Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Quilt time...

I got home last night and felt sort of emotionaly fried from all the horse stuff. Decided to take it easy and work on the Mom-in-Law/Daugher-in-Law quilt. (she did 1/2 the squares, I did 1/2 of the squares and it's up to me to put it all together) I'm so close to being done ... the pieces I have left are the long sashes in-between the rows of squares and the border that will go on the outside. The long pieces are hard for me... I stitch like a drunken sailor. I look at it and think - "All those quilt ladies are going to thing Betty's daughter in law is an alchoholic" or "Betty is going to take one look at this and put her head in her hands..." I will soldier on! No matter how ugly and misshappen it is! Once finished, I really will cherish that every piece of it was hand-stitched by women... all those hands touching it and contributing to it.... me, my mother-in-law, my mother-in-law's sister ( is that my aunt-in-law?), the women at Betty's church who stitch the quilt top into a real quilt all by hand stretched on one of those big quilt loom things. If I can just work on it once or twice a week, ignore the fact I really don't know what I'm doing and I stitch like a hyperactive monkey on crack ... I think I can get it done and shipped out for Betty and the church ladies to turn it into an actual, real, live QUILT. ***Sorry for all the bunchy posts... blogger won't let me space anything for a nice visual flow.... hate that!***

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The mare and Toe's foot

I looked at that mare this weekend. . She does have a nice mind, great conformation, went off sound at all three gaits. She's a Dutch/TB cross, a little smaller - 15.2 or 3. . I was looking into a 30 day trial on her and everything began to get too weird. I looked at insurance per the owner and she didn't like anything the insurance companies came up with. She wanted me to "get after them" to get a higher payout should something happen. It made me uncomfortable and I was afraid to have the mare in my possession because IF something should happen, I think there was a good chance the owner would come after me even with insurance in place. . There were a couple of other red flags to me. . Any time the mare didn't want to do something, she would plant herself and the owner would chase her backwards. Pretty much if the mare didn't want to do something, she would plant herself and then go flying backward. I didn't like that tactic. Not that I'm the end all, be all, knowledgeable horse person. I personally didn't like that the horse had learned that behavior and it was reinforced any time she was in contact with her human who had owned her from birth to her present day age of 8 yrs old. . The mare didn't like dogs either... which is fine. Only while tied to our trailer she was rapid fire kicking at the dogs in Rex's yard. I didn't like that she was pretty handy with her back feet. . Those two red flags and an owner that seemed a little desperate for money? No thanks. . Besides. Through the course of all this, I kept thinking to myself, "Why aren't you happy with what you have?" . I felt a little sick to my stomach thinking about bringing a new horse home, figuring out where to put them all (we've had 4 before but it was difficult come feeding time), how would everyone get along, would someone get injured with younger horse shenanigans and all the other financial/emotional obligations that go hand in hand with horse ownership. . I love my red-headed mare, I'm having loads of fun with her, I'm learning tons, she is certainly capable of the work I'm asking her. I'll still look for a better matched home for Rosso and in the meantime, everything can stay status quo. . I'm actually very, very happy and feel pretty relieved with that decision. Hmmmm. Could this be the beginning of responsible, adult, decisions? Geez - I sure hope not! grin. . . Oh! And what happened to Toe's foot? I have no idea other than after cleaning horse pens, he came around the corner with one hind leg hitched up, 3 legged lame. I took him inside and examined his foot. He cut the 2nd toe in on his left back foot from the bottom of the toe pad up along the toe to the webbing. YEEEOWCH Toe! What'd you do buddy? . I cleaned it up with betadine scrub, put some antibiotic ointment on it, bandaged it and called the vet. She came out and put a staple in it.... she said it was clean and should heal quickly. The staple comes out in 10 days and we go to a dog show in 12 days. Cutting things close ya think? He's running around sound on 4 legs as of this morning so I think things are gonna be A-OK. ......

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Groper...

I haven't talked about him in a while...

He is the little brother (by 10 yrs) of Patty who is my age and rides over at Rex's. He is truly amazing with his comprehension of human anatomy, motion, musculature etc. and works as a physical trainer but also as a physical therapist. He's given clinics at Rex's with all of us on horseback and his insight is really very amazing into correcting posture and using your body effectively while riding and he is not at all a horse person.

