Apr 28, 2011

Royal Guests

This morning, on Jonni’s Facebook status, she had posted the following:

“What is your royal wedding guest name? Start with either Lord or Lady. Your first name is one of your grandparents' names. Your surname is the name of your first pet, double-barreled with the name of the street on which you grew up. Let's do this! Post yours here. Then cut and paste it into your status.

Using Lady Pearl Fluffy of Agee’s instructions; my maternal grandmother’s first name, my first dog and the cross street we lived on, my “royal name” is Lady Katerina Mitch of Collett.

I thought this would be a fun post for the Horsetales Yahoo group, only using our first horse name instead. My name would now be: Lady Katerina Dolly of Collett

It was fun to watch some of the others post their names.

Joni was Lady Bertha Starlet of South Shore Drive.

Bertha! Now that’s a name you don’t hear much.

Jess was Lady Arlene Barron of Rock Circle.

She works with a lot of men. I told her to tell them to start addressing her as such.

Annette was Lady Georgine Pony of Route 6.

Sheila (Lady Mahala Sundance of Main) said about Annette

“I don't think you are going to get premier seating with that moniker..”

I didn’t mention to Lady Mahala Sundance of Main that she sounds like she is a character out of Lonesome Dove.

Then our token Horsetales gentleman, Joel, is Lord Arthur Rightis of Gout.

(There is one in every crowd.)

Others include:

Lady Christina Coronal of Kilpatrick

Lady Lydia Beauty of 12th

Lady Alpharetta Silver of Third Street

Lady Esther Dillon of William

Lady Ruth Ringo Star of Steele Lane

(A musician, no doubt)

Lady Dorothy Morgan of 54th Street

(from old money)

Lady Ashley Prince of Kansas

(a cross dresser?)

Lady Ann Jordan of Ostrom

Lady Wladislowa Sunday of Dupont


Lady Josephine Annie of Ringland Road

Lady Agnes Morgan of Virginia

Lady Dorothy Desiraye of Ironwood

Lady Francis Peaches of 55th

(sounds a little like a lady of the night)

Lady Audrey Velvet of Buck Creek

(another western character)

Lady Ruth Jenny of Sabula

(not sure if she is from biblical times or Jamaica?)

Lady Beulah Star of Central

(a gun-slinger?)

Lady Lillian Clue of South Covell Avenue

And that, is how we passed our time this morning.

So what would be your royal name?

No Experience Necessary!

Sad to say this is some people's reality.

Apr 25, 2011


It's been a long time since I received no comments at all on a blog post. The weather just hasn't been conducive to his horse life. So I am scrambling to find something horse related to write about that might be interesting! I guess the arena conversion wasn't it. (Laughing…) That's okay. It is what it is.

Today isn't much better. Its lunch hour and I am at work. Of course it is raining and fairly dark outside. Quite dreary, this makes me sleepy and still provides no interesting blog material. I got some ideas from other blogs about a series of things I could write about. I may have to resort to that soon. If I could only find the blog where I saw those ideas…

Horse related: I groomed the herd yesterday. What a mess! I had hair up my nose, in my mouth and on my clothes. And they wouldn't leave me alone. If I was grooming one, their herd mate was biting and bullying to try to get their turn. I finally sat down in the wood trough and let them come to me. That did nothing to restore the order. I changed plans and starting picking their feet. They didn't find this as pleasing.

I have plans to camp this weekend. It is the annual May Day get-together with my mid-state friends. We have all been watching the weather and finally, the rain has all but been taken out of the forecast. A little sunshine will do us good. Not to mention time in the saddle with my friends. And food. We eat very, very well. And hopefully it will provide me with some blogworthy material.

Apr 23, 2011


I see the trees in Lincoln are in full bloom and mine still haven't blossomed. I am not giving up hope; we are a half hour north of Lincoln and usually a little behind the season changes. You wouldn't think it makes a difference, but it does. I have commuted to town since 1992 and have seen the differences. So I am remaining cautiously optimistic. We'll give it another week.

