Wednesday, July 31, 2013

7-28-13 Sunday, Monday

Saturday night into Sunday morning was horrendous.  A very explosive round of either food poisoning or a stomach bug.  Though the symptoms aren't 100% gone, they're easing up some.  A dose of good medicine, lots of fluids, and LOTS of sitting still.

I hate sitting still.
I hate when I can't walk across the building at work without feeling bad.
I hate it more when I can't play with the dogs, or even consider a light ride with Mo.

Once again, we're benched until this gives way to sunnier days and happier bellies.  It's been crazy hot anyways.  Morning temperatures in the low 80s with 85+% humidity.  That's no way to ride anyways.  A few websites I checked out say to add the real temperature and the humidity.  Over 160 (or 170, that's where the differences rest), don't ride.  I can do the math in my head - that's too hot.  Evenings aren't a whole lot better.  Temperatures in the mid 90s, with humidities in the 50s-60%s.  Ew.  Not much better.

Cooler days will come.  They're just not here yet.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Love is ...

Having a friend who knows you feel like poo driving over an hour extra out of her way to set up a surprise.  Jen told me she was going to Prasek's this morning.. super early.  Well, as you'll see in my next entry, I've been feeling a little sour, under the weather, horrid.  I told her to eat a kolache for me.. She offered to meet R half way to get some to me, but that didn't work out.  I was okay with it.  I haven't felt great, haven't been eating food-food (soup , rice , broth .. you get the idea). 

Here's what was on my front door when I got home from work:

I know that hand writing!  It's Jen!  So I took off into the house.  Doggies, hold it a little bit longer.  I gotta find what she's up to!  Cold.. cold.. Refrigerator!  That one's easy!


Dressing stuffed pork chop from Prasek's.  Yum!   Okay.. now, someplace hot .. hot .. OVEN!
 Kolaches!  Inside, are these yummy bread-based pastries, with strawberry jam goo awesomesauce in the middle.  YuMM!!  Now, some place I'd find something I knead... Easy.. breadbox!!


Wheat bred, again from Prasek's bakery.  YummO!  I've had before, it's super yum, even better toasted up with some almond butter smeared all over.

Then, I did what, well, I've done a lot of these past few days.  I went to the bathroom.  Taped to the bathroom mirror, was the card.  I didn't take a picture of it in the bathroom.. had other matters to tend to. ;-)

Love is .. tending to your friend when she feels like poo! 

=)  Got somebody you need to surprise today?  Maybe tomorrow?  How about next week?  Get crackin' folks!  I think MoJo needs to stage a surprise event!  I have just the best sneakiest idea ever.  That's all I can say.. it'll ruin the surprise. :-)

7/27/13 Harley

The rains were coming.  I saddled up anyways.  By the time we reached the arena, a light rain was covering us both.  Didn't want to get the saddle too wet, so I hopped on.  Long rein walk, bendy bendy.  Long rein trot, circles circles.  By the time we were ready for a light canter warm up, the rains were coming down.  Harley and I were coated and near soaked.  I wiped the rain drops off my helmet visor, and kept on going.  No sense in quitting, I figured it wouldn't rain long.

The occasional light shower cooled us during the whole ride.  Shortened reins, focus on forward from behind.  It felt a while like he was reaching out in front, but flat.  With a little extra leg from me, he was lifting up, and pushing.  Definite difference in the trot.  His canter was good both directions.  No problems.  I got a defined UP transition heading right, a rare event.  Very nice, pat & praise as we kept on going.

Despite the rains, it was a nice 40 minute ride.  However, the rains were replaced by sunshine, and incredibly oppressive humidity as we finished up.  I apologized to Romeo, and told him Sunday would be his day.

Little did I know what Saturday night would bring ...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monkey Mondays July 29, 2013

I felt bad for MoJo.  After the Rush concert, he had to go to work with me the next morning.  I took pity on his little self. 

Fixed the coffee in an open top cup. 

Needless to say, after the coffee, MoJo had a zinger on...

