Friday, February 25, 2011

Look At This Coolness!

I know you're saying to yourself, "Self, I really like the High Country Rendezvous window decal.  How on earth can we get us one?"

I'd tell you you could contact Megan at BuildASign, who is phenomenal to work with and design a cool window cling, window decal, or bumper sticker of your own.  Megan contacted me about doing a review of their products and I have to say, I'm impressed.  She's easy to work with and has some good ideas.  In fact, the window decals were her idea.  I had wanted to do window clings, but she was afraid the picture wouldn't show through tinted windows.  So, instead of just sending me the clings, she also sent me window decals.  I'm extremely pleased with how they turned out.  Mom and Bill have one of the window clings up in the window of their office, and I've got one of the decals up on Ripley.

And you'd say, "Self, Megan sounds awfully wonderful, and so does BuildASign.  GunDiva says she is and she really likes the products.  But I really want one of those HCR window decals.  How do we get one of those for our ownself?"

And I'd have to tell you, the only way to get one of these coveted HCR window decals is to register for this year's High Country Rendezvous at Allenspark Lodge B&B.

We've extended HCR this year by an extra day, as we didn't have nearly enough time together last year.  We went on an amazing ride, attended a mini-clinic put on by a local equine chiropractor, and had an adventure with a flat tire.

This year, we're adding a "play day" with the horses, where we can play some fun horsemanship games that most of us haven't done since we were kids.  The extra day also allows us to plan a trip into Estes Park to see the elk and do more riding.

The cost of HCR includes a room at the beautiful Allenspark Lodge B&B, any clinics we arrange, and meals at the Lodge.  Horses will be provided by Compass at the Allenspark Livery, and will be an additional charge (but she's cutting us a good deal).

Due to the fact that the Lodge is at 8,700 feet in elevation, unless you own horses who live and work at that elevation, we cannot accomodate personal horses.  It takes too long for them to acclimate to the altitude.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I'm In Love (Again, or Still...)

Remember this beauty...
This is Estes' Granddaughter, Dakota, at just shy of a year.

Now look at her...
Now that she's just shy of two, I want her.  Bad.  Really, really want her.

But that doesn't mean I've given up on the equine love of my life...
Because, let's face it, Estes is my equine soulmate.

But that doesn't stop me from falling in love with her grandbabies.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Jelly Bean (Or, The Beginning of My Bionic Mother)

It's been a long while since we've had a ROTW, but Mom was kind enough to provide me with one.  Mostly, I think, because she's going batcrap crazy while healing up from her hip replacement.

First Ride on Jelly Bean (March 2006)

Four years ago, we were to visit some friends on their desert ranch in Arizona, for a two week riding vacation. It was March and here in Colorado is was cold and icy, so we could hardly wait to get to sunny Blue Sky Ranch. During our phone conversations with Bucky, he had mentioned purchasing a new “marvelous” mare at one of the local sales. She would be perfect for me to use the whole time we were there, so bring my saddle. He was so delighted with this horse it was all he could talk about.

After the normal 15 hour drive we arrived late and got settled into the bunkhouse. Next morning dawned bright and sunny, just right for a starter ride – and at breakfast all I heard about was this fantastic horse named Jelly Bean. (That name should have been my first clue.) We all headed out to round up horses. My second clue should have been when Bucky said nobody had ridden her yet because he was saving her for me, and letting her get settled into her new home – a very good idea.

We walk Miss Jelly Bean into the round pen, groom her and saddle her with my gear. She seems a tad jumpy, but not excessively so for being in new surroundings and with strangers. I spend some extra time with her and she seems to settle down and starts getting friendly, so I decide to mount up. Bucky is standing beside her head ready to snag her if she starts to walk off, as many ranch horses do. She stands rock solid like the well behaved horse I’ve heard about. I put my left foot in the stirrup and swing my leg over the saddle, gently settling down onto the saddle seat.

