Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Example of 'Horse Poor' is as follows...

I'm eating peanut butter at my desk.

No, not on crackers. Nope, not on an apple. Na-uh, not in a sandwich.

Out. Of. The. Jar.

Why, you ask? Because I ran out of food money and I don't get paid until Friday and a (fat) kids gotta eat!

To add insult to injury? My boss is an uber healthy dude and if he comes into my office, this could be difficult to explain.

Now, if you'll excuse me, my board is due today and I must run a check out to the barn...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Horsecentric Saturday

I love weekends, don't you? Weekends are even better when I get to see my best friend and hang out with horses. Yesterday Eva met me at my house at 8:30ish in the morning (setting my dog off barking and thus waking my roomie). We headed out to breakfast (greasy diner food...YUM; I could never be a vegetarian) then we hit the road for the 45 minute trek to Baby Morgan's farm! He lives in the most lovely 2 stall barn. It has cobble stone floors and a huge tack room. You could probably fit 4-5 stalls in it but its laid out so lovely to house just two very spoiled Morgans.
I'll let Eva tell you about the experience herself. But know it was very positive and I think Reggie looked even better than he did the last time we saw him. But Reggie? I am not a fan of that name!
Eva had some spare time after our horse shopping, so she volunteered to accompany me to a local schooling show where my judging team was practicing. I wasn't really looking forward to going to the show (I'm not sure as to why, I think I was just tired and wanted to spend some time with my own horse), but Eva joining me made it sound like a lot more fun. I brought Daphne along as well. I don't see the kid much during the week (thank god she gets to go to "daycare") so I try to bring her along as much as possible on the weekends. The hose show reminded me so much of one of the open series that Eva and I used to do as kids. Its english in the morning and western in the afternoon with halter and leadline somewhere in the middle. People of all ages and socioeconomic statuses attend and you see a wide range of horses from well-bred and well turned out horses to backyard ponies with furry crusty coats and dirty saddles (no excuses people! you can't change your horses conformation or breeding, but you can clean them and yourselves up!!).

 Eva and I did quite well for ourselves at these shows as kids but most importantly we created some great lasting memories. We had a crappy two-horse trailer with no tack room that our dads would haul for us. We had no trainers or fancy things. We looked forward to morning stops to get a krispy kreme doughnut and a power aide on the way to the show grounds about an hour and 15 minutes away. We loved to win and were super competitive but usually rather supportive of one another (ok-- I was a bit more of a sore sport if I didn't do well)

Here are just some of our winnings, still on display at the barn we "grew up" at.
All of that to say that being there made us both miss those days. There were even two girls (who seemed to place quite well) that would do a little "shake and bake" hand shake after being placed 1st and 2nd together. That was SO Eva and I! My judging team did pretty well and I got to meet the coach of a team from a neighboring county who is willing to give my group and myself some guidance since we are all so new at this. The most exciting news from the horse show venture however? Daphne! She was soooo well behaved. I don't know what was different or why (unfortunately because I want to replicate, always!). She didn't growl at all. People approached her and a lot of people knelt down to pet her (which gives me a heart attack because I am always afraid she will bite!) but she was exceptionally well mannered. One person even told me that I had a very well behaved dog, to which I responded by asking her to repeat herself and perhaps document the statement in writing so that I may quickly have it notarized.

After the show, Eva had to be on her way and I headed out to the barn. I borrowed D's fancy ShowPro clippers because I wanted to introduce my man to clippers for the first time and get some of the winter fuzzies away. He had feathers (no joke folks, I think he may be part draft and someone lied to me!) on his feet and he is generally scruffy despite losing mass quantities of winter hair during every grooming. I am pretty sure after yesterday, I could have knitted a small pony with the excess.

This didn't go quite as planned. It seems that since Granite returned from his time at bootcamp with wonder-trainer Cynthis last summer, I have forgotten that he used to be quite ridiculous and almost scary on the ground. Now he is my resident dead-head that no one would peg for a 3 year old if they didn't know better. But upon introduction to the clippers near his neck and head, he lost his marbles. I went on and clipped all four feet-- I don't think they look too bad but there are only 2 settings on the clippers and its hard to make the smooth transition from clipped legs (up to the knee) to non-clipped legs, so it may look less-than-amazing for a week or two.
(Is it just me or does his "special fin" not look as special as it used to?)

