Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I think some of the interest has to do with the uber-long winter we have had. Quite frankly, there just isn't that much of interest that goes on around here in the winter. Looking at pictures from last spring though....really makes me wish spring would hurry up and get here.
I'm going to let the cat out of the bag though, since I have made it two weeks now...I quit smoking. Yea, after 20 years. The last day I went and bought a pack of cigarettes the price had jumped 75 cents a pack, overnight. That pissed me off, because the price just jumped a $1 a pack less than 6 months ago.
The economy is in the toilet, so where are the states and the government going to make up lost revenue? Well, duh...let's tax alcohol and tobacco more. After all, they are luxury items and not really good for your health, so fewer people are going to complain about the price hike right? Yeaaaaa, except the worse the economy, the more people pick up bad habits, like drinking and smoking, so they are a guaranteed tax revenue.
So I took myself out of the loop. It sucks! I hate it! I miss my cigarettes. They were my thinking tool. They were my take 5 crutch. There were few things that I enjoyed as much as getting to a really good spot on a colt and stopping to light a cigarette. It gave us both time to take a breather. To think. To relax.
If ever I was trying to write and got stuck, lighting a cigarette and taking that couple of minutes to wrap my mind around what I wanted to say, usually did the trick.
Now? Well, more times than not, I start a post and walk away when things won't come together in my head. I have to stay busy. Moments of idleness find me thinking about lighting a cigarette. So my house is a tad cleaner, I finished a cross-stitching project that I started a few years ago and...
I find it difficult to sit down and cruize the blogs the way I used to. Comments don't come the way they used to. My brain just don't think the way it used to.
I wished I could handle being able to sit down with a cup of coffee and a cigarette(or two or three) and do my blogging and other important thinking stuff in the morning, the way I used too, but it doesn't work that way. Either I smoke or I don't. Same as anyone with any addiction.
Tonight, I went and had a beer with Chris at the bar. If I thought I might weaken and start smoking again, that got the ki-bosh put on...tomorrow, the price of cigarettes goes up another 68 cents a pack. Nope, the government can count me out when it comes to taking my money to help bail everyone else out.
Soooo....long story short...I hope you all bear with me until my brain learns how to work again, sans the nicotine breaks. Grrrr-morning coffee just isn't the same.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
You have to admit though, that for a horse that has not had his front feet trimmed in FOUR years, he didn't look all that bad(hoof on left side of picture is not trimmed, hoof on right side is trimmed)...
He wasn't too sure what to think about all that after we finished...
I stopped and set his foot down quite a few times. A nip or two-set foot down. Pet, pet, good boy, had Megan stick her finger in the corner of his mouth to make him lick, his eyes would soften up and he would breath and then we would go a couple more nips.
I wished I could say Ta-Daaaa...he is fixed. But, he is not. This will be on going process for quite some time. He is a stubborn bugger. But he never got radical or acted like he wanted to freak out, so all I can say is we won this skirmish, without loss of life or limb.;)
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Pennsylvania didn't appear to be much different than New York, as far as scenery. But there was a distinct change in the types of barns...
We stopped in Meadville for the night, but decided to toodle around the town a little bit. Their DOT office is the coolest...
They had this "flower garden" built out of roadsigns. Also, their privacy wall was a mural made from roadsigns. It was awesome.
After we got on the road the next day, it became very obvious we were in Amish country. Even Chris was in the mood to explore, so we jumped off the Interstate when we saw a sign for a local winery in Volant. After winding around, here and there, we found the little town of Volant...but the winery was closed. Actually, it looked like the whole town was closed. Must be a summer attraction? That will be on our list of places to revisit if we ever get back out that way in the summertime.
We saw lots of these...
And even a field still full of shocked corn...
Considering the state of the economy...suddenly the self sufficiency of the Amish seems pretty interesting. But it raised a question between Chris and I...do the Amish vote?
