Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Windy, Horsey Day

I know I know, as the great Funder would say, "Pics or it didn't happen!"   My husband had my camera with him today so there are no pics. But it did happen! All of my horses, evil little mini horse included, behaved excellently for the vet and spring shots this morning, despite a bitterly cold day with an unfriendly, gusty wind constantly stirring things up. I needed to get Desire's Coggins and health certificate in order for crossing the Nevada border for Rides of March in a few weeks, and Desire, Blaze, and El Bandito the mini were all due for spring shots. Sheza had her vaccines in the fall so she was just a background observer today. She was showing just how independent she was by grazing at the far side of her paddock without the slightest observable interest in all the goings on. I honestly kind of prefer that to throwing a baby shit fit like she usually does!

I had some doubts about how successful rounding up El Bandito by myself would be. Usually I have at least my husband to help corral him, and with today's gusty wild weather I didn't see him being any sort of sweet. Here's the thing: I was completely wrong! I did drive him up to the gate so he had nowhere to go, no fooling. But once there I walked right up to him, haltered him, and away we went. He has had about 2903747 stickers in his hair for the last few months, and you can say I'm a bad horse owner but I'll say I'm just over itttt. Let me explain: our 21 acres boasts just about every conceivable form of sticker, pricker, and thistle. Blaze and El Bandito's favorite past time is sticking their heads in bushes and coming out looking like frickin unicorns. I can pull Blaze, comb him out, put him back, and he will walk back up the gate five minutes later full of stickers again. We will eventually get a handle on the sticker problem, but it's a work in progress with limited funds and no big tractor/sprayer combo to work with (in fact, we're working with nothing more than me and my push mower and backpack sprayer). Sooo, Blaze gets tortured with incessant hair combing, but El Bandito tends to just rock his stickers without further correction. Until days like today come around, and then it's spa time for mini man. His mane and forelock are SO THICK, it's ridiculous. There are like three different layers to each. Cowboy Magic may be expensive but with the kind of stickers we have I swear it's worth the money, I just spread that all over the stickery dreadlocky mess and start separating/working the Magic into the hair. It's pretty impressive the relative time it takes to turn a hot mess into a normal mane and forelock situation. Bandito was a little hesitant for all the attention but mostly was too busy gobbling grass to protest. He took his de-wormer quite well and then stayed grazing til the vet showed. Since I didn't have a great place to tie him safely I had the vet give his shots first and he took them like a champ! Quite a surprising display of behavior from him, especially considering the crazy weather, but I appreciated it.

Desire, meanwhile, tapped and danced and stretched and looked and just generally was an impatient Arab in the cross ties. The entire hour and a half she was in them. Lol. Sometimes she is just silly, but that's her prerogative considering she is all business under saddle. Blaze was literally asleep in his cross ties. He woke up to see the vet but didn't so much as flick an ear when she gave him the shot. He is generally pretty good but even I was surprised how calmly he took it. The vet loves him, she was talking to him today saying if he ever needed a home he should come to her house! I told her I'd be more likely to send my husband to go live there than Blaze, LOL. My husband did laugh about that later, by the way... Blaze was pronounced in great weight and overall looking healthy as, well, a horse. Desire was still tap dancing and did a little snorting when the vet went to her BUT she did the blood draw and vaccinations without any drama, which was awesome! The vet couldn't believe it because when she came to do vaccines when Desire was pregnant last year Desire was so bad we almost couldn't do the shots. She had been planning to do an exam but Desire was so bitchy we decided to skip it. It was nice to receive glowing compliments from the vet on all the animals--oh yeah and Sheza got a "Um, you know, she's BIG!! How old is she again???"  Hahaha, oh dear.

It's still windy and bitterly cold here now, I blanketed Desire and Blaze and feel totally guilty Sheza doesn't have a blanket but at least she has a good coat and a shed (she's outgrown 2 blankets now). Blaze doesn't have a shed and Desire doesn't have a winter coat, so I'm telling myself it all balances out. After the good vet session (and lovely accompanying bill) I spent the afternoon at a friend's house helping her blanket her big herd of Arabs and just hanging out. There are also going to be some new additions of various species to the Redheaded Endurance family soon, it will be fun to post photos and info soon, but not yet!

