Now, teach your brother to be that responsive and unspookie! O o

We played together for about 50 minutes, including nice long walk breaks on a super loose rein. I really need to get some focus with him... Not sure when or how to proceed, but we really need something new to do.

Ransom decided he didn't need one of his front shoes anymore. Fortunately, it didn't tear anything up. I called Mr D and explained. We're moved up on the schedule for Friday morning. YAY! new feet new feet!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

07/29/09 Ransom Happy to See Me

Ransom walked up to the gate, ears pricked, licking & chewing. "No dinner yet, buddy", I told him. "Would you like to play with me first?" Still licking & chewing when I put the bridle on.

We borrowed Romeo's english bit (I haven't put Ransom's new stuff together or oiled it yet), and headed dressage to the arena.

About 45 minutes total work. Lots of trot and walk transitions. A little bit of canter, but he was quickly breathing hard, attributed to the high humidity in the warm air. His trot work started out short, chopping, and a mess. By the middle of the ride, he was moving out nicely with decent collection.

So I started working walk to free walk transitions. Collect up briefly, and let him stretch down. As long as he didn't yank the bit from my hands, I'd let him stretch & walk on a loose rein. Head tosses, pulls up, I'd recollect & start over. Did a lot of this while he caught his breath.

Finished up trying this at the trot. It went pretty well overall. It wasn't beautiful, but pretty darn good. He still doesn't entirely understand he can stretch down & keep trotting. But it was getting better as we finished up.

Was nice to have happy Ransom back and put beligerent bridle-tearing Ransom back in the closet.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ed & The Perfect Water

Perched in my lawn chair at the concert grounds, R wandered off in search of a drink for both of us. He walks back up to me, quite "matter of factly", and hands me a bottle of water. He says, "I just got a dog & pony show from this water salesman. He tried feeding me a line of bull, and I know I wasn't up for the challenge. You're going to have to go talk to him later."

So I thought to myself, "oooh.. a chance to be a chemist on vacation. I get to torture someone on a technical level.. away from home where they'll never remember me.. ooooh.... ahhhhh."

After the fabulous Shannon Curfman and a break under the tent (that almost resulted in a NAP), R and I wandered the vendor tents, and found Ed the water salesman.

The bottle says "enriched pH". Okay, guys & gals. There is no such thing. Water is either acidic, basic, or neutral. If it is truly just water, it should be slightly basic, but close to neutral pH. That means pH 7.6 - pH 7.8.

I simply asked Ed "What is enriched pH? That's impossible!"

Ed replied, "Well, this is special water, that has undergone 13 stages of filtration, and was initially discovered in Korea in natural sources. Scientists discovered that these natural sources contain extra oxygen, because the water is bonded in a specific manner to other waters, creating an abundance of oxygen in this water. So they went back to the lab, and as a result, have created this perfect water. You know why you drink 8 glasses of water a day? Because it's not perfect water, and your body only absorbs 13% of the water in those glasses of tap water. With our Perfect Water, you drink one bottle, and absorb all of the water into your body. The pH of our water is the exact pH of your body, making it perfectly absorbable." Ed and I bantered back & forth a while, and you'll see his remarks and my responses below (color coded for easy translation).

Okay... Gang. There's more of this "technical sales pitch" HERE. Click the link for a laugh.
Let me Be A Chemist for a minute or four, and explain a few things from Ed's sales pitch that are either BS or hockey pucks silly....

Korean water source? Humorously offered up by my friend P from the LA Vacation: "That's easy - there's extra Oxygen in the Korean water ... sure! There's dioxin in the water too... I wouldn't recommend drinking it."

Enriched pH? Ed said it's 7.6 to 7.8. That matches up with the human body well enough. But their website says pH 9-10, highly alkaline. Nitwits! And to think I already drank one bottle.

13 Layers of Filtration - Fine enough. That probably just means it's terribly nasty river water to start, and it needs that many without clogging filters early in the process

Extra Oxygen? In the water? Doesn't that mean it's less like water, and more like Peroxide? I wouldn't drink that crap! Bubble Bubble Puke!

It absorbs better into my body? Crap! That means, essentially, more water retention. Alright, ladies, who wants to have more water weight gain?! Not I!

Ed at one point looked at R, and said, "Is she your wife?" ("no"), "Girlfriend?" ("yes") "Well then sir let me shake your hand. Wow, you've got big hands. You probably have to have big hands to keep ahold of her. She sure is a handful." =)

Ed gave me a second bottle of Perfect Water. He asked that I drink the Perfect Water one afternoon, after a day of "hard work". "Mow the lawn, do gardening outside. Work up a good sweat, and work until you're really tired. Then drink the water. If after, you don't feel a thousand times better, refreshed and revitalized more than an average glass of water, give me a call. If you feel better, and great, and think this water is really what we say it is, call & tell me that, too."

So, who wants to drink the Perfect Water? They're selling it everywhere!

My recommendation? Take your purified tap water, put it in a glass container (clean one, please), and set it in the refridgerator for about 24 hours. If the container has a screw-on lid, set it on but not tight all the way, just screwed on a bit. This will remove chlorine residue (not already killing bacteria), and any other odor or taste residue from the disinfection process. If you don't trust your water from the tap (due to funny smell, or well water), call up your local water treatment facility. They're required by law to either test the water on-call for you with results provided, or send a report of a recent testing result near your home. How do I know?

Well, poor Ed, I used to work for a water treatment facility in PA. Worked in the lab, doing the routine bacteria testing. Poor Poor Ed.

I'm Back! Did'ya Miss Me?

My Oh My. All the blog updates to read, all the details to catch up on. Let's not even discuss all the funny jokes I'm behind on reading & sending. My Oh My! So that is what happens when I leave town for a long weekend. My Goodness!

All the kids are home, safe, sound, and happy. Girls slept solidly, one on the bed and one under the bed last night. Boys nickered & whinnied for me this morning, and as I hopped in my truck to head to hell (ooh, I mean work), things all seemed right in the world.

So let me start catching up, dating events from the "Vacation Part II" with the blogger date to match the actual historical date. Much to tell, and much to catch up on.

Tell me you missed me.. Lie if you have to...

Monday, July 27, 2009

07.23 - 07.27 Vacation Part II Monday

Up at 2:30am. What was I thinking, booking that 6am departure?! Well, oh well. What's done is done... Showered, dressed, and ready to leave by 3:45am.

Pittsburgh International Airport. Boarding passes, check. Bags delivered, check. Security, check. One of my most peaceful trips through PIT, especially through security. I didn't have a special bag check, I didn't get "extra screened", they just let me on through. Finally! Taking R along must be the secret to travelling peacefully.. Got to be!

Grabbed breakfast & coffee, and boarded the plane. A rocky flight, with plenty of turbulence. Nevertheless, I got a nifty nap or three in. Sleep in short spurts, but sleep anyways. Arrived in Hot Humid Houston half hour ahead of schedule, and happy to be back.

Nabbed our bags, and my truck, and some city shopping before heading to our little hometown. Stopped in my favorite saddle shop, where I got leather conditioner and a cheap replacement bridle (naughty Ransom!). Went to a food & liquor specialty store, complete shopping sensory overload! They had just a little bit of everything international. Picked up some whole wheat potato gnocchi, a favorite from back in PA. YUM-o! Stopped in one more shop on the way, then headed home.

