Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mighty heart update

On crib notes.

Smokey on Sunday

On Sunday it all came together. Smokey was brilliant. Best horse ever. Amazing.

I'm not sure what was in the hay, but I'm buying more of it.


We started out in the arena and he was so responsive I decided "the heck with this, let's hit the trails." And we did. Alone.

I had fingertip control. We stayed in our comfort zone, given all that's going on I wasn't up for an adventure beyond riding alone.

I felt such a strong tie to him. I felt like I knew what to do every moment. It was a day I really really needed.

BTW: Mighty heart update on crib notes.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Smokey, Me, and the Windy Day

My infrequent rides are making it tough to make much progress, but we still seem to get somewhere.

In a glacial, agonizingly slow, was- that-progress kind of way.

I finished up my chores at the barn and brought Smokey in for saddling. It was odd, none of the horses were much interested in their hay in the paddocks.

That should have been your first clue.

Well, I noticed, but what am I going to do?
Wait for the wind to die down?

Yes. Absolutely. Yesh. I can't believe I
still have to explain this to you.

I'm a little slow.

So we went directly to the arena...

INSTEAD of the round pen.

I just wanted to point that out.

Yes. Because by now I should just get on you and ride.

On a windy day.

Yes! Even on a windy day!

What. ever.

I let out my new, extra long lead rope
for a brief lunge session, a sort of compromise...
There's no fun stuff
on one of those ropes.

Smokey started out very well. And then
he suddenly scooted over to the other side.

Because of my keen senses. Geez. You
can't see ANYTHING.
Tell me something.
How do you even manage to drive over
here without being killed and devored?

I guess that's because nothing is hunting me.

Oh sure, just lord over me with
the "top of the food chain" thing.

Nothing is hunting YOU either.

That's because I'm ever vigilant.

That's because there's nothing out there.


Think about it. When did you ever see anything
out there bigger than a rabbit?

Thinking is what produces all those
carcasses on the side of the highway.

I guess that's ONE way to look at it.

Anyway, together we eventually got over it and
moved on to some basics.

I have no idea why you have
this obsession with straight lines.

It's supposed to be about focus.
That was what I was reading on all the blogs this week.

Blogs. Yesh. I tell you,
we'll get there.
No problem.

I know we will. But sometimes
I think we should be more efficient.

Face it.
We're not
like them.
We like wandering.

Unless it's windy.

Well, duh.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mighty Heart and Book

Two items of news. There's a Mighty Heart update on Crib Notes.

And the Crib Notes Collection is out. Here's an amusing excerpt:

I found myself wandering through the house rethinking my decision to have children. For this I gave up Shiner and ice tea for nine months? I actually volunteered to stay home so I could wrestle with a loud, rude, and completely irrational human being? Yeesh. I could have kept my other job for that and at least gotten dental insurance in the deal.

I'd stare at this screaming banshee at my feet, who was demanding that I make her baby shoes fit her again or bring back the toy she shattered in last week's tantrum and longed to look her straight in the eye and say those two little words: "Day care."

Promise it'll make you laugh at least once. These days, that's gotta be worth a buck. :)

Rode Smokey yesterday, we'll have a joint report tomorrow.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Guess who is coming to Texas?!

Mark Rashid!

More news to follow, but I'm definitely planning on going... To audit, unfortunately, but auditing is better than nothing!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Today My Horse Reared, and I'm OK with That

Before we talk about the R.I. (rearing incident) I thought I'd talk about two new horses at the barn. The Percheron and the Clydesdale.

These two horse were purchased over the internet by total newbies.

Yes, they know nothing about horses and said "I know, let's get two of the largest kind, over the internet and start riding!"

Unsurprisingly when their two horses arrived (at 2400 pounds a piece), they became a little intimidated.

Duh. I've been riding horses and have had my own for a little over five years now, and I'm intimidated by these mini elephants.

And for no good reason. These have got to be the sweetest, brokest, well trained horses ever (next to Lily). We watched the trainer work them in the round pen and got a chance to ride them. No pictures of me riding, but here's my DH - my friend KC rode and wrote about it here.

Personally I prefer a horse with a shoe smaller than a Frisbee, that doesn't go through a giant bale of hay in two minutes. Still the temperament of these two is remarkable. I rode this mare, she was sensitive to cues and stopped with my seat. Reminded me of Lily.

Their newbie owners are on a horse vacation in Costa Rica (riding Paso Finos, which will be quite a different experience from these super sized horses) and hopefully will come home with some more horse savvy. The horses, for their part, will be warmed up for riding and ready to go.


Now then, the R. I.

As I mentioned there's not much riding going on these days. But today I had time. I was concerned that Smokey was going to have a hard time, having been off work for so long. Sure enough we walked in the round pen and he saw something and spooked.

Fortunately I hadn't untied him yet so I was able to keep him close while I looked for the issue.

The trailer. The draft horse trailer was a big stock trailer with a canvas top.

