Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Year in Review

As I think about this year that is almost over nothing really major jumps out at me.  I'm just glad we didn't move again.  So hopefully as I go through writing this post some things will come to mind that will make this year stand out a little.

January:  My little Rose Petal was in Florida being trained to be a productive equine citizen.  As I look back at the pictures, I see how much she has matured over the last year.  She still looks like a baby in some of these pictures.

We set up a fish tank.  It was something I had been wanting to do for years but the circumstances were never right until now.  My daughter and I spent a lot of time doing this that first month.



My little girl turned four and there was cake.  The yummy chocolate kind with chocolate frosting.  Now if only I could teach her to make this for me.


My daughter got Candyland for her birthday.  So guess what we played a lot of?  She enjoys it though so we play.




February:  Snowpocolypse.  Need I say more?  


The poor dog can't even find a place to pee!

Tough going for toddlers!

It started as a Ford Explorer...

A short drive into the city to dig up some dinosaur bones.  We originally went in for a whale exhibit but I she had just as much fun with the dinosaur stuff.  The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is a pretty nice place to visit if you get the chance.  



My trip to Florida to see Rosie while she was in training.  This was such a wonderful trip!  Even though it was pretty cold in Florida I had a great time.


Wow, this is getting kind of long.  I think I will break the memories up into two month increments just so I have some hope of getting most of this posted before March.


Back to Normal

Well, the in-laws headed home yesterday after coming in for Christmas.  It was nice to see them but it is always nice to get back to normal too.  Unless you are my daughter who goes on a crying jag every time we have to leave family.  It's hard living so far from any family.

I made it out to the barn to see Rosie today.  I hadn't seen her since the Monday before Christmas.  It's times like these that I really wish I could keep her at home.  To be able to just give her a pat while feeding or something would be better than not seeing her for over a week.  Someday I will have my own place.  I didn't ride, I tweaked my back before Christmas and it is still really bothering me.  Stupid sciatica.  If it keeps bothering me I guess I will have to head to the doctor. What a way to ring in the new year, but chronic pain isn't high on my list of things to do.  Anyways, back to Rosie.  I took her out, brushed her and then lunged her for a bit in the indoor.  She was happy to get out and kick up her heels for a bit.  The barn where I board does turn out every other day.  Mostly because they don't have enough pasture space to turn all the horses out everyday.  It's not my ideal but all the other positives outweighed that negative.  On the days that I know she is going to be in I try and get out there and at least let her graze on the lawn for a bit.  Rosie did well lunging as usual.  I even took her down to the scary end of the indoor.  You know, where the horse eating monsters live.  She tried to cut the corners a bit at first but eventually she went fine.  After we finished lunging I walked her over to the Cave of Death or as I call it, the corner of the indoor.


After it was determined that we weren't facing certain annihilation we walked calmly out of the arena to go eat some grass.  What little of it there is this time of year anyways.

The new year is already filling up with things to do.  My daughter's birthday is towards the end of this month and she wants to have her party at Chuck E. Cheese.  Heaven help my agoraphobic self.  Then there is the usual doctors/dentist/oil change appointments that have to be taken care of.  Stay with me now, I know the excitement is about to send you off your chair but please contain yourself.

Hope everyone is staying warm and busy!  Here's to hoping for some decent weather soon so we can get out and enjoy it!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Me-ology

Rules: YOU! Yes, you, reading this. You’re tagged. Now that you know more about me than you ever wanted to know, play the game, it’s fun! Let others know a little more about yourself, re post this as your name followed by “ology.”  (Or if you are paranoid about putting too much info out there just put "me" in the title with the "ology")

FOODOLOGY:

What is your salad dressing of choice?  
Blue Cheese

What is your favorite sit-down restaurant?  Darby's, Belfast, Maine

What is your favorite fast food restaurant?  
It depends on the day but usually Chick-Fil-A or McDonalds

What food could you eat every day for two weeks and not get sick of?
  Blueberries 

What are your pizza toppings of choice?
  Cheese, cheese and more cheese!

How many televisions are in your house?  
3

What color cell phone do you have? 
 Black

BIOLOGY:

Are you right-handed or left-handed?  
Right.

Have you ever had anything removed from your body?  
Yes

What is the last heavy item you lifted?  
Nothing for a few days, I tweaked my back while sliding a box out of the way.

Have you ever been knocked unconscious?
  Only with anesthetic.

