Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sunday Stills Challenge - Motion

The first Sunday Stills challenge that I am taking is In Motion. "This can be anything that conveys motion." Since the weather around here is horrible this week and I can't really think of any indoor action shots that wouldn't suck, I decided to cheat just a little bit and go back to some older pictures.

This challenge also happens to coincide with a blog that's been percolating in my head since I took these pictures a month and a half ago. It has everything to do with motion and these pictures definately "convey motion"!

First off though, this is my "official entry" for the Sunday Stills Challenge: In Motion...

This was a beautiful, sunny day in January that we pulled the horses blankets and turned our two mares out together to romp and have some fun. This is Sugar and she was not waiting so patiently for her turn. This was about a half a second after her halter was off. Brat. There are a ton more motion shots here, where I originally blogged about that day. I was shooting on the continuous action shot mode. I did make a few minor adjustments in the color and exposure with my Windows Photo Gallery program to perk it up a little bit. Unfortunately, it does not edit out the obnoxious white electric tape fence.

When I was going thru all of the pictures from that day I noticed something interesting. I had to really pick thru the pictures of Sugar to find ones where she didn't look like she was about to fall over or like a complete retard. She just wasn't that graceful looking. Midori, on the other hand, was totally photogenic and I was hard pressed to find a bad action shot of her. Atleast one that was her fault or caught her in a bad position. There were some bad ones, but I was still getting used to my new camera and the bad ones of Midori were mostly my fault.

It is funny looking at it though.

First up, lets look at their roll. It's pretty much the first thing they do when they get out there.

Midori is on the top and this was the goofiest pic of her in the bunch. She is right in the middle of flipping sides so her back is arched and there is a lot of effort going into the roll. She still looks pretty coordinated though. The second pic is Sugar. This was a pretty typical picture of her rolling. Her legs are going every where and I've never seen her roll from one side to the other so all that effort is just going into getting mud on every single square inch of her.

Next up, the running.

Above is Midori running. Perfectly horsie and graceful. Below is Sug running. Perfectly...not horsie or graceful. I don't even know what is going on in the first picture. The last two I was waiting for the nose dive and flip, but somehow she caught herself and kept on going. No idea how she managed that. (Not sure why, but when the sun was bright in the picture it would show streaks, still need to do some research on the new camera to get that to stop, so just ignore the crappy quality of the shot and pay attention to how funny Sug looks!)

And last, their "bucks". I use the quote marks because they are pretty pathetic bucks. Not that I'm complaining.

Above is Midori's "buck". It's decent, coordinated. Spunky, but controlled. In the pic to the right Sug is the red head on the left and that is her "buck", if you can even call it that. I think the tail gives it away. There was obviously some effort, though she just looks gangly and awkward.

It really made me think looking thru those pictures and noticing just how different those girls really move. I wonder why they are so different also. I suppose it could be their age. Midori is coming 7-ish (she's not registered) and Sug is going to be 4 this year. They both look and move great under saddle. Sugar has never struck me as uncoordinated under saddle, just a little baby-ish at times.

The boyfriend says it's because of him, that she's a reflection of him, just like Midori is a reflection of me. lol I'm not sure that's entirely true in this particular case, but I think I'm going to go with it anyways.

So there's my pics of motion. I'm anxious to see what the next challenge is and hopefully I'll be able to actually challenge myself to take some new pics! :-)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sunday Stills Challenge

I found a new blog that I think I'm in love with. It's Sunday Stills. It's basically a weekly challenge to take a particular kind of picture and post it for the world to see. I think I want to give it a go. I definately need to broaden my picture taking horizons, since I seem to be pretty stuck in the rut of macro. Not that I mind...I'm in love with macro, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to have a little motivation every week to try something new. And I'm always up for any excuse to take more pictures!

I'm pretty sure I'm not disciplined enough to actually meet the challenge every single week, but I'm looking forward to trying!

PS - I found Sunday Stills just by browsing thru the list of blogs that are followed by blogs I follow...if that makes any sense. A lot of blogs have their list of favorites on display and I've found some really fascinating blogs just by clicking thru them. It's a big, blogging world out there and can be lots of fun to explore when you've got a minute!

Monday, February 23, 2009


I can't even express how excited I am about this project. I have dreamed for I don't even know how long of having my very own real arena at my house. Now I can see that dream becoming a reality! I'm ecstatic!

The boyfriend totally rocks on the tractor! He's been a busy bee around the property playing with his new toy and getting things cleaned up and looking good. I was blown away the other night when I came home to the arena-to-be all graded out, looking level and beautiful. Of course I had to grab the camera and take pictures.


Important Health Advice for Women! Sorta.