Boom! My other foot hadn’t made it to the stirrup when Jelly Bean exploded. She might have been small but she was definitely mighty. I went flying off on about the fourth pitch, hitting the dirt hard. Scrambling up and diving for the fence, I reach for the top rail to heave myself over and get out of this crazy mare’s way, who is now charging everything inside the round pen. That’s when I realize I have done real damage to my wrist. I had smashed it into the base of one of the round pen posts. I have yet to instinctively curl up and hit the ground rolling; I know this is what to do, but…. Just four months earlier, I had dislocated my left shoulder, so I tucked that into my chest and stuck my right arm out in front to protect it. Yeah, not such a good idea in retrospect!

After catching goofy mare and returning her to a pen, we spent the next three and a half hours trying to find a clinic/doctor/hospital that could take care of my wrist, which I thought was just dislocated. Not so, they all said, and continued to send me on to the next small Arizona town. Finally, an ER doc told us who we needed to see, and sure enough, that worked out. I ended up in surgery the next day, Good Friday of all days, and got to finish my vacation with a bandage on my arm. Thanks to a good orthopedist, I have a titanium plate and seven pins in my wrist…and 95% normal usage. Do I roll when I hit the ground now? Nope, still haven’t perfected that, but I am much more careful about strange horses.

Epilogue: Pour Jelly Bean got sent off to an ex-bronc-rider trainer at a ranch nearby. We started assuming she had been drugged at the auction to keep her quiet for the kids to ride around bareback. The trainer rode her for several days, doing his ranch work, without incident. Then he put his wife on her (a non-rider) for a ride and they loved her. A couple weeks later the trainer again got on her and said, “She broke in two the middle I hit the saddle; nearly put me on the ground. That horse can buck!” They wouldn’t tell me what happened to her after that, but she never got to come back to the ranch as a dude horse.

GunDiva's notes: What Mom left out of this story was that she took two ginger root capsules (!) for inflammation/pain control, and after they drove all over creation trying to find a doctor/clinic who could handle her injuries, she returned to the ranch to help feed.  One handed.  With no true pain meds.  She refused pain meds, saying that the ginger root was doing just fine.  She's either the toughest person on the planet or the craziest - I haven't decided yet.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I Got To See My Girl!

I didn't have a chance to get my hand on her, but I did get to put my eyes on her while she was grazing on the lower pasture of the Homestead.  I quick snapped a picture through Ripley's window, but it did my heart good to see her.

Ida moved the entire herd today to the fat pasture, where they will all put on some weight before we bring them home.  Tomorrow, Bill and I will be visiting them at the fat pasture to treat them with tick stuff - apparently they're infested with ticks, which happens every year.  It doesn't seem to bother them, but it bugs (pun intended) the heck out of us.

More pictures of the herd are on Mom and Bill's blog and hopefully I'll have more to post after tomorrow.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Horse Update

I haven't seen hide nor hair of the horses since Ida moved them from the upper pasture to release them on her property behind a rock quarry.  Mom and Bill usually hike in once a week to get their hands on the horses and check up on them, but haven't been able to due to Mom's hip surgery.  We're used to turning them out for the winter, but we usually have an idea of where they are and the condition they're in.  This is the longest we've ever gone without seeing them.

Needless to say, we were getting a little anxious. 

Mom called Ida a couple of days ago to ask if she'd seen the horses and the answer at that time was no.  But she called back on Friday morning and said that the horses were at the homestead and she was able to see that they were doing well, even if they weren't close.

I drove Monster up to the Lodge later that afternoon and was delighted to see the entire herd down in the lower pasture, where they are accessible.  Monster and I pulled off and went to the fence to talk to them.  The entire herd came off the hill and congregated at the fence to say hi.  Even Ranger, who loves to be a wild horse, joined in the fun.