My husband just made the most delicious steak dinner, YUM!

Oh, technology. I just grabbed this off Facebook, where I had posted it from my cell phone..so there is a pic! See his nice hair! It happened :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Riding with some New Friends :-)

I rode with some new friends today, it was a blast! They are the pair I mentioned in my Endurance Riders Rock post, a mother and daughter who have been involved in endurance for years (since the 80s, in the mom's case). I had heard their last name in the past and knew they were endurance riders but just happened to meet the mom, L, at the feed store a few weeks ago and the daughter, M, and I had been chatting on Facebook thanks to mutual friends in the last few months. C was supposed to join us but couldn't due to a problem with her horse trailer--the freakin' wind gusted and bent the hinges of her trailer door when she got back from our last ride!--so it was just the three of us.

We started at the usual parking place at the Lake but after a stop at the water trough we branched off from the horse camp loop to another spot which is actually on private property (they have permission to ride there).

M & L on their steeds at the loop water trough

M was nice enough to take my camera for a while and take some photos of me and miss D, which was awesome!

Talking with my hands..

Crossing the road to get to the big hill

Good ponies

Turned out the steep dirt driveway we ended up charging up--it's a long, gnarly-steep hill--was the driveway to a house my husband and I had worked on a few years back. So I kinda sorta knew where we were most of the time. The hill was really fun to trot/canter up, my right hind Easyboot did pop off but the gaiter held it on and I popped it right back on with no trouble.

And away we go up the hill! See L's horse in the upper right corner zooming away?

The hill is really rocky in spots and you kind of have to steer your way from good footing to good footing, that plus the uphill charge somehow got the boot off. Luckily M noticed right away and told me. I've noticed the V spread on my hind Gloves aren't the best, but when I put power straps on them before I couldn't even get the darn things on at all..so maybe I just need to put them back on and try it at home to see if they'll go on now with the straps for a snugger fit after a few months of healthy hoof growth. That's the third time the right hind glove has popped off but been held on by the gaiter, so I'm thinking it could fit better. We'll see.

After the big hill we tried another trail but found it blocked by trees before long. Where is your saddle chainsaw when you need it?!

 M checking out the obstacle

After we deemed the obstacle too big to get around, we decided to turn around and head back. The hill had been a good solid cardio charge for all the horses and the day was pretty chilly so we didn't want to push our luck. We got back to the horse camp loop safely and stopped at the trough again before trotting on to finish the loop.

 Heading back

It was a lot of fun getting to ride and chat with L and M today, I look forward to more time spent on the trails with them! We ended up riding a leisurely 9 miles in 2 hrs 40, plus that big hill. It's really chilly today so I busted out Desire's new cooler for the first time when we got back to the trailers:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Non Horsey Fun and Triumphs

The last week has been a busy one, and here are a couple of things my husband and I did aside from all the usual horse antics.

On the warmest, finest day this week, when it truly was 71 degrees in February, my husband, J, and I went gold mining at a nearby creek. My husband has been doing this for the last couple of years after being given a crash course in it by an old Vietnam Vet buddy who has been mining the area forever. J is a true caveman of yesteryear, whether it's fishing, gold panning, or any other sort of hunting, he truly excels at it. He grew up in Santa Barbara and has been fishing since he can walk, and while he enjoys all sorts of outdoor activities, fishing is his true passion in life as horses are mine.

We spent a couple of fun hours working by the creek that day and found just over a pennyweight of gold, worth about $150. Gold mining is HARD work, even on a small scale, and I admit I generally avoid it. It's a bit too much like working on the chain gang for my tastes, but my husband cleverly found a doable job for me that also came with near-instant gratification--gee guess he knows me well by now! While he busted and moved rocks and shoveled up the raw material dirt, I shook the bucketfuls of dirt in little trowel-fulls down our sluice box set up in the creek and got to watch the tiny flecks of gold appear.