I worked with him for a short time for exercises to strengthen my back and then because I have the attention span of a tiny bird...

Oh! Look! Tinfoil!

I hadn't been to see him - even when my back went out so terribly a while ago. He fell off my radar for some reason.

I had a light bulb moment and saw him just before our East Coast vacation to have him work on my back so I could enjoy my vacay in hopes my back would stay strong. I went to see him today for general maintenance and to see how things were holding up in my lower back area.

I call him The Groper, and he knows I do, because while he is absolutely professional and knows his stuff inside and out... well... the first time I went to see him it was a bit of a shocker. He touches you in places where muscles connect to activate or loosen said muscles... so think groin... seat bones... inner thigh... ticklish areas.

I exclaimed surprise the first time but knew he was o.k. because to me he is still "Patty's little brother"... he told me he touches 300lb male construction workers in the same exact way. He has to touch in order to fix what's wrong.

And let me tell you - I am sold. I walked out of there feeling 100% and like a big dummy for letting him fall off my radar.

Of course, I always tell Furry Husband when I'm going to see The Groper so I can keep a clear conscious. It's not often I'm touched like that by anyone other than Furry! grin.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Saturdays with Rosso...


Isn't that book called Tuesdays with Maury or something like that?

Well, I'd gotten the feeling that Rosso was gonna test this past weekend. Just little ques I guess.... an extra tail swish when I saddle him... a funny look in his eye when I lunged him... nothing horrible or threatening or even really something to "correct".

Thought to myself, maybe I should have Rex ride him? But then immediately thought - no.

No one else can do this for me.

Rex already KNOWS how to make a bad horse be good... and I'm the one he has to ultimately listen to and respect.. Yes, Rex could ride him and "fix" anything but what good does that do for me when it comes to the bottom line? Sigh. Not an easy or fun realization and one I didn't want to admit, though I knew it, at the height of my fear issues with him.

I lunged him and he was fine... I got on him and he was fine. Not a hair out of place on his pretty red head. I reached up and scratched his neck - he leaned into my scratch. I asked him to walk on and off he went - pretty as a picture.

I walked in circles, serpentine, loops, across diagonals, changing directions...the whole time talking to Rex and going over what I'd been thinking in my head. When he's bad, he has to go forward - he has to be on the aids - I have to sit deep in the saddle - no one can do this but me.... and Rex is sort of laughing about the conversations I have with myself in a week.

Rosso is being good, no reason to think there will be any trouble and I'm trusting him and not being defensive in my riding. I'm sure she's wondering why I went over all this with her... she told me to take him up to trot.


Rosso kicked out sideways with his hind end, shook his head, skittered sideways vs. forward. I gritted my teeth determined to win this friggin battle. Little does he know Sera's been teaching me how to sit for big kicks behind with all her flying change nonsense! HA!

Rex is guiding me thru it... "hold you thighs tight against the saddle! Keep his head down - don't let it come up! Keep him moving forward! Change directions a lot to get him thinking about you!"

He was swinging his hind end like a huge barn door back and forth, light in front, skittering around being a general ass..... I spurred him once lightly with my inside heel to get him to round out and move into the outside rein. He jumped forward like I'd just electrocuted him - Rex shouts - "Good! Good correction! Remember your deep elbows - if you keep your elbows deep and he pulls against you, he will pull you INTO the saddle....if he gets you suckered into following with your hands, you don't have him and won't have him..." (Don't get me wrong, I follow and give when they are consistent in the contact, soft and working - when they are trying to to kick, buck, jig and crab, I don't give - they have to give first and then I do.)

On and on it went - me changing directions, rooting deep into the saddle (thinking yoga thoughts of weighting my ass or melting into the saddle or growing strong tree roots into my saddle) he was flinging around and jiggy and moving sideways, offering to balk and stop when I'm put the spur to him to get him going.... he'd lurch forward and try to canter with his head up in the air....there was one point when he stopped - and I couldn't get him forward. This was the only time I was scared - if he learns now that he can stop and go backwards or worse - go up in a rear - it will get worse - way worse before it gets better - I growled - "oh no you don't ... you GET forward expletive expletive expletive!" and I kicked him hard with both legs - it worked....

