Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hobby Horse Blog Hop - Week 15

It's Thursday!  That means it's blog hop time.  The rules are simple: Answer any or all of the following questions, add a question of your own and link up.  Dreaming over at Living a Dream runs this little party every week and I just love it.

1. Tell us about something you experienced which began with a countdown.  I can't believe how timely this question is, as tomorrow starts Camp NaNoWriMo.  We're actually in the countdown stage right now...I have three hours and fourteen minutes until I can start writing on my novel.

2. Count.... What counts for you? Or what do you count?  For the next thirty days, I'll be counting words.  I'll be writing 50k words in thirty days for Camp NaNo.  I've been participating in the November event, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the past three years, but this is the first year I'll be participating in Camp NaNo.  My first year I wrote what was supposed to be a romance, but ended up being a wrangler how-to.  It was a lot of fun, though.

3. Down.... What is a downer for you and what strategies do you use to overcome a depressing situation?  Also a very timely question, as I have a very negative student who contributes to her own depression.  I've assigned her to come up with four positive things for every negative thing she says.  It's something I started doing with my kids when they were younger and have used it myself.  When life sucks, you have to look on the bright side.  Sometimes that's incredibly hard, so by listing four things that are good, even if it's just "I woke up this morning", it can change your attitude.
My question for you: In the spirit of NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNo, if you were to write a novel (or if you have) what would it be about?
I've written - or started - four novels.  The one I'll be working on for Camp NaNo is actually a revision of one I started a couple of years ago.  I'm hoping to have my first book, a compilation of stories I wrote about being a wrangler, published as an e-book by the end of the summer.  It still has to go to the copy-editor and I have to have someone convert it to all formats, but I think I can have it up and ready to go by the end of August.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Queen Estes is Home!

First, Fat pasture worked!  Just look at the difference between her in October when she went to her other mommy's and when I brought her home yesterday.
Two months after her sand colic attack,
still way under weight,
even with her winter woolies
Six months of fat pasture
(if I knew how to photoshop myself out, I would have)

With Ranger being so concerned about Estes coming home and eating all of their food, I thought it might be a good idea to take a quick trip around Ski Road just to reacquaint them - let them start to sort it all out.

I hopped into my sort-of cowboy-girl clothes (bending over to change my socks and put boots on was far too much work after the BolderBoulder), slipped her headstall on and loaded up.
Hear ye! Hear ye!
Queen Estes has arrived.
(attitude and all)
We were just going to take a walk around, but she was feeling good, and I was numb pretty much all over, so I let her trot off a bit.

We'll work on manners again starting next week, which makes me a bad horsey mommy.  I should be a clear "Captain" at all times, but it just felt so good to be up on her that I just enjoyed it.

Putting her in with the herd went better than usual.  I'm pretty sure it was helped along by the fact that she's in season and not putting up with anyone's shit.  She's got some bites or hoof marks on her back from one or the other gelding, but Ranger's got a swollen jaw from pissing her off.

They might be back on normal feeding terms in just a couple of days instead of a week or more.

Damn it's good to have my girl home!

She needs a trim, which is way beyond my ability right now.  She's got a lot of hoof wall that needs to come off.  Fat pasture, while good for her weight, was not good for her feet.  Being back in the rocky pen with the others will help to knock off some of it, but I'll have to bring up our "guy".  Once she's trimmed up, I'll do my best to keep it maintained.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hobby Horse Blog Hop - Week WhoKnows?

Before we get on to the Blog Hop...

Estes is coming home!

Now that I've got that off my chest.  Wait...not quite...

Estes is coming home!

On Memorial Day, my baby girl comes home.  This is the longest she's ever been at winter pasture, but between my schedule and waiting for the weather to be "normal", she's been away from home for a long time.

Ok, now we can get to the blog hop, hosted by Dreaming over at Living a Dream.  The rules are fairly simple: answer any (or all) of the questions she posts, add a question of your own, and link up.  Pretty painless, really, and a lot of fun.

