Tuesday, December 28, 2010

How wet was it?

No horses since Christmas Eve. I have had my family here for the holidays. Everyone went home last night and I was exhausted, but I knew before my head hit the pillow that I would be headed to the barn today come rain or come shine. As it turns out it was wet. How wet was it? I have never seen so much standing water around the barn. One side of the mares pasture was flooded and water was running across the entrance to the facility and into a field on the other side of the road. On the drive out I passed through instances of water on the roadway to numerous to count. On the drive back the water was even higher.
Boo's pasture was pretty muddy, but at least the horses were standing on high enough ground that they weren't sinking up to their fetlocks. Of course Boo wouldn't come to me at the gate. No, I had to hike all the way to the back of the pasture to get him. Once I had him inside and had his blanket off I was relieved to see that even with all the wind and blowing rain he was relatively dry. We were cleaned up and tacked up in no time. I had cleaned his feet by leading him through every mud puddle I could find on my way into the barn. It made short work of the mud on his hooves and my boots too.
Trainer Tracey was there as usual working all the horses she normally rides. I think there are 6 of them that she rides most days of the week. That's not counting when she has to get on one of the horses belonging to her lessoners. Like Baythoven. Some of the other boarders were there too. Still there was plenty of room in the arena to ride Boo. We are still working on connection...sigh...I think we might be working on connection forever. It did end up well though, and we did work in walk, trot, and canter. I have fleeting moments where I am doing something right and Boo responds to that and it feels beautiful. At the end of today's ride I tried to do some work without stirrups. It is evident that I NEED to be doing this kind of work. I was unsteady and unbalanced. Especially in the stops. By the end I finally got ONE stop where I didn't pitch forward in the saddle. Geez! How long have I been riding? This stuff should be old hat by now.
I am going to work 2-point and without stirrups every ride until I am secure with both. Assuming I don't fall of first and break something.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sunday Stills

Now that's a big Santa!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Pineapple Express strikes again

We bought this house brand new 15 years ago. My husband fell in love with the space, and I fell in love with the light. I thrive on light...you might even say I need all this light. I have floor to ceiling windows on 3 walls in the family room...oh heck, every room has great windows. The house also has 5 skylights. One in the entry, one in the family room, one in my art room, and one in both bathrooms upstairs. Last winter the skylight in the family room sprung a leak. I noticed it when the wet stain ran out of the skylight box onto the ceiling. I had someone come out and they recommended replacing the skylight, which we did. I had never had a skylight replaced before, so I was not aware that once they pulled it out and replaced it with a new one there would be trim work to be done. The company that replaced the skylight didn't bother to tell me this either. It wasn't so noticeable standing under it and looking up, but from the landing at the top of the stairs it was obvious that trim work needed to be done. For the past year I have looked at that unfinished trim work and water stain on my family room ceiling, and it has always upset me that the job was never finished.

The pineapple express has brought me full circle. I have two more leaking skylights and two more water stains on my ceiling. I noticed them almost immediately. I spent Friday doing research because I was not about to call the company that had replaced the first skylight. On Friday afternoon I had 3 people come out and give me their opinions on what needed to be done. The consensus was replace the skylights. After talking it over with the DH and having the integrity of the remaining two skylights checked, we decided to replace all the old skylights with new energy efficient ones. I'd much rather be putting in new flooring, counter tops, or having my cabinets refaced, but I'm not. I'm doing the expedient thing and saving the structural integrity of my humble abode. Drats!!!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Lesson With Tracey

I got to the barn in plenty of time to bring Boo in, clean him up, and get some warm up time before my lesson. I'm not a big fan of starting a lesson without warming up the horse, and I'm also not a big fan of using precious lesson time to do the basic work of warming up. I need the warm up at least as badly as the horse does anyway.

It had started raining about the time I left home to drive out to the barn. The rain was making quite a bit of noise on the metal roof by the time I was in the saddle. Trainer Tracey would have to speak up if I was going to hear anything she had to say. I told her what I had been working on and what my successes were as well as my struggles. We talked about what I had been doing to supple Boo in previous rides. She cautioned me to be careful of just following a formula for suppling. She reminded me that riding is all about communicating with the horse. Getting lost in my own rigid ideas about how to go about that communication was interfering with what I was trying to do. I needed to focus less on getting to the end result and more on the process.

We started just standing in the arena while she had me gently flex Boo from side to side while watching for the flip at the poll that comes each time I changed directions. I had read about this before, and I got pretty excited to see it in action. We started walking in a circle and I flexed Boo to the inside by softly sponging on the inside rein. She had me open the inside rein at the same time. I can't really explain this. I just know that what I was doing was inviting Boo to soften and chew on the inside rein, which he did. All the while I had to ask him to keep moving forward at a rhythmic walk with my legs. In the beginning he would try to ignore my leg and I would lift it off and give him a kick to say "pay attention." Other times I would give him a light tap with the whip. I think the tap with the whip works better, so that is what I intend to use from now on. We eventually went from a walk that felt a bit sticky to one that felt like it was rolling underneath me.

Once we started the trot work keeping him from slowing down on the circle was key, keeping my seat in even contact was key, keeping myself from contorting my body was key, not looking into the circle was key, and trying to stabilize my lower leg was key. There were so many key issues!!! It was very apparent that I was especially weak on my right side. I don't know exactly what I need to do in order to strengthen and open that hip. Maybe some of you can give me advice? Tracey did say I should do more work without stirrups, which I will do. I had a paradigm shift during this lesson. My new goal is not to focus so much on what I want the end result of my riding to be. Instead the goal will be to relax, learn, and let us both enjoy the process.

I have a lot of work to do. Boo has a lot of work to do, but I have more. He is perfectly capable of performing exactly as I want him to as long as I give him a clear understanding of what it is I am asking and get out of his way.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Things to consider

Great ride on Sunday. I got out to the barn around noon. It was sunny but windy when I left home. East wind. COLD wind. At the barn I was far enough from the gorge that there was no east wind, so it was warmer. I was amazed to see that I was the only one there! I had thought for sure the place would be crawling with people taking advantage of the good weather.

It didn't bother me at all to be the only one there. While most times I love the camaraderie at the barn it is also nice to have the quiet to concentrate on what Boo and I need to work on. Boo was perfectly willing to come to me in the pasture (he knows I always have treats). There hadn't been any rain in a few days so mud was at a minimum. Boo's lightweight rain sheet was enough to keep him relatively clean. I am so glad I got one with a neck cover because it helps to keep his mane clean too.

It didn't take long to clean him up and tack him up. I have to admit I wasn't wasting any time either, as I was sure I wouldn't be alone for long. We started out with our requisite 10 minute walk, quickly put him in front of my leg, and started suppling shortly thereafter. I'm not going to tell you he went right into it, but I did discover that riding the suppling like I had baby birds in my hands (from Sally Swift's "Centered Riding") worked better for me than what I had been doing. Before, I would squeeze the inside rein 3 times and then close my hand on the outside rein and then relax to see if he gave to the bit. If he didn't I did it again. The longer I had to do it the stronger my hands got. Not on Sunday. I just concentrated on asking but keeping my hands soft. He gave to me sooner than he had been and for more strides. "Okay," I thought, "there's one hurdle accomplished."

