Thursday, June 20, 2013

When Time Stops

I haven't blogged much this year...time was precious and life was hurtling by at an amazing speed.

But then something happens that makes you stop. Makes you breathe. Makes you review every moment that you took for granted.

Moose Tracks is gone. I had to let my boy go. I wish now I had more fully treasured every ride, every cuddle, every adventure.

The face I saw first thing after work every day
We napped together

Played together
Napping with his Goat
Flying together
Goof. He made me smile. Every day.

Thank you MooseMan

I know the question will be asked...Moose went lame on and never got better and as the ground hardened it got worse. X-rays revealed Navicular Syndrome. In my mind we would continue on as a dressage partnership. But the subsequent MRI revealed such advanced damage. It was shocking. My brave boy had done so much for me without a hint of pain... but the pain was there now. And no special shoes or injections would make it go away. He was miserable at home. The ground had hardened and no amount of fly spray would keep him from stomping flies with those tender feet. I opted to euthanize. It was not fair to him anymore.

And so I go on. But my life is forever changed by a wonderful pony named Moose Tracks.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Well, Hello there!

Winter has finally arrived in East Central Illinois.

I welcomed him as I awoke at 4:30 to negative 8.

Blurry eyed the layering process began -thermals, sweaters carharts, ski mask and hat. The the 'bucket brigade' morning ritual of filling buckets with hot water in the bath tub hauled down the stairs and outside to the waiting to animals.

Water is served. gran made up and delivered to the pony with frosty whiskers and the little goat with the wagging tail. As they eat their cereal I trudge to the hay barn and back filling the feeder for the day.

Back to the house to remove the layers and begin a re-layering of sorts -on go the slacks, the button down. Make-up and hair gel applied.

Off to work already planning the evening chores -much the same as the morning.

Riding does not factor in as I leave and arrive in the dark during the work week. Maybe this weekend if the weather holds.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Lost Year

I can’t help but feel that 2012 is a lost year. It began with a bang –Moose and I were awarded the Horse Junkies United Ammie Education Grant (posts here and here) which afforded us the opportunity to start our year with a Peter Atkins clinic. 

I left the clinic so looking forward to the summer and fall –I really believed Moose and I were finally on the right track and hoped to be competing well at novice by the end of the year.

Then work got in the way –enter excuse 1.

Then surgery and recovery–excuse 2 & 3.

Then recovery & the hottest summer on record- excuse 3 & 4.

Now I find both myself and my pony fat and out of shape with winter looming. The snow will fly soon and with it the end of our 2012 riding time. It is now the beginning of October and I cannot seem to muster the motivation to use the fleeting month I have left to begin riding…it seems pointless. This attitude is not like me at all. 

I need a kick in the butt.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Easy Keeper?

After years of having thoroughbreds, I decided my next horse would be an “easy keeper”.  In fact when I first asked about Moose my first questions were not “What is his training?” or “Does he have a show record?”…they were more like “How much does he eat? Does he wear shoes?”

And, as promised he eats air and toddles around happily barefoot in a pasture.

So an easy keeper? Right?


First was saddle fit (let us not go there-I am still annoyed). Then there was his girth…

Tried and rejected:

1. Leather

2. Leather with fleece

3. Synthetic with fleece

4. Padded leather with elastic one end

5. Padded leather elastic both ends

6. Padded leather no elastic

7. All elastic al… la tixerant

8. Anatomic (leather)

9. Anatomic (synthetic)

10. Wintec

11. Bates girth with CAIR

12. String

13. Mohair

Finally, the Wintec Elastic girth with Cair. A girth deemed acceptable. He now has both dressage and jump versions :/

Then there was his bridle. Flash, crank, figured eight, drop nosebands with combinations of padding, poll pads or ear cut-aways. On and on…add in bit combinations…with keepers or without, d-ring, eggbut, full cheek. To end up (finally) with a Micklem and myler comfort snaffle.

We have also done the dance with saddles pads, wraps and shipping boots.

