Thursday, December 24, 2009

A lose/lose situation

How can a horse get to be almost 21-years-old and still be such a big baby about crossing water? It doesn't matter if it's a creek or a mud puddle the reaction is the same. Head up, eyes worried, snort, prance, dance, skitter sideways, and a big "Nope! I'm not going there and I can't EVEN BELIEVE your asking me too."

There has been a lot of rain in the PNW lately. Consequently there are a lot of mud puddles. Some of them look like little lakes scattered around the barn and pastures. It's easy enough to walk around them, but I want to go trail riding, and Boo has a thing about water. He has been known to refuse to go down the trail at all because there is a muddy spot on it. So, with some trepidation ( I know that might be part of the problem), I decided to school Boo over some water when I was out at the barn on Tuesday.

I had the same notion last year and I nearly got myself bucked off for my trouble. This year I decided to work from the ground just so I wouldn't start out my new year broken (again). We had our ride in the arena and on our walk back to the barn I tried to lead Boo through a few small puddles. No such luck...he sidestepped them and in doing so nearly ran over me. I got out in front of him, but I soon decided that wasn't such a good idea either just in case he decided to jump the darn puddle instead of walking through it. I've seen him try to jump much bigger bodies of water, so I knew it was a possiblity. I decided I had to use a bigger puddle. One that would be more difficult to get away that I would have to wade through myself.

I also decided I needed to give myself some rubber boots and a longer leadline so I could get out of his way if (when) he decided to be stupid. I know Boo thought he had convinced me that the mud puddles were dangerous and to be avoided when I led him into the barn. Little did he know that he was about to be schooled through water over and over and over. Once I had changed gear we headed back outside and that is when IT happened. Boo pulled back on me so hard I strained my elbow. I didn't know it yet. Adrenalin was pumping. My man came out to watch the fun and took pity on me. Together we coaxed Boo into the water, me holding the longe line and he the longe whip. We never used the whip for anything but light tapping on his behind, but apparently being double -teamed was enough to convince him to take a tiny step towards the big puddle, then another, then another, until he was finally walking through it to get to the other side where we promptly turned around and headed through again.

I led him through the biggest puddle 5 or 6 times, and then I led him around the barn area heading through every puddle we could find. Finally, I took him inside and groomed him. He didn't seem all that upset about things anymore, and I thought to myself, "I am going to have to do this everytime I come out here as long as there are puddles to wade through. Eventually we will graduate to riding through them. All this time I still did not realize how badly I had injured myself. I knew I'd been yanked, but I didn't think about it much. It was only after I got home and the stiffness started to settle in that I realized I had strained the left elbow. For the past couple of days I have not been able to use my left arm. It's finally starting to get better, but I still have to guard it quite a lot.

So there you have it. It was a lose/lose situation. Boo lost the battle and had to get his feet wet even though he didn't want to, and I lost the use of my left arm right at the busiest part of the holiday season. Headed out again later on today...this time we will be risking my DH's joints and ligaments cuz Boo is gonna walk through water.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Visit With Santa

The twins, Brody and Jordan, visit with Santa on Sunday before heading back home.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Christmas necklaces

Tradition dictates that I give my two daughters a necklace made by me each Christmas. It's fun trying to design them, and I get technical help from a good friend. This is what I have been doing this past week.

The work in progress:

The finished product:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Wow! I cannot believe how quickly this past month as gone...I have not been on my pony since December 1st. I am having some major withdrawals. First I got sick, then it got really cold, then I got company...I'm back in the saddle this week, but I have a feeling I've done a bit of backsliding as far as my own fitness level. Oh well, we will work on it.

I've been reading everyone's blogs whenever I get a minute. It's a great way to get my horsey fix, when I can't go out myself. Your all so motivating and disciplined too! Looking forward to the new year and to setting some new goals and renewing some old ones. In the meantime, hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Oregon Equestrian Trails

Mick and I went to our first OET (Oregon Equestrian Trails) meeting last night. We've been silent members for about 3 years. Two of those years I did the job of mailing out the Trail guide books to new members...but, we had never actually been to a chapter meeting. OET has been in existence for over 30 years. It is dedicated to promoting, preserving, and maintaining horse camps and trails in Oregon. OET members also maintain ongoing communication with various governmental agencies to ensure continued equestrian access on public lands. You would be surprised how many hikers, bikers, etc. don't particularly want to share the trails with our big

poop machines. I don't know how involved with this I am going to get, but I imagine Mick will be helping out with some work parties. One thing I do know is there is strength in numbers, so if you just join it gives the organization strength when negotiating for equine access. If they don't know we're out there they won't give us trails.

One of the stories they related last night was concerning the trails at McIver Park. Last winter those trails were pretty badly damaged and the parks service thought they would be out of commission for a year. OET stepped in and had those trails up and ready to go within 4 months.

They had an equine lawyer there last night to talk about liability issues for horse owners and those who run horse related businesses. Got some good advice on how to protect ourselves from litigation. It was interesting and the people were friendly. At the end of the meetings they have a raffle and I got the Christmas ornament shown above.

I am planning to make it out to the barn to ride tomorrow, so I sure hope this cold east wind stops blowing. I have a clinic to attend on Saturday and I'd like to work on a few things in the next couple of days to prepare. My sister says it's a wind chill factor of 18 below in Cheyenne tonight and tomorrows high is 13...guess I won't complain to much.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Never give up! Never give up! Never, never, never

Have you ever wanted something so badly that you would throw enormous amounts of time and money into achieving your goal, even though it is something you are likely never going to accomplish? I had an awesome ride yesterday. The resident trainer at my barn had a clinic and a bunch of us spent Saturday grooming our horses, riding in the clinic, and visiting with one another. I always feel exhilarated after one of these riding sessions. Largely because I learn so much and somewhat because I SURVIVED.

