Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Decade: By the Numbers.

In the Past Decade:

- I have had Granite for One Year

- I have sold One horse
- I have had One Best Friend

- I have owned Two different Cars
- I have graduated Three times
- I have owned Three horses
- I have had Four roommates
- I have had Five close friends move away

- I have lived at Six different residences
- I have gone Six years without competing in a horse show
- I have had Seven Boyfriends

- I have had Nine employers
- I have been in school for Ten years

I'm hoping the next 10 years will bring some consistency and stability to my life. It will be the first time that I am not a student, but I hope that doesn't mean that I will stop learning. I hope Granite and I can enter the show ring and stay there. I hope to find a lasting loving relationship. I hope to purchase a truck and trailer and a home. I hope to settle into a well paying career that I love.

I wish you all a happy New Year. I hope to get some good posts to you over the weekend!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gran Man? OR Snow Man?

The snow has yet to melt. But the roads have been plowed and I was finally able to drive out to see my boy today. What stuck me strange was how clean his hooves are. You rarely see your horse with perfectly clean hooves right out of the pasture, but I guess snow will do that. He is warm in his blanket and doesn't seem to be phased by the inches of snow covering the pasture. I took a few photos for you...

Its back to work for me tomorrow but I leave for my parent's house on the coast Tuesday at lunch! D is coming to see my office and have lunch with me tomorrow. I am really excited about that and I think she is even going to come to my apartment tomorrow after work to see my new boots and watch the Redskins game with me! Yippie!

Oh I totally forgot to mention that my parents dognapped Daphne! They took her with them when they left yesterday. It is so quiet and weird around the apartment without her. Thank god for Roomie's dog. D suggested that I "borrow" Daphne's brother (D owns him and his name is Mr. Splotchy) until I leave. But on the other hand it is kind of nice not having to take the pup potty in the snow or worry about her while I am at work. It will just be one more reason to be excited about going home on Tuesday! YAY.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Winter Wonderland

I hate snow! It snowed all night and we ended up with about 6-8 inches. I drive a little 2-door red toyota and upon my dad's suggestion, I will not be attempting to navigate it down the 2 lane road to the horse farm. Poor Granite probably has snowballs in his hooves :( I was also supposed to go to the downtown bars with my friends to celebrate my graduation. We planned the party for the weekend because my parents didn't head home until today. They also took my dog! I will be heading down east in 3 days and they love their grandpup, so I let them take her. Now I am snowed in alone with my party looking doubtful and no pup. This is definitely a time when I wish I had a boyfriend. Lets move to Florida! We did navigate to the play downtown last night since my parents have an SUV and my dad is an experienced snow driver. It was actually pretty disappointing. I went to the same play last year and I loved it! Perhaps it was because we consumed 4 bottles of wine during the play last year and I only had one glass this time around. Maybe the play was the same amount of crappy and I was just significantly less forgiving...
Hope all of you and your horses are making out alright in this nasty winter weather.
Enjoy some photos from our snowland.

This is the view from my apartment balcony. Lots of sledding has been going on down that hill!

The view of downtown Greensboro from the car.

Another shot of downtown.

Friday, December 18, 2009

I am a Master (at least in theory...

Well, I survived! I walked across the stage without incident. While approximately 13 friends and family watched and cheered, I received my Masters of Public Affairs from the University North Carolina at Greensboro.
My parents came in town on Wednesday night and so did my great aunt and uncle in addition to some family friends who are like an aunt and uncle. I have enjoyed spending time with them and showing them where I work and where I keep Granite. Its currently snowing its butt off and my parents are at my apartment. Daddy is fixing chicken and dumplings and I am here on the couch with the laptop. So happy! We are going to see the Santaland Diaries tonight if the snow its too heavy. Enjoy some photos from the last few days.
The Grandparents came to visit.

My Parents and the Graduate!

D and I :)

Bestest and I heading out of the ceremony.

I got my graduation boots today. So looks like I'm ready to compete!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I grew up in a small town. Actually, it wasn't even a town. It was a county. The only county (of 100) in North Carolina without an incorporated town. Thankfully there was a horse population, but not much of one. Growing up, there was one very reputable, high-end farm which relocated to Charlotte by the time I hit high school (I was fortunate enough to ride there for about a year and bought my very first horse through them). Actually, they are worth checking out- so click-, Hidden Spring Farm. There was also one horse trainer/ show team that was a big name in the NC Quarter Horses Association. Other than that there were a couple of nice boarding barns but none of them offered in house trainers. Long story short, as far as showing and learning about horses it was off-and-on lessons with trainers who would travel to teach and the county 4-H.