A flapping canvas top. We all know how Smokey feels about flapping canvas (see parade blog entry by Smokey). So instead of staying in the round pen I decided to walk around the trailer with my snorty boy.

I like finding moments like this. Finding things that worry him, then working him through it. I wasn't always like this, I dreaded these moments. But now its like when your kid gets through something difficult the first time. It's a blessing to be the one that gets them through. Soon I was climbing on the trailer and flapping the canvas by hand since the wind had died down.

Stephanie was saddling up Lily and we decided that Cibolo was blue about being left behind so we decided to give him a pony lesson. (Cibolo is awaiting a new saddle, he's been back sore with his old one). We didn't know if he knew how to pony so starting in the round pen seemed like a good first step. After a few minutes he had it down and we hit the trails.

It was a lovely ride on our local trails, we kept it simple. Cibolo got a little honery and Lily reminded him (without unseating Stephanie in the least - good horse!) to cut it out. We decided to put him up and let the horses run the pasture.

Cibolo didn't like being left behind. He led the two remaining members of his herd on a run along the fence line. Smokey found this EXTREMELY concerning. I was able to get him under control, but I knew this was a lot for him to handle. The herd raced around the fence line, in an out of trees just on the other side. Smokey grew beneath me.

Note to self - don't let the horses out when riding along that pasture. At least not when the alpha is jealous and irritated at being left behind. I could feel the struggle within Smokey. I know how much to ask of him, especially when we haven't been riding steadily.

He was trying, bless him. I stroked him on his neck, corrected him, worked on getting and keeping his focus as horses raced past us. On the fourth run near us, when we were the closest to the herd he began snaking his head. I corrected him mildly (we were riding in a bosal) and he finally went up in a little rear. I got him back down and back under control. I almost got off but waited until we were quiet. We ended our ride calm and safe. No bolt. No jigging back to the barn. No calling and circling.

In the end, he listened. In the end he was with me.

I'm OK with that.

(Of course Lily did NOTHING. Someday Smokey will be at that point too. Someday.)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Responding to the Alpha - and life update

You know he's kind of a brat when you're not around.

Stephanie was over for dinner with Ryan, and we were talking about horses, as we love to do.

She was talking about Smokey. Smokey is that horse in the barn that is endearing, like an adorable child and can act like one that gets away with everything when at Grandma's house. With me he's not allowed to barge past to eat. Not allowed to do head tossing and twisting as I'm coming down to feed. In fact every horse is to enter quietly, I don't care how hungry they are or how late I am. If not they are last to eat.

No horses chase one another when I come to feed. It made me think about Smokey and how far we've come. I'm a bit down because there simply isn't time right now, not with everything going on, to do what I need to do with my horses. They need to travel, they need to go on trails, they need to be worked more than on Saturday.

Not gonna happen, not for a while.

But knowing my horse behaves well around me somehow made me feel like I'm doing something right in this one little corner of my crazy life.

And it's been crazy. Sierra's vertigo is back. She can't walk unless she closes her eyes, and is restricted to a wheel chair at home. She's missed the first two weeks of school with no end in sight. I finally have an appointment with a specialist on Wednesday (I was going to have to wait two more weeks).

Everything we've tried has failed. Physical therapy. Doctor won't give her any more steroids since it was only a temporary fix.

They want to do an MRI. And the MRI folks would like $$$, even with great insurance.

And don't forget we have her heart test coming up, now scheduled for the 31st.

And then there is the school. I've been keeping them informed and once I realized this new bout of vertigo wasn't going to go away I asked them for options. They needed a note from the doctor to invoke "section 504."

Doctor said "I don't have a diagnosis, you'll have to talk to the specialist."

At that point I couldn't get in with a specialist until the 30th (I have since called a different specialist).

Which means Sierra would fall so behind she might be forced to repeat the year.

Presuming she'll be walking again at some point.

I made an appointment with the doctor (having had all the communication funneled through his assistant). I hoped in person I could plead our case, he could write a note, I could get some help for Sierra for school at least.

He saw how bad she is, which is:
  • She can't walk.
  • She can't be exposed to loud sounds. Even your normal talking voice seems loud.
  • She can't stand.
  • She can't be in a place where there is a great deal of movement.

He gave me the note. I dropped her at Grammy's and took the note to the school. They said it was the wrong kind of note.

I lost it.


They've since got what they need, I go in on Tuesday to sign paperwork so she can do online learning.

My only horse time is feeding the horses. These pictures were from Christmas, when Sierra was walking. Before the symptoms came creeping back.

But if all I can do is feed, I'll be damned if horses are going to try to run around me like maniacs. There I have some control. There the world doesn't spin and dive, the ground doesn't shift. There the world runs without red tape, without weeks between appointments, with the simple logic of motion, feed, and the soft nuzzle of a horse looking for a cookie.

And on Friday our car broke down.

I'm really, really tired.