Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sera Sue

Had a lovey ride on my sweet red-headed mare last weekend.  Well - actually it wasn't lovely.... but the previous two lessons were so nice.  She was really round and deep and coming out through her withers - I could feel the forward, uphill, smooth, recycling of energy.

She is normally tense in her neck and I know I always will have to work on getting her deeper and reaching out to my hand... it's her "go-to" evasion.  Those last two lessons were so nice.  Like but-tah.  I thought - oh, maybe we've finally gotten it?  Maybe it'll be like this from now on?

Well.  No.

Last weekend's lesson Sera warmed up beautifully, round, deep, coming over her back, forward and feeling the motor from her hindquarters pushing her onward.  

And then we began shoulder-in on a circle.

She HATES shoulder-in on the circle.  HATES it. 

We pissed her off.

Her stride became choppy and very up and down like a piston, her neck came up and became stiff like rebar, while her ass swung back and forth like a barn door any time I put any leg on her.   Sigh.   We worked through it, got some decent try and moved on to flying changes.  

BIG, GIANT, 2-LEG KICKS behind with her ears back telling me just what she thought of that idea.   And when she's kicking with both barrels?   All that weight that is supposed to be shifted to her hind end?   All that weight is on her front - on the forehand - the opposite of what we are shootin' for.

The good part about our lesson tho' is that I know what it can be... I know how forward and soft and uphill she can be.  The piston, up and down, flinging around gave me a very dramatic taste of what we don't want and for me, it's good to see, feel, work through it.  It was an extremely clear demonstration of good vs. bad. 

Sure was disappointing after having the good Sera Sue... even tho' it was sort of cool to truly feel the complete difference between her good side and bad side. 

She's like that nursery rhyme... There once was a girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead... and when she was good she was very, very good... and when she was bad she was horrid.

That's my Sera Sue!

Oh - random sidenote:   I say her name affectionately like Tsera Tsue... with a bit of a T sound in front of the S.  

Mrs. Kravitz asked me last weekend, "Why do you call her Tattoo?"

I guess it does sort of sound like that... I had to explain my weird, affectionate, nick-name with my Ts in front of my Ss....

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

When does it ever turn out so right?

In our neck of the woods, hardly ever.

Now that Furry Husband is working Saturdays, I told him what I wanted to get done last weekend.  I wanted to re-seed our pastures.

I called Poudre Valley Co-op and talk to their seed man.  Priced out some dry land pasture mix and talked about seeding rate - 25 lbs per acre.  Would be nice to get the equine pasture mix... but we only have irrigation 2x a month in summer and it can be so dry.  No sense spending more money and risking a miserable failure.

Saturday, while Furry was working, I stopped to pick up 100 lbs o' the dry land pasture seed.  Figured we probably had 3 acres to do but the West pasture is pretty thin and I wanted to use more than the suggested rate there. 

Sunday we got up, read the paper, sucked down some morning coffee and headed outside to hitch up our harrow.  Furry Husband harrowed the first of three pastures on our little 5 acre lot.  As he moved to the second one, I started the hand casting seed ... throwing it left and right.  The day was cool,  cloudy, with a slight breeze and that was just fine cuz out it helped distribute seed as I scattered it into the air.

We finished all three pastures in roughly 4 hours.

That night it rained... a good, steady rain with NO wind. 

Monday morning we were all smiles, fist bumping each other and saying how awesome we were.  (as if we had anything to do with the weather)  It stayed cool and damp all through Monday with rain showers... today there is wind but it's not 40mph, more like 15 or 20mph.... think the damp, muddy seeds will stay put for the most part.

And we all wait. 

The horses look out over the pastures from their dry lots wistfully waiting for their summer salad to grow....

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You can't eat just one...

I had a dream about Lays regular potato chips.

Not just a dream but a DREAM....   I touched, looked at, tasted each chip individually.  I heard the crunch, enjoyed the salt...

I ate the whole bag.

I even scrounged all the little broken crumbs - licked my fingers from the salt and grease.  And I experienced guilt in the dream about eating the whole bag of chips.