Kids are all happy to see me! Got my sweetheart delivered back to his house, my things unpacked, kids all fed their supper, me fed my supper, laundry cleaned up & put back in its place, and settled in on the couch with the girls. After about an hour, by 8:40pm, it became apparent my eyes were longing for the inside of my eyelids. Half asleep by 9:00pm, out dead to the world by 9:45pm.

A good vacation, and family approval. It was nice to go visit, but it's just as good to be home. Wow... home... did I just say that?!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

07.23 - 07.27 Vacation Part II Sunday

Up & at it! Got cleaned up good, headed to the hotel's breakfast, and off to church we went!

Got to see a lot of old friends from church-back-home. It was nice. Among them, sweet Miss Virginia, a lady I wished had really been my grandma, but we pretended real good when I lived there. The church was full of lots of old faces and plenty of new folks too. Very nice to see old friends. We enjoyed a nice service together, and agreed later it was nice to just participate, and not have to worry about where we had to lead something or get "just the right notes." Good music, and a guest speaker. A nice time.

Back to the hotel to change, and then to mom's again. Momma was cooking her famous chicken dinner, by special request. =) R and Dad did some more talking & discussing, while I made our favorite peanut butter pie. Dinner was great!

Watched some comic videos (well, R did with Mom and Dad, I fell asleep for a few), and headed out. Had some stuff at the hotel room for my Mom that I forgot, so they followed us back to the room. Exchanged goodies, said our goodbyes, and back to the room.

Dinner was great, but while I enjoyed it, my sugar didn't. Got a little sick, and spent some time in the room packing up, and resting a while. Started feeling better, and so we went to Steak & Shake (upon R request), and grabbed a snack.

Bed early, with a long travel day ahead on Monday. Vacation nearly complete. My parents got along with R, and he with them. There were a few admittedly awkward moments, but everyone got along. Good conversation, and, surprisingly, my dad was very chatty. It was nice. I left the guys alone a few times, listening off to the side. Heard plenty of laughter, and never ending discussions. Glad to hear. Both parents later separately voiced their praise & approval, but for different things. Very interesting what they had to say... I'll save the juicy details. If ya'll are itchin' to hear, e-mail me, and I'll blab privately.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

07.23 - 07.27 Vacation Part II Saturday

Got a little bit of a late start to the day, but we were out the door a bit after 9, and headed to the city. Traffic was minimal, and I was happy for that. For the first time in quite a few years, I went to dahntahn via the Fort Pitt Tunnel, a really neat road. Ain't no sense in going over the mountain, so the dug a tunnel road right through it! Very cool. Better is the view as you leave the tunnel, crossing the bridge, river underneath, city directly ahead.

We went to the Strip District, a gorgeous weather morning. A bit overcast, but moderate temperatures in the 70's with low humidity. Wandered the strip a while, going to a few shops, including one of my favorite coffee roasters, a kitchen supply shop, and window shopping at a dress shop. A few of these were put in the back of my mind as 'places to stop before we left.'

Lunch was up on the menu, as breakfast didn't happen, and I was starting to feel my blood sugar screaming, "Hey lady! Feed Me!" We went to a city famous place, Primanti Bros sandwich shop. I've heard the radio commercials, heard folks talk about it, but never had been myself. Now I see why they all go, and why there was a line outside when we left. The sammiches are phenominal! Service was good, staff fun to watch & listen to, and the food, did I mention the food was great?! Fresh bread, amazing ingredients, just incredible. It could have partially been that I was super hungry, but I still doubt it. Really good food.

Went back through the strip, to another food shop, back through the coffee roasting store, and back through the dress shop. Picked out some great coffee, and a new dress (what a combination, huh? Trip successful!).

Loaded all our spoils in the car trunk, and, satisfied with my journey dahntahn, I relied on my phone GPS to get us to the concert. Concert, you say? Well, what's a vacation without good music?!

The Pittsburgh Blues Festival, at Hartwood Acres. A very good time, really nice open air auditorium, good acoustics, and really great weather. One brief storm dampened the grass, but it wasn't enough to do more than make it a little chilly. I got to see one of my new fave voices, Shannon Curfman. Okay, better than just listening to her sing, I got her new cd and her autograph! A personally signed CD lyrics insert. Personally signed! I actually had a conversation with her! Absolutely cool! She's as great live as she is recorded, and sounds incredible! If you haven't heard of her, and like good rockin' blues, she's it!

A few other artists were there, along with a handful of vendors. There was one drink vendor there that will get their own whole blog later in the week. I'll summarize here and say that I had a bit of chemistry fun with a salesman. Poor Ed. I know the guy was just doing his sales pitching job, but he certainly isn't a chemist.

We got home a bit after 11pm, with almost no traffic heading out of town. A really nice day dahntahn, remembering where I grew up. I got to shop in my favorite places, and listen to one of my favorite music artists. Great weather, and wonderful company.

Friday, July 24, 2009

07.23 - 07.27 Vacation Part II Friday

Woke up at a decent hour, found our cappacino machine unfortunately thought leaking water was better than being operational, darnit!

Met my parents for breakfast at a restaurant nearby. Of the things I miss from back home Yankee land, the food is it! Regular restaurants with normal food, no specialty cuisine, just normal stuff. Initial introduction was good. Got to catch up with my parents on quite a few things, which was great!

We parted company to go run a few errands separately, then met up again at my house. The house I grew up in. Of course, on the way there, I tried to give R a brief snapshot of some of the area. "Here's this town, here's this landmark, ain't that bridge cool!? Hey, check out the size of that river! Look at the bridge! It's the shape of a beaver! Look here, and here, and here, and..." insert sensory overload!. I'm sure it was a lot to take in. I got to see my old alma mater, nearly complete with highway reroute construction. It's still beautiful as before, and certainly a lot safer for students on campus.

Arrived at home, grabbed a drink, and settled in for good conversation for a while. We realized it would be a while until supper, and, both exhausted, we decided to head back to the hotel for about an hour's nap or so. Much much needed rest. I don't remember being awake for long before crashing asleep.

Woke up, headed back to my mom's house, and enjoyed dad's steak dinner. Fabulous food, as always. I learned to cook from two of the best when it comes to plain old normal stuff, and this meal was no exception. I had a craving for ice cream, so we piled all up in the car, and went to Bruster's, a local favorite. The weather was phenominal, so there was quite the crowd lined up at the order windows.

Back to the house, more good conversation, and a great relaxing first day. Not too rushed and relaxing for me. I got to see a lot of different parts of the region again, from the driver's seat window, and got to catch up with family. A very nice time. Watching & listening to R and Dad conversate, and seeing how well they were getting along, even better!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

07.23 - 07.27 Vacation Part II

Woke up way too early for the long day ahead, anxious to get going.

Finished laundry
Packed the rest of my things
Took girls to the vet for boarding
Washed dishes
Organized my laptop, camcorder, mp3 player, and all assorted cords
Headed to R's house, we fetched a quick lunch, and off we went. Headed for Houston.

