Saturday, December 31, 2011

Horses in the new year

This year will bring a major change for me and my horses. This year, by the summer, we will move.

Our goal is to find a place where our horses will live with us, and not just to save on board. For me it's about time. Right now when I go spend time with my horses it's two to three hours away from the family - 30-45 minutes of it is just travel time to the barn. I find it hard to get away very often for that much time.

I have this hope that when I live with my horses I will get some of the just "hang" time with them that is out of the question right now. Maybe this is an illusion, maybe the work of having two horses at home will take away the time I think I'll gain by not having to drive to them. More likely things probably even out. But it's still something I want to try, to experience having my horse outside my door.

We are looking at the rental market in DFW and it's pretty amazing. Plenty of properties, many with space for horses, many in our price range. So it seems like this will really happen. I will really look out a window and see a horse there.

Now we have to get our house ready - paint, empty, cull, prepare. I never want to sell it, this will always be home. But as we hand it over to someone else to rent, 2012 will send us out of our comfort zone and into a new world, a world where I don't know where the best place is for fresh milk, which friends I can count on, the short cut to take when traffic is tied up.

The road ahead turns in the woods, I can't see clearly if the path is smooth or challenging. But we've picked this road.

All that's left is to ride it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What I Got For Christmas... by Smokey

Hi there. Smokey here. Sorry we've been gone a little lately. There's going to be an update on Mom's other blog - the kids have been keeping things hoppin' on the home front. Me and Lily have just been hanging out in the mud. Cuz it has been raining and that's good, because everyone was saying there wasn't any hay which is NOT a good idea. But our space got so muddy that it hurt Lily's shoulder so now she's hanging out with Cody and the new ex-stallion who thinks he's all that.

Yeah. I remember when I had that feeling. Sorta.

Anyway, for Christmas Mom got us the tooth fairy. It was good too because she says I'm sensitive. I had lost some of my hip and mom was going on and on about the bit thing, and so she took a look see.

Now, I don't think I'm sensitive. It's more like perceptive. In a big tough horse kind of way. Like a scout.

I got the whole nine yards. Tooth, some chiro, and a little bit of work below the cinch, if you know what I mean.

I'm a very good patient. I know when to chew on the sticks and when to let go.

You know, the tooth fairy, Miss Loren, she's tougher than she looks.

She fixed Lily too, but she just needed her hips and shoulder done. But I like getting the works for the holidays. When we went for a ride today, I didn't mind the bit at all! We even rode bareback and dragged Lily around.

Nothing against Santa, but I'll take the tooth fairy any day. Marey Christmas and a Gelding New Year!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mr. Smokey and the Christmas Parade Part Two

Hey there, it's Smokey here. I thought I'd give you a horse perspective on this whole "parade" thing.

I had just gotten that perfect layer of mud on when Mom showed up. She got us all in for breakfast and there was a little ruckus because some of us accidently got in the same stall with Cibolo and he was all "Hey! Get out of here!"

Touchy. I was only going to take one bite and he drops a ton anyway. Fine. I had my own grain, thank you very much Mr. Alpha Male.

I figured something was up because all kinds of people started to show up and grab brushes.

Take if from me. If you have more than one person show up with brushes early in the morning it can only mean one thing. Parade.

I decided I better chow down because these parade things take a lot out of a guy. Before I knew it Mom was at it with the mane decorating. If there was any doubt before that was the final sign. Ribbons = parades.

Course all my stuff was pretty low key. Nice red blanket, a couple of ribbon in the mane that I figured I'd shake off at the first opportunity. Mom gave up on things on my head when I sent stuff airborne last year.

But you should have seen Cloud. The boy looked like a MARE! HA! He had shiny stuff, bells, and ANTLERS!

Cody got a long sparkely rope in his tail, and the new mare, Missy, she was low key too. Red, from the ranch next door, he had some big white and red thing on under his saddle. Smaller herd than last year, which was fine with me since I prefer a small herd. Less geldings to work through to make an impression on the mares, ya know.

We loaded up and the horse pullers took us around and around.

Now I don't like to speak ill of my herd mates, usually. But OMG!

First of all, Cloud was REALLY getting on all our nerves. I even had to try to bite him twice because he was a total spaz. I was like "Chill dude." and he was like "What's that!? Ahhh!!" and I was like "Where? What?" and then it was some little kid or a car and after a while I just had to roll my eyes, you know?

We walked up the street, and there were some people with those rolly horses that always creep me out. They stopped at stared at us and we weren't sure if we should stomp them and put them out of their misery, but Cody walked right by them. Cloud went by them side ways in what Mom calls "giraffe mode" which is when your head is way high so you can see them coming.

Then we got to a spot and we were supposed to stop but there was this giant grey thing and a bunch of little mini car things, and people with squashed looking hats and I didn't like it. Mom kind of figured that and hopped off to walk me over to a couple things.

I felt a little better. We did a lot of visiting, cuz in parades you have to STAND a lot even if you are a MORGAN and everyone knows it's in our breeding to be "forward" which means we don't like standing around waiting for parades to start. I got to meet all the people on the colorful trailer with the little barker. I gave the whole thing a good going over. You know they have no decent hay on those things? No wonder they all sit on it.

Mom walked me around for a while, which was good becaue there were these loud birds that kept flying over and at one point I started to wonder if they were more dangerous than the birds at the barn. They were very growly and Mom and I did the circle on the rope thing, you know, just to shake it off.