I have only recently gotten back into lessons. As some of you know I was injured pretty badly a few years ago. I needed two surgeries and had a drastic loss of confidence. I have found that I have developed some bad habits while out riding on my own. Those bad habits felt comfortable to me and they still do. It's sitting correctly that feels uncomfortable...but I cannot deny that when I make the adjustments the trainers ask me to make my horse seems much more forward and willing. The trouble is, at my age, weight, and physical condition I am having a hard time maintaining those adjustments. A lot of times the entire ride is more about getting my body to do what I ask it to rather than getting Boo to do what I ask him to.

I struggle with feeling stiff . Sometimes I work out of that and sometimes I don't. I have a tiny bit of arthritis in my neck, hands, and feet. My right side feels shorter than my left. I get tight in my shoulders and lower back. I have short legs and a lot of trouble holding on to my stirrups...or it can be the opposite and my feet slide to far into my stirrups. Of course my toes are pointed down way more often than I realized. Often times after a ride I will have sore shoulders and neck and even a headache. Blogger friends...I freakin creak and pop!!!! This is not even taking into account the fear issues. All of this can add up to some pretty discouraging rides.

So what am I going to do about it? Well, I'm dang sure NOT going to quit. I have accepted that I will never be the rider that I have dreamed of being, but I am still going to work towards being the best rider that I CAN BE. That will only come with time and dedication. I'll need to lose some weight (probably the hardest part for me) and get more exercise to strengthen and increase my flexibility. Will I ever get those hips open...I don't's been a lot of years with them tighter than a drum, but I am going to give it all I've got. I'll need to ride more often and continue to take lessons and clinic. I am setting a goal for myself to spend this next year doing what I can to improve my riding skills. We never know how much time we have left with our horses. I intend to make the most of mine. I came to riding late in life and discovered I have a passion for it. I am basically a "fraidy cat" and still through all of this past 8 years I've persevered. I may not be the youngest woman out there trying to perfect her skills, but I know I'm not the oldest either, and I have a lot of respect for all of us "vintage" riders out there trying to meet the physical challenges thrown at us by bodies that are aging. Who knew it would take me almost 57 years to find out I can be as brave as I need to be.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Come and get me...I dare ya!

I have been having some wonderful rides lately. They are work...but they have gone well. Today I went out to ride for the 5th time in the past week and lo and behold... all the things we had been working on all week long had paid off big time. Boo was forward, Boo was soft and chewing the bit in just a matter of a few minutes rather than 10 or 15 minutes. All week long we had fleeting "good moments" and today we had "fleeting rough moments". Needless to say I was one happy camper. I am not naive enough to thing the bad days are gone for good...but we are beginning to communicate again. It's not just me getting on and him ignoring me while I get more and more frustrated.

I've been forcing myself to work on my rising trot each time I ride too. That is also getting better. Probably because I am getting stronger. I am so looking forward to riding now. Never underestimate the value of eyes on the ground. Between Tracey and Bernadine I have begun to really enjoy being in the saddle again. I feel like they will help me to be a better rider and that is really all I want. To be the best rider I can be.

Mick took Bay out to a cow sorting clinic on Saturday. I tried to take pics, but for some reason I didn't really get many good ones of him. I did, however, get some good ones of strangers. Go figure. I'm going to burn them to a DVD and send them off to the barn owner. She can do with them what she pleases.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The signs of fall

This was the sight at the barn on Thursday...luckily I had my camera close at hand. Very pretty. Hard to capture in a photo.

I bathed Boo last Wednesday. I was sure it would be one of the last good days for bathing for the rest of the year, and so far it looks like I was right. On Thursday I went out to hold both horses for the farrier. We had their shoes removed for the winter. Afterwards, I clipped Boo's belly, chest, and the underside of his neck. I guess you'd call it a pony clip. Trainer Tracey called it a vent clip. So far it seems to be doing the trick. I had to blanket him and put on a neck cover. I'm pretty sure it's to warm, since the weather hasn't cooled down all that much yet this year, but it's all I've got for now. I am ordering a lightweight waterproof turnout and will put a microfiber sheet underneath that until the weather gets cooler. It should take about 5 days to get here. Why is it that I am never on top of these things????

I've been riding a bit more now that things have settled back down into a routine. I went out to ride Saturday, but to windy and rainy. To much of a reason for Boo to play spooky horse with me. I have to admit there were times when the noises were even freaking me out. We opted to longe instead. He was a very good boy for that right up until the end when he got a bit snorty and blowey. I went back Sunday and rode. We practiced riding squares and getting his inside hind leg to move under him. We practiced spiraling circles too. All that was homework from the Bernadine clinic. I am bound and determined to be much better at that by the next clinic.

