Saturday, January 30, 2010

It's Coming! It's Coming!

Horsemaster is coming! ACK! Oh wait, I volunteered for thsi chaos. Well, Friday after work, I decided to begin tackling the list.

I washed polos
and pads
and slinkies
and fleece layers

I loaded the trailer
with washed goods
and two saddles
(which got wiped down first)
and all the goods I could carry

I got the oil changed in the truck
made a tire rotating appointment
went to TSC for a new poop fork
and Home Depot for new big buckets

Almost delirious, and just this side of crazy, R drug me back to town half awake to refuel for supper. That didn't last. I was out like a dead rock by 9:40pm. No turning back, either. I remember moving once or twice, but not being awake while I did it.

Saturday I got up early, well, slept in compared to my Monday to Friday job, but it was early for a Saturday
Truck tires rotated & balanced & pressure checked OK
Truck washed
new wiper blades
groceries bought

bridles cleaned
and bits washed
hung neatly in the trailer
with all the other things I crammed in there

grain bagged
supplements bagged
and also stuffed in the trailer

new stall card made
4x6 still shots from Ransom's recent history, just in case the crew needs 'em
*Thank you sweetie!*

I lunged Ransom
(a nut over poles, and otherwise, good. side reins on, french link bit, he was a true gentleman, except for a bit of "I don't wanna do poles at the trot" protesting. total about 35 minutes, but decently hard work)
I rode Romeo bareback
(because everybody needs a stoopid pony day where ya do nothin' but goof off. Mo did just that. We did a bit of arguing "No, dork. I wanna go THAT way over THERE!" I also ridiculously lost my balance on more than one occasion, and shouted "Whoa" without thinking. Mo met me in the middle, slamming on the brakes and nearly unseating me.)

With everything packed I could think to pack, everything washed I can think to wash, the chaos of organization was shifted to the house. Vaccuuming, laundry, bed washed, bathroom cleaned. CHECK!

A day early at that! I can rest a little tomorrow. Oh! And ride Ransom a while, and ride Romeo a while, too. That sounds restful! Two good solid rides.. Yup. Restful. NOT! *giggle*

So progress is being made. I'm running out of things to forget to pack. Tomorrow, truck & trailer will get connected (following a full tank of gas and one more TSC trip, I think, for trailer shavings), hay will be loaded, and I'll have it all under control but bathing Ransom-monster and going.

*sigh* Now, 'tis time to refuel my body, and my mind. A little easy dinner, and some serious relaxin' is in order. G'night, ya'll.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Fill Ins

1. Wouldn't it be easy to chicken out, stay home, and not travel next week. But it ain't gonna happen that way.

2. I'm riding better than ever!

3. I love the taste of Jumping Mouse Espresso.

4. Half of my horse related packables are sitting in the living room.

5. The first thing we're going to do is walk around the facility Monday & snoop a bit.

6. I don't hear drip, drip, drip; the roof isn't leaking yet.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to checking the trailer, and organizing the tack room, tomorrow my plans include getting the truck ready and riding and Sunday, I want to pack pack ride and pack!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

01/26/10 Goober

I grabbed Ransom in all his hunter saddle glory, twisted o-ring bit. And, of course, if at any time I make plans for after my ride, I must certainly assume something will make me late.

Tuesday night, it was the arena fence. The entire arena is finally dry, and of course, in all the blustery wind, the fence was down in about five spots. I patched & mended, knotted & fiddled. In this process, Ransom had to stand with me at the end of the lead rope. He apparently found this activity less than pleasurable. Simply, and not so kindly put, the old fart wouldn't stand still. Fidget & fuss, ants in his pants... he would NOT stand. In one of my moments of discipline, I gave the lead rope a tug. Unfortunately, I forgot the other end of the lead rope not on my horse, was on me, resting against my neck. Ransom pulled back, and because of either my body balance, my bad coordination, something, the rope rubbed against my neck. Owch! I rode through the stinging, but it left a mark. Darn it All!

In all the fidgeting & fussing, when I finally got the fence fixed, I unclipped the lead rope, and Ransom was on fire! He galloped about the arena for quite a while, and then worked himself up nervous, and wouldn't let me catch him. When I finally did, I got the bridle on, and decided to get on as if nothing happened, ride around relaxed, and wait on him to relax.

That took a good ten minutes. He had this awful stickie, fussy, swift walk going. Bunches and Bunches of itsie bitsie steps. When he did calm down, it was finally time to work.

Warmed up on the flat work, walk, trot, canter, no problems. His trot was easy, strange dispite all the running he did. I approached my circle of poles, rode over at trot each way, and got a little brave. Okay, a little stoopid.

I tried cantering over two or three poles one after the other. I discovered a few things.
1. I'm not that coordinated yet
2. Ransom is stiff on the circle if he has to think about where he's going, and what's on the ground in his way
3. I'm really not that coordinated yet

*giggle* Overall, it was silly fun. When I realized I was nowhere near ready for the multiple poles, I tried something different. I picked up canter in the near circle, with only one pole in our path. I was deliberately releasing the reins, and pushing up to two point over the pole. Ransom played right along at this game, and reached like it was a jump. Much Cuteness!

After the ground pole work, I focused a bit on flat again, transitions, and staying quiet in them. He's tossing his head and running into canter-left once in a while, and I suspect it's me being too busy thinking about where I'm headed next. I'm not concentrating in the transition. When I do, they look darn pretty. Our down transitions, well, just look great. The more I concentrate, the prettier he is. Good Boy!

All the galloping in warmup led to a heavy breathing pony, led to a short ride. About 35 minutes, and I cooled him down with a walk. When we got back to the trailer, I quickly got his turnout sheet on him, wind howling all around us, making the air feel cool.

