Saturday, August 28, 2010

Reflections of the week

I can't believe I started the week feeling so bad and finished it up having such a great day today. Maggie started with sniffles Monday and I was feeling yucky by the time I went to sleep Monday night. Tuesday I tried to lay low and rest but Wednesday and Thursday I developed a wicked fever and just felt awful. Friday my fever broke and I felt almost as good as new but still have cold symptoms. I have finally decided that I had food poisoning. It's the only thing that can explain all the symbols and the temp. It also explains why I felt good again so quickly. I'm just glad I'm back to normal. Missing a week if clients was I'll afforded with the next two weeks I have coming up. I'm going to be ready for a vacation in October after I finish doing pole canyon natrc ride.

Sent from my iPhone

Love my iPhone

When I went riding today I had my iPhone with me. It was so great to rise bs listen to my music while I rode alone. I love that it has speakers so I can listen music and ride safely.

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I am sick

I am sick. I am not happy about it but can't change it. I would give anything not to be sick. I also have just one car at my house today. Peter took the truck so that he could work today. I will take the truck and work tomorrow as I am assuming that I WILL feel better then. I have a client who is mad at me for being sick. I was trying to squeeze in a makeup for last week (which was her fault for missing anyway) but now I can't because I'm sick. She said to me "you were ok on Tuesday". I wasn't actually. I was starting to be sick Tuesday but saw them anyway because I knew they wouldn't appreciate being missed. I did tell her she could bring her son to me for his appointment is she wanted to but warned her I was still sick. I wish these people understood how inconvenient it is for me to miss them. Between the vehicles and being sick I'm out a week of pay.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rotten luck

I wrecked my little truck when a driver pulled out in front of me on Friday. I got bucked off my horse Saturday. I came down with what I thought was a cold but that I now fear if the flu on Tuesday (running a temp). Clients couldn't see me last week now I can't see them this week. Then on top of it all the Rendezvous has to go to the shop too giving us one working car and me with a job that requires driving. So Peter will take my truck tomorrow while I convalesce and finish my sewing. Friday he may have to work from home while I see a few clients. This week is stuffed. I'm swamped the next 3 weekends and then I have pole canyon two months after. And I have been blessed with two more clients. I'm ready for the peace of mid-October

I'm thinking of taking on the natrc girl scout scamper in the spring and need a secretary. I also need a trail master. Any takers?

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tonka moves on

This weekend was Tonka's debut into competitive riding. I had high hopes for her. She was going great on the ground and our trail rides had been pretty uneventful. I didn't expect to place but I did expect a slow ride. She was great for trot out and an offside mount. Then she became insecure and went from slightly nervous but quiet to a bucking bronco. Good news is that I Iasted 8 seconds and didn't get hurt. Bad news is that she didn't quit bucking till I was on the ground. I have sore muscles, rope burns and a skinned up arm but am otherwise fine. She is now at the trainer's house, no linger my problem. It about broke my heart to watch her run the fenceline after my trailer as I drove away but I have to admit defeat. She's a lovely horse but way too unpredictable for me. When she tossed Maggie I thought perhaps she had missed a cue from the mare. Now I'm sure that no cues were missed and she is just that unpredictable. All I did was to whoa her and tell her to stand and she lost her mind. I wish it were possible to explain to the horses what the problem is and find out what they needed from us.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Animal communication

I realize going in that this will be a very controversial post and I'm OK with that. Some people will read this and think "what rubbish" and for them it may be true. Others may think that there are ways other than the horse actually talking to them that the information can be gleaned, and I will agree that is sometimes the case.

I have had a couple of brushes with communication with my animals.  When I acquired JJ Freeley 6 years ago, I had never felt such a profound connection with a horse.  He spoke to me...literally.  I watched and "read" him also, but he just talked to me all the time.  Then there was Frankie, my JRT who I had given away and came back to me. I started dreaming about him and that he was looking for me. I really assumed he was dead b/c of the circumstances under which he left me, but he turned up at the shelter and they called and said my dog was there. 

But...this is a story about someone else and how great a communicator she is with animals.  Her name is Anna Zimmerman. She's the daughter of my good friend, Betsy, and she is an animal communicator. 