Does this recently worked up arena just shout "come play?" Well, it's my arena and there won't be any horse hooves on it for the next couple months. Today we seeded it to grass. (Big sigh.) I have wanted an arena here since I got my first horse and it took us several years to put it together. But I can't say I have used it as much as I thought I would and the maintenance to keeping the ground worked is more than either of us want to deal with. I want to ride; not play in the dirt! I start out each spring trying to keep the weeds down but if I am gone a couple weekends in a row, they take over. And then I end up mowing weeds and then the stubs from the weeds are uncomfortable for the horse and its one big mess. Finally by fall, I'll have John help me hook up a disc or a harrow and work away those weeds.

Even if we used heavy chemicals for weed control, I still think the upkeep is more than I want to do. John's tractor and ground equipment are old; nothing I can just start-up, hook-up and go. I don't like having to rely on him to help me with my horse-related things; there are always so many real projects that need attention. And he doesn't like me messing with his stuff anymore than I like him messing with mine! J So, this is the best solution I could come up with; plant grass. Oh, it will stay an arena; it will just be a turf arena. I'll still use my ground poles and barrels and other equine toys. But I can also flash graze the horses in it and easily mow it with my riding mower when needed.

So today John worked up the arena one last time. We sowed about 100 pounds of assorted grass seed which we believe is going to be heat resistant and have the ability to deal with high impact activity. It is certainly possible it won't be ready for use until mid summer or so, but that's okay. I've been using the lower pasture for schooling and still have my round pen. Most of the time I am trail riding now, anyway. We have been lacking in sunshine lately and hoping the dreary days are behind us now and there is just good weather ahead.

We haven't been having the miserable rains like MiKael and Paint Girl has been experiencing, but spring is certainly taking its time to get here. It's been cloudy, damp and just plain cold. It did clear up enough for our Wednesday ride with the Platte River Riders and again on Friday for our FAC ride. I've put over 100 miles on Windy this spring plus the time she spent with Brenda. I am camping next weekend (if the weather holds) and then will be getting ready for the Friday before Mother's Day Ride. So I believe Windy will be more than ready for the Hill & Dale Competitive Trail Ride later next month. I wish the pounds I need to come off before then would come off a little faster than they are right now. I know I would feel better and can ride my horse better when I am a bit lighter.

Happy Easter, everyone.

Apr 19, 2011

Ain't No Sunshine

I don't think I can scrutinize the buds on those trees anymore than I have. It looks like they are still there and perhaps just a little behind last year for blooming. Of course a little sunshine would definitely help the situation but like many of the rest of you, we seem to be lacking that element this spring. The April showers continue along with cold temperatures. I am almost mad that the weather is so damp and miserable. We are one week away from the annual May Day ride with my friends and I am in denial over the long term forecast. What does The Big Fat Lying Weatherman know anyway?

Although cloudy, windy and overcast most of the weekend, John and I did get some things done in the yard. The mere mention of "pruning" trees brought out the chainsaw and I'm hoping what is left of the windbreak survives such amputations. We also walked a mile of fenceline and fixed what was compromised this past winter by deer and snow drifts. We still have a month before we'll put the horses out in the pasture, but it will be ready when we do.

While fixing fence, we trimmed some of the trees on the trail around the perimeter of our property. Good thing John isn't scared of heights! After we got done with that project, we saddled our horses and took a quick ride around where we trimmed. It's all good to go… if the weather ever breaks.

Speaking of "break", Val over at Fantastyk Voyage and her good horse, Scout, encountered a pack of domestic dogs while out riding this past weekend and took a spill. As horse people, we hate to see our comrades injured and worst of all, unable to ride for a spell when riding season is upon us. She tells it best in her own words, so if you are so inclined, jump over to her blog and send her a note. Get well quick, Val! You have ponies to ride!

Apr 15, 2011

Save Our Buds

Today started out cold and dreary with lots of rain. The winds picked up and made it down right miserable. And if that wasn't enough, the icing on the cake was a good inch or so of snow.

Here is what it looked like today, April 15, outside my back door.