Tonight, I will sneak a haircut. I would LOVE to lunge Mo, but I don't see when or how. Still need to think this out a bit. Hairdresser is working until 9, so in theory I could stuff a quick lunge in there. Dearest Mo needs to work. Oh Me Oh My.

Countdown to HorseMaster 5 days.
In other news, it appears the Waco Force Field had travelled briefly to my riding arena. However, I'm working on lifting that curse, as I was able to get a few intermittent communications out from that location. Whew! =)

Things I Love about January

Shamelessly stolen from the 7MSN Ranch, because it makes me giggle...

Things to love about January*



*This list comes straight from the shoeblox blog.

Awesome, huh?

Monday, January 25, 2010

1/24/10 Evening - How Many Legs?

I was raised - Thou Shalt NOT bake or sew on Sundays. It's not a matter of option, you just shouldn't do it. The reasoning? Many many dozens of screwed up sewing projects and burnt goods and tore up ovens. The act of cooking a meal, cleaning a house, washing laundry, working in the garden? All acceptable. But for some genetically created family reasoning I doubted, do not bake or sew on Sundays.

On numerous occasions I've decided I could outsmart, outwit, or at least overcome this Shalt Not. Last night was one of those occasions. And I was proven sadly wrong, again.

The fabric & batting to make some leg pillows for Ransom was purchased, hmm, a week or three ago. All that was preventing this completion, was my motivation. Last night I decided to face the demons, and at least get the fabric cut.

I spread the fabric, folded in half, across the kitchen table. I measured three times, cut once.

I cut two squares, 15x17, and 17x17. Sew half inch seams, that makes 'em a good enough size for Ransom's legs.

The cuts made four squares of fabric. Now, how many legs does a horse have? Four squares, you say, that's good. BUT! Four squares mean sew together in pairs, mean, OOPS! I've only got enough fabric for two pillow wraps.

I mustered up the gumption to sew the two wraps together, stuff 'em with batting, and sew the batting to the fabric. Are they pretty? Nope! Jammed fabric, seams, and messy edges, and thread that broke four times mid-stitches, they're done. Well, half way done.

So the family misfortune Thou Shalt not sew on Sundays still applies in partiality. I'm sending R along shopping for more fabric, and this time I was a bit more clear on exactly what was required.

How many legs does a horse have? Oh shoot! It's FOUR!

1/24/10 Morning - Gotta Start Somewhere, Pt III

What I hope to be as the second to last, or in fact, the last of the Gotta Start Somewhere series...

After church, I got on home, got changed, and headed out to ransom. I got him saddled up hunt, with some extra time primping & pampering. I had the time, and was in the snugglin' mood. He was quite agreeable to this idea, as well.

Once we were both ready to go, I let him goof off about the arena for a few minutes. He was slow and easy, so I didn't waste much time. Put the bridle on (full cheek slow twist), and hopped on. Rode the flat stuff a bit, did a little dog&frog stretches at the walk to stretch out stiff legs. It felt easier to sink down to my heels after that.

I was able to trot & canter over those poles in my dressage saddle, long legs, but could I accomplish the same in the hunt saddle? Well I sure don't plan on jumping in the dressage saddle next week, so off we go!

The wind was howling, so I didn't set up the full circle of poles. This meant I only had two I coudl easily get to - about at center long side, a few feet from the rail. Picked up trot and tried to simulate a trot over in two point. That went alright, but he seemed to be leaning. Yup! It was me! I opened up my chest & shoulders, and he picked his front end up as well.

Transitioned to canter, and cantered a while without the poles to get my two point settled & going. Cantered over the poles each way a few times, and Ransom deliberately pretended to "jump", reaching just a little with his stride. Good Boy! Nice way for me to learn! I appreciate that!!

We rode together for about 40 minutes. His cool down walk & trot were on a long rein, and he was stretching out really nice. Really nice...

Countdown to HorseMaster, 7 days.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

1/23/10 Gotta Start Somewhere, Pt 2

Well, I can now trail ride up & down the road from home. That's one decent milestone. But, I couldn't end my weekend of taking chances there. Oh No!

I chunked my plans for a haircut today, and decided even though it needed done, I needed some down time at home. And, no, that wasn't a day of sitting stationary. I had to get my ride in first.

A little after noon, I grabbed Ransom. I spent extra time grooming, primping, and pampering. He was yawing at me, obviously enjoying himself. Saddled dressage, he wasn't real pleased when I led him to the arena. Poor guy, he really wanted more of that light-duty trail walking thing.

I lunged him for a warmup, and then I set up a few ground poles. On a 20m circle (or so), I set up a pole every 90degrees. Sort of a cross pattern. I lunged him at the trot over the pole pattern until I had it just the right size to keep him over them, and still on the circle. Afterwards, before I bitted him and hopped on, I walked the steps off in the middle of the poles, and found them to all be 6.5 steps away from each other. Neat! An even circle!

I rode walk and trot over the poles in the circle. I snuck in some spiral in and outs, too. A circle outside the poles, then over on the far side, over in the middle, over on the near side, big circle inside the poles, little circle inside the poles, and reverse back out. I found Ransom's bending to be quite nice on the spirals, both directions.

So, I want to be on TV. I want to jump my horse. Geez, I hadn't cantered over even a ground pole. Time to start, huh?

I had one pole on the near circle, far edge of it. I rode the circle, cantered around the outside of the pole, and then decided to just go for it! What's the worst that'd happen, yeah?

I was right! Cool! Ransom canters over the ground pole, but not by accident. He lifts his front end up just a little, totally aware the pole is there. If it's too far away, he'll stretch a stride out to cover it. If it's close, he'll make a short stride. He also adjusted a few times a stride or two in front of it, making a nice even stride over it. We did this both leads a few times each. A pretty neat feeling.

