Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What the...


Cash continues to be difficult to catch.  I had to follow him around for 15 minutes the other day before he let me lay a hand on his halter.  I did have the baby monitor on me and it initially was on but when he gave it a wayward glance I turned it off and stuffed it in my pocket. 

When I turned him out yesterday after catching him and messing with him I practiced putting the rope over his neck, the first time I casually did it he jumped and about bolted--a reaction I was totally unprepared for!! So, I worked with that a bit until he calmed down, then I let him loose with praise and lots of cookies.

Today, the wind picked up and with temps only hovering around 30*F today my barn owner went out to blanket the horses to keep them cozy with the dropping wind chill.  However, she called me and said that when she went to put the blanket on him he spooked and pulled the halter out of her hand and took off and would not let her catch him again.

So, I'm stumped.

A month ago I could walk out there and put his blanket on with no halter, no lead, nothing.  He would see me and come walking up to be caught.  Now he's back to square 1.  I don't get it.

Guess I see lots of de-sensitization in the future... and lots of loves n hugs n goodies to make him want to be caught again.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Playing hard to catch


Yesterday Cash got it into his head that he didn't want to be caught.  Apparently, I've been spending too much time with the pony and not enough time with him, so he wanted to teach me a lesson!! I spent a flippin hour trying to catch the damn horse (pardon my french).  Even got him into the alley way, no luck... Rosemary, the barn owner tried... no luck.  It was starting to get dark, we tried bringing the horses in for dinner, no luck!! He was NOT going to be caught.  I finally left feeling very unhappy about letting him win.  Rosemary was able to catch him later in the evening and bring him in, and she put his turnout halter on to aid in catching for a bit.

Today went much better, he turned and walked away from me initially, but when I started to cuddle on the pony he got curious and came over and I was able to grab his halter before he decided to move off again.

We then headed to the round pen for some "join up" type work to get him listening and thinking about submitting and respecting me as Alpha Mare like the good boy that he is.  And... he was, surprisingly very good.  

Very relaxed, only had one minute or two where he had to get the ants outta his pants, but otherwise he was great really.  Listened to me, and every time I relaxed and asked him to come in to me via body language he instantly slowed, relaxed, showed a "release" (in this case licking and chewing and dropping the head), and came in to me and stood patiently for my next move.

He'd then follow me around as if on a lead, forwards, stopping, and even backing without me touching him.  It's rather cool really :)  Overall, I gotta say I'm pretty pleased with how well Cash has picked up on the ground work in the year that I've had him.

I can be a good boy, really, I can!
He was also surprisingly quite sound.  I'm really quite pleased with how quickly he's regaining his soundness after getting the shoes off.  Especially considering that the day after getting the shoes off it warmed up and within a few days all the snow was gone and the ground was back to being very dry, and very hard, and very rocky.  Murphy's law right?  Ah well, he's like 98% sound right now, the right front is the culprit, just gotta give it time!  Maybe that Keratex Hoof Hardener is actually doing it's job, it's gotta be helping!

All in all, today was a great day at the barn.  Cash was good, and I had a great time working with the pony, he is doing just awesome, and I promise I will have a post about him soon!! Maybe tomorrow, or monday, whenever I get done with homework :)  Lets just say I'm having waaaaay too much fun working with him than I should be allowed.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hay Banks


Many of us are blessed with an income that allows us to provide for our equine children, but with hay prices where how they are unfortunately some who cannot.  Sadly, the result is that the horse suffers.  Tonight, while watching the news they ran a story Hay Banks where struggling horse owners can attain free hay for their horses to keep them from malnourishment.

What a great idea!! Cities provide "Food Banks" and other programs to help low income families with groceries, so why not have more of these Hay Banks for horse owners struggling to keep up with the rising hay prices?  There are three so far in Colorado.  I sure wish that I had the ability to donate to these programs at the moment, but on down the road I definitely plan to make sure that I give a little bit to help them out.  And I will recommend anyone who can donate to do so.  Anything for our furry family members right?

NBC Nightly News: Making a Difference

The Hay Bank

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Movies to see


Just because I'm so freakishly busy, I figured I'd jot down a few movies while I'm bored at work that I'd like to see in the near future, less I forget about them.

Les Miserables
 I've heard so many good things about this move. And with Hugh Jackman, Russel Crowe, and Anne Hathaway... yes please! Plus, I just love these historical drama/romance type movies (Pride & Prejudice is perhaps my all time favorite movie!)

 Note the historical trend? Not only is this movie getting rave reviews (and awards), it's about the Civil War.  So therefore, I must watch it.  Must.  The Civil War is my thing y'all.  Hopefully it won't be too historically inaccurate... or full of ill-costumed extras... trust me, I can pick out little things like if a horse is wearing the appropriate tack for the era.  Yeah, I've kinda spent a little, err... a lot of time researching such stuff.