One of the things Bernadine told me at my last clinic was to sit back on my pockets more. In schooling sessions since then the DH has told me the same thing. He watched my clinic and he is trying to help me. Sometimes I like that and sometimes I don't. Sunday, without him there, I consciously tried to remember to sit back on my pockets more. I found that if I teetered forward at all Boo would try to slow down and even come to a stop. His head would also come up of course. If I stayed back on my pockets no problem!

Finally, I was reading blogs earlier in the week and Annette over at http://www.newsfromaspenmeadows.blogspot.com/ had discussed how she had trouble keeping her thighs rolled in. She knew this because when her thighs weren't rolled in her boot zipper would slide down due to the back of her calves rubbing on her horse. I got to thinking that I don't even consider whether or not my thighs are rolled in. I guess I figured if they were I'd just be using them to hold on during the canter. Instead, when I tried it I found my contact was better, my legs stayed quieter, and my foot was forward instead of turned out. So, now I have another thing to think about ;)

I have a lesson with Trainer Tracey tomorrow. I know I'll have a LOT more to consider by tomorrow night!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Stills

Took this at night. Hand held. Would have been better if I'd had a tripod. My neighbor decorates the tree in his front yard like this every year. You either love it or you hate it. It's growing on me. As my grandson said, "it's unique."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Thank you."

It was raining at the barn when I got out there. I am a really lucky woman to have a dry place to ride all winter long. Boo was in a cooperative mood. It took almost no time at all to get him forward, and the suppling went well too. He had more good moments this time than he did on Sunday, and he had more good moments on Sunday than he did the time before that...so progress. I'll take it.

I tried to stay conscious of my position and my aids. I found myself tensing up at times and when that happened my legs would creep up and my toes would point downward. When I noticed this I would consciously relax. I also found myself turning my right hand down into what trainers have called piano hands, and I had them lower than they should have been. When I noticed this I consciously raised them into my work space and turned my thumbs up.

We did more canter work than I usually do. I actually had one brief wonderful moment when I was able to get a more collected canter using nothing but my seat. I just hope I can repeat that. I think I am finally getting the concept of riding the horse from back to front. No, scratch that! I understand the concept of riding the horse from back to front. What I am finally getting is fleeting moments of understanding how that feels. It's going to take a lot of practice and a lot of hard work. It's going to take getting myself much stronger in my own body. Don't let anyone ever tell you that riding doesn't take fitness. It so does! It's all good though because I love riding enough to do the work.

After the ride I got off, leaned my head against his furry neck, breathed in his horsey smell, and whispered "thank you."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sunday Stills

Okay, here I am checking out the chicken coop'd'villa before the chickens made it their home.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Bump In The Road

Baythoven and Sarah had a major disappointment at the end of the summer. They had qualified for the Arabian Sporthorse Regionals earlier in the year, but as the show got closer it became clear that something wasn't right with the horse. Sarah had taken him to the Region 6 Youth Overnight Camp at Devonwood. Baythoven pulled out all the stops and acted his worst. The clinician ended up riding him at one point, and rumor has it that he nearly unseated her!

After the camp out he continued to act out with plenty of bucking. We called out our chiropractor, but for the first time even this didn't help. The DH and I decided to have a lameness work up done on him. It turns out Bay was having some arthritis issues with his hocks, and he was in pain. We were asking him to use those hocks and he was trying to tell us that he was uncomfortable. It would have been much easier if our horse could talk.

We ended up having his hocks injected. We gave him some time off. He is back in work now and moving beautifully. Our vet tells us the best thing for him is to keep moving. So we will keep showing as long as he seems comfortable.

Sarah already has a list of shows she is interested in for this year, and they will be doing OHSET again too.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Disaster Strikes

I am not a domestic goddess. Just ask my DH. Today I made the supreme sacrifice and went through one of my cookbooks for a recipe for homemade butternut squash soup. I wrote down the ingredients I would need from the store. I went out into the rain and drove to The Market of Choice. I chose that market in particular although there are two others closer to my house and easier to get to. Why? At The Market of Choice I can buy butternut squash already peeled and cubed in 2 lb tubs. I told you...I am not a domestic goddess.

Of course I went to the market at the worst possible time. I drove right past the high school as it was letting out, and I got stuck in traffic. It took 20 minutes to do a 10 minute drive. Once I arrived, I found what I needed fairly easily and made my purchases and returned home.

I chopped onion and Canadian bacon. I steamed the squash. I cooked the onion and Canadian bacon to a golden brown in olive oil. I combined the steamed squash and chicken stock with the Canadian bacon, onion, and olive oil and covered and simmered for 15 minutes. It smelled heavenly. I poured the mixture into my blender to puree. The only step left was to return the soup to the pan, reheat, and sprinkle with fresh sage. Yum.

That is when disaster struck. I picked up the blender and the bottom fell out. Literally. The bottom fell out of the blender. My beautiful soup went everywhere and my hand was badly burned. No trip to the hospital was needed, but the sucker hurt bad enough that I had to use cold water for the entire clean up as I couldn't stand to have hot water on the hand. I had soup on the counter top, soup on the floor, soup dripping down the front of the cabinet. I'm not sure if my blender is ruined or not because soup oozed into the casing around the motor. I even had soup all over my sweatshirt, jeans, and shoes.

Shortly thereafter the DH called. He was on his way home and wanted to know if he should stop and pick up something for dinner...we had Safeway's Chicken Taco Soup.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Working on the Outside Rein

I haven't been to a clinic with Boo or with Bernadine in months, but last Saturday that changed. When I got the notice through email that a clinic had been scheduled I signed up right away. It's been my experience that if you procrastinate you lose because her clinics tend to fill up quickly. I wasn't sure when I signed up if Boo was going to be able to go. That injury to his jaw took a while to heal. I hadn't put a bit in his mouth at all since he had been injured. The day before the clinic was scheduled to happen, I went to the barn and decided to longe him in side reins to see how he behaved carrying the bit. The last thing I wanted to do was hit the ground because he wasn't healed up enough yet. I tacked up and took Boo over to the indoor. We started out longeing without the side reins. Once I had seen no adverse reaction there I attached the side reins loosely and continued to longe at walk/trot/canter. Still no adverse reaction. While I was longeing another boarder showed up to meet her farrier. Having someone around helped me to make the decision to climb up on Boo's back and test him out. I wanted to be absolutely sure that it was going to be Boo at the clinic rather than Baythoven. As luck would have it he was soft and responsive and we had ourselves a nice ride. I cleaned him up after the ride and clipped his bridal path. He's so fuzzy right now that I would have loved to body clip, but there just wasn't time for a bath and a clip. I cleaned up all my tack instead and put everything together so the DH wouldn't leave anything behind the next morning when he came out to haul Boo over to Crosby Creek.

The clinic began at 8:30 Saturday morning with an hour long lecture. We partnered up in pairs with a set of reins for each pair. We switched off being the horse and the rider while Bernadine gave us instruction in the finer points of handling the reins. We simulated different experiences that can arise while riding and what to do about them. The point was to have some idea of what to do to fix the different scenarios when they arose, using our seat and legs with only minimal use of the reins. After the lecture we all had our own 45 minute lesson.

