Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Me and that horse...

Old pic from a couple years ago.  I have a new phone and can't seem to figure out how to get my pics off it.  Eagle still looks pretty much the same though.  :)

Sometimes I think that Eagle is the coolest horse ever.  And when I say that, I mean who he is.  His mind, his personality, the way he chortles through his nose when he gets nervous. He's a beautiful spirit who's very sensitive and intuitive, I get by with nothing. Nothing escapes his notice.  He has the kind of knicker that makes anybody stop and smile.   He has big, dark brown, doe eyes.  He absolutely knows how to use them.  He's a snuggler, likes to be real close.  And he's got this way of "sauntering" everywhere he goes; he exudes a quiet authority over our herd without even trying.  But my favorite thing about Eagle.  Well; besides his strikingly handsome, good looks?  :)  It's his kindness.  This is the kindest, most loving horse I've ever known. He's just a good horse.  And totally, without a doubt the most heart, or try, "the will to please" of any horse.  Ever.  

Kadie will always be the best little mountain pony in the world.  But nobody's perfect.    

Then there's times I think, he could be the coolest horse ever.  Besides all that great stuff I just said.  And I truly mean every, single word of it!  But Eagle can be lazy.  There's times I think I'm working way too hard up there.  I've never really had a horse who makes me work so hard for such little things.  Conformation wise, he's got this fairly short, very thick and powerful neck.  And when he wants to go one direction, and I want to go the other, well let's just say my legs and arms are a workout.  And it shouldn't be like that.  I know he's still a green horse.  And I absolutely couldn't be more pleased with what he's learned and how great he's doing.  When Rachel rides him anyway!  Frustrating, but I need to be patient.  We'll get there, we'll continue to improve, but ack!!!  With me?  I need to take more lessons.  In my imagination this horse and I go everywhere, over and under and through, grand adventures and all that.  That's what I want.  I've ridden him 4 nights in a row, skipped last night and plan to ride again tonight.  We've had short and sweet riding sessions after a very short walk,trot, canter freestyle in the round pen.  I mount up, go through my warm-up, which consists of relaxed walk, trying to stay on the rail and lots (some) willing forward energy.  Neck flexes, balanced stop, back and one-rein stops.  Then we do trot work and then try to add something like poles, haunch or forehand turns (beginning). Easy right?  And usually we run through this within 30-45 minutes.  That's plenty for both of us right now.  Well, there are times we really work on just this.  Then there's rides we've had where Eagle walks right out, just does what I ask when I want and it feels so good.  I have to blame our connection.  Some days it's good and other days, not so much.  It's all about me and my state of confidence.  When I'm more relaxed and ask with more authority, quiet but soft, Eagle responds nicely.  But if I don't mean it.  And mean it from the very beginning of our lesson, Eagle takes that and that's that.   Nope, not today   ... uh-huh.  *sigh*  God, he can be stubborn!  Or lazy.  Both?  Rachel says it's not his fault.  I get what I ask for.  

Yeah, I know it's the journey.  And I do enjoy the journey, the process, the relationship, the work.  All of it.  But I've waited sooooo long to ride this horse, and all I really want to do is hop on him bareback and race through the filbert orchard and go swimming with my horse in the pond.  On a beautiful summer day, like today!  

Just to feel that freedom.  The joy of feeling my warm and strong, sure and fast, horse running beneath my legs.  Hair flying in the wind, tears streaming across my face.  *sigh*  

That's how I want to ride him.  

I read this quote by George Morris on another blog today.  It seemed appropriate, so I thought I'd share and hopefully remember...

"The relationship between horse and rider is closer than any two beings, even if you're married.  When a horse gets tentative, you don't get tentative.  That's the kiss of death. You get positive."

Sounds about right.

Learning patience and persistence,
blessings all.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

All the news that is news, that I remember...

Okay, my pictures really have nothing at all to do with this post, except that I've not posted any pics for a really long time and this is just a tiny sampling of what we've been up to this month.  I guess that works too!  This is news, right?

Faith & Lilly celebrating their b-days.  Two of my great-great nieces!

Lilly the "princess"  She's 5 now...going on 31

From our hike on Cape Lookout, the Pacific way down there

It was a hideously hot day so we went to a local spot and cooled off!

Selfie of two unknown old people - wait, is that an oxymoron?
Oh, where to begin?  I've fallen behind in just about every single area of my life it seems.  I've not had the time, the energy, nor the inclination to write anything here in 2 weeks.  In fact, this is only my second post this month.  And I cannot believe that we're nearing the end of July already!!!  Good grief, where does the time go?