After finishing up with the legs, I figured that I would go back to the head/neck area and work on just holding the clippers and running them along his neck to relax him. No such luck my friends, he violently bobbed his head up and down and up and down. It was not pretty or comfortable for either of us. I tried offering him a treat near the clippers, I tried sitting on a stool and letting his curiosity take over, I tried asking him to drop his head or releasing the clippers when he was still (which was never). Nothing really got me very far. I worked at this for about and hour and half before conceding and letting him go back outside before I knocked his head off or he killed me, whichever came first. This is so frustrating. I am a horrible "horse trainer" really, nothing I did worked. One of the girls from our virtual barn (this is Kristen's phrase about our little horse blogging community and I love it and am therefore stealing it) suggested buying one of those back massagers from the drug store that make a similar sound. This will be good so he doesn't knock the clippers out of my hand (they are borrowed and expensive) and because I need to return the clippers and I can't work with him on a regular basis. But any advice from the 'trainers' among us, would be much welcomed. I hate horses that can't clip and I refuse to struggle with Granite for show seasons to come. 

Well, now its sunday and its not sunny! I love sunday mornings, I try to get up at a decent hour and watch CBS Sunday Morning while drinking a copious amounts of coffee and catching up on the blogs. Daphne enjoys this weekly ritual as well. 
After this, we normally prepare for our 5 mile run at the park and then we head to the barn from there. But today is rainy and cloudy and my hip is killing me. I injured it in January and have been taking joint supplement and trying not to run more than 2-3 days a week or on consecutive days to keep from upsetting it. But, I ran friday and saturday and am now in pain. UGH! This is my 11th week of 5 workouts a week. I don't want to have to rest now! I finally even lost a couple of pounds. I'm not sure what I will do today as far as working out. I guess I will venture to the barn and resume work on clipping 101 eventually despite the rain, buuut the forecast is thunderstorms so, I don't know what to do. I hate not being able to follow my schedule. 

In a final tidbit of news. D's best friend, Joanna, works at an embroidery/screen printing shop and decided to surprise all of the horsie associates of Dianne with a wonderful personalized saddle pad. I was so excited and Granite looks so grown up in his! PS-- look at the ticker on the top of my blog SIXTEEN DAYS until my boy is THREE! As soon as I get shoesies on his feet its time to riiide :) Also, a development in the Oak Ridge Horse Show. None of my trailer owning associates will be attending, so alas, neither will Granite. I guess there is always next time.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Whats a girl gotta do to ride in this town?

My weekend was mucho perfecto. Being back to the real world sucks. I drove 5 hours back here and went straight to the barn (didn't even stop off at the apartment first). After a brief horsie visit, I headed out to my 4-H Horse Judging Team's practice. The kids began watching a video which turned out to be a real bummer then they decided to use the real thing. We pulled out 4 QHs and the kids judged them. They practiced giving their oral reasons and they did an awesome job! I may not be much of a coach, but I have a sensational team with which to work. I will tell you more about what we have been doing eventually, but right now my life has been too crazy to have the opportunity to debrief. Last night and tonight I volunteered to judge senior projects for a local high school Because of my job with the local government, they asked me and at the time (October) I was just really excited to be important enough to be asked. I am only 6 years out of high school and i can still (for the most part) relate to these kids and I thought it would be a nice opportunity to do my civic duty. Upon further examination, I would have rather spent my evening hanging out with my kids (G and Daph of course), but the high school kids really impressed me and it was kind of fun. I have the same feeling about tonight. Its a perfect spring day and I miss my pony, but I won't mind judging projects from 5:30-9pm after a full day of work and a 5:30am working...nooo problem. I'm getting relatively tired of judging things to be honest. Its time for horse shows so someone can judge me for a change! Speaking of which...

So I rode Chance over two weeks ago while B.A. was with her students at a 'C' show for the weekend. She let me ride because we had to cancel our lesson due to a downpour. This was the 4th lesson we have had to cancel (mind you I have never actually HAD one with her). The weather has been an absolute bear since I met her in the fall and I work big kid hours (8:30-4:30) and she has lessons with children after school and is gone to shows on the weekends, so scheduling anything with me has been a huge challenge. I also feel like she is getting a bit older and may not be as interested in expanding to new clients. Especially clients like me who don't board with her and can only afford a lesson or two a month. To be honest, I can't see any trainer getting too excited about working with me. I don't have much to offer them in the way of convenience or a lucrative agreement for them...