We don't keep potato chips in the house and there were no potato chip crumbs in bed when I woke up.

It was a good dream.  All the satisfaction with no calories.

The dream was almost as good as the ones with Ian Somerhalder in them.....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bits and pieces....

I don't have any cohesive stories or news today but I'll share what is buzzin' around in my little noggin. 

We get 1 or 2 hummingbirds each year and I never really know when to put out my feeder ... I looked it up online last night at  

 Late April for Colorado.   Animal dork anyone?

I'm assuming that is when our Bullock Orioles will reappear too...  

I started thinking about the nectar feeders and springtime things arriving cuz our little pond frog came back and is singing it's little song.  Sounds like if you had a plastic comb and you ran your thumbnail over the top...

The Western Chorus Frog has been back for about a week and we've noticed another frog answering it's call just last night!  Ooooo - we'll have frogs gettin busy in our little pond.  Nice we can provide them a little spot for some boom chikka bow bow. 

No wonder I can't find the little frog no matter how hard I look around the pond ... lookit how tiny they are!

I took Toe to PetCo today to practice our heeling.  Wow.  Yeah, he isn't so focused on me when he's out in the big, wide, world.  That is a hole in his training and I just need to get him out and about more and more and more.  16 more days til Mountain States dog show.  That means 16 more times of "out in the world" heeling, getting him focused on me vs. everything else and hoping things straighten out a little bit for the show.

Good news tho' my bud Hez will be at Mountain States and she's bringing me BAKED GOODS!   I'm drooling already....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mrs. Kravitz and the road base

It's been pretty windy here - springtime with all the changes in temperature and thaw and cold - wind brings change.  There's been a couple days with 50+ mph winds... other days with sustained 40 and over 30mph winds.

It's the sand blasting your face, pushes me around (and trust me, I ain't no delicate flower), feels like you are on some desolate space planet with a red sun sort of wind.  I've had horses with ulcerations to their eye in wind like that - stuff inevitably blows around horrible and some piece of grit or something gets in there.  Luckily mine have been relatively small and easily cleared up with lots and lots of eye ointment once the vet came out to have a look-see.

Mrs. Kravitz's 2yr old horse that she rescued had an eye injury.  She called the vet we use because her vet was too far away.  Vet told her she's only had to send 2 eye injuries to the hospital in her lifetime and this injury needed to go.

Mrs. Kravitz loaded up the 2yr old and took her to CSU Vet Hospital.  They found the object - they thought it was a piece of roadbase - and it had taken out 50% of the cornea.  Poor baby horse!  Probably it got in there and baby horse rubbed her eye because it was so uncomfortable and that caused so much more damage...  she has a hard plastic cast over the eye to protect it with drainage tubes coming out.  She will be fine but no one knows how the eye will turn out at this point.

And no one is happy to hear this - it really sucks to have an injury like that to one of your loved animals!

Mrs. Kravitz is convinced that the roadbase stuck to the filly's eye due to tar.  Tar on the at least 8-10 yr old roadbase was so sticky that once it met the eyeball it STUCK there like a sticky note to your office paper. 

The day after this happened, the neighborhood was out cleaning irrigation ditches to prepare for irrigation season.  Furry Husband was working alongside Mr. Kravitz when he noticed Mrs. Kravitz driving up and down the drive in front of their house.  Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth - over and over and over again.

Furry Husband asked,  "So - Mr. Kravitz.... what exactly is Mrs. Kravitz doing?"

Mr Kravitz replied since the vet hospital thought roadbase damaged the filly's eye, Mrs. Kravitz was "packing down" the roadbase that makes up the drive with the car.

Alrighty then.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ch-ch-ch- changes....

Since it's all "official" now with both old and new employers/customers/friends/family... I can share that Furry Husband took a new job and started today.  It's been a little funny at our place because while he was in negotiations for the new job, he was also having to sell his devoted little wifey (that's me) on the new position.

It's a little scary to have him change jobs - his income and my income are both very needed to maintain our funny little lifestyle.  We don't need a bunch to keep us happy... but we do have many little and not so little furry mouths to feed, a mortgage to pay, and things in our life I'd rather not give up.