And he needed a shower.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

7-26-13 Harley Early

I was able to outsmart the weather yesterday.  The temps were decent for summer, and the humidity was even reasonable.  Light breeze at sunrise.  Off we go to the arena!  Light longe to test Harley's mood, and I was on board.  No reason to wait, he was being obedient, and while stiff and a bit lazy, not defiant and run-away.  Good to go.

Rode about 40 minutes.  Total focus on bends, circles, serpentines, and the occasional short diagonal line.  As expected, he started out stiff in his neck and middle, but loosened up about 15 minutes into the ride. :)  YAY!  A bit of really good, energetic canter work.  In fact, on one of those short lines, I actually had a good solid half-halt to get him back.  That's a first.  I wasn't pushing with my legs or seat in the entire canter sets.  Fantastic.

I shortened the reins up for just a few minutes, and when he relaxed, I let go.  Today brings slightly higher expectations.  Since he had yesterday to goof off and be long & low, today will bring those shorter reins back. 

A good ride.  First in a while since it's been HtH.  Nice to be back out there.  Boys both got trims yesterday, so I expect Harley to be good to go.  Romeo will probably be a bit tender - cold hose those feets, and turn him back out.  He won't be happy with that decision, but he'll get over it.  Better than hot, sore feets all this coming week.

In Charlie news.. :)
* Neutered Tuesday.  All is well.  He's recovered from that near completely.  Never fussed with the incision glue, and other than Wednesday morning, really didn't show any signs it bothered him.
* Darts into the crate at the appropriate times.  Doesn't avoid it, and in fact goes in now on his own when he sees the cookie container come out.
* Plays HARD.  Kenzie has her work cut out for her keeping up with his energy level. 
* Chews HARD.  I plan this weekend to find him some good size bully sticks.  He can demolish typical rawhides in minutes.  Compressed rawhides take a couple minutes.  Oi vey the monster can chew. 
* Has figured out how to hop up and sleep on the bed.  Bed Hog!  I've woke up to find him in slightly different places every night this week.  Usually, this results in me spread from corner to corner in a long lanky diagonal across the mattress.  I woke this morning to find every dog had a comfortable spot.  Me?  Twisted up like a pretzel.  Okay, guys.. Time to get up.  Momma needs to stretch all the kinks out.

perfect solution to the unplanned 4am alarm?  Lotsa coffee.. :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

HtH

Last year, I had a season of Hotter Than Hell.  It was too hot to ride safely except for early mornings.  I wanted to start riding in the evenings again.  After the rains, and some brief soreness, I was ready to go again.

I rode last Saturday.
Sunday it threatened rain significantly.  I chickend out - it didn't rain.
Monday, it was entirely too hot in the evening.
Tuesday, I was babysitting Charlie who was neutered yesterday.  He was pretty stoned, and under a serious fog.  I stuck around to keep an eye on him.
Today, again, it's going to be entirely too hot.

Realizing if I built up to it, Harley (& Mo) and I could both probably gain the endurance we needed to ride in the hot.  However, I have a mental block on "riding super easy".  The horses are both eager to cooperate and ride politely, and I'm not good at thinking "that's too much in this heat".

So it seems we're nearly sidelined.  The boys are getting trimmed up on Friday, so that'll be good.  Friday, Saturday, and Sunday early morning, we'll be back to rides.  Perhaps by Sunday I can get Harley back over poles again, and maybe get a bit of elevation in some of them. 

I miss the saddle time.  Perhaps this evening I'll cool hose & scrape the sweat off both boys and love on them with a few cookies, and make myself feel better that neither horse has a true "job" right now.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monkey Mondays July 22, 2013

MoJo, at a weeknight Rush concert.  He had a blast.  He was a little deaf for the first few days back home.  I brought ear plugs for me, but forgot his.  Oops, sorry MoJo.  My bad.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Watchin' the Weather

We needed all this rain we've had the past week or so.  The ground was incredibly dry, and the grass was starting to crunch.  Nevertheless, I got up this morning hoping for another good ride on Harley.  I was planning the beginning of those ground pole exercises. 

