Jul 31, 2010

Have Wheels, Can Travel.... Again!

My ship came in. Okay, so not a ship, but a horse trailer. A new-to-me trailer. And I’m tickled pink! You see, I’ve coveted this trailer for a few years. Not one like it, but this very trailer! I found it first on Craig’s List, but certainly didn’t need it myself at that time. I told a friend about it and she bought it. But it should have been mine!

Right before we left on vacation, my friend sent me an ad to put on Horsetrailriders.com classifieds. She was selling this trailer and a larger one she had and hoping to find something in between size-wise. I knew someone was going to get a nice trailer.

After our aborted vacation, I quickly sold my trailer. It was too big and too heavy and most often we would be pulling only one or two horses. The truck is not doing well and rather than start looking for another one ton truck, decided to downsize the trailer to one I could pull with a smaller truck. And it was a coincidence that the coveted trailer just happened to be for sale!

I met my friend a few days later and went over the trailer again; pointing out what I liked, knowing I’d be giving some things up because I was downsizing. But I really thought it would work. It was going to be mine. Ah, but my friend hadn’t found a new one yet; was she ready to give this up yet? Not really.....

While she continued to look for a new one, I continued to look at different options. I found some I could live with… but they were in Georgia or Texas. And I would still have to convert it for camping. There was nothing here that really caught my eye except THAT one. Would I find something by fall? We missed fall camping last year when the snow came in October. I would certainly hate to miss it because I didn’t have a camping trailer! I could always drive my Durango and pull my bumper pull trailer. But could I go back to sleeping in a tent? (Shivers….)

My friend called me yesterday and asked how my search was going. “Not good,” I told her as I was Mapquesting how far Steamboat Springs, CO was, as there was a nice trailer there that with some concessions, I might make due. She went on to say that if I still wanted hers, to come and get it. It was mine. I said a little prayer that Hi-Ho Silver would start & he fired right up. John and I went and looked at it one more time. Hooked it up and pulled it home.

It won’t be without challenges. Downsizing from a 4 horse trailer to a 2 horse will be hard. But I just have to be more selective in what I take with me. And should the boys want to go, we can easily hook up the bumper pull to the SUV and take two vehicles. Not ideal, but for the few times they may ride with us, certainly do-able.

I spent the early part of the day introducing Windy and Butter to the new trailer. That in itself wouldn’t have been an issue, but the ramp load – Oh. My. God. – has added a whole new dimension – at least for Windy. And we had to work it today. She finally went in; but not without bumping her head (her fault) and falling on her face (dang slick shoes!) I unloaded her and reloaded several times to make sure she was comfortable. I won’t go as far as saying she is, but we’ll do it again in the next day or so. Butter, you just never know about that one. Today she just stepped right in like she did it all her life. Tomorrow? Who knows. By the time I finished with my mare, I wasn't about to go get Blue. It will certainly be a new complication to his life. And it won't be good. Poor guy. (Look at how much space there is! Windy is 15.1hh and Butter is a butter ball!)

I spent the rest of the day putting the living quarters together with the stuff I hastily pulled from my old trailer when it sold. It fit! I’m all fixed up again now – need to find somewhere to go. If only the weather would cooperate! Right now it is too hot and humid for man or beast. Forget everything I have said about liking the four seasons. Two of them really stink this year!

So… I have horse; will travel. If they’ll load. And if the truck will start, we are back in business!

Jul 29, 2010

My Keepers

Madeline does nothing but lay around all day
Nothing excites her
Nothing disturbs her
Except the occasional thunderstorm
Or scolding the boy dogs when they play.
If Madeline were a person
She would be my BFF.
She's loyal and kind.
Keeps her opinions to herself
But offers kind eyes when she knows
I've had a bad day.
When I walk in after work
She puts her head between my knees
That's her way of hugging.
Of welcoming me home.

I truly didn't think I could have a lazier dog than Madeline.
Then we got Bo.
And I've learned Maddie isn't the laziest dog in the world;
Bo is the laziest dog in the world.
I literally had to sweep around him this morning.
Popping him with the broom didn't help.
He raised his head, looked annoyed, sighed &
Laid it back down again.
I'm pretty sure I get my exercise
Just from stepping over the Bozo.
The other night
He came creeping up to my bedroom
And jumped on the bed and
Quickly laid down; his back to me.
Like I wouldn't notice
A St. Bernard lying next to me.