Here is what it looked like April 23, 2010.

I am hoping that today's nastiness did not ruin the buds on my flowering trees. We only get the chance to enjoy them once a year and it depresses me to think they might be gone. Right now it is 35 degrees; the wind-chill is at 24 degrees. The low tonight is supposed to drop to 30 degrees. If the timing of the blossoms is close to last year, we'll know in a week if they are lost.

Songs & Cell Phones

Rainy Days and Mondays

Not Fridays!

Karen Carpenter never mentioned Fridays

At. All.

Guess there will be no hanging laundry on the clothesline today....

Or riding.

I hope the three bales of hay that I threw for 5 horses last night

Lasts until at least noon today.



I have officially lost my "work-issued" Blackberry

In my house

And with the lousy spotty Sprint signal

Out in this neck of the woods,

It may never be found.

How do I lose a Blackberry when I have a pocket?

Found it.

Went to move my cursor and put my hand on my Blackberry.

Black mouse pad. Black mouse. Black Blackberry.

I need a new color scheme.

Doesn't even say it missed a call. Figures.

Because it can't GET any calls!

Here's a Sprint ad campaign:

"Sprint. Why bother?"

McCain has my real cell phone.

The one who uses that tower I can see from my window.

Long story on why he has possession.

But if you called, texted or left me a dreaded VM on that number

Chances are I didn't get it.

McCain and Sprint have a lot in common.


This is all I have today.

Slow news day.

Apr 14, 2011

Comments to Comments

It was so fun to read all of your comments about the horse show I entered last weekend and I appreciate your support. I think every winter I get so stir crazy that once spring hits, I'll do anything to get out and ride. And with Windy just coming back from training, there didn't seem to be a better time.

Usually Windy is pretty "spring fresh", but the two weeks that she spent at Brenda's getting a tune-up worked wonders for both of us. Do horses start growing a brain at age 9? Although Brenda has always done a great job with her, this time it was different. I'm not sure Brenda changed her ways as much as Windy started paying attention. And perhaps I have been more consistent in applying what Brenda taught both my horse and me. Whatever combination, it worked.

Mikey, I knew there was no way she would step on that mattress. We were given the opportunity to dismount and try the obstacles, but I didn't have a lead rope on her and I didn't want to try to pull her across that mattress. Windy is funny about things underfoot anyway; she doesn't like mud or hard clods. Once I tried getting her to cross a bridge that had a slight teetering motion and no-way-no-hell was that going to happen. So I let her look at the mattress; snort at the mattress and then we moved on. While I was watching, I only saw one horse cross it. But then I was told at the time that only a handful crossed the bridge, too. I was very disappointed that Windy wouldn't cross the bridge for me. It was very much like the one we have going over our creek at home.

Knotty Dog, Lisa & SunnySD: when and if you get the opportunity (or gumption) to want to show, this type of show was certainly a good one for me as a started. Heck, I probably won't go any further than this venue. I just want to try new opportunities without a lot of pressure. The casual nature of show and the support of those who put it on were priceless.

I enjoy reading about the Arabian shows MiKael attends (and manages). I appreciate your thoughts about the gate and would love to hear the other ways this obstacle might be presented. When I see the show pictures on your blog, I am in awe of what that must entail to accomplish such elegance in a show environment. And by the way, I am totally enthralled in your legal story right now.

Pam, thank you so much for riding in that English class with me and Mindee, maybe you should be my wing(wo)man next time! Bring Jamboree and come join me sometime. We would have a blast or fall off trying!

To the rest of you, Gray Horse, Funder, and Cheyenne, who offered an "atta girl", thanks! It is encouraging and I appreciate your kind words. I am pretty sure I will try it again real soon!

Apr 11, 2011

Out of My Element

The weather threats had all but cleared up, so I got up early Sunday morning to head for the Capital City Horse & Pony Club for what would be my second real horse show in.my.life. I was surprised it was almost balmy out; definitely not what I was expecting. It's so hard to figure out what to wear in early spring, so I tossed in both a short sleeved shirt and a sleeveless one so I would be prepared. I planned to take the big trailer and should I need a jacket, knew there was an assortment in the closet.