I usually communicate with everyone via email because of my regularly insane schedule and my lack of desire to speak on the phone in general. Thank god for the blackberry, it is very easy to catch me via email almost immediately. B.A. usually responds to emails within a day or so. I emailed her twice after I rode Chance to let her know it went well and that I would like to reschedule for Monday (2 days ago) because I would have the day off of work and would be driving home from the beach early and I could meet her for a lesson. I never heard a response from either email, which is strange. This leaves me without having scheduled another day to go and school Chance either. I am wondering if she is trying to cast me off without hurting my feelings, or if maybe she doesn't have the time or energy to deal with me, or if possibly she could have just missed two emails?

I really don't want to be a challenge to her, but as I may have mentioned, I am not a good student. I don't often mesh well with trainers and I have a hard time keeping my spirits up when being criticized (I know, its the purpose of lessons). I really liked B.A. She is a tell-it-how-it-is kind of person, but shes not razor sharp either. I respect her (she showed with Margie Engle, so I automatically love her) and she runs a great facility which produces some quality youth hunters. So I want so badly to work with her, but I don't want to push her either because like I said, shes slowing down and there isn't much benefit to her in taking me on.

So I started browsing the interwebs yesterday to find alternate hunter trainers in the area (I'm not originally from here, so the horse community here isn't super familiar). I was trying to begin lessons on Karma with a trainer in the area last year but she only lets you trailer in, she doesn't offer lesson horses. She is the one who sent me to B.A. I really didn't find many barns I trusted online. I want a reputable hunter barn that shows NCHJA rated shows. There are plenty of nice 4-H/ Qh style hunter (you know what I mean? long and low flat work hunters...its what I grew up riding for the most part) in the area and they focus on youth and compete in area open circuits. But, I really have dreams of competing in the real hunters with Granite! His trainer/my BO is fabulous but she teaches the same kind of Qh style hunters. So I need a trainer of my own to help me grow in my jumping!

I shot out about 4 emails to local hunter barns asking if they gave evening or weekend lessons and if they had school horses available. I didn't go into much detail but wanted to see if I had any options. I've only received 1 response and they referred me to B.A.

Whats a girl got to do to ride in this town??!!! I'm so frustrated. Can I just please find a rich man to marry who will fund my riding habit and make this a million times easier??

OK, back to work I go...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Home Sweet OBX

Warning: Relatively Non-Horsey Post; my apologies.

I'm going home after work tomorrow. After 6 years of living 'on my own', I still can't figure out how to say "I'm going to my parents' house". Its still my home! I haven't seen the family (I'm an only child, so I have always been super close with mom and daddy) in 3 months and I miss them. I also miss the flat land of the coastal plain, the salt air off of the ocean, and the sunsets over the sound (which happens to be 'my' back yard!).
For your viewing pleasure... some photos to help you know why I love home so so very much.

This is the view from my parent's back deck

A different night; same beautiful sight.

Out on my Dad's boat (sheesh I look fat-- lets hope this summer's version will be more pleasant)

Me on another booze cruise!

My parents adore my dog. Can you see her shirt "I am the Grandchild"

She equally adores them AND playing with all things nautical.

Like mother, like daughter.

Grandpa's little PUPkin.

So, I will be absent from the bloggy world and the barn for the weekend. I took monday off as well, because its a 5 hour drive back to reality and I hope to schedule a riding lesson and my 4-H Judging Team has practice monday night. I will update you then. I will also continue my lobbying efforts for a new digital for my birthday :)


Monday, March 15, 2010

Evolution of the G-Man

It responding to some comments on the preferences of long v. short manes (I overwhelmingly prefer neat, tidy, short manes), I mentioned that Granite's was LONG when I brought him home (1/17/09). Then I realized that I didn't really have any pictures on the blog of when I first got the baby. So here are a few of from various times in the little man's life. Enjoy:

Baby Granite (only a day old) and his mom 'Grace'

Getting bigger!

The day I brought him home (he was 1 yr 9 months)- Check out that mane!

Getting adjusted to his new paddock (at D's barn).

Photo Shoot on his 2nd Birthday

And Again.

