Thursday, October 30, 2008

So many projects... little time! It always seems that there just aren't enough hours in the day for everything that I'd like to do. That's become incredibly apparent lately with these gorgeous, sunny, crisp fall days just calling my name, but only having an hour or two after work to enjoy them before it gets dark. It's torture I tell you! It's just not possible to squeeze chores, yard maintenance, yard/property projects and riding ponies into the small window of time that I have outside while it's light out. Something has to give, and lately it's been my pony time.

Generally speaking, giving up pony time is not a good thing. Riding horses is my therapy! Both mental and physical. It keeps me sane, relieves stress and makes up for the 8+ hours a day I spend sitting in a chair slouched over. My back can always tell when I don't ride. It starts screaming at me sooner or later if I'm slacking. It needs the exercise and balance of sitting up straight and working the horses to make up for my awful posture at work and the hour and a half minimum that I spend in my truck every working day. Luckily being on a drill team with weekly practices gets me on my horse for a good, solid two hours one night a week. No matter how much I whine and complain when it's time to leave for practice, I always feel 100% better when it's done. There is just no therapy quite like riding a horse.

The last couple of weeks I've been having tons of fun working on yard and house projects, so I've hardly had time to miss riding. Atleast not too much. I've been suddenly inspired to tackle a few projects outside before the weather turns for the year and it's been a lot of fun. We have 4.3 acres, most of which was wooded when we bought the house. There are some very odd flower beds around the house, garage and gate. The one by the garage had a lovely (at one time I'm sure) huge rose bush that was very, very dead and had the most evil thorns every where on it. That little flower bed area also had a huge, mostly dead shrubby thing. I believe my friend told me it was Juniper? Not sure, I don't know plant names. It was also prickly and evil. I decided to tackle that project one sunny weekend day while the boyfriend was off hunting for Bambi.

Unfortunately, I didn't take "before" pictures of it with the dead stuff still there, but here is what it looked like after I yanked all the crappy old dead stuff out (ok, more like waged a war against their prickly evil-ness), except the big root for the shrubby thing (don't you just love all the technical terms?) that I could not get out of the ground to save my life! The previous owners also put plastic or fabric EVERYWHERE! It has been a huge PITA (pain in the a$$) and doesn't seem to do much of anything in the way of actually keeping weeds down. The little fence was the border with the mostly dead shrub thing growing thru it and just looking gross.

I had planned to do paver blocks every where around the house. Bordering all the flower bed areas and making for a very nice look. I knew that would be some time in the future, like maybe after we win the lottery or something, since paver blocks and a nice yard just aren't at the top of the list of projects to pay for. I kept dreaming about it though, trying to picture what it will look like someday. Then one sunny Sunday I woke up and thought, rocks! I'll use rocks! Duh! We are VERY successful rock farmers since we cleared the property and I need to pick them out of the turn out area and arena anyways. Best of all they are FREE so why not kill like 5 birds with one stone?!

I like the overall look of the rock border, but I do realize that this was my first attempt and it does need some help. I have also decided that I need to fill it with some more dirt, bring it up level with the concrete, and raise the edge of the border a little bit more. I planted a couple tulip bulbs in there, but that's about it for a while. As I've mentioned, flower beds aren't at the top of the projects to pay for list. Any money we spend on things like flowers and plants, is that much less money that we have to spend on things like arena footing, stalls or our tack room. Those are definately priorities for me.

Eventually, I'd like to have some sort of tree or taller, not evil shrub against the building that will take up some of that empty wall space. Then I would like to find some sort of ground cover that is colorful and fun, but also low maintenance. I like things that bloom and I love having lots of color around the house, but I don't like yard work or things that are high maintenance. It takes away from my pony time. The name of the game for me when it comes to gardening and yard work is low maintenance!

So that was the first project that I have tackled and finished. It is very minor considering all that I have to do still, but it's a start! This is my next project. It's a strange little "flower bed" area, minus the flowers I guess, that seems to be centered around the lamp post and over all sorts of interesting, random things that I assume is wiring and stuff for the gate and lights at the entrance or may have been part of the gate at some point. I've already made a lot of progress on it, but I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to finish it before I run out of nice weather. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I love fall!

I really love fall! I think it is my favorite season. The weather isn't always ideal, but it is just so gosh darn pretty! How can you not love fall?! I do love summer to, definately prefer summer weather. I'm very much a warm weather kinda gal, but the summers just seem to evaporate. I'm always so busy with horse shows and various other activities that seem to only happen during the summer that before I know it, it's all over and I didn't really get to enjoy it much at all. Because of that, fall is my favorite season. It is beautiful and I actually get time to enjoy it! I can relax a bit and take the time to observe and appreciate all of the pretty colors and the cool, crisp weather and the wonderful sunny days, crunching thru the fallen leaves on my horse. I could do without the frosty mornings and the 6 pm (or earlier) sunsets, but other then that, it's glorious.

