Sunday, December 30, 2012

Gifts from Friends

The last seven days have been action packed.  Too busy to even think of blogging!

Christmas Eve's Eve  was an enjoyable day.   I had chores done by 9am and made breakfast while listening to a new Andre Rieu CD I picked up at Target- almost as good as my favorites- the Chili Peppers  and Rage Against the Machine- and somewhat more "early morning friendly".

We did a little last minute shopping during the day then later we met up with Roger and Amber for a short visit and Amber gave me an awesome Christmas gift- a little fitting so that I can use my  favorite coffee in my Kuerig! And also some of my favorite coffee- Zojo's, yummm.

We then stopped by for a little visit with Glen and Flo on Christmas Eve's Eve and ended up hanging out in Glen's cozy downstairs "man cave" in front of a warm fire.  Very festive.

They guys had a few drinks and the next thing you know we were  making plans for a Christmas Eve ride!  Flo's been trying to get Todd to ride with us for, oh, at least the last two years and she finally did it!  The Blackberry (?) Whiskey might have helped a little, snicker, snicker!

Christmas Eve was clear and cold.  Gift number two!

Which lead to another awesome Christmas Gift- a Christmas Eve ride with friends and Todd too. Thanks so much to Glen and Flo for bringing an extra horse for Todd to ride! 

I had spent about two hours fitting Dazzby's Renegade boots to Cartman and I was excited at the prospect of being able to take him out on gravel even if we could only do a lot of walking.  Unfortunately as I was helping Todd bridle Auggie and get his stirrups adjusted Cartman decided to step on his own foot and rip the cables out of the front Renegade.  Agh. 

I decided to pull all the boots and I would try to stay on the edge of the sand while everyone else rode the jogging path.

We ended up riding the whole path and Cartman did pretty well barefoot. 
Todd got a new respect for the distance rider's obsession with proper fitting clothes and tack as he ended up with a nice little "saddle sore" from a big seam in his jeans.  Ooops. 

He had a good time though and wanted to "go fast" the whole time:)  Auggie was a real sweetheart and took good care of him.  Todd really liked the running walk!

I was so busy taking pictures and messing with the camera that I didn't notice my phone was gone until we got home. 

So, we spent the better part of Christmas Eve walking and jogging on foot, the same path we'd ridden on horse back earlier.  I paged and paged but sadly the phone was not to be found.  After about four miles my lungs were burning and I gave up looking.

But I'm counting this as another gift.  I got to experience the sand first hand and realized what a "gift" my horse gives me every time he carries me through it. Thanks Cartman!

I was a little sad to lose EVERY PHONE NUMBER I've collected for the last 10 years!  So, if I don't call you, please call me- I'm going to start from scratch (same phone number).

We raced home, I did chores and then we headed over to Erik and Michelle's for Christmas Eve Dinner and a game of Train Dominoes.

Dinner was yummy (New York Roast), so good, I decided to forgo my Primal Diet for two days and I gorged on any and all sweets and grains I wanted. I Finished it off with some delicious Pumpkin Cheesecake that Michelle made. mmmmmmm.

We gave the boys their Christmas Gifts (each a Lego kit) and they seemed to really like them.  Unfortunately Mason already had the kit we picked out for him (a truck trailer and dirt bike set), but he was really appreciative and mature about it- didn't act disappointed at all.  I think that Target will let him exchange for another set and they have a bunch of cool ones!

Michelle made me the most awesome framed picture collage for Christmas.  A  great shot of Cartman and I from our ride up at Kalama Horse Camp in Oct.  The big picture of us, and then two smaller pictures- Mt St Helens behind the lava flow and the beautiful river in the third spot.  I love it.


Ooops, almost forgot to mention our last little Chrismas gift.  A fiasco involving our septic tank.  It ended up being a plugged pipe and not a septic failure.  This was of course discovered after Todd spent the better part of Christmas morning digging up the tank.

The rest of Christmas Day was spent resting, feeding the horses treats, and cooking a big ham dinner. All in all it was a wonderful holiday and a good day to be thankful for all of our friends and family.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Proof I'm actually Riding, and a kitten video :)

Today I had the day off work (use it or lose it before year end).  When I got up it had snowed a tiny bit but the sun was shining.