You all know what he looks like now (at least in fuzzy blackberry pictures). Perhaps Carrie will come out and photog him for his 3rd birthday!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Gettin' his hair did

Hello Daylight savings time, I have missed you so much!
It's 7:30 and the sun is beginning to set. YAY!
After going on a wonderful 5 mile jog with the pup, She and I headed out to the barn. It was a bit too chilly for Granite's first bath of the year, but it was the perfect afternoon for mane pulling. Mane pulling has always been one of my least favorite tasks but pulling a 3 year old's mane is even less fun.
Can we all lobby my parents for a camera for my birthday? Until then you get more blurry blackberry pictures:

We had to take a few grass breaks to maintain my patience and his sanity.

Impatient much Granite? Chew, Chew, Chew (note Daphne waiting patiently).

The finished product! Doesn't he look sharp?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Boots: Highs and Woes

Well, I let you all know in my Sunday Funday post that my Ariat Paddock boots had been sent to be rehabbed and that my Brand New Field Boots had busted after just one ride. Well, today in the mail, I received a box that looked and sounded suspiciously like boots. Hmm, I thought, these boots were supposed to take 3-4 weeks to be refurrbed, this can't be good. It wasn't. I opened up the box and saw a note saying that the stitching that had come apart could not be repaired. 
Usually, I'd be pretty bummed out by this. But, Ms. Apply let me borrow some of her slightly used Ariats that she recently purchased off of ebay. They fit perfectly and she let me buy them for $46. That was cheaper than getting my old ones repaired, but I had already sent them and thought having 2 pairs would never hurt. But, now I guess I just saved the $60 it would have cost to have mine fixed. Only problem is-- my 1/2 chaps are brown! So I look like a retard, but they are in good shape (they are Ariat also, and I got a killer close-out deal on them) and I don't foresee myself replacing them simply because they no longer match my boots. Sigh, thus is the life of a poor kid.

The good news? The AHhhhhmazing folks at Horse & Rider, Inc. (seriously, I am NOT a big spender, yet they still constantly bend over backwards to help me!), just called me and told me they got a new pair of boots in for me! That took less than a week! I am starting to think I will just bring Granite to the Oak Ridge Show and not take him in a halter class, but I had hoped to get the boots before the show regardless. But, I got them in one week! Nicole and Lynn over at Horse & Rider are like tack and apparel super heroes! My only fear is that, if these boots broke after 1 ride (I spent $271 on them), what happens if they break after 15 or 20 rides? At that point, they are worn enough to probably not merit a manufacturer return like these did, but I still don't think 15 rides is worth $271... So, I am a little less thrilled about getting replacement boots then one would expect. Ahhhh! Why are boots such a difficult thing for me. In "real life" shoe shopping is my favorite b/c they ALWAYS fit and I never feel fat! Riding boots? Different story!

And an update on the riding lesson? Didn't happen :( Ms. Apple did say that I could go ride Chance this weekend while she and the clients were at the horse show in Raleigh. I think we are going to re-schedule for Monday the 22nd. I think this is the 4th lesson she and I have had to cancel due to weather. I'm starting to think she just doesn't want to be my teacher. But she is so nice to me and I really really want to train with her (She has a great reputation and her students are very solid and successful riders).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Doing an UnRain Dance

UPDATE: Its 3pm and still no rain (VERY overcast and threatening to rain at any moment). Come on Sky, hold out for 3 more hours!!! I hope I have something to update you about tonight. Aiiieeee! I am nervous and excited!

yep, its attractive, you should be here.

JK, only sort of. I have my lesson scheduled for tomorrow after work (gotta make a slight detour to get my saddle from my barn-- I try to avoid leaving it in the truck... but....wait for it.... the streak is gone! I guess enough cleaning and drying it out worked. The pommel is still slightly discolored). But, we are forecasted for rain! After a week of perfect weather, tomorrow we are supposed to get thunderstorms. But Rachel, you say, Applewood has an indoor, whats the problem? Well its kind of 'bubble of doom'  (maybe dome of doom) style. If the rain is falling heavily, its going to make too much noise to have a productive lesson. So, I told Ms. Apple I would expect to be there unless I heard otherwise. So cross your collective fingers for light rain! And, I chose Chance. Thanks for all of the great points on both sides of the 'who to choose' question.

In other news, I had my organizational meeting for my new 4-H Equine Team last night. It seems that I have 7 members. 4 senior members and 3 junior members. I have really involved parents. It appears that almost all of the kids have horses, if not parents that own farms (3 that I know of). So we have a plethora of resources within the group. Most importantly the kids seem to be very motivated and competitive. When they filled out their interest cards, 5 of them checked that they were interested in EVERY ACTIVITY that the 4-H horse program offers. We have missed the deadlines for 3 of the most competitive activities, but the 4th is coming up in about a month and a half. And? My kids want to compete! So, we are now meeting at least once a week and one of their farms to prepare. The activity is horse judging. I'll do an entire post on the rules and the process at some point in the near future, because god knows, I'll be consumed by horse judging until April 17th... wish us luck!

