Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Be nice.

I wasn't sure if I should post this. I think when you do something nice you shouldn't really blow your horn about it because it takes away from the nice act. Sort of a "see what I did? aren't I so nice?"

Takes away from the nice for someone else when it turns into something that is all about you.

So I'm not posting this for anyone to give me a pat on the back - that isn't my intent - but maybe you will go out and do something nice for someone else o.k? That is the intent of this post. See someone that needs something and be nice to them. Could be as simple as a smile and a word of encouragement.

When I was in TX a couple of teenagers approached me for money. It's a rule of mine I won't give money. Besides, usually I simply don't have it... if I have money, you can bet it's burning a hole in my pocket and it's easily frittered away.

One of the kids said - as I walked away after shaking him off - "We're just really hungry..."

I turned around and told him if he was hungry I'd buy him lunch.

I've offered to buy lunch for people asking me for money on the street before and no one has ever taken me up on it. This kid's eyes just lit up. Lit up. "Really? You will?"

It broke my heart.

He was dirty and smelly and you had to get around his mohawk and tough looking exterior. He and his friend followed me to Twin Sisters. One waited outside with their small dog. Mohawk came inside with me and I told him he could order whatever he wanted from the menu.

I had to laugh on the inside because in typical teenage fashion, he ordered 2 turkey sammiches with no sprouts, no mustard, no mayo, no tomatoes.... just meat, cheese and bread. I think that is exactly how I ordered my sammiches when I was 16. He looked up from under his eyebrows and quietly asked if he might have a drink too. I told him he should get 2 drinks. One for his friend. I told him to share with his dog o.k.?

The kid thanked me a ga-zillion times. Once woulda been plenty. The more he thanked me the worse I felt.

I don't know his story. Could be a million and one different reasons why he is on the street. Could be he was a complete scam artist. He sure didn't smell like it and he was the most polite and thankful kid so I doubt it was just a dare to see if he could get someone to buy him lunch.

Once he left with his sammiches and drinks... I shoulda felt glad I did something. Quite the opposite happened. I felt so sad. Felt like I shoulda done more... maybe I shoulda bought him 4 sammiches - some for later. Maybe I shoulda said something to let him know he was cared about. He's gotta be someone's son. Someone's grandson. Someone, somewhere is worried about that kid.

And I thought, for all the silly worry I have for paying bills sometimes, no matter how tight things get at our house. I have so much more. I have so many loving friends and my wonderful Furry Husband at home. I can recognize the love that is in my life all around me. I don't have to live on the street.

Be thankful for what you have even when times are hard and things seem pretty crappy. Share when you can with others. Be nice. K?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Texas grows 'em BIG

The TX work trip was o.k. I had to be there and there was no point in being miserable. Since I didn't have Furry Husband or horses or dogs or cats or dairy goats, I worked out each morning in the hotel's gym or would swim laps in the hotel pool.

I walked each day to Twin Sisters and it was simple and tasty. I really love that little place with it's wonderful breads, soups and salads. It is comfort through and through.
The first night there, I stopped at a place called Zinc for dinner. It's a wine bar with a great little patio (IF you wanted to sit in the humidity and heat... I'm sure it's wonderful in winter when temps drop into the 90s). Fabulous! I had the special for $18, a small salad garnished with goat cheese... you know they had my heart with the goat cheese... and a petite filet mignon with grilled asparagus and a little potato medley. I like my filets rare enough a good vet might still be able to save 'em and that filet practically melted in my mouth. I ordered a nice pinot from the Carneros region in CA and appreciated a lovely, light meal in the city.

Tuesday I went to a place called DeWeese's Tip Top Cafe. It was featured on the Food Network's Diner's Drive-In's and Dives hosted by Guy Fieri. People from work were skeptical but my high energy suckered 'em into giving it a whirl. Who doesn't like a little adventure when you travel?

I coerced 9 other people into sharing 2 taxi's and heading to the Tip Top for chicken fried steaks the size of your face. The onion rings were incredible... the fried chicken would put the best home grown Southern cook to shame and the chicken fried steak was fabulous. One woman we were with ordered chicken livers. I've never had liver in my entire life.

