Thursday, March 25, 2010


You know, there are some who despise her, and maybe for good reason (I've never met her that I know of, but she does originate from the same area that I do, so I MAY know her and not know it), but every now and then she sure hits the nail right on the friggin head.

Fugly Blog

Seriously, I try to make room for the NH'ers, too. It is a big world out here, after all. And many of the beginners and newbies who normally would let a trainer do EVERYTHING and not even bother to get to KNOW their horse....well the NH videos can help them play games and gain confidence. I want to be a fan of anyone who is spending quality time with their horse. But, then, like Fugs pointed out, sometimes one of them NH'ers comes along and just burns my a$$, and this is one of those times.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Whew! 9 Lives?

What a weekend! A refreshing whirlwind, and I truly feel ALIVE in a way that only horses can make me feel. This crap is in my blood; there is just no denying it. By the way, still no news on what's going on with our one has contacted us.

CJ and I had a real big weekend with lessons. This would be my true test of his soundness, since we were booked full both days, other than the time slots set aside for Dancer's training session and Toi's training session. I had to work at my job on Saturday morning, then I headed straight out to the barn for my 1:00 session with Dancer and Kelli.

Dancer was quite good, considering her reluctancy to WORK lately. She is happy to run and buck and play with CJ, but if you tack her up and ask for more than a walk, she gives me that ugly face and swishes her tail, bogs completely down and sometimes even kicks out when I squeeze! She was better on Saturday, though. We worked almost solely on our upward transition to trot and she did very well. My 2:00 lesson was with a young man named David, age 9, I think. I decided to use Dancer for "follow the leader", a fun game that I play with my kids. Sorta like Red Light/Green Light, but more exciting because I don't announce what I'm doing as they follow me. I just do it. So, they develop the habit of looking UP and developing good feel for where their mount is at. CJ loves to follow Dancer, so this would be a breeze. We go about twice around the indoor arena, and as we're coming down the rail at a nice trot clip, I feel Dancer stumble. The area of the arena that we are in when this happens is a little valley, then a hill, then a valley. VERY slight, but has been this way for years. Anyway, ...stumble....wait for recovery....forever passes, and I realize that she is not recovering. I am sailing through the air, and my glance down only reveals the complete folding of Dancer's left front leg before I hit the dirt, about 3 feet in front of her; my head BOUNCES off the arena floor. I lay there a second, clean some of the dirt from my teeth and wipe it from my eyes, just in time to hear a fellow boarder come out to us, run right past me, and go to Dancer's head. Dancer is still on the ground, laying on her side, and making some weird hiccup-y noises. Poor girl knocked the wind out of herself!! Keep in mind, she's 17 hands and 1400 lbs. Boarder tries to encourage Dancer to get up. Dancer's not having it. My eyes slide down from Dancer's head, to the dressage saddle of Jennifer's that I borrowed that day, to the stirrup leathers, to the iron....with my left foot still in it. I almost had a heart attack. Yes, my head was pounding and I felt like a freight train had hit me, but my biggest horsie fear is that I'll be dragged. I couldn't get my foot out of there fast enough. Thank God Dancer was calm and not in a rush to get up, or hadn't panicked and run off. I'm sure I'd not be here to relay this story. Anywho...I have a black eye now.

Ouch. But, really, it didn't hurt. I didn't even notice it until after I got home many hours later, stepped out of the shower, peered in the mirror and said, "Why didn't my makeup come off?" and then tried using makeup remover. PSA of the day: Makeup remover WILL NOT remove a black eye. HA!

Anyway, Dancer was fine. No swelling, no heat. I linimented her twice that day; once right after it happened, around 2:15, and then again at around 7:00, right before I went home.

Oh, and folks, I wasn't wearing a helmet. Dumbass.

I got through the rest of my lessons for Saturday, and I was proud of that. My body hurt SO bad but I doped up on Advil, washed it down with a Miller Lite, and went to bed. Woke up yesterday (Sunday) morning, and my head felt fine. The rest of me DID NOT. I want to pad my clothes with Kleenex or something, but I just get dressed as normal, and drive out to the barn for another day of lessons.

Here is my navicular horse, riding in the outdoor arena for the first time this year. Forgive the Kimberwick (he hates it), but I wanted to be sure my lesson kids had the control they needed. We only used half the arena to keep him focused on his job and not distracted by his pals who were all sun-batheing and playing in the rear paddocks.

Hopefully, that 2nd vid will be done processing by the time I post this update. If not, hopefully this link will work?