Traffic wasn't so bad, though we ran into some serious rain & thunder storms. A few times, it was all I could to, wipers on wacko-fast, to see the highway. Sure did wish it would've rained like that at my house, though I was not so fortunate.

Plane ride was decent enough. Full flight, big plane, only one screaming child. Parents, if your son or daughter is screaming at the top of their lungs before we even board, would you please find a toy, a food or drink, benadryl, something?! I understand babies cry sometimes with the change in air pressure on the plane, but when dear child is bellowing before we even board, please consider the eardrums & sanity of the rest of us passengers? Soapbox for the day. =)

Surprisingly, no bad surprises at the airports, picking up rental car, or even at the hotel. Late Late LATE check in, as we arrived in Monaca, PA, a bit after midnight. R found his well-ahead planned surprise in the hotel room (thanks, Mom!), and we settled in for a good night's rest. Anxious for the day ahead, but also a bit nervous (me, personally, of course).

07/22/09 Look Mom! It's a Cow!

No kidding.. Almost as if he'd never seen a cow or a calf before, Ransom became so entirely focused on them, it in fact quite ruined our ride. With all the good that has happened lately, it seemed only natural something would go wrong. Let me explain..

Grabbed Ransom after work (before his supper), got tacked up dressage, and headed to the arena. After a very brief warmup, I hopped on, admitting it was quite hot out. We rode all three gaits, and in fact did some solid canter work in circles around various spots in the arena. Quite sensational, actually.

Then the calf came. Stupid naughty rotten ... anyways... The neighbor's dogs had cornered a calf and were chasing it, barking their stoopid heads off at the calf. I had my headphones & music going, so I didn't think much of it. The calf and the dogs parted company, calf standing stoopid in the pasture. No big deal. Ransom started to stare, but was quickly refocused with counterbending on the circle at walk.

Then the calf ran, and ran, straight back to its momma. Recognizing this, I let Ransom watch a little... Calf latched on to Momma for a snack, and it pretty much exploded from there.

Ransom wanted to do nothing but pop his head up, hollow out his back, and watch calf & momma. No amount of counterbending, or walking in various directions was going to change his mind. I even tried letting him look a bit, hoping to calm his worry.

Hopped off, let the lunge whip guide him in a working canter around the arena.
Got back on, he was the same goofy nut.
Hopped off again, repeat lunge whip & working canter.
Got back on, when he proceeded the "I jig or I jog, but mom, I don't stand still, so TPHT to you!"
Hopped off (horse still in motion) at this point nervous
Tried removing the bridle, and unfortunately, left the reins around his neck. Big BooBoo.

Ransom took off, at a gallop, bridle reins attached around his neck, bridle dangling below his feet.

When he finally stopped, the bridle was tore apart, but he was virtually uninjured in the incident (appeared to have one scrape on him, which cleaned up hosing him down). I got him caught, handwalked a while, and took him back to the trailer to unsaddle. By then, the calf & momma were long gone (and I'm sure having a good laugh with all the other cows in the herd). Ransom was a hot, sweaty, frothy, MESS.

Took well over an hour to get him cooled down, hosing combined with standing tied.

Certainly not one of our better rides. Need to replace broken bridle part, and find a way to convince him calves don't bite.

Total work, including the train wreck, about an hour. Not what I wanted to start off my vacation.. and something to work on later.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

07/23 - 07/27 Reverse "Vacation"

Vacation a coming! Well, the same style of Vacation taken late June, only...

In reverse! Yeah, that about sums it up.

Starting tomorrow evening, R and I are travelling up to Pennsylvania to meet up & spend time with my family. We're going to travel to my home place, visiting memorable spots from where I grew up. A brief visit that ought to better define for him "where I came from".

Please pray for safe travels. I'm taking my personal PC with me, and should have access at the hotel to check in on some frequent basis. If not, I'll have oodles of blog details after the fact.

Planning to pack a quick ride with Ransom tonight and give him oodles of farewell cookies

07 Ransom Papers Progress

Got an email from the TAMU coach yesterday. Well, a couple emails. First one, she asked for some info to send the paper transfer with the right information on it. She also explained his show name Tidal Wave. Read on...

The day I bought him, I decided to change his name because I wasn’t fond of “Kings Plaything”…… there was a popular movie that had just come out – “Something to Talk About”. There was a horse in the movie named “King’s Ransom”, and I decided that was what I wanted to change his show name to, and then call him Ransom. About two weeks later, fresh off the race track, I took Ransom on an overnight camping trip/trail ride. He was a super star! But we quickly discovered Ransom’s great love for the water. While swimming the horses and letting them drink, Ransom proceeded to paw the water with his front legs harder and bigger than any horse I have ever seen! He soaked the entire group, including us! At the time, I also had another older appendix named Hurricane Bob. We thought it would be neat if my horses were all named after natural disasters (as a joke!), so that’s where he got the show name Tidal Wave! But his barn name of Ransom stuck……. So there’s that little story!

Ain't that neat? I emailed her again, and asked for details of how Ransom ended up at Miss Barbara's house, and here's what she said...

Since I coach the equestrian team, I was able to keep Ransom at our facility and use him occasionally in practices for the girls. He was beginning to have some minor lameness issues behind and wasn’t staying 100% sound. We moved facilities and were limited on stall space, and he had to live outside. It was very troubling to me to watch him live outside all of the time, when he was accustomed to a large pasture and being able to come and go out of his stall as he pleased. The elements of living outside were rough on his old bones, and he wasn’t holding his weight, at all. So after a long struggle with myself on what I should do, I called Barbara to see if I could give her to him for him to either retire or find a loving home for the rest of his years. He needed a job, because he loves people and loves to please. So I am so happy that he has a job and great life with you now!

So, there it is. It explains why he was thin when I found him. It also clears up for me, he wasn't at Barbara's house all that long before I got him. Poor guy probably wasn't sure where "home" was. I think he knows now, though.

7/21/09 Romeo Goofing Off

I had a bit of a stressful day surrounding Ransom. Some of it was, in fact, awesome. I heard from the TAMU Coach, Ransom's previous Mom. I learned quite a bit about him, all stuff for another blog post. I'm getting some outside pressure to get more weight on Ransom, something I've been working on for a few months now. I don't think he's skinny, per se, but he can benefit from some extra calories. I'm hoping the whole situation is easing a bit...

After a crazy work day, and a bit of Ransom-care-stress, I ran home, fed the boys, mowed my yard (amazing, a bit of rain, and the grass was tall & unruly). Changed back into jeans, and jumped on Romeo, in the pasture, with his bit, and walked around. Walked him up, brushed some of the dirt off, hopped back on, and did walk & jog around the house. Nothing serious, nothing significant.

He was, well, Romeo. Cute! Neighbor's kids were zipping past on their dirtbike a few times, and he'd stop to look, but that was about it. Very cute.. It was neat to be moving around, at a solid steady jog, bareback, just moving along with him. One of these days, I'm going to mumble up the courage and try bareback canter in the arena. Grabba wadda mane, and hope for the best.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

07/20/09 Ransom Airborne

Event saddle - check
Full cheek slow twist bridle - check
Helmet - check
Half Chaps - check
Horse - check

Headed to the arena, camcorder on the charge. Jen showed up a little while later, Ransom running around the arena flipping wild! See, Momma gave the whip a little action as the big fella was refusing to canter in warmups. One SNAP! and he decided running like a wild racehorse was in order. Goober!