Since our touristing wasn't working out like we had hoped, we jumped back on the road and headed for Pittsburgh. And there, we found Chris' favorite spot to shop...
And right across the way, a trotting horse racetrack...
I could see them working horses, but the barn areas are restricted, so I couldn't get any closer to really check it out. I have never seen trotting/pacing races in real life. So yet another reason for us to get back out that way "in season".
My mom told me a pretty good story when I told her about checking out the Amish community...When my parents lived down south in the early 60's, they became friends with Mooney and Loretta Lynn. Well, Mooney used to raise some absolutely gorgeous draft mules(Belgium crosses) and he would haul trailer loads of them up into Amish country to sell. He said they were the best customers he had, they bought everything he brought up and paid in cash. I guess after Mooney had a few wrecks trying to train driving mules, he figured it was better to sell them untrained and buy back trained ones. I remember seeing a team he raised when we was visiting them one time and they were just gorgeous. He also had a really nice Appaloosa stud too. He sure did like fancy horses and mules.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
There was just enough moisture to make things muddy...so horse activities are curtailed somewhat. The equine dentist was supposed to be here on Thursday, but they got much more snow than we did and he said he cannot get his vehicles out to get here. Rescheduled for next week. Well, at least that will give me time to get more feet trimmed. I kinda hate having people out to work on the horses and they look like they have just been pulled in from the pasture. LMAO-well, they have just been pulled in from the pasture, but I prefer them to have pretty toes and at least the snarls out of their manes and tails. If this moisture keeps up there will be no way to keep them from being mud balls though, so I might just have to settle for neatly manicured feet.
The weather did give me a couple of much needed days of rest though. I tell ya, a person realizes just how out of shape they get in the winter. Pitching hay and hauling water may keep me from gaining weight, but sure don't keep me in shape for much else. But now, I'm ready to get back at it...I think.:)
Friday, March 20, 2009
But, if she thinks she is ever gonna get to head up the road like this, she is WRONG!!
See Mikey! See what you have to look forward too?
Ohhh, that's right...I think Meg watched some of your videos.;-)
PS-I just found my first gray hair. Now I wonder what causes those?
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Today, Electra got some re-education. It's been a few years since she has actually been led anywhere. She was pretty snorty and blowing this way and that, so we went directly to work. This lunging game is a very important part of my groundwork routine.
Sometimes the hardest part is simply getting your horse to move around you...
Most horses either want to back away from you or go sideways. When you finally convince them to move past you, they have a tendency to blow by. You just have to keep moving to keep your position at the shoulder until they move forward. If they blow by, you pull them around and start again.
Once they figure out the move around you part, now comes the switching directions...
I say Whoa and put my other hand on the leadrope and pull. The point is for them to turn and face, as soon as they do, I click and swing the end of the leadrope with my outside hand. What I am really trying to teach them is to face and to follow my hand. It helps to teach a horse to set his hindleg and step over himself(a mini rollback) and teaches them how to move their shoulders.
They don't always get it...
But you just keep working the leadrope until they face and follow the leadrope...
Most horses figure it out pretty quick. Some are better on one side or the other. But eventually, they all learn to follow that leadrope, move their shoulders, cross over in the front and set that hindleg. It's also good for desensitizing a horse. When I stop them, I rub them all over with the leadrope and flop it all over. Sometimes I use a whip, but most often, just the leadrope.
We also practice moving off pressure...
We practice backing-from both sides. I like to get this little bend in the neck, so they can't brace against the pressure, pull directly toward the point of the shoulder with steady pressure and just keep saying back until they drop their head or take a step back. We learn to move the hindquarters, step off correctly when led and work on moving the shoulders...
The thing is, these exercises are only as difficult as a horse wants to make them. If they want to be spooky and snorty about everything you ask of them, they can work themselves pretty hard. If they want to pay attention and try to follow along, it's a pretty easy workout. Miss Electra did pretty darn good considering she hadn't been led or worked with in 3 years.