Then I dumped the stirrups again for some work outside of the pole pattern on sitting to rising trot. I'm still having sit trot with stirrup problems. Without them, we're going along pretty good. With 'em, yeah, not so much. Things to work on.

When we got done with the arena work, I gathered up all his stuff, opened the gate, and hand walked him up to the barn. There, I flipped another bucket upside down, dropped all our extras, and took my hot, huffing & puffing pony, down the road. We went the same distance as Thursday, but without the yapping dogs. I walked him back home, halted him at the house, where he was still hot, huffin, and puffin.

So up the road a ways. Again, no car chasing doggies barking at us. We didn't get quite as far up the road, when I halted him, stood a second to check his breathing, and he turned back towards home. Hoping he was cooling down, I let him take me home, "on the buckle". I realized part way through the walk out I was indeed "on the buckle". A warm glowing satisfactory moment, seeing Ransom on that long of a rein, almost on contact, reaching and relaxing.

I got all his tack off, and hosed him. Clipped pony dries fast! He cooled down pretty quickly. With the warmer weather here, I was even happier I decided to clip him. With that fuzzy coat he did have, he would've gotten hotter faster, and been even rougher to cool out. Glad I clipped!

Total work today? About an hour, including the walk outs.

Tomorrow? Well, if we get "babysitting company", maybe we'll set that jump back up, and maybe I'll work up the nerve to canter to And from. Gotta Start Somewhere!

1/22/10 CVC Victoria Vet Assessment

I arrived at 7:40, five minutes early. It was super foggy, so I was pretty proud of my early-ness. Nobody else, however, was quite that sunny, or ready. We, in fact, were about ten minutes late getting started for our appointment. A bit of a frustration point, since I'd been called & asked the night before if I could back the appointment up from the 8:00 appointment to 7:45 to better accommodate their schedules. Hmm.... Ask me to get there early, be ready, huh?

Romeo was tied to the trailer, and Ransom went first into the stocks. Dr Sam is very quiet when he works. A pleasure, actually. He quickly gave Ransom a look over, checked heart rate, respiration, gut sounds, temp, all checked OK. Dr Sam pried Ransom's mouth open with the float-contraption, and pointed out at least two top molars that were about an inch too long, one on each side. He strongly recommended a float, and I agreed. Doc sedated Ransom with a multi drug concoction. Ransom was quick to relax, but as the mechanical float began, he argued just a bit. More drugs it is! With an extra dose of two of the drugs, Ransom was in fa la la land, and the float continued.

A full batch of vaccines, and Romeo was next. Romeo's visit went much like Ransom's, only with less drugs, and less float work. Romeo had better teeth. But I figured Ransom's would be bad, since he hadn't been floated in my care. Romeo had been, about a year ago. Romeo took the sedate drugs real good! He was Out Of It for nearly 45 minutes. Vaccines for Mo, and off we go.

There's a new coggins out , by the way , if anyone else didn't know . It's digital. Instead of horse sketch drawings, they take pictures. I will know more when my copy arrives. Neat deal from what was described.

My overall impression is Dr Sam gets down to business, and focuses solely on the horse. That's a good thing. He told me what I needed to know, and his opinion, and he didn't mince words. He was to the point, and decisive. So from working with him and Deanna, I was satisfied.

I checked out. OI VEY! Um, at first impact, the cost for the two floats and full shots (& one coggins) about blew me over. I paid, but with a general thought of , "Holy crap!! I can't do that once a year! They're going to Kill My bank account!" When I got home, however, I checked the fees of CVC against my previous vet. Yeah, it's about the same. I suppose "sticker shock" set in when I had both boys there at once rather than one at a time.

Overall decision? Keepers! I like that they're closer, everyone is young & recent from school, so supporters of newer technology, including mechanical floats & sedating for floats. Even in the midst of construction, they were still working together as a good team. And did I mention it's closer to home? CVC is about 20 minutes from the house, whereas my old vet was 45 minutes away. I like 20 minutes away! Even in the fog!!

Sometime next week, I'll stuff in a final update about the rest of my day with the boys after we got back from the vet. I'll let Ransom & Romeo give you their point of view on the ickie nasty things I did to them after we pulled in the driveway.

1/21/10 Gotta Start Somewhere, Pt 1

I got home after work, scrambled to the barn, and gathered up Ransom. "It's gonna be a dressage day!" Well, that was the plan.

The weather, well, was perfect. Sunshiney, gentle breeze, and it was too hard to pass up. Ransom was glancing down the road while I was saddling.

I got my half chaps on, helmet attached, even my gloves. Ransom was all dressed & ready. I flipped a bucket upside down, and hopped on. *Note, I saddle up at the trailer, in my side yard.*

See, I figured, if I'm going to be on HorseMaster, if I'm going to try to learn how to jump, if I'm going to start riding Training Level at unfenced arenas this season, I better learn how to ride outside of my own yard. Ransom's a "been there, done that", and I ought to get over my fears.

So to get over those fears, we've got to start somewhere! I checked the girth just before mounting, and we were good to go. I muttered to Ransom, "This isn't the day to spook, goof off, or test my security. Go easy on me."

He tip toed down the road away from home. And I do mean tip-toed. Itsie bitsie steps, for the first few hundred yards. I was just about to relax, when a neighbor and their yapping dog startled us. Well, me, at least.

I said to the neighbor, "He's 20, I've had him a bit over a year, and this is the first time we've come down the road. I have NO CLUE what he's going to do about that dog. Heads up!" Ransom and the dog stood facing each other a bit, dog barking nervously. Finally, I decided, "Enough's enough", and I urged Ransom forward. The dog darted into the trees, still barking a fit, and Ransom was unshaken. I relaxed my grip on the reins, when I saw my knuckles were white. Ransom and I made it down the road, oh, about three driveways.

