Wednesday, March 30, 2011

First Ride of the Season

Last weekend Dazzby and I headed over to Washtucna Wa. for the first official ride of the season here in the NW.  The ride is called Home on the Range, and it is appropriately named. 

My plan this time out was to just go really slow and easy, take some pictures for the blog, see the scenery and enjoy an easy 25 miles.

Friday morning we loaded Dazzby into the last slot of Glen and Flo's awesome living quarter trailer and headed south, then east, then northeast.  We rolled into camp about 6.5 hours later and got comfortable.  The terrain is rolling hills, grasslands, no trees really to speak of, and beautiful big sky.

I took Dazz over to vet in.  He opened her mouth and said "Oh this is an old fella!" 

I informed him that 17 is the new 12.

That night the ride sponsored a big stew dinner and we had dessert potluck.  I made cupcakes, chocolate and white with white frosting.  I'm not sure I'll go with cupcakes again, they don't really travel all that well.  There was a ride meeting, unfortunately I happened to be seated near the "partying" group and couldn't hear a word that was said by the ride manager.  I'll admit I was wishing a nice hangover to the one lady that carryed on so.  I must work on my tolerance I guess. 

After the meeting we headed back to the trailer and got ready for the next morning.

Glen and Flo did a 50, so they saddled up and headed out at 7am.

About 7:20 I started getting Dazz tacked up.  I tried to dawdle a little as I didn't want to get stuck in the throng of horses milling around at the start.

When I saw the frontrunners go by our camp I walked over to the start and we were off!

Within the first mile Dazz started having "issues".  She was SO naughty.  Threatening to buck, then flinging her head up and hopping.  I got after her a bit, but finally had to stop and get off.  I figured I was getting off one way or another anyway.  I hoped that handwalking her a bit would help. 

The start of this ride has some pretty good rolling hills and single track trail.  I stumbled up the trail trying to stay out of the way of my crazed horse, while keeping her somewhat on the trail and out of the way of other horses.  Eeeek. She actually kicked out at another horse at one point. 

I'm not sure I've ever seen this mare that ticked off.

I finally climbed back on,  when we started getting to some steeper downhill sections and we continued on down the trail, me and my fire breathing dragon.

Last year I got a few nice pics during the first part of the ride, but this year I had my reins in a cross and couldn't let go.  I was thinking it might be nice to have a set of my racing reins with the rubber grips, after all this ride was like trying to gallop a fit race-ready TB.

By the time we got back to camp I was absolutely worn out and my sleek TB looked like an American Curly Horse.

The vet's comment after doing her check was "This horse hasn't had enough miles."

The second loop was oh so nice!  My angel mare was back with me and I was loving it.  I did get off and walk quite a bit, I was sore and I was still worried that Dazz wasn't quite as fit as her pissy-tude was indicating.

At one point we were about half way out and headed back in the direction of camp.  Dazzby knew it too, she grabbed the bit (not in the obnoxious manner of the first loop).  She just grabbed the bit and took off in her awesome forward trot.  She was having fun!  We slipped into canter and were having a great time.  I think she was actually looking for ribbons.

Before we knew it camp was in sight!

We spent the afternoon eating, taking walks (my new strategy to help keep her from stocking up after every ride), visiting, crewing for Glen and Flo, and more eating.

I got to see AareneX and Miss Fiddle heading out for their last loop on the 50 (wearing the most stunning purple rump rug- I might add). 

I crewed for Glen and Flo on their last hold and basically just had a good time watching all the horses and riders coming and going at the vet check.  It was a great day.

Riders heading out on the 50:

Next post, ride strategy critique.  Time to change strategies?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Will it ever stop?

Today I was desperate.  The vet was coming at 4:30 to give everybody their spring shots.  I haven't ridden my horse in 10 days.  We have a ride in 9 days.  I've got a nasty cough and feel basically, like crap.

I raced home at 2:45pm, grabbed Dazzby, groomed, tacked, and loaded by 3pm.

It was actually sunny as we drove into the parking lot.  We walked a short distance and then got to jogging.  She spooked at a large bush.  I almost fell off.  We trotted a bit farther and again with the spooking!
Again, I fell up on her neck this time.  I was starting to get a little annoyed.  She's 17, not 3 and we've ridden these trails literally hundreds of times.

I decided we needed to kick it up a notch.  Cantering in the deep sand is kind of a cheaters way to work down a high horse or ride a young horse that your not too sure about.  We headed off the gravel path and into the sand.

After yet one more spook and little kick out, she did finally settle down and cooperate.  We cantered until she was puffing a bit.  And called it a day. As I was cooling out is just started to pour!  Then it hailed!  Ack.  I jumped off and jogged back to the trailer with her,  threw on her cooler and headed home.