Watch wouldn't come in the corral, so she didn't get worked today, but Electra's other two sisters-Bunny and G got groomed and their feet did.
Mrs Mom just did a post on trimming feet and safety. Ummm...I'm pretty sure this is in her safety manual under what NOT to do...
Hey Mrs Mom...I don't trim feet with my horses tied either...LOL. ;-)
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
For the first time, I got Roan Dog to hold his front feet up for me. From the beginning(since I have been the one to mess with this horse), he has been really bad about yanking those feet away. I can brush his legs and give him baths...fine! No problem. Go to pick one of those size 2's up and you would think the devil had just jumped up and got a hold of him. He fell backward, he struck, several times I thought he was going to come over the top of me.
I just kept messing with him, but never really made real progress. He stopped freaking so bad and I stopped feeling like he might like to do a happy dance on my head.
But today, I was slightly irritated and decided it was time to put him in a position where he could not escape me and make my point. So I put him in a small pen under the barn, messed with his legs a bit and then backed him into a corner. I shortened the leadrope and sort of pulled his head around me a bit and touched his leg. When he went to yank it away, I grabbed the toe(that took a few tried) and held on. He sat back on the fence and then tried to walk forward, but had no where to go.
Finally he stopped trying to yank me around like a rag doll and stood on three legs...and balanced by the fence. I gently set his foot down. Lots of pets and Good Boy's and he started licking his lips, so I led him out of the corner and let him relax and lick his lips. When his eyes softened up a bit, I backed him into the other corner and picked up his other front foot. Same deal-head pulled around and butt tight to the corner. He gave up pretty easy. Set foot down-praise and walked him around. His eyes had a very worried look, but he licked his lips and dropped his head into my chest. Deep sigh...from both of us. A couple more times on each side and I actually got his feet cleaned out with a hoof pick.
No need for any of those crutches when it comes to his back feet-I can clean them out anywhere and even trim them. This horse is a mess isn't he??
Now, I'll tell you why it has taken so long for me to actually feel comfortable doing this relatively simple technique with this horse. He has a tendency to get a very dead, blank look in his eye and quite frankly, that has had me worried. There is absolutely no way to know how he is going to react when he blanks out like that, but I strongly suspect it would not be good. Soooo....I have avoided getting too aggressive with him or putting him into a position where he feels trapped. But, since he has not responded to normal handling techniques, I finally felt that I needed to push the issue and get him in a spot where it wouldn't be quite so easy for him to get away. He's no dummy-he knows I cannot hold onto that leg when he starts yanking, so he just got into the nanner-nanner boo-boo, you-can't-make-me habit and stopped even thinking about being nice about it.
He sort of blanked out at first, but when I set the foot down and rubbed and talked to him, I could see him come back out of it. After that, he looked more worried about it than anything, but by the end, he was fine. It's going to take a lot of that type of handling to get him where he will consistently let me pick those feet up and trim them, but it's another breakthrough with him.
And VooDoo got his narrow little butt run some today. My mom NEVER catches a horse in the pasture or the corral. She always opens the barn and a stall door and her horses are trained to just head into the stall. Works good for her, I hate it. I decided that today is just as good a day as any to start teaching VooDoo to face and stand to be caught in the corral. He went many laps, he could not figure out what I wanted him to do-poor kid. Finally, he faced up, held his ground and let me rub him all over with the leadrope, a second later he was haltered and he looked so surprised...like "Ohhhhh, that's what you wanted." He got tied and groomed and his feet messed with. He's pretty good, but really likes to reach back and bite you when you are handling his front feet. He'll mature out of that-for a 4y/o he sure has a lot of the same mannerisms as my yearling. He was a bit tired from his merry galloping around to be too irritated with me cleaning his feet though. He's a good minded colt, so is going to be really fun to watch develop mentally and physically.