Of the most importance to me, is that Eagle is coming home tonight!!!  To say I'm happy and excited about that is putting it mildly.  :)  To wrap my mind around the fact that he's been gone just over 2 months already, blows me away.  Really???  But, I just cannot describe how very, very well he's done in his training.  I went every day last week and rode him.  The horse has such heart, such try and the willingness to please and do well that it amazes me.  He also has a stubborn streak about as wide as the Mississippi when he doesn't want to do something...Rachel has accomplished far more than I would ever have expected with Eagle.  Watching her ride him, and put him through his exercises just makes my heart swell.  He's still a green horse, obviously, but how well he's taken to his lessons and how much he understands is a little bit unbelievable.  Now, having said that...when I ride him, it's not quite like that.  *sigh*  I need work.  I need to ride more often.  I need instruction.  Big time.  I apparently need to prove to my horse that I'm worthy of the leadership role.  Therein lies our biggest challenge after I get him home.  We've had some amazing rides.  We've had some mediocre rides.  And then, we've had some rides where I come back in tears, full of frustration and disappointment.  But overall, we've made progress.  And that is where I choose to place my focus, and build upon that.  Eagle is miles from where he began.  And frankly, so am I.  My progress isn't so impressive, but to me, it means the world.  I can ride my horse, and I will get better.  I will build more confidence with more time in the saddle and I'm even thinking of doing some lessons with Rachel as a follow-up.  We'll see how everything goes...

My hubby and I celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary last night at Olive Garden.  Yum!  I can hardly believe it myself.  31 years.  We've had our ups and our downs, and it's just like pretty much everything else in life.  It is the journey, not the destination that counts.  All those messy little details in the middle that create memories that we build upon throughout our lives.  I love that guy.  He ain't perfect, but neither am I.  :)

Our bedroom in all its' disastrous state still looms over my conscience like an ugly plague.  With hubby working so much, most home projects have remained at a standstill.  I'm not sure when we'll have the time to get back into the swing of remodeling, but I sure am tired of sleeping in the living room.  And that's all I've got to say about that.  

Night before last, hubby was already in bed reading and I was watching a little tv before heading to bed.  I cannot tell you why, or for what reason, but I suddenly popped up from my chair and walked into the kitchen, stopping just short of the slider leading to our deck.  I stood there for a blank moment wondering why I'd come in here.  Remembering nothing, I shrugged and turned around to go back, but a flash of light caught my eye.  I quickly turned around, looked out onto the deck and saw that one side of the deck was fully engulfed in flames!  Our deck was on fire!!  I yelled to hubby and we grabbed shoes and then the garden hose and managed to put the flames out without too much damage being done.  But as to how and why our deck caught on fire remains a mystery.  I know only one thing for sure.  Either God or my guardian angel whispered to me, or put that thought into my head, to go into the kitchen.  Had that not happened, I'd likely have gone to bed and our cedar deck fire would quickly have turned into a much more serious problem.  Of that, I have no doubt.  I am so thankful and so happy that I believe and have faith.  Bet yer boots!  My dad used to say that when something was a sure thing - "you can bet your boots on that!".  :)

Since my last post when I was gleefully looking for a break in our then, heatwave; we got that break, have had another almost two week long heat wave and today are enjoying a cool down.  Man oh man has this been a hot, dry and long summer for us!  Sure feels like the year of no winter, followed by a very short (and glorious) spring and now the never-ending summer!  My body has changed and I do not enjoy the heat at all anymore.  I don't exactly like being cold either, but the 70's are looking just about perfect.  Funny how that comfort window keeps getting smaller and smaller with the years!  Oh well, I've got quite the tan going with all the time being spent in the pool.  We gotta take our blessings where we can get them, right?  That $100 dollar Walmart swimming pool that we bought 3 summers ago, has proven to be money VERY well spent!!  

My tendency for squirreling hasn't been quiet either.  We have all our hay safely stored in the barns.  We have 4 tons of stall bedding pellets stored in the barn, we have plenty of firewood in the shed, we have a quarter beef recently stashed in the freezer and just last Sunday picked up and put in our hay barn, all the alfalfa that we'll need to get the two geriatrics in our herd, through the winter.  :)  Sweet!!!  Now the only thing left to do is make some plum jam because for whatever reason, our hardly ever produces plums in 20 years, plum tree has absolutely outdone itself and blessed us with tons of big, beautiful Santa Rosa plums!  I need to pick my overly abundant crop of Marionberries and stick those in the freezer and get some peaches.  We have lots of apples growing on the trees, but absolutely NO pears!!  What is up with that?  The pears are my favorite fruit on our property (horses too) and I cannot find a single pear on either tree.  Oh well, the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh.  My little garden is doing just fine.  I've enjoyed my first two fresh tomatoes and a few sungold cherry tomatoes.  A few strawberries that I've eaten, but nothing else yet.  I've got onions, zuchini, acorn squash and cucumbers expected before long.  My herbs didn't do well at all this year.  Could be that I keep forgetting to water them.  :(  

We went camping weekend before last to Camp Sherman on the Metolius river with brother and sister in law.  One of my most favorite spots on this planet!  Left the horses at home with a caretaker and hopped in our little camper and went.  It was great!!  The weather was perfect!  We attended the annual quilt show, went out for most meals and took lots of long walks along the river.  Ruby had a blast, and so did we!  We laughed, talked and played games and it was so relaxing.  I wanna go again...

Not sure what else is coming up soon, but I am so very ready for some horse camping and some beach time.  Maybe a nap too.  No wonder I've been feeling so very tired lately...apparently I've been a very busy gal...