Anna discovered her gift when her horse was injured and undergoing ultra sound. Her mom tells me that she would ask Ginger questions about how she was feeling and Anna started to answer these questions, as though she were Ginger.  Betsy realized what was happening and began giving her daughter, then a teenager, opportunities to talk to other horses.  Of course, this kind of communication is utterly unverifiable. You are either a believer or you are not. When she was learning her skill/honing her talent, she talked to Freeley a few times.  He told her things that I knew to be true or things I had learned myself.  I am not a gifted communicator like Anna. I see pictures, or get impressions, or observe behaviors, but she actually hears them.

I had her come over recently to talk to Tonka, our new horse.  I had gathered different pieces of Tonka's life from various owners and learned about various bad behavior, but I wanted to know why she did these things.  Or if she even knew why.  I wanted to know if she was hurting, if she didn't like us, if I could help her, etc.  Alot of what Anna told me was stuff I already knew. She hadn't been trained well, treated badly, passed from home to home.  She's happy with us, but likes Maggie riding her more b/c she's lighter, but she says I'm a better rider, with better legs.  She says she bucks because she got scared when they were training her canter and learned that she could easily ditch her ride.  She's willing to quit bucking, but she won't tolerate being hurt. She won't leave her herd to go with me alone b/c she doesn't know or trust me enough.  She hadn't had a herd before and now she has one and isn't letting them go.  Much of this reflects the facts, which Anna knew nothing about.

I also had her talk to Dixie, Maggie's horse, and this is where I know for sure that Anna is completely for real.  Maggie had said that she felt like Dixie had something to tell her, but she didn't know what it was.  Maggie wasn't there, so I conveyed the information to Anna.  What Dixie had to say was something that I understood about Maggie, but Anna would have had no reference point at all. It had nothing to do with riding or horses really, but more with Maggie herself. I was amazed.

If anyone feels that they need an animal communicator, I can't recommend  Anna enough.  She can be hired and is pretty inexpensive for the information you will glean.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Potential Equine Emergency

I'm anal about how I keep my horses. I try to make sure I look at them every day or if I can't look at them, I make sure someone else can look at them for me.  I've been going over board to make sure Joe Bear gets fed twice a day and puts on some weight.  Last night I had him separated out so he could eat a little extra Thrive. I have been feeding it to him free choice since he can't chew grass or hay.  I left him a bucket of water and and the promise to return this am.  Well, I almost forgot him.  I went to see my first client and had a long day up to Paradise after that when I remembered that I had left Joe in the front of the field with a single bucket of water on a 100+ degree day.  So, I had to rearrange my day to go let the little guy out. I felt so bad, forgetting my daughter's pony and almost letting him go that way all day...I shudder to think what might have happened.  So, now my next week has become busy with make up appointments and I'm home watching Dear John and doing my sewing.  I'm so happy I have understanding clients and a flexible job or I could have been in real trouble.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ride management stress

I'm sitting here with my morning cup of coffee contemplating my day.  I'm skipping church today so that I can finally sit down and work on all my tshirts for my upcoming TTC ride and Maggie is going to help me sew some prizes. She is very enthusiastic about helping, so we'll be heading out to Joann's once they open at noon.  We had planned an early morning ride, but it's just too hot. I'm hearing that it may be the hottest day of the year.

This ride has seemed so far away for so long.  Now it's right here in my face and even though I have done quite a bit of planning and doing ahead I suddenly feel like I have way too much to accomplish in way too little time.

We rode at Six O yesterday, the site of my ride. I rode the trail I wanted to use and figured out many of the obstacles. I also discovered that the trail looks very different backwards and that the markers are only one one side of the trees. So I'm going to go back in a week to double check my trail and ride it the right direction. I may even see if Kim will let me put up a few markers. I was so irritated with myself b/c I left out part of the deer plot and since I was trying to check mileage I didn't want to go back and do it again, lest it mess up my calculations.  In the end, between 2 GPS's and a phone GPS, I came up with 9.1 miles of trail, and that was with leaving out part of what I meant to ride.  So, a week from Monday Maggie and I will go back and ride the trail the right direction to make sure I get everything in I want and double check the mileage again. 