Washoe is a little on the thin side, and has a ton of cockleburrs in his coat; Jesse looks wonderful - she's lost her hay belly; Ranger, of course, is thriving; Estes is a little on the thin side, but not dangerous; and Eli looks great.  All of Ida's horses look amazing and I still want to take her little black fillies home.  Too bad they won't fit in Ripley.

I took a ton of pictures with my phone, but I can't get them to load from my phone to the computer and emailing them to myself didn't work either.  Once I get the pics from my phone, I'll get them posted.

Bill and I are planning on hiking out to see them on Monday.  If they're at the homestead, we'll just spend some time grooming them and getting our hands on Ranger so that when Ida moves the horses again next month she won't have problems with him.  If the horses have moved back to behind the quarry, we'll get a good workout in while we search them out.  Either way, I'm looking forward to it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Estes Is A DVD Star!

This afternoon, I opened my Facebook account and got a notice that Heidi Nyland had tagged a picture of me.  That's not so unusual, as she tags all of the crew members when she posts pictures of shows we've worked on.  It still didn't stop me from checking to see which photo she'd tagged, so I clicked on the notification and saw this picture...

Photo courtesy Horse Master with Julie Goodnight "Stand By Me"

Hardly the most flattering picture of me or Estes, what with me hanging like a monkey off of her back and Her Highness' ears pinned back.  There was even a comment by Oregon Sunshine asking why Her Highness Queen Estes was being naughty and walking off.

The photo I was expecting to see was the one that Julie and Heidi have been using on Julie's blog banner and in some of the print media...

Yep, that's us in the lower left corner.  A much more flattering picture than the previous one, isn't it?

I had two picture notifications on my Facebook account; the first one was that horribly unflattering picture of me and Estes.  I'm not so bright sometimes, so I couldn't figure out what I'd done to Heidi to make her post such a picture.  I went ahead, with some trepidation, and clicked on the second picture notification.  And then it all fell into place.

My episode with Estes is one of the shows featured on her upcoming Trail Solutions DVD:
Pre-Release Special on Trail Troubles. Order now and get $5 off and FREE SHIPPING. Release date April 1, 2011. Call to order... 800-225-8827.  Includes: Everything you need to help solve common problems getting to and going out on the trail.

From finding and evaluating the right trail horse to trailer loading, to working with a horse that’s barn and buddy sour, to approaching any obstacle you may face on the trail, Julie Goodnight and the Horse Master cast members will help you learn from real-life challenges such as getting in the trailer, refusing to leave the barn, walking off before you ask, balking at obstacles (such as tarps and water) and more.

• Shop til you Drop (horse buying) Horse shopping
• Loaded Up (trailer loading) Trailer loading
• Stand by me (stand still for mounting) Stand still for mount (This is our episode)
• Rearing to Go (refusing and rearing) Refusing & rearing
• Wave Runner (spooky horse into surf) Approach scary obstacles

Yup, there's my arse hanging off of Estes.  The other pictures are at least cool looking, but there's nothing cool looking about not being able to mount up.  Even though I have a copy of my episode, I'm going to order this DVD, because I've been dying to see the Wave Runner episode since I read about it on her blog.

Since this is such a cool suprise - being included on the DVD - I might forgive Heidi for that horrible, horrible picture.

I should mention that I'm not paid to promo Julie's stuff.  I just thought it was cool and wanted to pass it on.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Rewind

I'm missing my horse and equine therapy.  Because of this, I was reading through some of my earlier posts, way back when I first started this blog and my only followers were my parents.  I thought I'd recycle it since it made me smile today.

One afternoon I was alone at the livery when a small, hatchback car pulled up and out stepped an older lady. At first glance, I estimated her to be in her late sixties; she moved with dignity and spirit, but when I got closer, I realized that she was much older. She leaned on the fence, delight at seeing the horses all over her face. I could tell that she had a kindred horse spirit. I met her at the gate, wondering if she was stopping by for a ride even though we didn't have one on the books.

