Jan 30, 2013

Taking It Off … Again!


Warning.  This post is all about me.  But if I tell you my secret, it just might help encourage me to fix it.  To be accountable to you.  You may have noticed the “My Fitness Pal” badge on the sidebar of this blog.  Today it says I lost 14 pounds; tomorrow might have another number.  It changes daily but the hope is it gets bigger while my thighs get smaller. 



(My Dad giving me away 20 years ago today.)


Being tall and at one time, a smoker, I had no trouble staying thin.  Once upon a time, I could eat anything and it wouldn’t show.  I chose a slim fitting wedding dress, because I could pull it off.  I don’t know if you would necessarily say I was willowy, but I seemed to have the metabolism of a man and could pretty much eat what I wanted to eat. 




Always a picky eater, my choices were not necessarily the best choices, but it didn’t matter in those days.  Eat, drink and be merry!  I stayed a nice size 9 (in real sizes; with today’s vanity sizing, that would be a 4!) and my only woe was finding jeans long enough.


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I started gaining weight after I had children, after I quit smoking, and after life set it.  I got lazy.  I started feeding a family and never having to worry about weight before, continued to eat as I always did.  By 2003, I was noticeably heavier and I certainly didn’t like the number I was seeing on the scale.  




I dieted in 2004 but not seriously.  I could hide it better riding Blue or my appy, Jo.  When I started riding a finer built, Windy, my “poundage” became the focus and I felt really big on her.  Perhaps too big. 


Expo 2009 062a


Still, it took me to 2008 to get after it.  It was time to tackle the weight problem with the same gusto I used for quitting smoking a decade earlier.  Then I donned the patch, took Wellbrutrin and St. John’s Wart.  I carried around an empty bic pen to chew on and snapped myself with a rubber band when the cravings got bad.  I’d run the stairs to get my heartbeat going; mimicking the rush that I got from nicotine.  I don’t know which of these remedies cured me from smoking, but I figured I would have a similar arsenal for losing weight.




I joined Weight Watchers and Curves and enlisted some friends for support.  I ate salads for lunch and filled the freezer with frozen diet food.  I started drinking diet pop instead of loaded Coca-Cola!  And by the end of the summer, I had dropped just shy of 40 pounds. 




Not only did I look better, I felt better.  I rode lighter in the saddle, I could lift more bales and I didn’t mind hopping off the saddle when someone dropped a water bottle or their cap.  I dropped four sizes in jeans and was wearing “medium” sized shirts.  Working out was the plus; I was probably in the best shape of my life.


PhotoShoot 102


The funny thing about losing weight is you can’t let your guard done.  Ever.  Once I started ordering nachos and  having that second margarita, it was reflected on the scale.  I was in denial for awhile but when I started having to buy new clothes again and not in the desired size, I knew.  I would soon find myself back to where I was if I didn’t start all over again.  Changes were needed – quickly. 




Right after the first of the year, a few of us horse gals have started a “no excuses” weight loss group; meaning we hold each other accountable for losing weight.  We took very candid “before” pictures and have a Facebook page to share our successes and frustrations.  And since I had so much fun the first time dieting (not!), I once again joined Weight Watchers and Curves.  And if I don’t get to the gym, I have Jillian Michaels on the DVD torturing me at home. 




The My Fitness Pal app on the iPhone has really been a great tool.  Simply record your goals and log your food and exercise.  When you are out of calories for the day; you are done.  Or go work out and earn some back.  Believe me, I have!   I’m not advertising for them;  just mentioning a tool that seems to be working for me.


I won’t say that quitting smoking years and years ago was any easier than dieting.  The first year was tough, but I never went back.  With dieting, its so easy to fall into the bad habits once again.  It’s not like you can’t not eat (excuse the poor grammar).  And I am still a picky eater who would prefer a burrito to a “lovely salad.”   Since January 2nd, I have lost 14 pounds.  It’s yo-yo’d a few days here and there, but going in the right direction.  My dirty little secret is, I have 16 pounds to go to get me to that 2008 weight.  If you are counting, I gained about 3/4 of what I lost, back again. 



They're Killin' Me!

The spammers, that is. And not just me; I have seen reference to it on other blogs, as well. Blogger does a pretty good job of isolating it and NOT publishing their whacked-out garble-gunk but I have comments delivered to my email and it finds me there. Filtering has been unsuccessful.