1. Imagine that you are once again 8 years old. You have just received the best present, ever. (Ponies and pets are not included on the gift list!) What is it?
Just looking at this makes me want to re-read them
2. What kinds of toys do your animals enjoy playing with?
Toys.  Estee doesn't do toys.  The dog has a stuffed giraffe that she carries around sometimes and the cats love plastic bags.
3. I know you have seen some sort of recreational activity on TV, or in real life, that you would just love to try. What is it?
I so want to do all of the cool stuff they do on Top Shot.  I would pay a lot of money - a lot - to get to do all of the cool stages they do.  Hell yes, strap me into a revolving do-hickey, give it a spin and let me shoot at targets.
My question:  What were your favorite childhood books?
Mine, obviously, were The Black Stallion series and The Trixie Belden series.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hobby Horse Blog Hop - Week 13

It's time for the blog hop, hosted by Dreaming at Living a Dream.  The rules are simple:  answer any or all of the questions, add a question of your own and link up!  The linky-thingy is at the bottom of the post.

Dreaming recently was able to attend a Buck Brannaman clinic, so this week's questions are based on what she learned at the clinic.  Incidentally, Buck is at CSU this weekend, Friday - Monday.  I offered to take Mom to that instead of Julie's clinic, but she chose Julie.

1. As Buck was working with a horse and throwing a rope so it touched the horse all over its body, and tickled its legs, Buck commented that we must prepare our horses for the unthinkable. What 'unthinkable(s)' have you tried to prepare your horse to deal with, and how did you proceed?

Estes was 18 when I bought her, she'd pretty much already "been there, done that".  Her other mommy did an amazing job with her. I've yet to run into anything that has spooked her - I think a lot of it is due to the way she was raised/trained and the fact that I *expect* her to be bomb-proof.  It rarely occurs to me that she should be afraid of anything, so if I'm not afraid that she's afraid, it works in our favor.  Does that make any sense at all? I guess that's yet another way I'm spoiled with my baby girl.

Bill, however, is a firm believer in bugging the shit out of the horses preparing our horses for the unthinkable with pretty much anything and everything.  And then if Ranger so much as flinches, Bill invokes the dreaded "touch" command. 

2. Buck suggested that his assistant "rub bald spots" on the horse. He asked us to think about how a mare would comfort her foal by nuzzling and licking him, and how that might feel. In addition to rubbing your horse, have you found ways to comfort him/her when he or she is tense or needs reassurance?

Again, the beauty of an older, confident mare raised by someone who did an amazing job.  Not much causes her to need reassurance.  If she's testy, rubbing her forehead, under her forelock usually calms her right down.

3. When asked how to make a horse stand still, Buck replied that you really can't. He suggested that the rider "use the energy for a worthy cause" and make the horse move his feet; make the horse 'do' something. Then, after doing that for a time, the horse might be more inclined to stand still. Does your horse stand willingly? What types of exercises might you ask your horse to perform instead of standing still?

All of our horses have a "stand" command. I don't remember if it was Mom or Bill who came up with the idea of giving our horses the stand command, however, it was a life-saver when we were running the livery.  It's invaluable to be able to "park" the lead horse in the string if there's a guest who needs help. 

However, if I keep Estes tied at the rail and she gets bored, sometimes she'll paw at the ground, but a smart spank on the offending leg with a harsh "stand!" usually fixes it.

My question - thanks to the wildfire raging out of control nearby - is:  Do you have evacuation plans in place for your animals in the event of an emergency?

I've written in the past about our plans, but I'll throw them out there again: we turn the horses loose on the mountain.  Last year, Nebalee made us a stencil with the Lodge's phone number on it.  Since no strangers will be able to get close to the horses once they're out free, the plan is to spray paint the phone number on the horses prior to turning them out.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Visiting the Triple Creek Ranch

Mom and I went to see Julie Goodnight at Triple Creek Ranch for a one-day Horse How-To clinic focusing on:
  • Ground Manners for Young or Fractious Horses
  • Advanced Groundwork and Liberty Work
  • Riding Right: Balance Rhythm and Feel
  • Training Solutions
I'm always so impressed when I get to watch Julie work.  She's hilarious in person and is so down-to-earth.  When I work as part of the crew, there are so many things going on that I can't focus on one thing.  Taking Mom as her birthday present was totally an excuse for me to sit in the audience and focus on what Julie had to say.  (I did feel a little guilty about not working, though.)

