Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013: A Crazy Year in Review


My, what a year it is has been.  So many ups and downs, twists and turns...  In short my life got flipped-turned upside down (yes I did just quote Fresh Prince).  But, for a year that started out so crummy, it really did end up pretty good. 

Now normally I prefer to keep my home life out of my blog posts... this is for my horse adventures after all.  But, if you look back at my posts in January and February of this year you can see the rumblings of an unhappy me.  A post about feeling pressured into selling Cash is perhaps the widest peek I gave my readers into the fact that things were, in fact, not well at home.

And, then on March 9th my husband did the unthinkable and took his own life, and it completely shattered my world.  I was awed though at the outpouring of support from not only friends and family but from those of you who read my blog.  I simply could not believe it.  And again, a heartfelt Thank You to all my readers for your kind words.

Why exactly he did it, I'll never know... but some of the motivators that perhaps led him to that decision I have shifted through in my head over and over.  That first month afterwards was perhaps the longest month of my life.  Feelings of guilt, remorse, anger, despair, sadness and then some have all paid me a visit this year.  Yet I am thankful that the grieving process has gone by much faster for me than what would be considered "typical".  Perhaps it is because of my personality type and how I naturally process things, and also perhaps because at the time of his death I had sadly already been grieving the deteriorating state of our relationship and the loss of the person I had married.  In short, depression is a sad thing.  It's been hard not to dwell on the negative, and often I have to force myself to think about the positive memories I have of him.  I have to remind myself that he did love me, and I him.

But, what it comes down to now, as we look to finish out this year, is that I am again truly enjoying my life.  The last couple of months have flown by.  My little girl is growing in leaps and bounds and is the light of my life, school is going well and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and  I have build an incredible friendship with my late husband's ex-wife (go figure!).  She moved in with me shortly after his passing and together we are working our hardest to provide a solid and stable life for all three kiddos.

So now I'm ready to move on, make new friends, have new adventures, and enjoy what God has given me.  Jeremiah 29:11 has been my motto this year, it reads "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"  And, He's done just that for me so far.  And let me tell you what, there is nothing like the freedom to have a good, genuine laugh that comes straight from the soul.

In the horsey side of things, as I look back over the posts from the summer and fall, there aren't many that stand out to me in particular.  I'm not a very frequent blogger, I seem to average though about 1 post a week.  That said, 2013 has been my most fruitful blogging year to date.  Hooray!

Cash proved to be very difficult for the majority of the year, and remained frustratingly hard to catch for most of it... I got bucked off, and shortly afterwards vented about his dip-wadded-ness.  I was frustrated with him to the point of considering selling him of my own accord.  Instead I decided to re-start from scratch and made a return to the roundpen (and sewing projects too!!).  I started experimenting with random training techniques, and started riding him in a stock saddle and rope halter.

As I lowered my expectations of him and decided to just do "whatever" in a sense and enjoy him, suddenly things started turning around.  I've not been worried about bending or where his head is... all I care about right now is that he listens to my leg and seat, goes where I tell him without fuss, and is forward.  And so far we are hitting all three pretty square on the head.  I picked up a calming supplement for him (SmartCalm) and so far, I have to say, I think it's made a difference.  He is still spooky at times, but the anxiousness/nervousness is greatly improved and he is able to re-focus much better after a spook.  My main plan for 2014 is to take him on some good "wet saddle pad" type trail rides.  This horse needs to get out in the worst way!

I've also had the pleasure and privledge to get to work with some project ponies throughout the year.  Shadow, a little hackney pony, has been a fun one.  I really have loved working with him, he's got such a funky personality and a great work ethic.  He's not much of a kid's pony though and he might be moving on to a more suitable home, I sure will miss him if that does happen.  Which, leads to my newest project, one of the other ponies named Sassy has had previous driving experience so I'm going to be working with her to see what we can accomplish.  Lastly, I've been riding Candy, a little appy mare owned by the student who lives in the studio apartment on the property.  I'm working on improving some training holes, and in exchange her owner is lunging Cash for me a couple days out of the week to give him some extra much needed exercise (both mentally and physically).

So really, as I look back at it, despite being crazy busy with work and school and the kids, realativly speaking I've really had a decent and productive year horse wise.  Guess I really can't complain.  I've given myself the expectation not to set many expectations and just go with the flow and take it easy.  Not having the mental pressure of meeting training goals by a certain time has been really enjoyable. 

As 2014 comes up (quickly I might add), I sit here thinking about what my goals will be.  Do I even want to set goals?  Or do I just see where life takes me.  I have been setting personal goals this last half of the year, like looking people in the eye more, or being more positive with my co-workers, and I've enjoyed the challenge of them.  But as far as horsey goals?  Well, I think the bottom line is that I just want to have fun.  I have at least another long year of college ahead of me so time with the horse will be at a premium (but guess what: after this spring semester I will officially be a senior! It's been a loooooonnng time coming, 6 years of college gets old folks).  There is a one day event though late in the summer with an Elementary division that I would love to take Cash too, but we'll see what happens.

In the mean time, I am ready to say good-bye to 2013 and hello to 2014.  I have grown a lot this year as an individual and I have learned so much, but I am ready and excited to take my gang and soldier onward to bigger and better things.  But, the important thing in all of this is that I am happy, and that really makes all the difference.

As always,

Finally a day with the ponies


Is it seriously Christmas Eve already?? YIKES.

Anyway, this past Saturday I was finally able to escape for a couple hours to the barn for some much needed R&R horse time.  Man oh man did I ever need it.  I had only been out to the barn twice since Thanksgiving, and each time only for about 15 minutes of feeding treats and giving cookies before I had to scram to work or school or homework or something.

So I bundled up and took the mutts with me and went to have some fun.
Fiona is ready!
After teaching a quick lesson I pulled little Sassy pony out.  Rosemary wants me to try and get her going in harness.  She is their solid (yet ornery) lesson pony and we both think that she'll be significantly less skittish than Shadow in the cart and thus a safer option for farm school activities.  I grabbed her, put the harness on, and went to town... and about got pulled off my feet... !!!  The little snot is a freight train!  I messed around with bits and adding a noseband and got some mixed success.  She should be fun though (ha ha!).
At least she's cute!
Then it was time for Cash.


Granted I lunged him for quite a bit, haha. I'll havta get the video up, he has finally figured out how to MOVE and my word, he has an amazing trot.  Fiona kept ducking in and out under the fence and each time she'd do it her jacket would rub on the bottom rail and make this loud "sshhhrrrppppp" noise which Cash was not a fan of.  He was constantly on the lookout for that noisy pink dog.  

But still, he was a rockstar!  He settled down however just wanted to keep going, going, going, going on the lunge.  Energy much?  And when I got on him he felt so solid.  I'm finally starting to trust this horse a bit and it's an awesome feeling.  In turn, he's starting to trust me and is questioning my decisions less and less. 
Man I had missed this view!
After toodling around in the arena a bit I opened the gate and we went for an extra-mini trail ride out to the driveway, a quick turnaround on the road and back to the tie rail.  We probably went a whole of 15 yards one way!  But, he didn't freak out, he didn't snort, he didn't try and rush back, he didn't try and spin... I felt in total control and never once questioned the fact that I was riding him in only a hackamore.  Considering how he's previously behaved outside of the arena I was one proud momma by the time I was off his back.
Cookie monster! I love this beast, I really do.
So yeah.  Christmas is now upon us and starting tomorrow I have four days off in a row and plan to get my fair share of horsey time in.  Oh yeah and the Winter Solstice is past and we can now make our way back towards the sun, that always makes me happy. 

