Mar 22, 2013

Spring Break?


Photo Mar 29, 6 59 48 PM


Last year at this time, John and I rode fourteen miles.  If I remember right, I wore a tank top.  We stopped at the local one-stop and got a cold one and at the end of the day, I was sporting a sunburn.  That won’t happen this weekend.  Although the calendar says spring, it has yet to resemble such here in Nebraska.  We are expecting more snow this weekend, so I put blankets back on the horses, who have started to really shed their winter coats.  The picture above was taken March 29, 2012.  Today that pond is dry.




Last year at this time, my flowering crab trees were blooming.  This is the picture outside my front door this morning.  While it is not out of the ordinary to have snow in March, I do worry about how much damage the drought has done to our spring grass.  I hate the cold and prefer rain over snow, but at this point, we’ll take the moisture any way it comes. 


I went to a horse auction a few weeks ago.  While I certainly do not need another horse, I knew of a young, well-started mare that was going to be there and was going to be sold no matter what the bid.  While I hate to see any horse “get on the truck” to Mexico, for some reason, this one called to me and I decided I would save her from that fate (even though I have barely enough hay to get me through the season.)  As it was, she thankfully sold before the auction.  Actually, most sold for more than killer price during the time I was there.  (Or so I believe.) 


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Not wanting to go home empty handed, I bid and won a draft horse harness for $35.  It has been about ten years since John has harnessed Baby.  I think its about time The Duchess stops laying around and gets a job.  John was very tickled when I told him what I bought and probably even more so that I didn’t have a horse with me!   




While I have no interest in driving, John has always been mildly enthused.  Over the years he has tinkered with putting together a wagon and had bought a collar for Baby.  She has long grown out of the original harness, so he was pretty happy with my good buy. 




The harness that I bought was actually for a team.  For a few days, he worked on making sure the harness was all there and could accommodate just one horse.  On the first semi-nice day, he fitted her to the new harness.




Years ago, he had her pulling a skid so the idea of the harness and driving was not foreign to her, but perhaps long forgotten.  It didn’t take long for her to get the idea of having someone behind her rather than on her back. 


Driving Baby


Who knows.  Maybe this is the year that Baby starts to earn that round bale she is bellied up to so often.  I’m thinking perhaps I should find some interest.  By the looks of it, ground driving might be good for the my diet plan. 


Photo Jun 04, 7 24 16 PM


In other news, Miss Fancy Pants is off visiting a trainer for a few weeks.  While she does lovely on the trail, she doesn’t have some of the buttons that Windy has, most notably, she has always been rather sticky with lateral movements.  So she is off to further her education.  The schooling continues…. 



Mar 16, 2013

Back in the Saddle Again


Last year I rode 377 hours totaling over 1,200 miles.  My last ride of the year was December 30, 2012.  Since then I have barely rode 35 miles and haven’t even been on a horse since February.  Blame it on weather or travel or too late of hours.  But truth be known, I just hadn’t felt like riding. 


Daylight Saving Time is back and we caught a brief glimpse of spring yesterday.  While some of the state boasted almost 80 degree weather, we settled in around 54 degrees and I’m not complaining.  I took Fancy over to the trainer in the morning.  Brenda, who worked with Windy a few years ago is going to put some time on Fancy.  While she does awesome on the trail, I would like to see more lateral movements out of her which will help when opening gates and trimming trail as well as when John uses her for team sorting.  I miss her already!  It is very odd looking out to the corral and counting only four horses.




I fetched Windy from the muddy corral.  Truly, I think if she could have opened the trailer door herself, she would have.  She was that anxious to go.  We headed out to Two Rivers, meeting up with my friend, Diane, to enjoy the nice weather.  It took awhile to get the mud off her.  That, combined with excess shedding, was quite a messy job.  But she cleaned up well.  




We only caught a glimpse of the sun; it stayed partly cloudy most of the day.  Jacket weather for sure, but I didn’t need gloves or an ear band for the first time in a long time.  We meandered through the wilderness area, which just opened back up to horses after hunting season.  Some of the trails were quite overgrown and found some blocked completely by downed trees.  This area is well-maintained by the riders who use it so hopefully they’ll be clear in the months to come.