Thinking that was good enough, I started walking him home. As we approached the yard, the Monster decided we needed more, and he tugged me away from the house, only this time up the dirt road (towards the mailboxes). We disagreed about this choice just a bit, him tugging away from home, me tugging towards. I decided t'was easier to agree, and his forward stepping walk showed he was enjoying himself. Romeo nickered at us as we meandered back away from home again.

We made it up the road, around the first curve, but not quite to the second driveway, when another neighbor in their car approached from behind. With said neighbor comes a not so horse friendly (or car friendly, for that matter) dog of larger stature and slightly less mental capability. Okay, so the dog chases cars and horses. I was not amused. When it became apparent the dog was going to pursue us, I headed back towards home.

Ransom and I had ridden away from the house up & down the road, for about 20 minutes. I walked him back to the arena, much against his better judgment. I laughed at him hard when he stopped at the slightly muddy patch before the arena. He did NOT want to go to the arena. His disposition sunned back up when I let him trot & canter big on light contact. That and a little more walking, and we went back to the trailer. (I never closed the arena gate, but simply left it open. So I didn't dismount at all during this ride.)

Total ride? About 35 minutes. Experience? Ransom trail rides, in his own little way. Give him rein, he'll stretch long and low, and relax more than I could've figured he would. A pretty neat time.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

1/20/10 Back to It

I gathered Ransom & dressed him up dressage after work. We found arena fence down & damaged, but the front 2/3 very dry for work. The weather was awesome. 70s, light humidity, easy breeze. He free lunged warmup real nice, dropping his head in the canter, stretching.

I hopped on, and we enjoyed nearly 35 minutes of hard work, with some good walk breaks in the midst. In the walks, I did side passes, turns on the haunches, but the turns on the forehand were, stickie? Yeah, that's a nice way to say "he didn't want to",, yup, stickie. The sidepassing was a complete accident, but when I figured out he knew how, I worked it both directions. We also did a bit of leg yielding at the walk, and a bit at trot. Heading left, the leg yields are almost easy. Heading right, well, not so much. He's stubborn, but eventually gets it. I'm looking forward to getting the whole arena dry again, so I can identify quarter lines and work on yields from quarter to the rail, and having the entire length of the arena to get it pretty, rather than half or less like we've got now.

Our canter work was light and simple, and the up transitions are getting back in shape where they were. He was a little anti-ci-pating the canter ups, so I also worked on sitting the trot a while, waiting for him to settle down, and then ask for canter. He did break gait heading right on a straight-away, and when I asked for it back, we still had the lead. Nice!! The circle work at canter was good.. not trying to duck in or lean on me.

I found our up & down transitions are improving, really without much doing on my part except repetition. After Ransom had plenty of time to stretch & warm up those out of shape muscles, I did a bit of transition mixes. I'd ride each gait no more than one 20m circle before moving to something else. If the transition was decent, I'd keep moving. If it was ugly, head up & back tense, I'd go back where we'd been nearly immediately, and start over. Overall, I was pretty satisfied with the quality of the down transitions, from canter to trot, and trot to walk. Walk to halt is still, in my opinion, nasty... Things to work on for sure.

I dropped my stirrups for the last 15 minutes, in an effort to improve my sitting trot. It was interesting. I can't seem to find the sitting trot beauty with my stirrups, but kick them away, and it was magic. Ransom gave at the poll, moved forward & out, and I felt his back coming up to me. Really Really magical, and both directions. I did a few transitions from walk to sitting trot, and stared at our hoofpaths in the soft footing. Impressive! It looked better sitting trot without stirrups than posting trot with stirrups. Must continue this exercise.

We rode together for 45 minutes. The days are getting longer, and so my rides are no longer cut short by darkness. After 6:00pm, it was still light enough to get things done. This means I won't have to run like a nut home, and scramble around the house to organize myself & my tack to squeeze a ride in. I've survived the worst of the dark winters, and Ransom's still moderately fit.

Chunky Mo... Yeah, he still needs more exercise. =) Poor guy...

I expected to be entirely sore & stiff this morning - all that stirrup-less work, the longer ride than I've had in over a week. But, no, I feel pretty good. Tired from not sleeping well, but not stiff & sore from the ride. Must repeat again tonight.

Tomorrow, we all go to the vet for our shots. Well, the boys will get their shots. I'll just be the protective Momma who holds their hands, um, hooves, and soothes their pain & fears. Get the cookies!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

1/20/2010 The Scott Heard Round the World

Hooray for Massachusetts!

Whatta turnout! Whatta vote!

And best of all, whatta way to shove it down the Democrats' throats. We wanted CHANGE, sure, But not that BS they're selling! Down with ObamaCare and all the other Crap he's stunting. You guys think it was a neat vote yesterday?! Just wait until the vote in November! Bring it On!

1/19/10 A Retellable Story

Is that a word? Re-tellable = the ability to tell a story, over, and over, and over. *giggle* Anyways... This one sounds like a Mouthy Monday for Mugwump Chronicles. I'll let ya'll read it and let me know what you think. It's not a recent event, but one from a while back.

I'd had one of those days at work. You know, one where you touch it, and it breaks? One where the verbal disagreements seem neverending, and there is no right answer? I walked in the front door, to two happy dogs, who after potty breaks, were entirely satisfied to go back in their crates. Knowing daylight was running short, I ran back outside.

Work clothes, work shoes with heavy traction mud holder soles, I looked at my horses. Romeo nickered at me, so I grabbed a thin English pad, fangled my knotted halter and lead rope into a bridle, and opened the gate. Romeo slid into the halter, and tried desperately to grab a mouthful of hay while I flipped the feed bucket upside down. I climbed aboard via the bucket, and squeezed him out of hay munching.