 Working for the gold

Having found a useful, doable, fun job in the process, I might just have to go gold mining a little more often. It IS pretty cool to go to some spot next to a stream that looks like any other spot next to a stream and actually mine for and pan out real gold in that relatively short amount of time! Gold is currently worth around $1800 an ounce and we *have* sold ounces before.

 Gold reward!

Oh, since I mentioned that my husband is a fantastic fisherman, here is another little detail: on Thursday J went fishing at Lake Oroville and just happened to break the California State Freshwater Inland Coho record! The standing record was 4.2 lbs and his was 6.3 lbs. He had it weighed, certified, and witnessed at Fish & Game and now just has to mail in his paperwork to get into the record books! The best part is he was after this record and left me a note the day he left to go fish for it: "Honey, love you, going for THE ONE." and sure enough, he caught the one!

Being a hunter, he is now dead set on breaking his own record, immediately. :-)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Endurance People Rock

On this fine, blustery Thursday morning I had plans to meet C and her gelding at the lake. After riding nearly 40 brisk training miles in the last few days I wasn't feeling particularly ambitious mileage wise and luckily C had to be home at a certain time so it worked for both of us to do a shorter ride. We took the short horse camp loop and had lots of fun chatting and trotting. Before we even left the trailers to ride though another endurance rider and her daughter pulled in to say hello and we had a nice long chat with them. After our ride an endurance friend I met last year was just getting back to her trailer and we all chatted for a while too.

As I was driving home I was thinking damn, I have met all these cool friends/acquaintances in the last year all through endurance riding! I spent a fairly lonely first 3 years after moving here, riding quite a bit but almost always alone (though I had great times with my first riding friend here, J, who introduced me to the Oroville trails--but not long after she moved to Wheatland). After my fun tour of northern CA LDs with my little Blazey boy last year I suddenly know all these people--and not just know them, LIKE them! Maybe that sounds funny but I'm honestly not a super social person and tend to have a small, close knit circle of friends and to hell with everyone else. And let's face it, after high school and college and the social situations you are automatically put in there, making new friends just doesn't seem to be that easy, especially if you are relatively introverted like I am. I just love going to endurance rides so darn much, something about it makes me friendly, social, and open in a way nothing else does. Thanks to that, I found myself asking questions, talking to people, and here I am a year later knowing a handful of people I really truly like and can't wait to ride with and/or see at the next ride! It does take a certain type of person to ride endurance, and I must say for the most part I love that type of person.

The gal we saw after the ride today, K, accompanied Blaze and I throughout the long torturous walk that was last year's April Whiskeytown Chaser (less torturous since we had a great time chatting) and I saw her again at Mendo Magic later in the year. The lady and her daughter that said hi to us before the ride today I actually only just met in person in the last couple of weeks, but are longtime endurance riders I've heard of, and I've been chatting with her daughter on Facebook in the last few months as well. We've already got a ride with them planned for this weekend! I actually met C when she was crewing for her friend that I finished the Cache Creek ride with last May. My regular riding buddy, N, I met at the start of Patriot's Day at Lake Almanor last July. And of course good ole Funder, who I "met" through reading her blog, then met in person at Lake Almanor also, where I completely forgot what her real name was but was feeling endurance-emboldened and said, "Hey, are you Dixie's owner?" Well the rest is history and basically these are all just really awesome women with cool horses and I am really happy and grateful to know them all!

P.S. Getting out to Utah in November 2010 and meeting Dian and Christoph at Global also ROCKED, they are really cool and have been incredibly supportive and helpful--and of course that's where my rockin' lady horses came from! I'll say it again, endurance people rock!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Solo Lake Ride

This morning miss D and I headed to the lake for a solo ride. We hadn't ridden there on our own for a while and I wanted to do a brisk 15 miles to see what our timing was looking like. Our first 2012 AERC ride is almost here! I wanted to be sure we could easily do 15 miles in less than three hours. And let's face it, I had a bit of a need for speed in general. I had a serious case of why walk if you can trot going on and let's just say I satisfied it today. 