Star Trek: Into Darkness
I cannot wait for this!! The first new Star Trek was AWESOME and another of my favorite movies.  This new generation of Star Trek has been so well re-invented, they have opened up just so many new opportunities to take the characters, it's fresh, it's new, it's invigorating.  Love it. Can't wait.

Iron Man 3
Marvel has been spitting out some amazing Super Hero movies as of late. The Avengers was simply phenomenal, and both Iron Man movies so far have been awesome.  I love Robert Downey Jr in this role, he fits it so so SO well.  I'm very much looking forward to see what is in store for this movie.

That's all off the top of my head, I haven't heard yet of any other movies that I'm like "Must. See." But these are my top four at the moment.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Shoes are Off!


Cash got his shoes off today! I got a call this morning from my farrier saying that he was in town and able to come by and take them off.  The timing worked out perfect and I was able to zip off to the barn to meet him after work. He was originally going to come last week but he came down with the flu and wasn't able to work for a couple weeks, yikes!

Since I'm running rather short on funds until my next paycheck, I said that I'd trim Cash myself, which is something I actually enjoy.  I'm no expert, but I know enough about the balance and function of a foot to be dangerous.

After the past two months waiting (im)paitently for Cash's feet to grow, I've definitely decided that we need to try keeping his feet (namely his toes) a bit longer than we had.  He just wasn't comfortable with them that short.  He tends to have very short toes, which means a tendency to be sore in the toes.  All I did was round the toes (took off length from the top essentially), trim off some shedding frog, and called it good.  He really didn't have any length that needed to be taken off.

His front left grows a bit clubby, so finding the right angle is tricky.  You want to go by the textbook and match the pastern angle, but, a club foot is often that way because of how the horse naturally is or at one point there could have been an injury that caused a lack of weight bearing for a prolonged period.  I don't know what the reason is with Cash, but I do know that one can only alter a club foot so much--you can't force a body to conform to a shape it's not built to be.  Anywho, this is what the left front looked like after I did the toe, I rasped the heels a fraction, but they were level with the frog so didn't go further.  It'll be interesting to see if the frog starts shedding now that it'll be more load bearing.  Looking at this picture you see that it would appear he needs some toe taken off. 
 But putting the foot down you see that, really, he's not that long in the toe after all.  I may try to take a smidge more heel off.  But again, I want to try leaving his feet a touch longer as I think he needs extra padding to stay sound.
  The right front is much rounder with a lot of width to it.  It's not what I would call a flat foot, but it's borderline.  Again, same deal with the toe.  Looks long underneath...
... but perfectly fine when set on the ground.  I have no want or desire to make his toes any less.
 Overall, for a thoroughbred he's got pretty decent feet.  Nice shape, open heels, healthy frog.  I'm going to be avidly using the Keratex Hoof Hardener this week and see how it helps.

Aside from that? My day was rather crappy :(  One of our chickens died, she was one of the older hens we had (prob about 3-4 years, old for a chicken), and I think the subzero temps did her in.  I found her very lethargic in the run, brought her inside to warm up hoping that might help, but after about 2 hours she convulsed and died. By the way she was acting, I wouldn't be surprised if she had a stroke.

Then, the really cruddy part of the day was that my husband said enough's enough with the little 6 month old kitten we have, well had.  She's been peeing on a lot of things lately, I'm 110% positive it was hormones as when we got her spayed last week she was in heat.... Today she popped a squat and peed on a backpack right in front of him.  He took her over to a friend's house this evening to be their cat....  Yeah, I'm rather upset....... she was my little buddy, even if she was kitty terror.  To say my husband is impulsive is an understatement.  It's epically frustrating since I am anything but.
Gonna miss that little face :(

Sunday, January 13, 2013

My Victorian Style


So, in rather non-horsey fashion I've decided to write a post about another hobby of mine: sewing and historical reenacting.  Ok, ok, that was two hobbys--but they go together!
I like to sew.  I like to sew a lot.  As a kid I drafted, cut, and created a two piece fitted wedding gown for the one and only barbie doll I ever owned (and go figure, it was the Pioneer Barbie!).

I also love Victorian era history.  So it was only natural that I joined a Civil War Cavalry reenactment unit when I was in high school.  And when you put a love of sewing with a love of history together, what do you get?  An obession with constructing and wearing of historical garments, of course. 
Proud of my handiwork
So far I've constructed two full Civil War era dresses (a nicer "best" dress and a plain day/work dress), a cage crinoline (aka hoop skirt), corset, petticoat and chemise.  I've also sewn garments for my family such as a girl's dress for my step-daughter (I need to get pics of it, I'm rather proud of how it turned out). Pants, shirts, and suspenders are also in my skill set.

