Jul 31, 2011

Forever Young

I went shopping with a friend today.  While I am just 30 or 40 miles outside of two major cities, depending on which way I go,  I wanted to shop with someone who could appreciate what I was shopping for (horse related, of course) so I drove 90 miles to go shopping in a city closer to my friend.  I am sure both of our husbands were scratching their head over it; they won’t ever get it even if we explain it to them over and over again. 

Driving home those 90 miles, I stumbled across an oldies radio station (gosh, isn’t there a better word?) that must have been reading my personal play list.  The Eagles, John Denver, a little Springsteen and even Meatloaf thrown into the mix.  I knew the words to every song as well as I did back then. 

“Glory days well they'll pass you by
Glory days in the wink of a young girl's eye
Glory days, glory days”

I thought about my own sons; the oldest going into his senior year this fall.  Youth.  Its such a grand thing and I am pretty sure he thinks he will have it forever and I am equally sure he thinks I have lost my youth and given in to age. 

“Though it’s cold and lonely in the deep, dark night…. I can see paradise by the dashboard light.”

I have a secret to tell my son.  I may have aged and I’ve long since stopped wearing bikinis, but my hair color hasn’t changed since I first discovered this color at age 18.  When I have to put on my mom hat, I may appear to be a bit crotchety, but when I am on a horse or even out in the barn, I feel every bit as young as he does.  Youth is wonderful.  But it has little to do with a particular age or driving fast and running hard.  It has to do with how it feels in your heart.   

I just thought I’d share that little revelation with you. 

Jul 27, 2011

No Rhyme or Reason

There are a lot of things on my mind right now.

None of it horse related.

Just kind of in a funk.

The heat and humidity are making our sport as unbearable

as it is when there is snow and wind-chill factors. 

Work is crazy busy right now

Which is good.

It makes the days go faster and really tests my skills. 

I still work well under pressure. 

I mourned for a friend who lost his father.

And I prayed for my sister’s husband

who faces heart surgery

after a heart attack while out fighting a fire.

He’s on the mend.

I’ve been disappointed recently in what I perceive

as the right and the wrong way of doing something.

And it reminded me that if the outcome is the same

To take the kinder route. 

I have been struggling with parenting again

And fear it is a lifetime battle. 

When its good

It is very good.

(The picture in the previous post was all in fun.)

And when its bad;

It just sucks.

And through all of the above,

I appreciate the support of those friends

Who have let me lean on their shoulder

via phone, cyber space or in their company.

I have had this poem going through my head.

It goes something like …

“A time for hanging on and a time for letting go….”

It is not Ecclesiastes 3

or “Turn Turn Turn”

but similar.

My sister and I use to collect poetry

Or “sayings” as we called them.

I know this was in our collection,

but she can’t recall it either. 

When I find it, I’ll share it. 

But know the moment will have passed.

I think I need a road trip,

a little John Denver on the radio

and time in the saddle when I arrive

to get me back on track.

If weather breaks next week

I am so there. 

I am already there.

Jul 25, 2011



Once, while riding the trail long, long ago…
In 2003, according to the picture.
One of my boys got a nose bleed and
I didn’t have a Kleenex.  
But I had something else in my saddle bag that worked. 
He must have thought it was a nose bleed plug. 


Jul 24, 2011

The June Issue

I mentioned awhile back that I was excited to be published in Saddle-Up Nebraska, a publication for regional horse enthusiasts.  I saw an ad in their magazine asking for readers to submit pictures.  Although I take hundreds of pictures, it seems like only a few rank as exceptional.  The one I took of Windy on the Mother's Day ride was in my opinion, a very nice shot for an amateur like me.  So I submitted it to the photo editor of Saddle-Up Nebraska.  

I was thrilled when I got a note that she liked the picture and could use it.  She then asked for more information on the ride.  I shot her back an email telling her briefly about The Friday Before Mother's Day Ride, how it started and such.  I was surprised when I heard that the editor would like to use it for the magazine.  I might have spent a little more time on my email had I known.  

Shortly after this story was published, my sister-in-law (married to John's brother) sent me a Facebook message teasing me about my lack of enthusiasm for the family reunion I mention in the article.  John's family is not horsey so I was surprised someone in the family saw it.  She works with a horse person who recognized the name and shared it with her.  My own sister also saw it via a horse person whom she knows. 

