Sunday, May 30, 2010

300th Post Giveaway!

To Enter
Leave a comment on this post and tell me:
  • Do you ride Western, English, both, or neither?
  • Do you like bling?
  • What size T-shirt do you wear?
  • What's your favorite color?
Don't be shy, everyone loves a giveaway. It's okay if you're a lurker and don't comment often, except if you win, I hope to see you around more LOL! It's also okay if you are a previous winner.

Names will be placed in the pink hat and the winner drawn on June 17, 2010.

If you're the winner, I'll choose your prize based on your answer to one or more of the questions.
Since I'll be shopping after the drawing, I'll announce the winner and your prize sometime that following week, and you can email me your address.

Meanwhile, I'm taking a blog-cation, so catch you 'round the blogosphere, kidz.
Good luck!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Everybody's Doing It

Heather holding Poco at a recent arena play day

I talk about Heather, Jae (Jason), Nita, Jim and the horses at the farm in Whitesboro about every other post. With the herd currently numbering 37, things are always hopping up there.

Heather is one of those people whose instincts with horses are remarkable. More remarkable to me is her ability and willingness to share what she knows in ways that are easily understandable. She can send me an email, describe what I should do, and I will (almost always) be able to go outside and execute. Y'all know the notable exception to this is longeing, but that's me, not her.

They are in the process of revamping their website (not yet ready for prime time) and in conjunction with that, Heather started a blog — Drafts With Dots. This woman has bred some incredibly beautiful horses with amazing temperaments, and this is the year for working them up. I hope you'll stop by and say howdy.

And, if you are in the market for a horse, I can promise you, if she says something about a horse, you can believe it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Arena Play Days

On Saturday, I trailered both horses up to the farm for a play day. We started out with Heather on Boo (Jaz's beautiful-but-squirrelly blood bay half brother), Kris on Rover, Shane (Kris's non-horsey BF) on Jazu the Wonder Horse, Nita on Doodles (her husband Jim's horse and a real sweetie pie), and yours truly on you-know-who.

Kris and Rover, Heather and Boo

Musical Ponies
Jaz was being an itch and kept kicking it up into his teeth-jarring, pogo-stick trot, so Nita traded with Shane, who had never been on a horse before. Some bug got up Poco's butt, because he was on high alert. Seriously, his ears were higher than I am tall in the saddle. I have no idea what was bothering him, but it was windy and there was a lot going on around us. I rode out a couple hard spooks, but it just wasn't getting any better. I ended on a good note and got off. I rode Jaz, Heather tacked Poco down for me, and Nita took Boo from her.

Shane and Doodles

From left to right: Heather (holding Poco),
Kris and Rover, Nita holding Boo and Jaz.

I set out some barrels. By this time, Shane was done, so Heather took Doodles. Kris took Rover through the barrels and all of a sudden, he started limping on his right front, his pastern visibly swollen. So Rover was out.

A conversation ensued between Kris and Heather that culminated in Nita fetching a black snowcap Appy mare named Velvet (Empress Black Velvet) from the pasture. They took Kris's tack off Ro and put it on Velvet. They longed her awhile, since Velvet hasn't been ridden regularly. Once Kris was up and Velvet settled down, Jaz and I walked in front of them to keep Velvet calm and on task. Things were going well until Velvet pulled a Poco by lying down (with Kris on her back) and rolling. Heather and I were yelling at Kris to kick the crap out of her, but I think Kris was too shocked to do much more than save herself. She did get back on long enough to get the win.
Inexplicably, no pix of them.

The day ended with a quick decision to leave the Boyz there and we'd do it again today.

Second Verse ...
These two sorrowful faces greeted me in the arena when I arrived this morning. "Mama, I can't believe you left us here. They starve us and beat us, and it's AWFUL." Sorry, Boyz, but you're too chubby to be pathetic.