Have you ever fainted?  
No

BULLCRAPOLOGY:

If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die? 
 No.

If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
  Wouldn't change it I like my name.

How many pairs of flip flops/thongs do you own?
  Many, I love flip flops in the summer.

Last person you talked to?  
Ryan

FAVORITOLOGY:

Season?
 Summer

Holiday? All of them


Day of the week?
 Saturday

Month? 
September

Colour? 
Purple

Drink? Coke


Alcoholic? 
Jolly Rancher

CURRENTOLOGY:

Missing someone? 
Yes

What are you listening to?  
Caillou (I have a five year old, it can't be helped.)

What are you watching?
  Well, my daughter is watching Calliou but I wouldn't really say that I am.

Worrying about?  
Not much at the moment
What’s the last movie you saw?  At the cinema - Tangled.  At home - National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.

Do you smile often?
  Not as much as I used to.

If you could change your eye color what would it be?  
Green's the perfect color so no need to change them. 

What’s on your wish list for your birthday?  Well, since my birthday doesn't come around again for basically a year I have awhile to think about it but maybe a nice saddle.


Can you do a chin-up? 
 I have no idea.

Does the future make you more nervous or excited?
  Nervous

Have you been in a car wreck?  Just a fender bender


Have you caused a car wreck?
 No

Do you have an accent?  Occasionally I slip into my Mainer accent and drop a few R's.


Last time you cried?  
Don't remember


Plans tonight?
  Not a whole heck of a lot.

Have you ever felt like you hit rock bottom?
  No.

Name three things you bought yesterday?  
Plant pots, my daughter's first Breyer horse, and a bang trim for my daughter and I.
 
Have you met someone who changed your life?
  Yes, several people

For the better or worse?  Who knows, I'll have to wait until the end to know for sure.


How did you bring in the New Year?  
That was awhile ago, I don't really remember.  Probably just fell asleep on the couch watching t.v.

Would you go back in time if you were given the chance?
 I probably would, yes

What songs do you sing in the shower?  
Nothing

Have you held hands with someone today?  
Yes

Who was the last person you took a picture of?  My daughter and her friends at a Christmas cookie decorating party.

Are most of the friends in your life new or old?  I would say a good combination of both.
Do you like pulpy orange juice?  Eck no, it tastes like hair!
Last time you ate peanut butter and jelly?  I don't even remember.

What were you doing at 12 a.m. last night?  Stumbling to bed after falling asleep on the couch while watching reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond.
What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up?  Crap, I have a lot of cleaning to do today.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cold

Not much going here lately.  I don't think I have been able to get a ride in since the last time I posted.  We did a ten day trip over Thanksgiving that took up a lot more time than just the ten days we were gone, what with having to get everything ready to go, unpacking when we got back and then the Christmas shopping rush.  I'm still not done with shopping for everyone.  I am getting there though.

While we were in Colorado I got to visit my favorite tack shop, Brighton Feed and Saddlery.  I love love love this place!  I haven't found another place like it here in PA.  If you are in the north Denver area and have time you should really stop in.  Unless you ride English, then you might not find much of interest.

My birthday/Christmas present for this year is an easy entry cart!  I got the harness last year for Christmas so this year I needed the cart.  Now I can continue on with the driving that I had Rosie trained to do.

It is cold and snowy in the Pittsburgh area today and is supposed to remain that way for the upcoming week.  I don't see a whole lot of riding in my future.  Just running out to kiss Rosie on the nose will probably have to be good enough!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Okay, Break's Over!

can't believe the last time I posted was the Fourth of July. I guess I took the summer off from blogging without meaning to. It's hard to sit in front of the computer when the weather is nice and the days are long. Now that it is colder and darker I will probably feel more like typing out a post.

Rosie made it here from Florida without incident. The initial barn that I had picked to board her at did not work out. It was just too far from my house. I was spending more time in the vehicle than anywhere so I found a barn that was just four miles from my house. It was more expensive but I actually get to spend time with Rosie instead of my truck so that makes it worth it. The new place also has an indoor arena which at first I thought I wouldn't use except maybe occasionally in the winter but I have already utilized it twice.