Now instead, I'm watching the radar, trying to figure out if the storms are headed here, or just close to here.  That makes me pause and consider, "Is it really such a good idea to dress either horse in my leather tack, head to the arena where we won't have a shelter, and tempt wet fate?" 

The rain makes the ground soft.
It makes the grass grow.
It certainly makes the flower beds happy.  There's an abundance of new blooms and green growth out there.

Still, it's the time with the horses in the saddle that keeps me grounded.  Restores a brief moment of sanity. 

This morning it's not looking good for it, however.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

7/20/13 The Arena Results

Everything had dried out enough for a good workout this morning.  Harley came to me willingly, and once dressed, off to the arena we went.   Brief longe, and I hopped on.  He was moving big, and the dirt looked dry enough for a decent workout.

We found the newly disced arena to be a bit uneven.  Some spots are deeper than others.  He got one HUGE circle well evened however, moving about in all three gaits.  In the ride, he started out incredibly stiff, but that was expected. After a little while, he settled into his trot work on the circle.  Still stiff, but at least obedient.  I knew the arena ground was still bothering him when I asked for canter, and he hesitated.  I didn't want to spur with a lot of effort, so a gentle kiss-kiss, and up he went.  Very uphill canter, indeed.  Both directions at that.  Very Very nice.  40 minutes total, and I promised him a bit more tomorrow.  Time to put the trot poles back out in the arena, and measure them out in a few patterns.  At least until I run out of poles. :)
note to self:  There's an entire short side of arena "fence" missing.  Harley didn't dart for "outside the arena dirt" even once.  He stayed completely in the dirt, and within the general outline I had in mind.  This is starting to make me think we don't even need those posts & tape out there.  Maybe.. Just maybe.. I can convince myself that we can "stay in the dirt" - with the pasture fence as our only "hold in".  Even if we do part company, he's not going to go far.  He'll only get to the barn and hide in his stall... Something to keep thinking about . 

Romeo got his turn as well.  Worked in the endurance saddle and his snaffle bit.  As expected, he was a small cannon waiting to blow up.  Picked up the wrong canter lead twice, and tried to be a runaway ninja.  Ah well.. Nothing some good canter circles in the whole arena won't fix.  He quickly realized there wasn't enough solid dirt under him to be a goofball, and it was better to concentrate on where his hooves were landing.  :)  Again, the longer we worked, and the more hoofprints he put down, the better the ground got.  Another half hr work.

Quickly as the rides ended, the morning humidity was traded in for seriously oppressive heat.  Both horses water buckets were scrubbed, fresh hay handed out, and hose down baths for all.  Well, I used hot water inside for me, and cool water outside for the boys.  I didn't think the neighbors needed to hear me squeal with the cool water.  And Harley certainly won't fit in my shower inside! 

In other "inside the house" news, Charlie's doing great.  He's gotten into digging in the doggy toybox.  He pulls out nearly every toy, fiddles with it a minute or two, then pulls something else out.  I suspect he's never seen that many squeakies, ropes, and fluffy toys all in one spot except PetSmart.  Hmm.. I wonder .. If I can find a way to put a leg tie of some sort (like a hobble) on that bum leg.. Maybe he can get a PetSmart doggy trip.  ooh wait.. he's a total moose.  How on earth will I get him back in the truck?  Uh oh.  That reminds me... Charlie's getting neutered this coming Tuesday.  Anybody wanna come over & help me load his 56# monster size into my truck? 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

7-13 & 14 ..& Charlie

First, Charlie ...
Goes in & out of crate real good now.
 Plays with Kenzie well.
Still some obedience things to work on, but he's definitely soo much better.
A full out family member now.  loves!!
Then I see this today.. http://www.vicad.com/news/2013/jul/16/vp_ltr_madden_071613_214849/?viewpoints&letters-to-editor
GRR!

Saturday -- Harley dressage.  Whatta good boy.  Big GO button, and his general stiffness in warmup gave me a good chance to work on the bending exercises.  About 55 minues of good work.

