Friday, December 28, 2012

Better late then never.....

I just love this picture that Donna took at what proved to be the last Hunter show Pippi is likely to attend. It was at the very least the last Hunter show that Pippi jumped fences at. For the season I added some snow, and there you have it.

Happy New Year Everyone!!

After riding in the Dressage saddle twice, and finding no fault with it, I have decided to buy it. It is a Kieffer, and both my booty and Pippi's back seem to like it. My last test was the Canter as I wanted to see how I liked that gait with this saddle, but you know what that meant......I had to Canter!! 

Pippi has Cantered on the lunge line, but not under saddle since her injury, with no affect at all. So I knew I could go for it, but I kept putting it off. I am a highly intuitive person, and tend to act on feel. And there we were, trotting away, and then calmness and still sunk into our fibers and I asked for the Canter. And boy did we ................Trot at high speed, I asked for the Canter, ..............and holy smokes, who knew a horse could Trot that quick? Oh, right............ I had asked for the Canter! Caaan-Ter!! CAAAAN-TER!!! OK, well timed used of stick and Pippi propelled herself into it, tossing my innards about like wacky-mac tumbling in Italian dressing. But I found the rhythm, and for several glorious strides we cantered. Until I lost my beat and she wisely dropped to a Trot. We walked, halted and she was praised as though she just discovered the gait on behalf of all Equines. Treats, pets and loud exclamations telling her that she was indeed a "very good girl."  This was the first time Pippi was given a treat under saddle, (not sure I should do that, oh well....) and she learned that skill right away. She is quite a bit bendier than I thought, seems treats are just the incentive to whip that neck around.
After a little walking breather, we trotted again, and I asked for the canter again. This time going clockwise. And this time Pippi did not really hesitate, just propelled herself forward and we were off. Once again I was the cause of the drop to trot, and this time Pippi was already giving me "treat face" as soon as we halted.
That was "so totally treat-worthy" according to her, and her muzzle twitched and wrinkled with clear communication.
I may not have explained this but Pippi sounds like a college girl. Not quite a little girl, but surely not a woman, and with a lot of attitude and feelings of superiority as she a beautiful and knows it. She tends to exhale and turn her head away from me, saying "yeah, I knoooow!" before she gives in to my ridiculous "rules." In other words she is the Equine version of my daughter, who trained her, and who she fought epic battles with. And I adore them both, and they both have a tendency to make me want to kick puppies. But I digress....

So we are now cantering, and so I feel ready to start tackling lessons with BO. Guess I should tell her that..... EEEK!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Girth Tightening help / Dressage saddle trial.

Tightening the girth on my Synthetic saddle is a huge hassle. I struggle to get it tight enough and with the very stiff straps I have a hard time, which leaves the saddle too loose.
For me it is a matter of not having enough grip strength, my fingers just can not grip the straps hard enough and they slip. If I could just get a grip with my whole hand...........

After thinking about this on my way home from the barn, a solution came to mind and I post it in hopes that it may help another  weak grip rider out there.

I brought with me an old belt from home, and chose one that was made of canvas. I fastened it here so you can see what I did, although this saddle is clearly tight enough.

Slip your girth buckle on the strap first (no need to find a hole), and then slip your belt on strapping it into a hole below where you would like to fasten your girth buckle. Just like the picture.

My issue was that I did not have enough girth strap to wrap it around my hand, and not enough strength in my fingers to hold on when I pulled hard. With this extra belt, I could wrap it around my hand giving me A LOT of leverage when I pulled up. (I also stand on the mounting  block).

I hope I explained it all well, and that I helps make tacking up a bit easier for anyone with some arthritis like me. There are tools on the market, like The Belly Buster Girth Tightener, but I hear they make it quite easy to over tighten. Plus who wants to spend money when you can use an old belt. I chose the canvas belt since it is easier to wrap around my hand.

The irony in all this is that right after I figured all this out I found a Dressage saddle, and with that saddle the leather is so much softer I was able to tighten it with no assistance from the extra belt.

A friend is selling a used Kieffer Dressage saddle, and I am trying it out. Love that about buying from a friend; I can try and see if it fits Pippi! and I! So last night I tacked Pippi up, and we gave it a whirl.

 Here she is. Tacked up and wearing the new saddle pad I stitched for myself. (Saddle pad stitched on both sides with a Dressage rider and the words "And We Danced." So happy to make myself something!) 
Well, no one told me how much easier it is to hold position in a Dressage saddle! Wowser - it was like moving into a Luxury Sedan after riding the Greyhound bus. My legs dropped effortlessly below me, and I was snug and held upright by the design of the seat. I asked BO (and new Trainer) for advice on Stirrup legth and we dropped them another two holes which is about 3 inches or so. She thinks, and I agree, that I should go one more hole down, but I will have to work up (down) to that. At this point I would lose them probably.

The saddle was great, and with a bit of elbow grease I think it will good enough for showing too. I plan on trying it one more time before deciding, as I want to make it does not pinch the Pipster. I hear Kieffer is a great brand, not that I would know anything about that, and after checking online the price is more than fair.

Pippi did quite well for me. I was able, with the help of the new leg positioning, to get her to walk forward and quite straight at a very lose rein. New for me, as we are normally weaving. (all my fault) She is getting used to the longer leg, but our transitions are not crisp at all. Must get swifter at all gait changes and halts. Still just going walk/trot, and will wait a bit more before asking for the canter. (which should be an adventure, as she is a MAC5 at that gait and the transition (on her) tends to leave me behind) We are working on bends, and trot circles, and mostly just on getting in sync. I am having a blast, and find that I am not nervous (to my surprise) but just really enjoying riding her. Love this horse so much.
Please to enjoy some after ride pics:
"Do Dressage Saddles make me look fat?" (she is chubby)

"The other horses are eating........oh man....."

Monday, December 10, 2012

And then we Rode!!! (boring video)

I know I stated that I was going to wait to ride Pippi until December 29th, but I changed my mind. I changed it the moment Pippi, fully tacked, led me over to the mounting block last Wednesday, sidled up next to me and said "I'm ready, let's go."

Well, I didn't have my helmet with me, so I was not ready. Regardless of what Rick Gore says in his asinine Article I NEVER ride without a helmet. And you shouldn't either. But I digress.....

So Friday Donna came with me, and boy were we excited. You would have thought we were going on a cruise around the world. Counting the minutes, laughing with excitement the whole way there. What would happen? How would Pippi handle a rider again? Would she spunk out on me? How would I handle that?

I lunged her, and then mounted up with the lunge line still attached and lifelined to Donna.

  Oh, I know, wasn't that exciting?  Kind of hard to film when the horse keeps following you. And why oh why do I have to look like such a doofus in a helmet. Good ol' roundface. (Any suggestions for a helmet for an oval type head?) Since Pippi seemed totally calm, and the lifeline was such a hassle, we unhooked and free wheeled.

