Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lesson Learned

I heard it from a friend who, heard it from friend who....

Once Upon an Equine sent me an email about a local horse trainer, Brent Winston, who was planning to have a winter workshop series. I signed up immediately. Brent asked us to send him information about our horses, and what issues we were having. I emailed him the following:

Here's a brief overview of the two horses. Maybe you'd have a suggestion of which one would benefit the most from the clinics:

The 'Go' guy:
8 years old
Carries his head too high, muscle on underside of neck is over developed
Unsure of having rider on his back - will 'see' me and startle, scooting his rear to the right
Has begun to lower his head at the walk when I ask
Responds nicely to backing with little pressure on the bit. His head is higher than I'd like, but not from resistance
Responds adequately to pressure for turn on forehand and haunches and sidepass, at least at standstill and walk
When asked to trot takes a while to settle into a slower trot, starts off quite fast - under saddle and on the longe line or in the round pen.
Carries his head high when trotting. I've been asking him to trot in a smaller circle to bring his speed and head down, then returning to the rail, circling again, etc.
I have only cantered this horse a few times. 

The 'Whoa' guy:
10 years old
Sometimes brings his head down really low to evade the bit, even though I try to use light contact or no contact
I sometimes find it hard to make this horse walk in a straight line - he drifts to one side, I'm thinking it is usually to the right. He won't respond to my legs or weight when I try to correct him.
Can do turns on haunches and turns on forehand. Can also do leg yields - but will sometimes decide he knows what I want and move, but doesn't necessarily move where or how I'm asking. He is slow to respond to my pressure
Will back, very slowly, without showing resistance
Seems to be very much on the forehand, especially when cantering. I feel like I'm on a freight train with poor brakes.

I loved Brent's response. He told me I could bring both, or I could bring whichever horse was causing me the most concern or the greatest problems when I rode, because he would be there to help me. What a smart guy. I knew, right then, that I was going to like this guy and enjoy the clinics. 

This past Saturday was the first session. I took both horses, knowing that I was going to work with Pippin (the 'go' guy.... in case you hadn't figured that out!) Doc came along for the experience of riding in the trailer and for a back-up... just in case I wasn't comfortable on Pippin. I apologize - I didn't get one single picture. Not one! I never took my phone out of my pocket. I was too busy - and to me, that means it was a great clinic! 

Brent began the clinic with the usual introductions. He did say that he would try to work with every horse during or right after the clinic. And, as he said, "Let's get started," he came over to 'borrow' Pippin. I knew, immediately, why he chose my guy. Pippin, despite our having worked on 'stand like a statue' was all over the place as we waited. He'd try to come visit me. I'd move him back. He'd decide to sniff his neighbor. I'd move him away. He'd walk forward. I'd back him up. I didn't want to distract everyone by being a little more insistent with my willful pony. Brent commented about my ADHD pony. He mentioned his philosophy of working with horses:
First you hint, then you ask, then you tell and finally you demand. So he said, "For example, I'm going to make a hint to Pippin," he said as he began to move his index finger back and forth in front of Pippin's nose, "that he back up." I think Brent was very, very surprised when Pippin backed up. Brent had to explain how he would have gone on to ask, tell or demand had Pippin not backed up. He asked Pippin to engage his hind quarters, which Pippin did, again, without more than Brent's hinting or asking. Then he lifted his hand, to invite Pippin to go around. Again, Pippin did it. Perfectly! Brent didn't have to go on with more pressure to move beyond the hint. So, despite my horse being so foolish while standing around, he did make me proud in showing that he did know some stuff and that we have obviously done some ground work! 

Much of the mounted portion of the clinic was working on communicating our interest in the horse speeding up or slowing down using our body. When we got to the trot Pippin was trucking along with his usual high speed, high stepping, high necked trot. He would scoot forward anytime anyone else kissed or clucked to their horses. Brent called me down on holding on to Pippin's mouth, too much, which I'm sure I was guilty of doing. Brent asked to ride Pippin. Oh, how I wish I had thought to take the camera out. Brent is out there, telling the group what to do and working with Pippin at the same time. He tells the group to speed up the walk. He suggests they go from the walk to a slow trot. I will have to say this for Brent, even though Pippin's version of a slow trot was not what my vision is, he was a bit slower than usual and Brent was able to check him and release and Pippin would maintain the slower version of the trot for a few steps at least! Brett asked everyone to increase the speed; to trot as fast as they could without breaking into a lope. This is where it was fun to watch Pippin. His little legs were pumping like sewing machine needles sewing a long straight seam. He was tearing around the ring and Brent even let out a, "Whooo-eee" as he zipped by every horse! Pippin trotted faster than the Mustang. He overtook the Spotted Saddle horses with ease. He raced by the Quarter horse. He showed the draft cross and the Percherons a thing or two. He was a speedy little bullet. The fun thing for me was seeing that Pippin wasn't doing this out of fear. He just seems to like to go....fast!

