Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Very Windy Day

Today was right out of Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. It was insanely windy and my little car shook on the road everywhere I drove. There were flash fires everywhere. One of the local stables supposedly had to be evacuated (More on the grass fires here: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/story/440091.html)

I was thinking today about my mom again and thinking about Ice cream. Last night I had Black Walnut Ice Cream. I seem to remember when I was a kid she loved the stuff and I thought it was really gross. I remember that the black walnut ice cream was whiter than vanilla, and since I couldn't read it was how I could tell them apart. I love black walnut ice cream now and eat it every chance I get. I don't think they keep it in stores much.

I have been wearing the sweatshirt mom gave me a bunch. The weather has been cold and it's so cute. People keep telling me how nice it looks on me.

My step-mother (my dad's wife?) also gave me some cool Christmas presents. She gave me a yellow teapot and two mugs and I use them almost every day. She also gave me a lovely, warm quilt that goes with my new couch. I'm grateful for all of it now that the weather is cold and windy.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Adventures with Liberty

Today I had decided was the day for Liberty to do his water training. Everything has been going so well. He's settling in nicely and acts like it's no big deal to ride at home now. I think that taking him out more and more will be the next ticket toward making him a really good horse. I took him for a walk like a dog on a leash to do this training. No way did I want to ride him through water and down hills yet. We took a nice walk and he snorted and stopped a bit at the sights, but he's so much better now about getting going again and he doesn't over react. Freeley will try to bolt past what scares him. Deli gets stuck like Liberty, but stays stuck longer. Liberty stops and looks around, but you can tell that he will be ready to go on soon. We worked on the hills on our way to the water. I stopped him on the hills and backed him several steps and then went on. He's learning to go down the hills softly, at least with me on him. Of course, getting to the hills, he's still scared of everything, but he's learning that I'm going to wait for him until he's ready and so he doesn't stress as much as if I would get after him.

We finally got to the water and he started blowing b/c we had to go down a hill and into the woods. He was sure something was going to jump out at him! He snorted at the mud and the water and I just stood there. This is not an easy little bank. The water is too wide to cross and the bank is steep into the water, so it's not a great place to practice, but it's what I had. He's previously taken me into the lake where the bank was nice, so I didn't figure the water would give him much of a hassle. I put my whip down so I wouldn't over stimulate him and just waited. He started longeing half circles around me, stopping each time he returned to the water. I didn't ask him to do anything except not squish me. He got kind of close to me a few times b/c we were in a tight space. After just a few minutes, he got down to the edge of the muddy bank and sniffed at the mud at water's edge. I figured he'd turn and spin out b/c most horses have to work up to going down the bank and in the water, but not Liberty. Next thing I knew, he had plunged in quickly, running through the to other side and I almost lost my longe line. I was working him on a 20 ft. longe, but evidently, it was further than that to the other side. I was so close to being pulled into the water with him, or having him take the rope and running up the hill without me, neither of which seemed like a good option, so I hung on for dear life. He came back across and the proceeded to longe all around me through the water like it was nothing. I did get him to stop in the water instead of going all the way across after a few times and he just stood there and drank and pawed a little. I realized that he actually likes the water a lot!

He's spooky on the way to and from the trail, but he's handling his stress so well. He startles in place and then touches whatever he's afraid of all on his own, like he wants to understand it. ON the way home some dogs came out of no where and it was the first time I've actually seen him truly spook. I think that was b/c he was at a funny angle to the dogs and couldn't really see them through the wooden fence, so it looked like they had just appeared. I couldn't be more proud of his progress.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A nice day out

Getting outside in the sun was exactly what I needed. Throwing my leg over a horse and going for a long trot on Freeley with maggie and my student Emily really hit the spot. I now wonder if it's more a seasonal disorder that I experience b/c being outside in the warm sun makes me so much happier than being stuck in the house when it's grey outside.

I had a fantastic ride on Liberty today. I worked him in hand first and he took up all charged up, but I kept up a low key and he calmed down very quickly. I was very proud of him. I got on him in the round pen in the bit...he hates the bit. He steered ok, but he fought it every step of the way. Bridling him in the bit is just awful! He puts his head up and down and around and I always manage to get it in, but he hates it. I put him in the round pen first with the bridle under the stirrups so he could get used to going in the bit and he just never really liked it. The good news was that I worked him in the round pen loose with the bit and he responded great at liberty. I worked him free hand just like I do on the lunge so he responded to me just like he does on the longe.