Sunday .. What was planned as a bareback walk ride turned into walk/trot.  I was actually sitting a working trot bareback.  He was that well behaved.  Go H!

Sunday afternoon I had the arena disced and drug.  A dirt loosening, mixing, and rearranging event.  Weather called for rain all this week so it seemed a good time to get that done. 

Between the ride, and raking some stall dirt, and push mowing the front yard, and scrubbing water buckets / trough, and ... well.. flat out over doing it, I was exhausted.  Ended up with some minor wrist pain, which has kept me out of the saddle this week.  Well, that and the rain.  It's much needed, and we're all regionally grateful for it .

This concludes the way too short blog entry... I will try to add a post of ride details when my hand wants to cooperate better.  :) 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monkey Mondays July 15, 2013

 MoJo just can't stay away from the Margarita fixin's.  He insisted this time if I didn't fix him a drink, he was going to lick the salt.  MoJo!  Okay Okay, tequila for You!


Then, another evening, he started in on the queso.  You probably think that's all MoJo does, is eat, and get in to mischief.  Well, yeah.. He's the MoJo!  He has to cause trouble, right?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Charlie Pictures

Karen B asked me what kind of dog Charlie is - size & breed.  He weighs nearly 56#, and looks like a shepherd mix.  Those feet are HUGE, and when he sits beside me standing, his head is about at my knee (I'm 5'4").  
 
 
Here's his ad picture



Here he is on the floor next to rescue MacKenzie, who's about 34# lab mix.

R sent me this one -- Charlie found a stuffed duck toy, and was chewing on it.  Last night, I also watched him play with a knotted rope toy.
 
 
He's improving a little more every day.  Last night, he started to go outside nearly by himself, but pauses on the back porch to wait for me.  That makes things a little more difficult for "go outside, go potty" for Allie and Kenzie, but they're adjusting.  No big accidents in the house last night, not even minor "scared piddles", which is terrific.  R watched him try to climb over the couch yesterday morning, and he had a "scared piddle" on the couch (!) when he realized he was stuck, and shouldn't have done that.  Fortunately, the pieces were washable.  Whew.  He is eating great, but this morning I had to pull him off of Allie's breakfast, as she eats slow, and he wanted to "help her finish" when he was done with his bowl.  He sniffed of Kenzie's bowl, and she growled at him, so he backed off.  Allie?  She backed away and looked at me sad, like, "Mom!  Make him stop!!"  I had to hold him back, but he finally got the message.  
 
I'm trying to convince a local rescue no-kill shelter (closer to my house than where I got Charlie from) to help with the neutering bill.  They offer it at low-cost to the general public, but given what run-around I already got, and the bill I already paid, I'm hopeful they'll cut me a bigger break.  If you're able to and would like to help out, shoot them a message on their Facebook page, or send them an email (address on their website). 

Weather's been too humid to ride - last night late it might've been okay, but there was a little confusion about one of R's friends coming to disc/drag the arena.  Tractor tire problems.  That was scheduled for Wednesday, then pushed to today, and now I bet it doesn't get done for a few more weeks.  This means we're back to riding and working possibly tonight, definitely tomorrow.  Jen sent me some ground pole arena exercises, so I'm anxious to set some poles out & get started.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Charlie's Story

Here's the first ad for Charlie: 
https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=628749243809891&set=a.291258054225680.77631.194613727223447&type=1&theater

"This poor boy was found in a dumpster. He has an injured paw & some small scrapes. He'll be getting some tlc here at the PD until morning when we contact animal control."

I expressed some interest about his age and personality Sunday, 7-7-2013.  He looked adorable, and really hoping for a family to love on him.  I was placed in contact with a representative from the County Humane Society.  The CHS volunteer explained some about the dog, and that it would receive a vet check prior to adoption.  Monday morning, I was told he was going to be adopted, and would have a new home.  This was good news, so I pressed on with my day. 