I pulled Jaz out and put him with the junior stallions so I could ride Poco. My only intent was to reinforce the fact that acting all spooky in the arena will not get you out of work forever. Well, as soon as Jaz and I walked away, Poco started carrying on. Mind you, Jaz was still in plain sight and there were horses all around him, but he ran the fence line, calling and snorting. Heather and I looked at each other, shook our heads, and grabbed longe whips. We ran him around that arena until he was heaving. Make no mistake, he loved it. He bucked and ran full bore. He was gorgeous. Took enough of the snot out of him so I could have my way with him on another windy day in a strange place.

You can't see it because of his fat ass,
but we just rounded a barrel directly behind us.

And another

Nuttin' but butt

There are rewards for ponies that behave.

Hosed down

Home and ready for a beer and a shower, in that order.

Damn, life is good.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Dust to Dust

Disclaimer: This post reflects only my beliefs and is not intended in any way to devalue or disrespect those of anyone else.

My friend Kristen has an aged mare that she did not expect to survive her recent move to Texas. Contrarily, the mare is happy and thriving, but the point is that Kris' concern led her to line up final arrangements. Having no experience with equine disposal myself, I used the opportunity to collect the information for when that time comes for my two. And it will. It always does. It's just part of (sing it with me) "the circle, the circle of life".

Kris chose an option wherein the mare would be buried with room left for future horses. Kris said she thought Wynnie would like being with her friends. I didn't mean to be insensitive (I was), but I blurted out, "I'm sure her spirit would, but that's just her body."

I've been down this road many times with other, albeit smaller, animals. It's never pleasant, but it's getting ... easier ... as I get older and face my own mortality. I watched the 17-year old feline love of my life get more and more frail in the last years of his life. That cat and I were seriously connected; we adored each other. I was afraid that in losing him, I might lose myself.

When the day came, Dr. G came to the house, and BooBoo passed peacefully in my lap, purring like crazy. Dr. G presented all the options: mass burial, individual grave site, headstone, cremation, did I want the ashes, etc. And I heard myself say, "No. That's just his body. He's not in it." I had no problem asking for the least expensive, most expeditious disposal of that which my friend no longer needed.

Of course I cried. But very quickly, something else took over: overwhelming gratitude that we got to be together in this life. And the gratitude yielded joy, because I believe that although his body failed him, his enormous spirit never will. I jumped in my truck that beautiful spring day and headed to the farm to play with the new babies and celebrate life. I think of him often. Sometimes I sing or whistle to him, which he loved. But it's never sad; thoughts of him always make me smile. We'll find each other again, if in fact we ever lost each other.

I feel the same way about my own eventual remains, and those of my loved ones, although I would respect their final wishes. Harvest any parts that might help someone have a better life, then feed me to the turkey buzzards for all I care. Services, lovely markers, etc. are for the living. Those who have passed have no need for such things.

Some of us that are still alive have no need for such things. I never visit the graves of those whom have passed, including that of my own father. My Mom insisted on having a Catholic funeral mass for him, although he hadn't set foot in a church in 40 years. I'm not sure if it was one final attempt to save his soul or passive-aggressive revenge for the fact that he was domineering and miserable to live with. Whatever it was, it made for some good laughs, because everyone knew that's the only way she'd get his sorry ass in church!

How do you/would you handle the death of one of your animals?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ain't Dead Yet

I have been absent from the blogosphere for almost a week. Work has been intense. My hands and wrists ache from too much 'putering, and by the end of the days, I have felt as if my brain might bleed if I spent one more second in front of a computer screen. This weekend, when I normally catch up on everyone's blogs, I was helping Heather with the copy for their new website.

It rained most of last week. It didn't rain over this cloudy, muggy weekend, but I chose to catch up on all the chores I've been ignoring in favor of riding every weekend for the last month. That, so I can do it again for the next month or so, since next weekend is supposed to be gorgeous. The plan is to play in Heather's arena.

Yesterday was just this kind of day for us all:

Have a great week and don't forget to smooch your ponies. I'll catch up as soon as I can.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nothing New Under the Sun

Or the clouds.