We are the "Green Team." (Another fascinating, can't take your eyes off of it, ride)

Mostly we just meandered about. Just enjoying the experience and chilling out. Donna and I joked about how anti-climactic it was. And about how the reason Pippi loves the hay there is because there is a lot of "weed" in, and that is why she is so relaxed and lazy. The extra poundage is more likely the reason, and hopefully the groundwork I have put in.
So we are back in the saddle. Since I waited it out until she was fully healed, only lunging during rehab, we can do both walk and trot right off the bat. I will do that for a while, before asking for the canter. After riding the other day her leg did not swell, and there was no heat at all.
So we are off.......

Friday, December 7, 2012

I'm Scared with you! (lightbulb moment)

As I may have mentioned a time or three (hundred) Pippi and I are tight, like................two flakes in a bail. I just came up with that one, and I like it. Like two flakes in a bail. That is how tight we are.
And I may also have mentioned that Pippi is a spookin' fool (literally a descendant) and so tends to over react to......the world. She is getting better, maturing and de-sensitizing has done some good. But if she feels that something is not safe, well then it is not safe. In the past I have shown her that the item, flapping feed bag for instance, is safe by walking right to it and touching it.

"its fine, Pip, juuus' fine, see?"

And she sees. But it does little to appease her, and so "the process" begins. She pulls away, we retreat/approach, I reassure, and we spend a lot of time depending on her level of fear.

So the other day, with a feed bag laying on the ground I did the same thing. Showed her that she was wrong, but this time I paid more attention to her. I really tuned in, and I could almost feel the "click" of her hanging up on me. The connection was broken, and she pulled back before I even approached her with scary object. I stopped and really looked at her, and tried to get the connection back.

We are tight, like two flakes in a bail, we feel together and stay together, but I was not doing that. When she was scared, it wasn't her that disconnected           IT          WAS       ME!! I was the one that left her, left her feeling all kinds of things by herself, and by just dismissing it I was actually making it worse.

So I changed tactics. I moved the bag up on the wall ledge, we walked around a bit, and then we approach it again. I was with her this time. The moment I felt her stiffen I also "noticed" the bag, and it also made me stop. I looked at her and acted like a curious but fearful mare. Snort, stretch neck, approach, retreat. The whole time making sure we were together. Lots of eye contact, I breathed in and out quicker, and just acted like a nutcase. I was scared mare too, but I was just a tad bit braver than her. I finally stretched my face all the way over to the bag and gave a loud sniff. I chose not to touch it, because Pippi does not have hands!!!!  Pippi looked at me with admiration (humanize animals much?) and followed my lead. She sniffed it too!! Found it was not scary either and we moved on.

This new process took less time, and the results were longer lasting. We could pass the by feedbag much sooner without a repeat performance. And so I learned another valuable lesson. Dismissing someones feelings never leads them to "get over it." Listen, feel and empathizing is the way. I knew that from my work experience, but I had not really applied it to the horse world.

Lessons learned.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The BIG Switch! (advice requested)

As I wrote in the previous post, Pippi is on the mend, and we will soon (relative term isn't it?) be riding once again. The date for the mount up is set for December 29th, unless there is a downgrade of her condition by then. She might even be fit to ride now, we are lunging, but I want to wait longer than necessary as I am afflicted with a condition called Worry-Wartism.

Anyway, a momentous decision has been made in lieu of the type of injury she sustained. We are switching disciplines and will from now on be, Drumroll please, doing Dressage.


Yeah that's right, Dressage! I have mulled it over for a while now, and I just can not talk myself into the idea of Pippi jumping again. The tendon is always weaker after a bow, and it is just not worth the risk when we could so easily switch. As stated before, I don't really care what we do, as long as we ride and learns and grow and have fun. I was jumping Hunters, because that is what Pippi does, and so if Pippi doesn't, well then I don't either.
The good news is that current BO can give me beginner lessons in Dressage, as she has a working knowledge of it, and can at least get me started. I really cool friend, offered to let me ride her horse to see what a dressage horse feel like, and I will take her up on that for sure. So I can ride my own horse, and have lessons on my own horse, and do it at home? Whats the downside? Not seeing Kara as often!! And that is a biggy for me as I adore her. I have not told her yet, but will this weekend, and I am sure she will understand. I would love to take Dressage lessons from her, but no truck to get Pippi there and I would rather take lessons on my own horse.
The plan is to start lessons as soon as Pippi and I are in fighting shape, so late January perhaps....

Meanwhile, with my scarce knowledge of Dressage, what advice do you have?
Start with what?
Work on what first?
What makes you love Dressage?


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

End of tunnel in sight

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I am impatient to get there. Feels like it has been a loooong road to recovery, but I realize that many times people have to wait much longer for their horses to recover and some times the horses dont. So I feel grateful that Pippi is nearing recovery.

At this point I am no longer keeping her leg wrapped, and she is doing great. Just a small knot left on the tendon, and I am not seeing any swelling or heat after work. I have asked for the canter twice on the lunge, and had her go about one circle (less actually) in each direction. She was shocked (I think) to get the cue, and kept speeding up her trot, and throwing her head, until I asked her to walk and the whoa. I walked up to her and we took a deep breath, and I petted her neck and told her she could canter. And off we went again.....

Walk up, trot and .....Canter! No hesitation, right lead right off, and smooth going. Trot a circle and walk. Good girl Pip.
Change Direction, and she picked up canter right away. I was pleased.

We have worked a lot on staying calm as Pippi can be a little bratty hot head at times. She will do so much and follow directions for a long time, and then all of a sudden she puts the breaks on. Kind of like "stop bossing me!!" "I'm not doin' it!" "Pre-teen brat"behavior from a pissy mare. Instead of getting upset, I reprimand, and ask again, until she finally understands that  I am not engaging in a battle of wills (cause only my will matter) and becomes compliant again. It is happening less and less, and I think/hope we are working through it.

We are nearing the time when I will once again mount up and ride her. I admit to being a bit apprehensive, as I wonder if she will be a mess after not being ridden for so long. But I am determined that it be me that rides her. Donna will come along and Pippi will be on a lunge line, just to be safe (mostly for my peace of mind.) This will happen near Yule, and although nervous I am mostly excited. Feels like a huge test of trust, both for me and Pippi. Its where the rubber meets the road, and we will see whether those that say she is too unpredictable for me is indeed right. Hubby is apprehensive after seeing Miranda dumped several times while jumping early on, and Miranda is apprehensive, well for the same reason. Pippi can be a little spooky and a stubborn, but I hope that this break and my groundwork has done some good. She is not a dangerous horse, but like I said she can get a little pissy and tests her riders. I can and will use my stick, and I may just have a drink prior to calm down as I hate to give off the wrong vibe.
(Pippi, and all horses (all animals), are very aware of and intuned with my emotional state. I am an open book to them, and when I am distraught I can set off even the most level headed mare. Selena, super mare, just about lost it with me after I had a long bad day at work last week. I was a stressed mess, and Selena became supercharged. And Kara had to stop me and remind me to breathe and de-stress.)