Rosie in the pasture at the first barn

I did manage to get some riding in. Mostly around the place where I board but I did manage to get to a poker ride that the local trail riding club put on this past June. It was hot and humid but since most of the ride was under the canopy of the trees it was bearable. If it had been out in the open I would have had to quit for mine and Rosie's safety. By the end of the ride I needed to use the bathroom but was so sweaty and sticky from the humidity I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get my pants back up. Okay, I know, that was way to much info but I am trying to paint a picture here :-) I did manage to get someone to take our picture during a break on the ride.

Taking a break during the poker ride

Rosie did wonderfully in this ride, I was so impressed with her! It was the first time she had been on a trail ride with more than two or three horses, there were about thirty at this ride. She also hadn't really been on a ride with a lot of hills but she was completely hill broke by the end of this ride. There was a lot of steep terrain at this park. By the end of the ride every time we went up a hill my saddle slipped back and when we went down the hill it slipped forward. I was cursing myself for not remembering my breast collar but as it turns out the breast collar I have is too big for Rosie anyways so I am on the hunt for another one. She is a little smaller than my last horse. Rosie had no problem going up hill but at a couple of the steeper descents she stopped at the top and was like "are you sure about this?" but she went down when I nudged her. She did the stream crossings wonderfully and there were several. She wouldn't drink though and that kind of bothered me since it was so hot.

I did find a couple of things we need to work on though. The first one is not rushing down hills. She was a little insecure I think so we got a little rushy going downhill. We also need to work on not being so pissy about horses behind us. She didn't kick anyone but if someone got to close they got the ugly face and the swishy tail. She was better by the end of the ride but that also could have been because she was pooped.

I had hoped to make it back to this particular park this summer but didn't. Life just got in the way. Plus I need a refresher course in hauling a trailer. It has been about 12 years since I have done it. Not to mention the roads here terrify me, they are so narrow and winding just the thought of hauling a horse trailer on them gives me heart palpitations.

So once again summer screamed by and I didn't do all the things I thought I would do. Do you every really get to do everything though? I usually don't. I spend all winter dreaming stuff up and then I am lucky if I get to do a third of it. I will take what I can get though!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!


Hope everyone has a safe and happy Independence Day!


I also hope everyone that wants to, gets to do something a little "horsey" today.

I got this nifty little graphic here.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

We're Mobile


I finally, finally was able to convince my husband that I needed a horse trailer. After haunting Craigslist and other horsey type sites I finally found a trailer that was in good shape and in my price range. Why is the price range thing always so hard?


So here it is, my first horse trailer as an adult! It is a five year old, barely used Moritz two horse slant load trailer. I think I should be able to get a lot of years out of it, it is in great shape. I hope to get a cover for it so I can sort of have it under cover this winter.

More to come!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Florida Wrap Up


My last day in Florida came very quickly. Luckily I had booked my tickets so that we were able to get a ride in before I had to head to the airport. Always thinkin' that's me! Ha, yeah right!

Anyways, Sunday morning before the flurry of packing we saddled up and headed to a local ranch that allows riding on its property. We basically just meandered around checking out different trails. I think at one point we were trying to find a lake but then it was decided that no one knew where it was. So we just found silly little things to do like climb hills.


After we had ridden for awhile one of us finally looked at a watch and realized we had better get our butts home if we wanted to fit in a driving lesson before I had to go. We hustled back and did a quick half hour driving lesson. My arms couldn't take much more than a half hour anyways so it worked out okay. We unharnessed Rosie, then went in the house to eat lunch, shower, finish packing and head back out the door. I kissed Rosie good bye for the next couple of months again and told her I would see her soon in Pennsylvania.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

First Driving Lesson

On my second day in Florida I received my first driving lesson with Rosie. I was a bit nervous. I have driven a couple of horses before but never for very long. I am very paranoid about doing something wrong with Rosie and messing up all the training that has been done with her. I know this is something that I am just going to have to get over but for now I am a paranoid, anxiety ridden freak! Anyways.....back to the driving.

First we went over all the pieces of the harness, where they go and how they should fit. Yikes, I am going to need crib notes for this. Once the harness was in place we hooked up the cart. While we are hooking up the cart AT is going over not just how stuff should fit and where it goes but how a harness horse should behave and certain rules that must be adhered to for everyones safety. For instance, no one gets into the cart before the driver. This is a good rule, you wouldn't want the person with the reins getting left behind if the horse takes off with someone in the cart. After getting into the cart we discussed how a harness horse should never anticipate what you are going to do. No walking off on their own as you are stepping into the cart, etc. They can cock a leg or shift to get comfortable but other than that, nothing. Once we were in the cart and ready to go it was time for our photo shoot! AT daughter really likes to take pictures and when I handed her my big Nikon she went to town! Which is fine by me, I love pictures. Here is a sampling.