We walked around the yard, Ransom bucking & farting in his pasture. Ransom was entirely ticked. It should've been his day to play with me, and he was making his irritation clear. Romeo sighed at him, ears forward, almost saying "Neener, neener, neener, man! She picked me!" After a little walk, a little trot, and a few solid "Whoa"s, we were ready. I muttered to myself, "Ever get the feeling you have to do this?" Romeo already knew what we were doing.

And down the dirt road we went. He picked a lane on the side of the road, and ambled along. Our ears heard sounds in the trees, but neither of us cared. With a little leg pressure, he swept up to a jog, and I think I saw him smile at the truck that passed us heading in the opposite direction. We thumped through a few soft muddy spots, and he quickly realized that my plan to stay on the road was better.

The closer we got to the dirt road end, I saw across the paved road, in the cow pasture, three cows, one donkey, and a stud horse. A beautiful buckskin with a neck halter show horses dream of. He's a tank, and I've never heard a sound from him. I wondered what Romeo's reaction would be, as these two have never crossed eyes. The stud came into Romeo's view, and Romeo stopped, ears up. They watched each other for nearly a moment, when Romeo dropped his head, and sighed. "Hi Dude! We're just fetchin' the mail. That's my job these days."

I think Romeo continued to say, "Ya know, it's progress. For almost three months after I came here, all my lady rider would do, was ride me in a saddle, holdin' on for dear life, and every leg muscle in her was tense. I could feel it - she was scared snotless. And I never knew why - I wasn't going anywheres. I just did my job. Then, she got braver. She'd start jogging me in the yard, still in that saddle. Finally, after I learned a lope, she gave me the reins, and we flew! What a rush! After about a year, she let the reins out, took off that stupid saddle, and we started walking again, with a pad between us. Today, for the first time, she didn't stick that metal junk in my mouth, she trusted me."

With Romeo watching the buckskin intensely, I squeezed him over against the row of mailboxes. I told him, "Whoa" with a solid deep voice, and leaned over to grab the mail. A busy pile today, so I stuffed it all in the space between my back & jeans. I turned him back, and we headed for home.

Back on the dirt road, I got a little curious what was in the mail pile. Grabbing the stack of envelopes, a little card fell to the ground. "Oh crap!", I muttered. I had to dismount to grab it, and I sure hope it was important enough. Looking at the card, I realized it was junk mail, and I looked back at Romeo. I tried to hop on, hop, hop, hop, jump! No such luck. I moved him to a lower ditch spot, and tried again. Hop, hop, hop, hop, JUMP! I grabbed his far side belly, and pulled myself up. Just as I got the pad back where it goes, under me, Romeo turned his whole head and neck around, and stared at me with one eye and one ear. "You done foolin' around up there yet? Can we go home? I'm hungry." I laughed long & loud, and gave him the go-ahead to take us home, stuffing the mail back behind my back.

Nothing exciting happened that evening. I didn't have a spooked ride, we didn't lope the road home. Instead, we just enjoyed the trip. I'm no longer scared of a fall, or worried about a disaster ride. He's become my mail buddy, and we're both having fun now.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

1/16 & 1/17 Love is

Cleaning the scrambled egg giblets outta the frying pan
And dumping the rest of them out of the sink strainer


What is love to you? I know I'm not the only one that can fill in that blank!

C'mon MrsMom!
Jen, you have to have a few, too!
Stephanie, Come back & tell us after your work trip!
There's more of ya'll out there reading.. You just don't comment lots... Speak up!

1/19/2010 I'm All For Good News

I called my horse vet yesterday afternoon, hoping to make annual vaccine appointments for both boys for Friday. No such luck. The doc has a meeting. That'd be all well & fine, but I need to get Ransom in before the HorseMaster taping, and I sure would like to do it sooner rather than later.

I'd had a curiosity to stop in and check out a new vet in town, and this was the best opportunity I had. So I made a phone call, stopped in for a visit, and was pleasantly surprised.

Here's their website - Crossroads Veterinary Clinic Victoria

When I showed up, I was immediately remembered from the phone call. I was also almost instantly introduced to the Large Animal Vet himself - Dr Sam Williams.

Dr Sam was pretty darn cool! He walked me through the office, showed me construction zone central inside, and then walked me outside to two finished stocks, and even more covered stall construction. When completed, this is going to be the mega-horse facility. Sure looks that way, at least. Dr Sam seems very educated on current methods, and I was satisfied with this informal interview.

Better even, was the large-animal tech, Deanna. See, Deanna and I met at another vet's office in San Marcos. However, that office is entirely too far away, and I'm not a big fan of some of their homeopathic medicine. Deanna is super qualified, and is a very calm mild-mannered lady working with the ponies.

Our appointment is scheduled for Friday morning. I'll be sure to recap after, and give my reviews of the entire trip.

The clinic tour shortened my daylight at home, so I skipped a ride. Tonight I have a dentist appointment, so if I get home in time, I'll try to fiddle around with one or the other horse. Otherwise, a peaceful night at home is in order.

Monday, January 18, 2010

1-18-10 Ransom Today

"Ransom says: Hi Mom! Guess what I got! NEW SHOES! Isn't that cool? Gotta go now. LoVe YoV!"

Okay, maybe Ransom didn't say it.. Maybe R translated for Ransom when he took blankets off today... Maybe .... =)

1/18/10 Update

When the cold finally broke, I think I squeezed in one lunge on side reins, and one dressage ride on Ransom. He was pretty good, but the lunge-day was plagued by some snappy winds & goofy air pressure changes. He worked through it, but not without a pile of coaxing, soothing voices, and "hey good boy" any time he'd go underneath the hi-power lines & not booger-spook.

