Apr 26, 2012

Spring Coats

Caught this shot of Windy out in the pasture the other day.  She is completely shed out now although she could still use a good bath.  The temps have been running between the mid-60's and 90 lately; one morning there was frost in the lower pastures which normally wouldn't be unexpected in April except this year has been so different.  Our alfalfa is ready to cut; unfortunately planting season is starting, too.  I hope our neighbor who cuts the alfalafa will be able to squeeze it in soon.

I took some more "after" pictures of Fancy the other day but haven't been at the computer with the "before" pictures on long enough to do a compare.  I think being out on pasture has helped her weight.  Her coat is starting to look a little better but nothing like Windy's.  I'm hoping I'll see more of an improvement after a few weeks on pasture. 

I have ride plans this weekend; was planning on making it a long one but storms are rolling in tomorrow.  Saturday and Sunday are suppose to be nice so hoping it can be salvaged.  Two weeks until McCain's graduation.  Lots to do to get ready but dang, I need some down time.  Horses are my therapy. 


Apr 22, 2012

The International

Last night, John and I went out of our eclectic-semi-western element and attended The International in Omaha with friends, Brenda and Tom.  What is it?  I tried to find a good description on their website to share with you, but there really wasn't one.  Simply put, "a premier indoor equestrian show jumping sporting competition."  

Beautiful horses of European decent (many I have heard of but hadn't seen until now) and their top notch riders were asked to complete a course of 13 jumps in 79 seconds.  I believe the highest jump was 5'-something; many having only a stride or two between jumps.  I found myself rocking on the heels of my feet and holding my breath every time the horse sprang up to clear the jump.

You all know how fond I am of bays so when this beautiful horse came into the arena, I decided to shoot some video with this blog in mind.  It was that much more exciting when this horse cleared all of the jumps.  I think only 5 in the whole competition cleared them all.  This will give you a good idea of what it was all about.

I forgot my good camera so had to rely on the iphone.  The still shots weren't so good, most having Baldy in the left hand corner in my picture.  I swear I tried to move away from him but his big ol' head just kept migrating into my shots.  But I was happy with this video clip.  

After the preliminary rounds, the top eight horses came back in for the finals.  The jumps were re-positioned and the time reduced to 45 (?) seconds.  The horses were asked to move faster and it really changed the tone of the competition.  The winner, a pretty gray, had a perfect run.  The purse was $50,000.  This same rider won the competition on Friday night which was another $30,000 - so not a bad pay day.  I am curious what the split is between horse owner and rider?  One newspaper article said some of the horses were valued close to $1 million.  

This type of riding was out of my world but fun to watch.  I could certainly appreciate the hard work that must go in to making these horses top notch competitors.  


Apr 19, 2012

Pimping for Product


We took Windy and Fancy over to the farrier’s the other night for their shoes.  We don’t normally shoe unless we are planning to ride some rocky rides, but with all the road riding we have been doing, I just decided to shoe them now.  Fancy is a bit upright in the pasterns so this gave him an opportunity to help right that situation. 


plastic horse shoes


Before we go on vacation this summer, I am pondering having them shod with these urethane horse shoes.  I would think this would provide some shock absorbency against the percussion when traveling down our hard gravel roads if not some degree of traction when riding on rock.  They are pricey compared to normal shoes ($9.50 per shoe) but where I don’t keep the horses shod all year around, it won’t set me back too much.  Have any of you tried these?


I had a note from the marketing of Boot Stroot asking if I would be interested in trying their product and reviewing it on my web.  Boot Stroot is used to hold your jeans in place when putting boots or 1/2 chaps over your jeans.  I have been wearing breeches this winter so haven’t had the opportunity to try these with jeans but will shortly.  Stay tuned.


Now if Plastichorseshoes.com would just contact me and ask if I would try their product in exchange for a review. 


Or Ariat boots. 


Or Wrangler Q-Babys. 