By the end of the clinic we were all tired. Our horses were all sweaty. Pippin wouldn't stand while Brent had each person tell what they would be focusing on over the next few weeks. But this time Pippin wouldn't stand because he kept looking at the arena's sandy floor, and he kept thinking how wonderful it would be to sink down and roll his sweaty body around. I would catch his hind foot coming up to his belly - something he does just before he lays down. I caught him with his knee cocked, ready to sink down on more than one occasion. So... we walked while others talked. All in all, it was  a great experience. 

Maybe I'll get some pictures.... next time!

(Does Blogger hi-jack your work, too? I tried to make the last part of this post single spaced, just like the beginning. But, would Blogger listen to me? Oh no, not at all! Blogger decided this is the way it's gonna be, and there is not persuading it to do anything else! Argghhh!!!)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Who Stole the Brushes from the Grooming Box?

Who stole the brushes from the grooming box?

Doc stole the brushes from the grooming box!
Who me?
Yes you!

Couldn't be....
Then who?

Mama Boots stole the brushes from the grooming box!
Who me?
Yes you!

Couldn't be...
Then who?

Tucker stole the brushes from the grooming box!
Who me?
Yes you!

I wondered where my brushes had gone. I was missing my stiff bristle dandy brush on Saturday, when I was trying to get the mud off the horses' legs. Then on Sunday I couldn't find my body brush. I returned from the barn after having a second look and caught the culprit red handed jawed as he took off with my curry comb. Doc and I took a walk around the yard and retrieved the dandy brush and the curry comb. I still haven't found where that sneaky rascal put that body brush! 

I'm thinking it isn't so much about stealing the brushes as it is stealing my attention from the big fuzzy boys! OK, Tucker. Point taken. Let's go to the dog park!

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Thank you for all of the kind Birthday wishes for my hubby.  He enjoyed my post and was flabbergasted by the first picture:

"Where did you find that?" he asked.  Hubby clearly remembers this picture being taken. His dad, and his grandfather were engineers on the New York Central railroad. Hubby is about 6 years old and he is standing in the engine compartment of the train while his dad was acting as the fireman. This could never happen, today, but occasionally hubby would go to work with his dad... riding the trains! The train engine, hubby tells me, was an RS 3 manufactured by ALCO.

Hubby has just gotten a hankering to dabble in model trains. (Although I suspect one doesn't "dabble" when one "does" model trains!) Hubby asked for gift cards for Christmas and used them to purchase some 'N' scale trains and tracks. We've enjoyed visiting swap meets and model train shows in the past few weeks, and Hubby has checked out the local... and not so local... hobby stores. He wants to recreate some of the area where his dad and grandfather worked. Among his first purchases was this engine:

Would you believe? This is the same engine where hubby's picture was taken... and hubby was standing where the arrow points! You can see the curved window and the side window in both pictures!

Maybe we'll have to find a figure of a little boy, in his engineer's cap, to put in the cab!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Birthday Greetings to a Special Guy

Little boys have wonderful dreams,

And if they are lucky they become kings!

My Prince Charming swept me away.

And I'd like to wish him a Happy Birthday!

Have a wonderful Birthday dear hubby.... and many more!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Report of Haflinger Abuse

No! I didn't abuse my Haffies, 
I am the victim of abuse! 

It started yesterday morning. I fed the horses, went out the back stall door to open the gate to the pasture and returned. I told Pippin, "Easy, fellow" as I walked into his stall. Evidently he was so involved with crunching and munching his hay he didn't hear me. I touched his left hip. Pippin was so into his own little world I'm sure he thought a cougar was about to dig into his more than ample rear end. He hauled off with a double-barreled kick. He connected just below my left knee and hit a glancing blow on my right shin. Luckily I was far enough away, or close enough... I'm not all that sure, but all I suffered are bruises and one leg aches a bit.