The dressage ride, as best I can remember it, we had some electric co-op employees working in the neighbor's pasture, watching us half-interested. I took advantage of the opportunity, and rode all of my 20m circles in the center, and worked some rising vs sitting trot switches. I even got a couple of diagonal passes of extended trot, but not without much effort.

Then, the rains came. Puddles, Mud, Rivers for a lawn, the roadways covered in all the low spots on the way to my house, and more puddles. I had to splosh through the water just to get back to feed the boys a few days this weekend.

Saturday found Jen and I scouring my closet, searching for HorseMaster appropriate clothes. Long sleeves, no red, no white. Um, geez, boss. With a little shopping, I now have a few short sleeve blue tops I'm fond of, a pink, purple, green, and black long sleeve tops. Hopefully that handles the people shopping. Oh, and she assisted me through Target looking for *gasp* makeup. Aw, geez, I'm gonna have to dress & do-up like a girl & stuffs. Yuck... =) We finished up our day giving Ransom a quick scrubby bath & spraying him down with LaserSheen. Daylight ran out as he was drying...

Saturday night was a dinner fun of R, me, Jen and her DH. We cooked, and laughed together. A fun time had by all, including R's dog Abby and my two. All the girls got along well, and only one Canine Uh Oh. Bad girl, MacKenzie! grrrrr...

But Sunday brought absolutely beautiful weather. After church R and I had lunch, ran to BestBuy for some Christmas giftcard usage, and I scrambled home. I gathered all my things, got the music tunes going, and grabbed Ransom.

And he's now body-clipped, again. There's a hair-covered front lawn by my porch, and when the lines grow out a bit, Ransom will look awesome. He behaved good. Better in some parts, worse in others. It seemed to go a little faster than the last time. The LaserSheen coat clipped easy, but he had a few wiggly spots and tickly spots. His face went MUCH easier than the last clip job, thank goodness. I only had to bicker with his ears... Nothing we humans couldn't handle.

So, there's the weekend. No rides to talk about. I'm hoping tonight I have at least 1/3 of a dry arena.. Maybe 2/3. I know realistically the back 1/3 will still be under water, and that's okay. It's supposed to stay pretty dry for at least a week.

1/16/10 TShirt Shopping

When Jen and I were out shopping, she was handing me quite the variety of tops to try on. Some were conservative, plain, and normal for me. Others were, um, how shall I say this,, NVTS ! I tried them on... but, while we were rack scouring looking for the perfect shirt, we saw this one...

I promise we didn't buy it.. But there are generally a few days now & then, I wish I had this exact shirt...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Fill Ins

It's only been , what , a month or more since a FFI. Wow!

1. The lesson I learned yesterday was be supportive no matter what.

2. I would like to find a place where friends and family meet.

3. All these years I wasn't paying attention.

4. Supper was nearly ready when I arrived.

5. The truth is I don't know how I feel about the whole situation.

6. Nerf ball catch with the ICU nurse is what I remember most from that day.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to deworming paste & muddy puddles, tomorrow my plans include fighting the elements and Sunday, I want to finish the to-do list!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

1/12/10 FaceBook

The things I learned today.. About old interests, old friends.. People I haven't talked to since high school, nearly. Well, one friend from college.


And I am gloating on the inside... Because I turned into WAY more than I think anybody anticipated.

I gonna go ride me pony now! We go be dressage prince & princess. *grin*

Monday, January 11, 2010

1/10/10 Determination

Sunday morning brought 5am really early. Or so it felt. Maybe it was just the little sleep, or the worrying & stress, or just the cold... But early brought horses that needed tending to.

I got them warm-watered and fed before dressing for 8am church. Just as the service ended, my mind had already planned out all that needed done.

Chewie and Romeo got switched out so the Chewmonster could get some pasture walking in... Blankets got switched out & changed, and Romeo snuck in a little western work.

Mo and I enjoyed walk, trot, canter, both leads, with some issues picking up his leads. Neither direction was pretty. When he did get them correct, it was a nice even tempoed canter, moderately slow. Also worked a bit more on reminding the neck reining and leg yields. Total work about 40 minutes.

Then I gathered up Ransom, who chose this day to act as if the hunt seat girth just doesn't fit him. When I finally got ready to ride, I had two holes up on one side, and three on the other. So it does fit - he just didn't want me thinking so.

Ransom and I played in my hunt saddle, all on the flat, me focusing on those darn shoulders. I rode a little trot and canter at two point, and snuck in some walk to canter transitions. He felt good... steady and still forward without being a goofball. Another 45 minutes of action.

More bundling, and more warm water for the evening. I knew there was only Monday morning of this water heating nonsense, and then the stress would be over until the next cold snap. All the outdoor weather dressings could be put up, and I won't have nearly as much to worry about during the day.

1/8/10 Waking up & Stretching Out

I got up good & early, and when I got outside to the boys, it was 18F. Cold! Yeah Yeah, all you Northern folks call that a heat wave. I call that South Texas Ridiculous Cold! BRR!

Chewie was okay, just hungry
Romeo was doing good, chillin' under his heat lamp
Ransom was toasty roasty in his three mighty layers, but P'Od Momma locked him up.

And I had running water! Well, inside I did. We didn't remove or drain a hose, and we forgot to cover the only unhosed spigot outside. So there was only water at the faucet under the well covers. Bring on the bucket carrying.

Before long, R and I had all the boys settled with warm water, breakfast, and hay. R had to make a visit trip to Houston, so I settled into my weekend laundry & housework. With those chores completed, and a little sewing done, I ventured outside.