Being the "Super Salesman" he is, he set up a very good case complete with factual documentation about gas prices (he'll be driving probably 200 miles or more less per week), salary history to show me the new job's offer was within what we've been living on along with other benefits.  

He won me over.  

Probably inevitable that he would cuz when he's happy I'm happy - but it was stressful and negotiations went on for awhile.  Trust me, I had many zits pop up in the last month from stress.  Big change is just hard.  Goats don't like it, horses don't like it, dogs don't like it, I don't think cats like it either... suffice it to say us hoo-mans struggle with it as well.

He called today to let me know part of his new job as a wine buyer for the 7th largest liquor store in the state is that we'll "have" to attend wine dinners paid for by his new employer. 

Sigh.  Guess I'll "take one for the team" this Wednesday night with him at our first wine dinner.....  

*wink and saucy grin

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Had a lesson on Rosso today.  First one in a couple weeks due to spring vaccinations on one Saturday and Rex being out of town the next weekend....

He warmed up per usual on the lunge line - very obedient.  I climbed aboard.  Fine.  We walked around to warm up, kicked it up to trot and he was really good and forward and listening.  He had a short walk break and when I asked him for trot again, he did his thing... but only for a moment.  He gave it up and we went on.

Rex said we should give him a break before going to canter... I was like ... ummmm no. He is naughtier when he's had a break cuz he doesn't want to go back to work so I'd rather do the canter work now.

Unless you think we should try to get thru that b.s. again. She said no - lets go ahead and do canter work and not ask for a fight.

I started on his right side - the side that is weaker for him - it's better to do the harder stuff earlier when they are less tired vs. them being tired AND having to do difficult stuff on their hard side...  I asked him to canter and he farted and kicked and bucked.

I brought him down to trot and I have to ask again cuz now we are IN IT.   If I give up now, he knows if he makes a fuss, he won't have to do it and his "fuss" will get bigger and nastier. So I ask again - head shaking and trying to buck again... back down to trot... ask again. He cantered - it was the wrong lead but he cantered and it was decent and not trying to be a jerk.

We turned and went the other direction... again - bucking and farting when asked to canter - or attempting to buck anyway - always feels MUCH bigger when you are on them than seeing it from the ground. Took a couple tries of bringing him down to trot and re-asking and then got a canter and it was good and forward and no bullshit.

I let him walk and then we were done.  Felt good.  I didn't lose my seat at all - I stayed on - I won the battle and every time this happens I will gain more and more confidence. Told Rex - if a fearless 19 yr old comes along and wants to go galloping over hill and dale - Rosso is theirs.

In the meantime, I'll keep riding and building confidence and until he can learn to be a polite member of society under saddle he'll have to live in the indoor when he's ridden. Once he's more obedient and I know what his crap is and I feel confident I can handle it - ultimately that is my fear - that things will spiral out of control and I won't be able to handle it and bad injuries will occur to him and me.

Once I have that confidence, we'll ride outdoors again.... I'm learning and I'm good with where things are now. At least I'm on him and dealing with his stuff successfully... it will only get better. Will make me stronger and a better horse person.

Anyway - feels good to have conquered! Good lesson for both Rosso and me for different reasons! Tomorrow I get to ride my girl, Sera, and I know that is always a good lesson.... my reward for riding the brat-child.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Experimental Chicken