But, I'm getting that itch to make something else...  Something fun and new.  Like an 1870s Bustle Dress!!!
Oh so very Victorian
My reenacting unit does impressions from the 1850s (pre-Civil War) all the way into the late 1870s (Indian Wars).  The above fashion plate from Godey's magazine is 1874 styles.  The Bustle era fluctuated a LOT between 1869 and the 1890s.  The style I'm after is the first or early bustle era.  When ladies were first starting to get away from the full, round shirts of the Civil War and were sweeping that fabric up into elaborate designs along the backside. The sewing machine was becoming common place in households which resulted in beautiful and intricate ruching, ruffling, gathering, and trimming.  The possibilities are endless.

Being out on the western frontier, if I am going to make a full on bustle dress it's going to be a nice dress, something the lady would wear to Sunday church or evening events.  Otherwise, in her day-to-day activities she'd being wearing a simple day/frontier dress made of cotton or wool (depending on time of year) that would not have the elaborate designs and bustle padding.  This dress will be made of silk.  And to be period correct, we are talking 100% silk, that runs $16-24/yard.  At 7 yards of fabric for a dress... you do the math.  Maybe this summer I'll weasel away some pocket change so that I can make it come true.  I've never worked with silk before, but mmmmmm it sounds delicious!  I just need to decide on what colors.... maybe an indigo blue and cream. 

In the mean time... that green and white checked dress shown above? I think I'll satisfy my sewing and designing urges by remaking the bodice of that dress.  Maybe a jacket type style over a white blouse? Or just make one with fancier necklines and sleeves, with a pointed front.... either way, definitely want to add some dark green or black lace trim, AND I want to re-gather the skirt, without a doubt, when I made it before I was on a deadline and it kinda got rushed and was a bit sloppy.  I want to re-do the skirt with pleating like this one:
My inspiration - isn't it gorgeous?
Ok, I guess I'll stop rambling and go back to my idle browsing of Godey's Lady's Book fashion plates while I wait for baby to go to sleep (little stinker likes to stay up late!! Mommy no likey).... it's been a good distraction after watching the Broncos loose this afternoon in overtime (which sucked by the way--one little mistake and we gave the game away, booo).

Maybe I should make myself a sewing/reenacting blog.... call it something along the lines of "Victorian Style on the Colorado Frontier" .... I'll havta muse on that.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ammy Hour Feature!


I recently had the wonderful opportunity to partake in an interview questioner for the Ammy Hour feature series put on by the gal over at SprinklerBandits.  It was a lot of fun to talk about what my goals, aspirations, challenges and motivations are as an Adult Amateur.  Two other ladies so far have been featured, and I look forward to reading future interviews!

Check it out HERE

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hi ho, it's off to work I go


Well, today was my first day back to work after a 12 week maternity leave.

I really can't say I missed it much... Everybody kept saying how excited they were to have me back, I couldn't exactly say the feeling was mutual! I would have much rather been home with my little cuddle bug.

Hanging out with the babysitter while I was at work

I've thoroughly enjoyed getting to be a stay at home mom, taking care of the baby, keeping the house clean, making dinner, and the best part: getting to go to the barn whenever I want.  Finding time to go play with the ponies is going to get tricky here.  But I think I'll be able to get in my four days a week. Where there is a will there is a way!

I didn't get to work with Cash like I had planned yesterday, I started working with the pony (Shadow) to do some ground driving with him, but the baby started really fussing and wouldn't be consoled so I decided I just wasn't going to get barn time in. Oh well, it happens, and baby totally gets first dibs on attention :)

Friday and Saturday are my days off, I definitely plan to make time for the barn. Well... as long as it isn't freezing cold. They are calling for a high of 25* and maybe snow on Saturday.  Which, by the way, is the Broncos' playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens!! I'm thinking it's going to be a good game. So, I've at least got entertainment if the weather turns out to be cruddy.  
Oh yeah - GO BRONCOS

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A horse eating ... baby monitor?


When I go to the barn I have to take lil Baby K with me since I obviously can't leave her alone at home. We have a heated office in the tack room so I put her in her car seat in there with a little portable mobile and a baby monitor to listen to her. Using a little clip I hook the receiver on my jeans so that I can listen for her while I go about my business messing with the ponies. 

Sometimes, when I get in certain places on the property, while I'm not out of range, it will pick up a little static.  In addition, my two older step-kids who often come with me will go into the office to get warm and they'll sit and chatter quietly which will obviously come across the baby monitor.