So will try to stay calm, have a drink if need be, and just enjoy the ride. My gut tells me it will be fantastic, and I am just excited to take charge and get on with our future riding together. I am seriously considering dropping jumping though and concentrating on dressage. Might be better all around, and with Pippi's leg she could only just smaller heights anyway.....

Monday, November 19, 2012

From Picture to Stitching

Kara, Trainer, is amazingly kind and all creatures reap the rewards of her giant heart. She fosters dogs for the local Humane Society and horses for a local rescue.
One of the dogs she adopted has a job that he just loves. He leads Butter from the field to her stall at the end of the day.
Here they are:

Kara saw the work that I did with Pippis' picture, and how I turned it into a stitched project, and she just wondered if I could do the same with her pair. And so after hours of playing with the image, and then digitizing it, and then working with that, here they are.
Archie and Butter:
Sorry, my test runs are always done on Felt and I stupidly used black. Oh well, you get the idea!

Hope you like it!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Free-Lunging Fool.

Mondays are my LOOOONG days. Work all day, lesson, then a 40 minute drive to see Pippi for an hour, then grocery store, home and all the chores there, plus I also had some sewing to do. This is why the barn and Pippi brings me such joy - the quiet!! Aaaahhhhh
Pippi and I have been working on "parking." My goal has been to get Pippi more compliant, but in a quiet way. Just sort of giving, not being forced, or feeling forced. So we are Parking. I give her the "whoa" command, then touch her on her bridle path and tell her "parked." And then I walk away repeating "whoa" whenever I sense she is thinking about moving. At this point I have left her in the arena, and walked out, into the tack room to put away items and pick up a treat, and she stayed parked until I came back. No ground tie, just halter.
So last night I stepped it up. "Parked" her and ran like a mad woman all around her, waving my arms, speaking loudly. I even ran over the "trail bridge" making a ruckus and she still stood parked. She turned her head and looked at me, but never moved a muscle. I even jogged towards her, stopped on bridge right beside her and she stood still. What a great horse!!

Then it occurred to me...............did I just teach her to "park" or did she just finally get me to "free-Lunge?" Makes you wonder.........

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Working on patience

It has now been over TWO MONTHS since Pippi bowed that tendon, and I am going a bit mental. Wanting to ride her is taking over my every thought, and I can't help but think that Kharma is trying hard to teach me some patience. Good luck with that, Kharma. Blech

So.........I have been keeping busy with ground exercises, and we are now even trotting a few circles once a week. With no increased swelling, well, no more than just the walking. Things are getting better, I am convinced of that, and we will get there. At this point it is important that we start moving a bit more, so that the tendon will heal without becoming tight and rigid. That of course is the reason they heal so slow, along with the lack of blood flow, because we are healing something that has to inherently stretch and bend. Pippi's leg is still wrapped, and when removed her leg looks perfect. Then after some "exercise" the swelling comes back. All normal I hear. the good news is that the swelling is different now, less and smaller if that makes sense.

I could mount up for some limited walking, but I have decided to wait. Until Yule, and then I will take a quick ride as a gift to myself (as long as I my instincts agree at that time.) If you are wondering if perhaps I am being too conservative, the answer is a resounding "HELL YEAH!!" I feel strongly that patience and care now will produce better results in the long run, and that it can't hurt. Meanwhile Pippi and I are building a relationship between just the two of us. No stress, just her and I working on things together. I want a willing compliant partner, and with the lack of deadlines, shows and pressure Pippi seems to be settling nicely this being her first time in almost four years of not being in high gear training mode. Might be a blessing in the long run. A nice break as she transitions from Miranda's competition horse, to Mom's hobby horse. I do intend to learn and grow as an equestrian, hence my lessons, and we may even compete, but it will be at a more leasurely pace and with less pressure on Pippi. Which I think will fit Pippi's nervous nilly tendencies better. ( I say that until Pippi allows me to fly over a jump without her. LOL)

Here is a pic of my latest 2-Point Bling Design. I am quite proud of it, and hope to make some ornaments with custom lettering out of it. Of course I can sew it on whatever the customer would want.

I am busy with several logos and have some work going on. Do wish I had more though.....

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pippi Ground Drives like a CHAMP!! (video)

I am so very very proud of my mare. WHAT A GREAT HORSE she is!!!

Last night I went to the barn, bringing along the surcingle and my homemade driving reins. We don't need anything too fancy for just giving this a shot.

Pippi has not ever tried ground driving, and neither have I. I have seen it done, and slept at the Holiday Inn Express several times, so off we went. BO's hubby gave me some tips in case she refused to go forward, but that proved unnecessary.
I strapped on the surcingle, and turned her bit upside down. 'Happy Mouth' which bends the same both ways, and this would give me a lower place to attach reins to bit, which in my 'extensive' research I had read to do. I googled and read several paragraphs on several sites, so clearly I am an expert. Attached reins to bit, took them through the D-rings in the middle of the sides, and walked behind her. She stood patiently and waited. After putting both reins in one hand, and starting the iTouch we were off:

The filming is horrendous. It was hard keeping the camera on her with one hand and the other trying to steer, and it is quite grainy and dark, but you get the idea.

Pippi rocked it!!

After this I dropped the filming and took the reins in two hands, still no lunge whip, and we did some really great turns, walked straighter and did a nice controlled walk over the "bridge." I was just amazed. Her willingness and calmness is just fantastic. So quick to learn and almost reading my mind.

During the drive home it occurred to me that Pippi has not had an extended break from training since we found her. For 3 1/2 years she has always (even after Miranda broke her leg and rode her bareback) been in some sort of training plan. This nice quiet break may be the best thing in the long run. It will give her some time off, and I can already see the changes mentally. So calm and ready to try something new.
Her concentration is amazing. Everything we are doing she breezes right through, and we are having a blast.

I also think it helps that I have no expectations except what we will work on. Don't care how it turns out, just expect to give it a try and work on it for however long it takes. Pippi and I are having the time of our lives.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Example of my work for 2-Point Bling

This is the Stitched out Drawing....

......based on this photo.

I have been working on doing stitched portraits of my horse Pippi, and the above is my first attempt. I like it a lot, and think that it looks a lot like my mare. Expression and everything.

When I showed the stitching to Donna, she recognized Pippi right away, even though she did not know I was working on this. So that is a good sign, right?

There are a few areas that I would like to change, but overall I am thrilled with the result.

So here is my question; I would love to offer to make 5x7 stitched portraits (on clothing, and/or framed) for sale of customers horses. This takes a lot of time and effort, making the drawing match and look right, and then  digitizing that and making sure it stitches nicely. So, how much is that worth? It will take me 5-6 hours per portrait, maybe less as I get better at it.

Please give me some feedback. Is this even something that you would buy? Thanks!

Friday, October 5, 2012

The move - from highs to lows to?

