Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Flash Back....

While we're on the sentimental streak... I stumbled onto a collection of pictures of Star (the ancient white pony)back from the beginning of our relationship.

They came from a box of photos from my Aunt's house, and as far as I can tell, they are almost entirely from the same day.  They aren't dated, but based on the level of construction going on with our property (i.e.- FENCES) I think it was pretty gosh darn close to when I first brought Star home.  Also, the massive-tack-whore in me realized upon further inspection that Star is (proudly) wearing her original saddle, but a new(er) bridle, and I am riding in giant-rubber-boots.

The first photo is me, my grandfather and Star when she was still a school pony at the barn I took lessons at.  She was a total hellion and no one else would ride her except for me (also a hellion?).  I think this was pretty close to when I "bought" her, but I just LOVE my big mushroom helmet and it's super chic rain cover...
I was always SO proud of her
As for the rest of the pics, they were the following year, and here's how I know that...
Star ONLY wore her cardboard original saddle and the bridle that it came with (the whole package including a "girth", leathers and irons was a whopping $119 at our local feed store, tack stores were for rich people) UNTIL that Christmas when we got a new (extremely fancy) raised snaffle bridle from the local tack shop (see? fancy.) My mom actually suggested the purchase when she noticed that our cheapo-feed-store bridle was dying my pony's ears and nose pink every time she sweat.  It was not a quality piece of tack.  Of course, even from the fancy tack store, there was no flash bridle in perfect pony size available, so we're sporting an only slightly ghetto flash attachment.

So I know it's after xmas of '93 (where we also received a super trendy green NZ turnout rug)... but before my birthday in '94 because that's when I replaced my giant rubber boots with some actual leather field boots as a present to myself.  I couldn't tell you who was president (ok maybe I could) or what I learned in school that year, but I can recite (perfectly) every horse related acquisition I ever got under the age of 20. 

So, based on my tack-whore-calculations, these pictures were taken sometime during the spring of 1994.  Which makes Star 20 or 21 at the time and I think she looks pretty darn good.

 What other amazing thing did we get in the spring of 1994????

A super fantastic 1972 King two-horse straight load trailer.  Complete with ancient rubber mats and plenty of rust.  But the thing was cheap, and the fact that it was Blue & White (my self proclaimed cross country colors) meant that it was meant to be mine...

I compulsively scrubbed, blasted and repaired this thing...
Star hated the thing though... hated
 Giant. Rubber. Boots.  And yes, I'm riding in sweatpants (that.. is something that I do not remember
Now for the fantastic arena that Dad built me all on his own.  When we were done with it, it had gorgeous flower beds terraced in at the short end, fencing (duh) and good enough lights to jump long after the sun went down.  But, this is it's infant stage, though clearly I didn't care.
(Star was also skeptical of this place where she had to do dressage sometimes..)
The woods beyond the ring is where we built all of our homemade deathtraps cross country fences.  I still have dreams every once in a while about galloping through them on our little trails...
We looked like this a lot in those early years...
But she could still jump the moon.
Annnnd... a few more just for good measure (and because I have them)
Getting ready in the barn (also built by Dad)
See, ghetto flash attachment, but no dyed ears/nose
Standard Pony Expression (SPE)
And my brother would shoot me if he knew I ever let this photo see the light of day again.. but I can't resist a good old fashion Holiday Photo with the PONY!!!!!  This is just before we got that new bridle.. note, no flash attachment, and I can assure some dyed pink ears under that santa hat...
bahahahaha, none of us look good here.. but look how happy dad is with his pitchfork! I think this was his favorite holiday card ever....
Such amazing memories with that little beast and that little farm.  I learned so much on those few acres.
I love this picture of us <3
As for the rest of that stuff.. the giant-rubber-boots have been long gone, the cardboard original saddle is still in my garage, and the crappy, old, leathers are still my favorite to jump with - and in fact have been used in every show of my life.. how they haven't disintegrated in the rain.. I have no idea.  The bridle went with Star up to her retirement fields and that massive mushroom helmet was thrown out after I hit a tree while galloping around in the woods (whoops).

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Soft Spots (and Merlin)

The onset of winter in Seattle always seems to trigger some sort of hormonal condition in me that leaves me in a perpetual state of PMS which shows itself most obviously in a new-found ability to tear up at nearly everything.

Exhibit A: I have nearly cemented a morning routine that has me on my little elliptical (aka, hamster wheel) for the 7:30-8:30 hour of the Today Show.  For those of you doing more productive things at that hour of the day, let me fill you in, 7:30-8:30 is after they've finished glossing over major headlines, but before the team dives deep into any issues (or hot shopping trends).  This usually means that I get a solid 30 minutes of human interest stories.... 