The woman who helps me with tracking for Toe - asked me if I wanted some raw chix.  Some company she works for does chix studies... then butcher the chix and the employees can take them home.  I said sure as long as I won't be contaminated with hormones, drugs or radioactivity... she laughed and said no.
I gave her a smallish cooler - the only hard sided cooler we have - and I came home to it packed to the gills with raw chix - blood traces - some raw chicken bits on the outside of it.  (there was a dead guy found in a suitcase in Denver and I'm imagining this as I am handling the cooler)
She told me cuz the chix was just butchered, I needed to wash it and put it on ice for 2 days to cool it.  I guess you can't put freshly butchered chix meat in the freezer or it will sour.  I thought I could just cook it all and freeze it but she said no to that too.  It has to age.  She said I don't hunt otherwise I would know this... 
I told her I'm glad we can still be friends even tho' I don't hunt.  She didn't laugh.  But I was.... on the inside.
I got home from the dog show with a bag o' ice from the gas station where I filled up... I drank a beer for courage cuz I think raw chix is totally GROSS.  And I washed off 20 to 25lbs raw chix... mostly breasts and thighs with the drumsticks attached.  There were wings but I don't really eat wings unless sometimes at a bar but know I wouldn't prepare wings.  Some of the wings have ID tags in them... like leg bands for identification but wing bands instead?  Made it that much more special. 
I put ice in the bottom of our Thanksgiving Day turkey roasting pan, put a layer o' chix parts, more ice, another layer of chix parts, covered it with tin foil and stuck it in the fridge in the bunk house.  Washed the rest, emptied out the cooler with bloodied ice water in it - cleaned the cooler - put ice in the bottom, the rest of the chix bits, more ice on top and stuck that in the bunk house fridge as well.
I put all the chix wings in the now empty ice bag, tied it shut and put it in our trash can outside. 
But cool cuz we have 20lbs o' free chix.  Can't believe I did that.  You have no idea how wiggy I am about raw poultry.  (yeah, yeah - whatever - I grew up friggin city kid eating chef boy-ar-dee from a can for meals with a single dad who didn't really cook so cut me some slack - I'm just lucky I wasn't stunted or my bones grew malformed from some vitamin deficiency - hey,  let's hear it for Flintstones chewable vitamins!)  I spent 30 min. sanitizing the area when all was said and done... bleach, bleach and more bleach.  Ewww.
Furry Husband and I bagged it up last night and stuck it in the freezer --- after I spilled bloodied experimental chix water all over the floor moving it to the kitchen for final rinse and freezer bags.   
Our dogs thought that was way cool.... mmmm.... raw, bloody, chix water! and ran to lap it up.  We put them out and I bleached the floor. 
Poor dogs... I never let them have any fun.  

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cool article...

Probably this is nothing new to you guys but my awesome friend Hez sent it over to me and it fits PERFECTLY with how I want Toe to heel at a show. 

I want others to see the great, happy, energetic little dog I know he is when I'm heeling vs. a stressed out, lagging dog that is sort of painful to watch.  I know it was just our first time out but still...

Bring on the JOY!   grin.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Toe-ster got his first Novice Obedience Leg...

Yay Toe!

Dog show was fun.  I get stressed about it and I dunno why.  I bought some Rescue Remedy from Whole Paycheck Foods cuz I heard it worked and it couldn't hurt.  Tho' I think I overdosed a little on it the first day cuz I had a pretty good headache going after 46 hits of Rescue Remedy in a span of 3 hrs.  heh.  If one dose works, 46 should be better right? 

The first day, when I called Toe to come to me, he sat at the other end of the arena with his ears perked like, "Really?  Me?!" and he stayed there.  I had to call him a second time which disqualified us but he did everything else... his stand for exam, the sit and down stay etc.  He got lots of praise and treats when it was all over!

The second day he decided he couldn't sit in the ring. 

I stopped walking while he was heeling and he's supposed to sit but instead he stood looking up at me.  He came running when I called him and instead of sitting in front of me, he stood.  And when I gave him the finish command where he goes to heel position he did it but remained standing and looking up at me.   Those were all points off, not anything enough to flunk.  Funny,  because in the stand for exam, he fell in love with the judge - began wiggling his whole body so hard - and he sat to look adoringly up at her.  The only time he sat in the ring and that sit disqualified us. 

Today his heeling was ugliest of all.... (hey, it's good to know what we need to work on!) and he stood for exam, came when called, did his sit stay and down stay to earn a leg, or score, toward his novice obedience title.  Score of 173.5 out of 200.   Yay Toe!

My nerves settled way down after the first day - I relaxed, enjoyed doing something with my little dog and I had a lot of fun talking with other people about their dogs.... 

Of course when Toe didn't do well, after we left the ring, I could "shoot" him.  He plays dead with great enthusiasm and accuracy.  Told ya we we'd be a comedy act!  Las Vegas here we come...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Headed to the dog show....