Do you have feelings of inadequacy?

Do you suffer from shyness?

Do you sometimes wish you were more assertive?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist about Margaritas.

Margaritas are the safe, natural way to feel better and more confident about yourself and your actions.

Margaritas can help ease you out of your shyness and let you tell the world that you're ready and willing to do just about anything.

You will notice the benefits of Margaritas almost immediately and with a regimen of regular doses you can overcome any obstacles that prevent you from living the life you want to live.

Shyness and awkwardness will be a thing of the past and you will discover many talents you never knew you had.

Stop hiding and start living, with Margaritas.

Margaritas may not be right for everyone.

Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use Margaritas.

However, women who wouldn't mind nursing or becoming pregnant are encouraged to try it.

Side effects may include:
Erotic lustfulness
Loss of motor control
Loss of clothing
Loss of money
Loss of virginity
Table dancing
Dry mouth
And a desire to sing Karaoke


The consumption of Margaritas may make you think you are whispering when you are not.

The consumption of Margaritas may cause you to tell your friends over and over again that you love them.

The consumption of Margaritas may cause you to think you can sing.

The consumption of Margaritas may make you think you can logically converse with members of the opposite sex without spitting
Amen to that!
Thank god for 'ritas and to my sis for sending this to me!

What a weekend!

Wow. I'm exhausted. I think it's going to take me the entire week to recover from my weekend! Once again, I'm feeling every one of my 27 years and realizing that I just can't party like I used to. It's sad. We didn't even party like we used to, not at all, but I'm still totally beat. I guess we also used to be able to sleep in til noon after staying out late, but I suppose that's another fun part of getting just can't sleep in any more! Not that we had much of a choice this weekend since it was a winter series weekend.

Our weekend included a bon fire party (well, really a small, totally reasonable recreational fire, since "bon fires" are not legal), the reining show, cleaning paddocks and putting down new hogs fuel for the ponies, clipping horses, washing dirty horse tails, working the butt head (Mister) on the ground, a bachelor party (the boyfriend), a movie night with mom and meeting two of the most adorable corgi puppies on the planet (me, while waiting out the bach party as the boyfriends DD), numbering cows for sorting (the boyfriend, while I tried in vain to sleep in), sorting and drill practice. I also managed to squeeze in some laundry and kitchen cleaning, but no picture loading or blogging for me! Whew, just typing all that makes me want to take a nap. It was a busy weekend.

It was also a totally gorgeous and sunny 60 degrees during the day this weekend and I tried to soak up every bit of it that I could.

Anyways, on to my usual winter series updates. Unfortunately it was a pretty unspectacular weekend. Well, except for the boyfriends absolutely beautiful reining pattern! I wish I could have video'd it for him, as well as his first one of the series. It's amazing to see how much he's improved! I somehow, miraculously, managed to stay on my pattern, though I'm pretty sure it was only because Midori knows it and was on auto-pilot. I had no control. It was all I could do to get her to slow down enough to change leads. She was a naughty, naughty pony. The boyfriend ended up getting 3rd out of 8 riders and I got 4th. There was a rather large gap in the scores between us, but that was the way the placings fell. So now there is one show left and the points for the buckle are pretty darn close. The next show is going to be a nail biter and I'm probably going to fold under pressure. Pressure at horse shows doesn't usually work in my favor. Should be interesting.

Sorting didn't go so hot either. The boyfriend and I got a no time on our run. I did get 6 cows on a couple of my runs, but so far that is where I'm topping out. Midori seemed to be having fun though so that was good. It wasn't a bad day, but the late night Saturday was taking it's toll on us. Neither of us placed with any of our runs so we didn't win any money and it was an expensive day. Still mostly fun, but expensive.

After sorting I had to stick around for drill practice too. The sorting ended up going late so drill practice got started really late and went even later. It was a pretty fun practice though and Midori and I found our second wind. She was tired enough from the weekend that she behaved herself, which was fabulous, but still had plenty of go left to haul ass on the outside of a crack.

I was totally beat by the time I got home. I think Midori has earned a day or two off, I'm sure she's pretty sore too! My butt just wasn't ready for an almost straight 7 hours in the saddle yesterday. And while the majority of it was spent sitting around waiting for our turn sorting, plenty of it was spent riding hard. I started the day off sore from Saturday too since I had ridden hard for quite a while after our no control pattern.

All in all it was a good weekend. The weather was fabulous and I won't ever complain about a weekend spent with my pony. I'm just exhausted and looking forward to some quality time with the couch and my bed this week.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I just have to say I saw something this morning on my way in to work that made me do a little happy dance.

Diesel was $1.99!