See any signs of 4 years of navicular?

So, gang, what're your thoughts on Dancer's stumble and fall? We were fearing EPSM before this happened (reluctance to move forward due to muscle pain/fatigue was a huge red flag), but the vet ruled that out without testing her today. He advised we start her on a high intake of Vitamin E (no added selenium), though. I have heard of E for EPM, but not EPSM. Strange. I love my vet, and trust him a ton, but I also found it strange that he wasn't alarmed about our fall. I described the incident to him, and he didn't have much to say. He did mention that I shouldn't be surprised if Dancer is much more careful about the placement of her feet from here on out, though. Ha ha. Funny funny man.

CJ received a body score of 5, *** insert victory dance here *** and many comments about what great condition he was in. When the vet asks you what your secret is, you just HAVE to feel good, right? He got his teeth floated, Coggins pulled, spring shots, and doc collected a fecal. Same for Toi, minus the teeth float, which he received last fall. So, all in all, a good day.

Here are some shots of some of my favorite student moments yesterday.

CJ and Victoria, above. Victoria was TERRIFIED when she started riding with me 2 years ago. She's a lovely quiet rider, and really tunes in to CJ very well. He adores her, and tries his heart out to make her feel safe. When she says "trot" with that tremble in her voice, he just jogs. I love him.

Here is their "trot". HA! It's his jog, for sure. I sometimes feel sorry her as she posts to that, but hey...if it's her comfort zone, who am I to question?

Focus-faced Victoria and CJ. He has one ear on her and one on me since I'm crouching like a weirdo. I can tell he wants to stop and ask me WTH I'm doing on the ground, but he has a job to do. Jog on.

HA! Practice makes perfect. Victoria masters bending a horse at something faster than a walk! :)

I think this time the ear on Victoria is due to his concern; she's assuming fetal position, and he knows to stop trotting when that happens. Lovely scenery, yes? Complete with step stool/mounting block device!

And, I'm going to sign out and leave you with one of CJ's youngest riders, posing for their photo. They were so cute in all their blue!! I took a video of them, but it didn't come out right. Aren't they a lovely pair? :

Saturday, March 20, 2010


I'm still alive. Still no news on the status of our residence...

I have tons of lessons this weekend, and you're all overdue for pics, so I'll get some this weekend and post em on Monday.

Happy Trails!

Monday, March 15, 2010


I apologize for being quiet. The house we live in (and have for the last 10 years) is being auctioned today. My nerves are shot. I don't really have a Plan B. For that matter, Plan A is a flop, too. I'll be back when the dust settles, buds.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Bump In The Road

I don't even know if I should call it that. I've come to expect them; they are part of the package with horses, and of course if you have a horse with any physical issues (or mental ones, as well) you have more bumps on that road than your average horse owner.

All in all, we've been coasting along pretty danged well. My farrier, Autumn, is friggin phenomenal and she pretty much single-handedly had stopped my horse from limping. ONE TIME, after pulling the PHW's (see this site for more info, if you want Applied Equine Podiatry and do some digging...very enlightening stuff), he was sore after she came out: The PHW's are wonderful, but can be difficult to remove (the glue is SUPER strong!) and I do believe his RF was torqued from poor little Autumn's attempts to get the PHW off. He was sore for less than a day, and that was the last time he had a head-bob. He has been out of the PHW's now for almost 2 months, and hadn't taken ONE lame step. Matter of fact, now that his "navicular shoes" are off and his hoof is well-balanced, he has also stopped dragging his toes in the back....the squareness he had on both hind toes is GONE. Trust me, you feel it when you ride him, too. A true spring in his stride...yay!

But, this past Saturday morning, I was at work when my cell phone vibrated. It was a text message from Jen (my best friend), telling me that CJ was off, and that I may have to cancel any lessons that I had scheduled for that afternoon. I called her immediately, and she said that one of my lessees was there to ride CJ, and Jen noticed him walking a bit gingerly, so she interrupted the lessee before she could ride, and checked him out. She said he had a distinctive head-bob, and it appeared to be his RF. I told her I planned to come out right after work, and to tell my lessee that she can't ride today. I picked up my daughters after work at around 12:30 and we made the drive (45 minutes, by the way) to the barn. I grabbed CJ and Dancer and put them both in the indoor to run. Yep, although he didn't want to admit it, running and bucking, nipping and squealing with his best girl, CJ was absolutely lame on the right front. Damnitall.