I gave him Monday off. Today was a lesson day with Trainer Tracey. We practiced more squares, leg yielding and softening and suppling. We worked on bringing Boo onto the bit and keeping him there even through the transitions. I have to tell ya I've got plenty to work on for the next couple of weeks. It feels good though. So good that I plan to head back out tomorrow for more work.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I need some advice

Today was such a beautiful day, and I knew it would most likely be the last one for quite some time, so I took advantage of 60+ degrees and sunshine to go bathe my horse. Hubby went along and Bay ended up getting his last bath of the year too. I had a reason for wanting to bath Boo. His winter coat is so long it is almost impossible to ride him without causing him to sweat up. I figured I needed to bathe him today and clip him tomorrow. I've had him clipped the past two years. The first time it was a full body clip. He lived in a stall at the time so it worked out alright. Then we changed barns and Boo got turnout all day long, so last year I had him pony clipped. That seemed to work too, but a good part of last winter I couldn't ride because of my surgery on my clavicle so he wasn't being worked to hard. This year I intend to ride a lot more...I'm wondering which clip he needs. Another pony clip? A low trace clip? Right now I am leaning towards a low trace clip. Anyone out there with any experience with clipping horses that are pastured during the day? I am open for suggestions.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Great show yesterday. So glad I got to go and watch Sarah and Bay do their thing. They did a beautiful job and I am proud of them both! They bettered their score from yesterday in Training level test 3 to a 70.8 %, and although they scored a little lower in Training level test 4 than they had the day before, they still managed to tie for first place. I'm not quite sure what the tie-breaker was but they ended up with second. So, with 4 rides Sarah ended up with 1 blue and 3 red ribbons. The best thing though was bettering her score. You always want to better your score. Does anyone know what they use to break ties in a dressage show?

I mostly sat in a folding chair and watched everyone ride. I tried to take a few pictures but the environment was not cooperating. It is so hard to get good pictures inside a riding arena. Even outside it's not easy. It was sunny and I'm not complaining, but the glare was a bit of a problem. The glare and the shadows.

One things for sure....I was relieved not to be riding. I have the worst show nerves! I've been told by more than one person that the way to fix that is to get out there over and over again, but I'm just not ready yet. I don't think my riding is up to the task. Working on it though. Definitely working towards it. I'll be riding the lower levels in the vintage classes but I'm working at it ;)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!!

In a nod to Halloween I thought I would post a couple of pictures of the boys from years past.

What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday. Got up early this morning. I wanted to be to the barn by 8:00. Needed some time to get the pasture mud off Boo before we loaded up and headed out for the clinic. He wasn't too bad off considering it had been 2 days since I had been out. We were a little bit late leaving but got to our destination in time for Linda to saddle up and ride. I was to ride 45 minutes later.

I really learned a lot in this clinic. My friend Joanne taped it for me. If she hadn't I would be panicking about now, because I know I have already forgotten some of the details. Still I remember enough to work on until I get the DVD from Joanne. We worked in rising trot and canter. We also did some work on leg yielding which I had thought I was doing pretty well on, but now recognize that I am leaning too much and having to work way to hard at getting him to move sideways. This is a very non intimidating clinic and instructor. I love that. It makes it seem like a fun outing with girlfriends rather than a life or death work session.

We have coffee and everyone usually brings something for the potluck table. Today I took a crockpot full of taco soup. Nice to have something warm on a chilly day. By the time we got back to the barn I had time to come home, shower, and eat something before the trick or treaters started knocking on the door. It's now 8:06 and they are still out there in mass. My lights go off at 9:00 or when the candy runs out which ever comes first. Hope you all had a happy Halloween!

Tomorrow it's out to MHEEC in Boring where Sarah will compete Bay in the "Dressage Can Be Fun Show!" She did the schooling show today and got the 2nd highest score in her first class 69.4 as opposed to 69.7 and then got another 69.4 in her second class which ended up being the highest score. We have high hopes for her in tomorrow's league show.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Horse filled weekend coming up!

Another productive lesson with trainer Tracey. Seems I have this major problem with turning my legs outward, so I am pretty much always in Boo's side with the back of my heel and consequently my spurs. Good thing they are those teeny tiny english would be much appreciated I am sure if I learned to have a more stable leg and used my calf to cue him and NOT my heels.

Once again we worked on my body position. I have to admit I have been lazy this past two weeks and haven't practiced what I learned last time nearly enough. Only a couple of times to be honest. So today we did more circles at the rising trot while Tracey continuously reminded me to look between my horses ears and not in toward the center of the circle. She also had to remind me to keep my stirrups on the balls of my feet, to let weight sink into my heel, to keep my leg long, to close my fingers around the reins, to keep my thumbs up (I am usually pretty good about that one), and to keep my hands lower and in front of the pommel. Oh, and to not let my reins get to long.

I hate to do rising trot. I have always hated to do rising trot. I am not very good at it...and Boo is not very good at going forward in a relaxed manner when I am doing it. So I know I need to practice more at the rising trot and gather Boo up and send him forward with a lengthened stride. We worked on that today along with spiraling in and out on a circle. When I finally got to sit the trot I think Tracey was surprised that I am much better at that then at rising trot. I spend 95% of my riding time sitting the trot...probably 4 % cantering, and 1% doing rising trot. Guess what I am best at!!! So we spiraled in and out at sitting trot and Boo was much more collected. At the end we practiced tranisitions from sitting trot to jumping into the canter and back down to trot, then walk. I ended the lesson tired, but happy. Tracey said I had a better seat than I give myself credit for. Yay! Praise from someone whose riding ability I respect. Feels wonderful. It's been a long time. So glad I am back in lessons.

This coming Saturday I will be doing a clinic with Bernadine Diers. She, too, is someone I respect. As a matter of fact, so far the two women have each validated one anothers lessons without ever knowing what the other one has said. That is nice. Knowing they both see the same issues and strengths. Makes me confident that with both it is money well spent.

Sara will be taking Bay to the "Dressage Can Be Fun" show at MHEEC in Boring this weekend. I can't go for Saturday's schooling show, but I will be there on Sunday for the league show. His name is FTF Baythoven and if any of you are there come up and introduce yourselves.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The puppy education begins

No horse time for me today, although hubby did take Bay cow sorting again. This time went better than the first time. He came home tired and happy. That's the way I like it. The happy part anyway!