We were home by 4pm and ready for shots. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Uh oh, Vacation Blog

Is there some unwritten blogger rules of etiquette?  If so, I might just be breaking some rules because today's post is full of vacation pictures.

Our original plan was to drive down to Reno for a few days and check out some land around there, as we'd like to eventually get some vacation property somewhere a little drier than Western Wa.  Sadly, the snow and ice last week got me a little hesitant to take off to Reno in my little two seater car  (I'm pretty sure you can't even get chains on the thing.)  Filling up the truck with diesel cost $122 last week, so that was out too.

We made a last minute decision to fly to Las Vegas (it looked to have the best weather at that point).

Wow.  Thats all I can say about Vegas. 

Actually it would probably be "Wow!" cough, cough cough.

I guess I've gotten used to the no-smoking-in-public thing we have up here in the NW, and I was, of course, getting a sore throat and cold!

I found a horse on our way to check in.

Since we are probably two of the last people on earth to have never been to Las Vegas, I won't bore everyone with the details of what we saw there.   But I've decided its moniker of "Sin City" might be replaced by "Excess City".

After two days we were desperate to get out!  Reno is nice right?  We headed North.

Beautiful countryside.  I love the wide open spaces landscape.

Interestingly, the Ozarks have nothing on Nevada when it comes to old trailers and dead cars.  We had decided they must not have scrap yards here.  Later we did see one though, so I'm not sure whats up with the car collections.

We pulled into Reno about 5pm on Wednesday.  Whew!  It looked like a 'normal' city!  It was clean!  We had awesome Thai food at a place called Bangkok Cuisine!

We ended up meeting up with a friend and her daughter that had moved from Castle Rock to Reno eight years ago and had some ice cream at a place called Biscotti's inside the Peppermill Hotel.

That night we headed down to the Casino and I played Blackjack.  Well, I tried.  The guys at the table were all older and helped me a little.  I am NOT a card player- but it was really fun!  I won $85 dollars and got to actually go to the cashier's window.  Sorry, no pictures- they are a little paranoid about that at the card tables.

The next morning we headed out towards Washoe Valley and Carson City.  It was WINDY!!!

After a brief stop in Virginia City, so I could get a t-shirt with a horse on it, we headed back towards Vegas.

Friday, we were basically killing time until we could fly home.  Todd managed to find the last slot machine that pays out in actual coins instead of tickets, unfortunately he won more than the $20 coin limit!

I'm almost embarrased to admit that yes, we did wait in line to get in the Pawn Stars Pawn Shop.  Funny huh?  Its much smaller than it looks like on TV.

Now we are home, its raining :(

I'm glad to see my horses though :)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Small Mystery is Solved

Last summer I went out to check on Girlie and Draol one afternoon.  Girlie had a large swollen lump on the side of her face.  I couldn't tell if it was a bug bite, or if she'd gotten stung by a bee, or what had caused it.  A tumor???? She didn't seem to care if I touched the spot.

The lump was still there the next day, but on the third day it was gone.  Whew, I breathed a sigh of relief and life went on. 

A while later it was back.  I was getting curious now, what was causing my mare to act like a chipmunk?
She didn't appear to be having any trouble eating or drinking and didn't even seem to notice the lump.

I wish I had a picture of the thing to show you.  Perhaps next time I'll snap one.

Some time soon after, I caught her and tried to look up in her mouth.  Well, she isn't really to into this sort of activity so finally I just grabbed her tongue and stuck my finger up in there. 

Yuck.  A plug of chewed up hay/grass/grain came out with a little scraping.

OK now we're getting some where, she's decided she needs a cud!  

My horse dentist was scheduled to be in the area soon so I decided to wait and let him take a look at it.  As luck would have it, the day he was here I was in the midst of one of my beloved 65 hour work weeks last fall and couldn't get home to haul her down for a dental.

Fast forward to her dental appointment today- the lumps are, of course plug or quids of hay.  She has started spitting them out around the area where I feed.  But now I know they are being caused because she is missing a tooth.  Actually she is missing two and soon to be three.  The missing tooth that has been causing the quidding is the second tooth from the back on the upper left side of her jaw.

I had no idea that when horses age the roots of their teeth get shorter and shorter until they can just fall out.  I knew older horses sometimes have troubles chewing their hay and such but never really followed the thought through on what causes it.

The dentist suggested giving her hay that is fine, not course stemmed, and also a senior feed.  Her teeth are actually in pretty good shape, other than the few missing ones.

Sorry, no pictures of the dental proceedings, I seem to get really caught up in stuff and just forget to take them!