Since the July issue has now hit the streets, I thought I would share my June story with you.  They also printed another story of mine for their July issue which I'll share with you when August comes out.  I am delighted they have given me an opportunity to submit my stories and pictures. 


Jul 21, 2011

The Long Ride

Nebraska Long Rider

Some of you may recall last fall when I posted here on my blog that I had engaged the help of a horse trainer, Colleen Hamer, when my herd was not loading easily in my new horse trailer.  (See Trailer Loading 101).  The new trailer had a ramp, which was new to my horses and almost all of them showed some resistance.  Having helped me with trailer loading in the past and trained a colt for me, I had a lot of confidence that Colleen could work the horses through this new issue.  And she did.

Colleen has started her own quest this year.  Perhaps one many of you have on your bucket list.  She is doing a “long ride”.  As defined by the Long Riders Guild, a Long Rider is “men and women of all nations who have ridden more than 1,000 continuous miles on a single equestrian journey.”  Colleen’s journey started late this spring and will most likely take her into the early months of fall to complete.  Her goal is to ride around the state of Nebraska, crossing the state line at each bordering state, reaching her 1,000 mile goal.
Nebr long rider 2
Photo by Brenda Wortman of Turkey Creek Ranch & posted on Facebook

Her trip has not been without challenge.  From enduring flooding, thunderstorms and heatwaves to soreness issues and weightloss with her horse, Smore.  She has patiently and methodically worked out these problems and has continued on her way.  I am an avid trail rider, but this type of ride would not make my bucket list.  It takes a lot of guts and grit and strength; physically and spiritually that I would venture to say most of us would not want to entertain.  Certainly not me!  I lack in the g & g & s department and I like the comforts of my horse trailer too much!  Colleen has endured.  She has had to rely on her own willpower and the kindness of strangers, which can be frustrating but also very rewarding when it all comes together. 

nebr long rider 3
Photo by Twyla Gallino and posted on Facebook

Colleen has traveled over 600 miles.  From eastern Nebraska, across the river to South Dakota and back and then across our wide state of Nebraska.  She is real close to crossing into Wyoming; should be a matter of days.  Colleen records her journey on her Facebook page, Nebraska Long Rider, and has almost 250 “friends” following her trails.  We all look forward to the next update like we would another chapter of a page-turning book. 

Reading some of the comments from people who post on her Facebook page, although very supportive of Colleen’s endeavor, does remind me that not all horse people travel with their horses or non-horse people understand how difficult it can be traveling on horseback.  Being that I have been active in our Nebraska Horse Trails Committee and an advocate of horse trails, I plan to talk about this in a later blog post.  It is important that riders know it is not as easy as simply riding on this land and at times, our privileges are sometimes hanging by a thread.  Colleen has unfortunately met some of these road blocks and I hope I can explain to others why this happens and what we can do to preserve our privilege of riding in these fine places. 

In the meantime, I wish Colleen, Smore and her dog, Risky, Godspeed in their travels.  May the road rise up to meet her on this Long Ride.

Jul 18, 2011

The Heatwave Continues

Nebraska Heat Index

Spell check is trying to convince me that “heatwave” should be two words.  I could Google and find out, I suppose, but in this case I am pretty sure I am right.  And if I’m not, it should be my way.  So I’ll walk on the wild side with this one.  Truthfully, I am pretty sure the correct way to spell heatwave when the heat indexes exceed 110 is H – E – Double L. 

Some bad news to share:  John's niece visiting from Arizona wanted to ride this past weekend.  Got up early on Saturday to beat the heat and saddled two horses and mounted up.  Before we got out of the driveway, she took an unplanned dismount.  Unhurt, but shaken.  And not interested in getting back on. 

bb 025

Now onto some good news.  Both our grass hay and alfalfa have been cut and there is no rain in the forecast.  If all goes as planned, they should be baled tomorrow. This cutting is going into large round bales so at least there won't be any picking up and stacking to do; they will get moved off the field with the tractor.

bb 019

Although the horses have an automatic waterer in the corral, I have been filling up an extra tank a couple times a day so they can have some cold water from the faucet.  They come over and a few of them dunk their heads up to their eyeballs.  Windy plays.  She stands there for the longest time splashing herself and others all around her.  When I got home tonight, that tank was empty.  I think she was the culprit.

