Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Getting My Horse Fix

I so needed just to get home after work and ride. The urge was so bad that I stopped the truck at the barn when I got home and pulled Cora out to the round pen and just got on, laid back and let the sun beat on my face. She was wondering what the heck I was doing but gave in and stood there quietly while I decompressed.

After 15 minutes of just sitting there, I got up and headed to the house. Did a few things inside and then headed back to the barn. I had a hot date with a gorgeous boy planned.

Saddled him up, longed him a bit and climbed aboard, chose not to use the fence tonight so that meant I had to STRETCH that leg up to the stirrup. Hey, I was pretty dang proud that I can still stretch that high :) Whoo hoo, he felt great. Started at a nice walk in the roundpen and built that up to a trot. He was getting reacquainted with his bit..I’ve been riding him with a halter lately. Once we came to terms on that, we trotted and trotted and trotted. I’m starting to get in sync with him, he’s a different ride and feel than Cora is, as I’ve stated so many times. Trotted in circles, trotted in figure 8’s, reversed directions and all of that was with him moving off my leg like he should be doing. He was extremely light and responded fast at every cue that I gave. Princess Cora stood by the barn sunning herself, but I could tell she was still watching. Newt was also out with us watching what was going on. After working in the roundpen, I decided that my boy was going to take me to town, which is only about 1 mile.

Feeling 10 feet tall
Cora wasn’t too pleased and voiced her displeasure as we headed down the driveway. I saw her a few times racing around in the pen, tail flagged and not a happy camper.

I started out by just hand walking him down the drive. I didn’t know what kind of reaction I’d get from him with Cora screaming in the background. Plus, he hadn’t been rode down the drive in quite some time…playing it safe especially when I am the only one home! Got to the end of the drive, dropped him in the ditch and climbed on. Things were going good until a car was speeding towards us. I stopped him and got off and continued to walk. Thankfully the car slowed as they got closer and AJ was his good steady self as it went by. He got a little more high as we walked towards town but I didn’t mind, I needed the walking exercise too. Once to town, we circled around and headed back. He was still high so I did some big circles and had him going all over the place to get him to come back down. He did and I finally got back on. Rode the next quarter mile to the driveway and decided to hand walk him back to the barn. I was extremely pleased with his attitude tonight.

The Six O’Clock whistle blew, wow, that hour went fast and my dogs were voicing their displeasure of not being fed yet. Headed in for a bit, fed the dogs and then saw that there was a chance of rain tonight. Dang it, I really didn’t want to go back out and scoop the pen but decided that it should be done before the weather comes in.

Spent another 45 minutes out there scooping the stall and spreading poop. Looks like we will be having a Canada goose pair living on the pond next to the pasture. They flew in real low over the horses and landed on the pond. Moji was entranced by them as they honked and flew by.

Hubby finally got home around 7:30 so I went back in for a bit. Made something to eat, wasn’t really hungry but needed something.

At 8:00, I was still having the urge to ride so grabbed Cora’s bridle out of the trailer and pulled her out. Didn't take time to saddle and I wanted her body heat to help keep me warm. She wasn’t too pleased with my idea so we headed to the arena to ‘warm’ up. After that, we headed down the road and over to the alfalfa field. Saw a large herd of deer grazing by the pond, couldn’t see if there were any bucks with the group.

The clouds were really starting to come in and I could feel/smell rain in there. It was time to head back home. Even when I got back I wasn’t ready to call it quits riding, I just wanted to keep savoring my ride time. Took Cora out to the pasture instead. Figured if I did fall off, she was contained and hopefully someone – HUBBY- would come looking for me. Of course I didn’t have my reflective vest on, that would have been smart, but I did have my helmet! **Note to self, bring reflective vest to barn and have it handy! A spotlight could see it a mile a way.

Took her around the perimeter of the field about 5 times. The last time around, I asked for a lope going up the hill to the road, she gave it to me for about 3 strides and then dropped back down to a trot. She's a great babysitter and I normally don't ask her to lope when riding bareback! We trotted the entire length of the west fence and back down the hill. At the bottom, and I knew she’d lope here. Grabbed a handful of mane, held the reins with my other hand and gripped with my thighs. We were off!!! This wasn’t her pretty slow collected lope, it was almost a full gallop up the hill, in the dark and me having 150% trust that she will take care of me. Oh my, I can get addicted to that rush, it was like flying.