No, she hadn't stopped for a ride, but saw the horses and they brought back so many fond memories she just had to stop. In her eighties, she was car camping alone at nearby Olive Ridge campground. She explained to me that her kids were grown with kids of their own and didn't enjoy the mountains as much as she did, so she just packed up her car and headed up the mountain. She was too old, she told me, to sleep on the ground so she chose to sleep in her car, which was much more comfortable and if she got cold she could just turn on her heater.

I invited her into the yard to meet the horses, but she declined. She did tell me that one in particular reminded her of a horse she had as a child, so I brought that horse up to the fence. I don't remember which horse it was that I took to her, but I do remember the look on her face as I led the horse to the fence. It was as if the clock had been turned back and she was a child again, the delight absolutely radiating from her. She completely forgot I was even there, she was so lost in her memories. I stood quietly holding the horse watching her go back in time. The horse was as entranced as she was and stood absolutely still while she ran her hands over the horse and murmured her memories.

I'm not sure how long we stood there, the three of us, but it was an absolutely magical time. When she was done with her walk down memory lane, I offered to help her up and just lead her around the yard. She turned me down, but said that she may come back the next day to take me up on the offer then. We chatted a bit longer, then she drove off with a big, child-like smile on her face. I watched her drive away, absently petting the horse, and hoped against hope that she would come back the next day.

I didn't work the next day - I wasn't scheduled - so I don't know if she returned or not, but I'll always remember the look of absolute joy on her face. I can't quite explain the feeling I got from being a small part of her trip down memory lane.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Curse You, Mother Nature!

Just heard back from my riding instructor...

Though the weather is absolutely beautiful and will be in the 50s tomorrow, there won't be any lessons, as the outdoor arena is still under eight inches of snow from Monday/Tuesday's snowfall.

Looks like I'll be heading to the gym instead.

And that's not nearly as much fun.

It's Been Forever

Well, maybe not forever, but it sure seems like it.  It has been weeks since my last lesson and finally the weather is cooperating.  I've got me a date with the handsome boy M tomorrow at noon and can't wait to see if I can remember to keep my toes pointed forward.  Who would have thought that it would be so difficult?

Ashinator is going with me tomorrow in Mom's place, since Mom can't drive yet on her new hip, so I should have a picture or two to post.  I might even smile in them instead of chewing on my lips and concentrating so hard I look like a two year old being potty trained.

I've started with a personal trainer (okay, okay, I started this week, but it's still a start), so I'm hoping that I'm not as sore as I was after my one and only lesson.  My trainer has agreed that I can count my riding lessons as working out.  Mostly because I dared him to give it a try and then tell me it wasn't a work out.  Poor kid's never been on a horse.  Musta been neglected as a child.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Follow Up to "Who's The Boss?"

There were a couple of comments on my last post that I wanted to respond to; mostly, how did the episode turn out?

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...the change was pretty astounding.  Like most manner issues, the change has to come from the human.  Once Michele understood that she had to be the leader, Jonas fell right into line.  All photos courtesy of The Whole Picture, LLC.

Get out of my space!

Standing like a polite gentleman.

Oooo...scary quad.  But wait...Mom's not scared...

Standing nicely on a loose line while I cleaned his boogers.

There was also another comment asking about seeing the whole episode.  Well, I found out that you don't have to have RFD-TV or buy the DVD at the end of the season to see the whole episode.  If you join RFD-TV's Country Club, you can watch all of the episodes on your computer.  The cost for joining is $14.99/month, but you can get the first month free, watch all the episodes you want and cancel before getting charged.

One last update - I haven't had another riding lesson.  Seems Mother Nature has been conspiring against my plans for lessons.  I'm a bit - well more than a bit - sad about it.  I really enjoyed my one and only lesson (so far) and can't wait for another.  In the meantime, I've joined a gym and have a few sessions set up with a personal trainer, so maybe I won't hurt quite as bad once I get to ride again.