December 28, 2011

She's Alive!

As I drove to the barn this afternoon, I imagined that Rose may be covered in mud and looking a wreck. I also figured that she'd be standing in the far back corner of her new giant pasture (it's at least 20 acres, if not more) and refuse to walk to the gate. However, when I arrived I found a rather clean Rose sleeping in the giant hay pile along with Roxy and Molly (the Mule), while wise old Seequin stood guard. On all accounts the introduction to the mare herd was a non-event and all four girls have been getting along nicely. That is a thing that warms my heart. I'm so used to Rose's terrible fours at this point that when something as trivial as herd introduction goes well I'm over the moon happy about it!

The Girls
Sleepy Rose, slowly realizing who I am and no doubt debating
whether or not she's happy about my return.
My cute fuzzy Montana girl. She's much fluffier this year than last!

After cleaning Rose up we worked on the people door some more, did a little longeline work, and then played chase the tiger. She instantly remembered about the flag "target" and was all about it this time. It was nice to see that she remembered the game after only doing it once before and having a two week break.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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December 25, 2011

Christmas Goodies

It's a Christmas miracle! I actually got needed and usable horse related items for Christmas for the first time ever.

My awesome father in-law got me divider bumpers for my horse trailer, my mother in-law bought me a Murdoch's gift card, and my very talented husband made me a tack trunk. The tack trunk is not yet finished, but will be shortly. I am so excited to retire my old steamer trunk. No longer will people ask me about my days as a marine (there are bumper stickers on it)!

Here is a pic of the unfinished product, as of Christmas morning:

Unfinished tack trunk and perplexed 60lb English Shepherd for scale.
It's made from maple plywood and will have maple trim around the top, lid, base, corners, a wood insert in the lid for bandages, and a sliding half shelf for odds and ends. Then it will be stained a dark color...I'm thinking cherry, but the maple is a really pretty finish in person so I'm thinking maybe keep it a light stain color. The debate on stain color rages on. The findings will be black cast iron and will include handles on the sides, hinges, lid support, front lock and corner protectors. Of course the front will don a personalized oval pewter and black name plate. I'm so excited to see it all done!

I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday, weather it be Christmas, Khanukah, Kwanzaa, or a non-holiday celebration.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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December 21, 2011

People Vacations

The best part of being self employed is the vacation package. The worst part is that work seems to follow you on your vacation. Regardless, I've been away enjoying the first "vacation" that I've had in a long while. Last Wednesday, following Rose's trim and barn horse shuffle, I headed off on a road trip to Seattle for a girls weekend and to go wedding dress shopping with my step-sister. We had a wonderful long weekend, and she found a spectacular dress. I got to indulge in all my favorite ethic food that our town lacks, and I think my pregnant belly doubled in size over the weekend. I was even treated to a chance meet up with my old friends JI & BA, who just happened to be in the city for the weekend as well. They are the friends that helped me pick up Rose on that rainy Oregon night over two years ago.

After a thoroughly fun weekend I headed to the airport and flew to Jackson Hole to meet up with my husband, dog, and in-laws for a fun filled Christmas holiday. However, prior to that I had a layover in Portland, where by complete coincidence I ran into my old friend CD, whom I hadn't seen in over three years. Even more bizarre is the fact that we were on the same flight and assigned seats next to each other! The next week of my trip revolves around tasty food, Christmas presents, and skiing. I love Jackson in the winter; such a beautiful town filled with so many wonderful friends. However, I am slightly dreading the dirty mess of a horse I will be returning home to after two weeks away. I hope she's having a good time with Roxy in their new paddock and getting to be a wild pony with no expectations.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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December 13, 2011


Today was a big day for Rose. She got her toes done this morning, and then moved to a new paddock. We played horse shuffle with all but two of the barn's horses today. The reason for the shuffle? Upcoming weaning of the foals.

For about 15 minutes, all the horses were understandably excited and running about their "new" paddocks. Rose and her former neighbor and BFF Roxy are now together in one really huge double paddock. They love each other, and playing around. I think it'll be good for Rose while she has her time off.

Rose checking out her new digs.
I love how all four feet are off the ground when she trots!