I also love Halloween and pumpkins and Thanksgiving and hot (usually hard) apple cider and all the other fun things that come with fall. I still love carving pumpkins and it's just not fall for me without that tradition. I wasn't terribly impressed with my carving abilities this year though. My winking pumpkin ended up looking quite a bit retarded and lop-sided. Oh well, you can't win 'em all.

I'm a huge fan of just about anything pumpkin flavored. Sadly, I moved away from my very favorite espresso stand that served up different pumpkin flavored latte's in the fall. They used real pumpkin SAUCE, not pumpkin flavored syrups, and let me tell you, you just don't get any closer to heaven in a cup! I made the Pioneer Woman's Pumpkin Cake, though I left out the whiskey, and it is officially one of my new favorite fall recipes! I'm sure it would be really tasty with the whiskey to, and I'll probably try that soon, but the venue it was going to didn't really scream whiskey whipped cream to me.

This year in particular I'm really enjoying fall in my new house. I have been really interested to see what our property looks like in the fall and I have to find joy where ever I can in my loooong commute to and from work. The fall colors certainly have not disappointed me. They are rather spectacular on my 30 mile commute. Most of the trees around our house are evergreens, so nothing terribly interesting, but there is still enough color around the property to get me out there with my camera. I am also trying to squeeze as much yard work and garden reconfiguring in as I can before the weather turns and I'm stuck inside. I've been trying to pick small projects that I can finish up easily and quickly (and for free!) that actually make an impact. I've been doing pretty good so far, but I'll talk more about that in another post. I think.

Also, I've offered to host Thanksgiving dinner for my family again this year. I'm really excited to have everyone out to my new-ish house (how long is it really new? We've lived there for 6 months now, does it still qualify???). With the expectation of hosting turkey day though comes sooo many indoor projects that I want to finish before I have everyone over. We plan to paint the whole entire interior of the house sooner or later and because of that (mostly), I have not really decorated much at all yet. We have nothing hanging on the walls. The living room is bare and boring. The kitchen is an awful mauve color that just doesn't really go with the cupboards or floor. Or any of my kitchen stuff. I swear the people that built the house must have had a million and three things hanging on the walls. I think I have pulled out no less then 50 nails/screws. FROM EACH ROOM! Good lord, don't people realize that sometimes less is more?! So it is a huge project to get the walls ready to paint. I have prioritized my list of projects to get done before the fam comes out though. Painting my kitchen and my master bathroom needs to be done. Everything else isn't horrible, just not my choice of colors, but the kitchen and my bathroom just can't wait. I have 4 1/2 weeks to do that. I think it's reasonable. I did paint the main bathroom just after we moved in and it turned out really nice! I was very pleased with it.

While I'm anxious to get going on my painting and indoor projects, I really can't bring myself to go inside just yet. I want to soak up every last minute of sun and blue skies that I can before winter. Sometimes that means just running around with my camera, that I have been unusually inspired by lately (bordering on obsessive with the photo taking actually), and taking pictures of all the pretty fall colors. I'm sure I'll appreciate them when I'm stuck inside getting stir crazy in February.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Well, I finally got some time (translation: I grew some kajones) tonight and got my butt on Mister. He was a whole lot less concerned about the whole thing then I was.

I decided that since it's been almost 8 months since he was last ridden that I would treat him as I would any other greenie and take everything slow and easy and just, basically, start over with him. I know he's had plenty of saddle time in the past, but I also know that he's been a bucker and had some issues. I really believe he's a good horse, but I think he gets frustrated easily. He's never tried to be horrible with me so I am hoping that continues. Really, really hoping.

I got him out, planning to just do some ground work with the saddle on him and see where his head was at. He is so fat and out of shape that he was puffing after just a couple laps trotting around the round pen, the bum. I got him on a long lead and did some more intensive ground work, so he was getting more exercise then I was trying to keep him going. He was so good. He's so soft and responsive and level headed when he understands what you're asking. I think he is a horse that you just have to be patient with and take baby steps and just not push him too fast. The boyfriend came out and worked with him a bit so I could observe and Mister was trying to comply, but he started fighting him after a bit. The BF was asking a lot of him rather quickly and was really getting after him for not doing it, which is usually fine, that's the way I work with Midori, but it just really didn't seem to work too well with Mister. Atleast not right now, when he is still very green and trying to figure things out. They went a couple rounds fighting each other and I told him to just get a good turn out of him and quit. I wanted him back. He fought me a little bit, but I spoke softly to him and encouraged him forward and he quickly figured out what I wanted and we got back in our groove. It was fascinating to watch that though. I'm pretty sure he really doesn't click with the boyfriend.