We made our way over to what I call the “Loping Trail” because it is just that – a nice flat with some distance that you can move out.  And Windy was ready!  She tried to grab the bit and really fly but I brought her in a little since the footing was suspect in some of the shady areas.  The GPS showed top speed at 20 mph; I couldn’t help but think that this is why I ride.  Amazing that some people will never experience that high.  I never want to stop!




Diane rides Jordan, a pretty gaited mare.  We had no trouble matching each other’s pace; Jordan would gait, Windy would trot.  Both mares enjoyed pawing in the melted snow we found along the trail.  




Do you know what happens if you haven’t ridden much in 2-1/2 months and then head out and put on 13 miles with lots of trotting and loping?  You get saddle sore!  You would think with all the exercise I have been doing for this weigh loss program that I would be in better shape than I am.  Oh my!  I wonder if Windy feels it as much as I do today?


Typical Nebraska.  It’s 25 degrees today with a wicked north wind.  It will give me time to heal.  (smile)

Mar 1, 2013

Spending Money Like a Drunken Sailor


And no disrespect to sailors – my dad was one and I am pretty sure he may have even been drunken on an occasion or two....


I had a pretty open day at work today and it seemed like a good reason to take the day off.  It certainly isn’t the nicest day but when there are mindless errands to run, may as well do them on the crappy days. 




Seems my poodle pup, Pip, left a little damp spot on the bed overnight and I noticed later she looked like she wet herself again.  An Incontinent Poodle?  I called the vet and he said to try to get a urine sample and bring her in.  Did I mention how cold it is?  The first time out, she saw the small, flat plastic container I planned to slide under her when the opportunity presented itself and was sure it was a toy and tried for forty seconds to steal it from me while forgetting why we went out in the first place.  After retreating to the house to warm up, we went out a second time an hour or so later.  This time I slipped it under her quickly and managed to catch a tablespoon or more.  And hurried over to the vet.  She has a bit of a bacterial infection and he’ll treat for that first.   If the piddling persists, he’ll prescribe Pip other pills promptly.  (I just wanted to see how many “ps” I could use in one sentence.)  Vet bill was $32 and no, I am not complaining.  I have the most reasonably priced vet in the world and his office is just right down the road from me. 


Whoever said buying the horse (or dog) is the cheapest part is right.  I had been putting off updating the tags on my truck because I haven’t been using it this winter and I just didn’t have a lot of spare cash laying around after Christmas.  And now the tags are due on my Ford Focus and my little trailer, although not as daunting as the truck.  So I headed to the DMV and dropped $609.  Big Gulp.  Then on to Bomgaars for feed for the dogs, cats and horses ($55).  From there I went to the vet supply store and bought dewormers and spring vaccinations and a few other goodies to the tune of $160. 


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Today was the day our bonuses from work were deposited into our account.  I guess you know where mine went:  to the dogs (and horses and cats and the vehicles that carry them around).  Anyone who has animals in their lives know they are worth every penny.  I’m just glad I don’t have to write checks like that every month.


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When I got home, I put the updated stickers on the truck tags.  I thought about pulling it out of the shed to go wash it but when I turned the key earlier today, I got nothing.  Oops.  Although I had no place to really go with it the last few months, I guess I probably should have started it off and on.  I put it on the battery charger before I went to town and it easily turned over now.


While I let the truck run, I wondered over to my trailer.  It won’t be long until it’s time to pull it out for camping season.  I plugged it in to power and went inside and turned on the battery charger.  Usually I don’t leave a battery in all winter but this one was pretty much shot after the last trip, so I didn’t pull it.  Another expense I’ll need to cough up before going down the road.  The lights came on and I opened the drawers and cupboard doors and was glad to see no sign of rodents.  It was just as I had left it.  If it weren’t so blasted cold, I may have curled up on the bed for a nap. 




I wanted to get all this done today since I took off on what is arguably one of the nastiest days of the year.  That wind bites!  The only thing I didn’t get done was taking the net off of what’s left of the round bale and then we will put in a new one tomorrow.  It really is adding days to the life of the hay.  I am still very scared about our pasture situation – will keep praying for spring rains even if it means putting of rides for awhile. 


I left the shed and crossed the driveway to go to the house.  The wind was cold and unforgiving.  Nine more days until Daylight Saving Time and a few more weeks until spring.  February was the longest month of the year.