I wish my kids were as obedient as Ritz
And would follow me around
All day just waiting for the next command
He totally digs being with me.
And if you ever want to witness pure joy on a dog’s face
It’s when I saddle up Windy and we head down the road
And he gets to go, too!
When I'm in the house and he is outside
He keeps track of what room I am in.
If I'm in the office,
He’s right here on the front porch
Watching me through the door.
If I'm in the kitchen,
He's on the deck.
Still watching.
He's a good soldier.

Jul 26, 2010

Nothing Like a Good Thing

(Wow! My 300th post!)

Friday started out ghastly hot! I guess I have selective memory when it comes to summers in Nebraska. I seem to recall dreaming of summertime a few months ago when we were buried under three feet of snow. Although the humidity is typical for July in Nebraska, the last couple of summers have been rather mild and we are a bit spoiled. We did finally get a short break from the high heat indexes on Saturday and part of Sunday and I managed to get a few rides in on Windy as well as a friend's gaited horse.

With regards to gaited horses, I have heard so much about "ride the glide." And like those mule people before them have said about their breed, the gaited horse owners also say "once you go gaited, you won't go back". Although I have ridden one or two gaited horses for a short period of time, this was the first time I rode one for any distance. After all the hype, I was half expecting the clouds to open up and angels appear singing hallelujahs when the horse moved into her gait. We covered ground quickly and easily. Admittedly, the ride was smooth and I didn't have to change my body position while going through the different gaits. It was kind of like driving an automatic when you are used to a stick shift.

I never "saw the light", so to speak, nor did I come home and stick a "for sale" sign on the heads of my stock horses. I like my quarter horses. I enjoy the walk, trot and canter. Whether sitting the trot or posting, I like the challenge of syncing up with the horse; matching her gait, whatever that might be. There may certainly come a time in my life, for whatever reason, I might consider a gaited horse. But for now, I love the rush I get galloping across the field or down the road on my mare. That is my horse of choice.

Jul 25, 2010

Congratulations, Jonni & Hank!

Congratulations to one of my favorite bloggers, Jonni Jewell from Trot on Hank, for completing the famed Tevis Cup Ride. Jonni started her blog in July of 2008, documenting her horse Hank's recovery from colic surgery. They went on to have an awesome CTR year in 2009 and mentioned wanting to return to the Tevis Cup this year. They did and they finished. It's been quite a ride for her, in more ways than one, and I'm very excited for the Jonni/Hank team. I can't wait until her blog is updated with information on their ride.

The Tevis Cup, 100 Miles One Day Trail Ride, was started in 1955. I've always had a fascination with this ride, so much so, that I invited famed rider Julie Suhr, author of Ten Feet Tall Still, to speak at the Nebraska Horse Expo a few years ago. She was every bit the rider and woman I thought she would be and I am still in awe at her accomplishments. Actually, of all the woman who work toward completing this ride. I may be sexist by calling out women in particular, but in horses, I have learned that this is one sport that women can compete side by side with the other gender and reach just as high of goals.

The following information was taken from the Tevis website.

About the Tevis Cup Ride

The Western States Trail Ride, popularly called the Tevis Cup Ride, is the oldest modern day endurance ride, having been held annually since 1955. As such, it has been the inspiration and model for the most challenging endurance rides worldwide.

The ride was first organized by Wendell Robie, an Auburn businessman and devoted rider of the Sierra high country. Many people in the 50s doubted that any modern-day horse could cover the rugged trail from Lake Tahoe to Auburn in a single day. Wendell and a few of his friends proved them wrong in August of 1955. He continued to hold the ride annually thereafter and organized the Western States Trail Foundation to preserve the 100 mile trail and the Ride.

The Ride is sanctioned by AERC, the American Endurance Ride Conference.

Each rider who completes the 100 mile course from Tahoe to Auburn within the 24 hour limit and whose mount is judged "fit to continue" is awarded the coveted silver Completion Award Buckle.

The Tevis Cup trophy is awarded to the person who completes the 100-Mile One-Day course in the shortest amount of time and whose horse is in sound condition and "fit to continue." The Tevis Cup was named for Lloyd Tevis (1824 - 1899) by his grandson Will Tevis, a prominent San Francisco businessman and early benefactor of the Ride, and was first awarded in 1959 to Nick Mansfield, riding Buffalo Bill, an eleven year old TB Cross gelding.