Anywho, we did some ground work and I smacked the saddle all over and flapped the stirrups and made sure he wasn't going to pull anything. He hardly even flinched. So I stepped up in the stirrup. Did the whole, greenie put some weight in the stirrup, see if he's going to explode thing. Again, hardly even flinched. So I got on. The BF walked us around for a bit and I patted and rubbed him all over. He could not have cared less. So it was a successful "first ride". I am happy with him. He even wanted to move off my legs when I tested that out. Wohoo! Hopefully things continue to go that well with him. Fingers crossed!

Hopefully the weather holds so I can continue to get some time on him. I know he'll be a solid horse very quickly, he just needs time. I'm excited to see how he comes along with me.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I hate it when I'm a dumba$$

Last weekend was my first experience with a reining pattern. There is a small winter series at a local club that we belong to that we have decided to participate in. I am doing the Beginner class, which is a very simple pattern that you can ride one or two handed and is the only class in the series in which a simple lead change is acceptable. For some reason, even after drilling together for 3 years, Midori and I still cannot do a flying lead change. We do some great simples, but no flies. Even watching her run around in the pasture, she'll either stay on the wrong lead or break down and do a simple. No flies. I guess that makes me feel a little better. On top of me not really knowing how to teach her to do a fly, she is lacking natural ability in the area. So basically, we are just screwed for now. Until I can find a trainer that I like to help me. Or read thru Mugwump's instructions more carefully and really put them to work. I'm generally better at learning by doing and having someone catch me when I'm not doing it correctly though.

Last Saturday was the first show of the series. I got up early and loaded Midori up to head to over there. I was on my own for this one as it was opening weekend of rifle hunting and the BF had to go try to kill Bambi. The beginner class was the first of the morning so the parking lot was pretty empty when I arrived. I had made sure my tack and boots were clean the night before and clipped Midori up earlier in the week. I got there early enough to wash her tail and one white sock and make sure she was somewhat presentable in all of her already fuzzy for winter despite being blanketed glory.

I rarely get performance anxiety as I have shown horses in one way or another for years, but for some reason this show was giving me the jitters. I guess I usually have a friend or cohort with me at shows that helps to distract me. This one, I only knew a couple of people and they were busy with their own things. So between that and it being my first "reining show" and the fact that I was going to be one-on-one with the judge instead of with my team or the rest of a performance/rail class, I was getting more nervous then I had been in a while. My nervousness of course translated to Midori and she was getting all amped up and blowing thru things. Finally they get the show started (a little late) and I'm second up. I watch the first run and it's not bad. For a beginner. At a small, very casual and laid back reining show. Certainly nothing to brag about in the reining world, but that's the reason I'm here.

As she finishes up, the gate is opened and it's my turn to enter. We walk around to face the judge. At this point I'm taking all the deep breaths that I can and actually calming down. I found it funny that I was all nervous before hand, but as soon as I walked in the gate I was fine. The pattern was so easy that I wasn't even running thru it in my head. It was beyond easy. I rode harder patterns when I was in 4-H. I had this one! The only part I had worried about at all was the right "spin" first. For some reason I have a habit (a bad one, I know) to turn left first. We get the nod from the judge and I start turning. Left. Dammit!!! I got 2 steps into it and when awww SH**!!!

I finished the rest of the pattern the best that I could. Our big fast circles were big and fast, thanks to drill and Midori being amped up. We took one more stride then I would have liked for the first simple lead change, but totally nailed the second one. We had a good change of rate for the small slow circles. The run down was alright but the stop was...just...bad. She practically fell on her face. Ugh! The back wasn't so pretty either, but it wasn't the worst we've done. I walked out decently pleased with our run, other then the stop. I KNOW she can stop better then that. I figured it was our first try and we're in the beginner class for a reason. Yes, even a reason other then the simple lead changes.

Unfortunately since I'm a dumba$$ and turned the wrong way that got us a No Score. But I looked at the score sheet and we still had pretty good marks, compared to the rest of the class. Granted it was only 4 people. I was happy with our "score", given that we would have won the class had I not been a dumba$$. Hopefully I can continue to be competitive and not have any more serious brain farts for the rest of the series! I also know now what we need to work on to improve and what I can expect going into the next show. It is a lot more laid back and casual then I expected and definately a fun and friendly atmosphere. I think it's a great way to get my toes wet in the reining world, even if my skills as a reiner are pretty much just a joke. It's fun, relatively inexpensive, a great way to get me on my horse for more then just drill and gives me something to work towards with her.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


The last of our furry four legged herd is our new-ish puppy Cheyanne. The look you see to the left is something along the lines of the look that landed her here with us. We had just moved and had a busy summer of unpacking, clearing land, fixing up the house, drill competitions, fencing and stall making ahead of us and had no intention of adding a puppy to that. For some reason one day we got it in our heads that we could do a grown up dog though. No clue why. We got to checking out local pounds and various ads for dogs available for adoption and came across a local ad for a lady that had an adult Australian Shepherd as well as a litter of 8 puppies. We figured we could atleast go check out the adult, see what Aussies were all about. We have both always been interested in them, but were a little worried about their energy level and having problems with a herding dog wanting to chase the horses every where.

