Monday, April 30, 2012

I'm kind of a sporadic blogger lately...  I guess that means there isn't much going on.  Just riding at home, sometimes not riding at all.  This spring weather makes it hard to get out there sometimes.  But I've ridden Bella two days in a row.  I think starting a routine will be good for her.  I could already see a slight difference tonight, she seemed less detached as I saddled her.  That could have partially been because I had carrots though.  But she's not pushy about carrots, it just kind of brings some life to her eye when she thinks she's going to get one.  She's not mentally or emotionally relaxed about the work.  I hope someday she will be.  I'm not being hard on her or wishy-washy, I think she just needs to realize it's not a bad thing.  Which might not happen until she gets to go out and see new things.  She is a pretty adventurous girl.

Yesterday I cut Tonka's ride short because he seemed like his back was hurting, or maybe he's having EPSM trouble.  If/when I can afford the diesel, I think I might take him up to the saddle maker in Post Falls and try to trade his saddle in.  I don't think it fits anymore, if it ever did.  I can't buy a new one but this one I have is worth enough to get me something decent.  (No, it's not my really nice one, but it is still a pretty nice saddle.)

Tomorrow I think I'll try to ride all three mustangs.  I hope the weather cooperates!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I don't have a photo for today, so I thought I'd share this one that I stole from my sister.  She took it on our evening ride when we were out camping.  I love it. 

But what I really came her to tell you is that we loped!  It was ugly, it wasn't quite right, we had to break it down 3 times and still it wasn't quite right, but we did it!  To be honest, Tonka was ready to do it long before I was.  We've had too many wrecks and I have never had a sound horse to lope on, so I have a lot of anxiety about it.  You can't lie to your horse though, and he knew what was up.  He was offering and I was chickening out and he was getting a little irritated with me. But now that we did it and he didn't fall down and I didn't fall off, I think the next rides will get better and better.  He wasn't the least bit stumbly today so I think he's doing pretty well in terms of his EPSM and  his general fitness level.  I have high hopes that we'll have some awesome rides this year, and do some growing in our abilities too.  Happy day!

Monday, April 23, 2012

I rode Scout tonight and boy was I proud of him.  He was a little spooky at first but settled in and was listening well, if a little distracted.  I tried to keep him busy and not let him stare off at every little thing and eventually he was less like a looky-loo colt and more steady.  Then someone started firing a gun somewhere over the hill.  I tensed, remembering how Scout is now afraid of guns, and then immediately relaxed, thinking he didn't need me telling him that this was actually a scary thing.  He relaxed too!  Mostly.  I gave him a few more things to think about but didn't rush into frantic maneuvers or anything, and soon he had forgotten all about that annoying noise in the distance.  Then the guy started firing fast - it must have been an automatic weapon.  That rattled Scout a little bit but again, he got back to work.  So I was super proud of him, and of me, for keeping it from being scary.  THEN some dingbat in the other direction started revving an engine obnoxiously loudly.  I don't know if I've ever heard one that loud.  Not sure what it was, but it sounded like a motorcycle.  Scout didn't like that either, and was very keen on watching it, but again, we got over it.  Overall a very good ride.  He's a good boy.  Oh, and he's a BIG boy too.  He has officially outgrown Tonka.  I measured him at 15.3 hands tonight.  He still looks like a baby to me though - it's all in the expression.

Yesterday I decided Bella needs a consistent routine, every day at the same time, but I also decided not to start that now.  She's more hormonal today, I could tell from how she's acting in the pasture, so I didn't want to set us up for frustration or failure.  I'll wait until this first spring fever has passed.

Tonka had a couple days off his supplements that keep him working right, so he's had several days off.  He also seemed sore in the loin after our camping trip, so why not give him a break.  But the day before I decided that, he loped for me!  It was an accident, but it felt good.  We were ponying Bella and trotting up the hill and he was feeling competitive.  He wasn't staying at a consistent speed and I was having trouble staying with his movement so I leaned forward and grabbed his mane and squeezed, meaning to ask for a faster trot, and there he went, into a nice lope.  That's a big deal for us.  I can't wait to try it again.  I think that day he was ready.  I don't know how he'll be after time off but soon, very soon...