We passed plates around so everyone could get a sample of just about everything. I had my first liver. It was a lot more tender than I thought it would be. I figured Furry Husband had foie gras in France on a "work trip" at a French winery served by white gloved wait staff... how different could chicken livers in a Texas dive be? grin. I didn't mind them but only had a bite to see what it was all about.

We ordered one slice of each kind of pie - custard, buttermilk and chocolate ice box. Our waitress told us the pie was going fast so we ordered it before dinner. I did NOT share my chocolate ice box pie. Someone almost lost a finger trying to get a bite.

The only thing about TX that freaked me out were the crickets. Evidently there is a massive cricket migration in August? Crickets the size of your big toe or bigger and they were spastic! Jumping and pinging and flying willy nilly all over the place.

The hotel had letters about them and if you had one in your room, someone would come up to remove them. One woman at our conference came back up to her room to find over TWO DOZEN crickets leaping to and fro all over her room, bed, belongings....

If I woke up to crickets in my hair, I would definitely need to be locked away because I may never stop screaming. Every Twilight Zone sort of t.v. show or movie involving masses of insects ran through my mind.
NONE of those situations ever turned out well.

I was sort of waiting to see some gigantic 50 foot cricket peering in my hotel window at night, mandibles working and antennae waving grotesquely. It probably didn't help I was reading a Peter Straub horror novel... "lost boy, lost girl". (GREAT read by the way if you like a little spine tingle now and again)

I am so happy to be back here in my dry climate with crickets of normal size and the sort that hide in the shadows and don't want to be seen.

I love Colorado. There is no place like home.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


SO glad to be home. There is a bunch to do around our place and when I'm away, it makes me realize how much I simply love doing all the stuff we do around here.

I have lots to report! First the horse show:

The drive up the mountain to the Estes Park horse show was harrowing but I did it. My eyes were glued to my mirrors and I took lots of deep breaths to stay relaxed. I sang along to the radio and I heaved a big sigh of relief once we were there.

Sera took to the stall well. She seemed quite pleased with herself Friday milling around in her shavings and munching hay.

There was a full fledged rodeo going on in the main arena with bleacher seats under cover. Many dressage riders were NOT at all amused. Shrug. Not being to many shows, I figured it would be good for Sera to be exposed to cattle, miniature Brahma bulls, miniature donkeys and the whole kit and kaboodle.

Friday night when A and I went to the warm up rings to walk our horses around, check out the arenas and to get a good glimpse of everything for ourselves and our horses, we got stuck in the middle of the Westernaires. Westernaires are like 20 to 30 people on horseback riding in pairs very fast, in complicated patterns while holding flags. They ended practice just as we were walking past... all of a sudden we were in the middle of 20-30 horses holding flags.

I thought A's Callusaur and my Sera's eyes were going to pop out of their heads... they skooched and skittered away from the milling flags and horses only to be confronted with pens full of miniature Brahma bulls and a braying miniature donkey. They were o.k. and as the weekend went on, they barely flicked an ear at the chaos.

The hotel that night was sort of crummy. A and I were on the hide-a-bed... full on springs poking you in the back, tiny bed and I'm all cuddled up next to A whom I love but ... I'm not comfy enough to sleep with her. I lay awake until 2:30am... got up, tried to sleep in the armchair with little success. At 3:30 I found the couch cushions, fashioned a bed and tried to sleep. Oh. Wait. I'm cold... there is no extra blanket. I grabbed towels from the bathroom and used those. I think I maybe... just maybe... got 2 hrs of sleep.

The horse show. Wow. There were some pretty amazing horses there. Like 6 figure horses. Horses from Steffan Peters' barn... "and didn't he just win gold this summer?" sort of horses. It was a little depressing because there were utes riding the horses.... utes... from My Cousin Vinny? Youths.... kids maybe 15 or 16 on these amazing horses. Wow.

I was feeling a bit intimidated but there was nothing to be done. I'd ride my nice mare and see how we do.

The first day, I ran out of time. I was braiding Sera's mane and all of a sudden I had 30 min. to change into my show clothes, tack her up and warm up. Talk about stress! Once I got down to the warm up ring, I realized I forgot to wear my stock tie.... whoops. Let's hope they think I have a nice neck because there was no time for anyone to run and get it! I was in the wrong warm up ring.... the ring steward called me over and directed me to the correct ring and then about 3 minutes later it was time to show.