He began to listen. I began to give to him more. We started throwing in downward transitions to walk and back up to trot with the changes in direction ... we gave him a couple short walk breaks - I think more for ME as I was friggin dying up there but no way could I stop because if I didn't win, this would go on a lot longer next time....horses ain't stoopid.

When he would walk, trot and change directions calmly, on the aids, round and lovely SEVERAL times, with me giving on the inside rein, giving him a scritch and telling him good boy....we quit. I walked him out. He was wet from ears to tail. I was too! At the end when I would put me leg against him or give him a nudge with a spur he acted normal - moving away from the pressure nicely... not like I'd just electrocuted him... roll eyes.

I never once felt like I was going to come off or like I was unbalanced... I felt really GOOD in my mind. I felt strong and confident. Rex said she was proud of me... we had a long talk about Rosso and his I don't enjoy the dramatics. I am learning to deal with it but I don't find it funny or amusing.

We talked about that mare that came through her barn that I liked so much.... we talked about me getting thru the Rosso thing because I am determined to ... but how it's not as much fun when you aren't a fan of their personality. Horses are spendy and they live a long time. Abnormally long at our place with a mare making it to 35 and my old gelding, Brandon, alive and kicking at 33. Rosso does go to a special place in his head, tho he IS nice from the ground, ties, trailers, lunges, stands for vet and farrier, can be turned out in pasture.

So I dunno. The market is bad, I don't want to see him on a truck to Mexico... I was told he shouldn't jump cuz of his knee surgery from the track tho' after his surgery he was sound and raced again a few times but had lost his speed/drive (I don't jump so it wasn't an issue for me), he has a cataract, his front leg conformation isn't great, he's a bit over the knee tho' I've never had any soundness issues - he is friggin athletic as all git out.... Anthony took him into the mountains and trail rode the pants off that horse... down ravines, up hills, through rivers and said he absolutely loved it.

I know someone would enjoy him and think him fun and challenging. I think ultimately that would be in his best interest to be in a home with someone he can have a better relationship with. I'm not looking to make any money from him - looking for a good match.

I'm in no hurry and he is welcome to stay with me as long as he needs to until a good home I feel comfortable with comes up. Brandon won't live forever tho Furry Husband thinks he might. So maybe Rosso willl be a pasture buddy if Brandon dies before he finds a home.

We'll see what happens. It's not something I came to lightly.... but I've had him now for 4 going on 5 yrs and this whole time it's just been a knuckle biting adventure - ever since he went through our fence twice in a complete blind panic 2 weeks after I brought him home.

The mare I liked and blogged about what 6 weeks ago? She is still available and it may fall through but I'm looking. Can't hurt to look. Even if that doesn't happen - and there is a good chance it won't - finding another place for Rosso clicks and seems right to me.

I think not all horses work for everyone. He was a good gamble... same dam as my wonderful mare... gelding, which might mean calmer with no mare heat cycle issues .... I had hopes I'd luck out with him as much as I've lucked out with her. They both came to me with the same amount of training at 4 yrs of age from the track, from the same breeder.

Suppose the biggest difference is Rosso raced and Sera never did. He's had 4 yrs off to recover, fatten up with hay and pasture and to simply be a horse. He had with the same rider and training methods as Sera. I'm schooling Third Level and looking to get my USDF Bronze medal with Sera and I'm still at walk, trot and canter with Rosso. I think that says something.

I'll keep riding him for now but yeah, I'm pretty sure he'd be happier in different work with someone else. It's a hard realization to come to. The right thing isn't always the easy thing...


Monday, March 21, 2011

Mrs. Kravitz post

I found a new recipe in Cooking Light I wanted to try - fish with matchstick veggies in a parchment paper pouch - cooks each serving up perfectly in it's own little packet....supposedly.

I bought all the ingredients at the store and got home only to find we were out of parchment paper... d'oh!