By the time we arrived we were both pretty well convinced we were just going to look. We didn't really want an adult, atleast not this one, he apparently had some issues. So we arrived and all the puppies ran to the gate to greet us. Going to look at puppies without planning to buy is like going to a decent horse auction with a trailer and saying you don't HAVE to get anything. Should have known better! This little girl immediately caught my attention. I've always had a soft spot for black tri's. She was also the runt of the litter and me and runts have a pretty good history. She was the only one who's white collar didn't go all the way around her neck and the lady called it her lucky horse shoe. How cute is that?!? But really, her personality is absolutely what made me melt! She was having fun playing with her siblings, but was the first one to come when you talked to them or knelt down. She was also independent and at one point wandered off a ways and crawled thru or under the horse fence. The seller saw that and called her name and she immediately came running back and sat down when asked. At 8 weeks old. Cutest thing you ever saw! She was the happiest and sweetest puppy of the bunch, but definately had a different air about her. We just sat and watched them all for a while, just to get a feel for them and we kept catching ourselves watching her. By the time we were getting ready to leave, she had plopped herself on their big doggie bed and was out like a light. She didn't care when her brothers ended up wrestling practically on top of her, she loved her bed and was completely comfortable there. Until we knelt down to say goodbye to them. She came right over and got her share of lovins!

All the way home we were torn. She had completely stolen our hearts, but we hadn't planned on a puppy. They are high maintenance. Did we want that? Were we ready for that? Could we give her the attention she deserved over the summer while we had so many other things to do? We slept on it and woke up the next morning knowing we had to have her. She just fit us. We went and picked her up a couple days later. She has been a fabulous addition to our little family! She is always happy to see us and more then happy to keep us company while we're working outside. She is very smart and learns very quickly, which so far hasn't been a bad thing. She has gotten in trouble for chasing horses a couple times, but I think Sugar started it. I can't tell if Sugar is playing with her or wanting to run her over, but she sure knows how to antagonize the poor dog when she's trying to be good!

Cheyanne was hilarious to watch play in the dirt while we were clearing the property! She would find a clump of grass or clod of dirt and run around with it like it was the most fun thing in the entire world. Or she'd hear a mole or something in the ground and sit and listen and dig and listen and sniff and dig. She also did awesome at the drill competitions she had to come to with me while dad ran the dozer at home. She had a blast playing with all the little kids I was able to pawn her off on when I had a class. She was great when she had to stay in her kennel in the trailer by herself at night. She became more comfortable with a couple of the other team dogs that were there and by the end of the weekend was even wanting to play a little bit.

It has been really fun watching her grow and become more social. The first time I took her to the vet she hid between my legs as much as she possibly could or tried to climb in my lap or right up around my neck when she was on the table. The last time we were there, she walked in confidently and tried walking right up to a HUGE Husky that was waiting there to say hi. I had to say no-no on that one. Mom wasn't quite comfortable with that. He looked nice enough but he could have practically swallowed her whole!
I also love it that she lets me take tons and tons of pictures of her and never complains. She is a very entertaining subject!

So even though we absolutely had not planned on having her, I'm SO glad we do!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Our spicy little red head...

The last of our big four legged herd is Sugar. We just got her late last winter. She is a 3 year old registered Quarter Horse mare and she is definately a red head! She is spicy and energetic, but she loves to work, has a very good mind and is cute as a bug! The boyfriend is having a lot of fun on her and I try to be only a little jealous. He does let me ride her every once in a while and she is very nice! He started chasing buffalo on her at the beginning of summer, while I was in the midst of drill season, and then she was the one that he showed at the small cutting shows we went to. She will also be the one he'll be on for the reining series this winter. She is definately still a baby and needs lots more exposure and wet saddle blankets, but she has a great start on her.

We ended up getting her from the same sale we got Mister from, one year later. The sale is just a great excuse for us to take a weekend away. It is a fun place to be, seeing all the horses and checking out the vendors. We took the trailer with us again and ended up getting our tax refunds the day before we were headed down there. Once again, we went down there with the attitude that we didn't NEED to get anything, we had Mister in training and I had my Midori, and though we did practice a lot more restraint, neither of us were surprised to have a horse with us coming home. I also made it thru the whole sale without getting sick. Wohoo!