The firefighter who rescued three guinea pigs from a burning shed... the adorable 9 year old stricken with cancer who's collecting toys for her hospital... the family who's 6 kids all tragically died from carbon monoxide, you name it.  They are all sentimental tear jerkers. It;'s like watching the Olympics, but without any medals..

What happens with those other 30 minutes you might ask?  Commercials.  The ratio is definitely 1:1, but I'm okay with it, because this time of year the commercials are all about soldiers coming home to Folgers coffee, or blue collar husbands surprising their wife with spectacular jewelry they've been saving years for...(more tearing up).

And the kicker?  The kicker is that damn trailer for War Horse that I can't even begin to watch 30 seconds of without nearly losing it.

So, there you have it.  Me.  On the Elliptical. (in ancient, ragged workout clothes). surrounded by a box of flipping tissues.

Charming, isn't it.

In other news, this spike in sensitivity has also led to a need to foster something.  So, after sharing a giant plate of nachos (dammit) and a few margaritas (oops) The Boy and I had our hearts set on bringing a new pet into the house.  Fortunately for me, the GREAT DANE BREEDER didn't respond fast enough so I was able to pacify The Boy with a new Kitty from the Humane Society.

(Footnote, we actually DO want a great dane, and that's not an impulse buy - but I feel like maybe we should wait on a puppy until after the wedding and month long trip to Africa...)

So we had a fabulous day at the Humane Society.  We played with all sorts of kitties, and waited till we found the right guy, who was CoCo.  He was mellow, but very social... happy to be on a lap or held, but not mean when you shooed him off... (I was sold).

We got him home and after he cleaned himself up from a rather upsetting urine incident during the car ride, he set about to exploring the house for laps to curl up on.

He is quite possibly the friendliest cat I have ever had.  He's posable, floppy, let's you rub his tummy, play with his paws and roll him around.  He's dandy and he looks like a wizard, which led to his new name - Merlin.
Wizard Face
 All we know is that he's about 5 years old, was picked up as a stray about an hour south of Seattle, taken to the PAWS shelter, then transferred to the Humane Society about a month ago.  He is FIV positive, but we don't have any other kitties anymore and I have no intention of letting him outside to be Eagle Food, so I'm happy to give him a home.

So far he seems more than happy to have a home.  He's been on his best behavior and already paid for his $25 adoption fee in hours and hours of cuddling on the couch.

It's so nice to have a cat again! I forgot how much I missed their purring....

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Adventures on the Fenceline & in the Creek

I feel like I've been starting every post with a "my how times flies" but it really feels very true.. INSANE.  No idea where my life is going.

But, back to the pony.  My trip out last week was fantastic, as usual.  P looks like a woolly mammoth and autumn at the farm is just stunning.  The air was crisp, colors were gorgeous, the mountains were snow capped and the ponies furry...  Not a bad place to spend the day.  I could do with an extra 10 degrees of warmth, but the weather was nothing that a constant supply of hot chocolate and some hand warmers couldn't contend with.
I mean really, gorgeous. 

Maisy was my trusty co-pilot again, although she acted like I was taking her to a torture chamber and demanded to ride in my lap the entire way, lest she quiver and pant incessantly.  I had visions of a Brittney-style-tabloid-shot... "reckless owner endangers life of puppy.. travels unbuckled in lap!" But Maisy managed to not squirm so I figured she wasn't putting either of us in any increased peril....
stressy face
Carefully avoiding interference with my driving...
M-dog stayed in the car (and her sweater) while we saddled up for our first ride of the day.  I grabbed big 'ol Wendy, Cowboy Man took P and another owner was on her adorable hunter-turned-trail horse who's trot is beyond droolworthy.  

First order of business was to head to the back of the property and work on the fenceline.  Cowboy Man said that he's been working P on the property more and more, which is great (cause it's convenient), but a little tricky since the herd is wandering at large as well - which provides pretty stiff competition for P's attention... He said so far she had been handling it well, and expected her to continue to do so today.  (good for the mare).

we trekked over a bridge and through the fields to the back pasture/woods area.  The herd was at the front of the property grazing, so their impact on the horses was minimal.  I did notice P and Wendy "checking in" a lot more than they do out on the trail... A few whinnies, pricked ears, and attempts to look in the general direction of the group.. but nothing more demanding than that.  Once we got to work we basically asked the ponies to walk, and whoa based on our breath (like I did with P on the ground before) and wait patiently before walking off again.  This was easy as a group, but more challenging as we asked the beasts to walk off or wait away from their buddies.   The old hunter was a very good girl, P was surprisingly responsive and Wendy.  Well, Wendy was not amused.  Wendy did great when we were the first to leave... but did terribly if we were the last to catch back up to the group.