The other major trophy, the Haggin Cup, is awarded to the rider whose horse is in the "most superior physical condition" of the first ten horses to cross the finish line. The Haggin Cup, named for James Ben Ali Haggin (1821 - 1914), was first awarded in 1964 to Paige Harper, riding his six year old Arabian gelding, Keno.

The Josephine Stedem Scripps Foundation Cup was established in 1994 to recognize each of the finishing Junior Riders for their special achievement. The first Junior finisher was David Jay, Jr., who completed the 3rd annual Ride in 1957.

Jul 24, 2010

At Peace

Woke to temps in the high 60's.

A nice breeze.

Still humid, but tolerable since it isn't 97 degrees!

After a morning ride on my good mare,

with my loyal dog;

Everything is right with the world again.

Jul 23, 2010

The Mundane

It's cloudy this morning
I looked at the weather forecast in hopes of storms perhaps?
Anything but sun and humidity and an unbearable heat index.
It's not looking promising.
I was looking forward to mowing this afternoon.
Mundane yard work
I read somewhere that you can gain motivation by progress
Mowing gives me that.
It's hard to get started, but once I see the rewards of my labor
I could mow all 25 acres.
That's the hard part.
Another tough one for me.
There is a hiccup on my trailer purchase
Not on my side of it, but the sellers.
They hate to part with it until they get their new one.
Until they find their new one.
So I'm waiting, waiting, waiting.
It's so not a virtue of mine.
It's hard to not start shopping again.

Jul 22, 2010


I am having flashbacks of winter.

You remember; the cold, the wind chills,

The snow that would never go away.

My depression.

Only this time, it is the heat, the humidity, the stagnant air.

Looking for relief when the sun sets

And finding none.

The bugs are what you would imagine in Jurassic Park.

My bra sticks to me just going to the car.

One week ago we returned from Wyoming

on the hottest day of the year.

And it hasn't let up.

Wyoming was paradise.

Any place without humidity is paradise.

Heck, North Platte was paradise!

Eastern Nebraska is hell.

Jul 21, 2010

From Play to Work

Oh, boy. The transition from vacation hours to work hours has been a tough one. I've always been an early riser, but being I had nowhere to go once we returned from Wyoming, I gave into the temptation of pulling the covers over my head and getting another few minutes (or an hour) of sleep. And while 'before vacation', I could almost stay awake until 11:00 PM, 'during vacation' found me up past midnight some nights. I'm also given the task of setting the alarm at 4:00 AM to get McCain up for his detasseling job and provide the cheerleading necessary to encourage him to continue this horrible job another day. It will be over in a week or so and the pay is good. Let me tell you, it takes all the strength I have to rattle off that motivational speech at o-dark-hundred when my own eyes are barely open and my last hour of sleep is compromised. And I rarely get much shut eye then before my alarm sounds at 5:00 AM.

While digging in my purse to find my work assigned Blackberry, which didn't prove too useful in the mountains of WY, I found a box of Walgreen's "Stay Awake" caffeine tablets which I bought for our trip out west. John and I both, on occasion, have fought "white line fever" while driving down the interstate and I thought a burst of caffeine might be helpful. As it turned out, we didn't need it for the trip. I may still find it useful getting back into the swing of driving in to work and hours of catching up on emails and other documentation.

My horses have been turned out to pasture literally since they were unloaded from our trip a week ago. It's been too hot and humid to ride. My tack is strung out between the garage and the barn, hastily unloaded when I sold my trailer. While in transition to a new trailer, I am going to take the opportunity to sort what I use the most and what I haven't used in years. The latter being boxed up to sell. Some friends and I are thinking a tack sale/swap day might be in order. Seems we all have a lot of excess tack.

Hump day today. Normally looking forward to joining the Platte River Riders for the Wednesday rides, but it's raining this morning. Even if the sun comes out, the thought of riding in what has been ungodly humid weather does not appeal to me. I may just pull the covers back over my head once again.

Jul 20, 2010

On the Road Again....

I don't want to jinx it....

But if all goes as planned

I'll have new wheels for my ponies this weekend.

A new home away from home.

Jul 18, 2010

Sweet Memories

I’m kind of sad today.
I let eight years of memories go down the road.
I sold my horse trailer.