Mid-afternoon Monday, I received the following information from the CHSociety rep:
His leg may be broken which means they may not want him. We can't afford to have it fixed
Thinking that was a little odd, I asked about him again.  In that discussion, I was told:
Will give vaccine and worm in morning then take to Vet for HW test and rabies shot.
And give first month of prevention and cap star for any fleas.
Well, that makes more sense.  I called Animal Control and asked about "Sarge" (his name they gave him at the time).  The AC worker explained he was still holding the one leg up, and wouldn't walk on it, and while they didn't want him to suffer too long, they'd hold him for me until Tuesday morning when I could get there.  I asked if anyone from CHS had been to see the dog.  The worker said, "I don't know what she's told you, but nobody's been in there all day but us." 
More interesting and odd. I told CHS rep, "I will be there tomorrow to meet and greet, and see what he's like."  CHS rep then claimed "I never asked about his personality before, why does it matter now."  I had to point the rep to the exact place in that link above where I had directly asked about his age and temperament.  From there, it became quite apparent CHS rep wanted no more to do with the dog, or with me.  She was angry I couldn't immediately arrive at the shelter, and claimed she had no communication with anyone else about this particular dog  (a lie because another person had contacted her directly about this dog specifically to help me get to know him).
Tuesday morning, I told CHS rep I was on my way to see the dog.   She replied:
I did not give my word on anything. If you have a question for Humane Society please call the office. Do not contact me again
I was furious.  This meant, nobody again had checked on the dog's condition.  This is supposed to be a Humane Society.  Seemed pretty inhumane to me.
I went to see "Sarge".  He laid down almost the entire time I was there, and certainly didn't put any weight on that front left leg.  I wiggled it and bent it, and he never reacted in pain.  His tail wagged the entire time I was visiting with him.  I decided then to take him with me.  AC worker "Joe" was having a snuggly "quiet time whisper" with "Sarge" before helping me load him in the truck.  I was touched that the AC worker thought so much of this dog.

I took "Sarge" to my horse vet, and Dr. Sarah was amazing.  His paw injury isn't a broken leg.  It's in fact nerve damage.  Whoever dumped him in the dumpster caused a torn nerve in his leg.  He has no feeling at all in it, and isn't able to use it.  This means he needs to learn to walk without it, and at some later time, it may need amputated.  "Sarge" tested Heartworm negative, and spent the afternoon at the vet to receive vaccinations, a medicated bath, and some quiet time while I frantically prepared the house for a new family member.  It became apparent to R and I part way through the day, he isn't "Sarge" - he's "Charlie".  He just seems to be a Charlie. 

When I picked him up from the vet, the groomer Laura explained to me, "He's quite bright, you know?  But he's been abused."  She reported he walks just fine on 3 legs, and when he doesn't, it's because he's scared.  She also reported he's housebroke, and whimpered to go outside twice that afternoon.  He's got the basic obedience down, will come, sit, and lay down on command. 

I have found Charlie to be a delight in the house.  MacKenzie still has some adjusting to do, and a few nasty attempted attacks that I need to correct for.  But Allie and the others are doing great with him.  He's 55#, a big boy in my house, and his tail would do damage if I had breakables in his path.  He laid on the floor by my side of the bed all night, woke up once to lick my hand, and laid back down.  We're still working on some scared-issues, and teaching him to walk across the kitchen tile floor to go outside.  He hops around just great, and goes up & down stairs as well. 

Charlie could've very well been euthanized for a leg that wasn't broken had this situation been handled any worse than it was.  People that are supposed to have the rescue best interests at heart don't.  I'm "Outing" this whole situation for readers that live local to me.  I also think it's a good lesson that just because someone works with a rescue, doesn't mean they like the animals.  Sometimes, their best ideas end up clouding their sense of reality.  I'm trying to get in touch with the CHS adminstrator/director to explain what happened here, and how one of their own said they'd care for Charlie and did nothing.  That's just not "Humane" at all.