I warned Bernadine that both Boo and I were a bit out of shape since the last time we had seen her. We started off getting Boo in front of my leg which is nothing new. Every ride starts of with getting Boo in front of my leg. I don't mind because it usually doesn't take much before he gets with the program. After we had him moving forward, we worked on getting him connected to the outside rein. We did this by spiraling into a circle and back out again. I found that I really needed to work on sitting straight, using my inside leg, and supporting with the outside rein. When he got it I would relax the inside rein and give him a good boy rub. We had to do this over and over every few strides, but we had many moments when he got it. I figured that's what we were striving for. Lengthening the time when he gets it. Lengthening the time when "I" get it. It seemed as if the lesson was over in no time at all. Boo and I were actually in better shape then I had given us credit for. Now I'm looking forward to working on what we learned on a daily basis and moving on in the next clinic.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Building the relationship

Up to the point where Sarah started riding Baythoven she had spent most of her riding life on a lovely Welsh pony called Merry Mary. Sarah and Merry Mary had done 4H together. They had done a few dressage shows and some Welsh pony shows too. They had even done some driving. They made a good team, but Sarah was outgrowing her.

When Sarah started out with Bay we wondered whether or not they would be a good fit. He was going to test her, and we weren't sure if he would scare her off or not. Bay isn't a mean horse though and Sarah is not faint of heart. I even think she has grown to enjoy his sass just a little bit. I'm not sure that a completely obedient horse wouldn't bore her. Sarah was determined to go back to the basics and learn to ride Bay correctly. She spent the first year taking lessons from the resident trainer (who came highly recommended), and she worked diligently between lessons. She only left the barn with Baythoven once that winter and that was to go to a schooling show at the Canby fairgrounds. The DH went along, and while Sarah rode the hunt seat classes the DH rode the western. Sarah and Bay were slowly but surely learning to trust one another.

By the time the beginning of the second year at the new barn rolled around, Sarah was ready to think about some serious showing. She started out with a show at Mount Hood Equestrian Center. I'd love to tell you exactly how they did, but I don't have the score sheets and my memory fails me. I know they did well...I just can't remember how well. Sarah also thought she might like to do OHSET. Since OHSET meets started in February that was where Sarah's major focus went first. That first year of staying home and getting to know one another paid off big time. Sarah and Bay came home from their first meet in FIRST PLACE for their dressage event. The little freshman and the Arabian horses had started their season on a high note!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sarah and Bay

The sporthorse regionals for region 5 had been in May. The sporthorse regionals for region 4 would be in August, and Karen didn't plan to stay for a shot at another regional title. She and Bay had, however, qualified for youth nationals in July and she could take him there, but there were a couple of problems. School would be starting for Karen back in Germany. In order to go to youth nationals she would have to let her mom go home without her and she would have to start school late. She had already done youth nationals the year before and had come home with a Reserve Champion title. She had to consider that showing at that level is expensive too. She wasn't sure what to do, and then one day an opportunity arose that changed everything. Karen had ridden PV's lesson horse Annie at youth nationals the year before. They had been working together for quite some time, but Annie had gotten old and didn't want to work that hard anymore. Still, she and Karen had formed an intense bond. Actually, Karen's entire family had come to truly love Annie. Now she was about to be retired and the barn owner offered her to Karen. From that moment forward there was no more talk about going to youth nationals. If a choice was to be made it would be to take Annie back to Germany to live out her days with Karen and her family.

Bay's show season was over. Karen continued to ride him until her departure. She has come back twice for visits and always goes to see and ride Bay while she is here. I know he remembers her by the way he acts with her. Remember, he is a tough nut to crack and doesn't take to just anybody. First you have to earn his respect and Karen had done that. Throughout the show season of 2008, while Karen was showing Bay, there was one young woman at the barn who seemed to always be around. She was good friends with Karen and she liked Baythoven. Her name was Sarah. We had a conversation with Sarah and her mother about Sarah riding Baythoven. We decided that we would wait to have her try him out until after Karen had gone back to Germany.

It was in late July when the DH and I decided to make a change in our barn situation. We decided to move the horses to a new barn and trainer. We had promised Sarah that she could try Bay, so we went ahead and allowed her to ride him to see how it went. We told her that we were going to be moving the horses in September and gave her the option to pass on trying him out, but she decided to go ahead.

Things were different for our horses in the new barn. At the old one they had lived in a stall with a run. At the new barn they were only stalled at night or in extreme inclement weather. The rest of the time they were out to pasture with other horses. They lived in herds of 3-5 horses. Our boys were turned out together into their own pasture to acclimate. They shared a fence line with the two geldings they were to be turned in with. Bay had been out to pasture before, but as far as I knew Boo had always lived in a stall. It was a beautiful sight to watch them discover that they were turned out free with one another. They stayed that way for about a week, maybe two. Then they were turned in with the other geldings. Bay was the youngest and Boo the second oldest. This situation worked for about a month. Unfortunately both horses sustained injuries in the pasture, Bay to his knee and Boo to his hock. Of course we didn't see what happened, but we figured they had been kicked or kicked one another. The barn owner watched them closely and determined that she would move Bay to another pasture as he seemed to want to play and the older horses just found him irritating. Over time everyone settled in to their respective pastures and both of our horses are happier today than I have ever seen them.

It took Sarah about 2 months, maybe a little more, to make the decision to follow Baythoven to his new barn and his new trainer. Their adventure was about to begin.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Region 5 Championships

Region 5 had it's sporthorse regional show that year at Donida Farms, and Baythoven and Karen did us proud. Bay went up in a 6-horse trailer with a few other horses from the barn. We all followed the horse trailer up in our own cars. The DH and I brought up the rear, and the DH got to play with his CB radio keeping in contact with the trailer all the way. About an hour before our exit our trainer told us she was going to need to pull off of the freeway. The horse trailer had blown a tire. I imagine it was an interesting sight seeing a 6-horse trailer and about 5 automobiles all parked along side the road waiting for the guy from Les Schwab to bring us a new tire. The horses got a bit restless, but it didn't take long to get back on the road. Once we arrived at the venue, checked in, and got the horses settled we all headed out to our hotel. We were exhausted and excited for what would come the next day.

We had never been to Donida Farms before. It is a nice place. They had a couple of dressage rings going. They had jumping going. They had in-hand going. Of course there was also the warm up ring for all the under saddle classes. There was plenty to do and see. If memory serves me, our first day there was a preshow. We had Karen and Bay do a first level test just as a warm up for Saturday. They rode First Level Test 1-JTR 17 and Under. The ride was beautiful. Poetry. They scored a 73.666 and came in first place of six. During that first day we were able to get Bay settled in and familiar with his surroundings. Both Karen and the DH spent quite a bit of time leading him around the grounds so he could get out of his stall and see the sights. During one of these walkabouts the DH ran into a couple of competitors who knew Bay. They not only knew Bay, they said his previous trainer was at the show and the DH got the opportunity to talk to her for a bit and find out some of his previous history.