OH! And on a completely non-horse related note but still pertinent to blogger-dom: GOOGLE READER LIVES!!! You know how your phone will do those auto-app-updates thing?  Well, apparently gReader got updated (I had never removed it from my phone) and I was flipping through available widgets the other day and noticed some gReader feed widgets and though "Odd, I never saw those before." So I decided to pull up the gReader app and lo and behold, there be my rss feeds, all happy and back to how they used to be. Apparently it's listed as an "unofficial Google Reader for Android", huh.  Regardless, it made my day. (I'm sure I'm probably one of the last people to get this memo but oh well.)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Done with the semester!!



Fall 2013 is officially in the books.  My first semester as a full time student and first time doing 300 levels courses (and of course, I was a rockstar and unintentionally picked out 4 of them) and I will be getting at least a B in all of them (potentially two will be As, crossing my fingers!!).

Now... I have no idea what to do with myself for the next month without any *gasp* homework.  I have been going a million miles an hour for the past 4 months that it's just this blank feeling of "now what do I do with my time?"

Maybe I'll start with getting caught up on laundry, ha!

In the mean time I'll do things like partake in Ugly Christmas Sweater contests at work...

And, oh yeah, that four legged creature called a horse who gets a chunk of my paycheck each month! I'm going to actually go DO something with him tomorrow.  They are calling for snow but I kind of don't care because I deserve some horsey time! 

Uhhh... Christmas shopping needs to be done too because I'm rather un-ready for Christmas. Whoops!

Anybody else ready for Christmas or are you the last-minute scrambler like me?


Friday, December 13, 2013

I'm alive yet!


Phew what a busy fall it's been.

Finals started as of today, so I have 1 final down, 2 exams and 1 group presentation to go.  My last final is next Friday at 7:30pm....  Oh boy.

Weather wise, we have finally come out of the deep freeze... days straight of barely making it to double digits gets old.  Reminded me of winters growing up in the San Luis Valley, I sure don't miss those!!
Brrr!!! Subzero temps make for a looooong 1/2 mile walk
to class in the mornings
It did make for some beautiful sunrises though!
Work has been nothing short of insane with the holidays going on.  Black Friday and Cyber Monday were NUTS.  Then last weekend we had a 20% off sale that was Friday through Monday... and we thought the previous weekend was crazy... then on Tuesday I was slammed on the helpdesk/supervisor line as they had to pull our other 4 Level 2 agents to help with the masses of emails so it was little ol me on the help line dealing with everybody's issues... I was so ready to go home!!  Selling makeup is not as easy as it looks guys.  But, regardless, I love my job and I thrive on the environment, I really do.  The BIG NEWS though is that we finally hired on and successfully trained our 5 new Level 2 Helpdesk agents!  Yahoo!!!  It'll make life so much easier, and couldn't have come at a better time right before the holiday rush.

Needless to say, I have not ridden Cash since Thanksgiving :(  I do plan to take full advantage of a whole month off from school to ride and love on him before I return to more of the craziness. 

Life is good!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Blog Hop: Equestiran Bucket List


Poking around on new (to me) blogs and found THIS!!

I've got a few hours still to get mine in, so why not!

Gonna channel my inner Fox-Pitt....
1) Compete in and complete a CCI*
Ever since I first learned of the wonders of a sport called Three Day Eventing, and especially since I first got to watch CCI competitors gallop cross country at the Colorado Horse Park I have wanted to compete at the CCI level.  I have the horse now that has the talent and potential to easily go that far, now it's just a matter of time (and $$$$).   I have a plan to get there, now I just need to make it happen.  Oh, and I want to finish with a number, not a letter!  Easy enough, right?

2. Go to ROLEX
Not as a rider though! Some day I will take an entire week off and head to the Kentucky Horse Park to lap up as much greatness as I can, maybe go on a coursewalk (or two), hit the trade fair, and cheer on the stadium jumping.  I debated over this or the Olympics, but this won because Rolex is, well, Rolex. Plus the KHP is just an amazing place, I've been lucky enough to compete there for Pony Club, but to watch the best riders in the world take on a four star course? Yus plz

Mint julep anyone?
3. And last but not least: The Kentucky Derby
Ever since I first watched Silver Charm gallop to victory I've wanted to go.  On a road trip to the east coast my family took in April one year we got to stop by Churchill Downs for a brief tour right before they closed (we guessed the time zones wrong so didn't get time to mosey around the museum, boo).  I want to get a pretty dress, a big fancy hat, and study my post preps and hope I pick the winner!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Cash may have ulcers


Saturday morning I got a call from the barn owner, Rosemary, saying that Cash was not feeling well... that he wouldn't touch his grain and was acting lethargic.  Great.  She said she had turned him out into the dry lot with the two Arabians that spend the night out there to see if he'd eat out there instead of in his stall.  Instead he just poked around and "herded" the one mare around.  Then he was laying down, and getting back up, and laying down, and back up... but not rolling.  Weird.

So I asked Rosemary to give him 2g of Bute, saying that I'd get out there as soon as I could.  This was about 8:30am.  By the time I got myself up, the baby fed, me fed, the other kids fed, the cat fed... humanity fed!  Eerr... it was about 10:30 that I got there.

He wasn't rolling, wasn't laying down, but just wasn't right.  He looked a little mopey, but not as lethargic as he'd been before when he 1) had that cellulitis and 2) when he was colicy.  I got him out, checked his vitals, checked his gut sounds, checked him all over for injuries... all good.  He wasn't dehyrated, he had completely downed his hay from the night before and drank his bucket.  Poop in the stall looked normal, fresh poop in the dry lot was nice n' wet and normal.  But he would, not, eat.  At all!  I even walked him over to a patch of green grass and he nosed around like he was interested but wouldn't even attempt to nibble.  So weird.

So, in texting back and forth with my vet I brought up the topic of "what if it's ulcers?" and she just responds "yep."

Gee, thanks!

Anyway, I hung around, rode Candy (which I rode her in my jumping saddle to see if she'd canter better, and she did, good girl!  She is starting to get the idea that what I say is the law, silly mare), and watched him wander over and take several drinks and otherwise look OK.  The bute was surely kicking in by this point.  So I took a handful of grain out to him and he took a nibble but as soon as he got it into his mouth he stopped munching and turned away.  I poked around in his mouth best I could without him biting my fingers off just to make sure he didn't have a stick or something stuck up in there.

After that I called my vet and we chatted for a bit, long story short: she is working with another vet clinic out by Greeley, CO where the vet is wanting to start a study that will be looking to see exactly how many horses actually do have ulcers.  They are also working on developing a new ulcer medicine that is a combination of the active ingredient in UlcerGuard and rantidine.  Cool!

So I told her to sign me up.  We both agreed that based on his little colicy fits over the past year that ulcers are a strong probability.  Especially considering his past as a racehorse.  So pretty much as soon as they get the go-ahead for the study to start Cash will be in on it.  He'll get scoped for ulcers and get a fancy new medicine and it'll cost me waaaaaayy less than what it would normally.  My vet will keep me in the loop and in the mean time I'll cross my fingers that Cash won't have any more silly little episodes like this to freak me out.

