Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A total ROCKSTAR!!

I just have to toot Eagle's horn...truly, he is a rockstar of a horse.  I've always known it, and he's proving me right.  He and Rachel.  So, I posted about our merry little adventure involving a freak storm and taking Eagle over to Rachel's last Thursday evening.  Rather eventful, but we made it and all is well.

Friday, day one of his training Eagle got a morning session of ground work, put away for a few hours and his evening session consisted of walk, trot, canter, one-rein stops and backing.  How's that for a first day?  To say I was a little excited would be an understatement.  I may have even cried a little.  Yeah I know, but we're keepin' it real here.  Rachel said other than a one-time kicking out when asked to canter, he did great.  No buck, just kicked out.

Saturdays are Rachel's day off.  Which meant Eagle had a day of rest as well.  She says that he's very relaxed and seems content and happy in her barn.  He's rather a social butterfly, sticks his head over the wall and knickers at everyone who comes and goes in the barn.  Really nickers when it's supper time.  :)  That's my boy!  He now has two other horses on one side of him, and one horse on his other side.  He's even relaxed about the goats and the pot-bellied pig.  

Sunday, day two.  Another groundwork session and later in the day, more riding.  This time involved same basic stuff, walk, trot, canter, one-rein stops and backing.  When asked to canter, there was no kick out, but some hesitation, so he got a pop on his butt with the quirt.  Eagle went into canter, no over-reaction at all.  Rachel says that his biggest obstacle right now, is he tires easily.  Understandable because he's a little "fluffy". He hasn't been ridden or conditioned much at all in almost 4 years, so this is to be expected.  I've done lots and lots of groundwork with him, but never really worried about aerobics or conditioning, so his only real exercise consisted of being turned out in a 5 acre pasture all day, every day.  And you know what horses do when turned out, right?  Yeah, he grazed, trimmed bushes, ate plums and took naps.  It's a rough life.  But hey, you've heard the saying, "somebody's gotta do it", right?  Well, that's our horses.  

I don't really know what took place Monday and Tuesday, but today Rachel posted a video on my FB page.  It read, "look what Eagle and I did today - nothing like real life experience to build some confidence".  They went on a trail ride.  Rachel wore her go-pro camera on her helmet, and they went alone.  Up in the woods, through bushes, over logs and he looked relaxed and oh, so happy!  I can't even tell you how happy he looked!!  She said he had one very minor spook right at the beginning.  One of those drop a few inches, expand your leg stance and look around things - you know the kind.  That is awesome!!  I can totally handle spooks like that - it's those whirl and bolt spooks that I don't like.  She said that he was completely happy the whole time they were out there!!  She says that he needs to look to his rider/handler for confidence, and that's why they went alone, I presume...I only wish I were as brave and confident as she is.  We'll get there.  I've always known in my heart that Eagle is a good horse.  Now I'm finding out he's an amazing horse. I couldn't be happier!  Rachel says that he is absolutely loving his lessons, which I always felt when I worked with him too, and he is mentally ready to learn so much more.  I am just so glad that I trusted my gut until I felt that he was ready for more.  He is not the same horse that he was when I got him...he's come so very far and he will just keep getting better.  I could just bust!!

If I can figure out how to post that video here, I will.  I'm just not very techy and have so much trouble with that kind of thing.  But if I can, I will post it...I've already watched it three times.  :)  

This Sunday afternoon will be my first lesson with Rachel.  I have no idea what she's got in store for me, but I'm sure it's going to push me outside my comfort zone.  Ready or not, here I go!  Wish me luck huh - better yet, I'd appreciate prayers for confidence and relaxation.  I need all the help I can get!  :)

Oh, and we had a very nice time on our camping trip.  No vehicle problems, no storms and beautiful sunshine all the time.  Lots of good fellowship, campfires, food and horses. What could be better?  I'll tell you what would have been better.  We left our horses at home because we got spooked about the weather forecast...buggars!  Having our horses there and going on trail rides would have made the weekend perfect!!  Oh well, next time.