On Monday october 1st, Pippi moved to the new barn. It was sad, and a little bit exciting. We knew how much we were goign to miss seeing Kevin and Donna every day, and how much they would miss seeing us. By "us" I include Pippi.
When we arrived at the new facility the BO and her husband were there waiting for us. I showed her the health certificate, the shot record and Coggins, before Miranda unloaded Pippi. Pippi jumped off the trailer and perused her new surroundings. She was really up, and seemed thrilled at the opportunity to go somewhere. BO suggested that we let her run around the indoor to explore a bit. Brisk trot around the arena, checked out the open door at the view outside, sniffed and checked perimeter, and then a nice roll in the middle. She was happy.

The new facility is quite small, only five stalls, a washbay, a great tackroom and an mid sized indoor arena. Outside there are two fenced in areas, big enough to roam and get in a quick gallop. Trees, a creek, sloping terrain, YAY!! BO and Hubby are home all the time, so they rotate horses in and out, and take excellent care of the horses and the grounds. EXCELLENT care!!! BO is a Trainer (western mostly I believe, and AQHA), and used to work at a well regarded Equestrian School. BO's Hubby has worked with horses his entire life as well, runs a local riding club, and used to breed Paints. So he was thrilled to see a Paint horse, commenting that it was going to be great to have a bit of color around.

Pippi seemed to settle in well, until I came back the next day when she was completely deflated. No welcoming nicker, no nodding head, no excitement, and no eating of hay. And no interest in her neighbor. I knew she would have a tough time since she is so tied to me, and used to a lot interaction (spoiled as can be) with Kevin and Donna. We played in the arena, and I groomed and massaged. Stood with her in the stall, and she finally ate her hay. Spinning around as soon as I tried to leave, so my visit was extended. Stopped by briefly yesterday and gave her some carrots. She was more up, and was watching the horses outside.
Tonight Donna is coming with me, and we are tacking her up and spending some quality time in the arena. She can not be ridden until healed, and we have no real timeframe on that, but she needs to remember what tack feels like, and so we are tacking up every week. And then doing some groundwork under saddle.

I miss having her down the street, and I miss hanging at the barn with my pals, but I know I did the right thing. Pippi needs a safe dry, and flat place to turn out this winter, and the ability to be out in spurts rather than all in or all out. She will get to out on grass soon, maybe tomorrow, to check out the grounds, but again, it will be in shorter periods. We could leave stallbound, which would shorten her recovery time, but she would be miserable and possibly cause other damage to herself, so we are taking the long wait approach. And that is okay.

I have not taken any pics of the new place yet as I have not asked BO about it. But here is a pic of Pippi from the show where she was hurt:

My stunning Pippi!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Moved up the move

We are now moving on the First. October 1!!

It occurred to me that it may just be better to move on the first, rather than wait until Saturday. It keeps us from having to prorate the first months board, and as long as Kevin has time to haul us we are set to go. As usual the kind Kevin, Mr.Sure Honey, said yes. And the new BO, Denise, said that works great for her, so are are leaving in a week from today.

Yesterday I took our little pickup, Tacoma, to the barn, and loaded up all the things I don't need for Pippi right now. The jumps, poles, saddle racks, saddles, etc etc. Holy Motherload of crap. I am taking this move as an opportunity to organize, clean and perhaps pitch a few things. It is amazing all the items we have accumulated in the last four years. I left with an entire truck load full. FULL!!! of equestrian "must haves."
Drove slowly home so as not to jostle anything out of the truck bed as I had to leave the tailgate down due to the poles sticking out. Our garage now looks like a dirty tack store having a yard sale. MUST GET IT TOGETHER!!

We had a mini Horse Show at Donna and Kevins this weekend, it was exhausting but so fun. Cleaned stalls all Thursday evening, washed five horses Friday evening, and had a show Saturday. Whew!! And yesterday I had to get caught up on sewing, so I a bit frayed at the edges today.

Chance, the mini that Miranda normally shows (she is taking a break due to nursing school), was a GIANT PAIN IN THE .........!!! He fought me hard, and knocked me to the ground when I was putting hoof black on him. The little bugger. Then he kicked out at me during the halter class! So I lunged him, and he got his act together. He is just one those horses that needs his "ass beat" as Miranda says. (Not really beat, but he sure needs intimidation and a strong hand.) The judge clearly did not favor him, nor did "our horses" enjoy having strange horses on their home turf. Not the best showing for us, but as usual we had a great time.

Grandma (Donna's mother) came down and watched. I drove her down from the house, and she stayed for several hours. When I was taking her back up the barrel pattern was still set in the grass, so I drove the full pattern and Grandma Laughed heartily. I had rolled down my window and hollered "WooHoo" at the top of my lungs. She stated "you are just a bit crazy" and patted my arm three times. I Grandma speak that means "I adore you," as she is not the most verbally effusive.

So a great weekend. This coming weekend is the Reality Farms Equine Center (whew, mouth full) Annual Fundraiser Weekend. I have the shirts ready, and we hope to raise lots of money for Breast Cancer Research. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"That sounds good."

Just hung up the phone after a very productive chat with the Future BO, Denise. I like her, and I like her attitude towards horses and training.
We seem to have the same overall attitude about horses; take care of them, put their needs first and your ambitions second, and use them in the discipline they (the horse) are most suited for. That does not mean that you don't push and train your horse, but be honest and open minded enough to see what the individual horse can and can not do.

With this move I am trying to iron out future issues before they occur, be clear in my expectations and know theirs. I plan to ride in the evening, Denise rides during the day so that is fine. I plan to ride between 7 and 9pm, and Denise would like me to leave at 9 at the latest so that is fine. I plan to come over Monday, Wednesday and Friday around those times, and at differing times on the weekend. That is all fine. Denise already feeds the feed I use, No change -YAY!!
Denise understands and even applauds my mind set on waiting forever and three days before I resume training/riding Pippi due to the Tendon injury. I told her that when Pippi is cleared for riding, I still want to wait more, and Denise agreed whole heartedly.
I told her that if this injury proves to have changed Pippi's riding discipline, so will I change mine. If there is to be no more jumping, we will switch to Dressage I think. And Denise said that she never decides what a horse will do, the horse does. (she is a Trainer btw). What does the horse excel at? What does the horse seem to enjoy doing? What is in the heart of the horse? (a spooking horse does not a great eventer make, regardless of athletic ability.) Sure training can do wonders, but there is a reason NBA players are tall, and gymnists are short, and lawyers are attorneys. Just sayin'......

The move happens October 6th. I am ready, I think, but dread leaving Donna and Kevin. Kevin dreads Pippi leaving, and offered to buy her for a whole $100!!! So that tells you two things, he loves Pippi and knows that the actual amount is astronomical (due to me over pricing her as much as he undervalued.) Donna and Kevin are the best. The absolute best! And was it not for my wish to ride, get a hillside field, a bigger stall, an indoor arena, and not have to spend all my time feeding and scooping, Pippi would never leave their place. No place will ever be better for Pippi in terms of love and affection and care. She will miss them as much as they will miss her. But I hope to cajole them into visiting her as much as possible. Kevin is hauling her over there. He'd like to see the new place, and make sure it meets his approval for "his best buddy." Donna gets quiet and blinks her eyes a lot when we talk about the move, and I am sure there will be tears all around.