The first two classes were English. I have no English clothing per se (maybe because I really don't ride English?), so I threw together what I thought would work: a pair of tan breeches and a black blazer – both from when I was several sizes heavier, one of the boys' white button down oxford shirt and my half chaps. I cleaned the dust off of McCain's black helmet which hasn't been worn for at least a couple years; I even had to super glue the visor back on the helmet. I felt kind of frumpy. Even though I have not kept all the weight off which I lost two years ago, these clothes were still baggy.

I changed in the trailer and commented to the gal parked next to me that I didn't have the best fitting English clothes. She said I looked fine but was probably more formal than anyone out there. And she was right. Although the horses were all fitted in English tack, only 2 of us were in riding pants and I was the only one in a jacket. Most of the other riders just wore jeans and a sweatshirt. I knew the show was casual, but didn't know it applied to the English classes. Now I know.

As I waited for my class to begin, I was very thankful to be in that jacket. Typical for Nebraska, the weather changed. The wind picked up and the temperatures dropped. I found myself shaking; partly from being chilled, but I imagine nerves were a big part of it, too. I rode Windy over by the bathrooms to get a bit of a windbreak and watched the younger age classes as I tried to rid myself of the jitters. I had planned to ride the earlier classes with a friend whose business trip was canceled in anticipation of a government induced furlough. When that didn't happen, her travel was reinstated so she was unable to join me. Another friend had planned to drive in for the later classes, but when the temperatures started to drop and a cloud banked formed, she hated to risk a long drive for fear of being rained out. Although I knew several people at the show, I was still on my own in the classes. It's much more fun (and comforting) with a "wingman."

Another Horsetaler, a Cap City regular, entered the English classes and rode into the arena ahead of me. "Trot your horse", the announcer read. Windy's trot was much faster than the horse in front of me, so I passed her and was on my own in the lead. There were five other riders in the class (age 35 & over) besides me. I was nervous, but not scared. I thought our trot was pretty good, although looking at pictures, I see my posture was bad. When we were first asked to "Canter your horse," I missed the lead. I pulled her in and we tried again and got it. When we cantered up next to the gate, Windy dropped to a trot and tried to turn toward the gate. We had our struggles but all in all it was as good as I expected.

We placed 5th out of 6 in English Pleasure and 6th of 6 (okay, last) in English Equitation. But you know, I was okay with that. I have rarely ridden English, have no training in it what-so-ever and as I said, this is only the second horse show I have ever entered. Rationalizing. Yes. My goal was to stay on top of the horse, and I did.

We didn't do as well in the Western Pleasure and Western Horsemanship classes. Placed about the same; six out of 6 in both. While Windy was in training, Brenda worked very hard at getting her to collect and carry herself in frame. But we have only worked when riding two handed. It didn't even cross my mind until I was watching the age group prior that these Western classes need to be ridden with one hand. I knew I would have a hard time getting her to collect and slowing her down riding one handed.

The class immediately following was a Walk/Trot open class. There were 18 riders of all ages. I felt like it was our best class; that we were doing really well. And then the announcer said "extend your trot". Hmmm. I think I was already there. Heck, I must have been lapping everyone!

The Trail Class was just one notch below Craig Cameron's Extreme Cowboy Challenge! The judge, Terri Bergen-Smith, also a fellow Horsetaler, put a lot of effort into the pattern. Knowing it was difficult and the first time many were showing this year, she told everyone to take it slow; that she would judge on horsemanship more so than completion. And she walked with us through the course.

Windy totally refused both bridges – even one that looks incredibly like one we have at home. She refused the muddy water crossing. We were to canter a figure 8? Hmmm. Mine looked like something from the Greek alphabet and it certainly wasn't an "O". She did do a decent back and a pretty sidepass – kept sidepassing long after we were over the log. Good girl. We pivoted; not sure she nailed it but we ended up facing the right direction.