Hopped on, got my event-saddle bearings. Realized quickly that Ransom was about the same steady fella he always is. Walk, trot, a little canter. Tried cantering a bit all the way 'round the arena, light two point seat.

Jen started up the camcorder, I trotted a lap around the arena, pointed at the low crossrail I'd set up,
took a deep breath
looked up & over
tuck the hiney

As we landed, I squealed in pure delight. Ransom jumps! He doesn't step over, not even that low. He doesn't just barely clear, either - he really jumps! I hopped off and watched the video clip. Jen pointed out my shoulders were super-caved in. I realized why I was doing it - hands resting on his withers, I was letting my shoulders sink towards him.

Tried it again, and again, and again. Each time, it was auto-pilot. Point him at the fence, and stay in the middle. I tried to concentrate on staying out of his mouth over the rail, and have open shoulders. This will take much more practice. I also discovered about half way through the ride my knees weren't anywhere near the rollpads on my saddle - need to raise the stirrups up a hole or two. Added to the list for the next ride.

Each jump, it felt like he started out a serious ways in front of the fence. He'll pause for a split second, his toosh sinks a little, and he pushes over the rail. He doesn't stretch up over or reach for it, he pushes up & over. Very Very cool! First few, he landed in the wrong lead, which I realized, but I didn't put much effort into fixing it. Last few, he landed in the correct lead, and I'd let him canter a circle or so before asking for trot again. Each fence was trot to, canter from.

Completely phenominal. I do wish my camcorder would transfer to the blog - I'd glady share. Ya'll could certainly critique, and I know what everyone would find - get those heels down, open up my shoulders, and smile (!). So it wasn't beautiful, but we've got to start somewhere.

45 minutes of fun, for both horse & rider.

Monday, July 20, 2009

07/17 - 07/19 Conflicting Priorities

Friday night, I could've ridden Romeo. I really could have. But, instead, I fed the furry fours, cleaned up, organized some things around the house, and spent the evening with R. We had a nice dinner together, and then I got to watch him play guitar. A peaceful evening.. Romeo much appreciated the day off, I'm sure.

Saturday, I got a late start to my day, thanks to Jen feeding the fours for me.. (thank you again!). What I thought would be a quick hair appointment turned into a five hour adventure. It does look good, but it was certainly a long process. My stylist takes her job very seriously, and, for upcoming special occasions, if I mention there's things coming in my schedule, she'll be even more careful.

So the Saturday work day at my house got completely derailed. R and I grabbed a quick dinner together, then hit the movie theatre to see The Proposal. Very Very funny... a bit appropriate as we've got a vacation together coming this weekend. Um, Vacation.. Yeah, I might think so, he doesn't. (More details on that closer to the trip...)

Sunday, again, I could've ridden, but I chose not to. After church, and lunch, and a nap, a small back porch project got completed, eliminating a canine escape route from the backyard. I got two new plants, "Pride of Barbados", and got those in the ground. Here's hoping the deer don't find them too yummy. They're quite pretty, as you can see from the link.

So, a horse free weekend. The boys are fixing to get some of this upcoming weekend off, anyways, so I wasn't incredibly inspired to ride. My sweetheart has been giving up some of his free time to spend it with me and the horses, so it seemed like just the right time to return the favor. Special thanks go out to Jen, again, for helping me not only realize this, but make it a reality. Thanks, girl!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lookie Lookie! Go See!!!

Check Out the Link

That's ME!

Oh yeah, and Ransom...


Friday Fill Ins

1. Chicken, rice, veggies and asian ginger dressing make a quick and easy dinner.

2. "The Shack" by William Young is the book I'm reading right now.

3. July brings back memories of summer vacations before school would start.

4. The right answer was obvious.

5. They say if you tell your dreams .. I don't know... What do they say? Who are "They" anyways?

6. I think I know what to do, but I need to think it over.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to it being a Friday (which is good enough), tomorrow my plans include Ransom ride (perhaps over a ground pole or two) and Sunday, I want to get things done around the house!

He's Who? From Where?

Jen did some active searching after discovering Ransom's tattoo on his upper lip at the show... I was shocked at what she found.

DOB March 5, 1990
AQHA Registered name "Kings Plaything"
Racing Points - 38
Show Jumping Points - 2
2004 Qualified for AQHA World Show Jumping Championships
Previously owned (and registered to) TAMU Associate Head Coach - Hunt Seat

Holy toledo was I shocked! First, he's a bit older than I thought, which isn't a problem in my book. His age, combined with his show record, and his previous owner, completely explains his calm nature and lack of panic on Sunday at the show.

My man is definitely a senior horse, has "been there, done that" more than I could've realized, and did ya'll see he's AQHA registered?

I've got contact information for the TAMU Coach - Saw an email about AQHA transfer and USEF Lifetime Registration info. Need to get an email out to her. I'll be sure & keep ya'll posted.

My horse is a celebrity! Ransom SuperStar! =)

07/16/09 Ransom's Back in Action

We rode for, oh, about 35 minutes. A short spurt, but good work was done. In his dressage gear (how I love my saddle - just those three days in my other tack made me so satisfied to sit deep!), Ransom and I went through our normal paces. Walk, trot, and a bit of canter, heading in circles in different spots in the arena, and all the way 'round both directions.

Then I picked something from the tests I did poorly, saw on all three tests, and recognized wasn't great from the video - working walk to free walk. Everytime we'd transition to free walk, Ransom would pull the reins outta my hands. I'd respond with a sharp growl, and take contact back up sharply. If he'd relax into the longer rein, I'd praise lavishly, pat on the neck, and let him have a long rein. Just as soon as that head'd flip & pull the reins, "NO sir!" and a quick rein-shortening.

Right before I went out to ride, I watched a short portion of a Julie Goodnight episode from RFD-TV I had recorded. Every so often she does something that makes sense to me, and in this episode, it looked easy enough. Rider was having a hard time keeping her horse collected, and Julie suggested a "tug" on the reins, outside then inside, to regain collection. When Ransom hollowed at the walk, I tried it - with absolutely zero success. So! It was neat to try, but I found the "pulsing" that Barbara had suggested was much more effective. As a result, I'm back to the original routine.

With that curiosity satisfied, we were back to our regulars. I did a handful of walk to trot back to walk transitions to keep his mind active. Ransom was completely compliant, as if to say, "Mom, it was only a three-day break. I'm still right where you left me, promise!"

Cooled down with lots of loose rein walk, trying to adjust Ransom's stride to whatever music tempo happened to be in my head. =) Had the mp3 player going, on satellite radio feed, so we seriously were at complete random walk gaits.

A short ride, but a fun start getting us back together, and Ransom back to work.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Horse Slaughter, FHoTD, And My Thoughts

Here's the post that got my attention.