Did I mention that Wendy found herself at the farm after she taught herself to rear in order to get her way?  Well she did.

Something Miss Big Mare was keen to try again rather than stand calmly for 30 seconds away from her friends.  I must say, as much as I've enjoyed my nice long uneventful trail rides with W, it was nice to have to work a little and really feather her lightly with the exercise (however simple).

W tried a few little crow hops, and we backed all over the field in an attempt to not stand still, but eventually we got to a nice calm place where she was willing to indulge my requests of wretched stillness.  Cowboy Man had a good go with P, she was a little jiggy, and backed herself into the fence a few times, but no explosions (yay) and good progress as we worked longer.  Also, I know I mentioned it in my last (mini) post, but CM was riding Miss P in a rope halter.  with a leadrope tied to it.  Uh yeah.  NO THANKS.  but in all honestly, she was good.  I guess I'd probably be more comfortable than I give myself credit for with the halter, since P doesn't exactly "bolt".  The issue with her isn't sensitivity, it's being able to accept "pressure" from her rider.  SO the halter thing kinda makes sense I guess.  Keeps her form feeling boxed in, but still allows some nose control... something to think about going forward...

Anyway, after mastering the walk, we moved on to some trot work, still asking to go, then whoa and wait a bit.  Wendy was fussy, but we worked through it :)  P was a star and was more than happy to move forward a bit...

After about 40 minutes, the beasts got a break and we got to warm up a bit over lunch (which was an absurdly delicious pulled pork sandwich... )
P wondering where her sandwich is...
 When we finished with lunch, the beasts got pulled back in so we could load up and head to another piece of property to play in a creek.  We had four horses going.. 3 of them large, wide-butted things that take up half of CM's stock trailer.  BUT since P is starting to work with the herd more and is accepting of them moving in on her at meal time, CM decided to see how she would do in a tight trailer.  Big boy number one, and medium boy number two loaded up front in the trailer, while Wendy loaded in the back, leaving a shred of space for P to work herself into.
Uh, where am I supposed to go?

Oh.  In here...

The second Property was just around the corner and consisted of a gorgeous giant meadow along with some nice woods heading down to a creek.  The creek was not... roaring, but there was a good couple feet of water which was more than enough to make all the ponies leery of putting their toes in.  (rightfully so, it was FREEZING).

Wendy wanted to investigate a bit before sliding her giant self down the bank and into the river.  She was not pleased with the rocks, or the wet, or the cold.  But she went and stood semi-happily while the rest of us waited for P to get it together and get in.

P was, to put it nicely, not interested.  I can't tell if I blame her or not.  I cant think of an intelligent creature that would have looked at the steep muddy bank, cold rushing water and big slippery rocks and though "OOOH, me! Choose me to get in that!!"  So, I give her a little credit for her skepticism, but then she lost some points for style.

Especially because this was not P's first trip to this creek.  Apparently upon her first visit she plodded right into the water and started playing with it.  This time, she was wise to the situation and refused to approach the bank.  Cowboy Man kept her nose to the water, which meant P could back up all day long, but under no circumstance could she turn.

I finally wrestled my phone out of my pocket to take a few pics, but by the time my numb fingers could take pictures, I got one, blurry picture of the creek, and one shot of P after she backed halfway home from the creek.
blurry creek, but pretty! (and cold)
P, making a break for it.
A few minutes later, P gave up and hopped in.  She immediately set to drinking/splashing/playing with the water and insisted on getting me wet (grrrr).  We were starting to lose sunlight so we rode up the creek a bit, splashed in different parts of it, then made our way back to the trailers.

Cowboy Man did make a point of commenting on how sure-footed P felt on the rocks, which just continues to call into question how much Wobblers this mare actually has... but that is a philosophical question for another day.

Today is a day for hugging ponies, being thankful for their many lessons and throwing some elbows at the grocery store in order to get my hands on some basic Thanksgiving Day supplies.

Gobble Gobble everyone! Enjoy your holidays!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

great mare day

Had a great day with the mare yesterday, didn't take as many pics as I should have (freezing fingers and the danger of dropping iphone in a creek were slight deterrents) but I promise to give a full update shortly! But the mare was adorable (and furry!) and did all her schoolwork in a rope halter with reins attached...

I was impressed.

Anyway, I am mid panic attack over wedding details, organizing a move for my grandmother in 3 days, planning our company's 100 year anniversary and chairing a conference for a few hundred international attendees.