I'll update you all on my lesson, assuming I have one.

Monday, March 8, 2010


The question I pose to you this afternoon?

Who to ride?

I have a LESSON scheduled at Applewood on Thursday evening. I am so excited and nervous. I haven't had a formal riding lesson in about a year. I am only doing a 30 minute lesson because I don't want to waste the time and money when I am not strong enough to function for 1 hour or hard in-the-saddle work.

I was asked if I would prefer to ride Chance or Jackson.

I have ridden Jackson once. He took his rider to "Best Child Rider on a Horse". He is pretty much point and click. He is for sale. Big TB. He is a puppy dog and I really enjoy him.

Then there is Chance. I have bonded with him in our 1/2 dozen rides over the past month. He has some straightness issues and tends to be a bit spooky. He is also for sale (for 26K less) and I have an honest interest in finding a perfect owner for him. He is talented and deserves to show off his talents.

I lean toward riding Chance so that Ms. Apple can help me work through some of his issues and so that I can continue using those techniques during our schooling session and, hopefully, inevitably put him in a better position for sale. Perhaps even work towards showing him one day (with a For Sale sign around his neck).

BUT, I can concentrate on myself if I ride Jackson. Ms. Apple can spend the time working on my position faults and not worry about identifying and adjusting to issues with the horse.

SO, shes waiting on an answer... Whatcha got?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday Funday!

Oh what wonderful weather we are having here in NC! Days like this give me a new zest for life while current pressures and frustrations tend to take a back seat to thoughts of hopefulness and taking joy in the present moment. ahhh, I love it. I'm currently typing on my back porch listening to birds chirp. Daphne is sleeping, using my foot for a pillow and I'm enjoying a lovely glass of red.

Eva came to visit me this morning. She arrived around 8:30 and we headed to Panera to have some coffee and take the time to think about our goals for ourselves and our horses (Eva having a more difficult time with the horse portion of the assignment since she is still in the process of buying and hasn't solidified her choice yet). Eva's previous trainer taught her a good way to set and track goals, so we used that as a starting point. We started out by identifying out ultimate goal.
Mine? To show rated (preferably 'A') Amateur Owners.

Our next step was to identify our current level.
Mine? Riding approximately 1 time a week on a borrowed horse and doing ground work with Granite while working out 5 times a week. 

Next we needed to identify our 3 greatest weaknesses and our horse's greatest weaknesses.
Mine? 1. Lack of Physical Ability
2. Confidence in the saddle
3. Lack of Money/ Resources (i.e. regular lessons, training, truck/trailer)
Granite's: 1.Physical fitness/Stamina
2. Age/ Maturity (Mental State)
3. Impulsion

Next up-- We needed to set goals for ourselves and our horses to address these challenges/weaknesses. We have to set goals to reach in 1 month, 6 months, and 1 year.

My One Month Goals (April):
1. Continue to work out at least 5 times a week
2. Ride as much as possible (on Chance or anything else I can get my paws on)
3. Attend inexpensive clinics to make up for deficits in formal training
4. Take at least one lesson a month
5. Continue to work with Granite In-Hand
6. Attend the Oak Ridge Horse Show, even if it is just to familiarize Granite with the atmosphere 
7. Work on my patience with Granite 
Granite's One Month Goals:
1. Continue to work on the lunge and with side reins
2. Continue to accept me sitting on him
3. At the end of one month begin learning cues and aids

Our 6 Month Goals: (September)
1. Walk, Trot and Canter under saddle.
2. Compete in one division (probably walk-trot)at a schooling show
3. Compete in the slow division at a Hunter Pace
4. Go on an off-the-property trail ride
5. Compete in a recognized show on a horse from Applewood Farm
6. Continue riding and taking lessons at Applewood Farm
7. Jog an entire 5K, (train for an 8 or 10K)
8. Continue with a strict workout routine
9. Research and create a program for riding/schooling Granite in appropriate intervals (duration of ride and frequency of rides)

Our 1 year Goals: (Next Spring)
1. Be riding Granite regularly
2. Come up with a situation in which I can take lessons on him (have my trainer travel to my barn/ get him to hers)
3. Compete on an unrecognized (open) hunter circuit (preferable WIN).
4. Save $ for a truck and/or trailer
5. Start schooling him over fences.
6. Continue work on my personal fitness (more 5K+ with better results).
7. Lose one pants size. 