On Saturday Karen showed Bay in First Level Test 4-JTR 17 and under. While not the poetry in motion of the day before (why is he always better in the preshow?) it was still a good ride, and we were confident that they would score and place well, and they did. They scored a 68.684 and came in second place out of nine. This placed them Reserve Champion for the class.

Their final test was a Second Level Test 4-ATR Sweepstakes class. Karen wasn't happy with this ride. As a matter of fact, after she left the ring she rode directly back to the stalls not stopping to check in with what anyone else thought. Having had two daughters and being wise in the way of 14-year-old girls, we left her alone to work through her disappointment. Later on she told us she had felt Bay wasn't giving her his best and that they had probably blown their opportunity at second level. I personally had thought they had a good ride but this was not a junior to ride class. There were six horses in the class, and it was hard to tell for sure what the judges would think. Our rides were over. There was nothing left to do but wait for the scores of the final ride and cheer on the rest of our friends. It was while we walking back from watching another girl from our barn ride that the announcement for the Second Level ride came over the loudspeaker. Karen and FTF Baythoven had earned a 64.286 and secured Reserve Champion. Karen was bowled over. Her mother and I were hugging each other, hugging Karen, hugging anyone who entered our field of vision. The DH just grinned as if he'd known it all along.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Baythoven obviously needed more than just a couple of rides a week under a novice rider. We had to figure something out fast before the DH ended up with his face planted in the arena dirt. Up to this point he had been doing an admirable job hanging in there. He didn't say much about what was going on. He just kept getting on and riding. After talking to our trainer we decided that finding a more than competent young rider to help school Bay and keep him excercised would be in all of our favor.

We were fortunate to ride in a barn where many competent young women rode. We were even more fortunate when we found that one of the senior girls was interested in riding Baythoven and in showing him if possible. Her goal would be to show him in dressage and to take him to regionals before she left for college the next year. Between this young woman, the DH, and our trainer, Baythoven would be in good hands.

Over time Baythoven settled in and he and the DH developed a deep bond with one another. I, however, kept my distance paying attention to my own horse. I wasn't particularly attached. I watched our young rider ride through bucks, I watched the DH ride through bucks, and I had no doubt that if I crawled up on his back he would try to buck me off too. There seemed to be a couple of reasons for this behavior. I believed it was due to Baythoven being confused by and having no patience with the DH's inexperience, and in our young riders case, I believed the charge of "lazy" was coming back to haunt us. Any time she asked for something that made him work hard he tried resistence. Luckily, over time, as Bay built up strength and was required to follow through on what was asked of him he began to resist less and less. Bay did well when shown in dressage and qualified for regionals just as our young rider had hoped, but unfortunately due to an unexplained injury just 2 weeks before the show he had to be scratched, effectively killing the dream she had of competing at regionals before she left for college in the fall.

After our young rider left for school Bay and the DH cemented their bond even further. From late September until February it was just the two of them. Just before the next years show season began another young woman ended up needing a horse to compete on. She had won reserve champion the year before at the Arabian Youth Nationals, but the horse she had been riding was getting up in years and was demonstrating in no uncertain terms that she was done. The DH and I discussed it and decided to offer her Bay to compete on. She had a few short months to get to know him and to help him get back into show shape. We were confident they were up to the task. Unfortunately, she and her family were here on a work visa from Germany and were scheduled to go back to Germany before regionals in our area, so once again Baythoven would not compete there. He did, however, travel to Washington to compete there and managed to qualify for their regionals.

Friday, October 8, 2010

In The Beginning

We bought Bay about 5 years ago. My husband had started taking riding lessons that January with our grandson. The lessons were a Christmas present from me. It was getting on to the end of the summer now and our trainer had casually mentioned that she had taken a couple of students who were looking to buy a horse together out to see this horse, but they had decided he was to lazy and to old. Still, she thought he was a nice horse and she thought the DH might like him. Now we were not in the market for another horse. I had bought Boo almost a year before and we were still settling in to being horse owners, but for some reason we decided to ride out to Newberg and take a look at this horse. We should have known better...we're both a soft touch, and this guy was pretty. He had the most beautiful eyes. So mellow. We each rode him in the arena. No problems even though Mick was still a beginner and I was barely any better in the saddle than he. The only problem we had was getting him up into the canter. I remembered that the younger girls had found him to be lazy, but I figured lazy wasn't such a bad thing for novice riders.

I distinctly remember asking the seller "no buck, bolt, or bite?" "Not as far as I've seen," she said. We decided that night that a 12-year-old gelding would be just the ticket for the DH's first horse and made arrangements to come back with our vet for a vet check, which he passed no problem. While taking care of the business end of the deal I got to looking at his papers and discovered that he wasn't 12 years old. He was 8 years old. I have no idea why the seller's agent thought he was twelve.

The DH was out of town the day we brought him back to our boarding barn. He loaded up on the trailer well and handled the ride all alone well too. When I turned him out in the arena he ran around and around and around. At times I thought he might come crashing through the gate. I groomed him a bit, fitted him with a Baker sheet and turned him into his stall. Once the DH came home though I mostly kept my distance. He wasn't my horse. I already had a horse.

From the very start Bay proved to be a very different personality than Boo. If you have a treat Boo is your best buddy. Bay was more discriminating. If you wanted Bays affection you had to earn it. If you wanted to ride Bay you had to earn it too. Bay set out from the very first ride to make the DH earn the privilege. I don't think he rode him even one time that first 3 months without Bay trying to buck him off. One afternoon during a lesson the DH rode past the open window at the back of the barn just as a car came rumbling down the gravel road and Bay bolted and nearly ran through the gate like he did the first day I'd turned him out in the arena...and wouldn't you know it...the little sucker was a nipper. I remember sitting in the barn on a freezing winter night watching the DH survive another bucking episode and thinking "we made a mistake buying this horse. The DH is going to get hurt."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Boo Has The Jail House Blues

My regular vet came out on Wednesday. He was scheduled to come out and give shots to many of the horses at the barn, so I called his office on Monday and told them I wanted him to bring his radiograph and take x-rays. Boo was still having trouble chewing, although he was trying. The pad under his chin was softer (it had been hard and swollen before), and I couldn't detect any foul order on his breath. Dr. "S" looked him over and did a lot feeling around on the outside of his jaw before he went to look inside his mouth. It seemed like Boo was still sore, but not as sore as on Saturday. His pain was more localized.

Our barn owner has been wonderful about taking on the brunt of the work from this. She gives Boo his soaked senior feed and hay cubes. She has hung a water bucket in his stall so that we can better monitor his fluid intake. She gives him his bute morning and night. Yesterday I was down in Salem visiting some dear friends and she sent me a text to say she had hand-grazed Boo and he was chewing on both sides of his mouth. Previously he had been using only the right side.

We started turning him out in the round pen for a few hours every day. He's still not able to join the other horses in the pasture. When I went out today he was anxious to graze and was acting very much like his old self. I fed him a few hay cubes that hadn't been soaked and noted that he was indeed chewing on both sides. I could clearly hear him grinding on the left side and he didn't appear to be nearly as sensitive. We will continue to give him slop for the rest of the week. On Saturday it will be 2 weeks since his injury, and we may try soaked hay at that point. I'll give him another week and then I'll longe him to see how he is in the halter. Finally, if he does well with the longeing, I will see how he does in the bridle. All in all, I am planning to give him about 3 weeks time from the injury date before I try to do anything at all with him. I'm hoping I won't need a followup visit with the vet.