That's about it for now, I'll keep you posted about my amazing, Eagle - the ROCKSTAR!!  


Friday, May 22, 2015

Angels watching over us

Last night I knew that our angels were indeed, watching over and riding along, with us...

The forecasters had mentioned earlier in the day that there was a slight chance of thunderstorm activity in our area late afternoon, early evening.  Throughout the day, the weather was warm and humid, overcast skies with some patches of clearing.  Typical spring day except for that humidity.  I thought nothing of it.  My plans were to get home from work, load Eagle into the trailer and drive to Rachel's house.  Well, that's exactly what we did.  However, that trip that should have taken no more than 20-30 minutes time, ended up being about an hour.  And boy, what a ride it was!  

We got about halfway to Rachel's, the little town of Gaston and the rain earnest within seconds, and the skies were once again, that ominous shade of charcoal grey,then black.  We could see the wall of water in the distance, and we were headed straight for it.  By the time I turned onto the little country road, the rains had intensified to a torrential downpour, the winds were impressive and were coming at us from the north, literally making that downpour a wall of water pelting our truck and trailer.  Within moments, the marble-sized hail began beating against us with enough force that I actually feared it could break the windshield.  Scary stuff.  For the next 30-40 minutes we were pummeled with rain, hail, wind, thunder and lightning.  I could drive no faster than 20 mph and still had to strain to see the road.  It was seriously, the closest I've ever been to being in a typhoon or hurricane, and my precious horse was all alone back inside the trailer.  I sent up a prayer for protection and kept driving.  

We'd made it within a few miles of Rachel's when a HUGE bolt of lightning struck a tree just off the side of the road right in front of us.  It was intense!!  When it struck the tree, it sounded like an explosion and I actually saw the lingering smoke coming up from the ground.  I don't think I've ever been quite that close to a lightning touchdown either...certainly puts things into perspective in a hurry!  I felt very small, and oh so fragile and helpless in the face of that ominous act of nature.  That made me really nervous and all I wanted to do was stop that trailer, get out and go check on my horse.  I hated to think of him back there alone and undoubtedly frightened!  But my hubby said "hell no!", you're not going outside.  Eagle is as safe as he can be in that trailer riding on rubber tires, just keep driving!  So I did, but not before I asked God for another prayer for our protection, and if He could please send one of His angels to ride back there with my Eags...I felt an immediate sense of relief, and of peace.  I knew everything was going to be alright.  We had our angels watching over us.  When we made it to the stable, the rains had calmed down, the winds had died down almost completely, but the thunder still boomed, with occasional lightning; but nothing like it had been.  We were safely delivered through that storm.  

I'm sure there are those of you reading this that have likely experienced this kind of thing many times, or are much more accustomed to this type of stuff happening than we are. But I'm telling you this - we don't have this sort of thing happen very often here in the mild-mannered pacific northwest, and once again I am reminded how very blessed we are to live in a quiet and gentle part of the country.  Incredibly cool and exciting when watching from the comfort of our cozy homes or sheltering and warm barns, but a whole different experience when travelling through it with precious cargo in tow.  I'd rather NOT do that again - thank you very much!!

Eagle was alright.  He was a bit shaken, as we all were, but aside from being sweaty, very wet and trembling a bit in his hindquarters, he was good.  Once out of the trailer, a couple of clearing snorts and a bit wide-eyed at his new surroundings, he quieted right down and walked calmly with me into his new and temporary home away from home. He's got a 12x12 matted stall and about a 14x24 foot run outside, a young Mustang and a black angus steer for neighbors.  He was in awe of all the farm critters within his view too, all new stuff for him, some goats, an alpaca, a pot-bellied big, cats, dogs and who knows what else?  I don't think he'll be bored while he's there.  Or lonely.  That's a good thing.