Tomorrow, the girls get added to the roster. Right now, I am really focusing on ground stuff with everything. The equine dentist will be here next week to work on a bunch of horses and then the riding will begin. I have cavelletti to get built and barrel and pole patterns to get set up and trail obstacles to get set out. I can't wait!
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Yesterday, I took the new pickup to the dealership to see if they could figure out why it was running 20-30 degrees hotter than it had been. Also, I explained, VERY CAREFULLY to the guy at the counter that anti-freeze was disappearing. I've already had to add about 1/2-3/4 of a gallon. This should not be in a brand new pickup. Anytime anti-freeze is disappearing and you cannot find where it is leaking out, there is a good chance your engine block is cracked and that is NOT a good thing.
Did he listen to me?
Cause when I went back a few hours later to get my pickup, I asked them if they found anything wrong with it and they said "Yes, your transmission line is leaking."
Ummm...Okay?? How exactly does that affect the temperature of the thermostat, I ask the guy.
He looks at me puzzled. It doesn't.
So I have to go into everything ALL OVER AGAIN with this guy, the above normal temperature, the missing anti-freeze and the fact that I never said ANYTHING about a freaking leak. I have never seen anything leaking out from under this pickup.
So, they take it back into the shop and pressure check the radiator and within a few minutes find a loose hose clamp where the anti-freeze was leaking out, right on the manifold, so of course there would be no leak under the pickup.
They tightened the clamp, filled the anti-freeze. Can't explain why it's running hotter than it did before, but computer wise, everything checks out.
Okay then. I explain to them that I do not want to have to drive 200 miles just to have the new transmission line put on, can any GM dealer do it? The answer was Yes.
And then they try to charge me $75 for servicing it. Ummm....No, I say, I handed the same guy, who apparenently did not listen to a damn word I told him, the servicing coupon that gives me free services on the pickup for the first 100,000 miles(as much as that sucker cost My Honey, they damn well better have thrown in some freebies).
Now mind you, the whole time I am trying to explain everything and they are looking for the missing coupon, this jackass is standing right there, but refusing to acknowledge that I am talking about him or that I even gave him the damn coupon.
I was Pissed!! And I made sure they ALL knew I was pissed at HIM. Everyone else was very nice and trying to be very accomodating. I hope he got his ASS chewed after I left.
Now, I have long gotten over thinking that service people save particularly poor attitudes and lack of attention to detail for us females. I know of way too many guys who have gotten taken and HARD by mechanics. The fact is not a lot of people have the time or the inclination to work on their own vehicles anymore...and these new ones? Sheez-it's more about being able to read the computer diagnostics than knowing mechanics. I pop the hood on anything newer than about a 95' and I'm like, "Yup, that's the engine". But in reality, even the newer engines run on the same principles as the old ones. So if you know the basics, it makes it much harder for mechanics and crappy service people to sell you a bill of goods that makes no sense.
Gee-wonder why GM and all the other car companies are in trouble? Their service sucks!! That guy is lucky I didn't quit smoking yesterday, I might have went kamakazie on him-LMAO!!!
And cause I know I am not the only hot rod buff, this sweet little number went blowing by Chris and I as we were going through Kansas City...
Lordy, where is my drool cup?
There was more to our trip than just NY-I just haven't been able to sit down and write up the posts yet. I'll get to them.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Well, with nice weather, comes the workload. And it's time to take inventory of what should be at the top of the project horse list.
Without a doubt at the very pinnacle is VooDoo...
AKA...The Giraffe, VooDoo is a solid 16H and is finally filling out his frame. He was way too gawky and gangly to start his 2y/o year, although he was saddled a few times. I suppose I should have started him last year, but since he was still very gangly and mentally immature, it didn't seem overly important. This year, though, I need to get rolling on him before he gets too stout. He has the sweetest personality and is as light as a feather on the end of a leadrope. The slightest pressure gets an immediate response. I don't have a feel for what direction he might be good at, except Hunter/Jumper keeps coming to mind because of his size and frame. He's running blood through and through though. The goal is to get him riding well and looking fabulous. After that, we'll see.