(Click to enlarge)

Off-topic, the above picture was taken at Howells, Nebraska.  John is working on the steeple of their Catholic church.  If you look closely, you can see him hanging from the side.  I can look at the pictures of his work but in real-life, it gives me the willies.  I hope neither of our boys aspire to be a steeplejack.

Speaking of kids – totally off-topic, Jewel and Ty Murray named their new son, Kase.  Spelled differently than my Case, but the first time I have heard of anyone else using that name.  Cool!  (FYI – my Case is one syllable like suit-CASE, not Casey.  Not sure how Ty pronounces it.)

That is all I got, folks. 

Jul 16, 2011


Yeah.  No riding here.  I did see my herd once yesterday and they were sweating while grazing.  I’m only going out as a means of getting from here to there.  There being any place that is air conditioned.


Since we canceled our camping trip due to the sweltering heat, a few of us decided to go see Buck last night.  From the website, the film was “created to move people to make changes in how they deal with horses and life's challenges.”  The movie “follows Buck from his abusive childhood to his phenomenally successful approach to horses.” 
I don’t think it matters what discipline you follow; it isn’t a “how to” movie.  It was really was a movie about a man and his relationship with horses and what brought him to where he is today.  The movie was filmed at locations that provided a beautiful backdrop for the horses it showcased.  Buck has a pretty dry sense of humor; some parts were pretty funny.  There were others parts of the movie that had us digging in our purse for a Kleenex. 
The supporting characters were people just like you and me who love horses and are trying to do what is best for them.  And one, in particular, will have you scratching your head and asking “why?”  Or maybe more aptly, “WTF?”
Although appreciated most by horse lovers, it is the kind of movie that your non-horse loving spouse or friend could probably appreciate for the story itself.  It is showing in limited markets, so you’ll need to check the calendar on the website for locations.

Jul 12, 2011

A Little R & R

Last weekend when we were riding at Camp Moses, Windy stumbled.  She recovered without falling to her knees.  A little later when I moved her into a trot, she felt off.  After dinner that night, I trotted her in hand and we could all see there was a little hitch in her giddy-up and some puffiness in the tendon of her right leg.  I soaked her that night and gave her some bute.  Then called John to bring me another horse.  I didn’t believe it was anything dire with Windy, but enough to warrant some rest and it certainly isn’t like I haven’t anything else to ride.  I rode Ginger the following day and then took her out again when we rode on Wednesday with the Platte River Riders.  She fits easily into Windy’s tack, so the transition was effortless. 

Ginger & me.

On Thursday, we had to check out the trails for the upcoming Trail Challenge.  I planned to take Butter but found her covered from head to butt in dried mud.  So I took Ginger once again.  I know I have mentioned here before that Ginger is Windy’s dam.  And luckily, my Windy is not as hot-blooded as Ginger, who has always been a pistol and has more than once scared me a wee bit.  But this particular night, she felt good under me.  At the first opportunity, I opened her up.  She is the most sure-footed horse I have ever rode; I swear she is floating above the ground as we flew down the road at 29.1 mph.  What a rush!

riding butter 3
Riding Miss Butter
(hate to see what search engines find THAT phrase!)

Saturday, there was a poker run at Two Rivers to benefit horse trails, so being that Butter had managed to clean herself up, I took her for this ride.  She copped a little attitude but for the most part, settled down for the day.  She is a fun little ride in her own right.  I am glad I have spares. 

The above video was taken in 2008.  McCain was on Ginger (right), Case on Butter (left) and John on Blue (middle).  Case was wearing the GPS and at the end of the ride, it showed a max speed of 40 mph and he came in 2nd place to Ginger.    

Riding Ginger is like driving a sports car.  You know the speed is there; just need to press down and go!  What’s that song?  Zero to sixty in five point two!  That’s Ginger.  Butter is more like a Gremlin.  A little wide, bucks a little bit when you give her gas, but hugs the road once you get moving.  Blue is a truck.  A little bumpy, but lock him in four wheel drive and he’ll get the job done.  Baby.  Two words:  Mack Truck.  And my Windy?  She’s just a Honda Accord, 2-door, 5-speed.  You have to learn how to gently let up on the clutch, but once you get the hang of her, it’s like driving an automatic.  Set her on cruise and go. 
Windy's legs checked out just fine!