Instead of going along and watching I took Miss Miley to her first beginner dog training class at Petsmart. I had signed up for Monday nights but no one else did, so they canceled the class. Instead I had three choices. Either Sunday at 2:30 p.m. or Wednesday at 12:00 or 1:00 p.m. Now if I went on Wednesday, I'd have to miss my linedancing class from 11:00 to 12:00 or leave it ASAP and rush home to pick up Miley and beat feet to the 1:00 class. Somehow, like with horses, I don't think rushing about right before a training session sets the stage very well at all. So I got Sunday at 2:30. The middle of the dadgum day!!!! I'm hoping to get moved to a Monday night class in November. If not I'll end up missing a lot of these classes for horse shows and trips! Bah humbug.

The class is going to be fun for the two of us though. I can already see her paying more attention to me. She's very treat oriented that's for sure! Hope she doesn't get fat before we are finished here.

Sunshine and horses

Ya know, reason tells me that if I only make it out to ride once every couple of weeks I am going to be one sore cowgirl the day after the ride. Life is finally starting to slow down (I thought that a month ago so don't hold me to it) so I should be able to get back on schedule with my rides.

Made it to the barn today. It would have been a sin not to go. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and who knows when that will happen again. Somehow I didn't get the impression that Boo was all that happy to see me. I think he would have been content to stand out in the pasture and bask in the sun. My first reaction when I took off the blanket was "my God, he's a woolly mammoth!" He wasn't to tangled, but his feet sure needed attention. Once we had saddled up and made it into the arena, I could see that this was going to be one of those days where he would try just about anything to get out of work. He wasn't "hot" just conniving. He spooked at both ends of the arena and tried to give me sidepasses when I asked him to go straight. Unfortunately, his obstinence meant I had to use the "stupid stick" more than once. I finally got him going forward and listening to me. It took about 30 minutes to get there though. The last half of our ride went very well. We worked on what I could remember of my lesson with trainer Tracey. I have another lesson this coming week, and I don't want her to think I didn't work on it at all...although that is almost the truth. I also have a clinic coming up next Saturday with Bernadine Dier. I'm looking forward to that as well. So guess I am jumping back into the horse world with both feet this coming week. Wish me luck. I hope my body holds up!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Stills

Candy Corn

Color in my neighborhood

This one was taken by my's a covey of quail at my mom's house. He took it Friday afternoon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Company time

I didn't ride yesterday. I was busy busy busy getting ready for more company. Mick's mother, sister, and brother-in-law are arriving this evening. They came all the way from Southeastern Idaho to see our grandson Shea in Oliver. We go on Saturday night.

Of course a person never has things as perfect as we would like for company, but I managed to get things to where I am at least not embarrased, so today I went to the barn and took advantage of the beautiful weather to groom and ride Boo. Of course we practiced all the wonderful things we had learned in our lesson on Tuesday. Not bad, even if I do say so myself. I didn't ride as hard as I probably should have but ladies I am SORE from that lesson. I plan to build up my endurance as time goes by.

I won't have time to post this weekend...but I do have my Sunday stills photo all ready to was a really fun assignment this week. Hope you check it out.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My lesson with Tracey

My lesson yesterday was awesome. Just as I had expected a lot of bad habits had creeped in to my riding. Some of it I was aware of and some of it I was completely in the dark about. I got to the barn early in order to warm up, but as it turned out the first part of the lesson was at the walk, so I didn't really need the extra time.

We worked a lot on my position. First off my stirrups were to long. I thought this was probably the case because I often had trouble keeping them on the ball of my foot and in some cases even lost them all together. We talked about keeping my toes up...I have to admit a lot of the time, especially in the faster gaits, my legs tend to creep up and my toes tend to point downward. We think the better stirrup length will help me to be more stable while I am working on a longer leg.

But toes pointing downward was'nt my only problem. When I was consciously trying to keep my toes up I also turned my foot outward. This kept me using the back of my leg and heel rather then the inside calves to give aids. Consequently, my spurs (when I use them) are in the side of the horse too much. So I rode with my toes turned in...almost pigeon-toed. At first it felt really uncomfortable, but by the end of the lesson I barely noticed. Of course Tracey had to keep reminding me, but I will continue to work on it on my own.

Next we worked on the slight arch in the small of my back. Tracey says if I keep riding that way I will end up with back problems. So, I am to pull in my tummy muscles and imagine pressing against a hand on the small of my back in order to correct the arch. That one was tough because as soon as I released those tummy muscles that arch was back. Instead I rode with my tummy muscles slightly tensed the entire time. At least I tried to. Since my tummy muscles are a bit sore this morning, I'd say I did a pretty good job.

I found that I ride with my hands a tad to high and a tad to far back. That was fairly easy to correct. I also ride with my reins to long. Lastly, I turn my head into the circle when I ride. I'm to look between the horses ears and use my peripheral vision to look to the next point in the circle. It messes with my balance and my horses balance to look inward like I do.

We worked on connecting Boo to the outside rein and on keeping his shoulder from popping out when we are doing a circle on the left lead. These were two of the same things I worked on at the Bernadine Diers clinic I went to a few months back. It's comforting to know that two trainers are seeing the exact same thing and prescribing the same thing to fix the problem. I know Boo and I are on the right track in that area.

So, this sounds like a lot of negative huh? Well, I tried to do everything she said during the lesson, and I had one of the best posting trots I have had in I don't know how long. Normally I hate to post the trot. I'd much rather sit it. Yesterday posting it was easier because he was more forward and my position was much more stable. I loved the lesson and can't wait to practice what I've learned and go back for more!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It's not a rodeo!