Which led to a little under 400 comments (at the time of my blog post), all over the board pro and anti slaughter. I see both sides of the discussion - sometimes, telling the horse goodbye via slaughter is better than the tortured starved conditions they live in. On the other side, buy a bullet, dig a hole, but give the critter a more humane end than dog food, huh?

Anyways, here's the comment I posted in response..

I'll step in it... I probably won't make it back for the banter response I guess I'll get - mail me if you're determined I see your answer.
I care about slaughter... BUT! Do ya'll realize or recognize there's a few other HUGE things going on in Congress right now that our elected officials ought to be paying attention to?
For example...Health Care

Cap & Trade
The "Next Stimulus Package"
Judge Sotomayor
Again, I care... But is this really the time to be adding "pet projects" to our Senators and Representatives workloads? Which would you rather they put their attention to? Horse care, or human health care?
I for one, would appreciate it if they'd mind their own business on almost all issues..
*here's where I duck & run*

I decided rather than duck & run, I'd open up the can of worms here, and encourage ya'll to discuss if you choose. I won't fight it either pro or con, but I really would prefer my Senator and Representative from my hometown region work on more nationally pressing human issues for now.

Okay gang, edit after the fact - If you read here, and don't regularly read Fugly or the comments, you might want to disregard this whole posting I've made. I just looked over the blog comments after my remark, and, while they stay slightly on topic of slaughter, it's gotten horribly ugly, crude, and inappropriate for young readers. If you've got kids or little eyes that read over your shoulder, don't go to the comments on my link above. Language, inappropriate accusations about personal lifestyle choices, I could go on. But I don't use that language on my blog, I don't put up anything I wouldn't let my Grandma or friend's kids read, and I won't send anybody to another link that does, intentionally that is.

uhhh.. back to that regularly scheduled programming, ya'll....

07/14/09 Romeo Round 2

I had a fantastic dinner offer for Tuesday night, so I told Romeo, "Be thankful, Little Man. Momma almost put you back in hunt tack & made that crossrail into a vertical."

Saddled him up Western, including his Western bit. We rode walk, trot, canter, for about 40 minutes. Had our usual argument of, "No, dude. Just 'cuz I asked for walk to canter last transition don't mean everyone after is the same thing. Just walk to trot, ding dong."

Cooled him out walking around the pasture, Ransom out free. I found a little "dirt trail" that Ransom had obviously made sneaking in the shade. Ransom found this none to amusing. As Romeo and I were walking along it, Ransom would back off, then trot or canter up to us, slamming on the brakes just shy of running into us. I was surprised - Ransom was even running around the trees to "greet us" facing whatever trail we were peeking out of. Romeo considered running along with him a few times, but all I had to do was add a little rein and say "Whoa", and he'd stop. Ransom got quite silly, and I was able to keep Romeo's mind on me. He knew Ransom was goofing around, but also remembered his job was to haul me around carefully. We even walked through piles of limbs, and he pludged straight on through without a pause.

Fun 50 minute ride overall.

Wednesday night off, Thursday Ransom packs back to work. Looking forward to being back on my big monster show winner!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

7/12/09 FreeStyle Farms - Show Day! Video Recap

I watched the video with her remarks. They were taken from just off angle from A, looking towards C.

I saw crooked centerlines she didn't see... I didn't see all of the "tension". Some of her comments where she gave trots down diagonals "7", she remarked "Could've been a longer not quicker stride." Holy crap pickie! He was , oh, about 4" or less from tracking under at trot. Which, while I know ain't dressage-perfect, it sure looked good for him.. =) I know I know.. 7 is good...

Got two 8s for enter working trot, halt, salute. Funny... Then there were remarks "completely halt horse's motion before salute." On the 6 halts, and the 8 halts, I don't see ANY difference.. LOL Maybe it's camera angle ...

She remarked A LOT that the rider looked tense. Sometimes, those comments came with 6s, sometimes with 7s. There are a handful of 5s, which are mostly for head-up transitions, or spots where I had to use heavy rein to get a down transition - perfectly understandable scores.

There was another common thread, which looking at video, she's right - free walks got 6s and 7s, comments "not stretched enough" - I wasn't giving him the full length of the reins because he has an occasional habit of tossing his head forward when I give him rein. I've been correcting him for it with a leg thump, bit tug, and verbal correction (growl, or "NO Sir!").

So, most of it I see, some of it I think is really being pickie, but I need to remember the 7s are great, 6s are good...

07/13/09 Romeo Hunter

Took Romeo and his hunt saddle out to the arena, and off we went.

Rode through walk, trot, canter, and then had a few discussions that after canter, not ever transition up means canter again. I'd alternate between trot to canter, walk to canter, then back walk to trot. Once he was thoroughly confused, and entirely relying on me for instruction rather than his own ideas on what came next, I set up one crossrail (lowest hole on the standards) and got back to work.

Trotted over the rail four times each way. He wasn't speedy, but wasn't giving me more than stepping over. Thinking back, I believe one time was actually a jump. At this point, for hunter-instruction, I'm not real sure how to teach him to lift both front feets.

We went back into canter-left, and I almost asked him to canter to and over the rails. Chickened out at the short side, looking down at the rail. Romeo had ears perked towards the fence, so he knows I considered it. I was riding without anybody around except four of the neighbor's cows, and decided it wasn't a good idea to jump alone... especially after a previous incident.

Total work including a few spins, turns, and side passing, 45 minutes. Fun had by all, including Ransom, watching from the rail, almost undoubtedly grinning about his 60+ scores & blue ribbon.

Monday, July 13, 2009

7/12/09 FreeStyle Farms - Show Day! Final Laps

Still unaware of my test scores, but feeling generally happy about how the day had gone, I asked Ransom to work for me just a few more minutes.

We went to the backside of the arena, off from the gates, away from the crowds, while nobody else was moving their horses in the warm-up arena. Far off in my mind from everybody else. I saw Jen still had her camera in-hand, so I knew I'd get to see how it looked later.

We picked our space. I asked for trot, and trotted a circle or two to "decide where I'd go and when I'd turn."

And I asked for canter-left. Solid transition. There was a long mirror at that end of the arena, and I got to glance at it a few times. Sweet! Ransom looked awesome! I was leaning a bit forward, but managed to keep with him, feet stayed in the stirrups, I stayed on contact, and he looked just fanastic! Cantered a few big circles left, asked for transition down to trot, which he immediately cooperated with.

Then I thought... Do I stay in trot, or give him a walk break? Well, if I give him a break at walk, he'll think he's done, and I could have trouble with canter-right. Ah, it's just a few more minutes. Let's stay in trot, change direction, ask for the canter-right, and do it before he realizes it's almost over.

And we did. As I asked for canter-right, he hardly even lifted his head, right into a gorgeous working canter. I glanced in the mirror again, found myself solid in my seat, back upright & straight, and him completely collected & gorgeous. As I saw later in some pictures Jen took, he was covering some ground, huge long strides. Still, his canter was fantastic! A blast to ride.

We cantered some circles, transitioned down to trot, and walked it out. Ransom received lavish praise for his final "act", and for staying calm. Reconsidering the ride, I don't even remember getting nervous or thinking, "Geez, what's gonna happen?" It was just fantastic. We had a ton of fun.