Oh, and, happy ending to this story:  I went back to the barn around 5:30pm that evening and the snot greedily snarfed down several handfuls of grain that I gave him then walked off in a huff when I didn't have more.  Yep, thank you Cash.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

1950s Dress


So I just realized that I never followed up on this.... I posted back in August being so excited about getting to do this, and never showed y'all the finished product!  That said, without any further ado, I give you my 1950s dress:

This one the color is left un-edited so that
you can see the colors of the dress.
The other pictures I made look more
And yes, I did win best dressed at work :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Plugging along


Nothing much terribly exciting to report on.  School and work are keeping me busy... I'm still waiting on the new level 2 hires that I get to train, can HR get any slower with offer letters? Jeeze. School is a mish-mash as far as how I'm doing, two classes I have As, two I have Cs... I recently got perhaps one of the lowest test scores I've ever gotten in my entire college career, ouch!  This semester is not only my first time doing 300 level classes, but also my first time doing full time credits... and oh yeah, all of them are those 300 level classes!! I totally did not intend to do that, go me!

I'm just finding myself not being able to focus very well this semester.  I'm not sure what's up with that, but it's been frustrating.  It's not that I can't learn the information, it's just that I've been having a hard time getting into the grove so that I can learn.  Having a super active and ridiculously adorable 1 year old running around the house certainly doesn't help any....
Halloween was fun!
I think she's absurdly cute, but that's just me
I left her alone for 30 seconds, came back to this!!
She is becoming quite the climber, eeek!
She loves her kitty!!
(most tolerant cat in the world folks)

OK, baby pic spam over!!

As far as Cash goes, on the days when the stars line up and I'm actually able to get my butt out there and work with him I am actually riding him!  And he's doing quite well.  The farrier was out yesterday and he stood SO WELL!  I was a proud momma.  He's still not so sure of the hot shoeing, but my farrier is amazingly patient with him and I love it.

I've been riding him in just a halter, I made up a special rope halter with rings on the side just for riding and he's really doing quite well in it.  I feel like I have control and steering and breaks... You know, the important stuff!  Just working on bending now, good grief he is a stiff horse.

His SmartPaks came and he started on them today, so we'll see what happens there.  We had another mare starting on a SmartPak as well, so we have some fun last night going through all the new goodies.
Handsome man
And, last but not least in this rather long blog post: I have a new little project ride!  The new gal who moved into the apartment on the farm this past summer has this super cute little Appy mare named Candy and she asked me if I could help with some training issues (mostly canter work), so I said yes.  I'm riding her about once a week, and I really enjoy her.  She's tiny, maybe 14hh on a good day, and feels like such a pushover after riding Cash, ha!  She's got that signature "appy-tude" going on and I've already had a few discussions over who is going to have the final say in matters.  She's a super smart mare and once she figures out I mean business about whatever I'm asking her to do she backs off and does it.  It'll be fun to see how she progresses, I'll keep ya'll up to date!
Miss Candy
Alrighty, I think that's all folks.  I really need to blog more often so that I don't have these massive "update dump" type posts.  If anybody has some magic formula to increase the number of hours in a day I will pay handsomely!


Saturday, October 26, 2013

I rode Cash, in the arena


And he was fantastic!

Due to the off and on rain/snow we've been getting the round pen has been quite muddy and rather unusable... so the arena was the only option.  I lunged him last Tuesday but didn't ride, then yesterday I finally got out again and lunged him, and he was being incredibly lazy and very very good.  No spooking, no craziness, just nice n' easy.  So, I decided to get on.  We walked and trotted a bit, did some figure 8s, transitions, rein backs, and just had a real positive ride.

Today I did the repeat, and again Cash was GREAT.  I got on, rode around (in which today he was stiff to the right whereas yesterday he was still to the left... ok) and then decided why not, lets canter.  So we did.  And whaddya know, he was fantastic!

The best part?? All in a rope halter.


He was calm, steady and relaxed the entire time.  And, can I just wonder for a moment on how it's way easier to sit the trot in a stock saddle instead of a dressage saddle?  Not fair I tell you.

Anyway, off to bed.  My weeks are insanely long at this point, need my sleep!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Cash Gets a SmartPak!


Well, to date I have tried just about every training method I can think of to get Cash over his fear of the far end of the arena.  And the results?  Well, we can end the day on a great note with him totally relaxed... but the next day he is back to snorting and throwing a fit about it.

The only thing I haven't done is have his eyesight examined, it is a shady part of the arena, and should he have issues with his eyesight (i.e. an enlarged corpora nigra) this would help explain things.  Though... I've dealt with a horse who did have an enlarged corpora nigra (and actually had little cysts growing on the bottom part of his pupil) and it was not the same behavior--it's hard to explain, you'll have to take my word on it.  Also, I've worked with him at all times of the day, not just when that part is in shadow, and it's always the same.  So, I feel fairly confident that it's not his eyesight, though again I'm no expert.  But at this moment, I just don't feel a pressing need to dish out a bunch of $$ on an eye exam.

So, I broke down and ordered a SmartPak for Cash that includes a Calming supplement.  I'm really not one to run to supplements such as these unless I've really tried any other option available to me.  I've seen horses over-supplemented before and it's not pretty... so I'm always extremely cautious trying out something new.  But, I'm really hoping that it'll work!  I don't mind a hot horse, I enjoy them honestly, but this jitteryness, tenseness, and nervousness just eats on you after awhile.  Fire breathing dragon because of excess feel-good energy is one thing, fire breathing dragon because of a bundle of nerves is another and much, much harder to deal with.

Anybody else have any success with calming supplements?? I'm really crossing my fingers it works!


Monday, October 14, 2013

Making progress!


For the first time in awhile I'm actually feeling like I'm getting somewhere with Cash instead of taking steps backwards.  I'm continuing to ride him in a stock saddle -- which I gotta ask, how is it that it's so much easier to sit the trot in one of those versus my dressage saddle??  It's not fair.  I've also started riding him in a rope halter, I decided either it'd be crazy or it would work, and so far it's working!  It's definitely forcing the both of us to rely more on leg/seat cues.  Also, the roundpen is continuing to be very beneficial in teaching Cash to bend around the circle and stand up and respect my inside leg.

I've also starting using a little exercise that I saw Nicku of (insert blog here) use.  She described it as 10-10-10, that is: 10 strides walk, 10 strides trot, 10 strides canter, repeat.  I loved the idea of really instilling precision in your horse so I adapted it to my own use.  Granted I am not doing canter right now, but still doing the 10-10 walk and trot was plenty!  So far I'm loving the results, Cash is listening much better and it forces me to be very precise yet subtle with my aids.  I also mix up the strides because Cash is a smart bugger and picked up reeeaaally quick on the 10-10 pattern.  So I do something more like 5-10-8-20-10-6-9... and so on.  But I make sure to pick a number in my head right as I'm changing to the new gait so that it's not a "ooohh we've gone 10, how 'bout three more."  Nope!  Gotta be precise.