So, this is Eagle in all his glory - just before loading

Slightly different angle - some could possibly say that's he's a wee bit on the "fluffy" side...
It will be interesting to see him after he's a bit more "buff".  
Rachel and I had a good, long talk about everything.  I feel very comfortable entrusting my horse into her very capable hands.  My intuition about Rachel is that she's a good person, with a good heart, who loves horses as much as I do.  Her philosophy about working with horses is very, very close to mine.  I don't think it really matters how long you've known some people, the heart just knows.  I like her, and feel very relaxed around her.  And you know what?  My horse is really relaxed and comfortable around her, already. That is what really matters...I can see that Eagle feels good.  Over and above everything else, that's what matters to me.  Remember, it's more important how we do something with our horses, than what we do with our horses.  It's all about how the horse feels inside.  

We're still planning on going camping and leaving tonight after work...unless this rainy weather continues.  If that happens, we might just leave all the horses at home and go relax with friends.  If there's any more storms like last night, we might build a fire in the wood stove, pop some popcorn and watch a good movie on tv.  Whatever we do, it's a long holiday weekend, and I'm so ready for a little R&R.

Hope you are too,

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Weather and horses, it's all good!

We had our first real "spring storm" last night!  It seems like we get all our best storms this time of year, but they really don't amount to much compared to what some of you are accustomed to having.  I was almost home from work, after a perfectly beautiful spring day of about 77, when the sky suddenly turned very dark and a few big, fat raindrops started falling on my windshield.  Within about 5 minutes time, we were having a torrential downpour, complete with some hail and very brisk winds.  My little trees were being bent over precariously, but they stood firm.  My poor roses took quite the beating, as did the Iris, but they remain as well.  I ran inside to grab a rain jacket and change my shoes so I could bring the horses inside.  Before I even made it to the barn, the thunder and lightning began and the sky turned an ominous black.  Cool...

Needless to say, I resembled a drowned rat, but managed to get all the horses inside and out of harms' way.  I gave them a small bit of hay to keep them occupied and headed back inside to change my clothes.  Armed with dry clothing and my muck boots this time, I went back out to the barn to hang out with the horses and watch the storm.  What a doozy!!!  My rain chain was dancing a jig, the divet alongside our driveway resembled a raging river and was about 4 feet across, and our gutters were overflowing with gusto.  The thunder boomed and the sky flashed.  Awesome!!  The horses were a bit nervous before, but once settled inside their stalls with some hay, were quite content.  

I absolutely love hearing the roar of the rain and wind battering against the metal roof of the barn...reminds me God is in heaven and all is well.  Now, if we had storms like those back in the midwest, I'd likely not have those same feelings.  But here storms are so infrequent, and short-lived, usually no damage save a few small branches, it's exciting.  

Last weekend we got a few garden plants.  I had to re-weed my raised garden beds, but managed to finish that job and get my veggies planted.  My hubby put up some stakes and wound bird netting around our small fruit trees and removed the temporary fencing so that the horses could graze around the orchard and minimize weed-eating in that area.  I think we might need to hire someone to help with the, it's incredible how fast they grow and just take over!  That's a huge job, and not one I even want to think about doing.  

I went to a Pat Parelli licensed, level 3 trainer private lesson with my friend Terry last Thursday.  I enjoyed my rare mid-week day off, and loved spending the day with my friend, but I have to admit that the lesson (imho, was a joke).  Firstly, the "trainer" charged her $300 for a 2-hour lesson.  Secondly, nothing he did was worth even one quarter of that kind of money.  To me, Parelli is a good hand with a horse, I've seen him work with horses.  But the man is an arrogant ass, and the techniques he passes on to his "licensed trainers" and students is pure hooey.  Everything is labelled as a level of "game" that you "play" with your horse, and absolutely everything that your horse does that is "correct" in your opinion, is rewarded with a treat.  Everything.  I don't believe that's necessary, or even recommended, either.  My opinions aside though, Terry was very pleased with the outcome and with her horse's response; so that is what matters.  It's her horse, and her money, so I'm happy that she's happy.  'Nuf said about that.  