Mom also had me to some tricks for a little kid that was there and he was very impressed. I even backed, trotted, and did my fancy hip moves. Impressive stuff people like to see at a parade. We were still waiting for our turn and I was doing pretty good. I even did a shout out to some tied up horses that were pulling their own trailer, which I never have seen before. They were pretty focused, cus they didn't shout back at any of us, even though we were all "Hey! Happy Holidays Guys! What Up?!"

But it's probably a lot of work hauling one of those wagon things, so I didn't hold it against them. Mom said - Look how good they're being Smokey and I rolled my eyes. Please. They are all trussed up. What else are they gonna do? Yesh.

Then the really bad thing happened. You know how in they get those little white flappy things and its kind of unnerving to a guy? Well there was all this major noise (Mom said it was music, but I'm more of a classic rock kind of guy) and a ton of people in squashed hats and they were waving flappy things in a huge panic! That was it, we all started to make tracks - Mom had me circle, which was good, but I really thought it would be best for us to get the heck out of there. Finally the flappy people left, and other than Cloud practically running over everyone, we all got back to business.

Okay, maybe I needed to go and chill out on the parking lot for a minute, doing some more backing up and trick stuff. Just to impress, ya know.

Then it was finally our turn. For a minute there I was wondering if Mom was going to get back on. I think she was too. But her herd all gave her the thumbs up and it's not like I was all crazy like Cloud. I did kind of walk off right away, but you know it was finally time to go, you can't blame a guy.

Mom's big guy told her to breathe and she laughed and started singing, which is good, cuz you have to breathe to sing, apparently. We followed the barky dog trailer and said happy holidays to everybody. This year I stopped when Cody and Cloud did and Mom said it was amazing.

I was like, "well, duh." She probably didn't notice each time we stopped I made sure I was a little ahead. Just sending a message, you know.

I only did two circles the whole parade, cuz I got a little ahead. Last year I did so many cirlces it was like I was in the round pen. About halfway through I kind of wished I didn't have the bit, and started to shake my head. But that's not allowed in a parade, I found out. So I would dip down a little and it was not so bad. And I got rid of two ribbons on the parade route when I shook my head, which is pretty good, probably a record. Next time I think we should go bitless and show off! Ha!

Finally we were back at the trailers and everyone loaded up, cuz it was time to go.

When we got back to the barn there was a ton of good hay for all of us parade horses. Which is as it should be, Mom said.

She says I've matured. I'm thinking she has because she finally learned how to breathe, which makes it way easier. Maybe now we can go on another adventure, cuz I have this parade thing down.

Except for the flappy people. Seriously. Hope someone helped them out.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mr. Smokey and the Christmas Parade Part One

First, let me apologize that there are no pictures.

That's right. Zero. Zip. Nada. But when you hear the whole story, I think you'll forgive me.

It started last week when Donna was asking me if I was ready for the parade. I hemmed and hawed. With everything going on with Sierra, DH in another city, continued financial challenges (because while the job is going well, money is inconsistent, and in a new city there are new expenses, blah, blah, blah), I just didn't know if I was up to managing my issues with Smokey.

Because, frankly, I've been a big chicken and only doing things I feel comfortable doing. Because I wanted one area of my life to be drama free.

And Parades? That's a pretty big horse drama magnet.

So I committed to having our truck there and probably having Smokey there, maybe, if everything goes well. Donna suggested we take Smokey for a field trip to see how he'd do.

Then Tuesday. Tuesday, Sierra felt so dizzy and faint in class, they took her to the nurse. The nurse called and said I should take her to the ER because she had some swelling on one side of her face and was walking funny.

I rushed home from Austin, my mom met me with her at the ER and to cut to the bottom line and after the five hours of ER hanging out, they gave her a bag of fluids, something for naseau and recommended we follow up with our Doctor (they had ruled out anything cardiac, in case you were wondering - I sure as heck was).

She was worse on Wednesday. I started to ask her questions, to drill down more on the dizziness. Turns out she had vertigo. Severe vertigo. As in "can't even walk to the bathroom" severe vertigo. Thursday we went to the doctor who confirmed my home diagnosis and gave us a prescription for saline spray (and gave me a list of over the counter meds).

With no improvement on Friday, I opted for a chiropracter. There was a moment of improvement, then it was back to swaying ceilings and zero equilibrium. I began to suspect that only Doctor Time was going to cure this balance challenged girl.

So you can probably see why the parade seemed like more trouble than it was worth.

On the horse front I went on Thursday, more as a stress reliever, really, to see how Smokey would do in the area where we gather for the parade. There were many firsts. Donna took her huge MFT and his nature means he has to get in the trailer first. Smokey has never loaded last, in "Lily's" spot. I had even thought last month that I should train him to do so in case there was ever a need.

But never got around to it.

Cloud, who previously has had a huge cow about loading into my trailer, hopped right in. That horse simply must be first. I looked at Smokey and said, "Okay, Smoke, load up."

And he did.

Good thing I spent all that time on it.

We headed out to the big field and Smokey was confused about unloading. Usually Lily just steps out, but Smokey is used to being lead out. I stepped into the trailer and backed him out. He was a little up, but settled in quickly. We started our ride and he was a little tight, but in five minutes he had settled down and doing well.

"See?" He'll be fine!" Donna cooed.

I felt my smile grow. Maybe we could do this. Maybe I wasn't snake bit with all this crazy stuff going on. Maybe I just needed to breathe, hum some Christmas songs and commit.

Maybe. As I drove back home from the barn I wondered if I was up for all of this. There was so much going on. Did I really want to take a chance?

Saturday seemed a long way away.