I put the bosal back on him and he was really great. I think that taking him last weekend really made a difference to his confidence. He was so quiet and responsive. I worked on mounting (not so good still, he's still walking off) and backing. He finally started to get the backing and I was very pleased with him! I tried the way of backing my friend Kate used on her horse. I raised up my butt adn asked him to back through the open door. It wasn't good, but finally he did it without fighting. I was able to walk and trot and turn and stop and transition all without a fight. He was a new horse today. I was decisive and he responded well to me. I was beaming after my 20 minute ride. If this keeps up, he'll be ready to do the trail challenge in 4 weeks easy.

I continue to be the bad guy with my mom...I just found out today that the angel Maggie sent her was broken. I had no idea until today, but it sounds like she thinks I did it on purpose...or that her disappointment just really depressed her. I hate that she is so upset by me, but I don't think there is much I can do to fix it. I try to talk to her and it's all my fault and I blog about how I feel so she can possibly understand and that makes her mad too b/c she reads it and thinks I'm badmouthing her. I just don't see any way to improve things. I will have to see about sending her a new gift. Maggie is so sad that the angel broke. She shopped carefully for that present and I thought I had packed it well, but we were wrong in this case.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

End of a long week

I think we're all finally on the mend here. Maggie had croup and then I had croup and now we're all feeling better. So mcuh better, in fact, that Maggie went to play with a friend she hadn't seen in ages. I'm still feeling a little headachy, but I need to get over it so I can work this week, since I saw no clients at all last week.

I'm still feeling pretty blue and down in the dumps. I don't have any reason to, and I visited the doctor for some other things and brought this up. They have recommended a counselor to visit, and depending on what she says, they may start me on an anti-depressant. I find it a bit amusing that I am having to jump through so many hoops to get started on something for depression and anxiety. I have friends that waltzed in their doctor's office and were handed prescriptions and samples with no questions asked...me, I have been to two different doctors who both asked me tons of questions and still question whether I need it. One of the doctors asked me if I was an anxious person. I looked at him and said that I would not call myself anxious, but I suspected all my friends would say I was anxious. Since then I have been noticing how I fail to be able to relax. I just am not sleeping well, my memory is bad and my brain is scattered. The doctors are trying to pin it on my return to work, but I was feeling this way last spring and went to my family doctor who told me I had to see the psychiatrist, which I never did. I was told by so many people that the psychiatrist would find something wrong with me whether or not there was...I honestly don't know the answer. I just know that I'm really not working that hard and I want to be happy. I love my life, my family, my job. Everything is fine, so there is no reason for me to be feeling this way.

Which brings me to my weight. I haven't lost any of the holiday weight. Not sure why I gained holiday weight as we didn't go anywhere and except when my dad was here, I didn't really overeat. And even then, I was conscious of making good choices at my meals. I didn't do anything to lose it, and I didn't do anything to gain these 5 pounds back, so it's hard to figure out how to get rid of it again. I know that scientifically it means that I'm taking in more than I'm burning, so maybe I have the winter blahs and just don't have enough exercise b/c it's cold and nasty outside...not sure, but I've got to make something happen b/c I want to get back below 200 and stay there!

I'm going to sign off and read a book. I have read 2 weeks in as many weeks. Now I"m working on reading/listening to Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince so that will take awhile.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Another day at home

It's cold and drizzly outside and Maggie is still recovering from her cold. No fever today, just stopped up and coughing. Her dad will be here to get her around 3pm and he wants a massage. I should be in the other room making it neat for the massage table, but I sit here at my computer, alternatively blogging and playing sims. Peter is still here having had a late start to his day. He's not feeling his best either, but I think he's getting ready to go into work. I have notes to write, but just realized that i have no more stamps, so I can't mail them anyway. It's too cold to ride, so here I sit. Cozy at my desk. Not a bad feeling really.

Yesterday I finally finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I'm going to start the Half Blood Prince as soon as I'm done reading Horse Harmony, about Equine Personality typing. Of course, I often listen to one book and read another at the same time.

Not much happening here today. Peter is going to get Maggie and myself some chinese food and then go to work.

Monday, January 21, 2008

All about Liberty

Liberty is proving to me each day that he was a good purchase. He really uses his brain and tries to figure things out. I accidently got the blanket caught over his head and he never freaked out. He waited for me to get it off his head. When he didn't like his dinner b/c I put probiotic on it, he picked up the bucket and flung it and it's contents at me. when we did the obstacle course, he walked up to the chair I was supposed to lift and picked it up with his own teeth. It was great! I left him tied to the trailer and he did call quite a bit, but really was reasonable about standing tied for two nights. I figured out that he is not backing b/c he's really giving his face, but not his body, so I have to work on some of that stuff next. I think when I get him backing, then his stop and his downhill motion will improve a lot. He flexes so well that I think the next step is to show him to give more of his body and not just his face.