Hmmm. Who of our neighbors would have parchment paper?? I called one and they weren't home... called another and they were out of parchment paper too.... sigh. Would Mrs. Kravitz have any? Doubtful I think... but worth a call. She didn't answer the phone. They NEVER answer the phone because don't have caller ID and don't know who is calling. Which could be solved by picking up the phone and answering it ... but they don't know who it is so they don't answer... circular logic.

I left a message asking if they had any parchment paper.

She called right back.

"What do you need parchment paper for? Are you re-writing the constitution?"

"Nooooooo? - I want to use it for baking... I was making dinner with fish in a parchment paper pouch."

"Oh. Well, I have some parchment paper but it has writing on it... it's from like the 1800's and has writing all over it. It's from some captain of a ship and has writing and I bought it at an you want to use that?"


"No - that's o.k. - I don't want to ruin your documents, I'll get some at the store but thanks for calling me back!"

I ended up using tin foil.

Friday, March 18, 2011

New York....

E took us to the Hudson River Walkway... pretty cool. We stopped at a local deli on the way home and met her 86 yr old hay man...he was having lunch there too. Part of E's place. She has a riding program for children in the summers - showing and summer camps etc. The pix was taken from the barn where she lives in an apt. over the barn. The main house is where her really great parents live and the property is 42 acres. Her dad is a farrier and has been involved with horses his whole life too...

Here are E's horses and ponies....

Furry Husband with E's giant dog.... oh, and a cat tail....cats like to be part of things too!

A view of the pasture from E's front door....

Wednesday was really nice - walking in the woods and all around and seeing the property, the pond, the wildlife - ducks, deer etc... I helped E feed and enjoyed meeting all the horses, hearing about their personalities, where they came from and how long she's had them. Loved her barn!
Thurs morning tho' Furry Husband and I were up, doing dishes and general cleaning up of stuff from dinner the night before while E was outside doing chores, when E comes blasting in - "I've got a horse down and need you now!" She said later, she doesn't have many people who would react that fast and come running out...

We were in our pj's, threw hat/coat/shoes on and ran out... we jump on the 4wheeler she has running and she drove off going what seemed like 100mph... thought both Furry Husband and I would tumble right off the damn thing!
We go into a stand of trees on her place where her 32 yr old horse was down... ice all around under the trees, trees all around so there isn't a place for him to get up... don't know how long he'd been down... he's shivering violently, head was in a pool of standing water, bad gum color, shocky, eyes glazing over... we are pulling him and trying to get him moved... his head would come up and smash back down on the ice so hard... the eye on the ground was like gone... his teeth were breaking with the struggling... blood all out of his mouth... Furry took the 4wheeler back to the main house to get E's dad for more muscle...

We actually got him out of the trees by tying his halter to the 4wheeler and sliding him down a slope covered with ice... it's raining, there is standing water everywhere - we are ankle deep in mud - we are all soaked - we sort of get him so he tried to get up with his front feet but there was nothing behind to get him standing - dunno if something was wrong or he was too tired to use his hind end... and he would just slide... then crash so hard back down... we were out there for 2 hrs trying everything... and it was bad, horse was so exhausted, completely soaked, shaking violently, hypothermic I'm sure... shock... blood coming out of his mouth... we had NO WAY to get him up and I think if we did, he would have crashed back down if he tried to take a step and slid - it was inevitable he would slide in the mud as we were on a slope. He was in a really bad way... it was raining, 3 more inches expected so not like we could leave him to rest for a bit and try again...tractor would get stuck out there with the mud...

E's dad left for a gun.

E headed in because she can't see/hear the gun.... this was a horse she'd owned for a long time - campaigned in eventing and jumping before retiring him. Furry Husband was going to stay and I talked him out of it... he would not want to see such a thing and wouldn't be able to get it out of his mind.... so we started walking in... we were almost in and I heard the shot from behind me... made me jump and I started crying... just so sad. Like E said, she got him thru the worst part of winter and this is how he has to hard and brutally. She was o.k. because he was 32, had a really good life.... all that... but still. Very difficult and it was a sad day for all of us.

Don't think I'll ever forget that shot behind me....