By the time I was ready to quit, my fingers were froze. I’ve got my fill in for the time being, just enough to get me through the next few days when the weather turns bad again.
I'm turning into an Adrenalin Junkie!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Why "I Ride"

On Friday, I noticed that our large dog kennel did not have any air flow. Contacted the Maintenance staff and Larry thought that he had it fixed. Well, the breaker popped again and no air circulation was happening.

I made plans to go riding Saturday morning with a co-worker at Lake Cunningham. I also had left my camera card at work so dropped by to get it and to check on the HVAC in the large dog area. It had not been reset the night before so made some calls to see if it could be fixed. Seeing that time was getting short and I had my truck and trailer in the parking lot, I didn't stick around to see the outcome of the situation.

However, I did receive a few calls while out riding and one comment was something to the effect, I hope she doesn't get mad. My reply was I can't be mad while I'm on the back of my horse. Things are good when I ride, things are forgotten and I am just enjoying the friendship and being outside with the sun on my face and the wind in my hair.

This poem was forwarded to me a few years back and it pretty much sums up why I ride and why my friends ride.

I Ride.

That seems like such a simple statement. 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 cold rain, change a tire on a horse trailer on the side of a freeway or cool my horse before drinking a cold one after a long ride.

The time, money and effort it takes to ride calls for dedication. I call it a dedication, some call it a sickness. It’s a sickness I’ve had ever since I was a small girl bouncing my model horses and dreaming of the day I’d ride a real horse. Most women I ride with understand the meaning of “the sickness”. It’s not a sport, 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, load my horse and haul to a trail somewhere. I breathe in the air, watch the sunlight filter through the trees and savor the movement of my horse. The real world fades into the tracks my horse leaves in the dust. Time slows, my saddle creaks and the leather rein in my hand softens with warmth.
I Ride.

I think of all I do because I ride. Climb granite slabs, wade into a freezing lake, race a friend through the field all the while laughing and feeling my heart in my chest. I ride, no matter how tired. I feel better doing it.

The beauty I’ve seen because I ride amazes me. I’ve ridden out to find lakes unseen, caves dark and cold besides rivers full and rolling. The scenes most others have only seen in dreams. I think of the people, mostly women, I’ve met. I consider how competent they are. Not a weenie amongst the bunch. We haul 40 ft rigs and back into tight spaces without clipping a tree. We understand and love our companions, the horse. Our hands are a little rough and we travel without makeup and hair gel. You do without to afford “the sickness”.

I Ride.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Playing Carpenter

You may remember last fall, I got to play electrician and replace the yard light that AJ broke.

Well, tonight I got to play carpenter and fix the stall door that someone kicked and broke. No one is fessing up on who did it.

As I was feeding, I noticed a piece of wood in the end hay stall lying across a bale. It took a second to register that I did not have any wood on the ceiling that could drop down.

After I threw hay, I went over to investigate a bit further. Dang horses are hard on stuff. One of them kicked a board and snapped it in half. Did not see any hair or blood around and did a quick scan of hind legs to make sure no one had any injuries. No one did, lucky for them!

Headed back down to the house and called Hubby. Got him on first try – amazing. Asked him what time he was planning on coming home, he replied I’m leaving in 5 minutes. Good, we need to fix the barn when you get home. His reply, can it wait until tomorrow??? Um, NO, It’s the stall door and it has to be fixed tonight….silence on the other side. I tell him that the piece is about 4 ft tall and is a 2 x 6. His reply, we don’t have that size at home, guess you’ll need to go get one. Ok, I’ll head to Menards and get a board, maybe even ask them to cut it for me….play the ‘dumb girl’ act.

Throw the dogs in the truck, Stone was extremely excited to go Bye Bye and headed to Menard’s in Fremont.

Walked in to Menard’s with my broken board and said I need a new one just like this. :) The manager took a look at me and said ok, go back and we’ll page someone to help. He took off at a dead run the opposite way…I just chuckled. I’m thinking some high schooler will be there to assist. Nope, it’s some ole crotchety lady. I told her that I needed a new 2 x 6 board that is “this tall” showing her my broken one. :) I can just see her thinking, what a ditz, she should have been a blonde!! She whips out her tape measure and said ok, it’s 46 inches tall and a 2 x 6, is this treated or untreated…um, it’s weathered?? ha ha! It is untreated, can’t have treated stuff around AJ, he’ll eat it. I was pretty amazed that I guestimated it to be 48 inches and was only off by 2 inches.

The lady came back in about 10 minutes and said your board is at the front, I did the best I could to cut it, we normally don’t do that. I see a freaking handsaw in her hands, thinking, did she really just cut my board with a handsaw????!!!!