Took all back to the trailer, where all four of us drank, I snagged a snack, and Ransom got a hose-down. He was gross, sweaty, and nasty. I felt about the same.

A nice peaceful drive home, decent lunch break (nothing fantastic, as I didn't want to leave Ransom cooking in the trailer), and a good day overall.

A wonderful start to the partnership with my new horse!!

7/12/09 FreeStyle Farms - Show Day! Intro B

We took another break, I snagged some out-of-the-saddle time again, and hung out with Jen and R for a bit. Ransom stood by, in the shade, and snagged some good attention from a few girls sitting outside the warm-up arena.

A ride before my final test was to start, I hopped back on, and got a few more laps around the warm-up arena accomplished. He was still solid. We had one minor disagreement, a tinge of "Momma, I'm sick of this.. Stop making me work." I responded with two spurs and a growl, and he gave up.

Test Intro B was Fantastic! Again, I was happy to be out there, smiling away throughout the test. Thinking to myself, "I've got my friends here, someone who loves me dearly baking in the sun with that video camera, a horse that's cooking and sweating, but still cheerfully doing his job. This is awesome! Nothing bad happening. Yeah, I think when we're done with this test, we'll go punch out some canter, and call it a day."

Final Score? 63.5 - the best of the three! Better yet, it earned me first place of three riders. Cool deal, huh? =) I was quite proud of Ransom, and, oh yeah! Happy for me, too!

7/12/09 FreeStyle Farms - Show Day! GAG III

Right after the test, Jen suggested we walk back to the trailer, offer him some water, me some water, and then back to the warm-up arena. I agreed. Hot, sweaty, and a little light headed, I knew a drink was in order.

Ransom hadn't been thirsty when we first arrived, but he sure was then. Jen let him have half the big bucket, then walked him around a bit. I grabbed some water for myself, and even though R pointed out I was shaky and a little disoriented, I declined a snack. I made the decision I'd rather slightly low blood sugar than nervous sick. Not entirely sure how I'd feel during the last two tests, I chose to keep an empty tummy, and fill it with water.

Back to the warmup arena for a few trot to walk transitions, and we headed in for GAG III.

Much better! I felt his best test of the day. He gave a solid ride, and for us, good transitions across the centerline in the 20m circle. Nice diagonals, and I felt myself purposely smiling throughout the test. I made eye contact with the judge a few times, glancing in her direction. I remember thinking to myself, "Hey! This is fun! My horse is doing good, I'm doing good, and we're having a great day!"

As I came up centerline for the final halt, again, I felt a big stoopid grin across my face. Oh yeah.. feeling good!

Score? 62.27. More comments about being tense, and not enough rein on the free walk. A remark that I used too much rein on the first circle trot to walk transition. Well, yeah! He didn't want to slow down, so I had to! *giggle* Anyways, for us, a good ride.

7/12/09 FreeStyle Farms - Show Day! GAG II

Turn Right! How I wish I had thought of that just before the test began.

We left the warm-up arena, and proceeded to walk around the outside of the show arena. Walked down the long side, behind the judge's booth, and OH! What's that?! It's a water squirting monster in the pond! Oh My! Ransom looked solid at the fountain, but dismissed it for the most part.

Judge rang the bell as we were heading down long side. So I picked up a trot, turned the corner, and headed directly down centerline into the arena. Quickly I realized this footing was coarse sand, with what looked like some larger sharp rocks. Yuck! I could hear Ransom's hooves hitting, sounded almost like stomping.

Halt. Salute.
Proceed working trot rising
I turned left.
Darn it!
As I turned for the diagonal, something didn't seem right, but I kept going.
RING! Judge hits the bell, and says to me, "halt. We're confused. You're riding Test II, right?"
"You were supposed to start out turning right."
"Do you even know the test?"
"Yes Ma'am. Sorry about that."
"Well it's only two points. Go on and start again."

I got back on track, a bit frustrated with myself. Oh well, figuring I had this chance to make a cheerful impression dispite screwing up. It wasn't even nerves that caused the blunder. A complete lack of thought for me.. Ransom happily did his job the rest of the test. He felt a little slow, but still fabulous. One "look" back at the fountain, and he again realized it was no big deal. A good ride.

Score? 60.47 Lots of comments that we were tense, and not enough energy. A remark that the reins weren't long enough for free walk, but mostly comments about being "tense".

Sunday, July 12, 2009

7/12/09 FreeStyle Farms - Show Day! Warm-Ups

Heading to the show arena, I saw a few other folks riding about. As we got closer, I realized there were a few kids in the arena rambling around. Instructors calling out direction, one on a little remote microphone doo-dad - a neat little contraption, though I could still hear the instructor from all over the arena. Other instructor was barking out directions, very easily heard from everywhere. One little girl's horse had a spooky moment. My heart went out to the kid in the middle of the arena, tears and terror all over her face. She, and that horse, weren't going to budge. I didn't see what happened, but Jen and R told me later her horse probably spooked at the water fountain in the pond outside, and somehow, kid ended up just about on the horse's neck. She later walked around, then trotted, and even rode some tests. Way to Go, Kid! If it'd been me, I might not have had your courage.

Our warm-up was great! Ransom was hot & sweaty, but definitely knew why we were there. I rode a bunch of transitions, recognizing I needed to push him forward with my ittie spurs. He was quite compliant, and so I also rode through a few "mental pieces" of the test. While they had the arena markers out, and some cones for arena width, I rode the suggestions of the tests, not the actual parts.

It was our turn, and we were ready.. So I thought ...

7/12/09 FreeStyle Farms - Show Day!

Up at at it very early, Jen, R and I were out the door (oh yeah! Ransom too) by about 7:15am. A good start, with a solid drive ahead of us.

The trip there was pretty good, with one missed turn, a healthy U-turn on the highway (gotta love it), and one gas / potty stop. Jen and I want to give a "shout down boo hiss" to Buc-ees. While they did have gas, ice, and gallons of drinking water (and functioning clean overly decorated restrooms), they didn't have sunscreen. Jen had to walk across the way to WalMart, who of course had sunscreen. So Boo Hiss to Buc-ees for having every other thing under the sun an overly large gas station / mini mart, but no sunscreen. Boo Hiss!!

Before the show performance, and the details... The farm was really nice. Clean, well organized show, very peaceful & quiet place. Nice warm-up arena, decent lunging area (grassy paddock), decent parking (grassy lot, with sporadic trees - we missed the opportunity to park in the shade, unfortunately), nice washrack, clean paddocks for the horses, scenic pastures around the arenas... Can't say for the show staff, since I only spoke to two people - a fellow at the desk for checking (polite enough), and a brief conversation with the facility owner who said, "We're probably a little ahead of schedule, but don't worry about riding early. On-time is fine."

Hand-walked Ransom around the facility, to get an idea what sort of mood he was in. He looked around a little, let out some huge heavy sighs, and even did an all-over shake a few times. Good Boy! I realized that he realized this was a show, and it was time to let everybody know he was "the man".