So the staple WAS causing Toe's foot distress and now that it's out, he is sound.   Since I paid entry fees for Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Terry-All dog show for Novice Obedience, I still want to go.

I found a drop-in obedience class in town Wednesday night at 6:15pm and thought it'd be good to see how he did and get him out and about.  I rushed home from work, rushed around to finish chores - loaded Toe in the car and headed to class.

Uh... yeah.

I haven't practiced in a couple weeks cuz of his foot, Toe's been on "bed rest" and taking it easy, not going anywhere or doing anything ... there were 2 other dogs there who were PERFECT... completely and totally perfect.

And Toe was like a child who just drank massive amounts of red dye #5.

He was way ahead or way behind or way wide for heeling... rarely sat when I stopped... when I called him to come? He ran right past me.... when I told him to find heel he sat in front of me looking at me like I was speaking Russian and he had never heard those words before in his life.... the stand for exam? He got so wiggle butt happy to see a perfect stranger that he sat....


Well, I will provide entertainment at least!  Hey - those other exhibitors should pay ME for making their dogs look good...   maybe I'll set out a tip jar.  grin.

*pssst - I guess blogger has a new editing tool... if ya go to the "settings" tab, under "select post editor" and choose  the new, updated editor, your posts won't run together anymore.  Sweet!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Puppy day-care...

Furry Husband is out of town and since I have to work all day, I'm using puppy day care as a supplement for our floppy 6 mos old Keenan pup. I don't wanna come home to a puppy whose energy level has been rising and building all day in a crate....only to explode all over when I get home. I dropped her off at puppy day care yesterday and today. She comes home tired... more socialized with other dogs and people... a win-win. She got a report card at the end of the day telling me she played the most with Zoey, Maggie and Lulu. Her favorite toy was a Galileo bone. She was friendly with people and listened well to instructions. I was supposed to bring her an afternoon snack but I forgot. Maybe Maggie, Lulu or Zoey will share theirs? Grin.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Things have kept me busy at home! We had a fabulous 77 degree day on Saturday with sun, glorious sun. The horses were vaccinated and had the day off... so I played in the garden. I am a beginner gardener and I like to leave all the dead stuff on my plants/flowers through the winter because I think it helps hold moisture in (when we get any moisture that is) and helps insulate against cold and wind. I dunno if I'm right or not, but it seems to work out o.k. for me. Saturday I started cutting back all the dead stuff and any remaining seed heads from my flowers were gathered and put in a ziplock baggie. I used to buy seeds - which is sort of how my very first flower boxes started - I sprinkled a mix of native/xeric seed, watered and waited until they were big before I pulled weeds because of course I didn't know a weed from something I was trying to grow. Every year I save seeds and re-sow them in that area if it's sparse or I sprinkle them in other places and it really works! And it's fun to wait and see how the area changes with whatever seeds take root ... seems to be a little different every year. I love anything aggressive and spreading... I have a larger yard and never know how to fill it. Anything that isn't bind weed or kocia weed is welcome at our place! I'm in the plains - zone 4 and maybe even 3? - dry - clay soil - lots of wind and hot, hot, punishing sun. I think my favorites are: * Mexican hat - a native that loves hot, hot, hot, full sun and it reseeds readily, is cheerful with it's long, slender cone center and pretty yellow, orange and rust colored flowers underneath like the brim of ... well... a Mexican hat!

* Blue flax - love this flower. One year, the entire flower box (8x4 foot) was ALL blue flax. It was gorgeous and I could see the blue flowers from the end of our road as I made my way home. Now they sprout up in all sorts of places from seeds blown in the wind and I let them grow wherever they show up!

* Blanket flower - they use this flower to help reclaim harsh areas along roadsides.. it's a 3-4" tall plant with daisy like flowers that are reds and yellows... I have a ga-zillion blanket flower seeds this year!

Of course Saturday was sunny and 77 but Sunday was cloudy, snowing and 30 degrees with 30mph winds. Hmph. Well I guess ya take what you can get when it's springtime... fickle season that it is.