It's a beautiful morning. Just got back from walking Miley. She's loving it! Poko on the other hand is wondering why she is being left behind. I just can't school Miley on the niceties of walking next to your human (rather than pulling her down the sidewalk) when I am trying to manage 2 dogs. Even though Poko is perfect on leash it just gets to be to much, and I found I wasn't enjoying the morning walks...I figure I am suppose to enjoy them too! So...Poko gets left at home in the mornings, and Miley gets left at home in the evenings. That is the theory anyway. Yesterday there was no evening walk...bummer for Poko. I will have to get better about that. Being tired should not be an excuse. Although, I was so tired yesterday that I went to bed at 9:30 and didn't get up until 7:30 this morning. That is 10 hours of sleeping. I never do that!!! I also walked 11, 134 steps yesterday. I have to really work at it to walk that many steps in a day. Did I mention that I am a bit chubby and out of shape? I am on a get healthier kick. Wish me luck.

Today is the day I have my first lesson with Tracey. The lesson is at 1:00, so I plan to leave here about 11:30, drive to the barn and tack up, and ride warm up for about 30 minutes before the lesson. This is just as much for my old bones as it is for Boo's. I hope Tracey isn't expecting too much! She's probably going to have to work on position issues with me as well as helping me to overcome the fears I have from my accident, and being so out of shape. I don't ever want to fall off again. I've done it 3 times and broken bones twice. I've paid my dues. It's not a freaking rodeo! Who knew that a riding instructor would end up needing to be a therapist and a fitness trainer to boot! Haha! She'll probably charge me 3 times as much when she see what she has gotten herself into.

I'll keep you all posted on how the lesson goes! Hope you have a great day!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

An awesome weekend.

It was an awesome weekend! Why? Because my nephew's wife gave birth to their very first child today. Sasha arrived at 2:02 p.m. and she weighed 8.5 lbs and measured 21 inches long. It's always exciting to welcome a new addition to the family. Mick and I were kept up-to-date on how things were going by text message. Isn't technology wonderful? Within less than an hour of her arrival we had a mobile picture.

Spent the better part of the day at the barn today. It was exactly where I wanted to be. I had hubby take a couple of pictures of Boo and myself...rode in the arena for about 40 minutes, and then we took a trail ride to cool out. Won't be long before it will be to wet to do that, so I am glad to have the opportunity to do it now. I figured out that I can't wear my pedometer when I'm riding. It "IS" counting the horsey steps and thats it says I took 16,491 steps! Most days I'm lucky to get close to 10,000...actually MOST days I don't get anywhere near 10,000, but I am working on a plan to remedy that. I also looked up the gym schedule and found 2 yoga and 2 pilates classes I can attend this week.

We had our annual barn bbq yesterday. The weather cooperated! I enjoy getting together with everyone. I have way to much potato salad left over though...guess no one is eating starch. I probably shouldn't either. Ya know, I never realize how much weight I've gained until I see a picture of myself. I am not a happy camper when I see a picture of myself. I did talk to trainer Tracey though, and Boo and I have a lesson set up for this week. This will be the 2nd lesson I have taken in the past 3 years. I stopped after my big riding accident and never started up again. I know I have plenty of bad habits that have creeped in to my riding. I really love what Tracey has done with Sarah, and although I'm not all young and willowy like Sarah, I think Tracey can help me to be more effective in my riding then I have been.'s to fall and going back to (riding) school.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Who can resist this adorable face?

I am so grateful that when I woke up this morning it was not pouring down rain!!! It may happen later on today, but for right now there are clouds with sunbreaks. I am dreading the winter when I have to stand outside 4 to 5 times a day while Miley decides whether or not she can find just the right place to go potty!

I have done a much better job this week at getting out to the barn. I went Saturday and Monday, and I am going to try to go out this afternoon and longe. My ride yesterday went well for the most part. We worked on transitions from walk to trot to canter and I threw in some simple lead changes. I can't really blame Boo for a lot when I am so out of shape. My core is weak!!! I'm working on that too.

Yesterday I bought a pedometer. I was curious about what it actually took to accomplish 10,000 steps a day. I didn't put it on until about 1:00, but I managed to take 4,640 steps. I am wondering though if the pedometer counts when I am riding? The steps I mean. If it does then I took a lot fewer steps than it says I did. Next time I ride I am going to check and see. I may have to take it off when I am on horseback.

I took the lightweight rain turnout to the barn in case I needed it, but I think it is still getting to warm during the day. Boo is fuzzing up pretty good. Putting it on at night might help, but I am planning to clip him around the 1st of November...maybe sooner if he needs it before then. I've had him clipped the past 2 years. It works nicely. I only take the hair off in the areas that sweat heavily. This year I am going to try doing it myself. That should be interesting.

My cousin sent an article out about a group of women trailriding yesterday up on the Pacific Crest Trail. One of the horses stepped in a bee's nest and her horse spooked, reared, and they both went down. Apparently when the horse was trying to get up it stepped on the woman's abdomen. She was life-flighted to Portland and is in stable condition. Be careful out on the trails this time of year. They are saying the bees are really thick.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ride more! Ride more! Ride more!

Have you ever had so much to do that you become overwhelmed and end up doing nothing at all? I never use to be this way, but lately it seems to be with me all the time. I know this much stress cannot be good for me, plus I feel guilty because there are so many people out there with a hell of a lot more to be stressed about then I have. I figure the best way to get through this is one day at a time...sometimes one hour at a time...or one moment at a time. I have to remember to do the things that take care of me FIRST even though it may seem frivolous and not a good use of my time. I just know that if I don't, if I keep on the way I have been, the outcome is not going to be good.

I have let my busy life pull me away from my horse. This has been the worse summer for riding in 10 years. I just never got out there. Maybe "THAT" in the long run will prove to be what is wrong with me. No vitamin "H" makes for a cranky, overwhelmed, and yes, bitchy Char.