It felt pretty stiff and tense but hello? I was pretty stiff and tense. The next test was an hour later and I stayed on, warmed up, relaxed, let my shoulders drop from up around my ears... we rode our second test and I felt much better. A fellow competitor told me it was a nice ride. And you know what? I LOVE that person. It's nice to have a simple "good job" thrown at ya every now and again.

I untacked Sera, changed clothes and went to see scores.

My heart dropped. I scored 52% and 51%. I heard judges were scoring low. I would have been fine if everyone scored low but A had a 62%. I was happy for her - really I was - and at the same time I was horrified at my low score. I thought A and I were pretty comparable riders and to be that much behind her? What could that mean?

Did I just make a total and complete fool of myself?? Was I incredibly out of my league at this sort of show? Do I ultimately suck ass? Is it because I don't have a warmblood? I have my little $1/lb race track reject and we just can't cut it?

All the negative crap began playing in my head. Man. I hate that. It is very un-Shanster-esque to be that negative and down and frustrated. And I will admit there were even a few tears shed. I didn't do that around anyone, it embarrassed me... I removed myself and took Sera out to hand graze and be a poor sportsman out of everyone elses eye.

It all really surprised me -my reaction - that is. I didn't think I cared so much about scores... thought I wasn't very competitive minded. But man oh man, that point spread between A and me really about did me in. I don't care if A beats me as long as we are with in a point or two of each other. She beat me in Cheyenne and while it stung a tiny, teensy bit, I certainly didn't have THAT sort of reaction. I could smile and laugh and tell her she did a great job.

When I was done feeling sorry for myself, I returned Sera to her stall and went to watch A show in her next class. She did well again. I was happy for her but still feeling the sting of my earlier low scores.

I began wondering to myself if I should scratch on Sunday. After all, this day was the easier day with easier tests... but then I would have spent all that $ to enter this show for nothing and that would certainly not be "doing my best" to just give up. Talk about poor sportsmanship.

I decided to chalk up my reaction to 2 hrs of sleep and see what tomorrow would bring. I got a much better night's sleep. That was huge.

I made sure I had plenty of time to get ready. I talked to my trainer to have a game plan. We discussed the low scores of Saturday and how I really needed to keep Sera round, active, coming through. I tacked up, got on my little red-headed Sera and hit the warm up. Rex helped me with some exercises and I went into the arena determined to not make a fool of my horse, myself or my trainer.

I felt we did well. My next test was in an hour and I continued on with warm-up exercises on my own because Rex was riding in another ring. When the time came I went into the ring and I rode my test determined to do my best.

Mostly I figured I was there, it was a gorgeous day, I was on my horse, I was learning and I was riding in this big show. That should be enough right now. I was doing it and to hell with the scores. Try my best and if I don't do well, figure out why and work to fix it for the next time.

Furry Husband was there to cheer me on and my good, wonderful friends Harry and Sally also came for support. It meant the world to me.

Once done, I hopped off, untacked Sera, changed clothes and went to check scores.

Guess what?

Blue ribbons in both classes. I won. I won over every division, not just in my division... Sera and I had the high score out of everyone in both of my classes. Even the warmbloods - including the $29K warmblood from the Cheyenne show. (see? not having a warmblood? cop-out city)

Sure made me feel a whole heck of a lot better - like I wasn't a bumbling idiot out there.

Boy did I learn at that show.

I know (after a good night's sleep) that all the negative talk about Sera not being a warmblood and me sucking and me being outclassed was all a cop-out. Sera will never be a warmblood but she is a very lovely horse and as long as I ride her correctly and through, she will do well. I have to take the good with the bad and when I pay for some one's opinion, sometimes I'm not going to do well and that is o.k. (Do I sound a little like Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley? I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and dog gone it, people like me!)

I don't show very often and the more I do, the better and more relaxed both Sera and I will become... the better we will do. I gots to take the good with the bad and take it all with a grain of salt because it is a moment in time. It's my goal to show more next year. (Good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise).

That blue ribbon is hanging up in our living room because I feel like I earned that sucker with blood, sweat and tears last weekend AND I learned a whole hell of a lot about myself and about showing in a short amount of time.