If that's not enough to put a smile on my face, then I don't know what is.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ride #3

I guess I'm making this blog my riding journal also. It's been helpful just with the few times I've written about my rides to go back and read those posts again. It reminds me of different things that I've dealt with and how other rides have gone. It's amazing how fast you can forget about something after it's fixed. Plus it's always nice to look back and see how far you've come.

So on that note, I got ride number three on Mister the other night. I decided to ride at home in the round pen for a change of scenery, because the weather was good and because I didn't want riding to take up the entire evening, like it does when we haul out to the indoor arena to ride.

I knew he was going to be feeling good so I saddled him up and lunged him for a while before I got on. While I was doing that the boyfriend decided that him and his buddy that is staying with us this week were going to get on the girls and ride around a bit also. Of course every time they rode by and then left again Mister would throw a fit. All of our horses are pretty herd bound, which is incredibly annoying sometimes. So I lunged and lunged and lunged Mister, mostly because I was a little afraid to get on him in case he decided to throw a fit while I was mounted.

I did get on him eventually and the guys stayed mostly within eye sight of us so he didn't go completely nuts. They were having fun riding around the outside of the round pen while I worked inside. Considering everything that was going on I was very pleased with my ride. I was able to keep Mister's attention and I could tell that we're making some major progress in the head tossing and giving to the bit thing. That made me really happy! He is still tossing his head and trying to yank me out of the saddle, but he would really give in between the tossing and yanking. Very exciting! I love it when I can feel progress like that!

We did lots of walk-trot, reverses, circles, working on steering, some stopping and backing. He was doing pretty good. I debated just stopping there but forced myself to suck it up and just lope him. It wasn't as much of a battle to get him into the lope as it was the last ride, which is also exciting. He did have some trouble keeping the gait and kept breaking, but it wasn't too bad. At one point I was really riding, trying to push him with my seat and keep some leg on him to keep him in gait and I guess he decided he wasn't a fan of that because he bucked. It wasn't a horrible buck and I just disciplined and got back to loping. After that I decided I would get one more full lap in a nice controlled lope, no bucking, no breaking and that would be it for the day. It took a few tries, but eventually we got it, he stopped nicely when I asked and I got off and loosened his cinch. Yay for another good ride on the butt head and making progress! I was pleased.

It was also interesting watching an inexperienced rider on Midori. My little pony is just so cute! I was so wishing I had my camera with me. She is a great babysitter, but still plenty spicy for me. I just love her. I could see just how responsive she really is, even though newbie rider had no idea that he was even asking for things. I also got to witness her little skitter-jump-buck thing she does from the ground. I always wondered what it actually looked like, I've only ever ridden it. She did it when Sugar went back to the barn, out of sight, and whinnied just as the newbie rider asked Midori to trot a bit. Love the damn herd bound horses. It was like a slow motion wreck that I totally saw coming, but was helpless to stop. Newbie rider did really good though. He stuck the skitter-jump-buck thing and pulled the emergency brake I had told him about earlier and all was well. He survived and even continued riding for a little bit after that, though I did suggest riding inside the round pen since I was done.

All in all it was a fun, productive and encouraging night with the ponies.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Frisbee dog!

Chey got a new toy for Christmas from her Aunty and I think it is her new fave toy!

She looooves chasing it down and is even starting to try to catch it in the air, though she has yet to succeed at that.

She is hilarious to watch when she is bringing it back. Most of the time she has it flipped up over her face so I have to wonder how the heck she can see where she's going. It's great.

I love good entertainment for the puppy dog! Anything that keeps her from digging up my tulip bulbs!

A little late, but...

The boyfriend and I decided to more or less ignore V-day this year. It's amazing how much money you can save when you don't buy birthday, Christmas and v-day gifts for each other!

Even though I really, honestly would have been perfectly happy ignoring the whole thing, I am still a girl and I like to get flowers. Since v-day is pretty much the only time I get flowers from the boyfriend, and because of my addiction to macro shots, I did still request flowers for v-day. I couldn't help it. I've been dying for some flowers in the house to take pictures of and just haven't been able to justify buying them for myself.

So when I came home to this bouquet of flowers and a cute/cheesy card I had to smile. Partly because it was cute and I totally appreciated the thought, but mostly because it was a very pretty bouquet with lots of different, fun flowers and colors to take pictures of. I'm sure the boyfriend realized that's why I was so excited too.