Okay, so if you are not a horse person,
I am sure you don’t get it.
But to a horse person, this is major stuff.

I can’t remember if I bought it in 2001 or 2002.
Doesn’t matter.
It was after our first season of horse camping
– specifically tent camping –
and I knew THAT was not the way to travel.

I didn’t think we could afford anything more than our stock trailer,
but seeing that this horse thing was a family thing,
I made it work.
We felt so uptown to get the new trailer.
Beds for everyone.
A refrigerator and shower! Hot water!
I learned to pull it the next year
and it opened the door to many adventures.

With Mom’s portable Singer sewing machine,
for the first time since high school Home-Ec class,
I sewed!
Mrs. Harringer would have been proud!
Who’d of thought I could make cushions and pillows!

From its window I saw a lone buffalo walk through camp
while in the Black Hills
and I saw the seasons change in the Ozarks.
And the sagebrush and mountain views of Wyoming.

That trailer took us to participate in parades.
And seven Cowgirl Weekends.
It was filled with Mom's belongings after she died.

As the boys got older and grew out of the twin bed they shared
We set up cots in the back for their home away from home.

When I wanted to escape from the noise of the house,
I would sneak out to that trailer
and lay down on the bed, wallowing in the silence.

Case would hide in the trailer when angry;
the dogs giving him away by guarding its door.

That trailer took my horse to three competitive trail rides in three different states.
It carried Gunner from the pasture when he was too hurt to walk.
It brought Windy home.

It packed a family
Two kids
Four horses
A couple of dogs
Filled with food and hay
And came home with memories.

Yesterday, that trailer went down the road with its new owners.
I hope they make as good of memories as we did.

I know its silly to be so sentimental over a trailer.

The boys have lost interest.

It’s time to find a smaller trailer

that we can pull with a smaller truck.

Girl sized.

Just for me.

Jul 15, 2010

Wyoming 2010

The long awaited horse vacation to Wyoming is here and gone. What's the saying? "Take only pictures, leave only footprints." That we did. Plus a lost EZ boot minus the gator.

In true Vasa fashion, we had truck issues on the way out. John thought there was a problem with the differential, but ended up, we were just overloaded. We drained some water and got back on the road. Later, after lunch in North Platte, the truck decided to not start at all. After a four hour delay, John somehow bypassed the starter. We had a choice of finding a Chevy garage or heading on down the road. We opted for the latter and pulled into camp around 7:00 PM.

It's strange to go somewhere you haven't been before. We were most anxious to hit the trails, but the first day found us wondering around aimlessly. I lost that aforementioned EZ boot in the first hour or so. Torn right from the gator when we got into some mud crossing a meadow. The warranty is worthless because I don't have the lost boot. Although they seemed to protect Windy's unshod back hooves, I am very disappointed they could that easily rip away. I was worried about losing them, not destroying them! Oh, well. Back at camp, I have to say we were all disappointed in our ride. We just weren't seeing the good stuff. But that soon ended.

That evening we drove across the road to another area that looked promising. We talked with some other horse campers and found out where they ride. And headed there on horses the next morning. We started out on a trail marked with orange ribbon that soon found us hanging on the steep side of a mountain! We backtracked to another trail head and here we found the kinds of trails we drove 8 hours to ride! Beautiful tree-lined trails taking us up to the summit with spectacular views along the way. We even saw a moose!

Now that we got our trail riding groove back, we explored the first area once again the next day and went deeper into the forest and up on the rocks. We kept it fairly easy that day as the horses had been putting in some long hours. Once again, we had some beautiful views and a day of riding entirely different from the previous rides. And did I mention beautiful?

Our next venture was over to Vedauwoo, specifically Devil's Playground. Again, something different but awesome in it's own way. We watched in awe at rock climbers hanging on the side of the mountain. And the skies were so blue.

Unfortunately, we had to cut our vacation short. The truck was not handling the mountains well and was overheating, not to mention that pesky starter problem. John's decision to try to quit smoking while in the mountains was taking its toll on all of us. Family vacations aren't all they're cracked up to be, especially when only one of us is passionate about the ride. I do give Case credit - for not having another kid around to hang with, he did pretty well. I enjoy watching him ride and hope he will remember Wyoming fondly. Me? I'll be back. To do it again and more.

Pictures say so much more than words. Here are a few of my favorites.