Undressed everybody. Put my boys in their lite sheets, and got down to it. I grabbed Ransom, cleaned his feets, took all off but his sleezy cover, and walked him to the round pen. He did a little walk, trot, canter, and had some easy down transitions. They weren't pretty, but I didn't have to argue with him either.

I couldn't help myself. I tied the lead rope on his halter like reins, and hopped on. I rode for about ten minutes, mostly walking. Chewie stood off to the side, watching observantly.

After a half hour's work, I switched ponies. Romeo and I did much of the same, less lunging, more riding. Also worked on Mo's neck reining, and stops. He did great like always.

So even in the cold, I gots my riding fix. That night, I decided to get the water warming, the blanket switching, and the grain feedings all done before dark. And I accomplished it. After much praying & worrying, R arrived back in town at his house sometime late after 9pm.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Woke up to barely running water, which later froze solid. No water, in any faucet. Lovely....

Got my day moving, talked to Jen, and, well, added a temporary occupant to the barn. See, I have a stall that was set up for holding lawn equipment, a wheel barrow, and a few other supplies in it. And Jen has a critter, one you all have heard of before - Chewie. He's been living at her house, and since I know he's a little winter-sissy-fairy, I helped out.

R and I cleaned out the stall
Hung tarps for a temporary wind block
Put shavings in
Set up water buckets
And he came to visit us for a while.

Chewie settled in real good - eating and drinking. He was inhaling supper just a while ago, munching hay happily.

Expecting a low of about 17F tonight. So I added a layer to Ransom, locked him in his stall without any paddock access, and borrowed an outdoor cook stove and some really big pots. That was used to warm water for their buckets. I did a batch of warm water this afternoon, and another with supper. We also hung a sheet of plywood on Romeo's stall door - it's just the right size, and a great wind block.

The water well and all it's assorted pipes are wrapped in insulation, covered in tarps, and there's a shop light under the tarps. I've done all that can be done except hope and pray nothing freezes again.

May the boys keep warm, and the water stay thawed. This be too far south for this much cold. I don't like it one bit. Global Warming my Ta Ta s say "BULLY HORSEFEATHERS!"

Ta Tas.. those froze off this morning, I Swear. Must ask MrsMom what freezes off next.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

1/7/2010 My TaTas

As MrsMom called it today, my TaTas are going to get frozen tonight! I swear they are!

We're forecasting three consecutive nights below freezing. This will be a true "clean out" - for the bugs, and the dirt, and my flower gardens. If this doesn't kill it, it can stick in the garden. Sure am glad I've saved that gift certificate Mom got me for my birthday in JUNE! Now this Spring I can fill a hole from whatever I kill this weekend. I'm not covering stuff, I've got more important things to do.

Like drain the water lines and cut the pump off. Well, first, I need to fill all the water bowls, buckets, and troughs.

And there are horses to dress, and dogs to love on and snuggle to, and all that silliness.

My day today finds me making the HorseMaster "Whats I gots to find before I go list."

Nylon sheet - trailering, stabling, and I really ought to have one anyways
Quarter sheet - shhh.. don't tell Ransom, he's getting body clipped again, and I want to warm him up gracefully and cool him down gently
Leg Pillows - because Santa made me two, and horses have four legs *giggle*
Half Chaps - ain't happenin. I'll carefully pull the broken zipper on my old ones, or *gasp* wear my show boots - probably wear my show boots, so's I look good
Electrolyte Paste - I'm going to force him to be thirsty, maybe it'll make eating easier.

Yeah, that reminds me. That show at Sienna I took him to in October? He did NOT (I repeat NOT) want to eat in his stall. Would have no part of it, for dinner Saturday night, or breakfast Sunday morning. So I'm going to start occasionally locking him up with hopes he'll get back in the stalling habit. There is some slim chance he can get some turnout at the show barn, but I won't hold my breath. If you've had this experience, and have a magic solution, please help us!

The Quarter Sheet & Leg Pillows - I have looked, and decided, I ain't buying them. They're getting made. They won't be store quality fancy, and I doubt they'll be beautiful , but they're getting hand made. I'm just not paying those store prices.

Jen found me a nylon sheet on sale - and I'm NOT getting polka dots. Ransom does NOT look like a disco pony. I'm gonna get the solid blue, thank you!

*giggle* The anticipation is building.


Justice is in the starts. I've followed this whole mess since it began. All the taxes that were getting paid didn't seem to be showing up in the county or region. Now, it's coming to light that a lot of that cash was going towards future campaigning.

When Mike Veon gets his justice, and goes to jail, or at least pays good solid high fines, then I will celebrate. He and I have some ugly history, and I hope he gets his turn in front of a ruthless conservative judge & court. :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Song Lyrics

Consider this my spiritual Resolution for 2010. I have a few little other things I'd like to accomplish, but, after this one, it all seems irrelevant. If you see me in person, hold me to it, okay?

All I Wanna Do, by Ginny Owens

All I wanna do is give this life to You
All I wanna do is give this life to You
All I wanna do is give this life to You
And let Your will be done, until it's all I wanna do

How does doubt slip in so silently?
And why does condemnation come so naturally?
Why do I still get the best of me
Loving so little and living so selfishly

When all I wanna do is give this life to You
All I wanna do is give this life to You
All I wanna do is give this life to You
And let Your will be done, until it's all I wanna do

What have I been given by Your grace?
Will I come to understand this mystery I embrace?
Making me a new creation now
Fill me with all You are and be all I am somehow

'Cause all I wanna do is give this life to You
All I wanna do is give this life to You
All I wanna do is give this life to You
And let Your will be done, until it's all I wanna do

Faith so fragile
Reaching for Your hand

All I wanna do is give this life to You
All I wanna do is give this life to You
All I wanna do is give this life to You
And let Your will be done, until it's all I wanna do


1/5/2010 Ransom Lunge

Gathered up Ransom after work, and decided a solid side-rein lunge was in order. Surcingle, side reins, french link bit, polo wraps up front, and here we go!