I also see how all this work I've been doing will benefit the other horses when I find the time to do the work.

I have no idea

I'm sitting here realizing it's been about 10 days since I posted anything and I don't really have a theme for today's post. Maggie is sick today and we've been home today having a lazy day. She didn't have school anyway b/c it's Martin Luther King's Birthday, so the sitting around is appealing to me. I'm not sick, but I really am very tired, though i don't find it easy to nap during the day anymore. I'm sure I'm just tired from the travel, but I know I'm also tired b/c it's winter and I get this way. I don't know if I'm really, truly depressed or just kind of blah. Lack of exercise will do it, and not getting enough sunlight. I just feel cranky and tired. I really like working, yet I start every day and end every day tired. I feel like my fun factor has really dropped and I don't honestly know how to get it back. Being between tears and anger all the time isn't fun. I just want to feel like me again.

Maggie and I went to the region 4 NATRC convention this past weekend. We took 3 horses with us. I got to ride both Liberty and Freeley. Liberty did great, but it showed me where we still need work. He's still not completely stopping when I want, but the head shaking has gotten much better. I realized that he's doing everything I taught him, but I need to turn down the volume to get a more mellow reaction. He's almost trying too hard. Once I get a better whoa out of him, I can start riding him out more. He's still rushing the hills, but I almost think I'm going to just have to hang on and let him figure those out on his own. He goes down fine ponied so it doesn't seem to be a matter of not being able to. I think we both get nervous and then I clamp down on him and he speeds up so we are feeding each other. everyone told me how cute he was, which of course, I really liked! Maggie rode Freeley in the obstacle class and they had a pretty good run.

Maggie got an award for 6th place horse with Brody and they got the team combo award for the year. It was pretty cool to have her get that and I was really grateful to Jackie for letting Maggie ride him. She really misses him and I wish she'd let them ride again, but she has decided to use him for more cutting type work and doesn't want the kids to mess him up.

I can't decide what I want to do for NATRC or AERC this year. I got to thinking that going to an endurance ride would be fun, but I know Liberty isn't ready yet. Maggie was going to ride Joe Bear, but after this weekend she isn't sure she wants to. He kept yanking on her. Of course, if we're going to do an endurance ride we can theoretically go as fast as we like, so I keep going back and forth. I don't know that I want to drive to Houston and do the ride and then drive home alone...I just feel so tired of the driving and I want to pay off bills so we can get out of debt, which means not driving so far to rides. My original plan was to do the AERC ride in February and then a trail challenge, which I hoped would be Liberty's first ride...just a lot to think about. The NATRC folks really acted like they'd like us to come to their ride. I'm going to have to wait I guess. The good news is that if we go to the ride in Houston we can stay over till Monday and then come back, but then Maggie will have to turn around and leave 2 days later for her vacation with her dad and I don't think she wants to do that either.

I almost wonder if we should hang up competing and just ride for fun this year, at least till Deli's foal comes. I'm thinking about what will happen with the money for Deli's foaling if anything goes wrong and I feel like I should build up a pile of cash and lay low.

Well,I do feel better after writing in here. Not sure why, but my dread for the day has lessened. I'm just tired and I'm always tired after traveling. I just want to be happy again and I want to understand why I am not happy.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ride the Right Horse

I have been reading a book on equine personality. It's called Ride the Right Horse, (click on the title to read another blog entry I found on this subject) and I have found it infinitely entertaining and informative. The author then went on to compare the Myers Briggs Personality Inventory to the type of horse you should be riding. I know that I am an ENFJ...years ago I took the test and I was an ENFP, but I have consciously changed the P into a J (which is why I went from being a complete free spirit in my twenties to being a little overly rigid in my forties) As I read the closing chapters of the book last night, I got to thinking about how I choose my sport based on my personality.