Can you tell what was covered by a blanket? White framed in dirt.. 

I decided to do the short horse camp loop first, since there were no other trailers for once and I could safely speed on the trails. The horse camp loop is the one that EVERYONE rides at, even when there are 12 rigs in the parking lot everyone will just crowd onto that one loop. It's pretty darn funny. But I do appreciate having the trails heading the other way always to ourselves! Anyhoo we had a speedy 6ish miles on that loop, pretty much trotting the whole time except for a couple short necessary walks crossing the road and such. Desire tanked up at the orchard picnic spot.

She is  a champ drinker

Micro Nap while the ears keep watch

Towards the end of the loop I saw another endurance buddy out walking with her daughter and grand kids, leading her grand daughter on her elderly Arabian. She lives in a gorgeous house just off the lake trails (so jealous of her access) and has a Mustang/Arab filly just a few weeks younger than Sheza. It was nice to see her and hear I would be seeing her and her Foxtrotter at the Whiskeytown Chaser ride in April. 

Back on the trail Desire and I flew across the top of the short dam in a big booming trot, back toward the trailer, and trotted right on by the parking lot without hesitation and on toward the Visitor Center at the top of the ridge. I had noticed a couple additional horse trailers in the lot as we trotted by and saw a ginormous fresh horse poop on the trail up the hill so I was looking out for other riders as we neared the top. Sure enough we came around a corner at a walk and startled the bejeezus out of a big roan ambling along with another horse in front of him. The riders said they were slow poking it (yah think! They were riding tanks!), pulled off of the trail for me and as I rode by asked if I was preparing for an endurance race. I said yep and we wished each other a good ride. It was pretty funny when they asked because my immediate mental reaction was "how could they tell?" and then remembered I was wearing tights, helmet, and running sneakers and riding an Arabian with it's tail to the sky in bright blue and purple tack...yeaaahhhh, guess that was a no brainer.

Cloudy day over Oroville Dam

 The weather kind of sucked! It was relatively warm up at our house this morning and the sun was just starting to come out when I left around 9:30, so I figured it would turn into a nice sunny day. Well that was not to be and it ended up pretty much cloudy and chilly, but also kind of humid. Trotting I was sweating sweating sweating and then as soon as we slowed down I felt chilled to the bone. Desire sucked down more water at the Visitor Center trough at the top of the hill and I decided to go a bit further to try to get to 15 miles.

I have to admit I was losing motivation a little as it was quite chilly at the top of the hill and my nose was running like crazy. The pollen was ridiculous today, I can't believe how much crap is blooming already. I'm also basically over my cold but for some reason still have a runny nose (especially at speed, hehe). We only went about a mile further, just out to where we could look out over Oroville Dam and concede that it was, indeed, a grey crappy day.

We were at 10 miles when we turned around and in the end were at 14 miles in 2 hours and 30 minutes. I figure that means we can certainly do 15 miles in under 3 hours, and be fine on time for a 30. I never really have a ton of trouble making time in actual rides (except for Whiskeytown, coz I walked the whole time due to rocks) but for some reason when I am breaking down the math and looking at my time and miles on training rides all I can think is: panic and how is it possible to get all the miles done in time?!!? It's some sort of mind meld of my own creation.

See them nostrils? That's why she flies ;-)

But anyway we worked 14 miles at speed today and tackled a couple of decent hills, Desire drank 3 times and grazed heartily, and was still relatively fresh when we got back to the trailer. She was a little disturbed that we had re-passed the pokey trail horses at the Visitor Center up top; when we got back she kept looking up toward the trail and straining to hear so she wasn't eating her hay at the trailer and when I tried walking her to graze she would only snatch a bite of grass and then freeze to listen again without chewing. She had had a nice long grazing session without her bit on the hill above the trailers though so I wasn't too bothered.

munch munch munch

Zero boot rubs and an even sweat mark. WATAH!!