Fast forward to the afternoon. It was Pippin's turn to go to the arena across the street. The one that Doc is sure is an alien space ship. I performed all of the usual functions; grooming, or at least knocking off some of the mud, saddling, attaching a longe line behind the saddle and putting on the bridle. After Pippin thoroughly inspected the milk crate I was going to use as a mounting block, I got on and we started down the driveway. You. Would. Think. The. Driveway. Was. Sheer. Ice!  Pippin walked very, very carefully, as if he was sure he was going to slip. He took tiny, slow, deliberate steps. Then, we finally got to the road and took our sweet time crossing the street. In fact, he was so slow a car had to slow down for him. Then, we got to the wide shoulder, and then - OMG - what's that?!!! Pippin, it's just a rolled up newspaper. Oh. It's OK. You can walk on. Oh, Holy Cow! What's THAT?! That's just the sign for the stables. Snort! What was that?! That was just the wind. Pippin snorted, tucked his rear end in and scooted, turned spun, raised his head, snorted some more. I asked him to walk in circles and in serpentines until he calmed, a bit, and we'd go on until the next indiscretion. We finally made it to the arena. I dismounted, opened the gate and started leading Pippin through it. Then, by golly, he saw the roping calf head stuck on the hay bale. Pippin decided he was leaving. The only problem was that I was in his way. Too bad... I'm smaller than he is and he basically pushed me out of the way, stomping on my foot! Argghh!

Pippin redeemed himself when we got into the arena. Does this look like a wild horse to you? (Sorry about the lousy quality of the pictures - my phone doesn't always do a great job.)

We did a lot of circling up and down the arena on the lunge line. I call it 'spirographing' because we make fun designs in the sand! We did this under saddle, too.  Pippin wasn't too sure about the jumps and some of the toys, but for the most part, he was quite calm, and a pleasure to ride. He only startled and scooted one time; more abuse - he caused me to break a finger nail!

Who? Me? Act crazy?
Only once in a while!
We had a great ride!

He's so cute!
It's hard to stay mad at him!

OK, Pippin. You are off the hook as far as owner abuse goes...
just don't do it again!

P.S. This morning I came into Pippin's stall, talking a bit more than usual. He stopped eating and turned his head to look at me as if to say, "It's OK. You can come in now." Just maybe there was a bit of an apology in that look!

Thanks for all of the suggestions I received after my experience with Doc in the arena. Any tips you all have are more than appreciated! I haven't worked with my horses much in the past year and I'm really interested in turning them into great riding and driving horses this spring and summer. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

All But One.... Done*

* OK... I know I should use 'finished'... my English teacher friend made sure our students knew(and the lesson stuck with me as well) that potatoes are 'done' and people finish things.
But I wanted it to rhyme!
Sorry, Ms. English Teacher!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

If Chairs Could Talk

From my earliest days I remember these chairs. They were our kitchen chairs when I was growing up. Several years before I got married my parents moved and the chairs were sent to a consignment shop. They didn't sell, even though they looked a lot better then than they do now! Lucky for me! When we were planning to get married my mother suggested that we get the chairs back from the store. Since then the chairs have moved with us from New York to South Carolina and have now landed in Colorado. 

Two of the chairs are black with a Hitchcock type of stencil design. The other two are green, with a folk art design that my mom painted. I always thought that my parents were given the chairs as cast-offs from my Grandfather and that my mother painted two of them, but never got around to the other two.

It was always my intention to repaint them.  I was going to paint the two black chairs to match the green. But, after two children and a cockatiel that liked to perch on the chair backs and pick at the wood, I decided it was time to redo all of the chairs.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the black chairs are not identical to the green chairs. There are a few differences in the size and height of the seat and the angle of the legs. The differences are subtle, so I'm not all that surprised that no one noticed it before. I know my mother painted the green chairs, but based on the fact that there was only a coat of primer and the green paint, I'm thinking she either bought some unfinished chairs or painted some chairs that had previously been stained, or there is the possibility that she was more fastidious about sanding than was I! But, why didn't she paint them black to match the others? Or, did she get the green ones first, and then got the black and never got around to painting them? It's a mystery and I will most likely never know the answer.

I have found out that they are called rabbit eared spindle back plank chairs - that's a mouthful! They could be 100 years old, plus or minus. There are no markings on the bottom of the seat, so no clues there. I don't know the origin of the chairs. I wish they could talk. I bet they have interesting stories to tell of the people they knew and the places they've been! If you have any insight, I'd love to hear what you might know!

Well, just wait until you see what I've done with them! Uh... you may have to wait for a bit. It's taking longer than I anticipated! But, here's a sneak peek at work in progress:

Do you have furniture that you wish could tell you its story?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Points Off in Pony Club

I'm thinking Pony Club would not endorse my method of tack cleaning.....

Gather cleaning supplies:

glycerine or castile soap
oil or leather conditioner
sponges and rags
toothbrush may be helpful

While the saddle is on a saw horse,
wash all areas with a soapy sponge. 
Pay close attention to  the leather
that comes in contact with sweat and dirt,
and areas where metal comes in contact with the leather.

Undo buckles and clean the buckle and the leather.
Inspect the leather for cracks and
check that stitching is intact.
Remove and clean stirrups.
Soak stirrup pads if you have them and they need it.
Remove the girth for inspection and cleaning.