I love NATRC rides. I love the sport, the people, etc, but as I've gotten older and done more riding, I have also grown to realize that I really don't like the booting rules. It's gotten bad enough that this year I will try AERC partly b/c of the boots, and partly b/c I realize that I'm just not a good joiner (that was going to be the name of my post: I am not a joiner!) I like to watch and observe (some of my closet introvert tendencies) and then do. I'm wondering how I will like it...mostly I'm switching sports this year b/c of distance issues. I'm trying to stay closer to home this year and save some gas money, pay off debts, not be away so much. When Deli foals in May, then we'll be a little more free, and once Liberty is ready to start, then we can resume our NATRC escapades. I feel like AERC might be a bit more forgiving of my new horse if it's unruly. Maggie wants to ride Joe who won't meet breathing criteria and I want to ride Freeley who is sometimes off on a circle, but never in a straight line...it's just a way for us to keep doing a competition. Plus, Maggie and I like the appeal of taking our own pace and seeing what happens. Of course, she has never ridden 25 miles and it's a long way. I may be picking Joe and her off the ground when it's all over...we'll just have to see. Our first try will be in February at the Freeze 'r' Burn. If that goes well, we'll do another in April...maybe by then Liberty will be ready to go.

For example: Maggie, Peter and Sara (Peter's sister) are playing a game and I'm in the room, watching, but I don't really want to play. Part of it is that I have a headache. And part of it is that I'm really enjoying my little spot of piece in the corner. I have felt so pressed and busy, I really like having time to just recreate in my own way.

Anyway, back to the book...The personalities are typed by Social, Aloof, Challenging and Fearful.

I have 4 horses and I have figured that they are all social on the scale somewhere. Deli is Social/Aloof (or aloof/social) but sometimes seems a bit fearful too...though from my experience with other Aloof horses they can spook randomly when they have been checked out and then brought back to life all of a sudden. Joe Bear is Social/Fearful (doesn't adapt to new situations well) Freeley and Liberty are both Social/Challenging. IN fact, I'd be willing to say that Liberty is a carbon copy of Freeley except that he's a little pushier and more friendly. Freeley might be an aloof mix instead b/c it's not like he cares for everyone universally...but since he's the leader of the herd, I assume that he's got some challenging in the mix. Both Freeley and Liberty are highly charismatic! Everyone flocks to those guys. Deli is sweet, but tends to hang out of the way, as does Liberty at times, though most of the time he's in the thick of things. IT's been a lot of fun looking at the personalities.

I'm getting another book called Horse Harmony, which deals with the personalities of horses based on the 5 element Chinese system of Wood, Fire, Metal, Water and Earth.

I was going to ride today but this headache is just really kicking my butt. Plus, it's cold, and I have company, so here I sit, just playing on my computer.

Off to visit my sims...for our anniversary Peter got me the last two "stuff" packs for Sims. He's also downloaded a bunch of new houses! I love new houses. Next Sim's needs to make a Horse stuff pack so we can ride our ponies!

Friday, January 11, 2008

First week back

Why is it that working after being on vacation is often harder than it was to work before vacation? It seems like we build up to the break we're going to have, and then it never quite turns out as planned...we then go back to work more tired, or as tired as when we started our vacation. I know that Peter and I had planned a quiet Christmas. We wanted to read books and watch movies and just generally lay around. Instead we rearranged and cleaned the house for company, ran around with the company and then had a couple days at the end to lament how our vacation had gone away. For the record, I'm not actually complaining, just sighing over lost time. I loved my Christmas and spending time with my dad and I wouldn't trade it back to have a peaceful week. I'm just really tired this week after working all week and I'm wishing I had carved some real time off.

I managed to complete a whole week of music and massage therapy. My hands are tired and sore from working all week, but I think I'll make it. I only missed 2 clients all week, which is good. I still have to write notes and get them in the mail by tomorrow morning, but right now, I'm just enjoying a quiet morning off. Maggie is playing with her Sims on Peter's computer and I'm contemplating taking a shower and then picking up my truck from the mechanic. I woke up to the ringing of the phone this am (telemarketer right at 8am) and I had a horrid headache. I took aleve, drank coffee and feel a little better, so I am contemplating going riding or coming back home and watching TV. Maggie is leaning toward the hanging out at home. I'm wanting to ride b/c I should and it's a nice day...I will go get my truck and eat something and see where we are at that point.

ON the truck: it could have been much worse! I hadn't driven it almost a month and I started it up to help Shawn with something and the check engine light started flashing. I had never seen it flash before and I found it a bit freaky! I ran it straight to Milt's Auto Repair just knowing it was something terrible. It turns out it just needed a tune up, but they are a little pricey. So my truck should be good as new again!

I had a couple of good successes working with Liberty last week. If I ride today I will pony him on the south trail so he can get some much needed work on hills. I'm still feeling bad that Cat got hurt on Merlin. She wanted to longe him before she rode and I talked her into to just getting on. I don't know why he acts that way with her as he hasn't done before...