my newest baby tree, planted 2 wks ago - blue spruce

cedar planted 3 years ago, was the same size as the above blue spruce.  See that stove pipe sticking out?  When Ladde was a yearling, he used to place it between his butt cheeks for warmth.  :)
Our first camping trip of the season is scheduled for this coming Memorial Day weekend at Mt. Adams in Washington state.  Wonderful place, one of our favorites.  We're hoping to go, but have a few things to accomplish before we can go, so there's that.  The camper needs to be totally restocked with pretty much everything, water lines hooked back up, put on the truck, etc...The weather is another determining factor for us, we don't enjoy horse camping in the rain.  Our truck and horse trailer are at Les Schwab today.  New trailer brakes, brake drum resurfacing, all new wheel bearings and packing, plus an adjustment on the truck brakes.  Hopefully they won't find anything else wrong.  It's already $300 over the original quote.  *sigh*  If we can get everything ready by Friday evening after we've both worked all week, we're going to try and go - weather permitting.  Wish us luck huh?

And...Rachel is back from the Norco, California Extreme Mustang Makeover.  In her words, it was a successful trip.  They traveled with 4 trainers and 4 mustangs, which 3 short months ago were in the Burns corrals never touched by human hands.  The first day is called the preliminaries, every horse is required to compete.  Rachel said they rocked the prelims.  She was very proud of her little mare.  After everyone is finished, the slate is wiped clean and the following day is the "free style", that is the one that determines the overall placings.  Rachel and "Patience" came in 5th place overall.  Pretty good.  All four horses sold at the auction event that's held the last day, with Miss Patience selling for $5000.00.  Not bad for a scrawny little horse that had been adopted from BLM for $125.00 3 months earlier.  The pictures she posted of her horse the day she got her home from the corrals, and the day before they left for the competition, are nothing short of a miraculous change.  If it weren't for the markings, you wouldn't have believed it to be the same horse.  What a transformation!!  

Tomorrow night, if all goes as planned with the truck and trailer, I'll be taking Eagle over to Rachel's.  If no trailer, I'll just go observe Rachel working with her next-up competition horse and take my horse next week.  Either way, I'm excited.  Eagle is about to embark on what will surely be viewed (in his opinion anyway) as "boot camp".  My boy is going to school...this horse momma is very proud and just a little bit emotional too.  I hope and pray that all goes well, and that my beautiful Eagle turns out to be the star pupil that I'm envisioning him to be.  Ready or not - here we go!!  

As usual, we have lots going on and I don't see that changing anytime soon.  It just is, what it is, I guess.  We'll roll with it and do our best with what comes our way...

Blessings all, will keep you posted.  

Oh, and I did make arrangements with our hay guy, Ted.  He's going to cut, rake, bale and deliver the 8 acre grass field for $65.00 per ton.  That's a cool savings of roughly 50%, and he thinks the field will yield 21-24 tons, which is all we're going to need.  What a gift!!!  I am so thankful to our neighbors!!  

Until next time, take care everyone!
Selfie of me and my dog...what is it with selfies anyway???

Friday, May 8, 2015

Lotsa stuff going on

Well, it's been last Tuesday since I've posted.  I'm trying hard not to slip into my bad habit of letting my blog slide, so today's post will have to be a quickie.  We have been very busy here at the clinic.  That is good news!  It got kind of scary for a while last winter, and I'd wondered if I'd still have a job.  But apparently we've overcome that slump and come out on the other side.  Whew!  