I'm hoping in a couple weeks, assuming I'm able to keep up semi-regularly with riding, we'll be able to move back into the arena.  I've been really focusing on keeping him in tune with my body on the lunge line.  He tries really hard to get in front of or behind me in the scary area, but when I don't let him do that it's amazing how quickly he drops the game.  Love it.

On a fun note, yesterday my friend and I went down to the Colorado Horse Park to help with the cross country phase for the Area IX Championships.  My friend went and jump judged and I got to be the Warm-up Ring Steward.... THAT was wild!! 

Beginner Novice was some crazy variation of cat herding... if you think riding in those beginner warm ups are crazy, try orchestrating it from the ground... making sure the riders were actually there, calling out their 2 minute warning over the bullhorn (which was interesting as it was a good 2-3 acre warmup area AND the wind was blowing like crazy... I'm not sure how well I was heard haha), letting them know how many riders ahead of them, sending them to the start box, if we had a scratch seeing if they wanted to go early, as well as grabbing pinneys from the riders headed back to the barn from finish. I was a very busy bee all day long. 

The intermediate warm up was decidedly less crazy than the rest of the day
But I thoroughly enjoyed it and despite a gnarly sun/wind burn I will totally do warm up steward again. Go Eventing!


Monday, October 7, 2013

In which Cash pulls his shoe off


Yep, third time this summer.  I dunno what the gig is, this farrier is just as nice and tight and tidy with his shoes (if not more so) than the farrier I was using last summer, yet Cash has pulled a shoe off out of all but one set.  Maybe it's the shoe itself?  The shoes this farrier uses are heavier than those used by my last farrier.  Weird.

This video is taken probably about two laps after he pulled it (the man was being a klutz over those poles!!)... it's pretty self explanatory!
Just waiting to hear back from the farrier now as far as when we can find time to slap the thing back on.

Update: About 20 minutes after I posted this the farrier called and said he just so happened to be down the road and could swing by and put the shoe on. Hopefully he keeps it on.  The farrier said that if he fits it any tighter he'll be short shod.  So, we'll see.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Mmmm fall is here!


I love this time of year... until it rains on my day off!

I've made the executive decision to start riding Cash in a stock saddle... having that little bit extra to hang on to really helps when all of a sudden he is going the other direction in an astonishingly quick fashion.  So I'm borrowing a barrel saddle (not my first pick, I'd prefer a ranch/roping style saddle) from Rosemary to use on him.  I'm kinda wishing I hadn't sold that stock saddle, but how was I to know I'd  end up using it again! Ah well, it was probably too wide for Cash anyhow.

Sooo... I'm poking around on Craigslist and Ebay looking for a saddle to get.  But, it may not be for awhile, I have vehicle registration due this month as well as some back taxes that I received a notice on last month (really, Colorado?).

In other news, yes I have been messing with the blog appearance.  I really like this color scheme, but for the life of me I can NOT figure out how to get the title/banner to adjust to my picture. I've been through every line of the CSS and have tweaked so many numbers I lost track... I just don't fully know which div classes override which and so on.  It's like a puzzle and unfortunately I don't have time to sit and figure it out. So either a) I'll find another template, or just re-make a banner to fit this one.  Just another thing on the to-do list for my "free time". (which, at the moment, said free time is spent chasing around an incredibly fast toddler... OY!)

And, lastly... I'm thoroughly, completely, and utterly furious and disgusted with our government and Obummercare.  I won't get started but in short, it is very likely going to be cheaper for me to pay the tax penalty versus insurance premiums. Affordable Health Care? Yeah right.

Just another day in the life of a middle class horse owning kid toting American!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Trying crazy things


Don't ya hate it when you are in the moment, working with your horse, and in the back of your mind you're thinking "This would be a great blog entry!" and you come up with a snazzy title and great witty content and can't wait to blog about it... and then by the time you actually get to sit down in front of the computer... it's gone.

I knew I should've written it that night, haha!!

I am so incredibly busy you have no idea, work is GO GO GO right now.  We are gearing up for training 5 new Helpdesk associates, and it's my job to facilitate the training.  The goal to train all five in a week.  YIKES.  I'm recruiting as much help as I can from some of the more senior tenured Helpdesk agents, but still, it's going to be a lot of work! Yet, I AM SO EXCITED!! I love training and this is such a huge opportunity for me and will look awesome on a resume.  Then, on top of that I have a butt ton of work for school this week, 2 exams down, 1 to go, and a pretty substantial writing assignment due. Go me!


As far as horsey happenings go: The group is still absolutely saturated, we got another good rainstorm the other night which didn't help matters any.  It is as wet as can be.  I haven't ridden Cash in a good two weeks. Boo.  Since the round pen is super mucky as it sits in a low area my only option is the arena.  But, go figure, the only dry patch in the arena is up by the scary end. I lunged him over there on Saturday and that... didn't go well.  So, on Monday I decided to try something crazy.

I had been considering trying to ride him in the dry lot (which dries up faster than anywhere else), I've lunged him out there before, but trying to dodge the other horses can be tricky.  On a whim, after catching him (which he's still being super difficult about... bugger) I decided to just jog him in hand around the perimeter of the lot.  And, as I had figured might happen the pony started following us around at the trot, and then, when he decided that was boring took off bucking past us, this triggered two other horses to also scoot n' boot.  Cash got a little tight but really did a great job of staying with me.  Sooo... yeah, riding in the dry lot not an option!

BUT, since he was being so good about staying relaxed next to me I thought I'd try it in the arena. I figured, either this is going to be craziness and not work, or it's going to help with that scary end of the arena.

And... I think it worked!  I did it again yesterday evening with similar success.  The data is still preliminary, but I'll keep it at it for awhile and see what happens.  Not exactly your most traditional horse training technique, but if it works it works right?

Well hey there handsome

Lastly, the farrier was finally able to get out there yesterday to do Cash's feet after having to reschedule due to the flood, a week of playing phone tag later we finally were able to pick a time.  In the course of chatting with my farrier he asked where I got Cash from... I told him the name of the breeder and turns out that my farrier used to trim/shoe horses for him.  He said that, if this is the horse he's thinking of, that he "kicked the snot out of" the breeder one day.  I said that when I got Cash the breeder had told me about another horse he had who was a known kicker and he was hoping to find a cowboy to take on as a project.  At any rate, my farrier said he'd ask the breeder about it and if it is the same horse.  Sure would be interesting to find out!  Would also be kinda cool to find out if this farrier has indeed done my horse's feet before.  Small world, eh?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Flood of 2013


What a week it has been for Northern Colorado...

By the numbers:
- Flood conditions across 17 counties
- 8 deaths (including 2 presumed)
- 11,750 people evacuated (OEM estimate)
- 17,994 homes damaged (OEM estimate)
- 1,502 homes destroyed (OEM estimate)
- 1,120 Sq. Mi. affected in Larimer Co.
- 875 Sq. Mi. affected in Boulder Co.
- 385 Sq. Mi. affected in Jefferson Co.
- Over 50 bridges destroyed or seriously damaged

The town I live in escaped relatively unscathed, (and yes, I'm perfectly fine, I live up on a ridge and if the water levels ever got high enough to flood my house... well, in the words of my Business Management professor "I'd either be looking for an Ark or the Four Horses of the Apocalypse because it would be the end of the world.") However they did shut down all the bridges across the river late Thursday evening as the water reached peak levels. Half the bridges are still closed as of today due to concerns about structural integrity. Flood stage is 10', it hit 14.5'

This river, along with the Big Thompson and Boulder Creek run into the South Platte which follows I-76 out towards Nebraska/Kansas.  As of today it is still in Major Flood stage, it crested at 18' in a location just below where all the rivers merge.... THAT'S A LOT OF WATER!!