At any rate, I did go ride yesterday even though to do so I had to go early and I had to do a lot of planning on how it was gonna work out! Mick had signed up for a cow sorting and I definitely wanted to go to that and watch him. The clinic started at 1:00. We took my car down and parked it so I could ride out to the barn with Mick. I rode Boo, and rode back to my car with Mick. Once he dropped me off I went home, showered, packed an ice chest with food and drink and took the dogs out (the real reason I had to come back home at all). Once I found the barn where the sorting was to be I tried to be useful and take a few pictures. It was interesting and looked like it could be fun. Mick really liked it, so it is looking like our western/dressage horse/trail horse may also turn out to be a bit of a working cow horse.

Now I know that it might not be good to mix the dressage with the cow stuff...but Bay isn't an FEI horse, so I think he should have a bit of a challenge for his mind outside the norm. He is a very bright horse and seemed to handle things just fine. We will see how he is for Sarah this coming week. I think since she rides him almost daily, he will go right back into what is trained into him the better part of the week. I know Mick has plans to go to another cow sorting in October and to a clinic in November. Now it's time for me to figure out what clinics and lessons I'm going to get involved with. I need to get Mick to go out for a trail ride with me and to teach me how to pull the horse trailer. That should be interesting.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It could have been worse.

I finally made it out to the barn. It's been one of those weeks. Boo seemed no worse for my not having been there. He did spot me right away when I headed out to the pasture. I wasn't sure if I was going to ride or longe. I went prepared to do either. I brought him in and cleaned him up a bit. A couple of his feet look like they have thrush. Would that have happened just from the rain we've had this week? The farrier is coming next week, so I'll ask him what he thinks. The other horses came in early tonight. They were being brought in while I was grooming Boo. One of the horses got away from the handler and decided to come round to my side of the barn. There Boo stood in the cross ties with this other gelding coming right up on his hind end. Before I could get to him the other horse broke right through the cross tie and charged down the barn aisle. There was absolutely NO REASON for him to act like such an idiot. I thought I was going to get run over for sure. Boo did lunge forward but stopped before he plowed into me. The other horse just kept on going. The cross tie broke and whiplashed out and caught me in the arm. I have a bruised bone in my forearm. I am very lucky it didn't catch me in the face. I put cold on it right away and there hasn't been any swelling.

After all the excitement I decided I was going to longe instead of ride. I am trying to longe one time a week and so far it's going really well. I know Boo trusts me. He listens to me too. I am really proud of him. Going back out tomorrow for a ride. Thinking it is probably time to get back into some kind of lessons. It's been a long time. I think it's easier to stay focused when I have a trainer to help me along.

Monday, August 31, 2009

It's been a year

I had the barn all to myself this morning. That doesn't happen often. One of the other boarders has put a bucket of apples on the bench in the small barn. I picked one out for Boo when I headed to the pasture to bring him in. He loves apples. He also has a bit of trouble biting them...guess his age is showing. Still we managed. He was in a fairly good mood today. He laid his ears back when I started to saddle him, but it didn't take long for him to face the inevitable. It never does.

Today we worked on canter departs. Boo was lazy, and I was determined that he would jump into the canter without my resorting to spurs. Consequently we did A LOT of canter departs. I finally got him to do a few that were acceptable. He is usually much better about his trot work after cantering too, so afterwards we worked on that. We finished up in the outdoor sand arena and then did our little walk out to the pasture and back. By the time I had him all cleaned up and ready to go back out other riders were beginning to arrive.

While I was cleaning up I realized that as of today, we have been at our barn for a year. I can honestly say that I am truly happy with the place and the people. They are friendly and helpful when you ask questions, but not intrusive. The facility is clean and safe and well-kept. I know my horses are happy too. So, as we head out of summer and into fall this year, I am looking forward to another year with my barn family.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Stills

When I found out the Sunday Stills challenge for this week was to photograph sounds this picture immediately came to mind. Unfortunately, I did not take it. It was taken a couple of weeks ago by my good friend Joanne Collins. Still, it is the picture I wanted to share for this challenge so I asked Joanne's permission to use it. Thank you Joanne!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Rode in the new outdoor today. Up until now I have only been going out there to finish my ride. Just to see how Boo would react to it. Today I spent the entire ride there. We practiced our transitions from walk to canter and from canter to trot. We practiced our leg yields and circles. He didn't pay much attention to whatever was going on outside our little sand arena until the very end, when the dog in the backyard next to the arena came through the arborvitae looking for some shade. That spooked him a bit, but he recovered right away and didn't get to snorty or high headed after that. I guess I just have to expect that kind of thing and always ride with a deep enough seat to survive it. That isn't always easy for me. I've let myself get so out of shape. I've gained weight and I'm not strong in my core or legs. I put myself on a diet (no sweets) and lost 1/2 lb this week. I know from experience that being to restrictive doesn't work for me. I started walking both dogs every morning which is good for all of us. I have a membership at 24-hour fitness and plan to go over there to check out the yoga and pilates classes. Hopefully they have something for beginners. This morning while out walking I saw a Tai Chi class in progress in the cricket field next to the park. Everyone was all dressed in white. Pretty cool. Made me wish I had my camera.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Even though I haven't been posting this week I have been riding. I have to tell ya that my ride on Saturday was so wonderful! It felt so good to be back in the saddle...