The downside to that, for me, is that I'm rather tired and sometimes a little bit brain dead when I get home after all that crazy busyness.  You see, we're a small business; there's the doc and then there's me.  Between phone calls, setting up appointments, walk-in clients, giving information to clients about anything and everything, preparing and dispensing meds, vaccines and such, paying bills, entering everything into the computer, trying to keep the clinic clean...on and on and on...this gal's a bit wiped out at the end of the day.  Then when at home, there's horses to be fed, stalls to be cleaned, yard work to be done, dishes to do from the evening before, dinner to be cooked, cats and dog that like to get the picture.  If there's any time left over, I try to spend some time working with one or another of our horses.  I used to have plenty of energy, these days I'm pooped more often, than not.  Oh, and don't forget trying to keep my house clean and the laundry kept up.  The really discouraging part of all this is my poor house is usually the part that gets the most neglected.  I rather dislike housecleaning in general, and when there's so much do be done elsewhere that always seems more pressing, our poor little home sweet home can get to looking pretty neglected.  That's where the weekend comes in, Sundays are frequently housecleaning days.  If you don't think this is a major pet peeve, well then, you'd be seriously wrong!  I absolutely hate having to take one of my precious two days off most weekends and spending it inside, cleaning.  Especially when the sun is shining and I've spent the entire week cooped up inside already.  Grrrr....

Anyway, enough complaining.  That was not my intent.  I get distracted rather easily, I'm afraid.  :)  

So, we've got a trail ride planned for this weekend.  We're not planning on going.  Too much to do, not enough time.  Already covered that.  Besides, our horses are absolutely not ready for any kind of a real trail ride - yet.  And there's the EHV-1 (neurologic form) herpes outbreak going on in our area right now.  Lots of shows being cancelled, barns under quarantine, etc...nope, not worth the risk.  Horses are staying home right now.  

We have our truck full of junk and we'll be making a dump run.  Then we'll make a trip to our local feed store for another ton of stall bedding.  That will be 2 down, 2 to go.  It's on sale this month and we're stocking up for next winters' supply.  I can't resist because it's $55 less per ton than what I paid last winter.  That's over $200 in savings!  Can't beat that, right?  We'll unload it when we get back home and then we'll have our truck back.  So...I can drop the truck and trailer off at Les Schwab for new brakes and wheel bearings packed on our horse trailer.  Then, hopefully we'll be ready for the upcoming riding/camping season.  Well, at least the trailer will be.  With any luck we'll find some open time to actually ride our horses and get them (and us) into shape for the riding season.  What am I saying?  We've been having perfect riding weather and we've yet to ride.  See what I mean???  Life is too darned busy!!  Again.  Cannot wait until I can retire.  But, that's another beef altogether...sigh.

Next week I'm going to a clinic with my friend Terry up in Washington state.  She's a total Pat Parelli guru...cannot say that I am, but it sounds like fun and I'll go and try to keep an open mind.  Plus, I can be of assistance to Terry.  We'll have a fun day, I'm sure!  

Our first scheduled camp-out with our riding club is scheduled at one of our favorite places, Mt. Adams over Memorial Day weekend.  Then the following week sometime is when Eagle is supposed to go to Rachel's house.  Before that time, I'm hoping to spend as much time with Eags as possible, but I'll just do what I can do, and hope for the best.  I've seriously been neglecting the other horses lately, and they need some attention and specials too...good grief.  I'm getting a headache.

Well, after all this stuff I hope I haven't discouraged anyone.  Or, maybe I've helped you feel better about your life?  That would be something right?  I really need to get my garden planted soon too...if I sit here long enough, you can bet that I'll come up with a few more projects just waiting in the wings...the bedroom perhaps???  Oh, dear Lord I don't even want to go there!!

Have a great weekend everyone,

Oh, our neighbor offered us his 8 acre grass hay field for free!!!  All I need to do is make arrangements for someone who does custom cutting and bailing to come out and get the job done.  I have no idea how much that might cost, but I'm betting that would likely cut our hay expenses this year by about half.  Whoohoo!!  I gotta go before I think of anything else...I'm starting to feel faint.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

I couldn't have wished for more...

Silky smooth and creamy like butter is how Eagle took to Rachel last night.  I am so relieved, and reassured that this is a good match.  I am simply smiling all the way down to my toes!  