This is actually the first time I've cleaned the saddles while they were on the horses. But, the weather was nice. The saddles needed to be cleaned. I had the time. I had the inclination. And, my horses are the perfect height for saddle cleaning. So, why not?!

When I was young I participated in Pony Club. "They" would judge us on many aspects of barn management. I did check out my USPC Manual and found no mention of where to have the saddle while cleaning it. So, if "they" decided to take points off for my unconventional method, I suppose I could contest it! But, I wouldn't. Pony Club is all about teaching safety around horses and I know that cleaning a saddle on the horse's back is not truly safe. Pippin wiggles a bit more than Doc and I was sure to keep my hand on the saddle when I had the girth off so I was ready to take it off if he startled for some reason. So, this is really a case of "Do as I say, not as I do!" In other words; Don't do this at home!

The USPC Manual of Horsemanship is not available online, but here are three documents from Pony Clubs about tack cleaning that are based on the manual, should you be curious about their material or want to share this with someone.

Resources for USPC Manual - Tack Cleaning

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Making Bricks

Just over a decade ago I had the opportunity to to go to Williamsburg, VA with my family. One of the fun memories I have was of the brickyard. Of course, after hours of searching among all of our photo albums, both physical and those on the computer (and give me credit... I booted up three different computers to look at stored photos!), I can't dredge up the picture of me and my boys mixing the clay in this pit, with our feet! But... we were there. Trust me! We were stomping clay and fibrous material that would be used to make bricks.

The simplified recipe for brick making is that you take clay and various fibers; plant matter and/or hair, and after mixing them you let them bake; either in the sun or in an oven. The result will be strong blocks that we call bricks, which are used for building. 

We are trying the same approach here. Our 'soil' is basically clay. With our winter thaw we now have access to clay. We can mix that with fibers, as you can see here: I'm seeing some sticks, some grass and some hair. If we mix these, and then let them dry in the sun, we will have our very own homemade bricks!

The only problem is.....

I don't want to make bricks here!
Ewwww. what a mess!

New Friends and a New Award

I have some new friends, and I'd like to thank them for reading along and commenting. My life is so enriched by folks I have 'met' through blogging!

My new friends include Rae at The Old Weather Vane, GunDiva who writes a few blogs, one of which is  Tales From the Trail, and Golden the Pony Girl who also has a Haflinger.
I'd also like to thank DFK. I'm not totally positive, but I think she writes  Eww What's On My Shoe? I hope that if I'm incorrect, DFK will let me know! My last new friend is Patches 198909, kinda like Beverly Hills 90210! I can't tell from her profile what blog she writes. Maybe she (or he) will leave a comment so you can see the connection.

Allison at Adventures with Shyloh passed the Liebster Blog award on to me. I am so honored..... except that means I have to do work! Hmmm.... honored??? punished??? Well, I guess I don't have to acknowledge the award, and I don't have to pass it on. But, I am excited. It's nice to be recognized. It's also nice to let other blogs that I follow know that I appreciate the work they do. 

Liebster means “dearest” in German, and the award is intended to help up-and-coming blogs get the attention they deserve. Here are the rules:
1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.

2. Link back to the blogger who gave the award.

3. Pick five favorite blogs with less than 200 followers, and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have received the award.

4. Hope that the five blogs chosen will keep spreading the love and pass it on to five more blogs

If you haven't yet, please visit the blogs I would like to recognize for this award. They all have interesting stories to tell and do so in a fun, interesting way! I feel I have become dear friends with the Bloggers so of course, they deserve t the "dearest" Blog award! 

Once Upon an Equine

Friday, January 20, 2012

Aliens Abducted My Horse

I finally connected with my neighbor, the one with the beautiful arenas; two indoors and two outdoors! She and I came to an agreement for 'leasing' riding space on an hourly basis a few times a week. Yesterday I tacked Doc up and we walked across the street. We waited for the owner to come down with the contract and then went into the hallowed ground arena.

Doc in front of the arena

My Mrs. Owner took me out of the stall after breakfast. She scrubbed some of the dirt off. I was a bit disappointed as I had worked really hard at getting clay in my forelock. Do you realize how difficult that is to do, short of standing on your head in a mud puddle? She put the saddle and bridle on me, slipped some extra hay to Pippin - oh, yeah, I saw that. She thought she had pulled a fast one on me... but I notice everything! The next thing you know, we've walked across the street and a huge door is opening.  I am sucked into a space that is so very foreign. It has to be the inside of an alien space ship. I have obviously been abducted for some nefarious purpose.