Anyone want to come ride some horses for me?  I just don't know how I'm going to ride all 3 of them consistently.  And soon I'll be working so I'll have to either find more energy or something...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bella and I had a little ride tonight.  She wasn't as with-it as last time, and I was kind of disappointed.  She got a little crabby with me a couple times when I was turning her in a specific spot, and she was overly concerned with where Tonka was.  It wasn't until after our ride that I realized she's probably in heat.  Soxy is being a raging hussy so the fact that Bella would show some subtle signs of it isn't really surprising, and it's actually to her credit that she wasn't really "bad" at all, just not mentally or emotionally with me.

She also got a bath and a hoof trim and a thorough spraying with fly spray.  She didn't feel very pampered, since none of those things are her favorite, but she sure looked nice afterward.  And I hope the flies leave her alone for a while.  They're pretty bad now that it's so warm.

This morning Katia and I spent a long time with curry combs, scraping lots of dried mud off of all four horses.  They've never been so dirty in their lives.  They must have found the wettest mud puddle and ground the mud deep into their coats.  Probably for protection from the bugs.  But it looked really awful, and they didn't seem to mind being brushed.  After all, they can always go roll in the mud again.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Escure Ranch House

Amy and Tristan in the Evening

Nice sunset ride

Tonka, Eager for Breakfast

Beautiful Sunrise

Morning Heron

Getting ready - Lea and Bob

Laura, Alexa, and Tristan

Amy and Laura

Bob and Mary

Mary with Black and her newly adopted filly, Sally

Heading out!

Tonka's pretty mane

Tristan and Dyno

Lunch Break

Tonka's having lunch too

Ridin' the range

Amy and Tristan

Beautiful Sunset

Ready to go again

I just liked this picture

our mixed crew of hikers and riders

I love this picture, and it was fun riding up and down the little butte

The sky!

Mule deer

Tonka didn't mind the bridge at all, but the water noise bothered him a bit.

Another quiet evening ride

Adorable ears, and a beautiful view

My handsome guy

We had a wonderful time meeting up with the Mustang Club for our campout at Escure ranch.  LOTS of riding, and we didn't even see half of it I'm sure.  What a great getaway.  I'm already wanting to go back.

Oh, and the funniest part of the trip was when Henry was hiking with us.  He's geting ready to climb Mt. Rainier this summer so he carried his big pack.  Tonka didn't mind it for the most part, but every now and then he'd look at it like it was a monster perched on Henry's back, eating his brain.  He cracks me up with his little idiosyncrasies. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I'm getting really excited for our camping trip.  Especially now that I know I'm taking my good horse Tonka.  He seems to be feeling just fine.  I think he really enjoyed our ride tonight.  It was a little short because a storm came in but I made the most of it by doing some good trotting up our various hills.  He made the most of it by suddenly dropping his head to grab a bite of grass, no matter what we happened to be doing at the moment.  The gall!

I'm still totally not ready for my trip.  That seems to be pretty normal for me, last minute packing.  And I'd been thinking I'd have my trailer, so everything is packed in there, but now we're taking my sister's trailer so I get to move it all into my truck and hope I don't forget anything important.  I have plenty of time in the morning so it shouldn't be a big deal.

We saw this nice moose when we were driving to town.  She walked right out in the middle of the road and stared at us, clearly baffled.  Then she turned back around and hightailed it out of there.  I guess it wasn't that pressing an engagement on the other side.  I wish we'd been quick enough to get a picture while she was standing there looking so confused.  It was very cute.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Well I went ahead and got Bella out today, and after spending about an hour on her tangled mane we saddled up, did a little bit of ground work, and rode.  When I trotted her on line she didn't seem to have a limp at all, or if she did it was very slight.  So I opted not to do too much circle work so I don't cause her to start limping again.  Riding went really well, amazingly well, so well I got tears in my eyes at one point.  She's a good girl.  Once we got through re-establishing the basics and just rode out, she was really enjoying trucking along and taking in the scenery.  I think she just wanted to keep on going.  Whenever I took her into a new area with new distractions she'd need to be reminded not to let her anxiety make her rush, but out in the field she was totally in her element.  I couldn't have been more pleased.  And I never felt a limp as we were riding either, but of course we stayed at a walk so she shouldn't have been limping anyway.

Tonight Katia and I both wanted to ride.  Tonka had been such a racehorse in the pasture that I decided to ride him and see if he was able to carry me without stumbling and having a hard time.  He was totally fine!  Yesterday I had put him and Scout in a pasture with more grass.  I wonder if all the discomfort I was seeing was just gas.  I know Scout had big gas because I could feel it rumbling in his belly even through the saddle when I was riding him, and he even belched in my face.  I put them back in the more sparse pasture this morning, with lots of hay.  Maybe the gas dissipated and he'll be fine now.