Isn't she so cute in her harness? The brown reins with the black harness is the traditional look. I have no idea why.



Here we are ready to go!

Upon the conclusion of our photo shoot we headed off to tour the property. AT trainer drove Rosie first while explaining to me all the different cues and voice commands. There is so much more to driving than I first thought. The reins were then handed over to me. Poor Rosie didn't know what to think when she felt a different set of hands on the reins. She handled it well though. I was a little bit drunken in my driving which is common with new drivers. We drove for a bit though, doing lots of turns and some gait changes. We also got to drive through the water! I love driving through water, it's so cool! After my arms felt ready to fall off, we drove back to the barn, put the harness and cart away and saddled up for a ride. We didn't take a break in between because it was forecasted to rain for most of the day with the morning and evening being the best time to be outside. We had already made plans to go to the dinner show "Arabian Nights" that evening so we had to get our horse time in that morning.


This time for our ride AT daughter was able to join us on her lovely palomino mare. We rode out from the house, down the road a little ways into the woods and onto some trails. We had a nice ride through the trees and at one point even saw a feral hog! I saw it first and thought it was a dog. It was all black and staring at us with it's ears perked up. Once it noticed us looking at it, it took off into the woods. We rode around for a little bit more but it started to rain so we wrapped it up and headed back to the house. Since it was raining, after lunch we decided watch horse movies. Did you really think we would watch anything else? First we watched National Velvet. Classic, classic movie. Then we joined The Black Stallion at the part where they are rescued from the island. Even if you aren't a horse nut, the cinematography in The Black Stallion is beautiful. I highly recommend it. The Black Stallion Returns was on after but we had to get ready to go Arabian Nights. So many horsey things, so little time.

Stay tuned for day three....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Oh Happy Day!

At the end of February I was able to take a trip to Florida to see Rosie. I was able to stay at the trainers house because she is awesome like that so it was almost like having my horses at home again. I also traveled alone which was a unique experience for me.

I flew out early on a snowy Friday morning. While the east coast was getting pounded with yet another snowstorm, the snow accumulation in Pittsburgh wasn't as bad. When I booked my tickets I was fortunate to be able to get a direct flight into Orlando. I think if I had had to connect anywhere on the east coast that day I wouldn't have made it. My flight got into Orlando just a little late (we had to de-ice, no complaints from me) but I was still there by 11:45. I connected with AT (Awesome Trainer), we headed to her place, ate lunch, loaded up the horses and headed out to ride at a local park. I was so excited to see Rosie! She has gotten taller and whiter. She also grew quite a winter coat for being in Florida. I guess that area has experienced a much colder than normal winter this year.


This moment was surreal for me, finally getting to throw a leg over Rosie! I think she was a little confused over her new rider but she handled it fine.

We soon were all settled and ready to hit the trails at the Lake Lizzie Nature Preserve. What a beautiful park this is. The local trail riders of Osceola County are very lucky. Wide sandy trails and very quiet. We met one group of bird watchers from Ohio and that was it. They asked us for directions and we almost sent them to the wrong parking lot but we got it figured out and nobody got lost. I hope.


We rode along for awhile and finally got to Lake Lizzie. Of course we had to get in it. Rosie didn't even bat an eye. I love this horse! I kept a close eye out for gaters. Not that I really know what I am looking for until it is coming at me with its mouth open but whatever.

We let the horses get a drink and played in the water for a bit until Rosie started wringing her tail and getting Gumby legs. I didn't bring my swimsuit so I didn't exactly want to get wet. I hustled her back to dry land quickly.


A view of Lake Lizzie from the shore

On our way back I spotted a cool looking tree that I just had to photographed under. I have a thing for trees in Florida. I love the way the Spanish Moss hangs off of them. I could stare at them forever. But we had riding to do, so we took the picture and moved on.

I wonder if Rosie has to pee?