7/6/13 Lesson

There has been SO MUCH going on around my house!  It's crazy!  I promise I meant to write this up on Sunday, but that got busy.  Then Monday I worked pilot car beams to Austin, and yesterday.. Well that's a whole post in itself. :)

The Lesson!  Harley was startled and nervous.  NOT like him, but the supplement has definitely been working.  He was caught off guard by MrsN with the wheelbarrow.  Then some longhorn cattle got his fur up.  Finally, he was uncomfortable with Jen outside the arena filming.  What a nutcase!  I went into the lesson with NOTHING planned, and that was a good thing. 

We worked nearly the entire ride on getting a bend and calmness out of him.  Here's the high-points:

  • Leg yields on the circle for transitions.  Leg yield him out, THEN ask for trot. 
  • Watch his ears.  If he "leaves me" (ears and body obviously thinking outside the arena), leg yield and bend him one way or another. 
  • To get a better bend, tug sideways on the inside rein.  Don't hold & wait for a reaction - tug and give.  Harley would give temporarily every time I did this.  He got better the longer the ride went.
  • Ask nicely once, then be assertive!  Don't be scared to use the spurs with force, rather than pester and nag him.
  • When he does spook or startle or get distracted by something, DO SOMETHING.  Leg yield, bend, circle, move the feet faster.  Don't "sit up there quiet & wait to see what happens".  In the video, he startled at something, and I remember thinking, "I've had it, you twit!"  I hit him with both spurs, and he elevated and shot forward, like the spook never happened.  HAH!  So that's the trick!
  • No more "piano hands" - thumbs up! 
  • Don't toss the reins away in stretch trot, or free walk.  Let Harley take them from me slowly, and add a bit of bend when I take them back. 
  • In case you didn't figure the theme yet of the lesson?  BEND! 

His canter work was definitely better.  I don't know if it's visible on that video or not, but he was cantering 15 down to 10m circles leg yielding in and out at canter-right.  That's a first!  Fantastic!  His canter left was improved, even when he did try to duck to the side away from Jen and later some plastic cavaletti boxes, I was mostly able to control it. 

A super awesome lesson!  Harley and I were both soaked in sweat, and I don't know about him, but I was wore Out!  MrsN is the neatest instructor, and definitely an awesome cheerleader.  Harley didn't bring his A-game on Saturday, and she still found us things to work on.

Sunday, even though I was tired, I rode him again briefly.  I worked on the leg yields for transitions, and also pushed to get his "big trot" that you see a bit in those videos.  He has a big trot, and he's capable of riding it.  He just doesn't want to offer it.   

Romeo, obviously jealous of the time H has had riding, let me know his displeasure Sunday morning.  We walked, we trotted, I asked for canter, and BUCK!  He arched his back and hopped a couple times.  I squeezed with my calves, and he did it a few more.  I "rewarded" his bad behavior with LOTS of canter around the arena, and multiple simple lead changes.  Mo was tired and obedient after that, and I got some nice slow canter later in the ride. 

Weather controls when we ride next.  We got some amazing wonderful rain on Sunday night/Monday.  Monday evening I walked out to the arena to find it damp and soft.  No puddles in sight.  What a terrific rainfall!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Monkey Mondays 7/8/2013

MoJo goes with Jen and I to Ventura's, my favorite Mexican restaurant in Victoria. :) 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Lesson 7.6.2013

Two video clips to share with you today.  I'll summarize the lesson.. probably tomorrow.  I've been home a while - cooling down and refueling with all the water I can stuff in me. 



video
video

Friday, July 5, 2013

7-5-13 Only One

Caught Harley, dressed him to ride.  In the arena, I attempted to put his bridle on (to add side reins & the longe line), and he backed away from me.  After walking clear to the back of the arena, I was able to retrieve him, bridle, and with side reins, off he went on the line.  He was fighting it, stiff and awkward.10-15 minutes of that, and I hopped on.

Stiff and awkward continued in the saddle.  He argued about almost everything, and when he did round, it wasn't for long.  I worked him in transition after transition, only allowing him to continue at the gait when he wasn't fighting.  A few long walk stretch breaks didn't even help.  Some canter work, and he was totally twisted and horrid ugly.  Lots of hanging on the front end, even with some sharp leg from me.  It seemed nothing I was doing was going to lighten him up.