So Friday we got down there, checked into our hotel and headed to the sale yard. We had already hunted thru the sales book, I guess when you buy a horse, they start mailing you the books. The bastards. We had a good idea of some horses that we wanted to check out and started wandering around the pens. Since it was still early, there were a lot of empty pens but one aisle of the sale barn was mostly full already and we kept going back to look at them. They were all from the same barn and all very nice looking, the smaller cowhorse build, really good condition, just gorgeous.
The next morning more of the pens were full and we started seriously checking horses out and circling or X'ing them out in the book. Eventually we decided that since we really did not need to get a horse, we should just pick ONE that we would spend a little more money on, set a top dollar and wait for that horse. So that's what we did. We ended up back in that barn aisle with all the really nice horses and picked our favorite out of them. The trainer was there hanging around that morning so we chatted with him for a little while, got the scoop on our pick and watched him tack up and jump on. We were both VERY impressed with him. He was very quiet and gentle and you could tell the horses liked him and wanted to please him, but judging by the barn he was with and how well mannered the horses were, I'm sure he could be firm and discipline as needed as well. I think he sold the horse for us as much as anything else. I know there are all sorts of stereotypes with horse auctions and I know I probably sound rather naive, but I really do consider myself a pretty decent judge of character most of the time and this is the kind of guy that I'd want working with my horses!
Our pick's number was later in the day so we wandered around the pens, visited vendors and watched a few horses go thru the sale ring, itching to bid. It was torture seeing horse after horse that we would have been happy to take home go for low prices while anticipating our pick going way over our top dollar. A few of the other horses from that barn came thru and sold for decent prices. One that was our second favorite came thru just a couple horses ahead of our pick and just was not getting a bid. It was sad and we kept giving eachother "the look". The look that says, damn, this sucks, we should just bid! But we didn't. We held back.
Finally our pick came thru. Immediately there were bids. It slowed a little so we bid. We still had a little cushion before our top dollar that we had set. Eventually the auctioneer was just looking at us. But it seemed that we were bidding against eachother or something! Turns out, our biggest competition in bidding was sitting right behind us! Luckily, she stopped bidding on our very last bid. If she would have gone just one more, we would have been over budget and had to say no. After an eternity, the auctioneer said "SOLD" and our number. We both looked at eachother and went holy sh**! We got our horse! I was a little conflicted about winning the bidding war though. We had set our top dollar and stayed under it (barely) but we had, of course, hoped to not actually spend that much. Our tax refunds certainly could have gone to better use! But at the same time, we got our number one pick out of the whole sale! We got our paperwork all taken care of and went to see our new pony. She really is the cutest thing ever. We talked to the trainer some more and admired our new little red head. Complete with the mandatory white sock.

Sunday we headed home and got her all settled in with her new buddy, Midori. Of course they did their little mare thing across the fence for a while, but seemed to get along alright. We also noticed that Sugar had basically no ground manners or patience. That's easy enough to fix though, no biggie. The barn she came from is a big reining barn in the next state. From everything we hear, they have a great reputation, so that is reassuring. They had been shooting for the futurity with Sugar, which I'm not such a huge fan of, but apparently she was a flunky. She was also completely neurotic. She could not stand still for 2 seconds. Not in her paddock, not tied, not even while she was eating! She would take a bite of food, walk a lap around her paddock, come back for another bite and off for another lap. I was mesmerized by her though. Even watching her pace around her paddock, the way she moved and used her butt and would get to a corner, stop and do an amazing rollback, she always moved with her head nice and level and her back rounded. She is naturally very athletic. Eventually we turned her out in the big pasture and watching her run around, she would change leads like nothing, lay tracks in the wet grass and turn on a dime.

We decided to just let her hang out for a while, see what it's like to be a horse. After all, she wasn't even three yet. We worked on some ground manners and she spent lots of hours tied. She must have heard some fabulous things about China at some point, because she is absolutely determined to get there one of these days. This summer we have completely fallen in love with her. She is always willing to pose for me when I head out there with my camera. Which I do quite a bit. She is great to ride, light, responsive...though I usually get to ride after the boyfriend has warmed her up and gotten the edge off. She can be quite the energizer bunny! I did ride her for a bit at a drill practice and she did awesome! She is really fun! I can't wait for her to grow up a bit and see how she does as she matures.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Next up - Mister