The arena is more than perfect! It is huge: 80' X 240'. There are several jumps set up and extra poles you can use as cavaletti. They have some poles set in concrete stands for pole bending and a few other odds and ends. The arena is used for a therapeutic program on Saturday mornings, so there are even some toys here and there, and a lot of small balls near a basketball hoop. Doc isn't quite sure about his surroundings. He sets out at very fast walk, something that is very unlike him. We truck around the arena in one direction, with Doc checking out the jumps. I have him turn and we truck around the arena in the other direction. We zig-zag in and out of the jumps. We go in and out of the poles. Doc walks like he is heading home and the barn is in sight. I have to remind him to slow down! Doc? Needing to be slowed down?!! How could that be? And the trot was even worse. I was wearing spurs and carrying a crop. Both superfluous! We spent a good deal of time trotting, making circles, transitioning down into walk and halt. It didn't slow him down one iota.

The space is very strange. There is stuff all over. There are painted poles strewn about on the ground.They lie this way and that. Maybe they spell out some sort of message. There are what look like small sections of a wood slat wall standing up, all by themselves. They aren't part of the wall, though, they are in the middle of the space. I wonder if they are some sort of trap. My Mrs. Owner is taking this abduction thing way too lightly. I need to take over. It's my job to keep her safe. I'm going to see if I can get out of here, quickly, before the aliens start using some sort of alien rays on us! I walk as fast as I can, and then I trot even faster, looking for a way out. 

The owner of the stables came down to see how I was doing. Up until that moment Doc had been fast, but he had been quiet. Then, for whatever reason, he realized he was missing Pippin. He began to neigh, plaintively, and horses from the stable would call back. Doc seemed to get more anxious. After talking a few minutes I went back to walking and trotting, but Doc was worse than ever. Now he was distracted by calling to Pippin.

A human came into the room . She didn't look like an alien, but you never can tell. I'm thinking those alien people can be kinda tricky. I start yelling. I can see some horses outside the alien building. I yell to them. I tell them to get out, get help. They just say, "Hi" back to me. They must have been abducted and brainwashed. Now I really gotta do something. Or we will become brainwashed, too. I start trying to go faster, yet. I keep calling out, telling the aliens to stay away. My Mrs. Owner just doesn't get it. She keeps trying to make me slow down. She keeps trying to confuse me and make me think about something else. Have they already taken charge of her brain?

I waited until we had a fairly decent trot down the length of the arena without my having to tug on the reins the whole time. I waited until I asked for a halt, and got one. After cleaning up a bit, you know, those little round 'apples' that seem to appear out of ... nowhere,  we left the arena and had a fast, but uneventful ride back home. Doc was sweaty - it was warm, on top of his working faster and harder than he normally would. I still can't figure it out. My horse must have been abducted by aliens!

Finally my Mrs. Owner took me out of that place. I felt a bit better then, and I felt great when I could finally see Pippin. I neighed to Pippin to tell him that I was OK. The aliens had tried to take me away, but I was brave and strong and fast. They didn't get me.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's All In the Genes

Recently another Blogger, Anna Blake, put up a delightful post about the equestrienne and beauty. (I notice that no one is asking me about beauty tips). That got me thinking about my fashion habits and my daily regime. Since we are all about beauty, I thought I'd share some of them with you.

First, have your noticed it's all in the genes... I mean, it's all about the jeans?

I have seen girls who have spent big bucks for jeans like these... and all I did was acquire the jeans .... oh, about 12 years ago!  I've followed the fashion trend all along! OK, I admit, the jeans the girls are wearing now a days are a bit tighter. Well, let's face it, they are skin tight.  I'm half way there, the upper half! I just don't seem to gain weight below my knees, no matter how much I try!

Then there is makeup. Have you seen the new BareMinerals or BareEscentuals makeup? If you have a horse you don't even have to bother. We were bucking the trend years ago. Just what do you think your face looks like after you have brushed your dear dobbin? And, furthermore, just what do you think is on your face? A fine dusting of the finest minerals around, guaranteed to leave your face with an even-toned matte finish!

Alright, how about the nails? You can spend big bucks for a manicure.

You can even pay extra money for them to put white paint on the tips of your nails. Heck, black may be going out of favor now, but for years it was all about black... and why not on the tips, or under the tips, of your nails? Oh, and since long fingernails just aren't my thing, they are broken and worn, that line of black isn't too overpowering! But to be truthful, I'd rather spend the money for hooficures than for prettying up my fingers!

Finally.... fake fur is in vogue, as are items made of interesting fuzzy fibers. We're there. Just wear fleece to the barn during shedding season and you will have a fashionable jacket that will be the envy of all of your non-horsey friends!

