Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I think it's probably a go! I am so bad at making concrete plans. You never know what might happen. But John thought it was a good idea, and might just come along! Yay!

I know it's a teeny picture, but look at those big ol' ears! I adore Tonka's ears. If he's looking at you with eyes and ears, you know it! Makes me think of an aardvark.

There is an extreme trail challenge in Santa, Idaho the weekend after next, and I hadn't even considered going, since we're not at all near ready for that sort of thing. Today I was talking to my sister, telling her I was thinking about taking Tonka to the fair, just for the experience of being there, not to show. She brought up the trail event, and I realized that yeah, that's an awesome idea! They're already taking a trailer, have a free spot, and are going to trail ride on some logging roads too. Perfect! Treed trail experience on a wide, brush free road. And he'll get to be in the middle of all the goings on of such an event, and I'm hoping I can walk him through the course after the competition is over. They often put out cougar and bear scent, and have even been known to have a caged badger. Of course they'll also have all the more conventional stuff like the cowboy curtain and other obstacles. So, let me tell you, I am pumped! I'm not totally sure I can go, since I haven't even mentioned it to John yet, but hopefully it'll all work out.
I hadn't ridden Tonka for a couple days. The first day I didn't ride he had a bad bug bite on his back, so I just trimmed his hooves. Yesterday I spent 8 hours sorting sheep in the very hot heat. It got up to at least 96. I wasn't good for much after that, although I was proud to be able to do some laundry and work on my drip irrigation system for my young aspens.

(Oh, and about those sheep! There are two "pet" sheep that may go to auction if the buyers who are coming over the next few days don't want them. I want to bring them home! But I really must face that we're not set up for sheep, and sheep poo in the yard isn't fun...

This morning we had a good-sized ride. Went out into the hay field, came back and did a lot of serpentines and figure 8's and crossed some scary obstacles, then rode through the barn area, which is usually kind of scary for them, and out into the pasture. He was not nearly as good today. No silliness, but a spirit of "I don't want to." He was concerned about his buddies who were calling to him from both ends of the property. Wasn't following his head, was drifting, trying to ignore my legs, etc. No big deal. We did go through a couple spots he'd rather not have had to, and he went on through like a good boy.

Vacation again in 2 days... Vacation is way too much work. But we're kind of obligated to go to this one, it's the family reunion. I'm really looking forward to seeing my grandparents. Not so much the rest of the family, but oh well. It'll be fun.

I'm off to prepare!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What a great evening! The kids are having a sleepover so John got to ride with me, and a friend came over and rode Soxy too. We had a lot of fun! Tonka was such a good boy. We went all over the hay field, up a long steep hill, back down, and back to the front field and a few scary obstacles. He thought our shadows were a little weird, and a couple spots on the ground were strange, I think where long dead grass was lying down and shining in the sun. A bucket by the (still uncompleted) round pen was kind of scary. All those things he just looked at though. He did balk a bit at a piece of sheet metal. Oh, and he was kind of a pill in the tall grass, eating the seed heads that were right there in his face. Which I really don't mind as long as he'll keep his speed up (he didn't) and not do it when we're going down steep hills (he did, once). We'll work it out. Those are definitely small things. What a boy. My friend was really impressed with him, and gave him lots of compliments, which made me proud.

John and Mack had some challenges that they worked through, so that was great too. I keep worrying that John really doesn't enjoy riding at all. After finally getting Mack to cross a log he said, "Well this has been a great ride." I thought he was being sarcastic because Mack took so long to do it, but he really did mean it. He was happy to have had a problem and worked through it. Maybe he'll be a happy horseman yet! (Although I'm sure he'd MUCH rather have a dirt bike.) I'm so glad he's trying it out for me though. And even more glad that he and Mack are working out. Someone once said something about their perfect horse... Darn it I can't remember what it was. Something about the perfect horse being enough of a challenge to keep you learning. Maybe John wouldn't have liked a dud, plod along and do what you say type of horse. Mack has a personality, for sure.

Well, the dogs are letting me know in no uncertain terms that it's time to eat. Good night!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

We were going to unload hay but John had a conference call to take care of first, so I got my Tonka boy out of the pasture. He crossed several hoses and only one bothered him. The "snake" in the grass. We looked at all the potentially scary stuff and then I mounted up, yielded misc body parts, etc. John came out when his call was over and took pictures.

Here you can see a great picture for diet motivation. ugh. But Tonka looks good! That's the piece of OSB that we lit some fireworks on (and he pooped on yesterday). He's looking at it, but not too worried.

Isn't he just a darling boy?

We rode OVER the scary grass hose with just a slight change in speed, then went further on down the driveway to where we had some new stuff to look at, and the truck and trailer were parked. I had to make myself get off, because John was getting ready to unload hay and I needed to help. (By the way, we are now DONE picking up and stacking hay for the year. YAY!) I sure didn't want to be done riding. I'm going to try to go again tonight, and go out and about all over the property. Hopefully the kids will be having a sleepover and John can go with me.

I'm on cloud nine. I just love this horse. I couldn't say exactly why either. I love his curiosity, and that open, interested look on his face, and his silly ears, and his big feet, and his nose, and his Fabio mane, and on and on... He's a special boy.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Isn't he just a cutie? (Don't mind the pallets, they're stacked and waiting for some hay to set on them.)

I did ride him tonight, if you can call it that. Hopped on, flexed laterally, yielded hindquarters, then forequarters, took a couple steps forward and back, and hopped off. This was after a long walk around the place, and several freak outs about various things. Goofball. He's really got me rattled though. He scooches out of the way of "trouble" in a big sudden way. Trouble being hoses, a piece of OSB that probably smelled of fireworks, and other ground obstacles. I really had to make myself get on. He was calm by that point or I probably wouldn't have.

I think I'll put him in a smaller pen with hoses all over the place. Got to get rid of the horrible weeds in the pen first though.

I am really glad to have him home. He's settling in well. Just not totally relaxed yet. But I wanted to keep moving with things, mainly to keep myself from being stalled out by my fear. Hoping to ride again in the morning, but then, maybe I'll wait until evening again. It's just too hot during the day.

I better get to bed if I expect to get up early again. Good night!

Look who's home! :D

I picked him up this morning, and he trailered like a pro (or better). Tied in WITH the divider shut on him, and he was as calm as could be. I stopped to pick up the kids on the way home and checked on him and he was just looking at me with his curious eyes. What a good boy. You can see he was happy to get his lips around some grass again.

We just got home from vacation yesterday, and of course I'm exhausted. I wonder if there is such a thing as a relaxing vacation. Not with a stubborn 5 year old! We had lots of fun though. You'll probably be seeing some vacation pictures on my non-horsey blog pretty soon here.

Meanwhile, I'm just tickled to have my favorite horse home again. Time to start getting up early so I can keep up on his riding.