After that, her Dad came in and we took turns getting showers... my hands hurt so bad and didn't work... they stung for a really long time... touching my skin, like my chest or belly where I was warmer hurt really bad... couldn't stand to wash my hair it hurt too much... fingertips stung so bad... took awhile even after a shower where they weren't painful.... don't think I've had them hurt like that ever but we were soaked and so wet and it was cold. Didn't really ever warm up that day!

We went to a local winery and did some things to get off the property and get our minds off things.... it was o.k.... went out to dinner that night.... topic always came back to Cas and how it ended for him and how we tried everything possible....E's husband said he was glad we were there because her Dad wouldn't have tried as much and would have wanted to put the horse down right away and it would have been a lot harder on E without us there to help and try everything we could.... so ? I guess it was good we were there...?

I know it's part of having animals in your life - having that knowledge sure doesn't make the losses any easier.
The experience made coming home a lot sweeter... to see all our animals happy and healthy and I am incredibly happy to be HOME SWEET HOME!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Last stop on the East Coast...

After spending 2 fabulous days with C in NH, I mean they gave us their room while they slept with the kids! AND C's husband made some incredible lasagna... tho' one of their children is a pretty picky eater and would not try something so foreign and bizzare as "lasagna"...ewww.

So we were all calling it PizzaPasta. She was so excited for PizzaPasta and when it was put in front of her?

The little golden haired head fell into her hands with the utter devastation only a 2 yr old can know.... poor little thing! You could almost hear her thoughts..."those horrible adults and their talk of PizzaPasta... this is nothing like PizzaPasta... this is disgusting and horrible and I can't believe I fell for it..."

The next day C drove us to the tiny airport in Lebanon, NH where we rented a car for a one way drive to LaGrangeville, NY outside of Poughkeepsie.

We took a small detour in CT to eat lunch at Corey's Catsup and Mustard which was featured on the Food Network show, Diners, Drive-in's and Dives. Mmmmm..... BURGERS.... ONION RINGS....SWEET POTATO FRIES.....

The East Coast is amazing... you can drive for 5 hrs and go thru 4 states... NH, MA, CT, NY. Not so much in the Midwest where I'm from... NE goes on forever and ever and ever and ever and ever....

We found E's place with no trouble and as we pulled down her lane, I got so excited. She's sent me pictures throughout the years and it was just like everything she'd sent me - I recognized her wonderful farm - Pond View Farm! She runs a horse program for children... summer lessons, shows and horse camps.

We met our freshman year at CSU. She didn't think CSU was for her, she left and went to VA to a horse college and has been immersed in the horse industry ever since with her riding programs and horses. She events and jumps... has 20 horses, a barn, 42 acres of pastures, a riding ring and 2 GIANT dogs - a bloodhound and a 210lb mastiff.

It was so great to SEE her place live and in person after all these years.... and to catch up. I haven't seen E since before Furry Husband and I got married in 99.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sidetrack from the East Coast trip....

There have been some good posts by Laura Crum over at Equestrian Ink about trust and finding a middle of the road.

I enjoyed both articles because they really relate to the relationships I have with Sera and Rosso. I "trust" Sera a lot more because she's earned much more of it in our relationship with her behavior.


Well, I've extended the "trust" olive branch as it were but I don't trust him outside of my trainer's indoor arena just yet.

One of my friends from the barn told me, "It's like he was a bad boyfriend and now he has to earn your trust again..." and that is exactly it.

Yeah, me getting a little boogered by him didn't and doesn't help but I think we are on a good path, my confidence is increasing and I'm riding him regularly while learning how to ride this particular "delicate flower" of a horse.

I swear if he were human he'd wear black turtle necks, a beret, speak with a lisp and read poetry on open mike night. When things didn't go his way he'd scream, use lots of flailing, large, hand gestures and run for the bathroom. Not that there is anything wrong with that. It's just I have to figure out how to work with this uber sensitive soul in a way that we are both happy and confident with each other.

Our last lessons have gone swimmingly and without a hitch.