Looking across my state I am just floored by the level of damage... Highway 34 headed up from Loveland to Estes Park (a major tourist spot at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park), is... well, gone.  There is no more road.  Watch the first ten minutes of this video and you'll see what I mean.

I have also been completely awed and impressed by the actions and work put in by our first responders.  Larimer county Sheriff Justin Smith has been working relentlessly around the clock since this thing started and I couldn't be prouder to say that I live in his county.  The National Guard is here flying (I believe) 20 military helicopters in and out rescuing people and pets.  And when the weather was too inclement to allow helicopter flight, search and rescue personnel hiked and created ATV trails to get to stranded citizens. Several mountain towns are simply either no more (such as Lyons), or all roads have been washed out and the only way is to hike or be air lifted.  This is the largest amount of people to be air evacuated since Hurricane Katrina.

It is going to take years to recover and rebuild from this 500 year flood.  But I know my community is strong.  We will rebuild.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rain, rain, rain....


Oh my word, I have not seen this kind of rain ever before...

Some parts of Colorado have seen over 10" of rain in the past 48 hours.  Folks, that is over HALF of our Annual Total Yearly moisture total (rain + snow).  Estes Park, Boulder, Lyons, and Aurora are all reporting extremely damaging and deadly flash flooding.

About 12:30 last night my phone suddenly starting going off like crazy due to a Severe Flash Flood Warning that was listed as "life threatening".... yikes!  So glad I live on a ridge.
What the weather map looked like last night....
Yep, that's me in the middle!

All the canyon roads leading up into the mountains from where I live are closed due to wash outs, mud slides, and high water levels.  When I drove over the Poudre River this morning it was higher than I've ever seen it before, even at the peak of the spring run-off.  We've only gotten 3-4 inches up here in Fort Collins, but still, that's a LOT to see in less than 48 hours. Plus the burn scar from the High Park fire last year means that there is excess water runoff coming out of the mountains than would be normally.

Needless to say, it doesn't look like I'll be getting any riding in anytime soon.  We are even rescheduling Cash's farrier appointment that was to be for today to sometime next week.

Oh, and, for what it's worth... if you ever own a motorcycle, be sure to always have a rain slicker on hand. That is all.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Pursuit of Perfection


I'm sitting here watching the test that Ingrid Klimke just put in on FRH Butts Abraxxas (you can watch it here!!), leaving them the current leader at Burghley, and I see her perform a collected trot shoulder in from the corner toan  8m circle at B to a half-pass to centerline to a transition to extended walk at C... whew! She did it beautifully and I can't help but lament my lack of a horse capable of doing those movements, back when I had Pie I could do those things! And it was SO MUCH FUN.

I think that's a lot of my problem with Cash... I want so bad for him to be like that, to listen to my leg, and bend, and move sideways when I ask, and do a shoulder-in and move off my aids, and give me a consistent contact, and, and, and....

AND, I keep forgetting that he doesn't know how to do that! 


So, getting into an argument with him over that is pointless, fruitless, and only results in major frustration for me and for him.

That's why it's SO SO SO important with green beans to focus on what they can do and build on it.  And what Cash can do is stretch (he's looooves his stretchy walk/trot), he can walk/trot/canter (albeit not always prettily), he can go over trot poles and little jumps, he can doing simple lateral work like shallow leg yields, some steps of side pass, turns on the forehand, and pretty decent turns on the haunches (granted the circle described by the hind end is still pretty big). 

I really need to get back to doing poles/jumps more often, he does soooo much better when he has something like that to think about.  He is not going to be a straight dressage horse that's for sure... bummer, cuz I love dressage.

In other news....
Last Saturday I went and jump judged for a nearby One-Day Event.  It was a good way to spend the afternoon, the volunteer effort and the radio communication from control amongst the jump judges on cross country was not quite the best, I was often left wondering what happened to a particular rider when all of a sudden rider numbers started skipping around. 

Regardless, I enjoyed myself and was pleasantly surprised to find such a neat cross country course less than half an hour away from me! YAY for schooling location!

It was also the first time I've witnessed an Intro level at a recognized event... THAT was VERY entertaining!! There were some experienced riders piloting around very very green horses for their first XC outing... but mostly it was very inexperienced riders being taken advantage of by bratty school horses.... A couple near run-a-ways, several lost riders (they'd jump a jump and just, keep, going..... ), quite a few skipped fences, and one snotty barnsour pony with a very brave and determined little girl who was going to get that pony over those jumps if it was the last thing she would ever do.  I wanted to stand up and applaud for her!

I always enjoy jump judging, it never fails to give me a kick in the pants to get my butt in gear with riding. Inspiration for the win!  Now, finding time in my schedule is another thing.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

He Stays... and, riding video!


For now, anyway.  I still have ads listed apparently for Cash from back in Feb when I listed him for sale... I got a phone call off one of these ads yesterday and without even thinking or hesitating I answered "Oh, I'm sorry, that horse isn't for sale anymore."  So, dear Mr. Cash, you get to stay with me for now.

He's been really, really good in the roundpen.  I rode him in there and it's such a little area for him that it really forces him to stand up and be correct in his body--no getting away with diving on the inside shoulder here!!  The ground work is also really increasing his attentiveness to me.  He still, however, remains hard to catch and I'm completely stumped by it.

Anyway, here is some non-eventful riding footage--I was working on getting him to yeild to the aids.  The video is not very long as my roommate quickly got bored, she was hoping for a little more excitement as the last time she saw me ride she got to witness Cash being a whirling dervish charging around at warp speed... But, it's riding video nonetheless!!

Look! A rare photo of me actually on my horse!
School starts on Monday and my life is about to become very insane, hopefully I'll still be able to squeeze in time to ride!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Roundpen Revamp and Sewing Project!


So after my last post and a few of the suggestions made in the comments I had come up with an entire post on trainer rides, but decided to trash it as it was entirely too self serving. (and, by the way, I love and appreciate all the comments, suggestions, ideas, and kind words left on my blog! Don't stop!!)  In short, my personal opinion on trainer rides is that doing just one or two really only provides a second opinion on the horse and isn't going to do much to correct any underlying training holes/issues. For a trainer to be effective there needs to be a long term commitment, either in the form of lessons or in training itself. Lessons I can afford--and I really should look into it, I need to find a trainer that I trust. Full on training I unfortunately cannot afford right now. 

Anyway, I do want to say that I am more than capable of handling this horse, I'm not afraid of getting down and dirty with the more "ugly" side of horse training.  I have dealt with some dirty, mean, rotten, and bullheaded horses in the past and while Cash is challenging, he's not mean.  It's not that I don't have the ability and knowledge to train Cash, the question is do I want to?