I rode TL #1, well, I thought I did.  I realized after that I'd ridden the entire thing backwards.  I got the pieces in, and other than one break at canter-left (first straight line was good, second he broke right after the half circle), we went right back to transitions again.  I ended up riding trot/canter/trot with only a few canter strides before he finally lightened up. 

Almost instantly, I had obedience.  He started to round up at the trot, and his canter was correct.  Not a twisted face, and certainly not round and collected, but at least he was bent to the inside, and staying UP in the stride rather than lazy.  Finally, if I got what I wanted from him for a few strides at once, I'd loosen my hands a bit.  Shorten them back up, and while he would argue a little, at least he wasn't twisting his whole face around.

With the new light and forward, I glanced at my watch.  Nearly an hour.  I pushed a little bit longer for some additional trot work, and then I quit.  Tossed the reins completely away, and took my feet out of the irons.  A job well done, despite the huge long argument.  Total work 1 hr.

Hosed him off, doused him in a vetrolin/water mix, allowed him to air dry a bit munching grass, and slapped poultice on lower legs.  He had a big day.  He fought, but finally gave, and knowing we're going to trailer and work hard tomorrow, I did all I know to do to help ease the muscle tension I'm sure he'll have from this morning's work.

I glanced at my watch.  I took a brief self-assessment of how I was feeling.  Ugh.  Not super sore, not super tired, not overly hot, just run-down.  Not able to ride Mo as planned.  Maybe this evening I'll be able to take him out for a spin.  For now, though, a hot shower, and some rest is in order.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

7/4/2013 Mo & Harley

Harley was up first this morning.  Mid 70s temperatures, relatively low humidity for the time of year.  I was late getting started, honestly.  It was cooler (but more humid) an hour earlier, but being vacation, I slept.  Late.. On purpose. :)

With Harley saddled, and free longed a few minutes, I realized he wasn't in the mood to work, at all.  He wanted to piddle along, mosey, be lazy.  Didn't want to go, didn't want to rush off.  So I hopped on.

Immediately, as I shortened my reins a bit, he gave the most beautiful collected walk.  I lavished him with praise and pats.  Wow.  Terrific.  Rode a bit on a longer rein trot & canter.  He was a bit more awake, but still being lazy.  At our first canter left, something startled him in the brush, and he tried to get out of the work - ducking to the outside about one stride.  Apparently, muscle memory from "playing the spook tapes in my head" took over, as I sat up tall, and stayed with him.  It was a small reaction on his part, so I praised him and sent him forward immediately.  A half circle of trot, and right back to canter.  Neighbor's dog barked  -- ahh, so someone's outside next door.  That explains it.

Neighbor fired up a chainsaw to shorten some tree limbs he'd cut previously, and Harley hardly reacted.  More praise and pats.  Good reaction.  See it, notice it, but don't crawl outta yer skin.  After the spook, it took a while longer on serpentines & tight circles to get his neck & ribs bending.  Once he started cooperating, I shortened the reins.

Down to business.  Super.  He was still being a little lazy (I thought), so I wandered to a part of the arena I hadn't used with fresh "unhoofed" dirt.  When I saw near-tracking hoof prints, I quit pushing so hard.  How nice, I didn't even realize he wasn't moving out.  More canter, and he tried breaking after the first line.  I sent him back to it, and worked some lines again.  Better, so it was probably me relaxing a bit too much. 

I sat some trot, and he burst forward.  Fantastic!  I was hardly wiggling in the tack as well, which can only mean he was a bit collected - I can't sit it if he's hollow at all .  I bounce all about.  We also worked on halt/trot/halt, and they were superb.  I guess he remembered from his last lesson at that. :)  Super!!

