Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pillow Talk

I bet ya'll were expecting something a little more spicey....  but this post is actually about a pillow.

For the last few weeks I have been waking in the morning, barely able to turn my head.  The first morning I just thought I'd slept wrong.  It got better throughout the day and I figured it was just a little momentary glitch.

As the week wore on, I was having trouble turning my neck more and more.  Oh, no-  I must be really starting to get old and creaky.  Yuck. I felt tired every morning and Todd said I was tossing and turning a lot.

After about a week it finally dawned on me as I lay down on my pillow and tried to get comfortable, that I couldn't. 

Aha, I'm NOT getting old!  Its the pillow:)

I bought a set of two "Big Ones" pillows last year at my annual trip to the mall, the day after Thanksgiving.  They were on sale for $19.99.  Perfect.

Well, maybe not.  It seems that there are different quality pillows available!  Who knew??? 

So today, after going to meet Amber at Zojo's coffee and having  a divine cappucino.  Going to get a piece of pressure treated plywood for the horse trailer ramp (more on that later).  We went to Macy's to buy a pillow.

They have quite a selection.  Todd and I were walking around squishing and prodding random pillows.  We'd settled on the"firm" type.  They had some huge long pillows for the king size beds.  I don't think they would work, too long.  Unfortunately our bedroom (circa 1934) is only about 12 x 12.  We have a Calif. queen size bed in there but its pretty tight.

I'd found a nice firm pillow when the saleslady came over.  She was very nice, an older lady, very stylish.  I told her my pillow troubles and asked the fateful question.  "What's the best pillow?"

She took us over to the wall of pillows and pointed out something called a Vail Down Pillow. 

"Oh, feathers?"  I asked.  "Can you wash it?"

"Oh no, not feathers" she said, "those are loud and crinkly.  This is strictly down, and yes, you can wash it.  Although you won't need to often.  They come with a linen pillow protector and then you put your pillow case over the top."

She had me stand with my hips to the wall and lean into the pillow to try it out.

It was like a cloud.

I wanted to sleep right then and there, I had to have it.

I glanced over at the price tags and saw "Sale $49.99" Gulp, we need two of these things. 

Todd was now squishing the pillow.  The saleslady was saying how she was sure we'd really like them.  But if not, after trying them for a week we could return the pillow- as long as we kept the receipt and packing.

I was waffling, then noticed that the Sale $49.99 was for a synthetic pillow.  This was Down.  That's not synthetic.  I glanced up and saw the tag for my pillow. 


Holy crap, I could buy a nice saddle pad for that, or a new breast collar, or almost a ton of alfalfa.

$420.00 for two pillows??  I pointed out the price to Todd.  He raised an eyebrow.  The lady was saying they were on sale through the 4th of July.  Only $97. 

I was waffling.  Surely they aren't that good.  But we could return it, if it wasn't the most awesome pillow ever.  It had a nice linen cover.  No blue "prison stripes" like the last set.

Todd, had a great idea.  I would get the pillow.  If I found it to be the path to heavenly slumber we would come back and get a second pillow for him.  Plus, he could try it out on a nap or two during the day.

So, that is how I came home with a $105.00 pillow that actually has its own nickname.

"Karen's golden goose pillow"

Tomorrow I plan on  riding Red Rock Road- hopefully without a cricked neck! So I promise a more interesting horse related post is in the works. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Sure, there they sit.  All innocent looking.

But, Cartman was sure those plastic lids were just laying in wait- for a nice juicy young TB to come along. 

He wasn't going to be a victim!!  Not going anywhere near those deadly lids.

Last weekend Flo and I went down to Skamokowa to the county fairgrounds.  The local 4H group was having the first of a three part series-  Trail challenge, Speed events, and Ranch events.

I had only ridden C once last week, on Wednesday.  He had been a madman in the pasture all week, running bucking, running bucking.  I was a little concerned that he might be a nutball at his first "horse show" type event.  

C is just full of surprises sometimes.  He handled himself like an old campaigner, more interested in grazing in the holding areas than spooking or getting nervous around all the commotion:)

Flo and Hotshot did the trail challenge first and Hotshot did really well.  I think they made it through most of the obstacles! 