What a weekend!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I'm leavin on a jet plane....

Hopefully I'll get a chance to blog while out of town in the hellacious heat of TX next week. (leaving at 7am... awesome.) I can't make any promises.

I may just melt into a puddle of sweat and goo never to be seen or heard from again.

Tomorrow I leave at 9:30 am to head up the canyon for the Estes Park Paragon horse show. I'm tailgating up with Rex and her trailer should my truck give me any fits and starts. It had a little hiccup on the way home from the Cheyenne show. Makes me nervous. It spent the day at the mechanic's...

I told Wade (our trusty mechanic), "Please don't let me end up dead at the bottom of the canyon ok?"

Wade's eyebrows went up - "Geez. Does it have to be dead at the bottom of the canyon? Couldn't it just be stuck on the side of the road?"

"Wade. There IS no side of the road going up there."

He thought for a minute - "Oh. Yeah. I guess you're right."

I'm sort of a nervous nelly as it is and I can think up all sorts of crazy "what if" scenarios. To be worried about the truck... and hauling my beloved Sera Sue in a horse trailer with said truck? Not such a great combo.

The 2 lane highway up the canyon with no pull offs, guard rails with drop you off the side of the mountain cliffs and rock outcroppings jutting out on the other side is sort of giving me major heart palpitations.

I think once I'm up there and I can pry my white knuckled fingers off the steering wheel it will be fine. I wonder if my hands will get stuck into little claws or if they'll actually relax enough by Saturday to hold the reins?

Screw remembering my tests - right now I just want to get up the mountain in one piece. THEN I can sit and go over my tests....

I'm sharing a room with 3 other people... Rex, her mom, Amber... and I'm nervous about that. What if I get a case of the night toots?

Furry Husband well knows my propensity for .. well .. my back passage and ....*ahem* .... wind. He MARRIED me. He HAS to live with me and all my oddities.

These poor people only see me now and again... they just don't know what they are dealing with. (sad shaking of my head)

It's also the first time I've stabled Sera away from home and I'm a little nervous about how she'll respond. Tho' I suppose Furry Husband is the one left at home with 2 shrieking horses calling for their herd mate.

Maybe I have the better end of the deal? The quieter end more conducive to sleep part of the deal anyway.

Have a great weekend and be glad you don't have to travel for your job. sniff.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wail...Sob... Gnashing of Teeth....

I'm going to San Antonio TX next week for a conference. Who goes to TEXAS in AUGUST?? The sadistic sickos I work with, that's who! I'm guessing temps will be "melt the soles off your shoes" sort of temps?

I'm having a full blown temper tantrum complete with wailing and kicking and throwing things on the inside.

My only salvation will be that the Twin Sisters Bakery and Cafe is .6 miles from the hotel. It is a bright shining star in Texas full of the most delicious fresh made breads, incredible soups and sammiches you could ever put in your mouf.

Oh, to think of it makes my mouf water, slobber and drool.

I told my co-workers I'm eating there every single day for lunch. I heard, "No you won't, everyone eats on the Riverwalk just outside, .6 miles is too far" or "no one will go with you because of the heat" or "you'll never make it there and back in time and you can't be late"

I don't care. I don't care. I don't care. Fingers in my ears - eyes squinched shut - shouting LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA

I'll call the cafe on break and order my lunch. I'll put on my sneakers and race walk to the cafe, sashay, jauntay. I will sit in the back of the conference savoring the fabulous lunch I bring back if need be.

I WILL go to Twin Sisters Bakery and Cafe. Every. Single. Day.

Good thing they are only open for breakfast and lunch. Otherwise my co-workers might begin to wonder about me. What?! You think they already worry about me? Oh - go on. I'd eat there for breakfast but they don't open in time.

I have the MapQuested route to Twin Sisters from my hotel next to my plane tix, I printed thier menu so I can study it and be most efficient with my orders and I have their phone number locked and loaded into my cell.

I think I'm ready.

When I arrive, they'll be closed but I'm gonna make a dry run anyway. I wanna make sure I have the route down pat. I hope I don't leave too much of a sweaty, full-on, face imprinted smudge on their front window and I don't think I'll start licking the glass.... but I really can't be held responsible.

Yes, the place is THAT good.