After coming up with some goals and bouncing ideas off of one another to determine what really was realistic (I was trying to determine if I should try to begin showing Granite recognized next season or wait until his 5th year, after discussing the pros/cons with Eva, I determined to show him unrecognized during his 4th year), Eva and I headed to the park for a run. Eva is in 300 times better shape than myself but today was my day for a big run (5 miles) and after her 9 mile run yesterday, today was her short run. So we kept in sync with each other pretty well for the 5 mile jog and got to continue our discussion of horses and goals and just being 20somethings who are finishing school and trying to navigate life "in the real world".

After finishing our run, we headed out to visit Granite. He was enjoying the 60 degree weather and getting to frolic without his blanket. I cleaned him up and we headed to the arena to do some in-hand and lunge work. Granite was a peach and Eva took a bunch of great videos of him working. Too bad I can only get them to upload in Quicktime and I don't have Quicktime Pro, therefore can't save them and thus can't upload them here. If you have techy suggestions to fix this problem, please share because I would love for you all to get to see my boy in action! I sat on Granite for the 6th time and Eva led us around the arena. Then she hopped on him and became the 2nd person to ever sit on ("ride") my horse. Isn't that how it should be?

Eva had to drive back to her house (about 1.5 hours) to meet her mother for lunch, but what a great morning we had! Life is Good my friends!

Saturday was nice as well. I worked out twice and got to play with Granite. My friend Carrie (see: "the student" on my sidebar) took a lesson with my BO. She did really well, I was very excited for her. She has wanted to ride so badly but my schedule and horse availability has made it so difficult for me to teach her. I trust the BO and suggested that Carrie try a lesson with her. I think she was impressed and it appears there are more lessons in Carrie's future. Saturday night was less than amazing however, because the Tarheels? are horrible! UGH! Maybe next season boys, maybe next season.

Friday night, had its ups and downs. After work I had a phone appointment with the 4-H horse program agent from our neighboring county. My 4-H Equine Team has its organizational meeting on Tuesday and I wanted to get some expert advice and tips about how to handle this. I am nervous, but also excited. I plan to take suggestions from the kids and parents and just be very flexible and try to meld this club into what they need it to be. After my phone meeting, I went to change into barn clothes for my ride at Applewood. I have sent my Ariat Paddocks to be fixed and was riding in my tall boots (once!), I put them on Friday night and the right zipper busted half way up my calf. I cried. Literally. Then I called Horse & Rider and talked to their most fabulous sales person, Nicole. She assured me that they would fix it for me and that I shouldn't worry. This left me with one huge problem, the only footwear that I possessed were my high heels from work. I called the owner of Applewood and told her I would have to cancel due to inadequate footwear. She just so happened to have just ordered a pair of Ariat size 8.5 paddocks on ebay and said I could borrow those! SCORE! So I continued on to the barn :) I got there and the boots fit really well (I usually wear an 8 in Ariat, maybe my feet grew). I tacked up Mr. Chance Man and went to the indoor. The arena had been freshly drug and Chance was convinced that all the wet spots were certain to eat him. He was very snorty and fresh. But, we worked through it for the first 20 minutes and then he continued on like a champ. My legs held our for 40 minutes this time and I made vast improvements in keeping him straight on the outside lines! I left feeling like a million bucks. I also bought those boots for $46. It wasn't budgeted, but they were nearly new and I have to have some sort of boot considering my tall boots will take almost a month to replace and my old boots won't be ready for 3-4 weeks. So, now I am the proud new owner of some black Ariat Heritage IIs (the same model as my old and beloved brown ones).

So, I hope you all had a weekend as great as mine. It is a great way to remember that winter can't last forever and although it is always difficult ($329 of vet bills this week) to keep our animals, they give us joy in amounts that can't even compare to the expenditures!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Visit from the Tooth Fairy.