The swelling is down now on Windy’s leg and I planned to take her camping this coming weekend.  But once again, it looks like the weather may not be in our favor.  It’s predicted to hit almost triple digits.  Welcome to July in Nebraska.

Jul 8, 2011

This End is Not a Bad Thing

DSCN4363 (2)

The Fugly blog is being auctioned to the highest bidder; its writer confessing to no longer having time to keep it up.  I am sure to many, this is a great disappointment.  To me, it is not a blip on the radar. 
First launched around 2007, it appeared to be a venue for addressing conformation of horses just not quite up to par and made some good points for not breeding mediocre horses.  It also focused on what is proper care and why we need to be good stewards to our horses.  I found the writer not only witty, but educational.  Sometimes a bit harsh, but I could appreciate it for its humor.  It was a fun read.  It also brought attention to serious cases of horse neglect and abuse such as the Three Strikes Ranch here in Nebraska, where horses were suffering and needed immediate aid. 

bath 029

I won’t deny that I wasn’t captivated by this blog when it first came out. It seemed its author said what everyone else was thinking: “Why in the heck are you breeding that ugly horse?” Though blunt, those early posts were quite entertaining. She educated me on the finer points of conformation and got me off my duff to work with a horse that we didn’t ride so he would be more marketable in an overpopulated horse market. And if Windy wasn’t so darn pretty, I would be embarrassed to admit that she was the result of our “back yard breeding”, a practice Fugly often criticized for good reason.
It seemed as the popularity of this website grew, the entertainment aspect waned as she went beyond being simply intolerant to almost spewing out hate.  Rather than just being critical of “fugly” horses, she went as far as picking on the owner’s choice of clothing or saddles or perceived lifestyle. While it is her blog and was admittedly “snarky”, I thought a lot of it was in poor taste.  Heck, how many of us love horses but lack fashion sense? I do occasionally ride in a synthetic saddle and have contemplated a pair of those “pajama jeans” just might make good riding pants. I’ve worn sandals to the barn and hopped on bareback in shorts. So even though I tend to resemble a redneck in some ways, it doesn’t make me a bad horse person. 

Reading the comments of those who tuned in, many who have become sort of disciples to the blog, it had the essence of being nothing but a bunch of “mean girls” jumping on the bandwagon; bullying her targets and loving to hate.  It made me rather uncomfortable. 
Although I would pop over to the Fugly blog occasionally when surfing the net, I stopped reading her column on a regular basis.  She was no longer entertaining and her rants grew tiresome. In addition, I do not support her stance on anti-slaughter. Granted, I don’t like it any more than the next person but I believe eliminating it in our country has added a new level of cruelty that we cannot control. I don’t have a good answer for it but anytime we apply a blanket effect to all causes, it is rarely what we envisioned.

big canyon 09 177

I realize that by voicing my true feelings about her blog, I am probably making myself a target; perhaps not of hers, but of her fans. So let me just say that although my four grade mares may not be show quality, they aren’t put together too bad and I have no intention of breeding any of them for any reason. What my gelding lacks in conformation, he makes up for in heart.  We have hay in our barn, our horses are well cared for and our horses can do a job.  My best is good enough. 
It would be nice to see someone pick up that blog and go back to the educational aspect of its roots without the harassment. There is a need to candidly discuss conformation and breeding choices. There is a new population of horse owners all the time who could be educated on proper training, feeding programs, defining good rescues, advocating adoption, and euthanasia choices. If a person is a good enough writer to make it fun and entertaining, that would be a bonus. But regrettably, I think it has lost its flavor for that a few years ago.

horses 022a

In the end, if we learned anything from Fugly, I hope it was about good horse care.  I hope she also demonstrated to readers how easily horse ownership can get out of hand when you start increasing your herd size without being financially or properly prepared for the additional expense and responsibility of multiple animals.  And perhaps those of us who were uncomfortable with the more recent posts on the Fugly blog recognized that you can’t fix stupid with a public flogging and instead should practice tolerance and education.