Now I need to get going on my day. I bought some meat earlier in the week that has to be portioned into freezer bags. My kitchen is a wreck and I want to get that squared away. Not sure if we'll ride or lay around. Laying around looks awfully good right now!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Busy Few Days and now Vacation over

I have had a busy few days and now vacation is over and that's making me sad. Today I jump right back in with a full day of clients to start seeing again. It will be nice to return to money making, but it was fun just to play. I did get a good ride in this weekend on both Liberty and Freeley. Unfortuantely, Cat had another not so good ride on Merlin and now has broken ribs. More details to follow...

Friday, January 4, 2008

LIberty and Freeley and riding for fun

I decided that since Cat and I do so much stuff together, she needed her own tag. I have no idea if she reads my blog or not, so I try hard to never say anything bad (just kidding). She is someone I spend a lot of time with and finally we have been able to ride together. I was trying to find a photo of Cat, but all I can find is a photo of her horse, so I include that too. Merlin is a percheron/andalusion horse who may be my CTR companion for the first half of this year. As you can see, he's kind of a big guy!

Cat and I went riding the other day. WE went out on the trail and Merlin, being the goober he is, decided to jump the first ditch and then commence to bucking when Cat didn't keep up with him. So, he ran home and we walked back. I feel off of him the same way the day this photo was taken. He's just really sensitive about his flanks and he wants to buck whenever he gets scared. I'm hoping some mileage will fix it. I know that if I fall off too many times I won't be keen to ride him much!

I have had some success working with Liberty in the past week. I went back to basics and groundwork. Renee helped in a couple lessons, but I have decided for myself that i like the longe work better. To me all the free longing just made him want to run and I like being connected more. So this week, I got him out and worked him in hand and then we went on a walk to explore scary things. He's a naturally curious creature, so it was more fun than scary all along. We ponied one day and he did that great, taking all his tips from "big brother" Freeley...but as in the above paragraph I had to come back early due to misfortune.

Today was my anniversary. Peter and I have made it 5 years this time and I think we're pretty happy (at least I am, hope he is too) We had massages and went to lunch at The Sanford House in Arlington, TX. My massage was just wonderful, though all too short. I've come to the conclusion that an hour just isn't long enough. Maybe I'll get an hour and a half next time. My massage therapist was named Adriana and she had a really nice pressure and didn't do a ton of kneading. Lots of slow pressure...unfortunately, I tend to stay too tuned in b/c I like to remember my experience...next time I'll try to drop off more. They have a Thai Massage I'd like to try next time.

Lunch was good, but not as fantastic as I'd hoped. I had beef dish that was rolled up with Feta Cheese and a nice sauce. I liked how the flavors blended together, but it wasn't spectacular like I'd hoped for. I'd eat there again as it was a nice place and the food was pretty good, but I was a little disappointed. On the menu they have a grilled cheese sandwich that sounds to die for...maybe that it is the way to go.

We've been home since playing on the computer and chatting. I may go give a couple massages tomorrow and read, or i may spend a lazy day at home. Hard to decide at this point b/c the weather is supposed to be fantastic, so it may be hard to pass up the outing. I had hoped to sit and read all these magazines that are in my basket and watch a movie, but I'm not sure I can keep myself indoors all day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Day After New Years (published late)

Today is finally a quiet day. Dad and Shirley are leaving sometime this morning to go home, or at least go to Eric's, and we are sitting here in our office doing separate activities. Maggie is gone with Shawn through Saturday and they are going to visit his mother. I had intended to see clients today, but none of the ones I called and/or emailed to see have gotten back to me, so it looks like I'm pretty off the hook. I have one that I'll go see on my way to the barn, or perhaps two if the scheduling works out, but for now, I'm just enjoying being on vacation.

It was so great to see my dad this past week. I haven't spent that much time with him in years and it was great just to be in his company for several days in a row.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Cotton Bowl

The cotton Bowl was great. Mizzou won which made my dad happy. We had a great visit, but I can't write much now. It was good to see him for that many days in a row. Peter had more fun at the football game than I expected him to have. We're already making plans to take a long weekend and go to a game with Dad next fall if we can find one we agree on. I've invited Dad and Shirley to come down for the Baylor/Mizzou game if they'd like. Not sure they will, but it does seem like fun. Maggie didn't really like the game so much, but she did ask a lot of questions for the first half and stayed interested till she got tired. It was her first game and it was a long, long day.