Worn down from Harley's ride, I kept things simple with Mo.  I put him out on the longe line, and he took off.  Bat outta h-e-double-hockey-sticks took off.  It was hysterical.  He wasn't hanging on the line, and if he'd bump it, he'd change directions, and take off again.  Bucking, crowhopping, kicking out, the works.  He ran like a nut for a good 20 minutes, then settled.  I got some nice walk on the circles, and a slow jog.  I hopped on in his halter & lead rope a few minutes, got a little walk and some jog.  Neighbor was still chainsawing beside the arena, and he was definitely tuned to it.  booger 

Day 1 of ride vacation - total success.  I'm anxious for our next lesson on Saturday.  I wonder what we'll work on.  I've got zero plans, but I am certainly ready for something new.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

And the Lazy Continues

Great, I go to the efforts to blog why I ride, and why I stay steady riding.. Then I took two straight days off, and I just might make it three straight.

Why three straight?  The weather should be fine this evening..


I'm going on vacation!
I'm going on vacation!
I'm going on vacation!

That's right! Six days straight vacation. I intend to sleep, ride, finish up odds & ends that I have begun all over the house, play with the dogs & snuggle on them, and ride, and sleep. 

Knowing the boys will have six straight, it seems almost cruel&unusual to ask for seven.  We shall see how my evening goes.  I might just take the dogs for a walk down the road..

OOH!  Reminds me of a joke.

Why did the cowboy buy a dachshund?
So he could get a long little doggie 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Answering the Question

SunnySD asks, Where do you get your motivation?  That's a terrific question, and one I've considered answering before it was asked.. :)  So here goes.


I have a general philosophy on the horses.  It's a simple one.  They're expensive, they take up a lot of space, and a lot of work just to maintain.  Grain, hay, supplements, hoof trims, shots, coggins, fencing, truck & trailer to haul for vet visits, land taxes, mortgage (as I wouldn't need the land I have without them).  Not including my tack, training, instructor lessons, they're pricey critters.  Even if I took them off the supplements, they'd still need all those other things.  If I didn't ride, I wouldn't need saddles or bridles, but I'd still need halters, ropes, and a truck/trailer for vet appointments.  If they didn't wear blankets in the winter, they'd need a boost in feed. 

All that in mind, I figure, for the cost/investment, they need a job.  When it's super hot, or raining many days in a row, or I get busy with work (either job), I get frustrated when I go out to feed.  In my mind, if they're going to cost what they cost, and take up as much time to care for as they do, they oughta do something.

This crosses my mind when I'm on the couch, watching boobtube reruns of whatever, watching the dogs sleep, knowing they're out in pasture doing NOTHING.  They don't bark when strangers come to the door, they don't often snuggle on me (without snarfing my pockets looking for cookies).  They do reward me with fantastic rides. 

So why do I ride the same things over & over?  And where do I find the motivation to head to the arena so many days in a row?  It's the little things.  When the deer enter the visual on our property, and Harley only glances at them.  When I get just three more strides of a nice forward trot than I had yesterday.  When his canter-left is a little more round and "put together" than before.  Best, is when Harley's ears perk as I point him at the crossrail.  He enjoys his job, otherwise he wouldn't nicker at me and walk across the pasture to be haltered (when he sees me dressed to ride, half chaps & all, no cookies in-hand, he'll still come to me).   When Mo stands in his stall after H's ride, and waits for me, rather than walk to the back of his pasture to be caught or chased. 

The guys enjoy their jobs, and I find it necessary that they have a job.  It's really that simple.  Does this mean I never get completely lazy and unmotivated?  HAH!  Last night, the weather was perfect to ride.  Well, for July.  Temperatures were in the high 80s, there was a light breeze, and relatively low humidity.  Did I ride?  Nope.  I stayed inside and played guitar for over an hour.  I checked the weather, and I could've easily put Harley to work, or taken Mo down the road.  I just couldn't leave the house.  The dogs looked peaceful out of their crates, the cats were lounging and sleeping, and I felt more like staying inside rather than going outside to sweat and exercise. 

I don't get motivated all the time, but most of the time, there's a purpose in the horses, and they seem to enjoy it. :)  That's how I stay motivated!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Monkey Mondays 7/1/2013

I'm not even going to explain this one. :)  My readers have quite the imagination, so please laugh & be entertained