She was better behaved today than she's been in the past few weeks, so I think that perhaps the raspberry leaves are kicking in once again. Another thought I recently had is that maybe, just maybe, she can hear my baby's heart beat? Given that it is quite faster than mine, could it be that she might be getting confused and thinking that I'm excited/nervous etc. and perhaps that explains her recent behavior? Just a thought.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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December 8, 2011

Fun and Games

I've had a super busy week and haven't made it out to the barn until today. Feeling super prego and bloated I decided against riding, and instead headed out to groom Rose and just give her a once over. Instead of dealing with the cross tie drama, I decided to take her into the arena to groom her. She was stubborn about the people door again. I'm noticing that she's better about it after we've ridden, and will walk right through. When she's fresh she is more reluctant to go through the door. This kinda solidifies my current stance that the door issue is more attitude than fear. At any rate I got her through it, and then worked on "whoa" and "stand" while I groomed her. She is definitely rusty on her ground work, so it turned out to be a good exercise.

Then I decided to play a game with her.

I know that it doesn't sound like that big of a deal, but quite frankly it's the first "game" we've ever played. When I first got Rose, there was so much ground work that had to be tackled there wasn't any time for fun and games. As such, we've just never played around. Sad, I know. So after we got done grooming, I decided to try and play chase the tiger with Rose and a training flag.

She was utterly perplexed.

At first she tried to longe around me. So I stopped her and decided to try and teach her to touch the flag like a target. I don't have a clicker, not that she'd know what a clicker meant anyway, so I just said target when she touched the flag with her nose, then good girl and gave her a treat right away. She caught on pretty quick, and no matter where I put the flag she'd touch or lip it for her treat. After that I started trotting around the arena looking a fool and she'd follow the flag to try and touch it for a treat. We certainly looked pretty funny, but I think it was good for her to think outside the box and play a pointless game for no reason.

Oh, and I had fun with it too!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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December 6, 2011

What Time Off?

I felt like a million bucks by 4:30pm yesterday!

Around 2:00pm I headed to the barn to ride Rose. It had been -11ºF overnight, and was about 12ºF and when I arrived. The sun was glistening off the freshly fallen snow and Rose was busy stuffing her face with her hay pile. It was the coldest night she's ever had in her life, but seemed just fine. After a brief greeting we headed up to the barn.

Once in the cross ties she started acting up again, as she has for the past two weeks. I'm not sure why she's suddenly having cross tie issues, but I decided that I would take a different approach to the problem. Previously I've just stood there watching her, waiting for her to settle down, with little luck. This time, I brought some horse treats along, and decided to praise her and give her one every time she listened to my "whoa" "stand" command. She caught on quickly, as she is passionate about treats, and we had visible improvement. However, I am certain that we will be working on it again for a little while. After that, we tacked up and headed to the arena.

Rose is getting better about the garage door, but she still trots around a bit while I'm closing it. I imagine that too will improve with time. After a quick longe I hopped up on her. I have to say, that I'm a huge fan of longeing her without a line. The day she figures out that I don't have any control over the "circle" will be sad. For now though Rose is being great about it and my shoulder and elbow joints are very happy with our new longeing technique. Granted, this only works when no one else is in the arena.

I wasn't sure what to expect after her having two weeks off, but aside from being a bit stiff, she was great, and acted as if she's been ridden this whole time. The only difficulties I had was that in the past two weeks I suddenly started seriously showing. I actually look prego now, not just like I ate too much holiday candy. My britches didn't fit any more although I managed to squeeze my round belly in them with some discomfort and my belt was on the last notch. Honestly, it could have used another. Mounting was surprisingly awkward, even with the use of a mounting block, and my center of balance was off at the trot. Walking and cantering were a non-issue though. By the time we were done with our ride, my stress level plummeted, my endorphins were soaring and I'd gotten my ridding fix. I guess I'll just leave out that part that I'm still riding at my OB appointment this week.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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December 4, 2011

In Need of Equine Therapy

I've had a very long and exhausting weekend. My volunteer job as the IHSA coach has become a lot more involved than I originally expected, however it is very rewarding! The team did great this weekend, taking home Reserve High Point Team. At any rate I survived the weekend and our home show, but I need a stress relief. The past two weeks of not riding have driven me crazy. So, whether or not my OB likes it, I'm going to ride Rose tomorrow. I think I'll just keep riding until I'm too uncomfortable and then stop. I just can't deal with the not riding, and she's not really that unpredictable to ride. Actually, she's probably safer to deal with under saddle than on the ground. Okay...I might just be trying to justify it now...

Oh, and we found out the gender on Friday. We are having a boy!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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