But, if you are really interested in changing up your appearance, consider the following:

What fashion tips or trends do you have to share?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Sun" Day

It was a beautiful day for a ride. 
The sun was shining and the temperature was in the 50's. 
I decided it would be a great day 
to take the horses to a nearby equestrian park. 

But, before I could go to the park I needed to load the horses....
And before I could load the horses I needed to hitch the trailer....
But before I could hitch the trailer I needed to move some snow....
And before I could move the snow (with dear hubby's help) we needed more fuel....

But... we accomplished all that and I made it to the park. The park has three outdoor arenas and the one I chose to ride in had about 3 inches of snow over most of it, but the sandy footing underneath was perfect. It wasn't frozen and it wasn't overly slushy. There was one other family using the facilities. They had two Arabians and a darling Shetland pony. The Arabians and my Haflingers made quite a contrast!

I rode both horses and realized just how out of shape all of us are! Poor Doc was huffing and puffing after trotting around a bit. I wasn't much better! But... it felt good (well, at least until the next day!) It was great to get out and to have a place to ride with decent footing. I think we all felt better about the world after our outing.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Shoes Make the Man... or... Changes in Altitude

I wanted cowboy boots. My mother wouldn't let me have them. She claimed that wearing cowboy boots would make my toes irretrievably and forever crooked. I had to wear Stride-rite oxfords or my feet would be misshapen for life.

Fast forward a bunch of years. At that point I had my own child.... and by golly, he was gonna have cowboy boots! Crooked toes be damned! (It turns out that my mom was wrong, anyway. Despite my having to suffer through wearing ugly brown oxfords for most of my youth, my toes are crooked and cause all kinds of problems in my 'later' years!)

My guy was two when I saw the cute little boots at the store. It immediately brought to mind my deprivation. I bought them immediately. Just seeing the joy in my son's eyes as he tried the boots on and walked swaggered around the house made me realize I had made the correct decision. My sweet little cherub was immediately transformed into a little buster when wearing his boots.

Could cowboy boots transform this sweet child into a monster?!!

The boots were magical. They had power over my child. He became a miniature version of a larger than life John Wayne when he pulled on the boots. I am not kidding, as soon as those boots went on, my son went through some sort of transformation. He walked differently, talked differently and had a totally different attitude. I thought it was cute.... in the beginning. It was an interesting study in child behavior.... at first. But then.... I got 'the call'. My son's preschool teacher called. It seems that my sweet little darling became a monster when wearing his boots. I wasn't just imagining the change in his attitude. They were seeing it as well and asked that I please refrain from sending him to school with his boots! Apparently the boots made him feel like some sort of big guy, raising him up all of 1 inch in height (but when you are a short little guy, that's a huge 'lift'!). He turned into a bully,  and he would strut across the floor, kicking toys across the room and knocking down block towers with his new boots. The boots were relegated to the dress-up bin and my son reverted to the sweet, cherubic child I knew. And at 23 he continues to be a kind, caring young man! But I wonder.... what would happen if I gave him a pair of cowboy boots for his birthday????

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pippin's POV: Practice Makes Perfect

I just don't understand why my Mrs.Owner isn't as excited as I am about my new trick. Well, it isn't a new trick, but I've been perfecting it and what they say is true! Practice makes perfect! I'm down to under 10 seconds. I believe that's a tough time to beat! 

I am a very talented horse, if I do say so myself. Hay, I wonder if I could get on Letterman's show when he does Stupid Pet Tricks? But wait a minute, why isn't it called Letterman's Really Smart Pet Tricks? I'd get a trip to New York City - wouldn't that be cool? I'd be famous! I wonder if I'd get priority boarding and a First Class seat with free carrots?

Well, my Mrs. Owner doesn't like my trick. In fact, she foils my attempts by braiding my mane around my halter. Geesh, not only does it stop me slow me down, but I look like a stoopid mare! Real geldings don't wear braids! Oh, well, maybe those sissified show horses... but not us handsome drafty guys!

What I Didn't Do

Yesterday I posted about everything I had done the day before. I began thinking about what I didn't do - it's an impressive list, but fear not, I won't bore you with everything! I'll just give you the top ten!

10.  I didn't get a pedicure. I've actually never had a pedicure! The thought of someone I don't know touching my feet creeps me out. Also, years ago I battled with a finger nail/toe nail fungus. It plagued me for months and I basically lost half my finger nails. The only way I got rid of it was through pregnancy. Evidently all of the hormones and good baby stuff going through my system killed the fungus. I can't do that again so I don't even want to risk catching something at a salon.

