Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ho Hum

Today has been a hard day, and I couldn't even tell you why.  I got up and went to work like any other day, but my mood has been poor all day. I went for a walk with the dogs. I ate a healthy breakfast. I saw my groups just like usual. I saw a couple of extra people because one client was on vacation. It might have been because I have a client who hits and pinches and he was in full form today.  I had such a hard time redirecting him. His mother says he gets cranky in the summer because there isn't enough to do. Today I had to set limits on his behavior. During his massage we watched a movie on my ipad, till he couldn't stop tapping and hitting the iPad and I had to turn it off (I set a limit and he crossed the line) So, then he was mad at me for taking away the movie, but it was the right choice. HE wasn't resting or relaxing and it was a distraction, so it had to go. We listened to relaxing music instead, which was pretty boring for him, I guess. Then we did Music Therapy and I couldn't play my guitar because each time I would start to play a song he would get up to push buttons on the a/c or try to stick his finger in the light socket. If I stopped him from doing that, then he tried to get out the door. If he wasn't trying to do one of those two things then he was opening and closing another door directly into the path of the ceiling fan. And each time it crashed he laughed. 

So when I left his house, I was not in a great mood. Then I left his house, I had a call from my last client who said they couldn't be home by 3, our appointment time, but could I come at 3:30 instead...I couldn't. Then she said "well, maybe I can make it home by 3, but I won't know till 2:45 so I'll call I ran some errands, got grain for the horse, fed and waited for her to call. They weren't going to make it by 3:00, so I was done. 

Tonight I was to have left for Trace Trails to be there bright and early and ride at the crack of dawn. But my partners in crime can't make it till tomorrow, and the idea of camping all alone in 100 degree heat was unappealing, so I, instead, got everything ready to go and decided to stay home tonight. I will get up at 5am and leave. I warned Peter that I am in a bad mood. He is being kind and letting me just sort of chill out.

My week started wrong.  Maggie is at camp and I miss her. She had a friend with her, but her friend's mom picked her friend up from camp after the first day. I have found this turn of events unsettling.  The camp called me at 10:15pm telling me that her mom had come to get her. They didn't know her mom, only me, so they were making sure it was really her mom and to ask me why they would come get her when camp had only just started. I know the reasons given for why her friend went home, but I still feel unsettled.  I'm upset because her friend was given a scholarship to attend camp and leaving early means the gift was wasted and unappreciated.  I'm trying very hard not to be harsh, but I'm pretty upset that her friend's mom didn't talk to me before going to get her from camp. I think it's natural to feel nervous about your child going away the first time. (the first time I sent Maggie to camp, I went along and camped nearby and it was a good way to do that whole camp thing...of course, Maggie didn't need me one bit) It's a great camp and Maggie had a blast there last year. This was her friend's first opportunity to attend camp.  Camp is supposed to be a time for kids to be away from mom's and dad's. we're not supposed to talk to them for a week. If they need us, they will call us or the camp will find a way to reach us.  It's a time for kids to take care of themselves, rely on their peers for help and learn about themselves.   I have made an effort to apologize to the mom and grandma and make amends for my harsh attitude regarding her abrupt departure, but my apologies have been met with silence so far.  I would like for Maggie and her friend to continue being friends. I guess I wanted them to acknowledge that they had abused the gift and take responsibility for the actions that led them to pick up the child from camp 1 day in...but I also realize this is not going to happen.  I'm trying to be nice because I don't want to sever ties or make it hard for Maggie to be friends. I would like to think this can be smoothed over and we can move forward.  I don't want her friend to be concerned with any of this. I adore her and want everything to go well for her.  I'm just sorry she got caught in the middle of the situation. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Fiera grows up

I had my first extended ride on Fiera last week and she gets mixed reviews. She is a lot more jumpy than I expected her to be on trail. So much work needs to be done before she is trust worthy. Right now everything is scaring her including assorted wild life like hogs and deer. She has a large, surprise spook which is unsettling. When desensitizing her to stimuli she is very easy so I was surprised to see this level of reaction. I have been given a few suggestions which I will try. I'm going to give her this week off to to think on it, I believe. I'm back at trace working on trails Wednesday night but I think I will just take Dixie and Liberty this time and leave her home alone. Barbie is bringing Oly back Friday. I will start putting him back in the riding rotation. I have missed him. I would still like to sell Fiera. I have had in nibbles. She is started now. Someone should buy her.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Random tidbits