 Lately she has been hopping right into the trailer without any fuss, on the way home she thought about being a brat and swinging herself sideways when I asked her to load but I just pointed her straight at it firmly again and she hopped in.

I didn't bathe her today, though it actually ended up warmer up at our house than it was at the lake. Just a good grooming and back to her paddock for some warm mash and extra hay.

My husband is bringing home KFC and I can't wait!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A New Loop

Today I finally tried a loop out of Bangor that I've been wanting to try for a while. It takes off from Bangor proper, such as it is, loops out down some dirt roads past a good friend's house, and back around to the main road which drops back into Bangor. I figured it was going to be about 9 or 10 miles worth of riding with a good, long, steep hill to conquer towards the end. Turns out from my parking spot out and back was exactly 10 miles, and we did it in 1 hr 50 minutes.

I got the okay from the Bangor feed store/boarding ranch owners to park in their barn area, which was easy, convenient, and kept me from having to worry about my rig. I could have parked in the giant lot at the Bangor public park next door but there is a rather sketchy looking bunch that hangs out there and I just felt better leaving my rig at the barn owner's place The owners had told me where to park so I was out of the way and warned me that the trainers working out of there weren't the friendliest (Lol) so I was prepared to be stared at like an intruder, and they did just that, but I just smiled and said I was a friend of the owners and kept to myself.

I somehow forgot the terrifying emu that lives on the corner of the boarding ranch's property, but Desire quickly reminded me of it as we headed out! No harm done, we crossed the park's parking lot and headed out down the road.

Heading out

My husband and I took a quick spin down this road last night after the movies to see just how the long the pavement lasted, which kept me from the "ohmygodwillthisevereenddd" feeling I usually have about riding on pavement. All told it was just about 2 miles from my parking spot, down the paved road, and to where the dirt began. Not too bad! We got barked at by multiple dogs at every house we passed but saw some very cheery people out in their yards along the way who called hellos and said how pretty Desire was.

Once the road turned to dirt we had a nice 2+ mi trot/canter session, no cars in sight, just swinging along a quiet dirt road with fields and oak trees on each side, the sun shining and not a cloud in the sky. It was a BLAST!! Desire transitions from trot to canter and back so incredibly smoothly, she is just so much darn fun to ride.

 Yay, dirt! Trotting along

We got to our first intersection at just over 4 miles and turned right onto Dunstone Road, which leads past my friend's house and intersects the other road which would take us back to the highway.

I had actually done part of this ride 3 years ago with my first riding buddy I ever met here, but we had done it in high summer and it was baking hot on the unshaded dirt roads and no fun. We'd parked at one of her friend's houses out on the dirt road I was riding on and just gone out and back, so I hadn't ridden the whole loop but at least knew more or less where I was the whole time. Anyhoo, we had another mile+ trot session and then slowed down to say hello to a very curious mule.

She trotted the fence line following us, her horse pasture mates weren't so interested

A WTF R U moment

As we were hanging out staring at the mule I saw white vinyl fencing through the trees and suddenly realized we were almost to my friend, L's, house and that the mule was the one she often talks about--seems the mule likes to escape and wander the neighborhood upon occasion. I texted and called L to see if she was home, no response, but I decided to ride up to the gate and set off the dog alarm and see if anyone was around.

 Some of L's herd of Arabs coming to say hullo

When I rode up to the gate and saw the herd of dachshunds come flying toward me barking I knew L had to be home. They have big dogs too but I knew if the littles were out they must be home. L is the person I got my dachshund Wilbur from, and was also the person that our entertaining mini horse, El Bandito, came from.  She has a wonderful zoo of creatures and is a lot of fun herself.