That said, I've decided to take Cash back to the roundpen for the foreseeable futureI need a more manageable space to get him listening and respecting me as he is not listening in any shape or manner in the main arena.  So far I've only been doing ground work with him--doing my own variation on the "join up" routine.  And, I'm pleased to say it's been successful!  He's been super relaxed at the end of each session and much more in tune with my body language.  One day he was completely running through me, and was constantly trying to outrace me.  When I would shift my body to ask him to change directions he would kick on the afterburners and rocket past me, continuing in his current trajectory around the roundpen.  I had to get a bit aggressive and things got kinda dusty but we worked until he was listening... as a result the next day he was hypersensitive to my cues and I really had to pay attention to what I was doing!!  While the day before I was having to make extremely exaggerated movements to make him listen, here the slightest shift in my posture would make him brake to a halt and look to me, asking if he was to go the other way.  Good boy!  He really is a smart horse, and I think that's a big part of the "issue."  He's a little too smart...

I'm going to focus on short and sweet with Cash and see where that gets us. With that goal in mind, it should also hopefully give me a decent chance of working with him semi-regularly with school starting.

Ok, now onto non-horsey business....

SEWING PROJECT!!! Haha, I'm only just a little excited about this.  They are doing a 1950s day at work, and I'm going ALL out.  I picked up some gorgeous satin fabric from Joann's (after I got it I realized that the material it's made out of probably isn't entirely 100% period accurate, but oh well, I love the pattern!) and I've been busy sewing all weekend.  I'm making a simple but lovely V-necked sleeveless tea length dress.  I ordered a big, poofy petticoat to go under it and I'm so excited!!!!
Having fun!

It's my last week of freedom before school starts, so I figure I better enjoy it while I can.  I am going to do my hair up in curlers and style it in a late 40s/early 50s do, who knows, maybe I'll pay tribute to WWII and do some victory rolls.  Then, pin-up style makeup complete with cherry red lipstick will finish the look. I better win best dressed!! (my only drawback is lack of a bullet bra, I sat for awhile trying to figure if I could modify one of my bras to get pointy boobs, but decided it was probably not the best idea!)

Which, this reminds me, I never did get finished photos of my last sewing project, the 1860s mourning dress.  My sister is here this weekend and we are planning to do a photo shoot of the 50s dress, maybe I'll break out my corset and hoop crinoline and do a shoot with the 1860s dress as well.  I've probably said it before, but honest to God, I swear I was born in the wrong decade/century.  I love historical attire of any type!  I'll be sure to post finished photos of this baby!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Feel unmotivated...


Maybe ya'll can talk some sense into me.

I'm feeling very unmotivated with Cash, and the thought of selling him has crossed my mind more than once as of late.

It's kinda flirted in the back of my mind for awhile, but what with him bucking me off, then kicking them, then being a royal turd on the lunge every. single. time. I work with him, and just now in my most recent ride on him last week he bolted and ran off with me.

Now, I'm a good rider, I have stickability and can tough it out with the nastiest of horses. I'm not scared of Cash, and nothing he's throwing at me is something I can't work through in time. But, with all that is going on in my life, what I've been through, I want a horse I can enjoy and trust to be the same animal day in and day out... is that too much to ask?

Plus there is the time factor. He needs to be ridden 5 days a week. That's definitely possible right now. But I start the fall semester in two weeks and my days are going to get very, very long. I'll prob still be able to get out there a decent # of times until the days get short, at which point I'll be leaving the house before sun-up and not getting back till after sun-down. And we don't have an indoor or lighted area. That sucks.

Partially it's just me being frustrated. I know he needs time to mature mentally. But it's hard to get past the fact that he tries to be a jerk because he can. When he bolted and ran off with me it was because of a stupid white cooler sitting on the other side of the fence.... YET just beyond that in the adjacent garden were 4 blonde headed boys running and yelling and popping in and out of 6 foot tall sunflower rows shooting nerf guns and waving foam swords, he didn't even blink. But the cooler... that white cooler. UGH

Anyway, what do y'all think? Am I totally off my rocker? Everytime I go horse hunting online I realize that he is far nicer than any other horse out there within my price range... yet then I go work with him and 9 times out of 10 come away feeling "blah". I'm not feeling the connection I had with Pie or with Buddy, my two previous OTTBs.

Well, I'll leave my ramblings at that. On a postscript note, I need a new color sceme/layout for this blog, this one has been around for awhile and I'm ready for a change.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Listen to Me!


A bit behind on blogging, I'll admit, but oh well.  I spent a week in California on vacation--I got to hang out with my aunt, my cousin and her kids, my grandparents, and just enjoy a week of no work, no errands, no appointments, no running around, no alarm clock in the morning--it was fantastic!!

I am slowly but surely figuring out how to reprimand Cash.  First, is his spooking, I am starting to find that line between yes, he is actually spooking, and no, now he's just being a jerk.  Yesterday was a great example, I was lunging him and he initially was very looky at "that end" of the arena.  I let him stop and look, and then move on again.  But he kept looking each time we'd come around and would get this little pattern going: slow down, duck in, speed up, pull out.... and after about 10 times of this I was like "Ok, enough. Time for you to listen."

So when he slowed down I snapped his butt with the whip, when he ducked in I snapped his shoulder, when he sped up and pulled out I gave him a nice pull back in and by then we were back to his slow down spot and I repeated. He's a smart cookie, once I was onto his game it only took me doing this twice for him to go "Oh, sorry mom, I'll listen." Turd.

I experimented too with a side rein set up and I'm super pleased with the results.  When lunging (and when riding) he really braces in his neck and can pull and fall in super easily as a result.  I'm not a huge side rein fan as I feel that they are very unforgiving and hard on a horse's mouth--there just is no suppling action.  So what I did was attach a side rein to the outside to be that steady outside rein the horse works into.  On the inside I took the lunge line and ran it through the bit and back to the girth and attached it as the same height as the side rein.  This gave me that inside rein suppling factor and a GREAT way to also effectively disengage him when he tries to brace and pull on the lunge line.  I can say that I've been really happy with the results of how he carried himself the last couple of lunging sessions.

My training goals for Cash for the foreseeable future are two very simple things:
  1. Rhythm and Relaxation
Note the emphasis on #2... this also applies to in hand.  I'm making it a point of taking him out for walks on the road, and he can sometimes loose focus and starts invading my space.  The week before I was in Cali he decided to suddenly take a feel good leap forward during which he then kicked out at me and caught me square in the knee.  I kid you not I thought I didn't have a knee anymore as it instantly went numb.  Thankfully I must have got just the end of the kick because I could still walk just fine and I promptly brought the fear of god down upon him--I was NOT happy!  He's been much, much more respectful now and listens instantly the moment I correct him.  There is a reason I hand walk this horse in a stud chain!

So, I've decided to implement a rule of that he is allowed ONE good look for each scary item, after which he HAS to listen to me.  Also, when he gets his one look, he is looking only, no slowing down, no speeding up, no stopping unless I say, and especially no spinning and trying to go the other way.  Sounds simple enough, right??

On another note, go take a look at this cutie!! If I had the money for another horse I would so snatch him up, just look at that uphill canter! http://denver.craigslist.org/grd/3935382886.html

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Hi-Yo Silver!


With my Mom being in town for the 4th we decided to take a night and go see The Lone Ranger

Talk about a FUN movie!! I was not quite expecting the humor and punch lines scattered throughout the movie, but I enjoyed every minute of it. 

