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.