I learned so much in 4-H and appreciate the experience and hope to volunteer with my local 4-H horse clubs. My group wasn't terribly organized and I missed out on many of educational opportunities that 4-H affords, such as Horse Bowl or Horse Judging Teams. We basically were involved in horse projects to be allowed to compete in the district and state level 4-H youth shows (Ye,s I was a 2 time district show Champion, thanks for asking.). When and If I get to volunteer with a club, I hope to make the competitive and help them take advantage of all that the program offers. I plan to blog about this as soon as I hear more about my volunteer application.

What I am slowly getting at is that the US Pony Club was not available in my geographic region growing up and I think I missed out on a great deal by not being able to learn and be tested in such a rigorous way about such a broad range of horse management and equestrian skills. I recently discovered that they now have a pony club for old people (actually 18 and up, but I'm starting to feel old here). Its called Horsemasters and I want to take part so badly! The closest club is about 1 hour away from me which poses a problem for trailering Granite out to their events (considering that I don't own a truck or trailer). But since he is still just a pasture ornament, I could do the unmounted skills and take part in the making friends process! There is a pony club in my area who is rumored to be thinking about creating a Horsemasters club. I contacted the supervisor and she let me know about a clinic this weekend that is free to audit. You had better believe that I plan to attend. Its with Richard Lamb. Hopefully I can speak with her. She said they are really lacking an organizer. I told her that I am willing to take on a leadership role in helping to get it started. If not, I will probably travel to participate in the established club. They have invited me to their meeting in January that I do plan to attend.

From what I can understand, there are not ratings as in Pony Club, but there are levels of skills. They do many club events such as rallies and Tetrathlons. Most of my friends are moving in the spring and I want to meet people, get involved, and find ways to make Granite a well rounded boy (and myself a more well rounded rider). I hope this may materialize into a way to meet some of those goals!

In non horse related news, My family is coming in town tomorrow afternoon for graduation! There are 6 family members coming in plus my best friend then a handful of people in the area. This should be really fun, but I'm sort of stressed too. Graduation is hard around the holidays. And while I adore my job, the financial crunch gets worse every day. Ugh nothing like my least favorite holiday (Christmas) to bring out the stress...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bundle Up! Its Winter Time!

Brrrr. Its cold here in NC! And I? I am not a fan! I hate winter with a passion. Thankfully my pony is very fuzzy and has a thick warm blanket to keep him toasty in his run in shed (equipped with a buffet of hay). I left work early yesterday to go visit with the horse before getting ready for the holiday party for my job (joy). The ground wasn't frozen (yet), so I took the opportunity to work him for a bit. Now, because of injury or weather or whatnot, I haven't worked him in probably almost a month. So, I was pleasantly surprised that he took his bridle like that teething issue never happened. Then he was a perfect gentleman on the lunge line. I really think that he will be easy to get under-saddle. Only 5 months and 1 day to go!!! Wahoooo!

In other news, I have applied to volunteer for the Guilford County 4-H and found a program made up of 8, 2 hour "short courses" about equine management. Its only $30 for the whole program. Some classes are on Natural Horsemanshit... oh, I mean ship. And some are for first time horse owners but I am half tempted to go to them all. It can't hurt to learn everything I can, right?

Here are some pictures I took of my furry monster yesterday! And one of the 38 year old pony at the barn. Affectionately named "Pony"!

This one is from this morning with after Granite had just sniffed the ice to see what that really cold stuff was there on the ground! He's such a child.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Boot Bliss!

Click on the picture to read all about um

At least I Hope!
After 6 tack shops I finally went to my most trusted shop: The Horse & Rider, Inc in Greensboro, NC. If you are ever in town, check them out. While their store is not large, their staff (all 3 of them) are very knowledgeable and helpful. I popped in on poor Nicole at 5pm (they close at 5:30) yesterday begging for help finding me ANY boot that would fit me! She threw me into a pair of medium weight tights and whipped out her measuring tape.

I, of course, have done my research and let her know what wouldn't work (Ariat, because they don't offer a wide enough calf for my foot size) and what I was looking for and my meager budget. She put me into an Ovation Pro Circuit Gold boot. The size 8 was a bit tight and the X-wide would not zip (go figure!). She then took out her handy-dandy sizing chart and realized that they offered an XXW in a 8.5 with the correct measurements. She also informed me of a 10% discount that I would be receiving (I can only imagine it is because I am a VIP, but I didn't ask questions). She then told me she would order them on rush and have them there for me to try by the time my mom comes in town next week! AT NO EXTRA CHARGE! I asked what would happen if they didn't work and she said she would shelve them and we would try again. After all is said and done they will cost me (read: my parents)$245. Sooo, although I have never been enamored with the brand: here are some advantageous qualities that they offer.
1) They offer a size big enough to fit my large calves(but seriously people, I don't weigh 300lb. YES, I am over weight. I am 5'8 and in a size 12... BUT it could be worse. What does anyone larger than me do for boots??).
2) These are a step up from their introductory model! They are made of calf skin so are super smooth and will be easy to break in.
3) Detailing around the toe
4) Elastic Gusset
5) Did I mention they will fit??!
So folks, It appears that my Boot Blunders have turned into Boot Bliss :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Masters? Check! .... So whats NEXT?!