9.  I wasn't in a car accident - but we came really close. A big-a$$ truck turned left onto Main Street, in town, in a 25 mph stretch of the road, just in front of us. We were in the right lane... but the driver of the truck evidently never saw us as he moved from the turn lane, into the left lane, and without signaling (and I guess, without looking), on into our lane. If hubby hadn't been watching - well, it was kinda hard not to see the truck as it was easily twice our size - stepped on brakes and sounded the horn, we might be car shopping right now. But, I'm thinking a Prius with 150,000 miles isn't going to bring too much from insurance!

8.  I didn't take Tucker for a walk. But, hubby and I took him to a dog park. How to you say, 'fun, fun, fun' in dog language? Tucker's answer, "Run, run, run!"

7.  I didn't go skiing - but I'm hoping to hit the slopes this week, though! I joined a skiing MeetUp. Have you checked out Meetup.com? There are tons of groups you can join, or you can start your own. It's a great way to find people and do things together. I am a member of a trail riding group, a book club and now the ski group.

6.  I didn't go riding in either one of the two huge indoor arena at the stables across the street from my house. I called the owner a few weeks ago and asked about paying to ride in her arenas a few times a week. She said she'd work the numbers and get back to me. I called and left a message a few days ago. Still nothing.  Darn. I'm thinking this would be a goldmine for her - well, maybe not gold... but a least a few extra bucks coming in with very little effort on her part. I even promised to pick up the poops!

5.  I didn't fly to Detroit to see my BFF. I get trip alerts from Trip Advisor. I get an email when fares drop below a certain point. On Thursday I got an email that a round trip ticket, with all associated airport fees, was $171. The flights were direct. The times were decent. Leave here on Saturday, return on Tuesday. But... my friend had some things scheduled, so she couldn't come here. And I had some things scheduled, so I couldn't go there. Maybe next time!

4.  I didn't lose any weight. Picture a sad face on a plumper-than-she-likes body. I've cut back - but I guess I need to get a bit more serious about it... and get my body moving a bit more. I did get a 25-visit pass for our town's rec center and field house for Christmas (it was on my wish list - hubby wasn't trying to give me a not-so-subtle message!) so I can use their machines and go climbing. I guess I've procrastinated enough - time to put the tennies on and get to work!

3.  I didn't finish reading a book. I love books. I love eBooks. I love reading. I just don't get around to it until I go to bed, and then my eyes function like those dolls who have open and shut eyes. Lay them down and they shut their eyes. That's me!

2.  I didn't take pictures at my Blogger Buddy Breakfast! Once Upon and Equine and Terry from Moondance Ranch came for breakfast. We had a wonderful time getting to now each other over omelets, cranberry-orange muffins supplied by Terry and a fruit compote from Once Upon. We talked books. We talked movies; two of us saw "War Horse "and one didn't because she didn't want to cry! We talked about horses, of course. And, naturally, we all went down to visit Pippin and Doc and Tucker whirled around all three of us, and Mama Boots took one look at all of the activity and went elsewhere! So, shoot me. I'm sorry. Pictures will come next time!

And, finally....





1.  I didn't come home with....

A family had 8 puppies in an enclosure outside of the grocery store. I fell in love with an 8-week female that looked just like this little pup. O-M-G...cute?! The puppies broke the cute meter! They were all fat and fluffy and waddled when they walked.  I snuggled with the female pup (oh, and Tucker hated that! He gave me a really hard time when I got home - He was all over me with his nose. I think he was trying to find the puppy!) I had a tough time putting her down. Hubby didn't like the idea of a Great Pyrenees crossed with the town mutt (probably a lab, the kids reported)  Hubby feels they are too head strong. (And Tucker isn't??!!) Oh well, trying to house train a dog, in winter, in Colorado, is also on my top ten list of things not to do!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

My Day

What am I gonna do today?
So, how did I do yesterday?

I love being retired because I can ask myself this question every morning and with a few exceptions, I'm not restricted by timetables established by other folks. This is also so 'me'. I'm not a goals person. I have a difficult time looking ahead and planning huge goals. I fleetingly think about future things, but I don't commit to them. So... since I don't have goals, I may not get 'there'... wherever 'there' is! But, since I hadn't planned on getting 'there', I don't realize I haven't made it!

So, hmmmm, today??? What shall I do?

Well, of course, the first thing I do is check out blogs. I read and respond to blog posts of my friends. Some days that can be all-consuming. Some days I have to stop myself from hunkering down with the computer instead of doing some delightful thing, like.... laundry!
I did check out some blogs while drinking my coffee, I did leave some comments and returned a few messages to folks who had commented on my blog. And yes, I did a load of laundry! Oh... and I even put it away!

See the clutter that needs to be gone?