Aside from a few historical and factual errors (such as the women's clothing being more reminicient of late 1850s than late 1860s and that they were trying to say that the Transcontinental Railroad went through Texas) it was just a good ol' fun western movie.  And, Armie Hammer is pretty easy on the eyes ;)

And, can I just say that I am loving these new "modern" westerns? Movies such as this one along with "3:10 to Yuma", the remake of "True Grit", and TV mini-series shows such as "Broken Trail," "Into The West," and "The Hatfields & McCoys". Yep, I love it.

I swear, I was born in the wrong century....

Regardless, go see The Lone Ranger if you haven't yet!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

RIP Google Reader


As many of us now know, Google Reader was officially terminated on July 1st.  This was much to my chagrin... I had the gReader app on my phone and would happily scroll through my feeds--which were all imported from Blogger.com.  Well, with Reader down the tubes my easy phone access to my blogs was suddenly cut short.

You would think getting Blogger RSS subscriptions imported into a RSS reader app would be no big deal...

I just spent the better part of an hour trying to figure out how!!  I failed to import my subscriptions out of gReader into another app before it shut down, so I had to figure out a round-a-bout to get things switched over.

I ultimately went with Feedly as my RSS reader of choice.  I then went into Google Takeout and exported my Reader subscriptions into a .xml document (which is ultimately downloaded as a .zip file, and you have to go into it and copy/paste the subscriptions.xml document into another folder), from there I could go into the cloud portion of Feedly and import it (which is referred to as a OPML Import--and no, I don't know what that means).  That, thank goodness, finally brought all my blogger feeds into Feedly.  But, now I don't know if it will automatically pull in new feeds, or if I'll just have to subscribe to them through both Blogger and Feedly?? Guess I'll cross that bridge when I get there....

In the meantime, in honor of the 4th of July weekend and because it is the 150th Anniversary, I am watching my favorite movie of all time: Gettysburg

Friday, June 21, 2013

Liebster Award! x4!!


Wow! In three days I've been nominated FOUR times for the Liebster Blog Award!! A big thank you to Katherine at Grey Brook Eventing for the first award and to AmberRose at The Way To Heaven Is On Horseback for the second nod, and Dragon at I Trot On for the third, then lastly from Syd at From Racehorse to Princess.  I'm flattered and incredibly honored that not one, but three people felt that my blog was worthy of an award! So, thank you, thank you, thank you!!

So, now this means I get to come up with some fun reading material for y'all. Let's start with what the award is about:

The Liebster Blog Award is a way to recognize blogs who have less than 200 followers. Liebster is a German word that means beloved and valued. Here are the rules for accepting the award:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link back to their blog. 
  2. List 11 random facts about yourself. 
  3. Answer the 11 questions given to you. 
  4. Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate. 
  5. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or fewer followers to nominate and include links to their blogs. 
  6. Go to each blogger's page and let them know you have nominated them.
 11 Random Facts about Myself:
  1. I'm a closet Sci-Fi fan/geek, especially when it comes to Stargate SG-1 haha.  Lord of the Rings is my other huge fandom, and I can hold my own with the best of them when it comes to LotR and Hobbit trivia (my mom, sister and I used to quiz each other on the books long before the movies were even announced). I will also happily watch any Star Trek or Star Wars movie. I'm not too big on Harry Potter though.
  2. The first horse that ever bucked me off was a 12.3hh pony named Cloud.
  3. I will eat peanut butter on anything... anything! Especially Oreos. Yum!
  4. I love foo-foo coffee (lattes, mochas, lots of creamer, sugar...) but can't stand the stuff straight.
  5. Growing up as a kid my favorite movie was "Gettysburg" and I would re-watch it over and over, my mom finally banned me to watch it only over the 4th of July as she was concerned about her 7 year old girl watching so much violence!
  6. After horses, my next love and passion is sewing.  I love to sew.  Like a lot.
  7. For the first severals years or so of my riding career I kept a written list of all the names of the horses I'd ever ridden.  I think I quit keeping track when the list reached to about 30 horses. It'd be interesting to see how long it would've become if I had kept it up.
  8. I like mowing the yard, I like the grunt work behind it and the satisfaction of having a beautifully even, manicured yard.  However, I hate gardening or anything of the such.  A green thumb, I have not.  But, I can make grass look good. 
  9. From my Great-Grandfather on my Grandma's side of the family, I can trace a family lineage directly back to a Decon John Dunham who sailed over from England on one of the first few ships to follow the Mayflower. Further back in England in the 1400s there are direct blood ties to the Royal Family, I believe it's a relation to King Edward (but don't quote me on it, I haven't gone through it recently).  Oh, and Sir Francis Drake is a cousin in there as well.  Pretty cool, huh?

So, for the 11 questions given me... I contemplated just doing the questions from the first nominator, but then that would leave two people with unsanswered questions, so I thought, what the heck, I'm going for it.  So thus, be forewarned, 44 questions coming right up!