Cartman and I were about 50/50 on the obstacles.  He was very good at pushing the giant ball (something I've never tried with him).  I was a little surprised that he refused the white lids and the tire obstacle. 

He jumped the little PVC pipe on the cones and proceeded to spook himself and do a two stride bolt. 

But he was good  going through the hanging nets, backing over two boards and believe it or not was great going through the "tarp tent"

The mailbox was OK until I dropped the lid when trying to close it, then it became a little scary.

All in all, I got some good ideas of what we need to work on- namely not pushing through the bit when trying to evade something.   Not starting to randomly back up across the arena to evade other things.  And better neck reining under pressure.

Cartman rocked the ranch event with the cows.  I was a little apprehensive, cows scare me just a bit- they don't react like horses and I don't know what they're going to do.

They had three young cows in two pens, connected with a gate.  The event was to get the cows from one pen to the other, one at a time.

As soon as I figured out that the cows would run from us, this became very fun.  We were able to get all the cows from one pen to the next.  Then they reversed the gate and we got one more.  Unfortunately the last two ran through together before we could stop one.  So all in all we got four sorted in the time allowed.  We were briefly in the lead!!! 

We had a great time, it was just a fun day and everyone was supportive and patient with us novices.  They have two more planned 7/14 and 8/19.

 It was a really fun day!

On Sunday Cartman and I hit the real trail again.  We took Michelle and Tucker with us up to our local trails and spent about three hours.  It was great to be back on our trails again.  They're in pretty good shape even though it hasn't really quit raining yet.

Here are some pics of "real" trail action! 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Klickitat Trek- Awesome as Always

(photo by Dennis Anderson)

Last weekend I headed out with Glen and Flo to Glenwood Wa for the Klickitat Trek Ride.

Thursday night I checked Cartman's shoes and was horrified to discover that his right front was twisted a little.  You couldn't really see the problem while his foot was on the ground, but when picked up it was obviously tweaked.  I remember there being a horseshoer at the ride last time I attended.  

So on Friday morning about 9am we loaded up C, with his buddies Hotshot and Dixie, and we were off!

A few hours later we arrived at the Glenwood Fairgrounds. 

We parked up towards the road and started setting up camp.  When parking we had failed to notice the rather large herd of sheep, directly across the road.  The field looked like a sea of white fluffly sheep.  The sound they made wasn't really obnoxiously loud- but it was certainly incessant.  I don't think those animals are ever quite!

Cartman was unimpressed by neighbors, but Hotshot was horrified.  He is usually a very good camper, not prone to panic attacks or hissy fits at all.  But these white sheep had him very rattled.  Finally when it got dark and the sheep moved off to another field and Hotshot could relax a little.

As soon as the horses were secure with hay and water I raced off to find the shoer.

Unfortunately the shoer had not arrived yet!  Lucky for me, one of the ride managers is a farrier and she took pity on me and reset his shoe and pad and rasped a little flair off the other front foot.  I'm not really sure why this set of shoes don't seem to be holding up well, perhaps the new pads?  Anyway, a big "Thank You" to Leanne! 

A few hours later I saddled up Cartman and we headed out for a ride.  With all the hassle at work last week I just haven't been able to ride as much as I would have liked since Mt. Adams.  Cartman was a monster!!  He seemed to think he had this 'ride' thing all figured out and he just wanted to go, and fast.

We were out for about and hour and a half.  The trails were wonderful.  I just love that type of forest, with lots of pine trees and wild flowers blooming everywhere.  We got to a water tank and I decided to turn around.  There were four cows at the trough and one HUGE cow, or bull? laying down in the middle of the trail.  Cartman did not waver, he was gonna go right into the herd.  But I had second thoughts as that big one started to get up.  I circled and headed back towards camp. 

After a few minutes I realized this didn't look familiar any more.  Crap.  I get SO turned around on these trails.  About this time the sky got dark, the wind picked up, and a few raindrops spit down on us.  Uh oh.  I finally backtracked enough to find the right trail and not far there was a  ribbon.  Yeah!

It never did really rain on us:)  We ran into several other groups of riders and C started getting really strong in the bridle.  He would walk perfectly on a loose rein, but if I asked for any trot he'd blast off at mach 5 speed.  We stopped, backed, reversed, trotted, stopped, spun, trotted, etc. etc.  I tried a little lope here and there going away from camp.  He was still too strong. 

