Friday, January 18, 2019

Hiking With Friends

I sure am thankful for my four-legged friends.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

A Beautiful Day

Well, we didn't get our lesson. The truck wanted the day off (dead battery). So that is postponed but I had a good conversation with Angie, the trainer.

The weather yesterday was glorious, so we had a horseplay day. Halla was not thrilled.

She was having an especially bad day yesterday. I'm not sure if she was expecting something bad because we had a bad ride (we did end on a good note) or if she's hormonal or what, but it really doesn't matter. My job was just to go with the flow and try to create a positive interaction.

We are going to work on giving to the halter or bit in any situation, whether it be stressful or not. Starting with not. We are going to go back to the snaffle. She was very pleasantly surprised by that. She gave nicely laterally and vertically and gave me a nice back-up as well (on the ground).

Aren't they cute? It's hard to get either of them to stay back for a picture.

Juniper got to try on the treeless saddle at liberty. She could leave if she wanted to, and she did, but being a curious donkey in need of love and entertainment, she came right back every time.

She thought about it a lot.

And decided it's not so bad.
Especially with a little support from a friend.
 When I cinched her up it made her uncomfortable and she moved into me, so that was a little awkward. But that was the most interesting moment. Of course she has been saddled twice before with a pack saddle, but that was a long time ago.

Halla wanted nothing to do with a saddle, which was fine because I didn't want to ride her! We worked on disengaging the hindquarters, and separating the cue of lateral flexion while standing still, then disengaging the hindquarters. She wanted to anticipate a lot. Also, I had to be very patient to let her think for a moment after a release of pressure, to let her get to the let-down, or lick and chew, to know she was fully ready to move on. I think with her laid back demeanor she's been rushed, which hasn't allowed her to truly be comfortable.  Then later, she got bored with my waiting on her. It's a fine line we walk. :)

After a nice big lunch, Liam wanted to ride Sawyer. Yay!
 Not the greatest pics, but I have to take what I can get with this boy.

Scout wanted to come out so badly he eagerly came when I called him (twice because I couldn't find his halter). You can barely see Liam and Sawyer just above the fence rail in the picture below.

Mmmmm. Coffee. These Contigo cups are the best! They don't leak! Throw them in your saddle bag, even!

I had spent the morning organizing the tack room in the trailer, moving saddles, and I put my fleece seat saver on my new Cashel saddle, which is already comfortable without it. So I rode. I shouldn't have, because I was almost toppling over sometimes walking. But Scout is really good in our round pen dojo. We only stepped outside it for a few minutes.

I even got John to ride his horse by telling him how soft and cozy the new saddle is with the fleece on it. :) I am going to buy him one of these saddles too. I found an even cheaper one that's in better shape! Hope she doesn't sell it to someone else or have second thoughts about shipping it. I'm going to sell the roper and the Circle Y. I love saddles. But I especially love this Cashel saddle.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

New Direction

Halla and I have some work to do. I'm going to take her to a lesson today (thank goodness my driveway is clear) but no riding.

Why no riding? Well, yesterday she dumped me and I hit the ground hard right on the packed gravel. She spooked and bolted and I tried my darndest to stay on. I had a decent grip with my right hand (wounded shoulder) in her mane but I was dangling off her left side with no control over the reins. I'm just not strong enough.

So I'm going to get some help making a plan to help Halla be more comfortable with everything. To be honest, she isn't even totally comfortable with me moving suddenly in the saddle or waving my arm on one side. I've just been stealing rides, really.

I'm also going to start working on getting stronger. If I wasn't so weak from all this time babying all my injuries I would have stayed on. I'm not sure how to do that without hurting myself, so I may have to hire yet another professional. $$$

All this when I've had to cut my hours at work due to headaches. It allows time to do it all, but I worry a little about finances. It's cheaper than ER visits though...

Question for you: The Troxel helmet pictured above broke pretty badly. All the way through the styrofoam in three places. Do you think that means it did its job well, giving so my head wouldn't? Or, would a stronger helmet that just compressed and cracked less (Tipperary) be better? Or is that more like hitting your head on a hard object? Either way, nothing keeps your brain from sloshing around in your head... I am pretty dizzy & off balance today but overall not as sore as I thought I would be.

Horsing around is hard sometimes. But I can't live without it.

Monday, January 07, 2019

All Work and No Play

Haha, no way will that ever be the title of my life. I did do a little work the other day though, breaking up ice on the driveway so we could have people over. It didn't help my shoulder or my migraine but it was a distraction and it gave me a sense of accomplishment.