So I would say things are looking up even though Boo is in horsey jail.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

It's always something!

I have the worst luck when it comes to riding!!!

Ya'll know if you've read this blog that I spent some time out of the saddle this past spring due to a really bad episode of sciatica. After much physical therapy I was finally able to get back in the saddle...then my mom fell and broke her hip, so I spent the better part of the summer going back and forth to Central Oregon. Didn't get one trail ride in all summer long.

Well, I'm back now. Went out and rode twice last week. Friday's ride was divine so I figured I'd give Boo a spa day on Saturday since he's been rather neglected this summer. I headed out to the barn Saturday afternoon. I knew something was wrong as soon as I tried to give him his carrot. He turned his head sideways and took the carrot out of one side of his mouth. Then he proceeded to mouth it, but couldn't seem to chew it. I looked him over and the underside of his chin where that little fat pad is seemed sort of hard compared to how it usually feels. I thought maybe he'd been stung, but I couldn't find a point of entry. He also appeared to be tender on his left cheek up high and I detected some bad breath which this boy never has. DH and I managed to get the slobbery carrot out of his mouth so he wouldn't choke on it.

I went ahead and took him into the barn and proceeded with his bath. He didn't like it much, but I promised him he would be really happy about what came next. That would be getting to free graze on the grass outside the barn. Boo is a real chow hound and he loves nothing better than eating. I turned him out to graze and dry off in the sun while I cleaned up the shower stall. I kept an eye on him, however, and I did not like what I was seeing. He appeared to try to graze but would then move on to another spot, then another, then another. That is so not like this horse. Once his head is down it stays down and wandering is kept to a minimum. After a few minutes of this he managed to tear loose a big clump of something green, but 5 minutes later he was still standing there mouthing it and saliva was flowing out of his mouth. Once again, between the two of us DH and I managed to remove the offending food from his mouth. Boo was not chewing and he was not swallowing.

Enough of that!!! I called the vet. Turns out they were in the vicinity and after a 3 hour wait they turned up at the barn to check Boo out. The vet explained to me what it could be. It could be a cracked tooth, it could be he had something stuck up there in his mouth, it could be he'd been kicked in the jaw and had soft tissue damage or worst case scenario a fracture. Boo didn't have any evidence of trauma, so I thought it more likely he had something stuck in there or a cracked tooth. After some sedation, and some checking, the doc said "he has remarkably good teeth for a 20-year-old horse, and he doesn't appear to have anything stuck in there...so that leaves soft tissue damage from some kind of trauma or a fracture.

He left us with instructions to give him bute for pain morning and night, to feed him a senior feed mash along with grass hay cubes that have been soaked in water, to monitor how much water he was drinking, and to call on Monday. If he's no better they will do a radiograph. Thank God I have a great barn owner who has been through similar feeding rituals before. She jumped right in and has been keeping me posted ever since. He's eating the mash and cubes. This morning she even said he seemed to be chewing it and that was a good sign. DH and I went out this afternoon and I saw for myself that he is working that jaw much more than yesterday.

I have no idea what happened to my horse or if this is going to get better all on it's own or not. I guess a little more time will tell. I plan to go out tomorrow and check out the eating and chewing situation again. Monitor that he's been pooping and check out that tender jaw and the funky smell. Then I'll decide if I'm going to go for x-rays or just wait until Wednesday when our regular vet (not the one on call) is scheduled to be out for shots. Dr. S is pretty good about things having to do with the mouth, so I'll feel a lot better once he has looked him over. No offense meant to the younger/newer vet, but this is my baby were talking about here.

It may mean I'm not going to be able to ride Boo for awhile. We'll see. If it does it looks like Bay and I will be getting much better acquainted than we have been in the past. Maybe it will be a good thing to ride another horse for awhile :(

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pendleton Round-up's 100th birthday

Went to the 100th Pendleton Round-up last week!!! It was a blast and well worth the effort. Saw fellow blogger Karen from Life At The Rough String while in the Let'er Buck Room and got to meet her "man." If you read this Karen, I hope we get to see you both at the Columbia circuit finals in November!

The Round-up is my favorite rodeo. It has a mystique all its own. The shopping is pretty good too ;) I'll share some of the goodies I found with you in later blogs.

Now it's time to get back to real life. I haven't seen the boys (Boo and Baythoven) in over a week. I'm planning on spending most of the day at the barn tomorrow so I can ride, plus the farrier is coming. I picked up the girls (Poko and Miley) from the kennel earlier this afternoon, and they were very excited to be coming home.

Can't believe that summer has come to an end...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Summer's Ending

Had my first ride in 2 weeks on "my little pony" yesterday. I gotta tell ya he was a bit of a butt. He wanted to run around with his head in the air the majority of the ride. I had only planned a short ride...say 30 minutes. Figured it would be a good way to work back into riding and not be so sore. Unfortunately, I had to spend more than an hour in the saddle just to finally get him consistently on the bit and listening to me. Please tell me everybody has days like this?

I'm sure things will get better as I get back into riding consistently. Wanted to find time to give him a bath, but looks like that won't happen right away. Still playing catch up from the crazy summer I had. All I really want to do today is crawl back into bed, pull the covers up over my head, and sleep for 24 hours straight. Instead I have the puppies in for their annual check-up and I have an appointment to wash away the gray hairs on my aging head.

I enjoyed my visits with my sister and niece this past couple of weeks. Wish we could see one another more often. Plan to head out to Cheyenne next summer, but most likely won't see them again before that. I have a camping trip and a rodeo on the agenda for September. Looking forward to the rodeo. Camping trip...not so much...it's getting cold now and I don't like to be cold.

I took some great shots of the sunset in Central Oregon when I was there. There were wildfires and they always leave the horizon smokey. That makes the color beautiful.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Family dynamics

I had a long talk with Boo yesterday. I needed to apologize for neglecting him this summer. I normally ride much more often then I've been, he usually gets more baths and grooming sessions, and we usually get out on a couple of trail rides. Family issues have been keeping me away from the barn a lot this summer, and we are about to have another 2-week session due to my sister arriving from Wyoming for her annual visit. I'll be spending quite a bit of time with her and my mom, and once again not so much time with Boo. This time, however, I have made arrangements for Sarah to ride and give him some time and attention. She'll work him but she will love on him too.

I also needed to apologize to him for the family dynamic that has cropped up between the animals in the family. Now, I don't take the dogs out to the barn much. Quite frankly, they live with me full time and when I'm out there I want the horses to have my attention without the distraction of the dogs...but Baythoven is out there 24/7 and sometimes he sucks up all the attention in the vicinity. You all recognize that dynamic right? The kid who is always into something whether it's trouble or illness or just a lot of time consuming activities? The one who sucks up all the energy in the house? The often times problem child that everyone obsesses over leaving the quiet, self-reliant, competent kids to fend for themselves? Well, that's what Baythoven is like, and sometimes that leaves Boo on his own while we try to deal with Baythoven's next crisis, illness, or show...