Did I mention it was really pretty warm, and very humid?  I felt like I'd been riding all day and C's neck was completely wet by the time we were back at camp again.  He still was way too "on the muscle" for my liking.  I turned left at the gate, instead of right going back to camp, which is what Cartman thought we were going to do.

I remembered this trail from a couple of years ago, second loop.  There is a nice long stretch of trail with good footing.  So, we loped, and loped, and loped.  Switching leads about half way through.  By the time we had walked back to camp C was much more manageable.  Whew.

When we got back to the trailer my neighbor Michelle, and her friend Kristy had arrived with their horses .  These guys did the trailride at Mt. Adams and were going for the LD at Klickitat.  It was Kristy's first LD!

Some other friends from Castle Rock parked next to us with their Missouri Foxtrotters and we had our own little base camp.  We had a wonderful dinner of a salad and Spanish casserole with chicken and rice.  Yummm!  Thanks Alli!

Saturday morning came bright and early.  Well, morning came, but the LD didn't  start until 9:30!  About 9:25 the three of us, Glen, Flo, and I headed over to the start.  As soon as the front runners were through the gate we were off.  C was being stellar, he had ambled thru camp on a loose rein and been snacking on grass while waited.  I was thrilled.

We had passed Michelle and Kristy tacking up as we went thru camp.  They were planning to go really slow.  Just wanting to finish the 25 miles, even if overtime.

I settled Cartman in behind Dixie, and Flo and Hotshot took the lead.  Hotshot must have been a little crabby after his experience with the sheep (they had unfortunately returned early Saturday morning) as he was being a real handful.  Dixie was motoring along, all business.

I simply could not believe how manageable Cartman was.  He wasn't crowding, trying to pass, or doing the fall behind, rush to catch up thing.  It helped that we were on some pretty good open trail and then on a wide, very long, dirt road.  I started to really relax and just enjoy the ride.

After several miles, probably about 4, I decided that C needed a little rest.  I told Glen and Flo I might catch up later and pulled C back to a walk.  As his gaited buddies headed out, I grabbed a horse treat out of my pack and gave him a little distraction.  No problem! 

We ambled along, getting passed by several horses and finally ended up riding with a nice lady named Shari (?) on a lovely chestnut Arab mare.  Her horse was fairly inexperienced like Cartman, and we both wanted to just have some mellow trail time. We ended up riding together for the rest of the day. 

The trail seemed to have quite a bit or road this year, and a bit of rock as well.  We did a lot of walking, interspersed with jogging when the footing allowed.  Cartman was not interested in water at the first stop, but I wasn't too concerned- he'd been eating and drinking heartily all evening and morning prior to the ride.

The first loop of this LD was 19 miles!  Yikes, I've never taken Cartman that far in one loop.  I tried to ride conservatively, just in case.

After hours on the trail we had to be getting close to the vet check.  Suddenly threer riders appeared heading towards us on the trail.  I know these guys, and they had passed us earlier in the ride. Hmm.  As we passed they said they had turned back.  There was a dangerous water crossing and were not going on to the vet check.

Now, one of these riders has 5000 miles, I'm pretty sure she has done a lot of water crossings.  This seemed really odd.  Nonetheless I wasn't turning around without seeing this water crossing for myself.  Cartman has done quite a bit of water crossings.  Flo helped me school him through many crossings on our home trails so I couldn't imagine that we couldn't do this crossing.

As the two of us got closer we could hear rushing water, it was extremely loud.  Horses were screaming and then some people were yelling. I was not getting good vibes as we descended the single track trail leading to the crossing. 

We were stopped by a line of horses, backed up at the crossing.  It was narrow and there wasn't really a lot of room to get up and see what was going on.  A lady heading away from the crossing said a rider and horse had gone down getting into the creek.  The horse had scrambled, I believe stepping on the rider, who was having trouble getting back out of the rushing water and up the bank.  Yikes. 

Several more horses passed us heading back up the trail.  Then some riders passed that had come from the vet check, which was apparently less that half mile from the creek crossing.  The horse that had fallen had then scrambled across and took off without his rider.  Someone had caught him on the other side, so we hoped they would send some help back out from the vet check to help us find another route across.