I have to clean the house up just a bit. It's in pretty decent shape, and I did vacuum Tucker hair yesterday, but I have blogger friends coming for breakfast so I need to take care of some of the clutter and dust. Oh, yes, one or the other of us will post about that, I'm sure!
I swept the floors and cleaned off most of the kitchen counter. You know, I love having a kitchen with lots of counter space BUT.... there is so much more space to pile junk! A pile starts here... I get used to having it and it stays there. Then another pile starts! It seems to multiply as quickly as rabbits! Speaking of rabbits - we are overrun. Hubby and I though if we put wire around the front and back porches, then it might discourage the rabbits from living here and they might go 'there'! It wasn't on my list, but I did put some wire up, at least temporarily around the back porch. I didn't really want to crawl under the porch and have to fuss with cutting the wire to fit where there wasn't much space, so on one end the wire is just tacked up on the outside. Yeah, tacky, isn't it?!

I have three seams to finish on the second duvet I'm making for the bedroom. It seems that hubby and I don't see eye to eye about sleeping. Well of course we don't, he lies on his left side and I'm on my right - so we see cheek to cheek! He likes to sleep 'cool' and I like to sleep 'hot'...

Gershwin knew what he was talking about... but he could have added something about blankets, don't you think?

You say eether and I say either,
You say neether and I say neither,
Eether, eyether, neether, nyther,
Let's call the whole thing off!
You like light blankets and I like the heavies,
You like foreign cars and I like Chevies,
light ones, heavy ones, foreign cars, Chevies!
Let's call the whole thing off!

We hit upon a solution a few years ago on a cruise. The cruise line saves on the laundry they have to keep on hand by using only twin comforters. If the beds are singles, voila, they have a twin comforter on each. If they push the beds together to make a queen; voila, they have two twin comforters, one on each side! So we have tried sleeping, each with our own comforter; his is a thinner down, mine's a bit thicker! We are both satisfied! 
They are finished... and washed.... and on the bed! 

I better get going, here, or I won't get anything accomplished! So... what else?

Ah, the paddocks. It snowed on Wednesday - need I say more?


They are clean - well, maybe not as clean as the "breast of the new fallen snow" - I never thought of snow as having breasts, but, Clement C. Moore evidently did. Well, you know guys, they are always thinking of... I won't say it here, children might be reading!

I need to get the last little bits of Christmas put away. I have wrapping paper detritus to be put away upstairs and a few odds and ends that need to go in the storage area in the basement. 
Done - Well, except while cleaning up the counters I found another Christmas plate that had been lost in the piles of stuff. So, it'll go down later. Oh, and I still have garland on the railings of my porch and lights in a few trees. Maybe I should consider leaving the lights up to start a new tradition of Easter lights. What do you think?

I have a bit more laundry to do. But that's something that can fit in between other things. 
Laundry is never ending. I mean really, something is always dirty!

I'd love to have some 'hands on' time with the horses. I'm not sure if the footing will be decent for a ride, but I can at least do a bit of grooming and remind them that our relationship is more than my shoveling food their way!
:(  Other than petting them, and shooing them away while they tried to help me clean the paddock, they had a day of leisure. Put petting and hugging is good, too. Good for my soul at any rate.

Shooing away isn't particularly effective. Especially with Pippin. He has to get his nose in everything. So, here is my solution for getting them out of the paddock and out of my way! 

I have a meeting to go to this evening. Someone pushed my hand up when the Driving Society asked for someone from the floor to join the Board. I swear I didn't want to do it. I said I wouldn't do it. But then it happened, and my hand was in the air. How the heck does that happen? But, the good news is that the meeting is near the feed store, so I can stop and get more of the supplement I like to feed the horses. 

Oh, and the meeting includes dinner. I'm bringing toppings for chili - so I need to grate the cheese, cut onions, etc.
Got onions chopped, cheese grated, stopped and bought some taco chips and crumbled those. Juice from the onions leaked out of the pretty little bowls I put them in, so now my bag and possibly my car smells of onion. Don't you love how sometimes getting one thing done causes you to have to do something else. Ugh!

Well, let's see how the day goes. I'll take some pictures as I go along, and post this after the fact.
So the day went well. The meeting went long. I did get find some time to read. And then, suddenly, the day was over and it was time for bed. Geesh, where does the time go?! 

Well, here it is, another morning. I need to get things ready for my breakfast with my blogger buddies.

One of my favorite principals used to end her morning announcements by saying, "Have a busy and productive day." I always liked that, and I always try to do that myself!

Another of my favorites is Kalidasa's poem entitled "Salutation to the Dawn".  My favorite quote from the poem:
Today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness,
And every tomorrow a vision of hope!
Look well, therefore, to this day.

I hope you have a great day!

What is Four?

Have you ever thought of the meaning of "four"?  Four is the number of: seasons in a year. corners and sides to a square. virtues....