I get up to the checkout and the board is cut crooked. Great. I’m going to have to still saw this thing when I get home.

Call hubby on the way home and tell him that it’s crooked, but it’s in the back of my truck and we are headed home.

Found a square thingy to fix the crooked board and got it sawed off. Headed out to the barn to fix the damage. Got a screwdriver with a hex head thing to get the screws out. That was a bit icky with the bottom ones, dang horses like to stand in front of that stall out of the wind and you know what happens when they sunbathe right???

Had a bit of a time getting that last board put back in. Something wasn’t square and it wasn’t the new board that I put in! I had to stand on the inside, balancing myself on a hay bale and kick the piece in. That was real cute looking—NOT. Cora and AJ were wondering what I was doing and how come I wasn’t giving them any of that yummy hay that is in that stall. AJ even tried to come over and help, actually I think he wanted to steal hay instead of help.
Got that last piece in, the holes all lined up and got the screws put back in.
Made it back inside as the alarm was going off for supper to be pulled out of the oven.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ice and a Wintery Mix

I really hate when the BFLWM predicts a "Wintery Mix" especially during the drive in to work.

Things didn't look good at 12:30 when little Mo Mo had to go outside, the deck was already iced up and icicles were starting to form on the railings.

I decided to stick my head in the sand and just pretend it wasn't happening. 4:30 alarm goes off and I hear this awful humming sound, crud, the heat pump is froze up and hasn't thawed out yet. Can't deal with that right now.

Talk to hubby on the road conditions since he leaves about 15 minutes before I do. He can't understand why I need to leave so early, duh honey, I open and the daycare opens at 6:30 am. Can't leave clients sitting in the parking lot waiting on us.

He wants to know which way I'm going to take in. I think about it and was going to take the county road to Hwy 30 and then over to 31 to Elkhorn. He didn't think it was such a good idea as most likely that road hadn't been sanded yet. FINE, I'll take 91 to Blair and then in. I really don't care for that stretch of 91 going into Blair though, lots of windy curves and hills with steep drop offs. Once on the highway, things were fine. The sand trucks had been out and the roads were just wet. Made it to work with 10 minutes to spare!!

Wish I brought my camera to work today, the trees and stuff will be very pretty on the drive home with the ice covering. The front of my truck has about 1/4 inch of ice on it from the mist/drizzle that I drove through this morning. At least I made it safely though!

Poor Mike got his boat out about a week or two too early!!

Don't think that any Bluebirds will be coming around too soon do you??

People wonder why I call this area the "Northern Tundra"! Look at all the ice buildup on the trees. Omaha didn't have near that or even 15 miles to the south of us!

sure is pretty though with the sun shining through it. Still had some snow showers happening :(

Bet the geese that are flying over are wondering where their spring time weather is!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Winter's Last Gasp

Winter's Last Gasp!!!!
February 27 - 28, 2009

The snow does look so pretty in the yard and hanging on the branches---doesn't it or so I keep telling myself. Even though it is cold, wet and bitter out, this does lead to some very pretty photos of the critterz.

Things didn't start out too pretty though. This was from my drive home on Friday evening. Omaha was as dry as a bone in July, but of course, once I hit the "Northern Tundra" things changed quickly. The snow plows were already out by 4:00, dropping sand and salt on the highway. Don't let the highway fool you, there were patches of black ice already and things were slick. I really really hate that feeling of the backend going out from under you, almost as bad as that nightmare that I have of not being able to stop on hills, near water.

Cora and AJ were sure happy to have their winter blankies on!

She doesn't look too thrilled here though :( Do I blame her?? I was headed back inside to start a roaring fire in the woodburner.

The view from our front door on Saturday morning before I headed out to feed. Sure looks like about 6 inches of snow to me..........

Moji couldn't get enough of it. He was in and out constantly, racing around, kicking up the snow, eating the snow and just having a blast. At least he was wearing himself out!
Here he is showing off his ice covered beard after eating snow.

At 3:30, I broke down and had to go outside to feed the horses. Did I want to, not really, but they were starting to hang on the fence, looking towards the house.
I had two HAMS waiting impatiently for me to get dressed. After looking at this photo, I'm amazed that the house is somewhat clean!! Ok, you can't see a whole lot but what you can see is picked up :)
Here's Goober Boy, always wanting to stick his nose where it shouldn't go!! Didn't realize that he left ice chunks on the lens :(

Here's what I think about Winter..................

Now it was Moji and Stone's turn..............................................

I really like how the camera caught the snow getting kicked up as he's running.
Such expressions.........

So, how did you spend your weekend???