There was no sign of L at first but I just hung out at the gate letting Desire graze and the dogs bark and after a few minutes sure enough she appeared! We hung out and chatted for probably 45 minutes and Desire discovered something to be VERY SCARED of. That thing being Chuck, the big handsome brown domestic tom turkey that lives at L's. He is very friendly and follows humans around with his tail on displaying, thrumming and drumming and gobbling. Well Desire found that whole situation quite disconcerting and actually was the most spooked and alarmed by him as I've ever seen her. As he came thrumming and drumming toward the gate she threw it in reverse and was back pedaling and snorting as quickly as she could do both. I'm going to confess that was about my reaction the first time I met Chuck! He is a big bird and looks quite imposing all spread out in his glory, but he's very friendly. L picked him up and held him and I convinced Desire to walk back up to the gate and sniff him all over, but once he was back on the ground and marching around again she kept her eye on him and kept snorting every few minutes. So apparently I need to fill her paddock with turkeys and hunks of wood, as they seem to be her least favorite things in the world! L gave us a handful of Hershey kisses for the road which was awesome, yum!

 Hitting the road again, with chocolate from our pit stop :-)

Maybe 1/4 mile past L's was our turn onto Avacado road which would take us up the big hill and back to the highway.

 Heading for the big hill

As we headed for the hill, Desire found herself with a case of WeMustTurnAround-itis, apparently convinced that this was an out and back and not a loop ride. She just KNEW she knew best and actually tried to fully turn around a couple of times, lol. She must have known what was coming. We tackled the hill at a slow trot and she actually trotted right to the top with no issue! I was planning to trot some, walk some, trot some, depending on how steep it actually was riding it (everything feels different in a car), but she just trucked away at a steady little trot up, up, up.

 Cows on the climb

There was a cow outside the fence near the top and we just had to stop and take a gander at it. The few times I've seen cows while on Desire she has acted like they're demons from hell but for some reason she wasn't very impressed by this loose cow and stopped right near it to gaze at some horses whinnying way out across the fields. Maybe she was too tired to fear cow, muahahhaha!

 Loose cow..so what..there's horsies out there..

 Up, Up, Up

We had another mile+ trot once we reached the summit and just as we got back to pavement and the highway we encountered our first cars of the entire ride. There were kids in the back seat of the SUV that passed us and they were smiling and waving furiously as they went by.

 Back to the highway

I jumped off Desire when we got to the stop sign as we had to walk along the road back down to the boarding ranch and it wasn't a stretch I felt safe riding. The stop sign is at the summit of another hill and people tend to fly down the backside of it toward Bangor town, so hand walking felt safest.

Let's go!

Here's what we were walking along for about a half mile back down to the boarding ranch:

Lots of cars went by in that stretch and some slowed down, others didn't. A couple of motorcycles roared past us but Desire didn't even flick an ear, just strode along behind me like a trooper.

 Walking along the road

Below is the beginning of the boarding ranch property again, and this handsome guy coming toward the camera actually lived at our place for the first 5 months after we bought it. He was a client horse of the trainer we bought the place from and we let her keep her horses at the place until she could figure out another spot. Unfortunately his mother, also boarding at our house at the time, came down with and succumbed to a nasty colic a few months after we moved in. It was a really sad thing, I saw her pawing at dinner time and called the trainer right away and the trainer and I stayed up all that night walking and trying to save the mare but she was just too far gone. Anyway her son now lives at the boarding stable in this lovely big paddock:

Below is Desire grazing right next to the scary emu's pen back at the boarding barn. Apparently after her close encounters with the Chuck turkey kind, she is no longer impressed by emus. We actually startled the bird when we walked up, it was curled up sleeping on the ground and jumped up and ran away when we came around the corner, so maybe Desire felt she had told it who was boss and felt the grass was safe even against the fence. Or maybe she was just tired and hungry!

NO boot rubs. I left all gaiters slightly loose and slicked her legs and baby powdered her boots and there wasn't a rub in sight! Also, we didn't cross any water today, and I'm pretty convinced wet soggy boots and gaiters contribute to the rubbing.

Saddle sweat mark was good, slight dry spot at the shoulder but even otherwise and not sensitive to palpitation at all.

"Stop taking pictures, I'm hungry, you're annoying, take me home"

It was an easy 5 mile haul back to the house, ahhh love that. Verging on too cold to hose down miss D but she was such a horrendous sweaty mess I just had to, albeit with warm water. She got a warm mash and some extra hay and I hastened inside to hit up the Chinese food left overs from last night. 