Well, really his barn name is Mister Horse. I couldn't let my boyfriend name him Horse so I stuck Mister on there and that's what I call him. He's a registered 4 year old Quarter Horse gelding. We picked him up at an auction and he is our project horse that all too frequently gets ignored. Funny story about BF has always insisted that he isn't a fan of bays. If you are going to have a bay, then it just looks silly if they have white on their face. They have to be solid bay. I swear we had that discussion on the long drive to the auction. So when he called to tell me he had purchased a horse and that I was going to laugh at him when I saw the horse I was intrigued. But first, the story of the auction and why he had to call me to tell me he had purchased a horse...
We got down there Friday evening for the 3 day sale. We walked thru the pens and checked out the horses that were there, made notes on ones not to bid on for various reasons and ones that we were interested in to. We watched some of the horses go thru the sale and took notes. We wanted to find out what sellers had reputations, good or bad, and anything else that could help ensure we get a good horse, not something doped up and crazy or lame.

Being at an auction went against everything I believe in when horse shopping! I admit that it is nice to see that many horses in one place and get it all over with, but I'm one that likes to take my time shopping, ask lots of questions, go out atleast a couple times, take the horse off the property, possibly to a drill practice or on a trail ride and get a good feel for the horse, the owner, the care and training it's had, everything I can. We did go down there with the attitude that we didn't HAVE to buy anything. But we had a 3 horse trailer with us. And it was an auction. Seriously, we were that naive. Besides that, this was to be the BF's horse so I was mostly just there for moral support and to help sort thru the hundreds of horses.

So after watching the Friday evening horses go thru we headed back to the hotel to formulate a game plan for the next day. We were going to go thru the book, mark the horses that interested us so that we could check them out in the pens before hand and then only bid on the horses that we had approved. Saturday morning we did just that. Except as the morning wore on I started to not feel so hot. I had to get out of the arena and get some fresh air. Turns out I had a nice little flu bug. I spent most of the rest of the day sleeping in the backseat of the truck, getting up only to go throw up behind the trailer or run to the portapotty. Ugh! I did make it in to check on the BF a couple times, see how he was doing, but I never lasted long in there. He had bid on a couple horses, but we had also set top dollars that we were willing to pay for them and they had all gone over. Finally around 5 pm I was totally sick of sleeping in the truck and felt like the major barfing fits had passed so I went in to see how BF was doing and told him I was going to head back to the hotel. He was going to stay for a while longer, he had a couple more horses going thru that he was interested in, so I was just going to come back later and get him. Well, about 8:30 I got the call. He had bought a horse and boy was I going to laugh when I saw him. He knew I'd like him. So I headed out to pick him up and check out this horse. It was really dark when I got there so I couldn't see the horse all that well, but I could definately see that he was bay and had a nice little blaze and the same white sock that Midori has. I did laugh at him. It has since become a joke that we can't buy a horse unless it has that little white sock. Upon closer inspection in the light on Sunday, we realized that he had a pretty gnarly club foot and a rather interesting shoe job, but other then that looked good. It also turns out that BF hadn't actually been able to check him out in the pens before he came thru the sale ring. He was flashy and did a nice stop and spin and lope so BF was sold. Oh well, a club foot isn't the end of the world, plus there was plenty of room to put a little time and tlc on this guy and turn him around if we choose. We weren't too worried about it.

When we brought Mister home, I was still boarding at the small barn that was just up the street from where we were living at the time. He would haul him up there and we would ride together a couple times a week. He was a nice enough horse, but we soon found out that he's a bit of a bucker. Not just little crow hoppy half assed bucks either. When I say he's a bucker I mean he could put the stock at rodeos to shame if he's feeling good. The BF first figured this out when he tried riding him at home on one of his days off. He got him tacked up and went to get on and barely had his leg over him when he spun around and took off bucking up the whole 10 acre property, dumping BF in a nice muddy puddle on his way. Oh man. The second time, we were riding at the barn. I was exercising one of the barn owners horses and heard a big commotion behind me. I looked back and he was loping, but it was not a very coordinated lope and with all the commotion the horse I was on started getting skittery. By the time I got her under control and turned around to see what was going on, BF was on the ground and Mister was running around the other side of the arena. Luckily BF bounces quite nicely and wasn't hurt. He got back on and Mister was fine the rest of the ride. He is also the most rock solid trail horse I've ever seen and a total dream on the ground. We figured out that it seemed like he just didn't quite understand how to lope period, let alone while packing some weight. We did lots of ground work with him, getting him comfortable moving in a circle and loping. I rode him when I had time and he was always good for me. He only thought about bucking on me once and he got as far as pretend spooking, ducking around the corner and going to drop his head before I got him pulled around. He was great for me other then that. Everything was going great until we got rid of the boarders in our pasture so I could bring Midori home, then I got busy with drill season, BF broke his leg and I got my Arab back from a lease and put her up for sale, on top of doing all the house and yard work and keeping my poor couch-bound BF company and helping him. Poor Mister got ignored. Then we got in to winter and poor Mister got ignored some more. Finally we decided that since I was not going to let BF back on him because his leg was still recovering and I just did not have time to ride him and Midori, we would put him in training, see if we could do something about the bucking. We found a trainer close by that sounded like he could handle it and get some good time on him, had a good reputation in my horsey circle of people and a decent place with healthy, happy looking horses and off he went. During this time, we had also decided that we wanted to start seriously looking into buying a house and since I had sold my Arab, we wanted to get another horse to. 3 just sounds like such a nice number of horses.

