Saturday, February 28, 2009

35 mile an hour gusts = Freaked out horses

I've been gone for a week to Washington and got back with an ache for some serious horse time.

Which will have to wait since someone left the windows open and there is a wind blowing around here that could sandblast the plaque right off your teeth.

But I'd been gone a WEEK! So, even though our trees at home looked like they were doing the hula, I decided to head out to the stables.

The place I board at is up for sale. It's a great deal, 70 acres, mobile home, barns, arena and round pen, if anyone's looking), and they were having an open house / barn sale. I didn't pick anything up this time, because I'm pretty tacked up.

I went out to get Canyon and he acted like he had no idea who I was. So we spent some time in the near tornado conditions doing a few circles in the field. He behaved remarkably well for a horse that was ready to climb out of his skin.

Then I took him over for a brushing, trying to find a spot that was sheltered from the wind. Which ended up being impossible. It was like walking around in a blender. No matter where I stood, hair was flying around (he is shedding like a persian cat), trees were shaking, and metal sheets were screeching in the wind.

Needless to say, this was not the calming experience I had in mind.

Canyon was ... well, "wary" would be putting it mildly. At one point he was standing still but his neck was so tense you could have bounced quarters off of him. I finally came to my senses. This is no time to tie up a horse. One more weird wind noise and he was going to flip out. So, after a few more relaxing brushes (well, I was relaxed anyway), it was back to the pasture.

That's where I got my reward. The wind died down for a good 15 minutes and we had a few nickers and actual bonding time. We hung out and wandered around a little before the wind kicked back up.

March will be a better month. I'll have tons more time, tons more horse time, and hopefully, much better weather conditions. A woman can hope.

Back home, I came across this on a horse email list:

How Enlightened Are You? A Test

If you can live without caffeine or nicotine
If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains
If you can resist complaining
If you can understand when loved ones are too busy to give you any time
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment
If you can ignore friends' limited educations and never correct them
If you can treat the rich and poor alike
If you can face the world without lies or deceit
If you can conquer tension without medical help
If you can relax without liquor
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs
If you can have no prejudice against creed, color, religion, gender,
sexual preference, or politics —

— If you can then you have almost reached the same level of spiritual
development as your horse.

Hmm. Apparently I don't have a horse... That would explain a great deal.

Batty in DC

More info on crib notes, but here's one picture of Hallow in our nation's capitol.

Monday, February 23, 2009

On the road - without a horse

I'm in Washington this week, with a bat.

Yes, a bat.

Last year I took Honey Bear to Washington and he made the rounds.

So as I headed back this year, I asked Mireya to lend me a stuffed animal to bring along this time. She opted for Hallow, her bat web kinz she just got (after months of anticipation - bats were hard to find after October).

It seems way weirder to be wandering around with a stuffed bat than it was with a stuffed bear. Maybe I need to stick to night events. But I know Hallow is very special to her and it waspretty sweet for her to send her little bat to Washington.

Anyway, so far Hallow has been mainly to the convention center, so it's been a little dull. For a bat, anyway. I'm hoping to get to a few more fun locations tomorrow.

Here's Hallow with Jim. It's been too cold to fly around, so Hallow is sticking to cabs most of the time.

More photos of Hallow on crib notes. I'll be back home on Friday... Let me tell you, I miss warm weather, crazy kids, lovey hubby, and horse time. I'll be so happy when February is over!

And you think your horse is hard to fit

Took me forever to find the right saddle for a horse I used to ride. That boy had a set of withers that wouldn't quit. But I have to think this would have been even more challenging.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Horse Laws - beep beep!

In Sutherland, Iowa, a law governs how horses may be seen when on the streets during evening hours. The animal must always have a light attached to its tail and a horn of some sort on its head.

How exactly do you power a light on a horses' hiney back in the days before double As?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Canyon and the cow hide (part dos)

(dictated by Canyon, part 2)

So there we were, just moments away from being ripped into shreds.

I can't tell you how often this happens. How many times I have narrowly escaped the predators that linger in shadows, waiting for me to simply drop my guard. It's a wonder we aren't down to just two horses around here, given the danger to us all.