It was a fun loop, lots of good trotting and cantering, a fun visit with L, and a good solid hill at the end. I definitely think I'll add it to my trail arsenal, since I can only ride Lake Oroville so many times a week, Lol. 

3 1/2 weeks til Rides of March!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Back to the Lake

It was great to get out to the lake again today with Desire and N and her mare. It had somehow been 2 weeks since we were last out there, though we did a few rides here from home in that time and I was sick for a couple of days last week, too.

Boots: I left gaiter straps all a little loose, ended up with a couple of very small ankle rubs and NO heel bulb rubs thanks to finally applying the much-needed Power Strap to the other front boot. Good stuff.

Saddle: We cruised 13 miles and didn't get too hot and bothered, so I don't consider the sweat mark reliable. There were some dry spots, but she was also not fully sweated up, and her back wasn't at all sensitive to the touch. So a big WHATEVER to saddle fit today. Know what I mean?

Post ride posing

Head gear: (can't you just picture Desire in dorky braces and head gear reading that? Maybe it's just me..) I put the Kimberwick and martingale on her today. She did wonderfully in them!

This weekend I plan to attempt the big dirt road loop down in Bangor proper...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I'm back!

Snow surprise!

Feels live forever since I've posted, or ridden for that matter. I felt I was getting sick last Thursday when the horses all got pedicures, and sure enough I spent Friday-Monday not moving far from the couch.

My husband surprised me with an overnight Valentine's Day trip to Tahoe on Tuesday morning :-)  We had a blast and made a somewhat treacherous icy/snowy descent to Carson City and on to Reno this morning, finally arriving back to our peaceful green fold late this afternoon. It's amazing how long just over 24 hours away from home can feel! I got a new tattoo up in Tahoe and will be going back to that artist in the near future to have some more work done on a previously existing tattoo that is a little faded and I want transformed into something else. It should look really cool when it's done, and I love the text job I got done Tuesday afternoon.

Text on right arm is new and the crescent moon shapes above it will be
 turned into mane/forelock on a tribal style horse head 
(the letters on left arm represent family members)

Oh, and my husband won a $1300 jackpot on the penny slots at a casino in Tahoe! Pretty crazy.

Fishing stop on the Yuba river

Back to reality tomorrow, going to get my trailer cleaned up and ready for another lake ride Friday, and desperately need to hit the gym! (Not a bad reality, is it?)

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Progress is a great word, and while I feel like horse pucky today and am most likely getting sick, this morning was all about progress. My awesome trimmer was headed out at 8:30 to clean up everyone's feet and I was actually on the ball enough to pull Desire and Sheza with some spare time before she arrived. Sheza and I had a walk-about sniffing and investigating all the endlessly scary things on the property, while Desire tap danced in the cross ties protesting my baby stealing tendencies. Note to self, if Desire gets more than 2 days off, she goes right back to ridiculous, tense, tap dancing silliness. She had been quieting down being ridden every other day but got 3 days off and today was as tense and raring to go as ever.

Anyhoo I put a rope halter on Sheza today and I think it really did help. She had outgrown everything else and had been wearing her pretty grass green biothane halter but when she is being a punk she can lean and pull on that halter as hard as she wants with no effect, so I decided to try a rope halter. It fit her face really well and while I think my attitude today helped (more on that later), I think the rope halter also helped. The few times she tried to pull back or be bratty she felt the pressure points on the halter and almost immediately came forward again and stopped, rather than pulling back hard and continuing to be a snot like she had in the biothane halter. As far as my attitude, I have a bad habit of becoming irritated very quickly by pointless shenanigans and let's face it, foals are some of the best in the business at pointless shenanigans. Patience is something I have to work veryvery hard at with Sheza. I recently exchanged emails with a nearby breeder who has been raising foals for years and she reminded me again to not take the foal silliness and "misbehaving" too seriously, but instead focus on becoming the calm steady partner who is there for her and will be there for her no matter the situation, as opposed to The Boss ruling with an iron fist, which is kind of my natural tendency. So I took the rope halter, the filly, and a calm, patient attitude on my walk around the property, and while she did scare herself and spook and did silly things, I made myself just stand calmly and quietly, and she would immediately calm down, snuff me, and move on. We even did this around the horse trailer, and she stuck her head all the way inside the trailer and was sniffing the divider and mats, which is the first time she's been "in" the trailer in any way (I feel like I'm late on that training front, but better late than never..). Oh and when I put the halter on first thing, she pulled her head away and spooked out three times before she let me do it, which drives me CRAZY but I just stood quietly and ignored it and she came right back each time and finally let me halter her. So, patience wins.