Would love to hear what you've all been doing with your summer!  Hope it's been grand!!!

Blessings and until next time,

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Finally some relief in sight

We've been having the most long heat wave that I can recall in many years.  It's been relentless for weeks with temps well into the 90''s been awful.  Last week for my vacation, I slipped away to the beach for a day and it was just heaven!  Ruby and I walked and walked, had some lunch, mosied around on the beach and while I took pictures, Ruby played in the waves.  It was a drag having to come home to 90+ still in mid evening. Hopefully though by this weekend our weather is supposed to be entering a cooling trend, with more comfortable temps in the 80's - whoohoo!!  I can't wait for that.  I've spent a lot of time in the pool out of sheer necessity and even had to cancel my lesson riding Eagle last week due to extreme heat.  I always get late afternoon times and I just can't ride in that heat, nor would I expect my horse to work in those conditions either.  They really seem to tolerate the heat much better than people though, given that they choose to stay in the sun when they have available shade.  You can lead a horse to water...

Eagle is doing remarkably well.  Rachel has nothing but high praise for my boy.  I'm hoping to increase my riding dates because in less than 2 weeks, Eagle is due to come back home.  I can hardly wait!  We still have not gone on a trail ride yet though, and I'm especially anxious to do this, since this is how we'll spend most of our riding time together.  Rachel is so busy with the summer camp and preparing her competition horse, as well as working with Eagle, she's very limited in her available time slots, couple that with my work schedule, and it's just darn hard to find the time.  It really is a priority for me to get in as many more rides as possible though, so I'm very hopeful.

Ruby continues to improve.  Her blood work was pretty whacked, but after tons of research, we're still no closer to a diagnosis than we were before.  *sigh*  One thing that stood out for me was high cholesterol, especially her triglycerides as well as high calcium levels.  We ruled out lymne disease too.  We'll probably never know for sure, but I'm no longer worried because she's pretty much back to normal.  Even the symptoms of the stroke or bells palsy, whatever it was,  are almost entirely gone.  I'm just so thankful! My little dog is almost completely back to normal.  Her energy levels are still lower than normal, but I attribute this mainly to the heat.  Mine are shot too, so go figure.  

I've begun actively looking for another dog.  In my gut, I'm not convinced that it's the best choice for me right now, but for Ruby, it is.  Ruby blossoms with a companion, and so the search is on.  Ideally, I'd like a Lab puppy.  Secondly, I'd like a Golden Retriever puppy, but the prices that people charge for those dogs are absolutely ridiculous to me.  Our budget simply cannot afford paying anywhere from $700 - $1500 on average for a dog.  What gives!?  I've actually seen them go for up to $3500.00!!!  If it didn't go against my very grain, I'd switch occupations; but I simply cannot abide producing dogs when there are so many in need of homes.  What is wrong with people?  Have they no conscience?  I will never understand how some people sleep at night.  I've looked into shelter dogs at the humane society, the local dog pound, craigslist and have put out feelers on facebook, so we'll see where it leads.  I'm not in a rush, and the perfect dog has always come into our lives at the perfect time, so I'm trying to be patient.  My hubby found a dog he cannot get out of his mind at the Golden Bond Rescue.  I looked at her picture and info today, and she is gorgeous, and has those milk chocolate brown eyes that will melt you in a heartbeat.  Her adoption fee is $335, which we could manage.  The main concern for us is her age, she's 8 years old.  Goldens are not especially long-lived, and I cannot even imagine losing her in a few short years.  Oh my, that might kill me!  But then again, what memories we could make in whatever time she has left.  They say she's perfectly healthy and sweet, loves going on walks and has plenty of "go" for a lady of her age.  Maybe we could just go and meet her...see what happens.  We could possibly even let Ruby make our decision.  Obviously, we're torn.  Time will tell.

I've also got another option on a Yellow Lab, intact breeding male.  He's almost 9 and was a show dog, and has sired puppies since his show days have ended.  We could adopt him for no money, but the "owner" would retain breeding rights and take him up to 2 times per year.  After his retirement, which according to AKC rules, is at age 12, all paperwork would be signed over to us and he would truly be ours.  Gosh, I'm just not sure how I'd feel about that though.  We've always had our animals spayed or neutered and our animals are our family members.  What if something unforeseen were to happen to him?   Another consideration is his age, same deal as the Goldie.  He is however, drop-dead gorgeous!!  I would never, ever make a decent animal breeder because I just find it somehow unsavory and callous how people can have an animal for years, make money off of them, and then so easily discard them in their golden years.  How can they not fall totally and completely head-over-heels in love with these dogs!!??  They love us and give of themselves so completely.  I don't think I'll ever understand.  I just don't get it.  Do people even consider how these animals feel?  It just saddens me to no end.  It's heartbreaking and frankly, I hate it!

Well, gotta run.  Hubby just called and I have to pick him up!  

Will try and post some pics from our beach trip and from our river outing and whatever else I have new pics of, very soon!

Blessings all,