Particularly since I'm the only one that keeps a real eye out for trouble. And believe you me, trouble is everywhere.

But I digress.

We were there on the safe side of the silver thing. On the other side was a skinned cow, clearly recently killed by the savages that awaited on the other side. I could see them moving about, trying to stay hidden - but I saw their feet.

Now a lesser horse, a horse with a inferior sensory system, that kind of horse might think that it was just a cat. Or a little person back there, just moving around.

But consider the facts. The skinned cow was clearly dead. Something killed it. And given the movement just underneath the cow's skin it was clear. The killer, the savage was still there.

My alpha mare kept making her noises she makes at times like this, and while I avoided getting in her "space" (she is a bit adamant about such things), I did manage to pull us both to a safer distance.

Then, proving once again that she had NO IDEA THE DANGER WE WERE IN, she had me move around in circles.

In my opinion it is always a mistake to present a tasty hindquarter to savages unless you plan on kicking the living heck out of them. But she just kept making those noises.

After a few turns I noticed that one of the little people who wander around here and who I carry on my back on occassion, was walking from the silver thing to the vet rack. I wasn't too concerned for her safety - every horse knows savages will go for the Pinto-Arabians first. Little people are way down the menu. Probably too stringy.

We kept dancing around and around and finally, when I looked back over, it looked like the savages had left. My alpha mare walked over to the skinned cow and encouraged me to sniff it. It didn't really smell much like a cow. I mean there was a little cow smell, but mostly it smelled like that stuff they spray on us at the wash rack. I gave it a lick to make sure it was well groomed and took one last look around.

It worked. We had scared off the savages. Once again the other horses were saved by my quick action which clearly had made the difference. See, savages rely completely on the element of surprise and once I'd found them out, they had no choice but to give up their dinner plans.

I try not to make a big deal out of these accomplishments. It's all in a day's work, really. But I do wish my alpha mare wouldn't make that other noise - the one that sounds like a whinny.

Surely that's not how she laughs. After all, there's nothing funny about a near death experience.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Canyon and the cow hide (part one)

Canyon has once again requested to tell his side of what is now known as the "cow hide incident." What follows is in his own words.

Do you suppose someday they will develop a more hoof friendly keyboard? While I don't mind dictating, I fear that something is lost in the translation.

Ah well. I suppose we had to give up something when we horses opted for the ability to crack walnuts with our hooves.

But I digress. The latest attack took place when the family finally came out to visit. I have to admit I was sort of wondering if they were gone for good and I had mixed emotions about it. I mean it's nice to have all this pasture time, but it does get a little boring. Plus there are no cookies.

So when my alpha mare came out to get me, I was pleasantly surprised. Cookies were on the menu! I guess that's why I let my guard down. Always a mistake to anticipate your snack when the ugly reality is that danger lurks behind every fence.

I waited politely as always while she secured my harness and we headed to the gate.

I haven't been out of the gate in a while since my nice run leads right into my pasture. Recently a few new silver things had been added to the area outside the gate. There were three of those big silver things they used to put the hay hills in.

I miss those hay hills. You could just put your head in there and chew, chew, chew. Heaven! Once I spent four days straight with my head in there - it was a new record in the pasture.

I know, pretty impressive. Everyone else would take off after a few hours and walk around, or stand in the shade for a while. They just couldn't sustain it, frankly. It takes real commitment and no small amount of stamina to stand in one spot and eat for four days straight.

Fortunately I can eat like that all day and it has no effect on my weight whatsoever. Does affect my saddle, though. That girth shrinks right up. Weird.

Anyway, they'd taken all the silver things out of all the pastures and have gone to just tossing hay around in little piles. Now we have to WALK to get to the hay. Darn inconvenient if you ask me. Rumor is that some horses where pulling hay out and ... soiling it!

Unbelievable. Proof once again there are some horses you just can't civilize.

So there were the silver things outside the gate, waiting to be loaded and taken away to some other lucky horse's house. I was sad, but not too worried.