I had good news from the podiatrist today. I didn't need injections. Instead I got slip in orthotics and I'm having custom ones made in July. My foot is tons better. I also got a new night splint because the other one broke. Peter and I have been watching a you tube show called The Guild. Each season s about 1:30 minutes and each separate episode only 5-6 minutes each. It's fun. Peter took me out for sushi buffet. I ate way too much. I'm still stuffed. Peter took some photos of this cool od timey gas station in Turkey, Tx in April. He sent the prints to the owner as a gift and They in turn asked what he would sell the photos for and Peter gave them a number. Today he got the photos back in the mail saying he could use them however he liked but they would not buy them. He did not ask them to buy them, on,y giving a number after they asked. I think he's going to resend them emphasizing they were a gift. It was weird.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Indian territory

> The first of the two rides that we did was Indian territory. It is a
> rather rocky ride, in Oklahoma, near Tulsa . I love this ride! I have
> won in novice with all three of my CTR horses. I had no real hopes of
> winning with Liberty, but I figured it was worth a try.
> Peter had been asked to be a judge's secretary. He was the secretary
> for that judge, Pat Reiger. This was a job he had not yet done, but I
> thought he would probably enjoy it. I believe that he did have a good
> time.
> Dr. Pat is an obstacle judge. He does very little to check
> metabolically or soundness but sets up many elaborate obstacles. His
> most popular obstacle is to set up sticks one logs in varying sizes
> shapes in widths for the horses to walk or trot over. He takes points
> for each log the horses touch. Peter said that one horse hit five logs
> seven times. My horse only had two hits which equaled one point off. I
> don't recall any of the other obstacles being particularly
> complicated, but I do know that I lost my ride on a mount. Liberty
> walked off two steps from his mouth, which cost me two points. So we
> went for potential first or second place, to fourth-place.
> I ran the trail barefoot behind on Saturday, and I noted that liberty
> seemed a little more tender footed than usual. So Sunday I booted all
> four feet. The back boots stayed on for about 4 miles. The front
> stayed on all day, With the exception of the plain easy boot that I
> used on Sunday and came off in the mud.
> The big, important thing about Indian territory, is that it's just a
> lot of fun. We get there on Thursday, we watch a movie. On Friday we
> ride, on Saturday we ride, I'm Sunday we ride,… And then we go to
> dinner. Answer is a fair amount of drinking. It's just a great big
> memorial day party. I love this ride. I love it for the trails that I
> can't write any other time of year. I love it for the party that we
> have. I love it because we all stay overnight on Monday since it's a
> holiday. I don't think I will ever miss another one of these if I can
> help it.
> The other thing that made this chip special, was our friends the
> lineback's, were parked right next to us. We have gotten to know
> Marcy, Tammy and now Gary since the beginning of the year. Tammy and
> Marcy have been coming to region 4 Rides from Georgia. We have really
> enjoyed getting to know them.
> The other thing that made this ride with a special, was going to see
> Corry Key, and her husband Justin. We enjoy riding with Corry's
> stallion Zahlil. Zahlil is one of the most well behaved stallions I
> have ever had the privilege to now. He never talks to the mares, he
> rides quietly beside my gelding and mare simultaneously. We just have
> a lot of fun.
> It was also wonderful to see Kim Reinhardt. Her horse GMo text Aharen
> the voice of four stout. Here's the funny goofy horse. He in Dixie are
> good friends, and he tolerated liberty and Zahlil quite well.
> This blog post was dictated using Dragon dictation. I didn't proofread
> to find most of the errors, but you may find a few. They may even be
> amusing. I apologize for any misunderstandings that occur as the
> results of my dictation.
> Alice Yovich MA, MT-BC, LMT

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My big NATRC Adventure

This is a blog written in reverse order. I'm going to write about the NATRC ride Maggie and I attended in Region 6 last weekend and then backtrack to other things (quite possibly in another post) and then talk about Indian Territory from Memorial Day weekend (if I still remember it when I get there) Since it will take awhile to say everything, and I may never really get it all said, I want to say up front that I had the best time in Missouri visiting my mom, taking care of my nephews and going to Silver Dollar city with my family and my friends the Linebacks of Georgia.

I decided to do two NATRC rides back to back. I know that this is something that people seeking the President's Cup do regularly, but this was a new undertaking for us. 

It was a new ride and it was in Missouri, where I grew up, but have never ridden.  The facility was the Flying R Ranch in West Plains, MO. They had covered stalls for all the horses and bunk houses for the people if one didn't want to camp. Maggie and I went anticipating that it could be 100 degrees, and got a bunk house room.  When we arrived, we saw that it would have been much easier to have camped. Not only was it NOT 100 degrees (but instead quite cool) it was a pain to park our trailer and unload our truck and take our stuff upstairs...we were very spread out.  If I go back there again, I will definitely just camp. The camp ground was beautiful and shady.  There was a general store, a tack store, and showers and bathrooms...this is a great thing for primitive campers such as we are. 