The title of this photo is
"Hot Work"
I was disappointed that my shovel blended in so well with my coat and the ground.

I don't think I wrote about my hay delivery last weekend. Ugh. A guy offered to bring me alfalfa for Sawyer since I couldn't get my truck out of my driveway (4 wheel dive is out). I didn't need hay immediately.  I warned him profusely about my hill, and he was going to check it out ahead of time. (He can probably see it from his house, he's right across the highway.)

Long story short, he got stuck. Several times. For 2+ hours. 

Luckily my niece and her husband were here with their sturdy pickup and we have the tractor now too, so we got him out of the worst situations. His 4 wheel drive was out, and he didn't know it until we'd unloaded the hay and he tried to move. Then, when he gave up and someone was going to give him a ride home, he restarted his pickup and Ta-da! Four wheel drive worked again. What the heck.

Halla and I had a lovely dusk ride at home, just plunking around. Boy, I sure do like her. I can't wait to start going places again. Winter is the pits. But it is a relaxing time to bond and work on things we wouldn't necessarily work on out on the trail.

Oh yeah! I dewormed them with the uber-nasty stuff the other day (Quest plus) and poor Halla kept wiggling her lip for the longest time. I bet if horses could vomit, she would have.

Bella doesn't get Quest products anymore so she got Equimax, I think, and it smelled good, like bananas. I haven't dewormed for tapeworms in a couple years, so I figured I might as well, just in case.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

New Year's Day

Beautiful Bella
 Loving Mama

Proud Huckleberry, worried I'm going to take his disgusting leg:

Tuesday, January 01, 2019


We had a nice Christmas eve get together at my niece's house. It was pretty emotional without my sister there, opening the gifts she'd had so much fun buying for everyone. Feeling her absence. We're still trying to feel our way through.

Christmas day we did the usual opening of stockings and presents in the morning, just the 3 of us who are still at home. It was a little weird because Liam got a super cool new video game from Katia the day before, and I had to wait on him before opening presents. Seriously? Usually it's the kid bouncing off the walls while the parent-zombie slowly gets coffee and tries to become human enough to understand what's going on. He even let me sleep in. My children have grown up. Darn it.

We finally got our tractor fixed. I'm not sure how many years it's been broken now. I don't want to talk about how much it cost. It needed a new engine, but first they did some work hoping to save the old engine, which I'm sure we paid for. It wasn't as much as a new tractor. It was probably more than a used tractor. Painful. But! I'm excited to have it back in action. So was Liam. He can't think of enough things to do with it to satisfy his need to drive it.

I couldn't think of a fitting way to express how happy my dishes made me feel the day after we had a bunch of family over for Christmas dinner. (No, we don't have a dishwasher, and I don't want one.) I love my happy-bright dishes. A reminder that life is beautiful even when the world is dark, and the number of them to show that we have enough to share and we are not alone. Right after I took this picture I got word of a suicide. Someone I don't know, a friend of a friend's son. It wasn't my disaster, but still I had a bit of a difficult moment. Ah, life.

Sawyer is looking quite good, eating like a king. 

Huckleberry was feeling proud after chasing off a dog. He stayed on our property and barked it out of sight. Good boy! Can't have any threats to our ducks.  (I think the dog was visiting our neighbors for Christmas.)

We had a lovely hike with our niece in the sun. Much needed for all of us.


Huck and her dog Marshall got along well even though Huckleberry is a grump and Marshall wanted to play. Marshall knows when to back off.

This is my kind of cathedral:

Do you see Ariel, the tree-person?
Huckleberry brought home an awesome fresh moose leg left by a hunter. I should have brought home a second one for Winston, if there was one. Poor fella was crying about not having one of his own. It only took a couple hours for Huck to eat the entire hoof and all the skin. Yum.

My new year's eve: Sawyer's first ride in ages and he had to browse on old nasty thistles.

It was a glorious day with no wind.

Juniper got to come out for a walk-n-snack too.

I love my Juniper

I didn't go to my usual get together, instead spent the evening watching movies with my parents. I actually stayed up until midnight! I was outside when some the new year's explosions went off, and the air was twinkling with frozen particles, a perfectly still, clear sky. It was beautiful.

Here's to a bright and glorious new year for all of us, and the ability to see the good even amidst the bad. Find the twinkles in the cold and the colors in the darkness. Know your clan and don't lose hold of them.