So, I needed to give Boo some undivided attention and yesterday he got it. I didn't even look at Baythoven. Boo and I had the barn to ourselves and it was all about our partnership. I must say even without my doting attention Boo is looking good. We groomed and tacked up and headed to the indoor to start our warm up. He was a little to snorty for the outdoor if no one else was going to be around. Somebody needs to remind him that he's 21.

We did our usual warm up, and I already knew that the work out was going to be about lateral movement. We started in the walk and worked up to the trot. At first he was a bit lazy so I gave him more leg...then he started to speed up. He'd give me a nice working trot down the center line and when I'd ask for the leg yield he would get FASTER and FASTER and FASTER not listening to anything I had to say on the subject.

I don't know his motivation because he can't tell me, but I suspect it could be
1. He is ticked off at me.
2. He is trying to get the leg yield over with as quickly as possible.
3. It is easier for him to do at a faster pace.

Whatever!!!! I immediately changed the focus of the lesson to one of listening to my cues. We headed down the center line at a working trot, and then I would tighten my tummy muscles and slow my seat to get the slowest trot I could get without him stopping completely. We would go a few strides and I would push him forward into a lengthening then bring him back to working and push to lengthening then bring him back to jog, etc. Once I established that he was listening I sent him down the center line and started to leg yield. I used the same cues to adjust to the tempo I wanted and he was much better.

Our canter work was short but sweet. No hesitation, just stepped into a nice smooth canter and kept the pace. I suspect he was actually happy to finish with the lateral work and do a nice easy canter ;)

All in all I spent a good 2 hours with Boo giving him my undivided attention. I talked to him the entire time, and I don't know if he feels better but I sure do.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

To hot for a flysheet

I got out to the barn early this morning. After listening to the weather forecast before I went to bed last night I knew it would be ride early or not at all. Bay was in the middle of having his hocks and front hooves injected when I got there. Apparently he was not happy about being kept in this morning when all the other horses went out. When the vet finished up she put him into a stall in the big barn with a view of the pastures and all the horses. He seemed to be content with snacking on some extra flakes of hay and watching his buddies. He will go back to his regular stall tonight when everyone comes in for dinner ;)

He'll get a little time off now and then Tuesday Sarah will ride him in her lesson. That will tell a lot. He'll be on nsaids for a couple of weeks...then we'll see how he does on his own. If he's still having problems then I'll try the Adequan. In the meantime Sarah was able to ride another horse at the barn. A very nice half Arab mare who knows much more than Bay does. She's retired from showing, but could be a nice school master for Sarah. I'm also going to have her exercise Boo for me while my family is here from Wyoming. Won't be able to get out like I want to, but I don't want him to just stand in the pasture either.

Our ride this morning went well. It was windy and I started out in the sand arena. He handled that well. He does make me work harder there. After our warm up we moved to the indoor where he is much more relaxed. Today I was just asking him to listen to my cues and try to transition while still on the bit. My next ride will be more lateral work. After the ride I let him graze for a bit while I watched Sarah's lesson. He was a very happy horse when I took him back to the pasture.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Although the weather has been weird this summer, it does FINALLY feel like summer to me. After we painted my mom's living room for her I got to come home, and I've been here ever since. Mom seems to be getting around well with a cane and my stepdad has his wheelchair.

I've been riding Boo regularly. We're still working on transitions while staying on the bit. I get them about 5 out of 10 tries, so there is still work to be done. He's looking really good weight-wise and staying sound (knock on wood). I am planning on going on a trail ride with him next week! I'm really excited about it. I'm a little aprehensive too. Boo can be a bit of a fraidy cat.

The hubby and I went out to Mollala Saturday night to the Ross Coleman invitational. It is a fundraiser for the Make A Wish Foundation. We got to see some great bull rides. Ross was there (of course) and Mike Lee, Chris Shivers, JP Mauney, Austin Meier...just to name a few. Those names probably won't mean anything to you unless your a PBR fan, but it was a fun night and there were some rank bulls there. There was a silent auction and in between the long and short rounds they had a live auction. PBR tickets in Las Vegas this coming year with VIP treatment were my favorite items. They went for about 2200 dollars. I don't know how much money was ultimately raised for Make A Wish but I think the event was a success.

Yesterday was a looonnng day and a bit overwhelming. Bay has been showing signs of unhappiness for a while now. We've had the chiropractor out because we thought he was back sore. We've had the saddle fitter out. Nothing seemed to be fixing the problem, so we had the vet do a lameness exam on him yesterday. He has some positive results in both front feet and the right and left hock. Looks like arthritic changes. Looks like hock injections are in his future. The front feet showed slight navicular changes that the vet is managing with shoeing. We are having the hocks injected on Friday. That along with some nsaid management should help the inflammation response and keep him more comfortable. It's extremely important that he gets exercise, however, not with any collection until about 5 days after the injections. Going back to normal riding will tell us a lot about how the injections are going to work...and then we will see how often they will have to be done. We talked about putting him on Adequan too. Anyone out there with experience with that? If he continues to show he may get Legend as well, but only if he shows. Same question as above...anyone have experience using Legend? All of this is overwhelming to even contemplate right now. It seems like a lot for a 13-year-old horse to endure for a few blue ribbons.

If we retire him from showing and just use him as hubby does...for a trail horse and an occasional cow sorting we might not have to do anything but give him some bute before hand to help out with pain management. It's kind of like me actually. I take ibuprofen right before I ride ;) Then again we could still end up doing the hock injections. Who knows?

He's only 13-years-old so we weren't to happy to hear this. Now we've got some decisions to make. It's devastating for Sarah because she had finally gotten to the point with Bay where she was not only comfortable showing but looking forward to it. She had to vet out of our Arabian sporthorse regionals last weekend. Something she had been working towards all season.

Ultimately what we care most about is keeping him comfortable, sound, and fit.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Getting back into a routine

Going out to the barn when I finish up here. It's a cooler overcast morning, but I do believe the weatherman is forecasting into the mid-eighties for later today. I want to get my ride in before it gets to hot. Meant to go yesterday, but that didn't work out. Monday I spent at the beach so didn't ride that day either. Sunday I did ride and things went quite well.

I am a big fan of the way Jane Savoie teaches. I have books and cds and dvds by her and listen to them a lot. I bought her "Happy Horse" series a few years ago and I've been working through it. When I said I was going back to basics with Boo in my last post Jane's series was what I was using for my guidelines. Sunday I worked on getting Boo in front of the leg, then supple, then seeking contact, then connection, and finally transitions while still on the bit. I will be working on that again today. I also use a book a friend of mine gave me called "101 Dressage Exercises for Horse and Rider." It has exercises for warm up, looseness, straightness, rider position, lateral work, improving the canter, building suspension, flying changes, developing lightness, lengthening the strides, and even a chapter of the importance of horsey fitness.