Soxy seemed to enjoy her ride.  Katia rode in a saddle, under protest, because I think it's easier on the old lady's back.  As we were walking back I mentioned that I'd give Soxy her goodies in the stall, and she gave me a very eager look.  I hadn't realized she knew the word "goodies."  They're so smart.
I've been riding every day to get ready for the Mustang Club camping trip this weekend.  We even got Scout out (finally) for some refresher work.  He didn't do real well on day one, but I rode him twice yesterday and he did a lot better.  I still don't know if he'd be ready for the hubub and strangeness of a camping trip though.

The only reason I'm even considering taking Scout is that Tonka is bad off with his EPSM.  I was really disappointed when I found him pretty uncomfortable yesterday, with all the muscles in his hind end fairly firm.  I hope he's 100% improved today but there's really no reason to think he'd improve that fast.

I even considered getting Bella out and seeing how she does.  She's a little more level-headed than Scout is, but she's been lame, so she probably couldn't go.  I don't know what I'm going to do, but I don't want to go horse camping without a horse and get left behind in camp while everyone else rides.  If my family was coming with me we could at least go hiking, but we can't figure out who'd take care of the critters while we're away.  So...  We'll see.

Katia even went riding with me the other day.  It was fun to have company.  Old Soxy did pretty well.  We had to stop and let her breathe sometimes but other than that she seemed very happy to get out and do something.

In case anyone is looking - I'm selling the nice lightweight Fabtron saddle I bought last month for $215.  I need to buy supplements for Tonka and it doesn't make sense to keep it.  I love the saddle, it's so light and comfortable, but I don't really need it - maybe you do? 

I can't believe how much sun we've had!  I love it.  And now I'm off to enjoy some more of it.  Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Tonka and I had an awesome ride tonight.  We didn't do anything all that interesting but he was so cheerful and cute I could hardly stand it.  Maybe it was the hour of grazing in the good grass near the house that had him in such a good mood.  I like that I can just turn him loose and he doesn't do anything stupid, just eats and eats.

Work at the vet clinic really wore me out today for some reason.  I almost didn't ride after I got home even though the sun was shining.  Glad I did though.

Day before yesterday Tonka got to meet the big green Parelli ball at my sister's house.  I figured he would either be really scared or not really worried at all.  He wasn't scared.  He wasn't as interested in pushing it around as I thought he would be though. 

So as of yesterday our family is without income - John's job is done.  The business he put years into building up was taken over by a bigger company last September, and they kept him on as a manager but it didn't work out.  We knew it was coming but it's still scary.  It will be a good thing in the long run - can't get a much worse job than the one he was doing.  Hopefully he'll hit the ground running with better pay and maybe even health insurance.  That would be awesome.  We may have to move but we'll do what we have to do.  Hopefully if we do have to move it will just be up to Spokane.  And I can get a job doing something or other if John doesn't - he'd be able to take a turn being the stay at home parent, which I think he'd like.  And he's a much better housekeeper than I am.  :)

Scary thought though, possibly having to sell our place.  This was our first house, I've never had to sell one before.  The thought is overwhelming.  But all the work that needs to be done is a good distraction from all the uncertainty we're going through now.

I'm positive there's a great big silver lining to this cloud though.  It'll all turn out fine.

Monday, April 02, 2012

I'm still sick, even sicker than I was, but I had to get out anyway today.  It wasn't raining!  My sister brought her horse over and we went up the road from here.  She took some nice pictures.  I didn't take any.

This is a big old church with McCroskey state park in the background:

The mountains east of here (I think):

And here's Tonka motoring on home:
He's a wee bit barn sour.  He was poky and sticky all the way out, and speedy and impatient all the way home.  We'll have to work on that. 

The cat bite is healing.  I learned my lesson - go get antibiotics right away.  I waited a day and it got pretty nasty.  It took two days after that before it felt better at all.  Now it's still real swollen and I broke the deeper part open when I was riding, but it's so much better than it was Friday and Saturday.  

Now I'm going to go feed early so I can go to bed early.  I feel like I'm either going to float away, pass out, or just fall over.  I can't wait to feel like a normal human being again.  I'm not very good at being a stoic sick person.  I think I have a Man Cold.  Which is to say I'm a big whiny baby when I don't feel good.  :)