Right there at the top is the sorrel gelding I did all the ground work on last summer. I don't know what my funk was that I didn't just get on and ride him then, but I'm over it. He is pictured in my header photo, between the black, blazed face horse and the buckskin. He may end up being started on barrels, but I am leaning toward making him a pole bending, breakaway roping and heeling horse.
Below are the two sisters, Electra...
And Watch(I hate that name, note to self...rename this horse)...
These two girls were sort of started years ago, but then melted into the herd. Electra has some speed to her. Watch has none. Everything Electra does is quick and decisive. Watch prefers to stand in one spot and let the world pass her by.
And then there is my big pet, Roan Dog...
I was putting out hay one day and got out of the tractor to take the twine off the bale, as I came around the bale, I spooked RD and I had an epiphany moment. I stood there watching this horse pull his whole body back, every inch of him wanted to leave, but he was stuck in one spot because he couldn't seem to move his front feet. No kidding, I could see the panic rising in him and it hit me...I know why this horse bucks!! He gets startled or scared or unsure and he cannot seem to figure out how to move his whole body. He's stuck and that panics him. There is no way for him to release that energy, so he blows up. I'm not quite sure how I am going to fix this problem, but I know that there is not a mean bone in this horse's body, so we are going to keep working at it until we get him fixed. He luuuvvvsss me! He'll wander over to check other people out, but I am the only one who can touch him or catch him in the pasture. I guess we have a bond now-hopefully that will help.
Everything looks so crappy right now. Big hay bellies, starting to shed, muddy and they all need their manes and tails washed and their feet trimmed. Gahhhh! Well, ya gotta start somewhere.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
He wasn't as sweet about it this time as he was last time, but he wasn't aweful. Just being a normal colt. I trimmed his fronts and let it go at that. I'll get the hinds in the next day or so. We trimmed him a little bridle path too. I suppose on a colt, technically it's a halter path, right?
Meg spent a little time leading him around the yard...
But he started to get a little ornery, so I took over. He was really just unsure about some of the unfamiliar sights and ground. He was more worried about stepping across the muddy berm from where they put the new water line in than all the hoses and such laying around(OMG, I have so much stuff to clean up, AGAIN!!)...
But we safely made it over and it looks like a whole new world to him...
After a long day outside, enjoying the warmth and getting a bead on projects that need done, this is how tired everyone is...
I don't know what it is about this kid that makes her animals love her so, but every animal that she claims is beyond devoted to her.
Hmmm, remind me to keep her away from my colt. He's mine...all mine...muahahaha!!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
He is so hard to take pictures of. He always wants attention...
LOL...That would be Woofer's front feet that are sticking out of a "delicate" place...
And then I get the glare of the sun...
I am trying really hard to get a video of him loping back and forth in front of the house. He's such a pleasure prospect. Kinda wondering how that happened.
He is growing a frosted tail...
Both sides of his tail are growing in white. Looks like a lot of white is coming in throughout the whole tail actually. That aught to look interesting when all the baby curls are grown out.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Instead, I flew into a small town named Elmira, just a short distance from the Pennsylvania state line. But really, I got to see the things that really interest me about any area that I go to...the rural and agricultural parts...
As we drove along the Interstate, it's amazing to think of the work that went into clearing these areas and the constant work they must require to keep them open and usable for fields or pastures. I absolutely love the huge old barns that are everywhere. If you really want to see much of what is there, you have to go in the winter months, because it becomes very apparent, that during the months that the trees have foliage, you aren't going to see much but flashes of farms. Even with the trees bare, most of the pictures I took ended up being junk because of the trees along the road.
Hey, if you are used to forested areas, it probably don't seem like much, but I grew up and have spent most of my life in areas where you can just about count the trees on your property...and most of them, you planted-LOL.
The architecture is magnificent. These two churches were in a little town, that I can't remember the name of. I do remember it was founded in 1793. The churches were built in 1803 and 1806(?)...