My friend, Kristen, came over. Originally, the plan had been that she would ride Voodoo, her BF (never been on a horse) would ride Jazu the Wonder Horse, and I'd ride Pokey. There was a chance of storms all day and it was very windy, but we decided to go for it anyway. Kris thought her mare, Cheyenne, might be the better choice in the wind, but Cheyenne had her own ideas about loading. Or not. Voodoo loaded, then wigged out before they could get a mile down the road. Kris came by herself and rode Jaz. Works for me. The more miles I get on Poco's back, the better it's gotta be for us both.

The ride was entirely uneventful, in spite of the wind. The few spooks we had were in place.

Boring is good. Mother's Day was not a good day to die.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Solo Flight

Today Poco and I went down the road, leaving Jaz behind. The ride wasn't perfect by any means, and it sure wasn't pretty, but it's cinco de mayo, so I'm calling it bueno. It could have been, and certainly has been, worse.

We went further than he's ever been by himself. He was alert, but not overly nervous or spooky. He carried his head a bit high, so I knew he wasn't really relaxed. Resistance took the form of veering all over the place, requiring me to steer every step. If he had his way, we would have trotted or cantered, if not dead-ass ran, the entire way. When I'd try to lighten up on his mouth, he'd want to take off. We trotted more than we normally do, but I had to make sure it was because I asked for it, not because it's what he wanted to do. A good sign: I didn't have to use the crop. Usually he needs a tap on the butt or shoulder to know I mean business, and we're good. Today I was able to handle him without it.

I met a woman named Pat on our road who sounds like she grew up with horses (we only spoke for a minute or so), and when I suggested she come and ride, she seemed genuinely interested. Always nice to have a lineup of people to ride with.

He got a lot sweatier than he needed to be, so when we got back, I hosed him down. A good roll in the sand, and he was back wanting me to tell him some more what a good boy he was.

Back to work tomorrow after five days off. I guess I can't complain too much since I only work two days, then I'm off for two more.

Hope everyone is having a good week.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Good Times Keep Rolling

Kristen came this weekend sans pony. We took my two down the ride on a walkabout so blissfully uneventful, there are no hair-raising tales, no inspiring drama of obstacles overcome, and no interesting pix to share. Poco was calm and compliant. We even went off the road, down into a couple 'ravines' (deep, gauged out drainage ditches) and made them bad Boyz do come climbing. In this case, Jaz was the horse to convince to get with the program. Poco never hesitated.

I am hoping these last 3 rides have built Poco's confidence enough that he'll be easier to handle without his buddy, which I plan to try today or tomorrow.

Yesterday was my 58th birthday. After beginning the day in true Texas diva style with a breakfast of chicken fried steak and eggs, followed by a dessert of chocolate from Mr. Fry, I headed up to the farm in Whitesboro. Heather had mentioned wanting to see if my new saddle fit Rover, so I took it with me.

You may remember my having mentioned Rover before. Heather traded Quaker for him because the woman couldn't handle Rover. Rover is also the horse that came close to killing me when he pulled back and tipped the chute to which he was tied. As is often the case, there is nothing wrong with this horse that a firm, confident leader won't fix. I have since spent time with him and it's so obvious he needs his own person.

Heather rode him a few weeks ago and emailed me gushing about what an amazing ride it was, how much he knows, and how willing he was to please. Since it was my birthday, and therefore a good day to die, I was ready to see for myself. Wow, what a nice horse.

His trot is so sweet, I had no problem posting or sitting it.

That lump on the rise of his hip is
where Spot (stallion) reached over
the stall and nailed him good.
Jason immediately walled them off.

Relaxed, eating up the praise.
He's out of shape and tired quickly.

Doesn't he have a kind eye?

Rover is an unregistered paint. In these parts, non-splashy paints end up at the auction for no other reason than the color of their coats. I think Kristen may be interested in him for her beginner BF.

I hope she buys him so I'm not tempted myself.
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