Now I know from past experience, when I haven't been riding I get a bit sore once I start back. I figured I'd take it easy on Saturday and do mostly walk/trot for about half an hour. I thought that would work for my body and for Boo too. Unfortunately, all that caution flew out the window once I was in the saddle. I rode for an hour and I rode hard (for me). Boo seemed none the worse for wear and neither did I until Sunday evening. That is when it started. The soreness in my inner thighs was crippling. I am NOT exaggerating. I could barely walk. Monday I stayed home and whined. Tuesday I forced myself to go ride again even though the soreness had not gone away. Tuesday's ride was another decent one. I rode about 45 minutes. I still have some soreness but it's getting better. It doesn't appear that Boo got very sore at all, and that is a good thing. I would have felt pretty guilty if I'd caused him that much pain. So, the moral of the story is no matter what is going on around you...ride cowgirl ride! Failing that, take an exercise ball and stretch the @@#$% out of your inner thighs :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Finally riding again.

This has been my first week with no company in quite awhile. I spent a lot of it trying to get caught up with things before I realized one can never really be caught up with things. Then I headed to the barn. I had a longeing day, and a bathing day, and a photo shoot day. Today I finally had a riding day, and it was wonderful! I wondered a bit how I would do. I've been feeling a bit stiff lately. Boo came through for me with flying colors. No monkey business. We rode the indoor, and when we finished with that we went out to try the new outdoor sand arena. I had yet to ride there. We did our walk, trot, and canter there and then went for a walk out to the back pasture to cool out. Needless to say I am in a verrrry goood mooood ;)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Horses and Grandsons

I managed to spend most of today out at the barn. Enjoyed calling a test for one of the other boarders. Then I got Boo out of the pasture and had him do a longeing session with side reins. He was such a good boy that we didn't have to go for very long. Gave him a bath afterwards and clipped his bridle path. Going out again to clip his feet and ears. It's been to hot for a flysheet a good part of this summer, so Boo is a bit bleached out from his normal almost black color. He has a bite mark on his hip that I put some neosporin on and circled with Swat to keep the flies away. Sounds like he may be challenging the pasture boss a bit. Seeing if he can usurp his power. We'll see how that goes. I had planned on taking my camera out today because it is so much fun to post pictures with my blog, but of course I forgot it AGAIN. Will try again tomorrow.

I am off now to take my grandson to his cast photo shoot. He is playing the part of Oliver in Lakewood Theater's production this September/October. If you live in the Portland metro area you should get tickets and come see him. He's a very talented young man.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Much needed pony time

I have had quite the summer. Lots and lots of houseguests. The last of the company went home yesterday about noon. I managed to make it out to the barn later in the afternoon. I really needed to see Boo. He stood watching me come down the road towards his pasture. When I called out to him his head went even higher and his ears came forward. It was obvious he recognized the voice. He made his way towards me and we had a lovely reunion with lots of scratching and petting. Didn't have much in the way of time, so I brought him in for a grooming session and a once over to see that he was in as good a shape as I left him. All was well. Worked out a few tangles in the mane and tail. Gave him a once over with the brush. Put on some flyspray, picked some feet and sent him back out to the pasture with some carrot treats. I could feel the tension in my body and mind releasing just from that little bit of pony time. Today was a stay at home day, but tomorrow is longeing, bath, and clipping day. We are getting ready for a full-on photo shoot by my friend Joanne. She is taking a people and equine photography class and we are her assignment. She's gotten very good. I am looking forward to getting some wonderful shots of Boo and myself.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Stills

Clouds and Sunset
Dark clouds


gathering storm

into the blue

Monday, July 27, 2009


I am promising myself that I will get back to posting regularly, but I know it probably won't happen before mid August when all the summer company has come and gone. Still, I do have a week here on my own and thought I'd try to catch up some.

I haven't been able to ride nearly as much as I had planned to. That being said I am going out to the barn this morning. I plan to longe in side reins this morning and ride tomorrow morning. The farrier is coming out late morning and I will be holding both ponies for him.

I spent some time at Dressage at Devonwood last weekend. I got to see the trainer at our barn ride an I1 test. That was a lot of fun to watch. I found the Riding Couture booth and bought myself one of her bling bling hats and t-shirts. Very very friendly people in that booth.

The young lady who rides and shows Baythoven went to a schooling show this past weekend. She rode Training test 3 and 4 and did very well in both tests. She came home with a 3rd place ribbon and score of 67.6 for test 3 and a 2nd place ribbon and score of 66 for test 4. This was her first time showing Bay at dressage except for the test she rode for 4H. We are very proud of her and will enjoy watching her climb the levels. This schooling show was at Summerfield farms in Ridgefield WA. and I thought was very well run. We would go there again. The weather cooperated too! If was cloudy for a large part of the afternoon which kept the heat down. Later in the day the clouds went away, but the breeze kept things from being unbearable.

This coming weekend there is a dressage show at the Lake Oswego Hunt Club. The young lady who use to show Boo for me will be there riding a 3rd level freestyle. I am going to go watch her, and I am very excited. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for her! I hope you will too!

So, even though I haven't been able to ride much lately I've been to or will be going to a lot of horsey happenings!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Today was all about me and my horse

What beautiful weather we had for riding here in the PNW today. Cool where I am, but no rain. The horses were happy and so was I. I haven't been able to ride nearly as much as I had wanted to this summer. As a matter of fact, it feels like summer has gotten away from me. Everyone elses plans take priority. Not today though. Today I was able to spend most of the late morning and early afternoon out at the barn, brushing and spraying and braiding to my hearts content. We were able to ride in the arena without incident. Lots of bending and schooling cuz it's been awhile. I got a nice collected canter both directions. We went out and about on the place without a spook. All is well in horsey land.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Thought about riding western (for about a New York minute)