I ran down to get Cartman and his older brother Taj slipped out the gate on me- I had not had any coffee yet.  So I'm out there chasing Taj around the yard as he'd run all the way up to the house.  I finally caught him by letting him go into one of the stalls.  Yikes.

After the escapee was securely replaced in the field I grtabbed Cartman and we headed back up to the house.

Thanks to his blanket grooming was a pretty easy deal and I was making good time.

I had C saddled and the trailer hooked up just as the sky was turning a little darker grey...

It was getting really chilly and a little breezy. 

I have yet to actually get out winter coat this year- some type of subconscious rebellion against the dreaded rain season.... or my primal diet, I'm not sure exactly why.

But I decided it was time, and I needed my gloves too.

So I spent another 15 minutes looking for the gloves that have been kicking around all summer.   No luck.

I looked everywhere.

I finally decided that I probaly could ride in barn chore gloves.  By now it was sleet/snowing again.  Agh!!!

I threw Cartman's cooler over his saddle and off we went.

Here's proof- you can't actually see the precipitation in the photos but we only made if 45 minutes before I was freezing!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again!

Whew, the drought is over....  I've been on my horse three times in the last week:)

Last Saturday I took C over to the sand/dredge spoil area where we usually use the jogging path for conditioning.  Since he's now shoe-free, we couldn't actually attempt the gravel path, but we did a lot of walking in the sand.

It was a very nice, easy going first ride in a month. 

Thursday I hauled over to the arena to ride.  I actually put C on the lunge for just a second prior to getting on (yes, I'm a chicken).  He literally jogged two circles in each direction and was SO mellow I bridled and jumped on.

It was a very productive ride, lots of bending, circles, and "arena stuff".  I've been focusing on increasing the work at the canter and it seems to be paying off.  He took both leads easily and was really responsive.

Unfortunately I've discovered a down side to keeping C as naturally as possible (he is turned out 24/7 on eight acres of pasture with Certified Girl and his brother Taj.)

He is a Fuzzy Bunny!!!

Last year C was in the barn each night and I made sure to leave the lights on until 8pm or so,  this year he's on nature's clock and I've never seen him so hairy.   So I have to temper our work out to make sure I can get him dry again before blanketing and turn out.  It was so nasty and blowing rain by the time I got home I decided to keep him up over night and let him stay in the barn.

Today I hauled C back over to the arena.  Shawn was in Castle Rock working some roping horses so I took Cartman over there for his "continuing education".  While Shawn rode Cartman in the arena I got to walk out the last roping horse.  It was amazing to get on the QH, from the ground- with no bouncing or upper body strength required:)  I couldn't get over how wide he felt! 

Later we headed over to the sand trail that borders the property where the arena is.  I asked if this horse would be fine out on the trail and they guys all assured me "Oh yeah, he's totally fine."

We walked about an 1/8th mile down the trail when Shawn took off on Cartman at a jog.  I just dawdled along on the QH until he returned and then rode past us back towards the barn.

As soon as C went by and I turned the QH around I realized that I might be in for some "fun".  Mr QH got very, very antsy.  Suddenly he hopped up in front and gave out a little tiny kick out.  Ooooh, I wasn't really prepared for this action.  I deliberated, I don't know this horse at all..... he's a QH- some of those can buck like broncos!!! They're small and quick..... I am not really 'fit' after having over a month of not riding.....  Should I turn?  Should I turn and circle?  How will I ever get all the way back that 1/8th mile to the barn?   Am I going to get bucked off someone else's well broke roping horse????   There was no way I could dismount, there was too much explosive tension for that. 

I eased up on the reins and gave him a tiny boot with my foot, he walked back down the path.  My stomach was in knots,  I was consciously making myself relax and lengthen my leg.  He was a coiled spring.  I was doing my best to breathe, and not to feed into the horse's anxiety.

FINALLY, I made it back to the common trail and I found Shawn and Cartman.  I told him about the little tiny hop.  He asked if I wanted my horse back and I said "YES!!!!!!"  I jumped off the QH and climbed up on my big boy and gave him the biggest hug I could.  Heee heee, I've gotten spoiled with my mellow TB:)

Shawn rode the other horse a bit, making him go away from C and back and forth.  As usual he had everything straightened right out and there was no hopping or bucking!

I realized how riding one horse all the time can be bad for your riding skill level.