On Thursday, when I went out to the dry lot to get Cash, this combination of static noise and idle kid chatter was coming through, while I didn't have it turned up super loud, it was loud enough for me, and thus the horses, to hear.  As I got close to Cash, I went to hand him a cookie while swinging the rope over his neck to catch him, like I always do.  But, he heard that sound, and it was not what he was expecting. His response?

"I'm outta here!"

He then decided he was not going to be caught, and for the next ten minutes, stayed frustratingly just out of reach.... observe:

Yeah, you are soooo not catching me
 He finally decided to let him approach him.  I figured that trying to get a halter on him wasn't that big of a deal anymore so decided to just give him some love and scratches instead.  Besides, at this point the kids were hollering at me over the baby monitor that they had to go bathroom and wanted to go home.
Aaahhh, that hits the spot
He then followed me like a puppy dog back to the gate. Booger.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Wish List


Since I already sorta did a Goals post with what I want to achieve in 2013 (although I should expand on them...), I thought it would be fun to do a 2013 Wish List and share with you some of the items I have my eye on that I want to buy within the next year.

AiroWear Ladies Outlyne Body Protector
I used to have a Tipperary Vest, you know, that one with the little foam pieces all placed in the fabric to make it super flexible and lego block type looking (what! it's what it looks like to me).  However, those iconic vests are most definitely not BETA approved. Umm, that's kinda a big deal. We won't ride in helmets that aren't properly approved, so why ride in a vest that falls substandard?  With the Outlyne Ladies Vest not only does it meet the BETA Level 3 standards, but it has received rave reviews, with users constantly mentioning how breathable and lightweight it is.  It's completely adjustable, and is designed to fit a ladies body shape (YAY NO SMASHED BOOBIES..... *ahem*), aaaannnnd you can get custom colored silks for it!!  Sweet.  While SmartPak and Dover both retail this vest, it's actually a lot cheaper to buy from a UK supplier, because, somehow, even after shipping overseas it still comes out at least $60 cheaper to buy that way.  This item is definitely at the top of my list.

Charles Owen Ultralite Euro
I have been wanting a skull cap style eventing helmet for a looooonnnng time (right alongside that awesome Yellow Watch!), I've also been wanting a Charles Owen for a looooonnng time.  I've had an IRH two tone velvet helmet for years, and while it looks nice (hey, it's a Charles Owen knock off pretty much), the fit just doesn't have that cooshy head hugging feel that a Charles Owen has.  While I would love to get the Charles Owen Pro II Skull, the $190 price point is a bit much for me for a helmet (although, Bit of Britain has it on sale for $150 right now, poop, wish I had $$ at the moment), this one will work just fine, and at $115 is much more affordable. Also another must have item!

A Dressage Bridle
I actually (surprisingly) don't have a specific bridle picked out for this.  All I know is I want (and need if I end up competing) a dressage bridle.  I have a (well, several) havana bridle for use when jumping, but I don't have a dressage bridle.  I used to have a lovely Passier crank bridle that I ended up selling it awhile back, sometimes I still wish I had it, buuuut it wouldn't have fit Cash anyway (it was a Cob size and he most definitely is not).  SmartPak puts out some decently nice (and very affordable) bridles, there are also some Nunn Finer bridles that Bit of Britain offers at a very reasonable price, like the Biko Bridle (love that clincher browband).  Oooor I could get brave and take a gamble on quality and pick up a bridle dirt cheap from Horze.com

Brushing Boots
My first pick in this category is the Nunn Finer Brushing Boots, which is another item that's been on my wish list for awhile.  I'd settle for a pair of Woof Boots as well.  In short, my current set of brushing boots are about to bite the dust.  One day, when I start to get serious about moving up the levels in eventing I'll pick up a sweet pair of fancy schmancy XC boots, but until then a pair of all around brushing boots are perfectly acceptable!

Aaannnd, that's about it.  I will probably poke around on Ebay and look for a pair of White Fullseat Breeches, since I long ago passed on the pair I had got when I was a still growing stick thin teenager.  I wouldn't be opposed to a Black Stretch Hunt or Dressage Coat, note the stretch, that is important, I so hate how restrictive mine is and I definitely notice a difference when I ride in it (as in I can't release properly due to the restrictive armscythe and end up throwing my upper body over fences instead of releasing, no bueno).  I got my Yellow Watch (YAY), and I really just can't think of anything else.... Oh yeah, I could use a Fleece or Wool Cooler, I'm still undecided if I want a big square one, or a fitted one... hmmm.  That'll probably be another Ebay item, since it'll get tossed around the tack room, stepped on, rained on, mudded on (yes, with my horse, that is a word and I'm using it lol), so I'm not about to spend big bucks on something I know will end up eventually trashed, so might as well buy second hand.  I love bargain shopping :)