I have a friend and neighbor who started taking riding lessons a while back. She rides western. I have only ridden in english type saddles. My dressage saddle is my favorite. My friend told me this week that she took an english lesson at her barn and liked it. She thought she might take more english lessons. I casually told her that I had contemplated taking some western lessons too. I said this within ear shot of the dear husband who promptly told me he knew someone with an Arabian western trail saddle for sale. We drove out on on Friday and picked the saddle up for a trial run. Tonight I finally was able to ride in it. I gotta tell you that it was not anywhere near as pleasant as I had expected it to be. I am use to feeling a living breathing horse underneath me, and all I could feel in that saddle was leather. It seemed to fit Boo well. The stirrups were to long for me, and I had them as short as they would go without punching another hole, which I didn't want to do considering I had not yet bought the saddle. The clincher was the seat was uncomfortable. I had only ridden in it for about 20 minutes and my bum hurt. This was not going to make a good trail saddle for me. So we are taking it back with a thanks but we'll pass. Looks like hubby won't be getting out of that Tucker saddle he promised me.

Our accident prone Baythoven has injured himself again. He had a puncture wound on his butt. It was swollen and oozing and slightly hot. Hubby trailered him over to the vet's where they proceeded to pull a splinter out of him that had to be 3 inches long. I swear if there is a way to hurt himself or some disease to catch, Bay will find a way to do it.

I'm baaaccckk!!!

I cannot even believe how long it has been since my last post. Once summer hits life is like a whirlwind. I haven't been doing nearly as much horsey stuff as I want to be doing, but I think for the rest of this month that might be different.

I have had company since June 22nd. The last ones left this afternoon. I am exhausted...but happy. Don't get me wrong. I loved seeing everyone and wouldn't change it...except for I would want to spend a little more time at the barn.

The 4th of July is "Cowboy Christmas" and my hubby takes his rodeo seriously. We were in Mollala on Thursday night, St. Paul on Friday night and did a marathon in St. Paul on Saturday. Went to the parade and both rodeos. Didn't get home until after midnight. The little buckaroos are my grandsons.

Boo and Bay are doing fine. Enjoying the dry weather and Boo is enjoying his time off. He carried the twins around a bit this afternoon and thought that was a cushy job.

I promise to try to post at least 2 to 3 times a week. I've been enjoying reading everyone elses posts when I could steal a little time for myself.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Horsey Weekend

I went and audited a Ritter clinic yesterday, visited with old friends from our previous barn, and accompanied a friend and neighbor to her first ever horse show. I was the designated show Mom. She did a fabulous job. Came home with 2 ribbons out of 3 classes. She should be proud of herself. I know I was proud of her.

Today I am exhausted. Hubby took off early this morning for the St. Paul trail ride. I was suppose to go with him, but I chickened out. Not quite ready for something quite so large and frought with scary possibilites. All turned out well for him. Bay is such a laid back guy. He was definitely a good ambassador for the breed. Mick said the best thing was that he was interested in all that was going on around him. Looking and taking it all in while being quiet and obedient. That's why we like Arabians. They are intelligent. They like their people. They are beautiful. I know a lot of people feel that way about their horses, and I am not dissing any other breed. I am just declaring my love for mine.

Tonight we are going to the Rose Garden to watch the Lippizzaner Stallions. I've been once before and loved it. Hope this time is as good. We are meeting up with friends. So it should be fun. I am pretty tired though, so it may be a struggle to stay awak. This weather makes me want to curl into a ball and eat comfort food. Ugh!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Trail Ride at Willamette Mission Park

I am so tired tonight, but I just couldn't go to bed without telling all of you how wonderful Boo was on today's ride. We went to Willamette Mission Park down by Salem. I was somewhat reluctant this morning as I had heard the weatherman say they expected thunderstorms in the Salem area today. The last place I want to be in a thunderstorm is on the back of a horse wearing metal shoes. Still, I figured if I got there and it looked bad everyone would bag it and if they didn't and I was still uncomfortable they could go for their ride and Boo and I would nap in the trailer and truck respectively.

Napping turned out to be unecessary. The weather was gorgeous and I didn't hear a single clap of thunder. There were 4 of us and all of the horses did very well. Boo did me proud. He went first, second, and third in line without complaining. I didn't try bringing up the rear although I will in the future. He didn't have any major spooks and didn't do any jigging either. It was a wonderful day, and I am looking forward to riding much more this summer than last. Maybe hanging out in the pasture all winter long did help!

Keeping Busy

What a busy time! Finally feeling top notch again. Boo and I hit the arena yesterday and let me tell you...I lose muscle and stamina quickly. Sometimes it seems like I am in this never ending cycle of getting back into shape. Does age do that to you? Still I persist.

Today I am headed out for a trail ride. Looking forward to it and somewhat nervous. Guess that's normal. I think it will be alright. I've been to this place before and it isn't a difficult place to ride. It will only be Boo's 2nd time out on the trail this year. He barely went at all last year. I am hoping that the year in the pasture with other horses, strange sights, sounds, and smells, will have made him a little less spooky. Guess we'll see.

New puppy has been keeping me quite busy. Now that she's settling in, she is into everything! You need to watch her 24/7. She sure has a lot of energy as old dog is finding out. I have to be aware of that and make sure Poko gets some time to herself. She's not use to this constant canine companionship. They do enjoy one another though and they tire one another out too which is helpful.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Yesterday longeing, today a trail ride

Had a lovely trail ride today with my hubby and a couple of other boarders at the barn. Boo was very good. I was actually surprised at how good he was. No major spooks at all. Hard to tell why some rides set him off and others don't. Hope to get out there again some time this week. I'd really like to trailer somewhere and ride on groomed trails. Longed without side reins yesterday just to get him moving after his time off. Going out tomorrow and the ride will more about work. Getting back into the swing of things. Feels good