Just after this tree there was a big sand hill that we decided to play on. Gotta get your hill work where you can in Florida. Rosie was a little unsure as to why we were doing this when she could see the nice, flat trail obviously did not go up this thing. I'm going to try and post a video but I have never done this before so hopefully it works.


video

After this we kept it pretty tame and just moseyed back to the trailer. It was a gorgeous day, bright blue sky with no wind. Surprisingly I wasn't all that sore from my first ride since October. The thing that hurt the most were my ankles because I brought a crappy pair of boots that I had forgotten why I didn't like them. During the ride I remembered. When I put my heels down the leather digs into my ankles. Once I got blood flowing to my feet again everything was all good. After arriving back at the trailer we unsaddled the horses, loaded up and headed home for dinner. It was an awesome day!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Women and Horses

This is an good article written by Julie Goodnight on the connection between horses and women that I found very interesting. One point she brings up that I had never thought of before is that women can understand the prey role that a horse lives in because women themselves are often prey in this world. Read on if you like. Women and horses.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Visit

I have booked my tickets to go see Rosie towards the end of February. I can't wait to get down there and see her! Plus, I will be traveling alone while the husband is on kid duty at home. Because I am going alone I won't be in Florida for very long but that's okay, the fact that I get to go at all is wonderful.

Another bonus: it will be warm in Florida. I am counting the days.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Finding That Perfect Barn


I am once again on a quest to find a barn suitable for my little Rosie and I. Really, we just need to stop moving. Well, one more move to Maine would be nice and THEN I'm finished. But that is a whole other blog post. Back to finding a barn. I have begun to outline on paper what has been rattling around in my head for the different wants and needs in a boarding stable.

First the MUST HAVES. These are things that to me are non negotiable and I will break them down into tangibles and intangible.

Tangible

1. Daily turnout. This is a deal breaker for me. I have even passed over barns that will let me come turn the horse out myself but I was required to stay there for the duration of her time in the pasture. To me a horse in not meant to be in a stall 24/7 unless put there by a vet. I know some people compensate with regular exercise but that is still not going to work for me. A horse needs to be a horse.
2. Arena. I need at least an outdoor. Doesn't have to be anything fancy although I don't like to work in a round pen made of barbed wire. Yes, folks I have actually been presented with this option and no, they were not kidding. Sometimes you have to do things that require an enclosed environment for everyones safety.

3. Cleanliness. Not just the stalls but the area surrounding the barn. I don't like a lot of stuff laying around. To me that is just an accident waiting to happen and it makes me nervous. One barn I boarded at had so much stuff and the owner was always going to fix it. Never happened.

(This is not the place where I boarded, this is just a random picture off the internet, thank God!)

4. The other horses must look good. Sure you are always going to have a oldster or a hard keeper but all in all the horses need to look well fed and healthy.

5. Feed supplements. You know how we horse people love to supplement! The only extra thing I give Rosie is a daily feed through wormer but I need to the barn to feed it so I don't have to run out there everyday just to feed wormer.

Intangible

1. Friendly people. What seem like friendly people to me may seem nosy to someone else or vice versa. This one is kind of hard to gauge.

2. I must feel safe. Whether it is the aforementioned junk or crazy people I can't feel like I am going to get in a wreck or be done bodily harm by a person rather than a horse. This is something that is also hard relay in words. More of a gut feeling thing.

Now, the things I would prefer to have but are not deal breakers.

1. Stalls at night. Now given my earlier rant on stalls this might seem odd but it is nice to know that in the course of being moved from stall to pasture and vice versa someone is physically laying hands on my horse to hopefully see how she is feeling and if there are any injuries or lameness that needs to be attended to. I also like it when horses are fed individually in stalls, that way they are getting their share, no more or no less.

2. Close proximity to trail riding. Now that I think about it this one might have to be moved into the must haves section. I like to have an arena handy but I prefer to trail ride.

3. Tack lockers. Stuff walks off in a public boarding barn. You need a place that you can lock up.

4. Indoor arena. In parts of the country that are visited by winter such as this area and indoor comes in mighty handy.

Now on to the stuff that would be nice but certainly isn't going to send me running if a prospective barn doesn't have it.

1. Hot water in the wash rack. I don't like to take a cold shower so I don't imagine the horse does either.

2. Free trailer parking. It would be nice if it were free but most places do charge a small monthly fee.

3. Within 15 minutes of my house. I don't think this is going to happen but it's nice to have dreams.

4. Close enough to a park with bridle paths that I can ride there, safely.

And all this for a reasonable monthly amount! I don't think I am asking too much, do you? Ha!

Please feel free to add your thoughts to this post. Everyone has had different experiences and can bring something to the table that I may not have thought of.