I totally went to town taking pics of all the different flowers. I did some experimenting with different settings and lighting. I just plain had fun taking pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. The ones you see here are just a few of my faves.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A new toy

This year, because of our house, the boyfriend and I each ended up getting bigger tax refunds then we had been expecting. In our discussions of just what exactly we would do with that money we batted around ideas that ranged from saving every last penny of it, buying another horse, doing our arena or getting started on our barn and fencing to putting it towards house updating projects and all the other practical, but not all that fun things that are requiring our money and attention.

After much deliberation, we decided a practical, but fun use of the money was to put it towards tractor. It is fun because it's a big new toy, but also practical because with horses and raw property there are plenty of ways for it to make itself useful.

When we bought our house it came with almost 5 acres of mostly wooded land (see pic above). The whole perimeter of the property is fenced, but I wouldn't call it secure horse fencing by any stretch of the imagination. Even if it was at some point, it's old and posts are rotted and the only reason a lot of it is still standing is because it's being held up by the blackberry bushes that have taken it all over. I think the whole length of the perimeter is fenced with barbed wire. Then there is the not-horse-friendly, big square field fencing on part of it. Then there is the t-posts with two rows of 3 foot mesh fencing stacked for a 6 foot fence, held up by tposts for part of it. It's a bit ghetto, to say the least. Actually, it makes me laugh looking at it. It's just silly.

The property was mostly wooded when we got it but we changed that rather quickly and rather in a panic last summer. Since that initial clearing we haven't done a whole lot with it. We have an area cleared and mostly graded for our arena (see pic above), but it needs some cleaning up. The pasture needs lots of grading and we've decided there are a few more trees we would like to take out and lots of brush to clean up.

The pic above is how our property looks right now. If we can get the right implements for the tractor, I think we can make quick work of clearing fence lines and sinking fence posts. We did get the box scraper which is great for grading, so hopefully we can get the pastures cleaned up and seeded soon. I'm also hoping we can get the ground in the "arena" ready so we can bring in some sand soon. I'm excited because the tractor will help us turn the mess above into a picture perfect horse property. Or something. We've certainly got our work cut out for us, but I'm excited to see it all come together and hopefully that will happen much faster now!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A life without horses...

Fugs brought up an interesting topic the other day on her blog. It got me thinking about what I would do and buy with all of the spare time and money not having horses in my life would free up. Wow. They are expensive, high maintenance little buggers!

I started imagining the house we could be in if we didn't have to have the land, barn, arena, pasture, fencing, etc. for horses. Wow. The car I could drive if I didn't have to have my big truck and horse trailer. Wow. The clothes and shoes I could indulge in with the money I now spend on shoes, blankets and tack for the horses. W-O-W! The travelling I could do and vacations I could take with all the money I spend on hauling my horses to and from shows and entry fees, stall fees, arena fees, etc. Amazing.

I thought about all the crafty projects I could do if I didn't have drill practice every week. I thought about all the home improvements I could make if I didn't have horse shows that took up whole weekends. All the books I could read and pictures I could take if I didn't have horses to ride, feed and clean up after all the time. All the travelling, camping and spontaneous road trips we could do if we didn't have to worry about who would feed all the animals while we were gone. And the extra time that I would save just on my commute because I wouldn't have to live out in the boonies!

But then I considered what I'd be missing and all that I'd have to compensate for. First off there is the bill for my therapist that I would have to have. Horses are the best therapy I know of and it would take a whole lot of hours on the couch with a mighty good therapist to make up for that. Then there is the gym membership and/or exercise equipment I'd have to have because horses are my main source of physical activity. Then there is the question of what hobby I might pick up instead. I don't think I could spend that much time on crafts. Possibly quads/dirt bikes, but I'm not sure I could really get hooked on them like I am on horses. I suppose I could pick a sport, but the only one I've ever really enjoyed is volleyball and apparently 5'2" isn't an ideal height for that. I just can't come up with anything that could even come close to filling the void.

Then there is everything that horses have taught and continue to teach me. That is just priceless. There is no way to compensate for that. None. They have taught me to be responsible for my own actions, the way no one and nothing else could. To do what I can to make things work and to find different ways to accomplish something if it's not working the first way. To pay attention to details or slight changes, such as a limp or change in condition. To be considerate of others feelings. To be responsible for another living creature and not take that responsibility lightly. How to be a graceful winner and loser (many more lessons on gracefully losing!) Patience. Kindness. Gentleness. Firmness. Fair discipline. Bravery. Humbleness. Humility. That food is a highlight of any day. That you can earn a friend for life if you know the right place to scratch. That you can scar a good friend with just a moment of losing your temper. I could go on and on.

Bottom line is growing up with horses has made me who I am today and I like me. I would not trade that for all the Jimmy Choo's, Gucci, Prada, trips to France, spare time or Mercedes in the world. Mind you this was just me day dreaming. I'm not saying I could actually, really afford trips to France, Jimmy Choo's, Gucci, etc. if I didn't have horses. It's all hypothetically speaking.