When they were done playing and rolling and being goofy, we groomed him up, crammed a bunch of pears down his throat and then tracked down the barn owner. Instructions were given for 1 gram of bute at dinner and 1 gram of bute at breakfast, and I would be back out Sunday morning to see how he was. I was bummed, as it had been almost a year since he had required any bute whatsoever. Navicular my a$$. I worked Toi and went home.

Sunday morning, my daughters and I pack up the van and prepare for a long lesson day, just in case CJ was all better. We arrive to the barn fully prepared to have just another grooming/loving/treat-giving session. Pull him out, throw him in the arena, limp. Not even a little one. Free lunged him both directions, w/t/c and gallop. Nothing. I have Autumn clip the lead on him and trot him away from me and back a bunch of times. Nada. Nothing. WTH? Well, we take what we can get, so...on with the day! :) CJ went on to provide several wonderful lessons to several very grateful kids and adults, ate a bunch of apples and pears, got a good rub-down and a huge pile of hay, and we headed home.

I can't figure it out. I guess I'm not supposed to.

Popped out there last night after work, threw on his bareback pad and bosal, and in the arena we went. I hopped up, warmed him up, and then loped some circles. Solid as can be. Even his brakes were sharp! It was a fun ride, and we had Dancer and Kelli join us, which was a huge honor! My new barn friend, Marissa, came in to watch Dancer (she LOVES her) and chatted with us a while. We did a lot of sitting around on our horses and talking. I remember when I was younger, I would see the older folks doing that a lot, and I often wondered why they even had horses...couldn't they just get together at the coffee shop to talk? Why weren't they RIDING?!  Now that I'm older, I totally understand.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Me, 50 Years From Now

I just thought this was the coolest, so had to share:

A page from an 87 yr old horsewoman's journal

I Ride

I ride. That seems like such a simple statement. However as many women

who ride know it is really a complicated matter. It has to do with power

and empowerment. Being able to do things you might have once considered

out of reach or ability. I have considered this as I shovel manure, fill

water barrels in the cold rain, wait for the vet/farrier/electrician/hay

delivery, change a tire on a horse trailer by the side of the freeway, or cool a gelding out before getting down to the business of drinking a cold beer after a long ride.

The time, the money, the effort it takes to ride calls for dedication. At

least I call it dedication. Both my ex-husbands call it 'the sickness'. It's a

sickness I've had since I was a small girl bouncing my model horses and dreaming of the day I would ride a real horse. Most of the women I ride with understand the meaning of 'the sickness'. It's not a sport. It's not a hobby. It's

what we do and, in some ways, who we are as women and human beings.

I ride. I hook up my trailer and load my gelding. I haul to some trailhead

somewhere, unload, saddle, whistle up my dog and I ride. I breathe in the

air, watch the sunlight filter through the trees and savor the movement of my horse.

My shoulders relax. A smile rides my sunscreen smeared face. I pull my ball

cap down and let the real world fade into the tracks my horse leaves in the


Time slows. Flying insects buzz loudly, looking like fairies. My gelding

flicks his ears and moves down the trail. I can smell his sweat and it is perfume to my senses. Time slows. The rhythm of the walk and the movement of the leaves become my focus. My saddle creaks and the leather rein in my hand softens with the warmth.

I consider the simple statement; I ride. I think of all I do because I

ride. Climb granite slabs, wade into a freezing lake, race a friend through the

Manzanita all the while laughing and feeling my heart in my chest. Other

days just the act of mounting and dismounting can be a real accomplishment.

Still I ride, no matter how tired or how much my seat bones or any of the

numerous horse related injuries hurt. I ride. And I feel better for doing


The beauty I've seen because I ride amazes me. I've ridden out to find

lakes that remain for the most part, unseen. Caves, dark and cold beside riversfull and rolling are the scenes I see in my dreams. The Granite Stairway

at Echo Summit, bald eagles on the wing and bobcats on the prowl add to the

empowerment and joy in my heart.

I think of the people, mostly women, I've met. I consider how competent

they all are. Not a weenie amongst the bunch.. We haul 40ft rigs, we back

into tight spaces without clipping a tree. We set up camp. Tend the horses.

We cook and keep safe. We understand and love our companions, the

horse. We respect each other and those we encounter on the trail. We

know that if you are out there riding, you also shovel, fill, wait and

doctor. Your hands are a little rough and you travel with out makeup or hair gel. You do without to afford the 'sickness' and probably, when you were a

small girl, you bounced a model horse while you dreamed of riding a real