Hello All!
I finished my oral defense today which happens to be the final hoop through which I had to jump in order to walk across the stage and accept my diploma (read: diploma cover) next Thursday morning in front of my fan club of about 50!

So in honor of the occasion, I have been thinking about what is next in my life now that work and Granite are my only commitments and I have some thoughts I wanted to share with you all in addition to some blog posts I will be working on in the comming weeks...

Ideas to occupy my time (expect blog post dedicated to the following as well):
1) Earning my Open Horse Show Judging Card!
2) Becoming a 4-H Horse Volunteer
3) Attending Horse Husbandry "short courses" through the local extension service
4) Hoof Care and Shoeing Short Course (no I dont want to be a farrier but want to know more about hooves!)
5) Creating/ Joining a horse club (such as my best friend's "sporthorse competition club" in Raleigh-- I am jealous)
6) Volunteer to coach youth cheerleading (I will save you a trip down high school memory lane and hold back on blogging on this topic)
7) Get a Part-Time Night/Weekend Job (could be at a tack store or judging or schooling horses or...waiting tables-BOOO)

Topic on Which I (also) plan to Blog...
1) American Warmblood Certification (for beautifully conformed and equally talented warmblood mutts such as mine)
2) Upright Hoof? Impacts and Effects
3) Continuing/Adult Education in Equine Sciences (Community College Programs)
4) Adult Pony Clubs (apparently they DO exist)

Let me know if you think of anything to add to either or both categories. I plan to spend some time researching interesting topics to blog about and enlighten myself!! I can't wait to get invovled!

Cheers and expect these super awesome blogs in the near future!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Boot Blunders

My parents have agreed that Field Boots would be a lovely graduation gift since I outgrew mine in college and have yet to replace them (or require them as I have not been competing). Mom and I went to 4 different tack stores in Virginia Beach when I was home for Thanksgiving. NO LUCK!! I tried on a pair of Ariat Heritage II zip back in a size 8.5 Wide Medium. They Zipped which was AHHmazing since I was convinced that I would need an XW (I'm a chunker!). But, as you may know, Ariats run big. So my usual 8.5 translates to am 8 in Ariat. I love love my Heritage II zip Paddocks (size 8). I hate boots too large b/c I feel like I can't feel my irons. I guess its the same concept as me only riding in close contact no knee roll saddles-- I need to feel my horse. I tried on the 8 wide and what do you know... NO LUCK. In addition they would be a touch too short once they settled (I am 5'8).

Now, I'm not married to the idea of Ariats. I hear the zippers don't hold up very well on the tall boots anyway. This is my mother's money I'm spending here and she doesn't have much of it. She has probably been saving for a while for this. So my max is close to $250 (Internet shopping and such lets me get retail $300 for about that).

I looked at some new TreadStone's at a tack store this summer. They felt amazingly soft. Apparently the leather is Indian but is tooled in the English style which keeps the price point low and the quality high. They have the spanish top and I have read some COTH reviews that speak very highly of them. I found some on EBay and the measurements are 18.5 height and 15 3/4 W (for the 8.5 foot Wide Calf) These are the same measurements as the Ariat 8.5 MW that I was able to zip but may have been a tad short once they settled (now keep in mind they were NOT spanish top).

I am wondering... Do I take a chance on those? What are my other options? It seems that I may need semi-custom, but thats not in my budget!! My other thought was to get a pair of Ariat size 8 Tall and see about getting the calf stretched??

Suggestions? Opinions? Sympathy?-- I will take them all.

16 days til graduation btw... Classes are over & Papers are submitted. I only have Oral Defenses left on the 8th!!!

In other news, IT. WONT. STOP. RAINING. I am going to paddle out to see my pony tonight. When I went to see him Monday, his back legs were both swollen although he appeared sound (I trotted him through the barn aisle as it was pouring!!). I gave him a bute, antibiotic, and DMSO. The farm owner emailed yesterday saying she didn't notice any swelling. So lets pray it is gone and a non-issue. B/C I cannot afford a major (or any) injury. I may really have to consider selling him if he keeps getting injured! I just can't maintain until I get a better paying job :(

Thats all for now. I have been brainstorming awesome blog posts for after graduation. Stay tuned!