 So, dear friends, I am left with not accepting anonymous comments or using the word verification which would be very hypocritical of me because it drives ME nuts when I encounter word verification - mostly because I can't ever make out the letters. But for now, that's what I have done. Until I have an opportunity to review how many legitimate comments come in that aren't anonymous and if there are very few, I'll change it to just accepting comments from registered users.

 I enjoy hearing from you and hope that won't stop you from saying what is on your mind.


Jan 20, 2013

Back in the Race


Last January, I logged almost 90 miles in the Distance Derby.  This year… well, not so many.  I am so glad that Diane agreed to take over hosting the Distance Derby and that I can continue to compete, but I have to admit, I am getting a slow start.  It is fun seeing so many new and excited competitors this year and I am anxious to see where I fall among the ranks.  While I am not as gung ho to be chasing miles this year, I certainly don’t like being in the bottom half of the Leader Board! 


Fancy & me


In 2003, I joined the AQHA Ride America program.  Blue and Gunner, a young gelding I owned at the time, were both registered AQHA.  But not long after, one or the other of the boys started riding Blue more often and Gunner died in a pasture accident.  So the hours kind of fizzled out in that program.  Windy is a quarter horse but does not have papers thus ineligible for the Ride America program.  In order to log the hours on her, I enrolled in the AQHA “All Breed” program as well.  This year, I completed that program, reaching their maximum award level of 2,000 hours.  I am still about 80 hours short of reaching 500 hours in the original AQHA program and over the years, just wasn’t putting the time in on Blue.  So one of the goals this year is to complete that level and having Fancy in the mix, who is registered AQHA, should be an easy task.  Who knows, Blue might even make the B team this year! 


Mary and her mares


We had a pretty nice weekend with temperatures nearing the fifties.  The strong winds kept it from being perfect but definitely riding weather.   My friend, Mary, trailered over on Friday afternoon and we rode about 10 miles around our county roads.  She brought two mares; her bay Morgan, Sunny and her chestnut gaited Morgan, Rosie.  She ponied one while riding the other and switched off about half-way through the ride.  Mary has entered the Distance Derby this year.  Her team is Merry Mares.  I took Windy; it felt so good to be out and about.




Mary and I were going to do more of the same yesterday, but the wind picked up and was even worse than on Friday.  So we trailered over to Two Rivers to ride instead.  The dense tree lines around the park made it bearable; sometimes we didn’t even feel the wind at all.  In my quest for AQHA hours; I planned to ride Fancy.  I posted on Facebook that it must be Murphy’s Law that the horse I choose to ride is the dirtiest in the lot!    I think she got the memo that it was her turn. 


Two River_w_Mary 049


Lucky for me she cleans up well.  Just don’t look too closely at the knots in her mane and tail.




The park was thawing out; there were a half dozen or so other riders also enjoying the day.  A few of them caught Fancy’s attention from across the pond.  Fancy does so well in group rides that I have to admit I was a little disappointed with her yesterday.  Riding with just one other mare, Fancy really lacked boldness in moving out or leading.  I really had to work her to get the job done; we did, but it sure wore me out.  Although Windy doesn’t care to be the lead horse, if I make her she will.  I am used to Windy really moving out when I ask for her to run; Fancy made me work for it.  It’s just something we need to continue to work on with her; she’s still young.  We have at least 80-some hours to practice. 




Mary and I had a nice January ride on our red mares.  While I loved the milder temperatures, the drought that we continue to experience weighs heavily on my mind.  I am starting to look for additional hay sources as I worry our pastures will not sustain our herd with as little snow as we have had this winter.  If you are so inclined, please say a little prayer for our state.  We are in a world of hurt for moisture. 



Jan 12, 2013

When I Don’t Ride


I haven’t been riding.  Last January, I had already logged 50 miles in the Distance Derby and this year, I haven’t yet hit 10 miles.  Which is really the norm for January.  I could be riding, I guess.  Our weather hasn’t been terribly bad; alternating between freezing and melting.  But the footing is poor.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 


snow 039


To keep myself and others entertained, I have been periodically posting photo challenges on Facebook and Horsetales.  A bit selfish on my part, as I am really digging this new camera and it gives me a chance to show off what I can do (which really isn’t much yet) and it’s helping me learn along the way.  The above photo was an old building challenge.  I went to town to get gas and took the long way home and saw this old corn crib out yonder.  It was snowing that day and in some of the shots you can see the flakes. 



