Monday, December 31, 2012

Reflections on a Mare

GE Blazun Haatdesire, Arrived January 2011, 8 months pregnant

w/ filly Sheza Blaznhaat Xpres, born April 14, 2011

Getting back under saddle, Fall 2011

Our first 50s together, Cuyama XP March 2012

700 trail miles and 305 AERC endurance miles later. 

Today at on our home trails at Lake Oroville, what a journey we have had.
I seriously love this mare, Desire. She is impatient, suspicious, restless, uptight, forward, beautiful, intelligent, tough as nails, and an absolute dream to ride. Nobody knows what the future holds, but I do know that she is special and I am happy to appreciate her in my life each and every day. She gave me another great gift in Sheza-filly, a horse that is sure to change my life again in new and interesting ways in the future. Thanks girl, here's to more mornings and miles and Hay Mountains together.

Some shots from today's End of the Year ride at Lake Oroville:

 Arabian Mares in conference, Desire and Willow

 Yep, we're gonna get eaten. Or, maybe, be given something to eat? Hmm..
 Changing weather
 Brrr, changing for the tid-bit-nipplier!

  Happiness is Horses. Happy new Year, everyone.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Rasping in the New Year

I trimmed Desire's hooves Thursday night and after a 15 mile ride on Blaze yesterday, it was his turn for a pedicure. The sunshine is finally back and should stay for a few days yet! The horses have been in blankets for weeks now, I had to stop myself on the way out the driveway for the feed store, realizing that Blaze would cook in a fleece and sheet, with this strange thing called Sun shining down so strongly. Okay so it's about 48 degrees tops but it feels positively balmy after weeks of grey and damp.

Blaze rocking the Mudster look
 Hooray for a hoof jack!
 I so love going to the feed store. I feel like I leave it totally broke but hey, it's worth it ;-) Our feed bills just never seem to get smaller, funny how that works..4 horses later..what's that they say about potato chips?
 Hay is my obsession. I am constantly aware of how much I have, when and where I am getting more, etc. Nothing makes me happier than a full hay barn. I am taking it in the teeth a little on price to get the higher quality stuff, I just *cannot* feed my horses crap hay, especially with endurance goals.
 Blaze's heels got away from me a little as the last few months have been holidays, or I've been on the road. Will be bringing those back but his feet are looking pretty good and he's moving great.

 Hind hooves are SO EASY with a hoof jack! Ohhh my

 Goats of Leisure, enjoying sunshine

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Lake Ride! (Good Vibes Please)

I hadn't trailered out in a forever so I jumped at the opportunity to join J and Sedona at Lake Oroville for some trail time. We figured it would be sloppy in some parts but had no idea just how sloppy. Blaze and I did about 15 miles and most of those were at the walk, including 2 or 3 miles uphill on foot. More on that later...
Uhhh guys.. I hear Something!
 Seriously, I told you I heard something!!!
 My beautiful boy <3
 Taking some pics with high tech sunglasses! J and Sedona
 Fun in the tunnel
 Beautiful trails, if a bit sloppy today!
 J noticed something was off with Sedona so she started hand walking her, then noticed her cell phone was gone! The darn bag just ripped right off and silently disappeared. J had a long haul back home and was concerned about her horse, and to really cheer things up, it was starting to rain. I told her to keep walking for the trailers and Blaze and I slithered our way back down the trail in search of the little black case. We had a spanking canter along the good footing on the gravel road along the river, then spotted the case lying plain as day, asking to be retrieved. Another good canter back towards the trailers and a few more miles and we caught back up to J and Sedona.

Heading back again, love all the red berries out
 J hand walked Sedona the last 3 miles or so back to the trailers, which was of course all uphill. I hiked with her, out of solidarity, and because I could use the narrow trails to keep Blaze moving forward straight ahead as I kinda-sorta taught him to Tail. He was eyeballing me suspiciously as I lurked next to his rump and played with his tail, but he's such a good natured sort that the worst he did was circle back around me a few times when he found the space to pull it off. Incidentally, hanging out at his rear is a MUCH easier way to get a good forward walk out of him--if I lead him from in front he walks like a dying farm plug!

Anyhoo, we aren't sure what is up with Sedona, a possible shoulder/muscle pull of some sort. Send positive thoughts and prayers out for her, please!

Blazer boy wearing his girlfriend Desire's blankie

Thursday, December 27, 2012

When ya got the right tools...

...the rest is easy! 