Pippi sure is a special horse to inspire this much emotion.......

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I'm Alive, just real busy

Quick update for those who wondered if I fell off the planet, or perhaps a horse which put me in traction and therefore  I am unable to blog. I did neither, just got busy, and tired. Too tired to ruminate online....

Pippi and Miranda went to the "big show;" Pippi spooked in arena 1 due to HUGE wide, busy looking jumps, but did quite well in arena 2. So a 50% success. She did however pull a tendon in the front left, no idea how or when, but is on rest until healed. Not sure how long that will take, but committed to giving recovery all the time it takes and then some.

Miranda is super busy with, and committed to, nursing school and is taking an Equine break to concentrate on that. She plans on taking over a friends horse in the spring, and continuing her riding with him.

Pippi and I are continuing our adventures alone, with occasional visits from Miranda. With the lack of activity Pippi is kicking about, and put her back legs through the fence, causing all kinds of booboo's. So with the fornt two being wrapped to support the tendon, she now has both hinds covered by meds to keep infection in sores at bay (and flies). She was in a small confined area, too small to run, but giving her a chance to stretch her legs for a moment. Rolled, and well there you have it.

In other news: Pippi is moving to a place that will give me some help (full board), her some room (for when she can run around again), a larger stall (while she is on stall rest), and an indoor arena for us to use through the winter, and the company of horses her own size (may she realize that she is EQUINE and not HUMAN!!!!) The move will happen early October.

"2-Point Bling" is taking off quite well. The breast cancer fundraiser is September 28 & 29th, and I have most of the shirts done for that ($10/shirt goes to the fundraiser). Have other orders also, so I am keeping busy. Spend most of the evening, apart from the time spent walking Pippi about, in the "sweatshop" as my hubby named it.

So there you have it......

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A song for our Horses

I'm not sure what Jason Mraz was thinking when he wrote these lyrics, or what he pictures when he sings it. When I hear these words I picture my Big Girl, my silent Partner, my Horse Pippi. Picturing the journey we have been on, all the hard work (and really hard falls) Miranda has endured, the labor of love all three of us poured into this, the love and attention to and from, and the arc of the transformation. Feel so lucky......

 "I Won't Give Up"

When I look into your eyes
It's like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise
Well, there's so much they hold
And just like them old stars
I see that you've come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?

Well, I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up

And when you're needing your space
To do some navigating
I'll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find

'Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We've got a lot to learn
God knows we're worth it
No, I won't give up

I don't wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I'm here to stay and make the difference that I can make
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use
The tools and gifts we got yeah, we got a lot at stake
And in the end, you're still my friend at least we did intend
For us to work we didn't break, we didn't burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I've got, and what I'm not
And who I am

I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up
Still looking up.

I won't give up on us (no I'm not giving up)
God knows I'm tough enough (I am tough, I am loved)
We've got a lot to learn (we're alive, we are loved)
God knows we're worth it (and we're worth it)

I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up

Thursday, August 9, 2012

"Limbkicks" stole all my time

Our son used to call the Olympics "Limbkicks" when he was a little fella and it stuck, so at our house that is what we call it. And boy are we all about the "Limbkicks" right now. 24/7 all about watching every sport they will feature and cheering for every Yankee and Weedgie that brings home a medal. Loving it too.

Other than that we are in high gear with "2-Point Bling," and I thought I would show you some items that I made:

My good friend (great friend) is throwing a Barn Party to launch my business and I am super stressed but excited. It will be on the 18th, so I have a bit of time to get ready. Hoping for more Barn Parties going forward.
 Meanwhile I am creating shirts for a local Wrecker (Tow trucks) for the owner and his four man crew. They are black polo's with the company name in electric blue. Just like his trucks.

Pippi is doing good. She has some feet issues, nothing major, some cracks and the farrier is coming soon. (I Hope). So we are not riding until she gets looked at, Not lame or anything, we are just being too careful as usual. Meanwhile, since she seems a bit bored and is acting like a moody Diva, Miranda and I took her for a walk. We have Pippi in our neighborhood, and so she walked down the street like some giant canine. Snorting and super excited to see something different. After pulling on Miranda quite a bit, and being reprimanded for forgetting about the human holding the lead line, she settled in although walked with quite some forward momentum. Long fast strides. She seems to love the excitement of just getting out and about, so there will be more neighborhood walks I am sure. I wondered aloud to Miranda about what we would do should she decide to lighten the load while on our walk. The poopy-scooper bags that dog owners use probably would not cut it huh?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Embracing the wonderful "Busy'ness"

Is that how that word came about? Business, I mean. I think that must be the case, because I sure am suffering from busyness right now. "2-Point Bling", please go like the Facebook Page, is keeping me on my toes, plus I have a "real" job and a family, and a horse, and dishes and laundry and .....and.....

Products should be trickling in, so soon I will be embroidering away. We now carry English breeches (Tuffriders for now, but more brands soon) and an array of apparel. Our first event will be August 18th, so please keep your fingers crossed and send some goodwill. My cool country chick all around kick ass friend Peg is having an open house barn party to launch my business and we hope to put our best hoof forward.

Meanwhile; please to enjoy some pics Donna took of Pippi on her first trip in the new trailer:
Pippi taking a look from her new ride.

"Wow, are those horses my size? Thought for sure I was the biggest horse in the world!"
(lives with only Miniature horses)

The Trailer and Kevin's Limo-Truck.
 "2-Point Bling" is taking part in the Annual Fundraiser weekend at Reality Farms Equine Center in New Concord, Ohio the last weekend in September. The event hopes to raise funds for Breast cancer Research, a cause near and dear to my heart as my Grandmother had breast cancer and my aunt did as well. There will be an Open show with classes for Hunter Jumper, reining and speed events (can't be be inclusive than that), and a Trail Ride Poker Run on Sunday. I will be selling t-shirts for the event, and donating $10 per shirt sold to the cause. The t-shirts are black with the pink Breast cancer ribbon and the words "Make the Cure a Reality." I will post pics of that shirt soon. Hope to be a part of many such important events in the future.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Battle of wills - I WIN!!!

My last post told of my unbridled joy at the possibility of trailering myself to a show. Well, it ended there, no Self trailering happened. The ball on Donny's truck did not fit my hitch, and it was really stuck on there and so we were stranded. Until Donny convinced us (Miranda) to let him come get us. She called him after I had said no, and he came and saved the day, as he so often does. That man is the bestest pal any young horse crazy girl could ever wish for.

Miranda did four classes, 2', on Saturday, and ended up with three blues and a red. I also competed, in the English Pleasure class, but Pippi would have none of it. She faught me every trot of the way, and I ended up forcing her on the rail as the rest of the group was lining up for placings in the middle of the arena. I was out of the running after all, Pippi had consistently done the opposite of what was asked for, but I was not about to give in. She was to listen to me or else.