Then, I saw them. Right behind one of the silver things. Wolves. Or lions. I just got a quick glimpse, and, as usual, my alpha mare was clueless.

It was up to me to warn her and save the other horses. But would I be in time?

(to be continued)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rock, paper, Look out!

Okay, it's off topic, yet amusing.

Some things are just a wee bit dangerous. Like Rock paper scissors...

Read on here.

Any one up for a little unicycle time with their horse?

Found this over on Horse Therapist.

Okay, let me just say I wish I'd been in the room when someone said - "Hey, how about UNICYCLES?"

Monday, February 16, 2009

New legislation to save the mustangs

FYI, there's Legislation in the US House to save the mustang. You can find info on Augustus Reign.

Horse Laws - keep it clean, people.

This is why they invented wash racks...

Budds Creek, Maryland, has an antique law which prohibits horses from sleeping in a bathtub, unless the rider is also sleeping with the horse.

No word on bathing with your horse.

So, exactly how big were bathtubs in the old days? I mean could you actually sleep with a horse in there?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Warming up Canyon

We had too much fun seeing our boy after a long absence. And other that been scared out of his wits by my daughter who was playing behind a cowhide draped over a round bale feeder (which I'll let him describe), Canyon was pretty peaceful.

Check him out. :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ready for a Ride?

Okay Central Texas blogger horsegirls, I'm finally organized. How about a ride?

I'm proposing a short trail ride at Canyon Lake (Guadalupe state park is great, but really rocky - so let's go easy on our first outing). We can haul, have a short ride (the trail is 6 miles round trip, so if you and your horse are still gearing up, it'll be fine), then have lunch at my favorite Italian place.

I'm tossing March 7th out there for a 'weather permitting' ride. And it'll probably be too cold to get in the water, but at least there's some for the horses to drink. LOL

Any takers?

I'm baaack.

I know, I know - where have I been?

No where near a horse, that's for sure.

First of all, meet my grandmother, the matriarch of our family, the woman from whom all love flows in an unstoppable river. Estella Hernandez.

She's 94.

She's been a wife, mother, business owner (everything from a restaurant to a 50 acre cotton farm and laundramat with my grandfather), grandmother, great-grandmother, and a great-great-grandmother.  She's the reason my daughters are sixth generation Texan. Our family lived in Socorro - an area outside of El Paso, for generation before the world changed and everyone began to live lives that scattered them around the country.  

 She lives with my mother (who is deserving of her own blog entry and will get one soon) just a few blocks from my house. 

About a month ago, when you last heard from me, my grandmother had surgery. It's not unusual - she's had several operations to deal with hernias over the years. She bounces back in a matter of days and is back to crocheting, laughing at the kids antics and generally being a wonderful loving presence in our lives.

But she didn't bounce back from this one. Family flew in from all over. This was it, the undercurrent was. She's not going to make it. For weeks she's been fighting high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, exhaustion. I had dozens of conversations with her that were 
"those" conversations. Reflections on life, realizations that there comes a time to let go, that life, in a fundamental way, is our selfish indulgence that we never want to end.

I hate those conversations.

Then work exploded with some crazy news hitting the papers and everything there has been upside down. So now I was working 10-12 hour days, 7 days a week just to keep up, and trying to spend time with my grandmother.

So much for time with Canyon, the kids, the blogs.

This week, though, the clouds parted. My grandmother felt better. Work - which is still crazy -is just having to settle down enough for me to have a day off. Sorta. Hours anyway. Cuz no time off removes my ability to think.

So here we are.  I have a funny story about the stables to share along with a video, which I will do tomorrow. In the meantime here's a picture of my grandmother from this summer at our family reunion, going horseback riding.  Two nice cowboys helped her get on a horse since she's got bad knees and a bad hip.  Much love to Snickers, who carried her safely on the trail.

My family members (who don't ride except at this reunion every year) were FREAKING OUT that she was going. Thank god she didn't fall since they would have killed me since I was the one who insisted we make it happen.

Seriously. I would have been disowned.

Ah, it's good to be back.  Looking forward to catching up with everyone again.

Friday, February 13, 2009