Oh, and brilliant me has managed to secure entirely different vendors for each event.  @$%!!.

Currently in search of more than three braincells that are touching.  back soon!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What the Cuss?

While casually flipping through the increasing torrent of tack catalogs (can you tell the holidays are coming?? sheesh). I stumbled across this:
I'm not even going to address the matching boots...
Now, I love a gorgeous "couture" (my inner fashionista sorta cringes at that use for a saddle pad) Mattes pad as much as the next tack-whore, but WHAT are they thinking?

This looks like those ill-fitting, horrid "blankets" that you used to get for your Breyer models.  They never quite fit, never quite worked and always seemed to be available in awful colors.

I'm a fan of the quarter sheet (found them quite handy for myself back East..) but this seems to be taking it a bit far.

Has anyone seen these in real life? are they less offensive than they appear?  This makes it look like some poor respectable horse got chased through a 1980's living room set and came out the other side wearing the window treatments...


Tomorrow I'm OFF TO SEE THE MARE.  It's been far too long, but a trip is being made.  Also, I'm taking the pupper because her weak little left hind seems to be getting worse.  For every detail I notice on my horses, dogs can go ages without me picking up on something... To which I mean to say that I can't remember the last time I saw the bulldog trot.  She either walks, or 'canters' and avoids loading that left hind entirely.  Poor thing.

Updates soon!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bad things happen when The Boy encourages my addictions (aka horses and anything related to horsies).

Like, for example, actually entertaining the legitimate possibility of pursuing a giant effing trailer with nicely built out living quarters.

For what?

We aren't totally sure, but we are totally sure that we should be regularly perusing the dealers and looking for good used options. (like responsible adults we quickly realized that ordering a new custom built trailer for $70k was maybe taking this concept a little too far... at least we're reasonable).

So, what are the specs?

3 Horse.  2 horse seems too small (why I say this when I only own 1 horse, I don't know) but a 4 horse seems too big (the boy has visions of camping sans horses sometimes.. and a 4 horse trailer behind his "camper" seems just unnecessary.  Plus... we only have the one (1, uno) horse).

7'3" wide at a minimum.  His truck is hefty, the replacement will be heft-ier, and P only squashes into a 7' wide trailer if she gets two spots.  (though I try to avoid making her feel bad about it)

8' LQ MINIMUM, though 10, 12 and even 13' would be ideal.  We quickly decided if the LQ is too cramped or too crappy, we'll never use it and it'll be even more of a waste of money than this notion already is. It should sleep 4 comfortably and there has to be room to sit down.

STORAGE.  I don't really understand where people put all of their crap in these trailers that only have the teeny, tiny rear tack compartment.  Even when I'm only hauling P I pack our tack room FULL of water buckets, extra wraps, first id kits, grain, etc... Those weenie rear tacks have no room for that.  So we're looking for something that either has a larger rear tack (they exist), a mid tack (Ideal) or some serious manger storage (though this requires a trailer to be at least 8' wide cause it cuts into the standing room pretty significantly.

It has to be pretty.  this might sound like my requirement, but it's the boy.  I keep finding well priced older trailers, and he keeps nixing them on account of the fact that "they look like crap." Not the most compelling argument, but as long as he's indulging me in this endeavor, I'm not going to complain.

So, what have we found?  Not too surprisingly, there's a lot of really nice used trailers out there that fit pretty much the entire bill.  I even have a couple friends who have "outgrown" some gorgeous sundowners (one with 16' of LQ! that thing is a beast...) which are enticing.

BUT, there's one that's calling to me particularly strong... it's pretty close, and seems to fit the bill.  The only worry I have is that it has manger storage, but it only 7'3" wide... that might be a little skinny, but worth a look?

well, hello
That front door isn't an escape door (which every 3 horse GN seems to have, but I never use?) it's actually a second door to the Mid-Tack, which for some reason has doors on both sides of the trailer.  Necessary? no. But I guess kinda nice if you end up tacking up away from the awning (and lawn chairs and whatever else you set up).

Weird, right? but maybe super clever..
It's a 2006 Logan, looks like it's in great shape, and the price is pretty right... now we just have to decide if we're really going to become that car-camping, horse showing couple or if we just can't give up our hotel hopping ways...

It's amazing how quickly I can rationalize a big purchase like this... let's see, sell the current trailed for $5k... one kidney, stop eating for a few weeks and BAM! we net to zero.....

Here's the full ad if you want to ooh and ahh with me....

See what happens to me when I'm not busy actually at the barn doing things with my horse???
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