Apr 15, 2012

Working Together


Photo Apr 14, 8 24 43 AM


Yesterday our trails committee sponsored a trail clearing on the Oak Creek.  It was just our small group of regulars with our nippers, loppers and chain saws ready to tackle what winter left behind.  Since the truck could only drive the limestone trail, I decided to bring Windy and ride the adjacent horse trail, marking where trees had fallen for those in the truck.  I also brought nippers and loppers and would clear any overhead branches from the saddle. 


Photo Apr 14, 10 50 28 AM


As I rode off from the group – a good mile or so ahead, we went over bridges, under branches, and around heavy equipment moving dirt for terraces.   We passed other horses in pastures next to the trail.   I would stop and trim branches above our heads, ask her to sidepass up to the tree, sometimes up into the tree, stand quietly while I reached above us both, pulled the limbs down to me snipping them with whichever clipper, and dropping brush on me and on Windy.  On her head, for goodness sake.  I would pull dead branches out of trees, drag them behind us and toss them from the saddle over to areas off the trail. 


Photo Apr 14, 11 09 18 AM


When I had to dismount, Windy would stand quietly while I worked on moving old branches off the trail.  Then I would cluck and she would follow me.  I had equipment tied to the saddle that I had to make sure didn’t poke me when I mounted and it was imperative that she stood still while I did so.  And when the storm moved in quicker than we planned with thunder and lightning overhead and rain pelting our sides, we ran almost 3 miles back to the trailer when her instinct was telling her to turn against it, drop her head and hunker down.  She did it because I asked her to. 


I am sure that following Pat, Buck or (name-the-cowboy-trainer-flavor-of-the-year)  gives a rider more tools to be that much more successful with our horses, but you know?  We didn’t learn what we just did from one of those “gurus”.  We learned it from getting out there and doing it.  I couldn’t be more proud of how far we have come.   Even though she’s “just a trail horse”,  that’s alright with me.  (Name that song). 

Apr 12, 2012

If I Could Turn Back Time

I got my riding buddy back, at least for a short time.  My youngest son, Case, not only wanted to go camping with us last weekend, he even said he would like to ride.  Besides an occasional ride around the pasture, it’s been awhile.  I can’t believe this is the same kid who used to fit snugly behind our saddles.  His little 14.2hh Butter-horse still fits him – barely. 

Photo Apr 06, 5 43 20 PM

He and I left early last Friday afternoon for Rock Creek Station.  John would come down when he got off work.  We settled on Toby Keith for our Pandora radio station.  Have I mentioned lately how much I love my big gas guzzling truck with 3,341 miles on it?  And now sporting a nice big crack across the windshield thanks to a truck we met on the road.  I had hoped the rather BIG ding could be repaired but there were no options in the small towns we were traveling through and by the time I got back to Lincoln on Monday, it had cracked larger than what can be repaired.  So now my windshield matches the ding on the back of my truck which you may recall and I am trying to forget.  Oh well, its just a truck. 

Photo Apr 06, 4 58 57 PM

We got to Rock Creek and during the course of unloading, I managed to fling fresh manure on my almost-16-year-old son’s ankle and you’d have thought the world ended.  After washing his sock, we saddled up and hit the trails that we have rode for years. 


In 2004, Rock Creek Station was the place that Case rode Butter for the very first time, then owned by a friend.  We bought her the next year.  Such good memories. 

2009_january 004

John and our friends joined us later that evening.  I had promised Case a full-moon ride.  No one else was game, so he and I saddled up and went out alone; scaring ourselves silly riding along the forest trails.  Wild Bill Hickok killed a man at Rock Creek Station.  Riding through the station, we wondered if the buildings were haunted and were careful not to look in any windows. 

Don’t tell Case I said this but the time in the truck and those few hours on horseback – just he and I - meant the world to me.  We don’t get alone time like that very often. 



Apr 6, 2012

Time Management


Photo Mar 27, 7 42 42 PM


Years ago I took a time management class and the instructor reminded us to watch our free time as carefully as we watch our work calendar. He went on to caution that a lot of stress comes from overextending ourselves when we aren’t working. At that time, I was probably single, didn’t have kids, a horse or a farm and my biggest time management stress resulted in someone planning an event at the same time Knots Landing was broadcast. Thank goodness for the VCR!