On Sunday I was up first, and we schooled over the course. Yeah, that's right, I did a course. My first one!! (Do I have to mention that it was groundpoles?) Okay, it was groundpoles, but still!!!!! I was so excited, and learned the course, and was able to maneuver Pippi around it, and even get into 2-point at the right times. It was not until we were to leave the arena that Pippi decided to show me that she was boss, not me. According to her we were not due to leave the arena yet, and so the fight was on. Circle, trot , circle, trot, leave arena? NO!! Circle tighter, tighter, trot, leave arena? NO!!! It was two beasts locked in a battle of wills, two irritated females fighting for jurisdiction. Each believing the other incompetent and fighting for control.

In the end I competed with a stick, and used it whenever called for. Chalk it up as a win for me. Pippi really does not want me to ride her seriously, as I am her pal, and her soft place to cuddle. I get NO RESPECT!! That stick showed her otherwise. I ended up with three blue ribbons, and one red. Isn't that impressive?

The other person in the class was a young girl (12?) who was struggling to remember her courses. Still impressed? I thought so!
Donny says I should think of the other rider as a competitor in my division, rather than as a little girl. That sounds good. I am going with that; I kicked ass!!!

In other news: I launched my 2-Point Bling Facebook page, and would love it if you go like my page.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Embodying the Spirit!

I have told the story of how Pippi was named Pippi; after Pippi Longstocking, the hero of all Scandinavian girls. Pippi does indeed have four long stockings, and furthermore I wanted her to have the spirit of Pippi as she at the time was afraid of the world at large. She showed glimmers of fearlessness and heart, and I wanted to give her the extra shove.

Today it is I that need to embody the spirit of Pippi Longstocking, and Pippi the horse. I need to intone the Pippi mantra that I gave to Pippi those years ago. And the Mantra is:

"I had never done that before, so I just knew that I could. "

That's right. I have never done this before, so I just know that I can!!! Never done it, can do!!

What am I doing? Hooking my trailer up to a truck, going to the barn, loading Pippi and taking her to the show for the weekend. CAN DO!!!

Donny is letting us use his truck once he gets his horses to the show, and we just can't thank him enough. Miranda was given the all clear by Docs yesterday, so she can now compete with boots and no restrictions. With a show this weekend, and a trailer in the yard she was about to go out of her mind. Donny to the rescue!!

Just so you know; Kevin could/would take us, and could/would/perhaps even lend us his truck, but we just want to give the poor man a break. His truck is a show piece, we call it the limo-truck (heated leather seats even), and I just don't think my nerves could take the pressure. (And to be frank, his might not either, and being superkind he would still let us and then regret it the moment we drove away. )
Not that Donny's truck is not great, but should I leave a teenyweensie little scratch on it, it would be okay. I would still feel terrible, but its a work truck that has done work if you know what I mean.
Miranda has to work tonight, so I called my trusty sidekick, Donna, and after her heart skipped a beat she signed on. 


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pretty? Horse trailer? (pics)

Having waited for over three years to get a Trailer, we may have gone a bit overboard. Okay - we may have lost our minds!!! Our brains overloaded with Serotonin and we were up and running. 

2006 Adventure 3 Horse Slant with Dressing room

 Here is the Trailer we bought:
Pippi's area!

A few years ago I bought some wallclings, removable wall art, that I hated, but that is beside the point. They sent me some freebies with my order, that have been laying around in my craft room waiting for just the right nutty idea.  So, since I had it laying around.................

I decided to use it. The inside of the Dressing room door has some really cute magnets a friend gave me last year (so handy for showbills, etc), and some more butterflies from the wallcling kit. The "I Love My Horse" sign used to hang on Pippi's stall at our first Boarding facility, and we added her name in purple letters.
We are moving the spare tire out of the Dressing room asap, and I would like to decorate the rubber mat with some Krylon paint. And why not, right?
Disclaimer: In the future I will be selling "2-Point Bling" items from the Trailer at shows, and so I need the Dressing room to look cute. (Not that I am not crazy enough to have done this either way.) I have big plans, or rather small plans for a very small tight space, and will post more pics as I get things in order.

Miranda was a champ and cleaned the trailer with the help of the little girls that she watches as a nanny. What would I do without her? (Roll in the money I would have saved. Kidding.)

So are we in the running for Prettiest Dressing room or just plain nuts? 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Hitting the Trails West

I have heard of "putting the cart before the horse," but we went ahead and put the trailer before the truck.

I bought a Trailer!!!!! I don't have a truck, yet, but this is a start, right? Hubbies truck is too small, but once funds are replenished from this purchase, I can move on to buying a truck. YAY!!!

It is a 3 horse slant load,( you know, because we have one horse. Just thinking of the future, as I am sure Miranda will at some point acquire another horse, and so we will need the space) Adventure Trails West with a dressing room up front. Nothing fancy, but in great shape for a used trailer, and everything I dreamed of. After we get it cleaned up, not that it is at all filthy but I need to clean it to a spit shine to make it "mine," I will post more pics. The dressing room has a saddle rack and lots of hooks and bars.

The large sticker on the back door turned out to be a magnet, yay, and the other one peeled right off. Now all I have to do is remove the bronco rider sticker. I have a huge issue with stickers, really our whole family does and remove them whenever possible. (Often preferring sticky residue to the actual sticker, we have issues.)

Brought Kevin to get the truck, and not just because I needed him to haul it. I really wanted his opinion, and was nervous until he said "let's tow, and go." Miranda, Donna and I saw it last weekend, but with the storm, closed banks, could not go get it until yesterday. Kevin checked it out, as we had done, and found nothing to be concerned about. Some scratches, and minimal wear and tear, but that's was all. His opinion gave me reassurance, plus, as I told him, if it turns out to be a dud it is now his fault. Yeah, I prefer to blame others than at any point take any responsibility. It really is better, you should try it.

 So we hooked up, and towed it home.

After waiting for three years for this I felt like waving to strangers all the way home, and did tell everyone at the gas station to check out my new trailer. As is usual in our neck of the woods, everyone was kind and generous, and the attendant even watched as we pulled away, waving and smiling. When I exited my house this morning I was in awe; it was not a dream!!! I don't think anyone saw me as I ran to it, and stroked it lovingly calling it "my precious." But if they did, I don't really care, they are just jealous!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Not much to report........

We were one of the lucky ones; lost power due to the storms for only 2 days, and had minimal damage to our house. A few shingles off the roof that hubby repaired, picked up a lot of sticks and such in the yard and we were back to normal. The barn and all the horses were just fine, and the power came back at the barn after three days. Fans are now blowing keeping them cool through the super heat we are experiencing.

We have ridden a little. The heat makes it less than fun, and we obviously do not want to tax Pippi too much. Mostly we have spent time making shirts, and I hope to deliver my first batch this weekend. Having lots of fun with that.

Hope to have some exciting news soon. So keep checking back.

Hint? Hitting the Trails West...........

Monday, June 25, 2012

And now for some GREAT News!

As some of you may know, I am looking at you Amy, I have been dreaming of starting my own little business for some time now. The ideas were many, and some quite ridiculous, but all were somehow related to horses.
So...............drum roll please...............