We made it both in and out of the gate, but realized while watching those entered before me that the way I have been practicing is incorrect. I have been bringing the gate toward me and then turning on the forehand around it. This judge asked that we push through the gate. She explained that when working livestock, you would want the gate to go in, not pull it out. I didn't change my game and did it as we have been practicing. Now I know and have an opportunity to learn another way.

Here we were asked to back around the three poles. Some of our turns were more backward right angles, but we accomplished the maneuver.

This picture looks prettier than it really was. We had just blown the figure 8 and now were asked to cross a bed mattress. Windy took one look at that and politely said "no thank you." I gave her a pass because I really didn't want to cross it either!

She went through a hanging tarp obstacle and went back through the gate at the conclusion of the trail course. A friend heard that we placed 4th in trail, but I didn't hear the official results as there were still riders going through after I finished. I was happy with our "try" and know where I made mistakes. And of course, just need to continue to practice at every opportunity.

My last class of the day was barrels. Now anyone who rides with me on the trails knows that I like to run. But for some reason, I feel more in control running down a road than in an arena. Windy doesn't know a barrel pattern so run, jerk her around and run again doesn't make much sense for her and isn't pretty. So I usually trot the barrels and then run back after the 3rd one.

I really didn't know that you could blow a barrel pattern, but looking at my GPS tracks, I think I did! See where I circled the course in blue? Shouldn't there be a circle around the 1st and 2nd barrel like there is the 3rd one? I think I ran behind them first, rather than circling them. The judge was kind. I didn't get DQ'd. Placed six out of 6 again – the gal who placed 5th even dropped a barrel and still beat me!

I passed my camera around to different people I knew and asked that they take some pictures for me; so these shown on this blog were all pulled from my camera card. And believe me, these are the best pictures. There are 100 "outtakes" that show the not so pretty part of learning to show. Glancing through them, OMG - do I have a long way to go! Once again, I am reminded of Elaine on Seinfeld and her love of dancing.

It was a long day but I had a blast. The Capital City group is very welcoming to newcomers and make it beginner friendly. Check out their playday schedule and join the fun. In between trail rides, I wouldn't mind trying it again.

Apr 9, 2011

Two for the Show

I pulled my mare from the corral and scrubbed off what was left of winter. She was totally loving the rubber wash mitt massaging her back while loosening the long-ago-dried-in dirt and faded coat. I think she enjoys being groomed as much as we enjoy a day at the spa.

I put her in the round pen to dry off and then stabled her in the front stall tonight. We are suppose to get scattered thunder storms tonight, so I'm hoping to keep her as clean as possible. The trailer is hooked up; we are going to dabble in that show tomorrow. Not expecting much; just will be fun to get out and do something a little different for us. And yes, I did pack that English saddle....

Apr 8, 2011

The Friday Afternoon Club

Our Friday Afternoon Riding Club was founded last year, but admittedly, we got off to a slow start and it never really took off. Weather, schedules… all the usual excuses.

So t
his year we are coming back strong! Well, at least every other Friday since we have to work around Kathy’s nursing schedule. (Of the hospital kind, not breast). Deb is an incumbent from last year’s FAC and we have recruited her friend, Polly. Sheila was our other partner in crime and she is now a California girl (check out her blog).

It’s a good thing I started early because I had a heckuva a time hooking up my bumper pull trailer to my Durango. It’s never as easy as the truck, but this wasn’t my first rodeo. I think ½ an hour to get it hooked up was a bit over par! Of course that included time thinking I could just muscle it over and looking for posts and other hardware to help me line up better. I hate to admit, but I wondered later if the progressive lenses of my glasses aren’t playing tricks on me.

Ah, whatever the excuse, I was certainly pissy by the time I left for Pawnee Lake. I got even pissy-er when I realized I had forgotten my annual park sticker on my desk and had to pay an additional $4 for a day pass. (Excuse me a minute while I put them in my purse so they won’t be forgotten next time!)