We arrived pretty early on Friday, but not early enough to go for a ride.  Of course, as I found out later, going for a ride around the ranch wouldn't have done us much good in competition since the terrain for the open competition trails was very different than the terrain around the camp. 

At check in on Friday night I began to get nervous. The management team was brand new and we were urged by the vet judge to be lenient and nice (which I think we all accomplished) the times were given in a range differently than I am used to having them. The min-max times as well. I am also used to management figuring all the times for the riders, which had not be done. So we were told we'd be going 30 miles at 4.5-5 mph and it would take us 7:15-7:45. This included 2 p&R's and one lunch stop.  A wise, experienced rider said to figure the time on 4.75, but someone else said the real mid-time was more like 4.8. I couldn't remember how to do the math formula to figure it at 4.8, so I used the cheat chart on the RMS system from the website and figured my time at 4.75, knowing it was actually slightly slower than mid. I had also figured it at 5mph which was slightly faster than min.  We were also told that the distances had been figured by 2 different GPS's, but I also know that GPS can be off by as much as 20%. I don't know how you would have figured the mileage on this trail without a GPS, but I suspect all the inclines and descents made the GPS inaccurate.

Saturday morning the weather was nice. We set off at a happy pace, but found by the time we got to the 2 miles we had been riding for 48 minutes and that was mostly at a trot. We had gotten a bit turned around in a pasture when there were ribbons all around us in the pink and yellow that had been used to mark the trail. I had notes that said we were to stay on the fence line, but the people riding withe me were sure I was wrong and I let myself be swayed since they were way more experienced in the sport than I was. So, we wasted a few minutes, but not that many...48 minutes to the 2 mile is not a good sign. At A we were more behind, but we got caught up by B because all the going between A and B was really good footing. I was scared at first because we had to ride beside a highway with a wide shoulder. Evidently horses riding down that shoulder is a common thing as many people waved and no one honked. No 18 wheelers drove by and it was all fine.  Next we came to a gravel road, which Liberty didn't think much of...then we were at B and it got hard. At first, it wasn't too bad. A few rocks here and there, beautiful forest and scenery. Then we started to climb up and down and it got rockier and rockier. Some spots were slippery, but mostly the footing was pretty good. We crossed a river (or a creek) many times and the horses had tons of water to drink. We arrived at our P&R, which was supposed to be 11.6 miles, over 25 minutes behind max...this is not good.  We had a lunch break and headed back out.  The next section was to be 8.4 miles and it was technical as well. There was one really sharp step down that had a turn in it that we had been warned about. The horses had to take a tiny step straight ahead and then turn left to go down or they would go straight off the hill. There was also a really, really steep bank we had to go up out of the river and we had been told to give the horse in front plenty of room, urge them to go fast and keep going and don't stop. They were not kidding.  About the time I thought I was at the time, I'd find I wasn't and I had to turn another switchback and go up another hill. The poor horses were really tired by the time we got to the top.  When we got to our next letter which was D or E (I lose track) we were actually back on time (well, almost)  when we got back to B we were verging on early.  (the trail in and out of "the mountain" was the same) Not really sure how that happened. when we got back to A we were feeling really good about being able to make it in on time.  We had our last P&R and saw the two mile we were relieved. However, that 2 mile kept going on and on and we remembered that 7 hours before, we had noted it was longer than 2 miles (turned out to be 3) so we found ourselves hurrying again and we made it in just before max time. 

My horse was tired. I have never seen Liberty tired before and it wasn't pretty. he didn't want to walk across the gravel.  I had unwisely not booted him because the trails I had been told about weren't that rocky and I have never seen terrain he couldn't traverse barefoot.  He vetted sound and all his parameters were good, though he did lose a P&R point at the second P&R, which is very unusual.  But he was eating and drinking good, so I put him to bed and let him rest with some grazing walks throughout the evening.

Sunday was to be 20 miles, which then turned into 22 (but maybe more, it's hard to tell) we all knew by now that the first rocky section was longer than it was supposed to be and our 8.4 mile section was really only about 6 miles, so most of open was a little concerned. We had the slow part of the trail, but not the short, fast part of the trail. The good news is that we didn't have that scary bank or the rocks to go down from the day before. Today the actual mid time was 4.63, but I figured it on 4.75 again, knowing it was a little fast.  In the end it made no difference.  We hurried all day long on anything that looked safe enough to go fast on.