Jen and R helped out getting hay bag hung, water bucket filled, and Ransom saddled up while I got changed. All white ... Must be a German conspiracy against Americans or something... All white.. Black boots, black gloves, black helmet, white pants, white shirt.. OI! All the white... just nonsense.

With Ransom saddled & me dressed, I headed to the lunging area, side reins on 8s. Ransom was fantastic! Almost immediately he got himself collected, and sprung into a gorgeous trot. I only lunged for about 15 minutes, realizing I had his mind, and his body. Butter in my hands... There were two other Arab-type horses bouncing around free lunging on a rope only. Goofy Goofy! Owners seemed to let them do just about whatever they wanted to, springing all over the place. Ransom glanced in one's direction, and sighed. I could about hear him, "Goofy babies... Goodness gracious.. Burning all those energy calories bucking & twisting.. don't they know there' work to be done?"

Took all the extras off, added my schooling gloves, and headed to the warm-up arena.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

07/11/09 Preparation - Last Day

The day before the show, we got back to business. Ransom got a mid-day work, fitting near the show time slots. I had already received my ride times (11, 1130, and noon), so I figured it would be good "mind preparation" to work him around show times the day before, rather than my normal "early morning or late afternoon", and find him grumpy mid-day at the show.

Solid lunge for 30 minutes. Lots and lots of transitions, brief sets at canter. Ransom only thought once that running off was better than slowing down.

In shorts, paddock boots (no spurs), and a halter top, (no helmet, either), I decided to jump on him and work out a few pieces of a few tests. Last-minute work, but he was good. A bit slow, but good.

Total work about 45 minutes. Followed it up with a good washing bath, hoof conditioners, mane & tail brushing, all the primping & pampering a show horse deserves. Ransom repaid in kind, walking straight to a dusty dirty spot in the pasture for a good roll. Big dork! He has almost never rolled right after a hose-down, but decided this was a good day. Monster must've known the show was coming, and decided a bit of dirt was totally appropriate.

Friday, July 10, 2009

07/10/09 Goofing Off

Saddled Ransom Western, hunter bit, and, without hesitation, hopped on straightaway in the pasture.

And we walked. And walked, and walked. All over his side of the pasture, in and out of the tree cover, around the arena outside, up & down fencelines, back & fro. All over the place.

Not one hesitation. Not one spook. Not one, "Whoa Mom! Whatta was THAT funny noise?!" Not a one...

A good solid half hour's goof off. A good mental break for him, while exercising his "where do my feets go on uneven ground", and a ear-flapping experience. A nice change of pace for us both.

Good preparation for the upcoming show.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

07/08/09 Lesson - Wrapping It Up

Gift-wrapping the tests one last time before the show, I mounted up for my Ransom lesson.

For two days off, he was pretty darn good. He warmed up easy, probably due to the nasty hot, humid weather - yuk!

Ran through all three tests in a random order, and realized that GAG III was a little stickie, and very uncollected. Might've been the reins were too loose, might've been we weren't thinking ahead (read - I wasn't thinking ahead), but anyways, with a few breaks mixed in, he did well.

Took a break, ran through GAG III again, and it was much better. A bit more collected, with really nice trot to walk transitions.

At one point on the last GAG III test, on the last circle, on the first walk back to trot on the circle crossing centerline, I asked Ransom to trot with a bit too much leg. His head popped up, and he almost cantered! Almost! Good boy, I quickly retracted the request, and he bumbled along to trot. Jen and I laughed quite hard. Afterwards, she said, "a little less leg, and that test oughta look pretty good!" LOL

A good lesson, losing track of time, that made me a little late to supper. Oops! =) But a good lesson over all, the last before the big day!

I'm entirely anxious to see some riding video, as the last patch of it I've got was on a lunge line, Ransom held in side reins.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

07/07/09 And Then the Rains Came

1.1 inches of glorious rain at the airport, a few miles from home.

I arrived home a few minutes ahead of normal, heard the thunder rumbling nearby, so I hurried to feed everyone, getting the boys safely in their stalls.

The weather radio alarm went off, alerting to a severe thunderstorm warning for my area. Damaging winds, over 60mph, combined with penny-sized hail, and heavy rain. The alarm always startles me more than the storms do... pesky thing.

Anyways, it sure did rain. Hard, with strong winds. As I watched the ittie bittie radar on my phone (thank you Verizon Wireless, for working strong, even when my satellite TV gives out), a very strong cell passed over the house. Oh yes it did! Didn't need a radar screen to tell me, but I watched cautiously to see how long it would last. Power flickered a few times, but never stayed out more than a few minutes. A huge advantage to being on the co-op is my power remains when the big-name town company won't.

There was enough rain to leave puddles in the pasture, and puddles in the arena. It looked to be soaked up quite nicely this morning, but I didn't walk all the way to the arena to confirm. The area around my trailer was all puddles late yesterday evening, but looked to be soaked in this morning. I hope the same is true for the arena.

Lesson scheduled tonight for a last-minute wrap up review before I kick into "show prep mode".

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

07/06/09 Ransom's Grooming

Sucha good boy!

Got the clipper batteries charged up while I fixed dinner & tended to the indoor "kids". Thunder loomed in the distance, but I just had this sneakie feeling the rains weren't coming - ittie bittie radar blues sat just on the county lines...

Ransom's ears are clipped, his face is trimmed, muzzle cleaned, bridle path clipped, hooves trimmed up, ankles cleaned, tail brushed, and mane shortened. He shook his cute little head one time while I was finishing up an ear... otherwise, very still, and very cooperative.

Very very good pony! I got more accomplished than I thought I would, leaving one full night this week wide open. I had planned just the clippers for one night, and mane for another night. Now, with all those little details done, it leaves a night for Romeo.

Thought about grabbing the Little Man after I groomed last night, but I just wasn't feeling up to it. Spent the evening doing a few house chores, and vegetating in front of the TV, absolutely lazy.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Snake 0, Huntress 1

Failed to mention..

R and I were cleaning up from my ride, he walked over to the old tie-post by my house to set my saddle down (to take inside). I walked over to the same spot, wet saddle pad in hand, and grabbed the dry one that had blown to the ground.

Shreeeeeeeeeak!!! ACK!
R: "What?"
Me: "um, SNAKE! Right there!"

It slithered under the side of the house, so we stared a while, unsure if it was poisonous or not. Finished cleaning up for the night, took the boys some hay, went to take my saddle inside. There he was again! Snake! Coiled up, laying atop the pile of dead leaves, right between the trash can and the tie post.

About a foot long
and UGLY

I retrieved my shotgun (awesome Christmas present, Dad!), and eliminated him. First lethal non-target shot with the new gun. A very good shot at that, as his little body went SPLAT over the leaves. He suffered a while, but was very dead by 9:30, and even more for sure dead this morning.

Looked up some pictures this morning. Looked much like a copperhead before I killed him. This morning, he just looked dead. the great white huntress strikes again..

07/03/09 Friday Fill In

1. When I heard Jacko died I felt like FoxNews, and couldn't have cared less.

2. Laughter and Love are the best medicine.

3. It's late, but this looked like a fun fill-in to do anyways.

4. I am true to myself and my beliefs always.

5. My eyes have seen plenty, and sometimes, too much.

6. Love strongly.

07/05/09 Ransom Spurs

Saddle, bit, helmet, tall boots, spurs, off we went...