But once all that was taken care of, we mounted up and walked out. It felt SOOO good to be out on the trails again and the pissy attitude faded away. We talked, laughed, walked, trotted, and ran. All the things you would expect of four horsewomen who have been trapped by winter for the last five months.

THIS is what I work all week for; THIS is the cure to my woes. THIS is worth 30 minutes of fighting with the trailer hitch and an extra $4 in park fees. THIS is my Nirvana.

Apr 7, 2011

Crazy Busy

My goal to blog often hasn't come to fruition. Amazing how just finding a few minutes to collect my thoughts and craft them into a few paragraphs is so blasted hard to do! Life is crazy right now. When I look back over my calendar for the last couple weeks and going forward, I wonder when I can come up for air! I do recall last spring being real busy, too. I wonder if life isn't always that way, but when the weather finally breaks and I can ride, I find the constant "go go go" of my schedule a bit stifling. I finally crashed yesterday and took a few hours off from work. I was sick and tired. Literally. I'm starting to feel normal again.

Tomorrow afternoon I have plans to ride. Then there is the show this weekend. I plan to go if the weather holds. Right now, the weekend forecast says a 70% chance of thunderstorms and windy; so not holding out much hope. But, he's not called the Big Fat LYING Weatherman for nothing. Anyway, if it doesn't happen this weekend, I'll plan to go another time. I am kind of looking forward to it.

Apr 3, 2011

To Show?

Signs of spring is evident, but I am still under par as far as ride time goes. Life just gets in the way sometime. I just mentioned on Horsetales that I need close to thirty hours in the saddle this next month to meet my goal. Doable in the warmer months, but between track meets, work travel and spring weather, it will most likely be a stretch.

After church, while the guys made brunch (gasp!), I saddled up Windy in her English gear for a short ride. Looking at the picture now, I see the noseband and bit look too low and yes, I need to find a real English pad. But anyway.... Just for the heck of it, I am planning on going to a show next weekend and to make the most of my time there, thought I might enter an English pleasure class. This is quite a gutsy move on my part as I have had my butt in an English saddle only on a handful of occasions. "So why now?" you might ask? Capital City Horse and Pony Club is now offering classes for age 35 and over. I have no delusions that there won't be better riders than me, but just hoping there is fewer in the class which would make the overall ride less intimidating. In addition, I think the canter in English pleasure is a little faster than the lope in western pleasure which might be easier on both of us. I can then scratch it off my bucket list, but it isn't really on there. Just a whim and I may still talk myself out of it before it actually happens.

What other classes might I try? Maybe western pleasure. The lope makes me nervous because she is quicker. I can just see me running someone over. We have been working on hitting the correct lead. Not saying it happens every time, but I am starting to get the feel of it. So maybe…. There is also a walk/trot class which I entered last year. Because it is an "open" class, it was huge. It is still an open class, but I might try it again. With so many in the class, no one will really be watching if I screw it up too bad. I'll try the trail course and a few of the speed events. Of course I reserve the right to change my mind at any time.

I spent yesterday afternoon grooming. No halters required; the horses were pushing each other out of the way for a little time with the brush. I love it when they turn their head toward me as if wanting to groom me, too. I always get a little nervous when Butter does that; it would be just like her to nip me a bit. We have a long way to go for them to shed out completely, but it's a good start. The knots in Windy's mane, shown in the header picture, are no more.

The big pastures are officially closed now until early to mid-May. We hope to get it fertilized in the next couple weeks and then give the grass a chance to grow. Now that we no longer have cows, pasture management should be much easier and there should be less overgrazing. I did let them graze in the north yard for awhile yesterday. Ritz was innocently watching but a little later, we found the horses on the other side of the fence. And the dog was happily on their heels. He usually only bothers them when I am around; he may have earned himself a time out when the horses are in this area.

Temps dropped from almost 80 to a brisk 53, with winds gusting over 30 mph. Welcome to Nebraska in the springtime.


Apr 2, 2011

At Seventeen....

Nobody knows what a boy is worth,
and the world must wait and see;
For every man in an honored place,
is a boy that used to be.

Happy Birthday, honey.
I love you.