When I ride I try to evaluate where the problem areas are. Then I use the above tools to try and work on those problem areas. I try to plan ahead and know what I'm going to be working on. Afterwards I write down in a riding journal how it went. That way I can jog my memory on what the next step is or if I have to drop back and keep working on something else. Periodically I take a lesson or a clinic and get feedback from eyes on the ground. It's not a fast track but it's progression and I'll settle for that.

It's been a busy summer. I can't believe its half over already. I still haven't been on a single trail ride. It's not going to happen this weekend either because DH and I are going to be painting my mothers living room for her. I did get some time to go to Dressage at Devonwood this past week, and I also spent a day at the beach. I've had a few beers with the DH sitting in the two red adirondack chairs we put in the far corner of the yard. I'll post a picture of those today. I get to do a little reading there too. that's been nice.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A back-to-basics summer

I'm back home again and this time (God willing and the creeks don't rise) it will be for longer than just a week. The parents are doing better every day. Mom has been given permission to

walk without her walker and even to drive. The first day she over did things a bit. I think she thought she could just throw that walker away. She wasn't planning to use it for anything! She soon realized she still needed it to walk long distances. She also realized that left leg needed some time to strengthen. She ended up falling the first night off the walker. She insists she didn't get hurt, but I do think it scared her badly. I noticed after that she kept the walker a little closer. She's an all or nothing kind of gal who at 75 is being forced to learn the little nuances of recovery. One step at a time mom...one step at a time.

My stepdad is still in rehab for his amputated leg, but is getting stronger every day. I'm quite surprised and proud of how well he is doing and can only hope that he continues to work so hard once he is at home. That should be in a couple of days ;) So...things may soon settle into a workable routine for everyone involved.

I had some very nice rides on Boo when I was home last week. Three nice rides in a row to be exact. Felt really good after having the previous trip home yield two horrible rides and one good one. Don't know what this week will bring, but I decided after those horrible rides that when things were going wrong I would just drop back and work on the basics until we were both relaxed and willing. Seems to have done the trick. Rhythm, suppleness, and connection; that's the foundation for it all, and if I don't have that there is no point in trying to work on anything else.

Now that I think about it back-to-basics seems to be the rule of thumb for this summer. Back- to-basics for the parents learning to take care of the basics of life in their new state of being, and back-to basics for Boo and I relearning one anothers abilities and expectations. If it feels like one step forward and two steps back that's alright. Life is about the process way more often then it is about the destination.

Today is going to be eaten up with errands and chores that need catching up, so I won't make it out to the barn until tomorrow morning. Hope to get in a ride and do a little grooming as well. Summer is finally here and I'm up for it!!! :) I missed Sunday Stills pictures of summer. Think I'll leave you today with a picture that just cries out summer to me.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The culprit

I arrived back home late Sunday night and I'll be here all week long. I'll still be making trips over the mountain to check on things, but they will be fewer in number and shorter in duration.

I'll be heading out to the barn this morning to see Boo! I plan to spend the better part of my day out there. Oh, okay, I'll check on Bay too, although he has had much more attention this summer than Boo has had. Bay and Sarah went to Devonwood this past weekend for the Jr/young rider clinic they had out there. They had a ride for 3 consecutive days and Heather Oleson was their clinician. Sounds like Bay picked the clinic as a time to practice his rodeo moves. He can be that way sometimes. Good thing Sarah has a seat that sticks to the saddle like glue! I'm sorry I had to miss auditing, but I am so happy for Sarah that she took the opportunity and had the experience.

Sport horse regionals (region 4) are coming up the first weekend in August and Bay and Sarah will be competing there. I think Dressage at Devonwood is coming up too. Haven't set foot on a trail yet this summer but that is in my plans, and my trailering lessons have been limited to just the one I got to have this past spring. Dang!

I mentioned my stepfather in my last post, so I'll tell you that he had his surgery last Thursday. He had to have a below-the-knee amputation. He's still in the hospital and will be going for some intensive rehab soon before he can come back home. My mom is getting around quite well and I think her biggest issue at the moment is the stress from worrying about my stepdad.

If I can remember to start taking my trusty camera with me I'll start having some pictures of me catching up with all my horsey activities in my upcoming posts. In the meantime I'm going to leave you with a photo of the cactus my mom was trying to water when she fell and started this circus of a summer back the beginning of June.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I'm home AGAIN

I'm home! I'm home! I'm home! I'm home!

I have been home since Sunday evening. Spent Monday doing laundry and sleeping. Spent Tuesday afternoon at the barn. I went to my line dance class this morning, and I spent the afternoon and evening with hubby and my oldest grandson. The grandson went swimming while I tried to get a little color on my legs. The three of us had dinner out (artichoke and spinach thin crust pizza) and then went to see Eclipse. While we were having dinner on the outdoor patio a young woman stopped at the table next to us to visit with someone she knew. She had just come from the movie and told the woman it was awful just as she had expected. Hmmm....I'm thinking....do I take my movie critiques from a teenager wearing jeans and a lime green tutu or do I go ahead and see the movie for myself? Oh, and why would someone spend the money to see a movie they EXPECTED would be awful? Oh well, we liked the movie. Thought it was much better than the 2nd one (New Moon). I guess when it comes to Twilight your in one camp or the other. I enjoyed the books. I'm enjoying the movies. Not everything has to be highbrow.

As I pulled in at the barn yesterday afternoon I noticed trainer Tracey giving a lesson in the outdoor arena. She was sitting on a horse herself at the time. In the arena was a beautiful Bay horse who looked nice and floaty and buff and collected. I thought to myself. I wonder who that is? Imagine my surprise when the horse started down the short side towards me and I recognized our Baythoven. Sometimes he just takes my breath away. Sarah is doing and awesome job with him (although yesterday he was being a bit of a brat). Tracey has done wonders with the both of them. They are so much more polished. They look like they belong in a dressage arena.

I had a short ride on Boo. Probably about 40 minutes. We were a little rough around the edges. It's been awhile since I've ridden regularly. I guess we've lost our groove. I don't think it will take long to get it back once I can ride consistently. I'm going out again tomorrow morning and hope to get in a ride and a bath. He got his shoes on yesterday, so a nice trail ride will be in order one of these weekends. Not this weekend though. This weekend is all about the 4th of July and cowboy Christmas. We'll be at Molalla on Friday night and St. Paul on Saturday and Sunday. Last Saturday night we went to the Crooked River Roundup in Prineville Oregon. I'd never been to that one before.