Sidenote: I'm so show-ignorant, the show in Estes this weekend? It's a CDI... an internationally recognized show... international judges and competitors. I think they will all be in a separate, magic, sparkling arena with spotlights and angels trumpeting from the heavens. Luckily, I'll be in the plain, ol, regular, dirt arena with the other local yo-cals far off the radar of the international FEI judges and competitors.

Do you think they take points off your test if you stop your horse, vomit over the side and continue on?

Monday, August 16, 2010

What came out of the neighbor's ass....

Do you remember when I went to Longhope's Donkey Rescue with a neighbor a while back? She ended up adopting two donkeys....

The rescue was sure to emphasize that donkeys are hardy and do NOT need anything more than grass hay. They are animals that thrive in poor areas with not much lush food. Grain and rich alfalfa hay would cause obesity and many more issues than it's worth.

Our neighbors have a good pasture, you might say - a lush pasture. The donkeys are getting FAT with a capital F. Fat, fat, water rat, fat.

And then our phone rang Sunday morning at 6AM. Never good to have your phone ring very early or very late. We shot each other worried looks as we stumbled outta bed to the phone.

It was the neighbor with the donkeys. One of the donkeys was braying, braying, braying..... she went to see what the trouble was.

Lo and behold.
There was a completely unexpected, total surprise, what in the....? little wet pile of brand new baby donkey!

Could that baby be any cuter?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Good and Bad

I think without life's lows, sadness and heartbreak we would never be able to feel the true, absolute joy, content and happiness including all those shades in between despair and joy us hoo-mans are capable of feeling.

That being said, I have some good news and some maybe not so good news today.

The good news is that Norman, that big ol' German Shepherd dog diagnosed with Wobblers? He made it through surgery and it as NOT nearly as bad as the surgeons let my friend believe. Norman is walking and moving around and he's very very happily back home.

I suppose the surgeons didn't want to get my friends hopes up or they wanted to convey how serious the surgery is?

We are all relieved the rehab is NOT so extensive and awful. He has to take it easy, no hard playing or hikes and he isn't supposed to do stairs because if he trips, he'll fall on his face and could injure the surgery site on his neck. Other than that he is back to his big lovable self. My friend is very relieved. Her heart is not broken and I am so happy for her.

Now for the not so good news... our orange tabby cat, Punkin, has gone missing.

We aren't giving up hope and we called neighbors to keep an eye out for her. Would they please check any storage sheds or outbuildings they may have opened up and closed again? Hopefully she went in to investigate, got locked in and when a door is opened she'll get out and come home.

However, we are aware she may have become part of the food chain.

We adopted Punkin 11 or 12 yrs ago from a Denver shelter when we were city people... (pay for a cat?? they are free out here in the country and there are plenty that need homes!) she has always been and indoor/outdoor kitty and she was very smart. She never went near cars, streets, traffic, parking lots. She just didn't.

When we moved to the country, we tried to make her an indoor only cat knowing about predator danger - great horned owls, foxes, coyotes, occasional mountain lions, bears, bobcats.

Punkin would have nothing of it. She got pissed... hissing and spitting and lunging across the house to attack the other cats, crying at the door incessantly... we gave up and let her out after a few miserable weeks.

The other cats in our house ran up and hugged us with relief.

We figured a short happy life for Punkin was worth way more than a long and miserable one.

Once she could go out, she turned back into the sweet Punkin we knew and loved. She always migrates indoors in winter and lives happily because it's "her" idea. Spring rolls around and Punkin goes outside, coming in at night with the chill in the air... and once summer hit, Punkin ends up staying outdoors most of the time.

She brings us voles by the thousands and follows us around singing her little Punkin song. That half purr, half meow that sounds all sing-songy as if she asking us questions or humming us a little kitty tune... she helps us clean horse pens, rolling in the dirt begging for belly rubs.

Each morning she is on our doorstep, waiting to come in and curl up on the foot of our bed to catch some uninterrupted Z's. We haven't seen her for 2 days now. I know cats can sometimes take hiatus for a while... we haven't given up hope. She IS a cagey veteran... she's been an outdoor country cat for 10 yrs now.

So please keep your fingers crossed she comes home. We'd sure like to hear her little Punkin songs again.