Mister came home from training still green, but doing well. Apparently he had the trainers number and bucked to high heaven with him, but when I rode him he was fine again. Maybe it's just guys he doesn't like. Or maybe it's heavier people. Who knows. If only horses could speak! While he was gone we had gotten another horse. Soon after he came home we found a house that we loved and made an offer on. I barely had time to ride Midori, let alone a greenie that possibly bucked so Mister got ignored some more. Anyways, I have a million excuses as to why no one has been on him in 6 months now and while they all seem totally legitimate to me, they are really just totally lame. I need to just suck it up and get on the poor thing. He loves his weekly grooming sessions and is always happy for a scratch when I feed. He is such a sweet heart and a total love bug with tons of personality. BF has talked about sending him packing more than once, but I won't let him. Not yet. I have a good feeling about him, just have to get past the crap.

Here he is enjoying sunbathing over the summer. He's such a goof ball!

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Today I think I'll introduce my first (and favorite, but shhh...don't tell the others) baby, Midori. I've had her for a little over 3 years now. She is a 6-ish year old unpapered quarter type mare. I got her as a trail broke, barely knows anything horse, but she was just the perfect fit for me. I had been horse shopping for over a year and hadn't found anything that was totally floating my boat. As soon as I saw Midori's picture on Dreamhorse I knew I had to have her. Unfortunately the road to actually owning her was a little long and bumpy. I made an offer on her the first day, went out to look at her a few more times, including putting a down payment on her and negotiating a satisfactory contract that included a pre-purchase exam and 30 day trial period with a money back gaurantee. Long story short, she failed her pre-purchase exam miserably. I still brought her home for lack of time and agreed to return her the next day. I put her in a small pasture with my boyfriends horse and the day I was to return her, she had gotten out of that pasture into the larger herd/pasture and had a huge gash on her foreleg. Seller wanted to make sure it wasn't going to be a scar or anything to worry about before she took her back so I kept her while it healed. In that time I decided that I was totally head over heels for this horse and could not take her back. I talked the seller down in her price and gave up the 30 day money back gaurantee and I had my new partner in crime. Drama, drama, drama! I love how fate stepped in and I got "stuck" with my perfect dream horse.

We have definately had our share of ups and downs together. When I started working with her, trying to get her ready for drill, she loved to run off with me. Made for some interesting rides at the snobby recently turned hunter jumper barn I first boarded at. Ick! A couple months into boarding there a spot opened up at the cozy, small back yard boarding facility that I had really wanted to go to. Once we were there, things really started falling into place for us.

There was the one clinic that I still laugh about. It was just a short, Tues evening, free 10 minute lesson with big shot trainer kind of clinic. He was sort of focused on flying lead changes, but when he asked me what I wanted to work on I said, well, basics...brakes and steering, just plain control, I have nothing. (This is when we were still boarding at the super snobby HJ barn and not getting anything accomplished because I was afraid of the snotty looks and rude comments, not that I have anything at all against HJ's, but my experience at this particular barn was not a good one) So Big Shot Trainer says ok, lets see what we've got, go lope a circle around me. Me: um, really? Lope a circle??? BST: ya, just a little one, right around me, I want to see what she does. Me: ooook, you asked for it! So I put Midori into a lope and get about 3/4 of a circle done when she decides that she wants to head back to where the other horses are standing. I was fighting her to go right and continue on the circle, she wanted to go left and visit her buddies. She ended up going straight to the wall and I won, she ducked right and stopped. Luckily I held my seat, though I'm not sure how. So BST says, interesting. Lets try it again, this time yank on one rein with all you've got. So I head out in my circle. As we come around to the side her buddies are on I try to keep her in the circle but she is having absolutely none of that this time. I grabbed the inside rein with both hands and pulled with everything I had, she just braced against me, dropped her shoulder and plowed right into the group of horses. Interestingly, she went around the side of them and ended up rear ending one of them. So after we collect ourselves a little bit, make sure everyone is ok, we head back over to the BST. I know he was laughing at me. The screaming "oh SH**" as we slammed into the horse might have had something to do with that. So he gets me doing some bending exercises, at the walk. He said we needed to go back to basics, work on our steering, control and brakes. Duh! Isn't that what I said at the beginning?!?