It seems the challenge this year will be his winter blanket and halter (Dear Mr. Micklem –please make a halter as my horse is wearing a dogcollar. Love Amy and Moose aka the easy keeper).

With the money spent on rejected equipment, I probably could have purchase and maintained a going-prelim-thoroughbred.

But, that horse wouldn’t be this horse…

So C'est la Vie.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Insanity in the Middle

"the insanity in the middle" (thanks to Eventing Nation) is the phrase that describes the thrill of what occurs between the red and white flags -eventers know what I am talking about.

It also describes like the last few months of my life...not much to report riding wise as I have had to take time off for my body to heal. But I have learned...that family might not be blood related. And that the friendships you make and keep will see you through. And I am lucky to have the family I do!

I am 2 rides back on Moose and am enjoying simply re-building our fitness. Both of us are fatter and lazier than we were at the beginning of the 2012 season. This was definitely not the plan!
Despite record high temperatures I can already feel winter coming...and can't help but feel the time running out to ride, learn and enjoy. Maybe I can salvage this season. Maybe not.

But enough about these thoughts...I know you all really want to see my baby goat as photos were promised in my last, long ago blog post.

With out further ado, I introduce Carlos!

My Helper

Lap Goat
After a bath


Monday, June 18, 2012

Preparing for the New Arrival

Wire mesh Fencing -$500
Goat Supplies- $100
Goat Purchase-$300

Having you very own Nubian= Priceless!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After 8 years of begging, pleading, and outright manipulation I AM FINALLY GETTING A FREAKING GOAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Nubian goat!

So me (and more so the poor husband have been busy).

It was 93+ this weekend and we spent 12 hours fencing.
Goat Fence!
Today I went to get supplies....
OMG! I shopped for a goat!
He comes home a week from today (7 sleeps!).

Picture overload soon.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

And the rest of the story... Peter Atkins Clinic Follow Up (With Video!)

Moose and I had a great time in Kentucky training with Peter Atkins. The MooseMan was FABULOUS....I was...ME.

Starting with awesome trailer hitching skills...


 I ALWAYS lock up...

If you ever lock your keys in your truck in rural Lexington, simply call 253-OPEN.

Note to self -when you do not have 4WD do not park truck and trailer on grass during torrential rains...

 I always do keep a sense of humor -it's that or cry (constantly).

“If this is the worst thing that happens this weekend, I am doing great!” X4 or was it X5?

And yes, the my mental riding game is on par with my vehicular logistics skills.
(I cannot.

This clinic was sponsored by the HJU Ammie Educational Grant presented by ECOGOLD ( you can read my clinic recap for HJU here.)
Now for video!

If you are bored have too much free time need to be amused -oh, whatever- all the raw footage of my flat lesson is on (Raw file 1, 2,3 and 4). Bonus points if you actually make it through and can identify what clip includes Peter's quip, “this video should be on America’s Funniest Home Videos!”

The lesson begins with Peter explaining to keep it simple. Make it simple for the horse to do what you want (i.e. to give the “right” answer).

This applies as he teaches Moose and I the beginnings of lateral work –only ask for the movement when Moose can respond.

Applying the above lessons:

We then moved to working on pushing the nose forward at the trot (in the video above we also work on this at the walk).

Moose’s nemesis has always been the canter. Peter has us work on counter-canter to improve his balance.

Peter explaining counter-canter:

FINALLY getting it!

I don't have video of jumping but I did come away with my favorite picture ever.

Gratuitous Photo Posting. (I am sure you will see it again.)
In the end we had fun, we learned (about riding as well as trailer safety checks, door locks and the need for 4WD). It was also a mini-blogger convention and I enjoyed spending time with Amy and Steady (from 'Slow and Steady Wins the Race'), Karen (from 'CONTACT'). and Kelly (from 'Dressage Pony.'

Great weekend. Thanks to friends (old and new) and family that helped out. And of course super thanks to HJU/ ECOGOLD!