Now, go give all your kitties a kiss on the nose from me and Furry Husband... that is, of course, ONLY if they are the nose kissin sort. I don't want any of you to become permanently disfigured or lose an eye now....

Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Yes, we have no bananas....

I signed up for a 3 pix pkg at the show from the photographer. Others had 20 - 30 pix to choose from, I had 8. ?? What the hell?

There weren't that many I liked and only a few to choose from. Some were blurry, one I had my eyes closed, another one Sera was funky. The pix that turned out were the same - trotting across the diagonal. shrug. I'm behind the vertical probably because it was the medium and I'm still working on sitting it well. Nothing is ever perfect... we try.

I downloaded the pix from our camera I gave to a friend at the show and there was 1 pix of me that turned out. The others were too blurry. Zoom function + action = sucky pix.

I hope the video turned out. We are headed up to Rex's Sunday night to view, critique and go over our tests as the video plays.
Next and final show of the year is Estes Park Aug 21-22. There will be more entries, more money, nicer horses. We will probably not do as well, tho' it ain't over til it's over! Hope springs eternal!
It will be our 2nd show at Second Level and it's the last show of the season before Championships. Most others have been showing since May. We had to get over Sera's 8 week layup and we didn't show at all last year, you will never do as well at a show as you do at home... nerves and test memorizing and all that rigamarole.
We are doing great for all of that, Sera is wonderful and I love her. Still ... always, always, always room for improvement.
I hope to get some good info from our Sunday night video session!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tuesday Nights

I picked up Tuesday night stall cleaning at Rex's.

The Monday and Tuesday barn cleaner quit and I was happy she did. She didn't show up 50% of the time and she didn't like to clean out the pee spots so the ammonia smell and squishy shavings and puddles of pee would grow and grow until the Wednesday barn cleaner arrived.

I know it wasn't really any skin off my nose that the M-T gal didn't do her job well or didn't show up. It really bothered me tho' because Rex's barn is my home away from home and she is so generous to let me come up to use her indoor any time... it is a place where all of her regular students share our joys and sorrows about our horses and lives. We are all in it together up on the hill at her barn, and to see someone not caring about it and not keeping it clean... sorta chapped my hide.

My wonderful friend Ann (who gave me all those great perennials to transplant from her garden) took over Mondays and I took over Tuesdays. I hate to say it but I'm not sure my back could handle 2 regular stall days in the long run. Both Ann and I are pleased as punch to split the duty and it helps us pay for our riding lessons with Rex.

Barter is a beautiful thing.

Speaking of, a friend of Furry Husband's moved back to CO after spending years in Napa/Sonoma learning to make fabulous wine. He's trading us wine for goat milk to make cheese. We can't sell our milk for human consumption here in CO unless we are a grade A dairy, but heck, I think tradin' milk for some homemade hooch is A-OK.

The soft rind cheese I tried to make didn't set. grumble grumble. I had to dump it. I'll try, try again and keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Baby dog is all growed up

We took a walk this morning like most mornings with our dogs. Only THIS morning, our youngest dog, Toe, LIFTED HIS LEG TO PEE!

I thought he'd always pee like a girlie-man.... he's neutered, young, small.... and today he lifted his leg.


Tears are welling in my eyes. I'm so proud.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tests 1-4

Well I made it! I actually remembered my tests which is sort of amazing because I seriously thought I might have a problem.

I couldn't remember my tests for crap.

I'd get on my horse to practice and my mind would just go blank... nothing but white noise... "sorry, you cannot access that file at this time" sort of thing.

The fact I remembered them without having a reader is a feat all unto itself! Yay brain!
Test 1 was my best test. The judge liked me here....

My tests ever after were not as good. I know my faults and weaknesses...
Sera could always be more forward. She has an evasion of sucking back and her head tick tocks back and forth... she is not fully committed to the bridle - isn't forward enough. This issue used to be much more prevalent so we are making progress in this area even tho' it rears it's ugly head in a test when I am nervous.
Her free walks sort of suck... she doesn't go nice and long and low like she is supposed to. We work on these at home and even at home they aren't as long and deep as we'd like. She has a natural high carriage of her head... but with show nerves and my ass clamped like a vice on her back, I'm sure it's not very encouraging to relax, lower her neck and stretch/round her back.
She can always be more uphill, more round, more forward, more swinging through her back.