Warm up was nice , Ransom was heading out at the canter, but after a little spurt of goofy, decided it would be best to halt & get ready to ride.

The spurs are magic! Rather than thump-thump with my calves & heels, I just have to lift my heel, and stick 'im. He felt like he'd elevate & move out, at all three gaits.

Yep, even got my canter all the way 'round in! I had R come over to "babysit" - a loose term here. I was a bit concerned how Ransom would react to the spurs, so decided it would be best to have another set of eyes on the arena, just in case.

Ransom knew they were there, and reacted in kind, but, because of my saddle, and where my legs sit on him, it has to be a deliberate effort to "reach him" with the spurs. I can't accidentally stick him, which is great!!!

Fabulous ride, walk, trot, canter, rode through all three tests (though, I did ride through GAG II with the wrong intial direction.. LOL). A solid workout, and a very compliant horse! He doesn't overreact to the spurs, but respects them just the same...

07/04/09 Independance Day & Romeo

Romeo got an early morning ride, as I knew I had a busy day scheduled ahead.

Put my dressage saddle on him, and surprised to find it fits decently. No need for the extra fluffy Mattes pad, just a square sweat absorber. Gave him his English bit, and off we went.

He was great! Now, his collection sucked, but his transitions were pretty good, and his forward motion was nice! He finally got out of the "WP jog" with intentional posting, and was nice & heading somewhere's in his trot & canter.

Rode about an hour. I lost track of time - something I do easily in the morning rides. I had my mp3 player singing in my head, and I was singing along... An entire album played through before I realized how long I'd been pushing him.

Calmed down with a long walk on a loose rein, feet dangling beside my stirrups. Very fun!

Got together with Jen, her hubby, R, and another girlfriend of ours for a dinner cookout, then followed up with fireworks in town with R and one of his friends. A nice display... and a sweet time with my sweetie. *mush*...

07/03/09 Solo Time With Ransom

Got up early Friday morning, and got a busy early start to the day. Got plenty of housework done, chores like cleaning & laundry out of the way.

Wandered to town a while, got a few errands run, connected with R for lunch, and headed back to the house.

Afternoon ride with Ransom went well. He was compliant, but sluggish. This confirmed Jen's suggestion that we needed to try my little spurs on him.

Got in some solid test work, changing some of the directions to keep him from building a pattern and antici-pating the transitions. Took my basic three-breaks, and offered Ransom up some ice cubes as a treat. He loves them! Whatta ham! Crunched them up, slobbered ice water everywhere, tongue-flapping happy!

Had a blast at canter. I was obviously quite relaxed, because I got some good solid deep-seated canter all the way 'round the arena both directions. Heading right, I lost a stirrup, so I kicked the other one free, and laughed my tail off sitting with driving seat & inside leg on telling him "Keep going, buddy.. don't stop on me now.. gotta get back.. to.... A... There! Now you can trot. Good Boy!"

A ride of laughs, and good time, something he and I both need more of. As the show approaches, we're both very serious, and we need less serious, more silly. =)

We rode together for about 45 minutes.

07/02/09 Romeo

Little Man up, a little western fiddling around. Rode him up walk, trot, canter, english bit. Fooled with collection a little bit more, especially at the walk & trot. He was less than happy, but eventually compliant.

At the canter, I tried to break it up into spurts, mostly to keep his mind moving. Changed circle sizes, made unexpected turns, all trying to keep him from thinking "stay on the rail & go go go!"

Worked for probably 40 minutes or so - It was ridiculously hot, even for a late ride. Uncomfortably warm... and humid. YUCK.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Dressage Test Humor

The Test

1. A. Enter at ordinary serpentine.X.
Sprawl. Salute.

2. C. Stop dead. Stare in horror at judge and shy to left.Continue at ordinary working gallop.

3. E. Stagger left 20 or 15 or 22 meters in diameter circle or pear shapeor five pointed star. Avoid excessive crossing of legs.

4. K. Begin to halt.
Z. Keep trying.
F. You can do it.
B. Pulley rein. Give up. Continue at out of hand gallop.

5. H. Regain right stirrup. Continue at ordinary trot, bouncing.

6. MKT Change rein. Free Walk loose reins. Remove horse from judge'sluncheon table. Ask judge for leg up. Jump back into ring.

7. Z. Turn down centre Line.Halt. Grin.

Scratch. Burst into tears. Leave area at free walk on long reins, loose language.

07/01 Lesson -Track Right Right Right!

Ransom and I have most of those AnTiCi...Pation bugs worked out. He got a very quick free run warm-up, to get the extra gas out of the tank, then off we went.

I warmed up a little on the circle walk & trot, then proceeded to GAGII. No amount of effort Jen exerted would convince me - Halt at X, Salute, Proceed at Trot, At C, TRACK RIGHT! Not track left... Honestly! Right right right! Golly geez I hope I don't forget again... She'll saute me for sure!

First run through of GAGII, and while not incredibly straight diagonals, and not the most forward energy, went well. I didn't blow any of the other movements horribly. Hopped off at the mounting block, took a drink break, and let Ransom stand & wait.

Mounted again, and ran through some canter left and canter right. Great work, again.. His canter in both directions felt collected, and while "big", controlled. I was sunk deep in my saddle, able to push his stride with my toosh while keeping his frame. Very nifty! Took another dismounted break.

Finally, cooled out with a last run through of the GAGII test. Right right right! This one had even less forward energy, so the new thought is to add my baby ittie bittie spurs off and on for rides, and use 'em. Neat idea, because when I'm riding right now, I don't have any horse behind my heels, meaning I'll actually have to move my leg to put spur-to-horse. Previously, it was all I could do to not be constantly sticking the horse in the side, and with the saddle (and subsequently good position), the spurs might actually have a purpose.

Ride lesson was about an hour, and got much accomplished. His trot to halt and walk to halt transitions were, on average, pretty good. He got a little nasty there for a few, but promptly got back to work with a bit of, um, legging motivation.. *giggle*

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

07/01 On the Horizon...

Intellicast Radar
Looking near Junction (TX)
Heading SE
Rain storms

Please, Lord... Bring us that big yellow cell of rain.. Send it straight to my house. I don't care if it floods my pasture, and makes me wade in mud for a few days to get to the barn..

We need rain
Plenty of it
I need green pastures
I need water on my arena

Here's praying & hoping ...

06/30 Ending June

Finished up the month in the hot, hot, sun, with Romeo.

Western saddle, french link bit. Ran through the basics - walk, trot, canter, a few turns, backing up straight. All good. I didn't push for much collection, because I know the Little Man is way out of shape, and hadn't been worked hard in quite a while.

We played for about 45 minutes, finishing up on WHOAs on verbal cue only from walk to halt.

I guess I should mention that, last week, Romeo got new feet (reset) on June 25th, and Ransom on June 28th. My regular farrier, Mr Dale, is having some medical stuff taken care of, and is out-of-service for a few more days. Jen and her DH came and finished up the work getting Ransom done on Sunday. Thank you!