I got home this afternoon from my Coastal Christmas with my family on the Mendocino Coast where I grew up. In case you've never been to or heard of the Mendocino Coast, let me educate you. Quite simple:  It's. Gorgeous. 
Taking Highway 20 out of Willits through the redwood forest to my childhood home on the coast always both fills and constricts my heart. It's just so ridiculously picturesque and memories and worries and pain and joy all wrestle for top billing in my mind as I drive back towards Home.
Fortunately Christmas is a time of family cheer and my sister's ebullient clan of 4 kiddies kept everyone in high spirits for a delicious Christmas dinner and lively gift giving session.


Hoof Jack--What can I say, my mommy loves me!
Yesterday I had a fun day out with my mom, including lunch where my sister joined us, and dinner where my step-dad joined us and we 3 went on to see the movie Lincoln in the local cinema. It was a great movie, by the way, I highly recommend it and may just forgive Spielberg for War Horse yet!

This morning I made the 4 hour drive back inland and immediately got to work with my new toy. It was already bitterly cold at home in the foothills in the afternoon so I motivated the second I pulled into the driveway and got a full trim done on Desire in no time. Wow, with the right tools life is soo much easier--thanks Ma!
 Oh, one of my Christmas presents here at home was getting my ankle tattoo fixed up! I got the W and tiny pale anklet done when I was 14 years old, the year my brother Will joined the military--and a few months later, 9/11 happened. Fortunately he emerged safely from service a few years later. I am proud of the tattoo's sentiment but have never been happy with the tattoo itself; I really liked the tattoo shop that did my barefoot hoof tattoo a few months ago, so I made an appointment last Friday--and I'd say the 4 hours of PAIN was worth it!
My middle name is Lily, btw, for clarity..The feather is a sort of owl/hawk hybrid. The little purple flowers go all around the back of the ankle

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

If you are at all like me--and if you're reading this blog you probably are--you wake up to faces like this on Christmas morning. Happy to see you, warm and cuddly--and soon ready to be served! My gang of critters and I wish you all a warm, merry, and well fed Christmas, and hope you all head into the new year with hope and joy in your heart.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Redheaded Endurance!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sun, Storm, Saddles, Survival

Sunrise the other morning, before the wild and windy "end of the world" that dawns this morning. I had one more day of sun to ride but was too busy and fighting the last of my ever-nagging cold, so just grabbed a few pony pics along the way. My Sheza-brat is 20 months old! Hard to believe this big red monkey is the little pale thing we helped deliver on a cool April night last year.
It got COLD and there were fun rings of ice to play with in every bucket. I busted this group of characters playing with the ice seen here at Joey's feet, but of course after gazing at me innocently they pretended to be terrified of all things ice and scattered--for at least 10 seconds.
 The next morning dawned with rain forecast, but instead we just got lots of very cool clouds. I had lots of errands to run and squeezed in a workout on my way to meet riding buddy N for a horse-less lunch in town. She lives in higher elevations and was facing black ice to trailer down for riding, so we decided on a more sedate catch up session over some hot food.
She gave me the most thoughtful bucket of goodies for Christmas--and the buckets they came in are AWESOME, too! Those flexi unbreakable colored types, I am already using the 2 she gave me and must get more in every color! The handles and flexible material make it possible to carry a heavy, sloppy mash in one hand without ending up wearing it, simply amazing. She also gave me this great leather cuff that has a quote near and dear to my heart on it, a quote my mom has reminded me of often--perhaps had to remind HERSELF of often, in the face of my wild young smart assed self!

In case you can't read it, it says "Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History"
p.s. the letters in my tattoo are my mom/granny/siblings initials, if you're wondering
When I got home from my road trip I discovered the seat of my Eurolight was molding, so I soaped and conditioned it and promptly stashed both Specialized saddles in the house. And now, my kind of interior decorating:  3 tier saddle rack in my Woman Cave/office to keep my saddles snug and warm! The Christmas lights on the stand are horsey shaped! :-)
Finally, this wild and stormy morning, December 21st 2012, was the much feared/ridiculed end of the world according to the Mayan calendar. As with Y2K and every other overblown prediction of doom, a favorite quote of my Grandfather's came to mind.

"If you're born to drown, you'll never hang"

Simple right? That little sentence has kept me striding boldly forward for years now. Sure you could die any day you drive your car, or halter your horse, or get on an airplane. But if it's not your way or time to go, it's not your way or time. And if it is, well shit, it is! So sally forth bravely, friends, and enjoy December 22nd and the year to come and have a Very Merry Christmas.