For me, I was completely relaxed and comfortable talking with Rachel, kinda like Eagle's response to her.  Even Ruby liked her!  This from a dog who I can hardly force to come with me and spend time in the barn when the horses are around...I kept having to shoosh her out of the round pen and out of harms' way.  After numerous attempts, I just gave in and let Ruby lie at Rachel's feet while we had our discussion.  A good sign, I'd say.

Rachel arrived right on time, and she brought a copy of her training agreement with her. We read over the details and everything is in order there.  Then she wanted to watch what Eags and I have been working on.  She said that everything that I've been doing is just what she does, maybe a few cue differences, and will prove very helpful with moving forward.  We both agree that everything that we do on the ground directly translates to what we'll be doing from his back.  She said she was very impressed with how far along he is and she totally agrees that he's ready for that next step.  I'm relieved to hear her say that because I was sure hoping she didn't feel it necessary to spend lots of time doing groundwork when I can easily do that...that's almost all we've done for 3-1/2 years, so I was encouraged that what we've done has been perfect according to her.  Sure made me feel good! Rachel thinks that a couple of sessions on the ground should be adequate and move forward from there.  At her place, she has access to miles of woodland trails, an obstacle course that she's set up in the forest, an outside arena and a round pen.  Lots of variety will be included, with other riders on horses and lots of alone time too.  I certainly can't ask for more than that.  

She also mentioned that based on our initial discussion about Eagle, she didn't imagine such a quiet, self-assured and totally content horse that seems to really enjoy his time spent with me.  Wow, that really made me feel good.  First thing out of her mouth was, wow what a handsome, stout boy he is.  Nice horse!  I'm a total sucker for someone who likes my horse!  But then again, Eagle seems to schmooze every single gal he meets!  He's proving to be quite the lady's man...

Then it was Rachel's turn to work with him a little bit.  I stood on the sidelines and just quietly watched as my horse did every little thing that was asked of him, with a quiet and dignified acceptance.  Lots of soft eye, lip-licking and gentle chewing...sweet.  This horse wants to please and has so much heart, he just made me feel so darn proud of him!  It is so nice to have reassurance that my instincts are right on in this situation.  He's a really good horse, and I cannot wait to watch him blossom even more.  I'm really looking forward to Rachel working with us, and will continue to spend time with my boy until he goes off to school in a few, short weeks.  Included in our agreement is a weekly lesson for me to be directly involved.  I can't wait!!

Just the thought of him going away and not seeing that horse every evening when I get home makes me already miss him... *sigh*

Feeling blessed, happy and oh, so excited!

Friday, May 1, 2015

May Day

And in case you're wondering, I'm not in need of assistance.  This is not a may day call for help!  Does anybody really know what May 1st is?  What are we celebrating anyway?  I think maybe it's flowers.  

When we were children, we used to dance the May Pole and wind the pretty colored ribbons all along the pole.  Remember that?  It's clearly embedded in my memory from childhood because I was the girl who went the way of the boys...

aaahh ya, I was that girl.  I single-handedly screwed up our school's May Day celebration and made our pole look funny in front of all the parents of all the children in our school. And you wonder why I have a facial tick...kidding.

And every single person I met, which would have been every single girl I faced, whispered fiercely, "you're going the wrong way!".  Well, of course I was well aware I was going the wrong way, but rather than publicly admit my faux paus - I just kept on going.

Yep, just like the Eveready Bunny, I just kept on going.  

I have no clear recollection of the events following that dance.  I don't.  I swear.  

I've gotten quite good at blocking out painful events in my life..

So now that April is over and so is my 30 day Blog Challenge - you'll all be well pleased to know that I've failed miserably.  Whoohoo!!  Seriously, does this surprise you???  But in my defense, I think I've done quite well.  I posted a total of 17 times during the month of April!!  That is quite good for me.  I think there are some years past, that may have equaled my annual total.  So I've decided to reward my efforts and stop on the way home and buy myself some flowers.  :)

It is after all, May Day...

Blessings all,