Last week during our lesson, in a 20m trot circle, he stopped suddenly without warning with his front legs stuck into the dirt, flung his head up and crabbed sideways vs. forward. I stuck on him, kicked him forward and he went on without complaint. He threatened to stop a couple more times in that same spot but didn't...

Pretty sure he's testing me to see if I'm worthy of being listened to. This is why I'm keeping him at the indoor until I feel fully confident I'm communicating clearly, I know what he has up his sleeve and that I have the skill to ride it out emotionally and physically.

We went on to canter, a great ground covering stride, where he lifted his back up beneath me and it was a cool tho maybe a bit "what the hell is that?! is he getting ready to pitch a fit?" feeling since my mare doesn't use her back nearly like Rosso does and I'm not used to that particular sensation. I kept my cool, stayed relaxed and laughed with my trainer about my thoughts afterward.

I'm not on any timeline and I really do enjoy his goofy personality on the ground - his breeder called him "Goober" - his Jockey Club name is Peanut Vendor and it truly fits him, he IS a Goober.

I know my old gelding, Brandon, isn't going to be around forever so Rosso's job to be a herdmate/buddy to my mare still stands if worse comes to worse.

However, I *think* we'll come out on the other side just fine. I say think cuz none of us really knows what this wiggly world has in store for us.

*M just called on my cell - she lives up the road from us and says I can bring Rosso up to her place to get him out and about on Sunday... we'll see how he handles a change o' scenery. grin.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Next up - Bristol, NH

Sunday, after the wedding, we took a subway to the Boston bus station and bought bus tix on the Concord Coach to Tilton Junction, NH to see a college buddy of mine.

We had some time to kill before the bus left so we went to a diner near the station.

Dirty, greasy diner.

It was wonderful!

The one waiter guy there was a big, beefy fella with a dead pan face. He sized us up and walked over, "I'd like to take your order before I head over there to talk to Britney Spears and her friends" nodding toward a table of 6 twenty-somethings...

I had the banana french toast, Furry Husband had eggs and potatoes. With each person's order the big, beefy fella placed the plate down and said, "boom."

Once full, we loaded up on the bus and rode 2 hrs to Tilton where my wonderful friend C picked us up.

We had a great time catching up - she was coming down with a nasty sinus infection but she stayed strong to show us around the area. Of course there was about 4 feet of snow on the ground and it rained the entire time so I never thought to take pix. We were mostly in the car doing our sight seeing...

Furry Husband got to meet C's husband and their little ones... 2 and 4... could they BE any cuter? And so well behaved? I don't think so... but dang... those little munchkins tired us OUT!I don't know how C does it!

Furry Husband got a sweatshirt and I got some fabulous old-timey broaches from a fabulous little thrift store. You can't find those sort of broaches out here - if they are here, they are usually old Avon pins from the 80's...

I picked one up for the Mom-in-Law... heck, maybe she'll recognize it from an Avon catalog back in her day. Ya never know.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Home again, home again, jiggity jig....

Home again, home again, like a fat pig. Isn't that how the rhyme goes? And boy howdy did I EAT!

Just got back from a little whirlwind East Coast tour.... we left last Friday and went to a wedding Saturday.

Oh man, weddings make me tear up and cry in my old, sappy age now... very moving and lovely. The wedding took place in Hull, MA and the beach was within walking distance.

Furry Husband got this shot of us collecting sea glass and worry stones....

There were lots of labs on the beach... it was like an LL Bean catalog come to life.


The wedding took place in a house and the fridge was stocked with all kinds of liquor, wine and bubbly. In the morning I was looking for milk or cream to put in my coffee and all I could find was soy milk. I don't do soy milk....

However, I did find some Godiva white chocolate liqueur.

*eyebrow raise*

It took the place of milk quite nicely that Godiva.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fried Spinach

I ate the craziest thing last night at dinner...

Fried spinach.

It is dry, paper thin and when you place it in your mouth, it melts on your tongue! It was delicious!

I asked the chef if frying it negates any and all benefit of eating spinach. He said when you fry food, things can only go 2 places... into the air or back into the oil... there is nothing in the air and the oil remains clear and clean... so, yes, I guess you get 100% of the nutritional value from spinach even if it is fried....truly a super food. grin.