Its about 30 degrees at 8:45am here in beautiful North Carolina. The fresh coat of powdery snow is glistening on the ground and the steam is rising from my Starbucks venti black coffee. My Ariats are flying somewhere over the US at this point, so I'm wearing cheap Ugg-esque snow boots as I trudge out through the pasture to wrangle my big grey munchkin snuggled in his fluffy navy-blue jacket. Granite quietly chews on his round bale of hay in his run-in shed as I approach to put his halter on and drag, uh, I mean lead him-- from his shoulder, through the pasture and toward the barn. We get inside and close the garage doors that are on either side of the barn. A stand-alone heater struggles to raise the temperature of the cold and still barn. Granite chews on his lead, and then me, and then attempts to chew the electric cord plugged into the wall. I give up with this little game of 'chew everything' and secure him in the washstall on cross ties.

Suddenly the hounds begin to howl, I mean the Australian cattle dogs begin barking. The vet has arrived. This is Hottie McVettster to whom I referred here.  Ahhh, and for your information he is 32 (totally acceptable) but apparently dating the vet tech-- blah! He kindly (read: condescendingly) asks if we are on the "economic crisis plan", meaning that we are not on a health plan through the vet hospital, but are paying for things as needed. I replied that we only needed two shots this spring, but probably needed a teeth float since big man is turning 3 and will begin undersaddle within the next month or two. Mr. Hot Vet gives Granite his shots, for which Granite stands like a bona-fide champion. Then begins the mad rush of shuffling 12 other horses in and out of the barn for shots, wormer, and coggins tests. The poor vet tech had to draw the Paints' "pictures" on their coggins'... hahaaha, that almost made up for her dating Mr. Hot Vet. Those states that just take photos of the horses for the coggins sheets, have the right idea.

When that was all wrapped up, they set up the "dentist stall" and Granite was volunteered to start off because I was taking comp time off of work to be there for the whole process (does anyone else find it important to be there for vet visits if at all possible? no one else at the barn seemed to consider it worth their time). They gave my boy a sedative and then we brought him across the aisle to the "dentists' stall". They jacked his head up and began their work. Granite had 2 caps come off (one with the help of some pliers). 
So now I have some souvenirs, I'm not sure how I feel about this. Its kind of creepy, but at the same time, I'm not sure I want to throw away his baby teeth? I mean, I saved his first lock of hair...

Granite was great but his little mouth was bleeding from the caps that popped off. When they were all finished, I took him back to the empty stall while the next two horses were getting their teeth done. He was so pathetic. He was resting his head on the stall window. He was drooling blood and sweating profusely from the sedation. I held his head for quite some time so he wouldn't be resting his weight on the stall window.
He absolutely broke my heart although I knew he was ok. The vet was there the whole time, so if it hadn't have been ok, then he would have stepped in. I have worked with horses almost all of my life. This isn't my first ride around the block. But, with this horse, things seem so different.
Has anyone seen this horrible plush pillow?
well, it doesnt look that unlike, my baby boy on drugs...
Notice his poor open mouth, if you could only see the blood dripping from it. Oh, My, God... just take my heart out and break it Mr. Hot Vet... sheesh!

I finally convinced myself to go to work about an hour after he got his teeth done. He had started to hold his head up a little. I switched him from a blanket to a cooler to try to combat the sweat and the freezing temps issue. I was concerned the whole time I was at work, but the lovely BO wrote me a facebook comment that he had "sobered" up and he had dried and was outside and had resumed munching on his hay. Although I trust her, I had to go out after work and brush off any dried sweat and tell my sweet boy how much I love him...

The only good news? I came out $70 under budget and directly deposited the rest into the "training Granite fund". YAY! I have enough for about 20 rides saved up. Not too shabby, just keep saving, just keep saving...

My parting thought tonight? Lets hope Granite doesn't have a visit from the tooth fairy again for quite some time. Mommy doesn't think she could take much more of it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What to do with a snow day?

Well, it wasn't a snow "day" it was a snow hour and a half. They were calling for some 'winter weather' and up to an inch of accumulation starting at around 6pm tonight. Well, by 3pm my boss realized that there was over an inch on the ground and that the roads were getting pretty bad, so he sent me home. I decided that going to the barn was probably a bad idea; getting home alive was a good idea. So I picked up Daphne from 'daycare' and headed back to the apartment. I usually get home around 6:30 or 7 when I don't have anything going on after work (just the barn), so getting home by 4 was strange.