The judge really hated my turn on the haunches. This was the only comment that surprised me. Most things on a test you should sort of know where you need work and the judge comments shouldn't be a big eye-opener.
The turn on the haunches was a big head scratcher for me.
We've been working on them and I've been told both by my trainer and the people I clinic with that they are good. This is an area I need to address to make sure I fully understand. There seems to be ... what you might call ... a failure to communicate.

The 4th test after our medium canter my mind went completely white. It was like a snowstorm... I had NO idea where to go next.
I brought her back, rounded through the short side and then it hit me...
"D'oh! I was supposed to go down the centerline!"
I circled around and took the centerline... I was a bit flustered and overshot the 10 meter circle at I... but the rest of the test came right back. "Shew!"
Guess that file needed a little more time to download.

There was a chestnut mare showing in Adult Amateur whose scores were always higher than Sera's. There were sale sheets posted around for her. She is a 13 yr old Selle Francais mare with a description that could have fit my mare. She loads, clips, stands for the vet/farrier, showing Second Level, working on Third... $29,000.00.
I showed in the open classes, not against the mare for sale who kept getting better scores. I still got 3 blue ribbons, 1 red. If Sera had to be beaten, at least it was by a fancy, 'spensive horse!
My little red-headed mule cost me $1/lb as a TB race track reject. Grin.
Pix and possible video to follow... video is on someone elses recorder and I have to figure out how to get them.
Overall, it was a great time. I'm very happy with my scores having NEVER shown Second Level before and Sera has never been shown at Second Level before. She was a star. She got out and just did her job. Good, good mare.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Goats is helpful....

I have today off from work to give Sera a beauty treatment package and to head up to Cheyenne to ride in the indoor.... gotta see if I can sit medium trot across a diagonal in the BIG arena!

Seat don't fail me now!

Before I go, I wanted to knock some stuff out around here. Cleaning horse and goat pens... being the poop diva if you will.

While I was cleaning my mind wandered and I thought about how helpful goats are. As in:

"Oh, you wanted to scoop this pile? Would it help you if I stood right in the middle of the pile? I know the pen is big but I think it's really much more helpful if I stand in the pile so you can see where it is."

"Did you want to get the cart full of hay/straw and poop OUT of the pen? Why, let me help you with the gate and while I'm at it, I'll just come with you out the gate."

"Your cart is so nice and full of straw, hay and poop. I think it would really help you out if I jumped INTO the cart to tamp it down some for you. Here, why don't I just rest a spell, lay down and chew my cud to help it all settle and smoosh down."

"I think that cart is a little TOO full. If I put my front feet on the end of the cart I can knock 1/2 of the load out for you. See how helpful I am?"

Yes. Helpful, helpful little goaties. Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Had some negative juju dumped the other night. Sometimes I'm able to let it roll like water off a duck's back and I don't give it a second thought.

Other times?

Not so much. Sometimes I have a hard time letting it go and I feel the negative juju sucking at the bottom of my heels trying to drag me to the dark side.

Those times I try to think about things that make me happy....

1. Furry Husband - love, security, acceptance, strength

2. Baby Toe, Bequia, Sammy - our dogs - wagging tails, happiness, undying devotion, wet noses and doggie smiles

3. Sera Sue, Rosso, Brandon - our horses - snorffly warm horse breaths, big kind eyes *blink blink* , long whiskers on soft muzzles

4. Itty Bitty, Split Pea, Punkin, Mojo, Buzzer, Pudgy - our cats - warmth, purring, lithe, softness and grace

5. Blue skies and sunshine

6. Froggies in my pond and their spring songs

7. Blooming flowers, emerging plants, growth, earth, cycles of nature - spring, summer, fall, winter ... as with all things....

8. Polka dots

9. Short hair cut with no frizz and fast stylin on my head

10. Goaties

11. Dairy products

12. Happy music - GoGo's, Squirrel Nut Zippers, The Feelies, Housemartins, B52s, DaDa.... any thing snappy, jumpy and toe tappin' with no heavy message or emotional baggage.