Jul 5, 2011

So Far So Good


I really hate to jinx myself but so far, the riding season has gone as planned.  Despite the EHV-1 scare, it really only detoured my plans.  Instead of a planned competitive trail ride, I ended up riding the Peckerneck, a trail less traveled.  

Halsey 2011 128

We have had our share of rain days but only once has it been enough that I have had to pack up and come home.  It rained everyday while we were at Halsey, but being that we were in the sand hills, it didn’t hamper our riding, nor did we get wet. 

(View of Omaha - photo from web)

The flooding continues here in the eastern part of our state.  The worst of it is along the Missouri River a good sixty miles from us.  Travel between Nebraska and Iowa is limited and the I-29 is closed in many places.  It may create problems with a trip I have planned in September, but I’ve worked out a Plan B through Plan D to deal with it.

windy 057

I had a specific riding goal in mind for the year and I am within 5 hours of that goal.  If everything continues as planned, I should easily close that gap.  Heading into July, life is good.

Jul 4, 2011

Independence Day


I spent a couple days with friends at a nearby horse camp.  It was the first time we were there this year; the trails were pretty overgrown.  We’ll need to take our weed eaters out there soon and do some clearing.  Luckily, only one trail was blocked and we easily cleared it with a trail saw.  

After our second ride, Windy was a little off.  She had stumbled once and caught herself; I think she may have rolled her ankle a bit.  John was coming out the next day, so I told him to bring Butter along and I’d give Windy a break the rest of the weekend.  I soaked her foot and then gave her some bute.  I wasn’t overly concerned, but since I have a spare, why not use it. 

Of course, it rained overnight.  Rain seems to be a theme with our camping trips lately.  It was iffy if the trails would be in good enough shape to ride.  We waited until closer to noon to ride out.  They were a little greasy in spots, but not bad.  John rode Butter and I rode Ginger.  Butter pitched a few fits early on (buddy-sour issues with Ginger) but he rode through them and she settled down. 

windy 034

It wasn’t a long trip; rode just 24 miles, but it was nice to get away for a little while.  I didn’t even pull my camera out until everyone left.  Windy was quite aware that all the horses were gone from camp and as a result, struck some nice poses. 

Backyard fireworks later (I am thrilled!) and then this loud holiday will be over.  The three day weekend was nice; the cause for the celebration noble, but I will be happy to be done with fireworks for another year.  You folks who live in states that ban them are very lucky.

This is my first post using Windows Live Writer as many of you suggested.  So far, so good.  Thank you for the recommendation.

Jul 1, 2011

Hot, Hot. Hotter than Hell.

Summer is here. Finally. I had a sneaking suspicion we would probably skip spring. We pretty much did. I can’t complain too much; I’ve been riding up until the heat index climbed to an unbearable 106 degrees yesterday. It’s sitting right at 98 right now; but lacking the humidity of yesterday. And this is when the wind is welcome. The temps are supposed to be a little more reasonable this coming weekend.

I logged a couple hours of saddle time the day before the bad day. It was bad that day, too, but I thought I could ride it out. Windy said, “Huh?” After the first mile, I tended to believe her. It probably wasn’t a good idea.

The holiday weekend has us going all over. John has family in town from different parts of the country; and a family dinner tonight. There is an extended family softball tournament and another family event on the 4th of July. Hmm. What to do: ride my horse or play softball? I am so not cut out of the sports cloth. Easy answer. Ride my horse. I’ll go to the dinner tonight and the firecracker event on the 4th (even though I really, really, really do not enjoy watching backyard fireworks).  And truth-be-known, I work full-time to get these 3-day weekends. I don’t think it’s out of line to spend some of it doing what I want to do. You know? As I get older, I become more selfish with my time.

Happy Independence Day!


To my fellow Blogger friends who use Blogger.com.  I need some help....  I usually write my post in Word 2007 using the "new blog" function.  I then save, click on "publish" or "publish to draft".  This function has stopped working.  Simply says "cannot publish this post" while in Word.  I get the same response whether I am using my desktop or laptop.  I have checked the accounts and it is showing the correct one.  I tried to look online for a solution; seems others have this problem but can't find a fix.  Anyone know?