I picked out some great obstacles and then realized that some of them may not be as accessible to the drivers as necessary.  I'm wondering if my judges  can ride horses to their judges places or if that would even be fun for anyone?  Just thinking out loud. More likely I will find some places to do the same obstacles in better locations.

I used the GPS on my phone to make a track of the trail that was surprisingly accurate. It was supposed to email to me, but that function didn't work so well. However, I have discovered that i can upload it to and share it on facebook.  I love the topographical feature, but I don't love that all the little squiggles from the from the deer plot don't show up in great detail.  

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ring work

I am terrible at ring work with my horse. What's more, he isn't good at it either.  We don't do well on the TTC obstacles because some of what we are asked to do would be stuff to practice in the ring and our ring relationship is in the toilet. 

Tonight I decided to work on my canter departs. Only before I could do canter departs, I had to go back to square one with the bit (b/c he hates the bit and I never use it b/c he hates it) and work at the walk and the trot.  He never really did well at the trot tonight, so I was nervous to ask him to do much cantering.  However, a couple times he felt like he might canter, but then he just laid his ears back and stopped and acted like he would buck if I pushed him another step.  If I'd had a stick I'd have smacked him...but I didn't, so I went back to more walk and trot work. I always second guess myself in these situations. I was riding in a bit and the western saddle b/c it doesn't have so much crap hanging off of it and it was easier to throw on. I feel really secure in it, but he doesn't seem to be so keen on it...but then I don't know if he's really not keen on it, or if he's just giving me a hard time b/c he doesn't want to do the work.  I already know that part of the issue is Dixie being there. On our figure eights he would pull further and further outside of the circle to get closer and closer to Dixie. With my sprained ankle getting sore, I didn't have the leg power i normally have either.

I find myself wondering if Dr. Deb is wrong and if not all horses can/will go in a snaffle.  I know that I haven't put the time in for us to really be comfortable in a bit, but it's hard when he is light and sensitive and does pretty much everything I want in an S hackamore.  I find myself wondering why she HAS to be right and why the hack has to be wrong.  She says I can go back to a side pull, but I don't find that I have the control that I have a with a bit...and it's scary to think i could possibly have less control than that.

It's very discouraging b/c he does down the trail beautifully and he's happy out there. I find myself questioning the why of the ring work, yet I know it's essential to our continued development.  He doesn't like me posting on his right hind and the only way to really work on that is in the ring in circles.  He doesn't like to canter on a circle...gotta fix that too.  In fact, I find myself wondering why I bother to ever compete when we clearly have so few skills.

I'm sure he didn't have a good time tonight and I finished up the session feeling very discouraged...though he did stop throwing his head around and trot a few nice circles...he didn't buck me off and after it was all said and done he followed me around the pasture instead of running off, so something must have been right.  I think the western saddle is definitely out on him.  I can't find any fit issues, but I remember that the one time he did buck me off on purpose was in that saddle and we've had no bucking since I got the orthoflex.  He didn't seem to ever want to canter when I used that saddle all the time, so perhaps something isn't right about it for him,even though he doesn't seem sore...or, he could just be pulling the wool over my eyes to avoid work he doesn't want to do. Won't know till I ride him again in the other saddle. 

Monday I'm taking Tonka up to my friend Susan's and see how she does on the trail up there.  So, Tuesday will be my next chance to ride him, maybe before the chiro comes.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Great time in Angelina

This weekend a group of us braved the heat to camp and ride at Angelina National Forest. The group included the entire Martin family, Christa Bass and her daughter, Michaela, Frances Kenyon, Amy Crane and her mom and Maggie and myself.  We had invited some other folks who weren't able to come, and Fran only got to ride Sunday because her truck was in the shop and she had to borrow a horse.  I hadn't been there since 2004, when NATRC had their last ride there.  Since then they have build real bathrooms and showers and done a lot of improvements to the campground at Ebenezer Park, which is Corp of Engineers managed.  The camp ground was very shady and pleasant and we had electricity for our fan.  The horses had large pens that could have easily accommodated 2 horses each. 