These questions are from Katherine:
  1. If you could travel to any place in world, where would it be and why? Ireland.  Because I love all things Irish.  'Nuff said. 
  2. If you could live in any historical period/location, where would it be and why? Civil War, or to be a little broader, anywhere inbetween 1860 and the end of the 1870s.  This would be why I doing Civil War and Indian War era reenacting ;)
  3. If you had to change to an entirely new equestrian discipline, what would you go to? I'd say Combined Driving because I already love driving, I just haven't ever done a CDE.  But, if we are taking something I've never done, ever... then it would be Reining. 
  4. If you could have a ride on any famous horse in the world competing right now, which would it be? Ah! So many to choose from!! I certainly wouldn't pass up a ride on any of William Fox-Pitt's horses :)  
  5. Describe your dream barn. Somewhere up in the foothills, with lots of shady trees... and a big red barn built around the turn of the century.  I have a fetish with old barns. 
  6. Favorite non-horsey activity? Sewing :)
  7. Which is better: the book or the movie adaptation? Depends, but, for the most part the book because there are more details and you can let your imagination run wild.  
  8. Can you cook? If so, what can you make? Yes, and when I have the time and have the motivation, I can cook up some really yummy things.  Just about anything I can make, I recently came across a casserole recipe that involves biscuit dough, ground beef, onions, bell peppers, sour cream and cheese.  Sounds good!
  9. Favorite color? Blue!
  10. Describe yourself in 10 years. Not working where I'm working now, ha!  Hopefully, maybe, prayerfully remarried (I want my baby to have a daddy...), with a career in the equine industry, and with a home of my own. 
  11. How did you first start riding? When I was 13 on a visit to my aunt's ranch that summer the neighbors happened to be having a horse camp and my siblings and I got invited.  I was elated!  I got to ride a beautiful QH mare named Poco (original name, right?) every day for the entire week.  I came home from that trip beeeegggging my mother for lessons for nearly a month before she gave in and called a local barn. 
And these questions are from AmberRose!
  1. Do you have a camera? Yes, I do
  2. If so what make and model? Well, for the most part it's my phone, which is a Motorola RazrM that has a spiffy 8mpx camera.  My real camera is a Nikon something, it's a point and shoot, but with a big lense on it... it's now a bit obsolete and I don't particularly enjoy using it. 
  3. When did you first start riding? When I was 13, see above question!
  4. Have you always loved horses and had them in your life, or is it something that you started later in life? I have loved horses since I could crawl, I spent most of my childhood running around on hands and knees pretending to be a horse.  I also roped my brother and sister into the fun and made them pretend to be Lipizzaners...
  5. What's your favourite colour for your horse? A bright, blood bay horse with solid black points, a blaze and four socks. 
  6. When you were little what were your equestrian dreams? Ride in the Olympics, duh. 
  7. Other than riding what do you spend your spare time doing? What is this "spare time" you speak of? When I'm not riding I'm either at work, at school, driving to said occupations, running kids around to places, doing homework, cleaning house, doing laundry, doing yardwork... and sleeping. Phew. 
  8. What is your favourite job to do at the stables/yard/barn? Grooming, or tack cleaning
  9. What is your least favourite job to do at the stables/yard/barn? Moving stall mats around and cleaning under them.... disgusting!
  10. Which famous horse and rider team inspire you the most? Right now, probably Tianna Coudray and Ringwood Magistar.  She has produced this horse from the ground up and not but a few short years ago she was making waves in the Young Rider championships, she has since moved up in the world and earned her stripes at the Olympics last summer.  She has a bright future ahead of her and she is just an inspiration to me in that, yes, you can make it to the upper levels, Olympics even, on quite literally only one horse.
  11. If you could meet any famous horse dead or alive, real life or from a story who would it be? Secretariat
And, next up, the questions from Dragon.
  1. Get up early to ride, or stay up late? Stay up late, I love the quietness of the evening and it's a great way for me to de-stress my day.
  2. What do you do for a living? I work customer service in an inbound call center.  I am an assistant supervisor and assist with agent development and assistance, handling of escalated calls, providing authorization for reshipments/corrections/etc.  I also help with training and onboarding of new "Helpdesk" agents (which is what I am)
  3. What do you wish you did for a living? My career goal is to work with upper level performance horses in some form, idealy with orthopedics and soundness.  But, truthfully, if I end up in a customer service/call center like I am in now, I won't complaint.  I love my job I have right now, I trully do.  I just wish it paid 2-3x as much as it does.
  4. If you could try any type of riding what would it be? As above, Reining :)
  5. What is one thing about your horse you wish you could change? Get rid of his silly temper tantrums, good grief I would miss those.
  6. If you could change your horse's name to anything (registered or barn) what would it be? I thought about this when I first got Cash and hemmed and hawwed over giving him a different Barn name, but I couldn't come up with anything.  Truthfully, I love his registered name, some JC names are attrocious (Darren Darren anybody? - that was Pie's name), but his is pretty cool I think.  Reminds me of Johnny Cash.  So, I guess if it would change, I'd call him Johnny, and I considered that, but Johnny is/was a variant on my late husband's name sooo... yeah.  Cash it is :)
  7. Facebook, Tumblr, or Instagram? Instagram!!! Follow me y'all @amilehighonhorseback (cute baby pictures are a frequent occurance, hint hint)
  8. Ebay, Craigslist, or Tack shop? Oh good God, I am such an eBay addict... I have to ban myself from there, I have spent entirely WAY too much money on there over the years, but I DO find some amazing deals... the hunt, it's addictive.
  9. If you could take on the life of any character in any TV show or movie, who would it be? Ohhh... this is a good question.  I guess I can't really say that I would want to take over the life of any character, however, I would gladly plant myself IN a TV show or Movie, in which case, Stargate SG-1 or Stargate Atlantis would probably be the two I've fantasized about that happening the most, to the point of writing fan fiction in the past....... [blushes] ....Yes, I have geeky fangirl aspirations!!
  10. If you had an unlimited budget, what type of car or truck would you buy? Ford F350 Super Duty. Done.
  11. If you could move to any part of the world, where would it be? Here? I love where I live, I love the mountains, the rolling hills, the view east towards the plains.  I love looking towards the mountains and being able to feast my eyes on a magnificent 14,000+ tall peak.  I love being able to drive 15 minutes and be surrounded by cool pine forrests.  I love watching the sun set over the mountains every evening and basking the sky in golds, pinks, reds, and oranges.  I love the crisp cool feeling in the air after a thunderstorm rolls in off the mountains.  I love the beautiful snow in the winter, the crisp golden colors of Aspens in the fall... I love Colorado.  I don't want to move :)
Then, from Syd!!
  1. How long have you been riding for? Oh, about 12 years now, or so.
  2. Favorite Breed? Thoroughbreds, without a doubt.  I love their heart, their athleticism, and their incredible worth ethic.
  3. Ever ridden Western? Informally yes, and here at there I did wanna-be western pleasure classes at the Welsh Pony breed shows haha.
  4. Favorite Book? Probably the Lord of the Rings trillogy, including the Appendixes.
  5. Slow Horse or Fast Horse? Fast, but not hot.  I don't care for a hot horse, but I cannot stand a lazy, slow horse.  I need speed.
  6. Longest Horse You've Ever Own? I had Pie for a total of 9 years, though that was not consecutively.
  7. Favorite Store to Shop in? Does eBay count? Hahaha.  Otherwise, the King Soopers by my house, it's new and besides an awesome open grocery layout, they have furniture and lots of home accessories and an awesome candle selection! Hey, she didn't specify a horsie store, haha, and I love my grocery store, so there :)
  8. Favorite Horsey Memory? Probably the entire trip out to the 2007 National Pony Club Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park.  I competed Beginner Novice and I scored a 30 in dressage and was sitting 1st in my division, we went double clear XC (fun course!!!), but it poured on Stadium day and my poor horse, coming from bone dry Colorado, was totally beside himself with the wet and we pulled two rails and finished 6th. Bummer.  Otherwise, it was a blast! I participated in the clinics held afterwards and just had a great time.  It was a huge learning experience and I tell ya what, nothing like riding your horse next to Rolex jumps (well, I guess jumping them would be ever better, but, close enough!).
  9. If you could buy any other horse what kind would it be? Thoroughbred, or a TB-WB cross.
  10. Show for the rest of your life or trail ride? Show! I am so stupidly competitive it's not even funny
  11. Favorite Quote? "Plans are always made in pencil but writing down your goals makes your dreams achievable." - Sinead Halpin

And, now my 11 questions for you!
  1. What was the last movie you saw in Theaters? Was it in 3D?
  2. If you could pick one saddle to buy, and had no budget, what would you get?
  3. Oakbark, Havannah, or Black tack?
  4. Have you ever galloped a horse full out? Was it intentional?
  5. Favorite Sci-Fi character?
  6. What is your favorite Pony breed and why?
  7. Haven you ever driven a horse in a cart?
  8. What would be your dream horsie vacation?
  9. Do you own a pair of cowboy boots?
  10. What is your favorite Equestrian discipline to watch? (not nessecarially ride)
  11. And, lastly, what are your plans for the weekend, are you doing anything fun?

As for the 11 Blogs to nominate.....
I thought about this for a bit, sorted through the blogs I follow (which is, not that many, surprisingly), looked at blogs that have already been nominated by other folks, and decided that I won't nominate any specific blog.

So, I nominate anybody who HASN'T yet been nominated for the Liebster Award.  You who might be feeling a tad bit left out, or who maybe is new to the world of blogdom... this for YOU!!

Or, if you just want to answer even more questions, well, go for it!

Open Mic everybody :)