Hooves. Desire's thrush is in control for the time being--woohoo! I've been treating it and it seemed a lot better but it's always nice to hear from a professional that things are looking good. Her hooves are doing great. Sheza had some thrush in a couple of her hooves and had grown an insane amount of hoof in the last 4 weeks, like her mother, but overall she is doing great too. Blaze even needed a trim which was exciting because he usually grows new hoof at a glacial pace but after just 4 weeks barefoot already needed some trimming done too.

I cleaned my whole tack room and never did find my size 1 Power Strap for Desire's front boot, but luckily my trimmer, an Easyboot dealer, had just made an order and had Power Straps with her--and get this, they were out of the colors she wanted so she ended up with purple, which is the color I use. Serendipity (for me). I couldn't install it for the life of me, something about pulling the boot together and getting the screw in place just wasn't happening, but that's what husbands are for, right? ;)

Even though I felt crummy I took Mr. Blaze out for a 6 mi meander around the neighborhood in his Epics and the Specialized.

We had some trots and a little blast of canter up our favorite short hill, which was funny because there were 4 or 5 people loading wood into a truck in a field next to the road who saw and heard us coming charging up the hill but I had no clue they were there til afterwards and I was talking away to Blaze the whole time, Lol. A young FedEx driver headed at us pulled over and let me trot up the straightaway we were on, nice of him and it was one of those times I was glad to be wearing my 2-bras-at-once to remedy some of that BOUNCEBOUNCEBOUNCE he was no doubt enjoying, haha!

Glad to finally see some water down there

Love my Healthy As A Horse shirts

Hard to see but this is next to the road, over a barbed wire fence. 
Why build a gate when you can just install a ladder, right?

95% even sweat mark on Blaze though I think I need to shim some more in the "hollow" behind his big shoulder and shark wither. BTW today I discovered that while Desire certainly does it smoother and (usually) more gracefully, Blaze's trot is actually the same in mph:  6-7 mph jog, about 8.5 mph working trot, and 10+ mph extended. His walk, on the other hand, is a full mph slower than hers, and drives me a little nuts. But I love him anyway.

I wasn't kidding, Georgia the chihuahua loves to graze with the horses

I'm just beat beat beat. You know that drained feeling when you're getting sick? Yeah, but I'm not getting sick right, it's just random allergies or something! Right?! I'm riding Desire at the lake tomorrow, there is no room for a cold!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sunny Day Turn-out & Sheza Blaznhaat Xpres 10 mo old

Disclaimer: Sheza will be 10 mo old exactly next week, on Valentine's Day, but as I'll probably be on a date with the husband, here are some photos early   :-)

The herd spent the rainy day yesterday in the barn, so this morning was full of excitement as it was not only turn-out time but I also switched them back to the west side of the property next to the wash stalls so it would be easier to pull them all for the trimmer tomorrow morning. Anytime the horses switch from one side of the property to the other there is lot's of running and rolling and investigating, so it was picture time! Finally the rain has brought that green glow back to the earth which always makes for nice photos (okay except the first one).

 Miss D looking pretty trim and muscular!

 Sheza show-off time! See that tail curl?!

 Running at me to investigate--quick snap a photo!

 A rare moment of holding still

 Momma and daughter

 Me so spunky, watch me go!