Another day we went out and photographed old farm equipment.  I adjusted the color after I took the picture.  I’m getting pretty bored with all the white snow pictures.  This picture was taken from the back of my horse using my Canon point & shoot camera.  I need to get a pommel bag ready so I can take the new camera. 


Barnyard 038


Another day we did sunrise and/or sunset pictures.  Those are easy for me.  I’m an early riser and my office has an east window so the sunrise always catches my attention.  I think someday I am going to have to make a calendar or photo collage of my sunrises and give to my neighbor who’s farm is at the bottom of the hill and always featured in my sunrise shots.


snow 009


The sunset did not disappoint me either.  I had other shots where the sky was more prominent but I liked the branches up front in this one. 


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But my favorite shots are those which are horse related.  One day we took pictures of our horses in their “winter splendor” which isn’t saying much.  My horses’ coats are dry and their manes gnarly.  Winter has certainly come home in my corrals.   I loved the frost on the trees behind the horses and snow on Fancy’s nose.  It looks like she just rubbed it on Windy’s back. 


sunrises 081


On this day, our assignment was a snow picture.  I went to the barn early and liked that the sky and the snow were just about the same color.  The sun was just coming up; you can see its reflection along the fenceline.  Blue looked stunning against the blue tones of the sky and field.  We know Blue isn’t necessarily a stunning horse; he wore it well. 


corral 130a


This weekend we are tasked to capture the eyes of our horse.  Four hundred and eighty two shots later, I did find a few I liked.  This is Fancy.  It’s not hard to make her look pretty.  I love the contrasting color of her forelock.  Not quite flaxen, but enough of a change to catch your eye. 


corral 065a


This is Blue.  Boy, he gets two pictures in here this time.  I mentioned on Horsetales that I wasn’t sure if he was looking toward me or away from me when I took this picture.  I think I may have been at his side shooting away from him but I’m just not sure. 


Barnyard 098


And just because the “most photographed horse” can’t always take a good picture, I caught Windy with her mouth open. 



Jan 6, 2013

A Little Bit of Nothing


ride windy 012a


I usually have a little idea of what I want to post about but frankly, I got nothing.  Suffering from a little bit of writers block but I think I have just been so busy finishing up bookkeeping for the Distance Derby and getting it all ready to turn over to the person that is going to admin it next year, that I just haven’t had time to think about my own little blog.


ride windy 022a


I finished off the Derby in 8th place, losing 7th place by 2.5 miles.  Had I rode on New Year’s Eve, I would have made it.  But I just didn’t feel like it.  I am happy to have finished in the Top 10.  I rode 1,235.8 miles in 2012 and spent 376.5 hours in the saddle.  I think I deserved to take the last day of the year off.  Windy thought so, too. 


Really, I didn't just eat the inside of your riding helmet.  Really, I didn't!


I have been having so much fun with my new camera.  Of course the dogs, horses and sunrises are my main subjects right now.  I did get the SLR For Dummies book and have been reading up on overall operations.  There is a learning curve.  I can’t imagine how much film I would be wasting if it were not the era of the digital camera.  I’ll shoot 82 pictures just walking to the barn!  Case took the one above of Windy and me with my new zoom lens.  I took this one of Pip when I was questioning what dog could have possibly chewed up my riding helmet?  Guilty?  Yep.


I get so excited when I get a good picture and I share it immediately on Facebook.  I am going to have to save a few back for this website so if you follow Horsetrailriders.com both on Facebook and here, you can see new stuff. 




I got an idea from Facebook to pick a word for 2013 and try to live by it.  My word is “less” an it has nothing to do with riding.  I want to weigh less, spend less, worry less, complain less, spend less time on the negative… you get the picture.   We’ll see where this new road will take us.


This blog has went through a lot of “look” changes since 2004.  It started as a website for sharing information on horse trail riding in Nebraska.  At that time, I offered free classifieds and although it garnered a lot of my readers, that in itself became a job and I was growing tired of that part of it.  I still keep the trail and trail ride information current but my favorite part of Horsetrailriders.com is telling my stories.  I am thrilled to hear from you in comments and many times in person, you mention you follow this site.  I sure appreciate you visiting.  If it comes to a point that there is no one out there reading, I’ll continue to write.  There are future stories yet to tell.  More, not less.