Free lunged both ways on the line for about 5, then set up bridle & side reins. He leaned with his head out & up quite a bit all three gaits, which I sort of expected - he hasn't had to "use himself hard" for about a month. I expected a bit of fuss & fight.

After about 25 minutes, I took the side reins back off again, and let him stretch out at walk & trot each direction.

Getting back in shape... Plenty to think about & start planning as the February HorseMaster taping is approaching. I know they say "Don't work on the problems", and that'll be easy. The hard part? Getting him clean, my tack clean, my clothes organized, boots polished, and all my mental "ducks in a row", so I'm not a nervous-nelly for the event.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

1/4/2010 Romeo

After a plan to lunge Ransom, I changed my mind - I needed some saddle to hiney time, and I didn't really want to work him that hard.

So I grabbed Romeo, fitted him up Western & french link bit, and offs we go to the arena. He warmed up real good free lunge, with a little goofing off. I figured "if he's still got that kind of energy getting back to work, let's put it to use."

We rode a solid 35 minutes, with a few after that in a cool down walk. I rode walk, trot, canter, only requiring him to accept light bit contact at first. Just before the cool down, I forced some collected walk & trot. Oh! Little Man not so happy with that decision! He fussed & farted, tossed his head, and chewed on the bit like it was a peppermint candy.

On the upside, there was no spooking, no panicked fit, no taking off with me at the canter. He is back to riding faster canter right and real slow canter left. This will improve with more muscle development. Silly one-sided monster.

In My Inbox Today

It's almost surreal. See, I applied to be on the show, and I figured, "Our issues are tiny. He doesn't buck me off, he doesn't run away with me, I won't make the cut. We're not big TV material. We're just amateurs aiming to get better."

In my inbox, I got the following note today.

Congratulations! We’d like you to be a cast member on Horse Master, shooting at the Banshee Ranch near Houston, TX February 1-4, 2010. Thank you all for your patience so far in the application process. We’re on board and rolling now! You’ll find that I send as much information as possible to help you prepare. Please feel free to ask questions or call! We want you to feel as comfortable as possible with the process!

It's almost surreal I tell ya. Honestly amazing. My monster Ransom and I...

The 2010 Goals

There they are. Middle of the right side column.

Give me hoorays for having courage to set some.
Or give me boo's for not making them challenging enough.

But I set some. :) Which is HUGE progress over year's past.

Monday, January 4, 2010

1/3/2010 Doing What I Do

Enjoyed a nice early church service duet with R. Special thanks go out to our sound fellow N for showing up on the board at the last minute to help us out!! YahOoo!! It sounded great. We did our best, and got some raving reviews afterwards. I got a good chuckle when our pastor told us we sounded great and complimentary to each other in the warmup. yack!!!

I gathered up Ransom in the late morning hours, and, given the puddles, the muddles, and the fact I didn't want to go yumping alone, we worked on our dressage movements. Wanting him to not be bored, I trotted through the poles a few times, worked on leg yields at walk & trot, and varied up the collection back to light contact back to collection. Tried to work on transitions up to canter without him popping his noggin up. Had some successes, but with all our weather breaks and holiday vacation, we've got lots of muscles to build back up - Both of us!

Just before dark I grabbed Romeo, renewing my weight-loss commitments to him, and lunged him again. This time, I held the lunge whip and insisted on some work at canter. He did all his gaits, some with silly head tossin's, and even tucked his nose in the direction changes. Looks like a real cuttin horse when he does some of that.

Then I jumped on bareback to work on walk, trot, turns on fore & rear, backups, sidepassin, and even a little rollback. I was startled when he reminded me, "roll back means back up, turn in, and get outta there!" I giggled good when his first "get outta there" sprung into trot without a warning. =) He's back!!

1/2/2010 Trot Poles

R helped me set up a few poles. As it turns out, my standard ground supports are just about tall enough to make about 6" cavaletti supports. They're not super tall, or super stable, and it sure doesn't look fancy. But Ransom's had a bad habit of anticipating each standard to be a high vertical rail, and I needed him to pay attention.

I warmed Ransom up walk, trot, canter, and got to the poles. It took about six go's each direction before he was steady & even over them. I tried to start out in two point, but that kept encouraging a halfa-canter into the poles. I forced a posting trot over them a while, and he evened out. Finished up with a few clear go's at two point trot each direction.

To keep him from thinking, "Jump & done", I worked back on the flat again a while. A little canter, but mostly transitions in & out of trot and walk. Got his attention, got him calmed down & cooled out, and we called it finished.

A successful beginning to jumping. Can't wait until my Ground Pole Christmas book gets here so I can start varying the exercises.

1/1/2010 Bringing in the New Year

Gathered up Ransom, and we worked through our dressage paces. It was muddly, wet, and puddly in the pasture, making a slimy mess. He was cheerful enough to be working, though as we passed the crossrail a few times, he was less than pleased I left it off his plans. Between his warm up and our ride, time lasted about 35 minutes.

Then it was Romeo's turn. My little pony ain't so little - the grain & hay, and time off has left him, um, pudgy? Let's be honest... shhhh... he's fat! I stuck him at the end of the lunge line for a little while, about 25 minutes, walk & trot. It's funny to see his ripples wigglin' at the trot, but we'll get it off. I told him he's got two choices. 1) stop eating grain completely, or, 2) lose weight working.

So we're back on track, each horse doin' his thing. The weather isn't cooperating 100%, but as long as I don't get too frustrated, maybe it'll dry faster. :) Yeah, that's it!