I digress for a moment to talk about boots:  I had booted Liberty on all four feet and he still didn't want to walk on the gravel. I lost my back boots early. This is not so much the fault of the boots, more that I have never needed to use back boots, so I was unprepared to really use them. My front boots that have always worked failed me too, and I'm not sure why. The only thing I can figure is that my farrier got him really short this last time, which caused the foot soreness in the first place and the boots were too large as a result.  In the end (and this is huge for me) I think I have decided that if more training gives me the same problems, I will be shoeing for rocky rides like this in the future. I will have to practice with shoes and boots to decide for sure because, honestly, I don't know if shoes would have made that much difference. Maggie shoes Dixie for these rocky rides and she was foot sore too, so it's something I'm going to have to think about.  The horse that won open lightweight was booted all the way around, and didn't lose any, so it may just be that I need to work on some finer aspects to be ok. I like the idea of the boots over shoes in this situation  since the boots provided sole protection also, but since Liberty acted foot sore through the boots I'm not sure it would have mattered.

In the end, we were 24 minutes over max time coming in. I take full responsibility for our lateness. In the woods it rained and we got tired and it was slippery. Dixie was in front and I should have been paying more attention to how late it was. Maggie's watch was broken and I was the timekeeper. I should have put Dixie in the back and trotted more and let Dixie keep up with Liberty. I know one other open rider came in 21 minutes late. I know that the open heavyweight rider who won came in 4 minutes under max. So, it was clearly possibly to go the right speed for some horse...whether or not we could have made it in, I just don't know. As it was we galloped 4-5 miles making up time. Perhaps if I had pushed harder in the forest and on the mountain we could have made it. I just don't know. When we got back on ranch property, where we had been able to make up time before was now slippery and dangerous from the rain so that contributed to our lateness. I heard later some horses fell going up and down some of the short, but steep hills. Liberty could barely stay up right at times it was so slippery...and yet he never quit, till the very end.

Maggie says she will never compete there again. I say that I want to do it again so it doesn't beat me. It was the hardest trailer i have ever been on and I have a lot of respect for that territory. It was beautiful. I think that I would love to visit the Flying R ranch for fun. There is a great lake, fishing, swimming and the facilities are beautiful. I think I would like to compete there, but I think I would like to see the timing looked at a little more closely first.  We came in 6th (me) and 2nd (her) and we were tired. When we got back the horses didn't look so hot. I was really worried about Liberty the last couple days. I have never returned from a ride that he didn't take off running. He seems very flat and pitiful and it makes me sad. Today he is eating better and he seems to be walking more comfortably, but he is still lackluster.  Maybe we weren't ready for 2 in a row?

The obstacles were great. Judges Kathy shanor and Jerry Wiell thought up some great obstacles. I have some new things to practice. My personal favorite from Saturday was to do a turn on the haunch over 4 logs set up to form a cross with a circle in the middle. You had to ride into the middle and then cross the horses front legs over each log. liberty was doing great till he got sick of it on the fourth log and decided it was time to sidepass out.  We had to do a sidepass with the front legs elevated. We had to back them in hand over a log and then sidepass an L (didn't go so well because we were running out of time for the mad dash back) We had a gate and an up and down...standard fair.

We are supposed to go to KS next weekend to do another ride, but I'm refraining from making a decision until the beginning of the week. If I don't see some energy out of him, we'll stay home.  I love my horse too much to break him over a goal. As much as i"d like my out of state first or second, I don't want it at the cost of my horse.

From here we went to Corry Key's house in Arkansas, but that is a story all by itself.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Back from Vacation

I had really planned to write a post about my trip, the two NATRC rides, visiting my mom, etc., but as I sit here, in a quiet, half dark room, I find I am too sleepy to write much tonight.  I am wishing that i had days off without travel to just do stuff at home. I could stand to have some completely independent days here at the house to do whatever I like...from housework to sewing...but it's going to be awhile before that happens. Then I get to thinking about the fall and the school year when Maggie will be living at her dad's and I realize I'm going to have more time to do all those things than I really want and it makes me sad.

it was a good trip, the ride was hard (I hope to write a story about the whole thing soon) and I didn't get the first or second out of state I was looking for.  I'm supposed to go to Kansas to a ride in about 10 days, but Liberty and Dixie seem kind of tired and burned out so I have to rethink it. Missouri was a lot harder to ride in than Texas.