13. Crisp autumn mornings and fall leaves

14. Fresh snow and discovering the highway of tracks all around us from the wild things we never see...

15. Gut busting laughter with tears running down your face...

16. Ice cold beer on a hot day after working your butt off

Ahhhhhh, I'm feeling so much happier already. What makes you happy? I wanna know! Spread the wealth!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pink Gorillas and pee spots

My friend in Fairbanks AK turned the big 4-O yesterday.

I had a pink gorilla deliver a balloon bouquet to her at work. I was going to go with a balloon bouquet only. And then the girl on the phone told me about the pink gorilla option.

"Oh, she'd kill me!"

"How can she kill you? You are in CO and she is here in AK?"

Alrighty then.

One pink gorilla comin' right up!

My friend called me later and told me she can say she's never had that happen at work before...

I told her well, you only turn 40 once.
(Altho' I suppose we only turn 19 once, 23 once, 7 once, 38 once and so on but just go with me here...)

I cleaned the barn last night up at Rex's. It was hot and muggy - hot is one thing but muggy is not generally experienced in CO. The flies were out and biting, my stomach was not in a happy spot and I felt like I was moving through water because of the humidity.

The hot combined with muggy, causes the pee spots in the horse stalls to hit me upside the head with an ammonia smell. I tell you, it just about did me in. I used lots and lots o' lime to take away the smell and dry up the pee spots before spreading clean shavings. I was never so happy to be DONE cleaning stalls and washing away the smells of lime, pee and manure with a shower at home.

I'm still studying my tests for the horse show this weekend, taking Friday off to go ride in the big arena in Cheyenne before the show and to "beautify" my little red-headed Sera Sue. I'll take pix and hope to get video of our rides... will post my test results too if you are interested.

Oh - and I have 3 gallons of milk in the fridge begging me to make a St. Maure soft rind cheese. My first! I'm excited ... it's all about the little things. I hope to get it started tomorrow night.

Norman, the German Shepherd Dog I posted about earlier came through his surgery o.k. yesterday. They removed some vertebrae from his neck to relieve the compression. He'll have a 3 month rehab but prognosis is generally very positive. Keep sending him your good thoughts please! He needs them!

Happy hump-day!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Good, busy weekend... cleaning goat and horse pens, trimming goat feet, cleaning house and going to The Rio for margs and Mexican food. Only to come home, check the horses and find Rosso is choking.

He had some wad of food stuff stuck somewhere in his throat so nothing could go down... lots of saliva and other food particles coming out his nostrils. And Rosso is The Anti-Stoic. Poor sensitive soul. His head was hanging low and he looked miserable.

We took him to our vet 4 doors down, she worked on him for a couple hours. She sticks a long tube down his throat to locate the jam... pumps water and some mineral oil in trying to dislodge... the wad of food was right at the entrance of his stomach. She dislodged it and due to the nature of it, she started him on penicillin and genomycin (sp?). There is a risk he aspirated some spit or feed into his lungs and could get pneumonia.

Fingers crossed there is no aspiration pneumonia!

I'm giving him penicillin shots IM (intramuscular) 2x a day and monitoring his temperature. I really don't like the IM shots and especially with penicillin and pulling back the plunger to make sure I didn't hit a vein or capillary... and procaine reaction risk and ... and.... and.....

My vet showed me the areas on his rump to give them. I rotate the shots, right side of the neck, left side of the neck, left butt cheek, right butt cheek. Round and round we go!

I've never given butt shots before. It makes me more than a little nervous I could get kicked, not that Rosso is mean and would kick me on purpose, but YOU try having a 1" needle jammed into your ass! It might make you react before you have a chance to think about it too.

So far Rosso's been a good boy and while his eyes get big, his head comes up like, "What in THE....!" He jumps to the side away from me and there is no kicking. Good boy!

I'm memorizing tests for my show this weekend... gaaaaaaaa! I'm doing Second Level, tests 1-4. Tests 1 & 2 on Sat, tests 3 & 4 on Sun. Similar movements all occurring in different spots. They begin to meld into one giant test.... circle where? Canter who? What is my name? Who are you? Why am I in Wyoming?

I'll let you know when my panic level reaches defcon 5. I think right now it's hovering between 3 and 4.

Rosso ate part of Sera's mane near the withers...it is 2" long and stands straight up. She will look like Alfalfa from the Little Rascals during our tests.