I looked around confused for a while then decided that tonight was the perfect opportunity to play with my pilaties kit that came in the mail yesterday. It was $25 on ebay and included the big ball, 3 resistance bands, a mat, and a dvd. The DVD ended up pretty being pretty lame, so I used the little workout chart and did about 35 minutes of 'pilaties' work (I'm not sure I'm doing this right, I actually fell OFF the damn ball a couple of times).

OK, so then what? If you haven't ascertained this information yet, I'll let you know that I'm not good at relaxing. So, I decided that I would take the opportunity to clean some leather. Nothing says snow day like leather cleaning (eh, hot cocoa and movies may also say snow day). I went downstairs to get my pilaties kit earlier and the snow got into my car trunk and onto my saddle! The saddle has had to ride around with me a bit lately because I have been riding at Applewood. So, snow and the Bates... BAD COMBO! I brought the saddle upstairs to clean it and I removed the cover to find this--
SADDLE DISASTER! I literally want to cry right now. See not only the darkened line down the right flap but also the discoloration on the pommel. I adore my Bates. Have I told you the story of this saddle? Short version (for you new followers) goes like this: D follows Craig's List on the regular (she found Granite's ad on the List of Craig). She found an ad for an English Saddle and for some reason drove out that day to check it out. She arrived to a barely used (we are guessing less than a 1/2 dozen rides) Bates Caprilli Close Contact saddle with Sprenger (flexi) stirrups and Prestige leathers. It also includes a full changeable gullet system and Cair air panels. It is the lazy boy of saddles and I feel so rock solid when I ride it. I don't remember what D paid for the saddle, but I bought it from her for a VERY slight markup, for a grand total of $450!!! For all of it! So I basically get to ride a saddle worth as much as a horse. It is my most prized possession (other than Granite). My other 'ride' is a Collegiate Equilibrium by Tad Coffin. I know, its a collegiate, but I adore that thing too and I won't ever be getting rid of that either. It has a sweet spot and is like the Traveling Pants, it seems to fit nearly every horse I put in on.

So, I'm pretty upset about my saddle discoloration. I cleaned it, but there is no change. I guess I should try oiling, but its a Newmarket colored light saddle and I hate to have to darken it. I also cleaned my graduation field boots and my poor poor paddocks that are on their last leg. I'm sending them off to be refurbished tomorrow. It is supposed to take 3-4 weeks, but I figure if they can get me another year or two out of them, then it will be worth the $60 to refurb. I took "before" pics, so I will share the progress when I get them back and have "after" photos to share with you.

And now, I'm blogging. I think I will attempt to spend my last hour or so watching The Biggest Loser and having some wine. Granite has a vet appointment tomorrow for spring shots and possible (read: probable) teeth float. We have it scheduled for 9am and with the snow, I'm not positive that we will still be on for the morning, but cross your fingers he does well. I am nervous about having to have him sedated if he needs his teeth done. I'll keep you all updated.

Cheers my friends :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sunday was a much better day...

Granite finally put his thinking cap on Sunday morning! He was actually getting the point of me leading him from his shoulder. He is still having problems stopping when I stop, but he is getting it. We made progress and I was really proud of him.

Then I headed out to Applewood. to ride Chance. It was so windy. I thought I was back home on the coast. We started out in the outdoor arena.

His buddy in the pasture was calling for him and the tall pines were squeaking and bending. He walked around nicely, but when my friend Ari brought her mare, Mayday, down to the arena, Chance really wanted to get spooky.
He wasn't being a jerk, but he was being a thoroughbred. Heck, I think even a 'steady eddy' may have gotten a little nervous in that kind of wind.
I wore my graduation field boots for the first time today! I figure that I need to break them in at some point. I am sending my Ariat Paddock boots to be refurrbed (that story for another post) next week, so its time to get used to the tall boots. OUCH! And apparently running more often has resulted in fatter calves... sometimes I think this wold is playing one cruel joke on me!

So, I finally brought Chance up to the indoor arena. It was squeaking so much, I think I spooked a few times. It was tough because with my weak, weak ankles and the tall boots and Mr. Spooky McSpookster made it impossible for me to ride for too long before my right ankle gave out (I couldn't walk around at ease or circle my ankle for any relief bc of all of those factors). This getting back into shape stuff sucks! I just want to be able to ride and accomplish things without the physical set backs getting in the way... *sigh*.

PS: I may or may not be (hint- the answer is may) falling in love with Chance. He is such a fun and honest guy. He is rarely noted as special in his plain brown wrapper at this fancy show barn, but he has a heart of gold.