That is the little label I created to place on my embroidered Equestrian items, in my new little business called
"2-Point Bling."
Here is a bigger version of the pic.

I know. I am quite fortunate to have such a pretty girl for my promo shot, and I think Miranda looks pretty nice too. (kidding) Miranda is wearing one of the items that I made, and she was the one to come up with this pose. Isn't it just perfect?

The idea behind "2-Point Bling" is that all riders like a little fun in the Equestrian wardrobe, and that "bling" is not just for the Western Riders. Hunters, Eventer, and Dressage riders may not be able to compete with Sparkly clothing, but we would like to add a little fun in our schooling items, and maybe even a little hidden "bling" in our show attire. So "2-Point Bling" was born.

I am now in the stages of making product, and will be posting more pics soon. Each item will be unique. There will only be one in that color, on that shirt, or in that placement etc. So if you purchase a "2-Point Bling" item, you will not go to a show and see five other people in exactly the same shirt. We all dress alike anyways, with the breeches and showcoats, it's fun to have a unique schooling item. Right?

Soon I will be taking my items to local stores, and hoping to get some sales started. I am not taking orders as I have my full time job and family to consider. As much as I would like to allow costumers to design their own, I do not have the time to fulfill order deadlines.

In the coming weeks I will post a picture of a special shirt here on my blog, and we will have a contest. What size do you think the shirt should be?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

He will be missed greatly......

I went home from work yesterday, trying to wrap my head around the fact that my Grandpa had left us. I am so fortunate to have had such a fantastic Grandpa, and that he lived to be 94. We will miss his love, guidance and sense of humor.

Pippi was in the field when I came to feed her last night. I walked out, and stopped a few feet away as she grazed. She gazed at me, lifted her head, and looked at me for a long time.

"What is it?"

"Farfar doede i dag."

I tend to speak Norwegian when we are alone. She sighed deeply, walked slowly over to me, lifted her head over my should, and pulled me close.

It's going to be okay.................

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mind numbing sadness

Just wanted to give those of you who kindly follow my blog a quick update, as I will probably be spotty at posting for a while.

Our very loved and cherished family patriarch is dying, and I am having a hard time dealing with the reality of this. My grandpa is the most honorable, and honest person, and someone who has been my hero and cornerstone all my life. I am indeed fortunate for having had him for 42 years, and cherish every memory and moment with him.

Whether I will go home is still up in the air. He made me promise years ago to not to go see him on his deathbed, as he stated that it is truly "one of those things one does alone" and that he would rather me not see him other than as "the sexy man that women salivate over."

So, I will post soon...........

Monday, June 11, 2012

A shout out for Stumpy

This is Stumpy:

Stumpy is my familiar, as in a "witchs' familiar." According to my hubby, that is. 
He has a point, Stumpy is my constant companion when I am home, where I am there is Stumpy. 

Stumpy is a Short Hair Exotic cat, and named Stumpy due to his lack of tail. He was born after an emergency c-section where he was stuck. They tried to pull him out, and sadly removed his tail in the process. Thought to be dead by the Vet, they took a chance and rubbed his little body vigorously, and brought Stumpy back.

Animals can bring such joy, love and companionship, and Stumpy sure has added all of that and more to my life. His Aunt, JingleBelle, is my life's greatest gift (I dreamed of a true Persian since I was nine), but after this weekend, I want to give Stumpy the spotlight.

I suffer, agonizingly, from Migraines. They come on quick, and rob me of precious energy and time. Saturday Afternoon went from being a great day out with the hubby, and a promise of some yummy dinner out, to an afternoon and evening/night in the basement. I chose the basement for the cool air, the extreme darkness and the quiet. Fan hitting body, not face, ice packs on neck, wash cloth for eyes. At four-thirty I went to bed, and the next morning it was finally over. (can't take meds right now as I am scheduled for a small procedure soon)
My family knows to stay away when I get a migraine; don't even check on me for fear that they will wake me if I get some precious sleep.

As I lay there, rolling back and forth trying to find any semblance of comfort, and wondering if I should in fact just go to the hospital for a shot, I had a friend by my side. As I vomited, two soft paws where leaning on my shoulder, and whiskers would tickle my face. When I slept he would retreat, but as I woke he was right there. Softly greeting me with little meows, soft purring, and kneading paws. I don' recall ever waking without him, and he handled my frustrations and rantings with ease. Curling up with front paws on my shoulder, kneading and smooshing his face into my neck.
We stayed like that for fourteen hours. The migraine downgraded to a severe headache after midnight, and then we slept. Human and Cat, side by side, wore out by being the sick one and being the caretaker.

From now on when I hear people say that loving an animal is ridiculous, or that animals have no soul, I will always remember the night that Stumpy kept vigil. For that is how it felt to me. I was not alone for I had Stumpy to watch and care for me. (I was also told by hubby that JingleBelle stayed on the top step of the basement stairs most of the evening, leaving only a few times.)

So Thank you Stumpy, and JingleBelle too. You have more than earned the right to wake me for some emergency cuddles at three am. JingleBelle, you may refuse water because the boys drank first and left some hair (you still could bury your treasure in the litter box though). Stumpy; feel free to bite the treats in half leaving pieces on the floor, and you are forgiven for always placing your mug right in front of mine right as you sneeze. I will try harder to remember that you need a chair when I use the sewing machine, and get less annoyed at the grey hairs covering my work slacks.

You are worth your weight in gold, well...............actually you are priceless!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wise words from Eric Lamaze

While in college, Social Services Technology Major, we learned a lot about the human condition, and the human psyche. It was fascinating to me; The idea that there are better ways to communicate, and more effective ways to ensure compliance and success through better communication and positive interactions. I admit to testing a few things out and finding a lot of them really worked when working with the dreaded "public."

This week Horse Junkies United posted a video of an Interview they were lucky enough to be able to do with Eric Lamaze. In The Interview Eric Lamaze speaks of what he is doing with the six horses he has in training right now. (After Hicksteads passing last year he is trying to find a suitable replacement, and has several horses in training.) He was asked how he is bonding with these new horses, and this is what he said:

"I wouldn't say that I have bonded with them yet, like I can, I am still getting to know them, they are getting to know me. It's a big learning year you know, coming here (Spruce Meadows) is a big part of getting to know them. Every show that I go to I end up changing something on the horses, changing bit, or the way I do the morning training, things like that, you know, so we are still learning what they like. Dealing with horses it is all about doing what they like.  And trying to make their lives easier, and not to make their life difficult, you know, and once you accomplish that you find that they work for you a lot better, so we are not being too forceful with them, we are just learning what they like, and we are trying to adapt ourselves to that. And then there is time when we tell a little of what we like, and see how much they can take of it. You know we are still at that stage, you know, even our feeding program, how much to feed them, playing with their energy level, we have a lot to learn."

This portion of the interview brought back a lot of memories from college.
Our Professor of Sociology would drill into our heads this statement : People have the right to be wrong!!