Anyways, rear ending that horse definately still haunts me, but also reminds me just how far I've come with Midori since those days. Once we moved to the new boarding place, we really started clicking and things came along very quickly. I think that clinic was in December or January and I drilled on her that season and she is a fabulous drill horse. I have had 3 wonderful drill seasons on her and this summer we started working buffalo and went to two cutting shows. I just did the green/green class, which doesn't even require going into the herd, but I won my first time out. Wohoo! Got 3rd at the second show, both out of a class of 9. That was a great way to start! This winter my bf and I are going to do a small reining series, again in the beginner class that doesn't even require a flying lead change, which is good because that one eludes us. Midori has turned into my pretty darn broke awesome horse that I love to death and can atleast take a stab at just about anything on.

After drilling for 4 years and watching all the horse/rider partnerships and getting to know everyone, you realize that horses are generally a pretty accurate reflection of their riders. It's actually really comical to watch any horse and rider team that has spent some time together. If the horse is crabby, pins his ears or threatens to kick, you can pretty much bet the rider is a bit crabby to. The laid back dopey horse that just does what he's told, goes where he's supposed to and doesn't give a crap about the horse pinning his ears and threatening next to him also has the most laid back rider that is just a bystander with the team, doesn't really make any waves or have any input, but does what she's told and helps when it's needed. Midori is generally pretty good natured and tolerant, but has no problem pushing an unruly or new horse around, showing them how to drill and occasionally gets a little bitchy and pins her ears if she's just fed up with someone threatening her or being dumb. Hmmm....sounds familiar. Plus she is a strikingly gorgeous dark brunette, which just *has* to be an accurate representation of me to. LOL But really, check out this mane...
This pic is from last spring, I'm pretty sure it's even longer now. I keep it braided because it's really high maintenance and gets incredibly tangled with just one shake of her head. This summer it was whipping me in the face as we were hauling butt thru our drills. I think I need to do something about it, but I love it long and don't want it to look unnatural. I'm certainly not going to pull it, though I think that look could work on her. I guess we'll fit in nicely at the reining shows this winter though, huh? :)
Alright, since I've effectively wasted my whole morning now bragging about my pony, I suppose I'll publish this and get to work cleaning my house. Or something...

Friday, October 3, 2008


Well, here I am. I finally did it. I have created a blog. Yikes! I've been completely addicted to reading various blogs over the past few months and kept thinking I should start one up myself. But what would I write about? Certainly nothing that anyone would really be interested in reading. Still pretty darn sure no one is going to be looking at it on any sort of regular basis, but that's just fine by me. It might be nice to be able to vent my frustrations, brag about my furry four legged kids, tell the tales of my adventures in horse showing and home owning and just get things down on "paper" so I can mull them over some more. And if it ends up being entertaining for someone else, then I guess I get some bonus points!

So a little bit about me...I've recently purchased my first home with my boyfriend. We found an amazing house that had 4.3 wooded acres, way, WAY out in the boonies, but it means we get to keep our horses with us and it was liveable at the time of the sale, which was huge compared to the other sh**holes we had been looking at. Soon after we moved in we ended up buying a puppy, who is the cutest darn thing ever. We have 3 horses, my 6 yo QH mare, Midori, a 4 yo QH gelding Mister and a 3 yo QH mare Sugar. We both enjoy riding and have just begun showing together. I have been on a drill team for a few years now, but this summer we decided to give cutting a try and went to a couple very small weekend cutting shows. It was a lot of fun and I think we're both hooked. This winter we plan to give reining a shot. Of course this is all in the green/beginner, "we don't really know what the heck we're doing, but we want to pretend" classes. It's still fun. Especially when you can actually be a little competitive in them!

We love all of our critters and having a home that we can enjoy them at. Lately it has been hitting home that I'm really an adult now. I have a mortgage, I have animals that I'm responsible for, I work full time and have a house to take care of and fix up. I'm generally always broke because I'm both a home owner and own and show horses. Don't get me wrong, I do love my life and I wouldn't want it any other way (well, except for the money part, I could always use some more money!) but I miss the good ol' days when I could just take off and ride all day or curl up in bed and read a good book all weekend and didn't have to worry about feeding everybody or doing the dishes or laundry or heading to work so I still have a vehicle to drive and a house to live in next month.

Oh well, I guess growing up is inevitable. Must be my quarter life crisis or something. So sit back, relax, grab a nice big margarita and enjoy reading my blog.

ps - I highly recomment the 'rita...might make my ramblings more bearable!