Cartman was being pretty good, we moved up a few horses towards the crossing and I could finally see it.  A lady on a huge STB was attempting to cross.  There was quite a drop going into the creek, as the horse stepped down he must have hit "the hole" as the water was going up to his chest.  He slipped a little to the side and then scrambled back up the bank.  No go.

I decided that if that big strong horse was having trouble there was  no way I was going to risk it with C.  He is pretty brave about water, I want it to stay that way.  My riding buddy was feeling the same way.  We decided to hang out and see if we would get re-routed, not wanting to give up 19 miles in, and so close to the vet check! 

My horse was starving!  I knew there was a huge bucket of beet pulp, carrots, grain, and electrolytes just on the other side of that creek.  Damn it. I was really hungry too.

After about 25 minutes or so, our horses started getting really upset.  They were still pretty crammed in on the trail, trying to stay out of each others way and find any bits of grass available.

I was really bummed.  I did not want a non-completion on Cartman's second ride.  He had gone 19 miles with no snack.  We were going to have to give up. 

Finally a group of about 5 of us decided to head back.  For some reason this really got C upset.  Perhaps he thought we were just turning around to head back the way we had come, to camp.  He started plunging and trying to run off, loping down the trail.  I kept pulling him back to trot and then he'd try it again.  Little turkey acted he was just heading out!

We pulled over when we'd gotten back up on top of the hill about a mile from the crossing and had our own little vet check.  I hopped off and loosened Cartman's cinch and fed him every horse treat I had in the pack. 

All of us were on young horses, that had only had one or two starts.  It was nice to have the company of other riders that were willing to give up a completion rather than risk their youngster getting hurt or scared.

I later found out that there had been quite a few LD riders affected by the crossing.  Unfortunately the creek is actually an irrigation channel and the water,  had been turned on late Friday.  This resulted in a crossing that had been a small descent into a 1-2 foot deep creek turning into a chewed up fairly steep descent into pretty deep water.  Flo and Hotshot plowed right through with Dixie and Glen right behind them, but she thought they were the last ones to get through.

The six miles back to camp went pretty quickly and by the time we got back I was feeling pretty good.  My horse had been absolutely amazing.  I had a great ride, on great trails, and now I know my boy can go almost 25 miles in one stretch!  I think he'll be able to do 50s!

I checked in, pulsed in right way and asked if I could still go through the vet.  I wanted to see how C had faired with all those miles.

The vet said Cartman looked really good.  He got all A's, except a B+ on the left side for gut sounds.  He literally drug me back on our jog out.  I was very happy as we made our way back to the trailer. 

C dove right into his hay, begging for alfalfa.  He got some:)

After I cleaned up a little I went over to wait for Glen and Flo to come in.  I waited, and waited.  It was way past when they would normally finish.  Right at 3:30 (cut off time) Sally and Heather flew into camp.  Heathers horse vetted in but Sally's mare was off and pulled.  I felt so bad for her, all those miles and to get pulled at the end :(
It seems there had been some trouble with the trail leaving the vet check and the LD riders had done 15 miles back to camp instead of the 6 miles it was supposed to be.

At 3:45 Glen and Flo made it in, passing the vet check with no issues.

The rest of the afternoon was spent, walking C, sponging C, waiting for Michelle and Kristy, and eating. 

Michelle and Kristy finally made it back, extremely tired and glad to be back to camp.  The trail had been re-routed around the deep crossing by the time they got to the vet check, but they got sent out on the long loop like many others. 

For dinner we all had steak.
About 8pm we went over for awards.  I was hoping that the riders that had ridden all those extra miles would get completions, despite the fact that they were technically over time for a 25. 

Ride manager Marilyn is a such a class act.  She quickly got the meeting going and addressed the problems encountered on the LD.  Explaining what had happened and that after conferring with other ride managers and the vets that she was going to give all the riders that had been sent on the wrong loop credit for a 35 mile ride.  Yeah!

Not only that, but for all the riders that were unable to cross what had become a rather dangerous creek crossing, we would get a completion-only for 25.  I was really surprised, thinking that without that first vet check we couldn't get credit.  So, there were no placings for us but completions. 

We all ended up getting those wonderful Klickitat sweatshirts and Cartman now has 50 miles!

Despite the fact that this has gotten really long, I will post a few pictures.