By this she meant that one part of our inalienable rights, is the right to be dead wrong! Clients will/can/do make bad choices, they have the right to do so, and part of my job is to make the right choice the most appealing one. Sure, the easiest way to ensure good choices is swift punishment for the wrong choice. Non-compliance with program rules = loss of assistance/perks/housing etc. This, however is less of an incentive for compliance than you may think. It works great as a reminder to the rest of the clients of what will happen if/when they make similar choices, but rarely does it serve as a lesson to the offender. I just lost a client, who now is giving me the "one finger salute" on their way out the door. I lose money every time I lose a client, so the best bet is to make sure that they are happily compliant.

"Trying to make their lives easier, and not to make their life difficult, you know, and once you accomplish that you find that they work for you a lot better."

I couldn't agree more. Making sure that clients (horses) in a housing complex (stable) know that we are providing a service, and that their best interest is something we have in common, is key. Clients (Horses)need to know that I am on their side, helping and assisting, and also that I will/can/do lay the hammer down if/when I have to. Each client (horse) is different, and I have to find out what their triggers are, what makes them function best. Some need a firm set of rules, and will push around anyone who shows even a bit of kindness, and they will rise to any challenge to show you that they can do it. Some need a lot of encouragement, and praise, and look to others for self esteem before attempting even the slightest change. Sound familiar?
In other words, I am constantly "changing bits and playing with the feed and energy level" to find a good fit. For a while I became too angry, and too bossy, and I am now attempting to find the softer side without losing the edge that makes me effective when dealing with bullies. Having happy clients (horses) makes for better interactions, better results and a more positive environment. Pushing a client (horse) into compliance may work for a while, but resentment will build up, and the smallest spark will ignite a massive explosion. And before you know it the entire complex (herd?) will be in disarray.

Like with our horse, Pippi, who can not give me the "one finger salute," but she can dump my ass and become a dangerous animal. A horse needs to know that you are the leader, but you also need to find a way to make the horse happy in the job they are to do. When we first met Pippi, she was untrained, and we had no idea what her future would hold. She proved to be a Hunter/Jumper, and her big white APHA rear was not going to be hindrance as far as she is concerned. No matter that her entire line consisted of Western Pleasure/Halter horses, she loved jumping. Most horses can do most things, but seem to excel at the things they actually are suited for and enjoy. Pippi showed us what she wanted to do, and she is quite good at it. We would have been fine had she chosen Barrel Racing as her chosen path, but she showed early on that jumping was her thing. (She will jump on her own, spin around and jump the other direction with little to no encouragement.)
I loved the fact that a Rider of Eric Lamaze' caliber spoke of the importance of bonding, and making your horse happy. A happy horse, who feels validated and has a job they are suited for, will perform better and go further. It's not just training, training, training; it's bonding, enjoyment and happiness that makes a winning team. Whether with clients or with horses. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

"Stranger Petting" is Bad!

On Facebook today I saw a question that read : "what is your horse's favorite treat?" I answered that I wish it was the fingers of the lady that was feeding our mare grass over the fence Saturday, as it would serve her right!!

What gives people the idea that it is okay to enter onto Private Property to pet and hand feed a horse? The nerve!! Never have I seen a person enter someone's backyard to pet and feed a cute puppy, so what is the deal?

Pippi's paddock is at least 50ft from the property line, and although the property is not fenced in, you can clearly see where it was mowed. But on Saturday when we came home from the mini show, there was an adult lady standing at the fence feeding Pippi grass. (Pippi was in the dry lot since we left early that day, and was about to be turned onto the grass field) I was livid, and Miranda decided to be the one to approach the lady as she thought she would handle it with less bloodshed. All that Viking blood coursing through my veins, begging me to pillage and dismember, can at times over ride my ability for polite exchanges. And she was right, I would have gone "berserk" in true Viking fashion.

I did however give the lady a look. You know the one; leave or face my wrath!! Miranda walked over, and told the lady that Pippi bites. She doesn't bite as a rule, (but I am considering training her to) but she could, as can all horses. The lady said "Oh, I thought you didn't want me to feed her." Oh really, you thought that did ya? Then why did you, you nincompoop!! When Miranda tried to explain that horses can be dangerous she acted as though she just could not believe that Pippi would ever hurt her! She was told to not approach our horses, and walked away, but not before giving me a smug look when Pippi did not come running when I called. Of course she didn't, she was being fed over there. Yes, Strange Lady of infinite equine wisdom and kindness, my horse likes you better than me! I am a horrible owner that would allow my horse to stand around in a dry lot all day (with access to plenty of water, and access to her own shady stall with hay).

Yesterday four "Private Property" signs went up, and I emailed the sign company today asking them to print horse specific signs that read "DO NOT FEED THE HORSES," "DO NOT APPROACH HORSES," and a picture of a person petting a horse with a large red X over it. I explained how this is an issue for horse owners everywhere, and that they might find some profit in selling those.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

You knew you were an Equestrian when.....?

I have often wondered and pondered about when I would consider myself an Equestrian, and I think I have finally come up with the answer for me. I will be an Equestrian when I feel that I can ride the Canter with competence! So pretty soon!! Yay!!! Riding all gaits is, to me, the test of an Equestrian, as it shows a level of competency and skill. I will not stop learning, obviously, as my goal is to jump fences. How high? I don't know, guess we will see how I like it and how good I am at it.

But there are more "subtle" signs of becoming an Equestrian, and here are a few of mine:

That is the space between my steering wheel and the dashboard of my car. Clearly I need to vacuum my car, and clean it,(the fact that I have a filthy car may be another sign) but that is not the point. I have a huge aversion to having my car filled with junk, but as you can see I don't have any problem with the fact that I have not vacuumed it out the for several months.That stuff way down in that crevice, is HAY!!! Hay!  Hay? How in the world do I get hay all over my car? To the point that it is now stuck in crevices.

This is the only thing in the back of my car. My schooling helmet! You know for those days when a riding emergency arrises. Sometime I may be driving to check on one of the properties I manage, when I stumble across a horse that must be ridden right away. Actually I keep it in the car so that I always have it for my riding lessons with Kay.

(Again, I need to vacuum out the car. I see that now.)
These are the shoes I slip on to go to the barn where I change into boots, either muck boots or riding boots. And the rubber mats did not come standard with the Prius, I bought them due to all the muck we drag into the car every day.  Four seasons of mucking stalls, and sloshing through rain, snow and mud sure has taken a toll on the little Hybrid, but 134,000 miles later and we are still puttering along (Prius drivers putter because we are always watching the Mpg gauge to see how high we can go.)

I could have taken a picture of the callous in my hands from mucking stalls, the smattering of sawdust and hay on my office floor, or a picture of all the picture files on my computer that would show that a good 70% ,at least, are horse related. Then there is the fact that my hubby just takes it for granted that I will be spend my evening partially (hah!) at the barn. Etc etc.............

What are the signs that you are an Equestrian? And what happened to make you feel that you were in fact an Equestrian?