Besides all that, I would not have met the boyfriend if neither of us had horses in our lives. That would be a sad, sad thing!

Number Two!

I feel the need to gloat a little bit. I'm sure it'll come back to bite me in the arse eventually, but right now I'm really excited because I got ride number two on Mister last night!

Obviously it isn't his second ride ever and it's not even my second ride on him ever, but since I want to more or less re-start him and see what happens, I'm counting it as ride number two.

It was a really great ride. Nothing particularly special, but I feel like it was a bit of a break thru for us. I'm feeling more confident on him and I think he is respecting me a bit more. I felt like he was really trying to learn last night. He was giving to the bit more, though he's still a massive head tosser with the tiniest bit of pressure, and he was starting to bend around my leg a little bit. It seemed like he was almost understanding me trying to pick up his shoulder too, though that could just be my imagination.

He was feeling pretty good yesterday (translation: he was being a total nut) so I lunged for quite a while before I got on and he still did a couple little cow kicks, but instead of having heart failure and totally freezing up when he did that I just disciplined him and got on with the ride. I even loped him after the cow kicks. Wohoo!

I'm still debating whether Mister is really, super smart or really dumb and very lucky. I really can't tell and I'm not sure which one to hope for either. He sure is a pain in the rear, but he's growing on me. I think I kinda like him.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Well, we didn't continue our deja vu with sorting, but we still did alright. Well, the boyfriend did. Which makes twice in one weekend that he's beat me now. He came in 2nd with 9 cows, and 3rd with 7 cows. He and Sugar were on fire this weekend! They did really well.

I did better then last time, I got 6 cows twice, but it wasn't good enough to win this time. Oh well, still improved. And my first run with the boyfriend that got 6 cows did have us leading it for a little while.

All in all it was a fun day and I am learning and getting better. For only my second time ever sorting I think I'm doing pretty good. I also feel like a couple things clicked with me this time. Like how sitting in the gate you can just tip your horses head a little bit and peel a couple unwanted cows off that are coming with the right cow. That was kinda fun! Midori did pretty well, I think she's enjoying it too.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Deju vu...sorta

Not to brag or anything (because you know I would never do anything like that), but for the second show in a row, the boyfriend and I came home with 1st and 2nd place in the beginning reining class. We were pretty darn surprised! Not only because this time there wasn't snow and ice on the ground keeping a lot of people home so we actually had a class of 9 people, but also because the 1st place isn't mine, it's the boyfriend's. It's the first time he's ever beat me.

Honestly, I was pretty darn proud of him! I'm not just saying that to sound like a gracious loser either. He did really good! He had a really good pattern and deserved it. I am really happy for him! I watched him from the in gate and when he finished I was hooting and hollering at him, totally embarrassed him. hehe He got his lead changes, he had nice circles, he had a good stop and back, the whole thing was a vast improvement over some of their other patterns. Especially considering he hadn't ridden Sugar at all since the last show, 4 weeks ago. And he was a little tipsy.

He wasn't even going to come to the show since he hadn't ridden at all, but I dared him to do it with some whiskey in him, mostly so he'd just relax and not fight with his horse, and he won't ever turn down a dare that involves whiskey. :-) So he had whiskey for breakfast and was all relaxed when he went in. Probably started a bad trend there, but it was still really funny that he won.

I will say that we were both pretty shocked when we heard his name for 1st place though. We were walking up to the office when they announced the top 3 placings. They said my name for 2nd and I was happy about that, but certainly would have liked 1st. I felt like I had a really good pattern, but I was first to go in the class so I wasn't holding my breath. Then they sort of paused and said 1st place, paused again and said the boyfriends name. We both looked at eachother and went, huh?!? No way! Then I slugged him in the shoulder and said "you beat me! I can't believe you beat me!" We got into the office and asked the lady if we had really just heard that right and she grinned really big.

So we got our ribbons, our jackpots and the boyfriend got to pick out his crystal trophy. There were champagne flutes, little bowls, candle stick holders and bud vases, the usual assortment of little crystal things and then there was a whiskey bottle. Nothing special, certainly not expensive, but it was a whiskey bottle so the boyfriend grabbed that, saying it was just too appropriate. Then the whole rest of the day he just kept saying, I can't believe I won! hehe It was great!

Since it was such a big class and the people that were at the top of the standings for the series weren't there again, we might actually be leading the standings now. Or atleast close to it. I need to go check that out today. Who'da thunk?!?

So off to sorting this afternoon. Wish us luck!