Along the way, Chris and I saw a sign for a specialty cheese shop in Cuba. There was no doubt we were gonna stop there and load up. We drove down the road a bit, looking for a restaurant and passed this...
There were no signs to tell us what this beautiful and obviously historic barn was...but this was and is an absolutely magnificent stable. There was no indication that horses still resided there and no vehicles around, but it is obviously maintained within an inch of it's life. An old race horse stable?
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Don't ask me how we could travel 1200+ miles and miss meeting any of the blogger friends I would so have loved to meet in REAL LIVE PERSON...but we did.
I tell ya, the last 85 miles...pure torture.
I have lousy pictures, but we had a great time. Ca-Ching, add 3 more states to my list of places I have been and different routes through other states I have already visited. What a beautiful country we live in. Even in March-probably the ugliest month of the year. Well, at least the ugliest month of the year for the states that actually have seasons, besides nice and HOT...
Missed you guys. I told Chris-next time, we are planning better. Teeheeee-yea, that probably won't happen. Planning isn't a strong suit when it comes to "road-tripping". But that is the beauty of it.
If we had been able to manage one more day-we would have had to coin toss between heading north to see Ezra or south to see Mrs Mom. Luckily, we had to get home on schedule-that would have been too hard to choose after talking to both of those lovely ladies on the phone. I hope I didn't come off sounding like a freak, as fast as I was talking. I was just so excited to actually get to talk to you guys. You both rock!!
Now don't think I didn't think about lots of you guys that I knew were nearby. I actually took notes of things that crossed my mind as we drove.
Feels like I have been gone a lot longer than I have. Was glad to get the heck out of here. Even happier to get home.
My dogs were exceedingly happy to see "momma". Megan decided to spend the night with grandma-so won't see her until tomorrow. And I get to inspect Shooter's front leg in the daylight. Sounds like the neighbor's dog got after him and he must have tried to jump the fence and didn't make it. Megan and mom reassured me that he is not seriously injured, but I have fence to fix and the neighbor to talk to right off the bat tomorrow morning.
Gee-It's good to be home!!
Monday, March 2, 2009
Our "chance" of snow turned into 6-8" and below zero temps again. Sorry no pictures-I don't think it is pretty anymore. It just angers me!
So what is a girl to do??
Why leave of course!
Not permanently...but just for a few days. I gotta get outa here!
Originally the intention was for My Honey and I to take a couple of days and head to Phoenix to enjoy a belated "Valentine's Day" weekend together. I was so looking forward to that. A chance to see and catch up with friends and spend the weekend at a spa resort. Pure Luxury!
Hmmm...Thank you crashing economy, that is not to be now. I know, sounds petty...people have real problems and I am disappointed over missing out on a luxury weekend. Still a bummer! Sorry guys...I promise I still have plans of heading that way as soon as I can. I miss you all!!
Instead, I will be getting to add to my Bucket List.
Yahooooo....I am flying out to meet My Honey in.....
Can you believe it?
Completely the wrong time of year to fully enjoy the beautiful scenery out that way.
But still, an opportunity I have never had before.
I leave tomorrow, meet My Honey...get to spend a day looking around and then we will drive back together. I'm so excited. Both to see my man and to be able to get to see new country.
All I can say is Thank You to my mom and to Megan for picking up my slack...yet again. Megan will be staying with the next door neighbors, so she will be well taken care of and have the necessary supervision. Although, I really don't think we will ever see a repeat of the "party" from last fall-hehehehe. Those girls learned a lesson that night. She will still be in eyesight of the house though and helping with chores. She really is a good girl.
I'm not taking my laptop...so I may well go into Blogging withdrawals. But I will be back, with tons of pictures and hopefully cool stories. Not sure of where we are all going, but thought we might kind of zig-zag our way back. My Honey and I can cover a lot of ground when we want to.;-)
I hope everyone has a wonderful week as well.