Having implemented the new feed regimen with Fancy and Windy has surprisingly has turned into a time sucker. Oh, nothing incredible, but a good half an hour from the time I change, head to the barn, separate those who get special feed and wait for them to finish. Yes, I do other things while they are eating but it is usually horsekeeping related like grooming or fixing tack or simply watching them eat rather than housekeeping related like laundry and dishes which seems to continually suffer under my supervision. Really, I don’t have to win the Mega-Millions but just enough to employ a housekeeper would be nice.


Photo Mar 29, 6 41 39 PM


Then there is that Distance Derby thing. I am thrilled that I have increased my riding time and miles three times over what I did last year but to even think about competing with those at the top, I would have to more than double what I put into it right now and there is just not enough hours at the end of the week and quitting my job isn’t an option (especially if I want that housekeeper someday.)


I’m not whining – far from. If I didn’t work, I couldn’t have horses so its quid pro quo. 


Photo Mar 25, 3 17 04 PM


I mentioned before that I am disappointed when I don’t update this site as often as I think it should be.  It is relaxing for me to sit and write and go through pictures from the week and share with all of you – many who I have never met. Blogging or journaling is my way of talking about my horse life without boring my friends with all the details. And more than once I have referred back to posts for something long forgotten. I am sad to see so many fellow bloggers are pulling the plug on their blogs but can certainly understand that sometimes there just isn’t the time or notion.  I do still regularly visit most of the blogs I follow.  I don’t always comment due to firewalls or reading on my iPhone, but you are very much a part of my day.


It’s a holiday weekend, but not a long one for me.  The normal length.  But there are no family get-togethers planned (very relieved) so we’ll break tradition a little bit and do something different. 


Photo Apr 01, 7 12 13 AM


Have a Blessed Easter.



Apr 1, 2012

Where to Start?


I am so far behind I don’t know where to start?  Not only with this blog, but housework, laundry, Derby miles… the works.  It has been a crazy busy week.  When John asked what we were going to do today, I told him I needed a minimum of two hours by myself – no people and no one talking to me – just because.  So I am in that two hour window now and trying to figure out how to make the best use of that precious time.  So I blog. 


Photo Mar 28, 6 43 44 PM


We built a new fence in the north grazing pasture.  It is a small area that we don’t like to mow and put the horses in for flash grazing during the day.  John had a bunch of tree trunks from a cedar tree line he took down for a neighbor a few years ago.  He enjoys doing stuff like this and it looks nice.  Still have some finishing up to do on it today.


Photo Mar 29, 7 00 13 PM


Every thing is in bloom.  The pastures are green, the trees are becoming heavy with leaves and the flowers are blooming. 


Photo Mar 28, 6 16 57 PM


Every day is a new surprise.  The flowering crabs started blooming last week; a good six weeks before they bloomed last year.  On Friday, the tulips were open and when we got home yesterday, most of the lilac bushes had blooms.  It was 91 degrees yesterday; a new record for March 31 in Nebraska.  The previous record was 88 in 1946.  Today is suppose to be as warm. 


Photo Mar 29, 6 52 22 PM


John and I have been stealing rides between spring chores.  Not racking up a lot of Distance Derby miles but not really concerned about it either.  We have lots to do before McCain’s graduation so we ride when we can and keep plugging away at getting caught up around the farm. 


Photo Mar 31, 9 13 38 AM


This past weekend, my friend Cindy and I hosted a tack swap meet at her Chance Ridge facility in Omaha.   Best guess is we had a few hundred shoppers.  I came home with a new Myler bit and some other goodies – all necessary, of course.  (wink)


Photo Mar 31, 8 30 08 PM


Case and his buddy went fishing last night.  That is them down on the dock.  They didn’t catch much but enjoyed a nice evening and a beautiful sunset.  Tomorrow is my son, McCain’s, 18th birthday.  Where has time went?