The trails still had some arrows up from the old NATRC ride. The map at the office is an old CP/novice map and had a short loop and a long loop on it. Since most of the party had horses who were just making a comeback to the trail, we didn't ride really long each day.  The big group would start out and then as their horses tired they would peel off and return to camp.  Maggie and her friend, Michaela, took their horses back down to the beach on Saturday to play in the water. They were gone for so long, we eventually went looking for them, but they were fine, playing in the water and hanging out on the beach of the Sam Rayburn Reservoir.  The beach was a crazy, busy place that day. It was pretty wild how many people were there.  I was a little nervous when I saw all the people. I had terrible thoughts about what might have happened to our girls. Amy told me just to tell them we got hot and wanted to ride and not to tell them we were worried. 

Sunday was really hot, but we rode about 3:30 hours before it got unbearable.  Most of the group had to go home, but a few of us stayed to drive home on Monday. By the end of Sunday it was so hot, that I found myself wishing I had gone home after riding on Sunday. 

I haven't ridden that much this summer due to the heat, but Liberty was such a good boy.  We even side passed a log as well as jumping and riding in all gaits. His P&R's were good. He played in the water, but didn't lay down. Amy Crane discovered that if you ride them in up to their bellies they won't lay down because it's too deep and they have achieved their goal. I found myself wondering why I had never thought about this.  On Sunday, Michaela rode her mom's horse (Koda? spelling) and  he promptly laid down with her in the water. It was really funny, but she was not sure she enjoyed that experience. 

However, it turned out to be a good thing that I had not left in the heat of the day. On the way home, my ABS on my truck went out.  Fortunately we were in Lufkin, and not on the Highway. This was fortunate for several reasons.  If I had been on the highway I wouldn't have been able to stop the truck and the trailer.  Also, being in Lufkin, we were near Christa Bass's house and she was able to come pick up the horses and Maggie while Amy Crane and I sorted out the truck. 

Amy was going to go on home via rental car, so we called Enterprise. We told them where we were and the exact address, also mentioning that there was a horse trailer and a red suburban.  After an hour we called them back and they said the guy couldn't find us.  They claimed he was coming back to get her, but he never showed and eventually we canceled the car request.  US rider let me down as well.  They told me a tow truck would be there within 30 minutes, but it never showed. After an hour, US rider called me back and said their tow truck driver was on another run and I would be waiting another hour for the tow to the brake place Christa had recommended.  I do realize that it wasn't US rider's fault. The local tow company promised services that they did not deliver.  Since Christa had taken the horses and the trailer, with Peter's help, I found a brake place and drove the truck slowly to the shop.  At the shop, they said it wasn't anything big and mechanical, but instead it was the ABS module, which costs about $1200 new, but wasn't something they could fix.  So, they sent me to the GMC dealer another mile down the road.  At first I was going to have the diagnostic run to confirm the other brake shop's suspicion, but they hadn't had the proper equipment to confirm the diagnosis. IN the mean time, Amy talked to her husband who said all I had to do was to disable the ABS and keep driving. This was accomplished by pulling the fuse. So, two shops, two money left my hands.  My mechanic is looking for a used part for my truck that will cost much less.

On the way to the GMC shop I took Amy by Enterprise so she could rent a car and drive home. I was unaware at that point that I could safely pull the trailer with the ABS disabled.  She came back out seconds later, running after my truck...Enterprise didn't even have a car to rent, and hadn't had one all morning. 

So, we went back to Christa's until it was cooler and then drove home, and fortunately, that was an easy trip.

Doing Nothing

I have an odd work schedule that varies from day to day.  Some days are very busy, go, go, go kinds of days. Some days are more mellow and laid back.  I never feel like it's OK to just sit around on any given day.  I always feel like I have to be doing something. Yesterday when an upset stomach kept me in the house, I rearranged and cleaned up my office and then did some sewing.  I never turn on the TV or just read a book and chill out. Today, my morning clients canceled (it's been one of those weeks) and I'm watching the movie Extraordinary Measures with Maggie, while we wait for the arrival of the Fed Ex truck and her iphone.  It feels so wrong to just be sitting here when i know I could be sewing or organizing a closet or something, but yet, it feels really, really good.