Monday I will head back over to Central Oregon and let hubby and the my oldest daughter and grandsons hold down the fort around here. I don't know how long I'll stay. Maybe just a couple of days...maybe longer. My mom is doing much better but my step dad is facing some serious health issues. He's hospitalized right now and facing a surgery in a few weeks that will change life as he knows it. I tell ya people when it rains it pours! Be grateful for your good health and live your life to the fullest. It can all change in an instant.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Good morning blogger world! Things are looking up! For starters mom is showering all by herself as I type! She's getting around pretty well. It's just a matter of doing her physical therapy and time before she is able to be completely independent. Home health came out yesterday. They have an RN, an OC, and a PT. Yesterday it was the RN. Don't think mom will
need to see her much, but I am looking forward to the OC today and hope the PT gets here soon. She's been home a week and hadn't seen anyone until yesterday. It will be interesting to see if OC can help her organize things in the home to make herself better able to function safely. I think I've done a pretty good job, but I know there will be things I've missed and little tips I know nothing about. I expect in another week or so I will be able to make shorter less frequent visits. Maybe come every other week and spend 2-3 days doing the things she can't do. I can do that through the summer. I'm being very careful not to get to attached to those plans cuz I know God laughs at people who make plans ;)

I got to go home late Monday afternoon. My grandson had his PAMTA awards ceremony to attend. This was his 2nd year to be nominated and his 2nd year to lose out...Pinocchio won it all! I wish I'd seen it because it must have been a fantastic show! I've got to get out to more from now on. It was a lovely evening. I even put on a skirt. I only own one skirt and one dress so you can see from that bit of trivia how often I go somewhere where pants are not the norm. Grandsons next play is a rock musical! That should be interesting!!!!

On Tuesday I headed for the barn and halfway there I realized I'd forgotten my riding boots. It was warm out and I was wearing sandles...oh well, that's what muck boots are for isn't it? Luckily mine were still in the tack room, so I put them on, tacked up, and rode in the outdoor arena for a bit. I have to say I think Boo missed me as it was feeding time, and rather than eat his hay he hung his head over the stall door and nickered at me. We tried the new flysheets on both horses and they fit, so they've been going out in style all week long. If all goes well I plan to be home again the first part of this week. The farrier is coming on Tuesday and I want Boo shoed for trail rides. He needs a bath too so I hope the weather holds. My next stay at home will be almost a week long. Ah! Heaven!!! :)

Finally, haying is going great guns here and for the very first time I am having an allergy reaction. I'm not sure what is actually causing it. Never had hay affect me like this before. Popping over-the-counter allergy meds and hoping it passes. Last night I went to a weight watchers weigh in, and low and behold I have reached my goal weight! Gained a bit last week, but lost it and more this week. Wouldn't ya know I'd reach my goal here where I don't know anyone rather than back at my own meeting where everyone has watched the progress. That's okay, they'll celebrate with me on Tuesday night. They gave me a little gold star charm for reaching the goal. I think I might make a little bracelet out of it to wear to meetings and when I go anyplace where I'm going to be sorely tempted to over eat. It would make a nice reminder.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I'm still here

There is not much that is horse related going on in my life right now, but I have it to look forward to for next week. I get to go home for a few days on Monday. My youngest grandson, Shea, has been nominated for a musical theater award for his work in "Oliver" last fall. I'm going to take mom to her doctor appointment Monday morning and then head back over the mountain so I can attend the awards. Hubby and Poko have been holding down the fort for Miley and I while we have been away.

On Tuesday I intend to be at the barn for quite awhile for ridng and if weather permits for a marathon grooming session. A bath for Boo would be nice! I think the farrier is coming later in the month and it will be time to shoe in hopes that I can go for a few trail rides this year. Boo has done really well barefoot this year. He spends most of his winter that way. At this rate neither Boo or I will be getting into great riding shape anytime soon...but we will keep plugging away at it.

Mom came home from rehab on Thursday and seems to be doing alright. They still need help here, but I have high hopes that in another week or two I will be able to come home full time. She hasn't heard from her physical and occupational therapists yet, but if we don't hear by Monday we'll let the doc put the heat on them to get busy.

All in all, I am hanging in there. I am sleep deprived but no more so than anyone else in this house. I found a weight watchers meeting and went to it Thursday night. I gained 0.2 pounds. Arrggghhh! First weight gain since I started. Not much of a gain though so it could have been any number of things. Just makes my resolve to stick to healthy eating and tracking EVERYTHING that much stronger.

I'm hoping to get back to blogging about things far more interesting very soon...until then I'm reading all of your blogs and getting my horsey fix that way :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hard day

It's been a rough few days. The worse part? Convincing my mom to go to a rehab facility for a few days. I can't say as I blame her for wanting to go home instead. Those places are notoriously dismal. Filled with people who need so much help. Unfortunately, mom needs some help herself. She is walking with a walker and getting stronger every day, but she can't get herself in and out of bed and unfortunately her primary caregivers can't manage it either. So she will be spending the next 3 to 7 days on the inside.

Worse case scenario is she will be coming home next Thursday to a hospital bed. Best case is she will get out much sooner and be able to get in and out of bed on her own. She needs to work on her upper body strength and I need the time to find whatever tools she can use to help her help herself. Tomorrow I am going home for the first time since Monday. I can't wait to sleep in my own bed for a few days and to see my husband and Poko and my pony. I have Miley with me and that has been comforting.

I had to miss my own physical therapy appointment today, but have rescheduled it for tomorrow so all should work out fine. I will say it's been stressful and very very difficult to maintain on Weight Watchers through it all. I had to miss my weigh-in for the first time since I started too. I'm going to look for a meeting over here since I suspect I will need to be here for a couple of weeks.

Mom cried when she realized she was going to need to go to rehab. That was the hardest thing for today.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Just breathe

My mom and stepdad have two lovely cacti hanging on their back deck. Early Monday morning mom decided they needed to be watered. She couldn't quite reach them, so she pulled over one
of those white plastic chairs she has and climbed up onto it. The chair tipped over. I don't know how long she had been there before my stepdad found her. My mom is 75 and she broke her hip. The doctors did a partial hip replacement surgery on her Monday afternoon. When I left her in the hospital Monday night she still was feeling the effects of the anesthesia. It was a long day for everyone. Most especially my mom.

Now, I am sitting up at 3:52 a.m. unable to sleep. My mind is filled to overflowing with questions. What does this mean to her? Will she recover? What will her life be like? What will my life be like? I guess these next few days will tell a lot. They said they will be getting her out
of bed today to walk. Walk mom...so I can stop holding my breath.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fort Vancouver Show

We lucked out with the Fort Vancouver show weather wise. It was partly cloudy most of the day, but not cold. We left the barn by 9:00 and arrived at the show a couple of hours before Sarah's first ride. Checking in and settling in went smoothly. I even had time to watch a few riders before Bay went to the warm up arena. The first test was a training level test. They had a good ride and came in second place. The judge wrote on the comment card that she would like to see the poll up a bit and a little more forward...so in the first level test that is exactly what Sarah gave them. Unfortunately, the first judge didn't get to see that the rider had actually read her words and tried to adjust accordingly because they switched out judges at lunch time. I think she would have liked it had she seen it. Apparently the judge for the afternoon liked it because Sarah and Bay came in 1st with a 71%
This was a really nice and well run show. I would take my horses back there again. Miley got to go along although she had to be in her crate when we were busy and on leash the rest of the time. Still, I bet she thinks it beats being left at home. At the end of the day everyone went home happy and satisfied with the feedback of the judges and more details to work on.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sunday Stills

This wakes me up in the morning

I go downstairs and pull my breakfast out of this

and cook it up on this

I might spend some time watching this

Sometimes I'll mess around with this

or pamper myself with this

I spend a good amount of income made here

right here

When I need an afternoon pick me up I'll have this

and day dream about September when I can go to the 100th Pendleton Roundup and yell this with thousands of other rodeo fans!