What astounds me is the immediate difference in the horses.  I know that there are some nay-sayers who don't believe that change happens as quickly as it does on the TV show.  For those people, all I can say is, audit a clinic.  She takes horses she's never seen or worked with before and in a few minutes produces dramatic positive changes that the owner can reproduce.  To me, that's the most important thing: to be able to reproduce the results the trainer gets.  It doesn't do me any good to send my horse to a trainer if I don't learn how to get the same results at home.

What I noticed was that the horses - all of them - immediately responded to Julie's take-charge attitude.  When she says, "Horse, this is your Captain speaking", they listen.  It's been my observation that as soon as the owners take the same attitude and expect their horse to behave a certain way the horses take notice and toe the line.

Mom had a big ah-ha moment and put it into practice the next day with Jesse, apparently with positive results.  I'm pretty sure she'll get around to writing a post about it, so I won't blow it with a spoiler. 

As for me, I hadn't realized how close Estes and I are to being able to do simple at-liberty work and bridle-less riding until I watched the Advanced Groundwork segment.  Poor Estee has a lot of learnin' to do when she gets home.  First, we'll work on my million-dollar idea (I haven't posted about it yet) and then move to at-liberty work and bridle-less riding.  I'm not certain I'll attempt bridle-less out on the trail, but I'd love to.  I just don't know if I've got the stones required to try it outside an enclosed area.  Baby steps.  Gotta work on my million-dollar idea first and go on from there.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Blog Hop - Week 12

Late.  Again.


But I made it this week.

That counts for something, right?

This week's prompt: Firsts.

First horse: Estes is the equine love of my life.  I love, love, love her.
While we were shooting Horse Master with Julie Goodnight,
three weeks after I bought her.

I had offered to sell my children for the opportunity to buy my little mare.  I can't decide if it's a good thing or a bad thing that I didn't need to sell my kids to buy Estes - she's cheaper to keep than the kids are.

First blog post (on this blog): A Day in the Life.  The timing for reposting this is actually perfect, as the season starts this week for the livery across the street from the lodge.

First blog: Just another perfect day, started out as a way to share my life with my friends and family.  I then branched out to this one, talked Mom and Beel into starting one for the Lodge, and partnered up with Mrs. Mom to start The GunDivas.

First day as a wrangler: first day didn't actually involve horses.  It involved a horse trailer.  A big, red stock trailer that needed washed and waxed.  So the newbie (that was me) did it.

The second day included digging post holes to extend the hitch rail.  In fact, I don't think I touched a horse for the first week I was a wrangler.  I was just so happy to be at the livery that I didn't mind any of the grunt work. 

First new-new car: Ripley, a 2010 Kia Soul Exclaim.  I love, love, love her too.

 I'm running out of firsts...I know there are a ton, but I'm drawing a blank...

My question for you is based on one of Dreaming's answers: Why did you start blogging? Changed my mind.  Here's a new question:  In what way are you spoiled with regard to horse ownership?

I about fell over a month or so ago when I read that another blogger had to haul her horse to the vet for a check-up.  Truly.  It was absolutely shocking to me.  And then I realized how spoiled we are.  Our vet and farrier come to us and their costs are lower than if they had to maintain the overhead of a building and staff.  Even with Estes' brush with death last year, and all of the emergent trips our vet made to her side, her treatment, all told, was less than $300.  Our farrier comes up twice a year to trim and just check on the horses' feetsies - $40.  Mom always throws him some gas money, because he doesn't charge us for the travel if he sees all four horses on the same day.

The biggest way I'm spoiled though is through the Bionic Cowgirl (Mom) - she takes care of Estes day in and day out during the summer.  I scoop poop and move hay when I'm up there, about once a week, but that doesn't nearly come close to the amount of work that she does for the herd.