Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hobby Horse Blog Hop: Party Edition

I'm late to the party this week, but I made it!  I always consider it a success when I can attend the blog hop, late or not.  If you'd like to join in Dreaming's blog hop party, just answer the questions she poses in your own blog post and link up using the doo-hickey below.

1. In what ways do you celebrate birthdays, or other special days, for the fuzzy friends at your home?

Yeah...we don't.  Heck, I have a hard time remembering my own children's birthdays, so animal birthdays - not gonna happen.  Well, take that back.  Queen Estes, since I don't know her actual birthday, turns another year older, just like race horses, on January 1st every year.  But since she's usually at fat pasture, we don't celebrate.
2. What memories might you have of a birthday celebration, or other party, involving horses or ponies?

One of the beauties about working at the livery is that when my kids were little, if they wanted a horse party for their birthday, we could accommodate that.  I just worked an extra shift or two and got the horses in trade, so it didn't cost me an arm and a leg to take a handful of kids out on the trail.  One year, we had a wrangler who also did lasso tricks - he performed all over the country growing up.  He offered to come and give a short show for my son's party.  It was a whole lot of fun.
3. What special day is your favorite to celebrate?

I don't know that I have one. Birthdays pretty much lost their fizzle when I became an adult and our anniversary comes right on the heels of my husbands' birthday and Mother's Day, so it tends to get lost in the shuffle.  Not that I'm really complaining, because we don't do much celebrating anyway.

Wait...I take that back.  I look forward to "our" birthday every July.  My best friends and I share a birthday month, so we make a point to get together for dinner at some point in July.  Used to be we'd go to the bars, but now we go to a really, really nice dinner and get caught up on each other's lives since we don't get to see each other much anymore.
RCC's so lucky to get to go to dinner with all of us :)
My question for you: What is your favorite party memory?  It can be any kind of party.
Mine would be Staci's bachelorette party weekend in Vegas.  Just a big group of us girls out on the town.  We went to see Thunder from Down Under, danced on the bar at Coyote Ugly, and basically had a great time.

Friday, July 27, 2012


I kinda feel like I need to post a disclaimer after my last post.

Please, Please, Please don't try anything like what we did with your horse unless both you and your horse are ready.  What we did takes a lot of trust on both parts - the simple fact is that any of the three of us could have been seriously hurt if our horses didn't trust us and/or weren't desensitized to having things wrapped around their legs.

As they say, it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt.

So, if you want to try out the Million Dollar Idea, please:
  • Do it when other people are present to help out
  • Make sure your horse will stand still, either on the end of the rope or with the strap tied around their leg
  • Make sure your horse doesn't panic if the strap slips or is difficult to untie
  • I spent time with Estes just getting her used to the pressure along her leg and across her back before I even attempted (and failed) to use the strap
  • Ranger's just a good dog, not much bothers him anymore, but the level of trust that Ranger has in Bill is astounding, so he'll go along with pretty much anything.  If Ranger had been at all concerned, Bill would have backed off and continued to work with him until he wasn't worried any more.
  • Washoe concerned me the most, but he doesn't care.  I'm sure he thought it was a crazy game or something.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Million Dollar Idea Unveiled!

Alternatively titled: How to Potentially Kill Yourself and Your Horse

A while back, Mrs Mom made a "Trail Riders' Mounting Strap" for people who need a little extra help mounting while out on the trail.

I saw that and thought it would be cool if I could use something similar to mount while bareback, so I thought and thought and ran it by Bill and Mom.  My thought was that if I had something long enough, I could have Estes step on it, drape it across her back and use the loop to just step up.

Bill and I tried it with a tow strap, figured out how long we'd need it and I sent off my idea to Mrs Mom.

My Million Dollar Idea came in last week, but I wasn't able to get up to the lodge to play with it, so I told Mom and Bill to give it ago.

Being the good bloggers they are, the remembered to take video.  Bill and Ranger went first...
It might have worked better if Ranger wasn't so ornery.  After the first time, you can see him wait until Bill's ready and then he deliberately steps off the strap.  I love that horse :)

So Bill decided to out-smart him and tie the strap around his leg. 

After Bill had success, Mom and Washoe gave it a go.  They started with the strap under the hoof, too, but Washoe was having none of it.

So Mom followed Bill's lead and tied it around Washoe's leg.  Untying the knot looked a whole lot like horse yoga or something.

Yesterday, after I got off work from the Livery, I decided to finally try out my Million Dollar Idea on my own horse.  Knowing Mom and Bill had success, I was ready to go!

I was fairly smug about the fact that I knew Her Highness, Queen Estes would not step off of the strap until I told her to.  All of the hoof soaking we did last year gave me confidence that she'll leave her hooves where I tell her to.  And she did.  She stood like a pro the whole time I tried climbing up.  (And of course Bill didn't get any video of that!  I think he's trying to sabotage me.)

I tried and tried, but couldn't get my arse up. The failure with the strap was me. I don't know if I was just physically exhausted from working or I'm just a dumbass, but I couldn't get it to work out. So I tried the old tie-it-around-her-leg trick that worked for Mom and Bill.

Still a no-go.

I have my suspicions about why it won't work for me, but I'll hold onto those for now until I get a chance to try it again when I'm not so physically wiped out.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hobby Horse Blog Hop: Hobby Edition

It's that time of the week again!
Link up with Dreaming to play along.

1. When things get busy for you, what/who takes priority? How do you juggle everything?
I don't know...I guess work comes first and pretty much always has.  When I was a single mom, my priority *had* to be bringing in enough money to survive one, so work always won.  Now that I'm married and the kids are out of the house, my life isn't nearly as hectic; there's not nearly as much to juggle.  I practically feel like a woman of leisure now.
2. We have been Hobby Horsing for 20 weeks... but I still don't know some things about you. Do you have a hobby and, if so, tell us about it.
I read, write and shoot. 
Reading: If it has words, I'll read it.  Shampoo bottles, directions, anything.  One of my closest friends is Tara Janzen, who writes one of my all-time favorite series.  I was so tongue-tied when we first met, because she's a real, honest-to-god paid, NYT best selling author.
Writing:  Lots of blogging (4 or 5 of them).  Have completed two novels, but am dragging my feet on editing them, because editing sucks.  Did I mention editing sucks?  You pour your heart and soul into the words and then you have to cut some of your favorite thoughts.  Sucks.
Shooting:  If it goes bang, I'll shoot it.
3. What practice(s) with horses, or other domestic animals, rubs you the wrong way?
There are so many things...mostly to do with showing animals.
 I promise...I'll get a post up about Horse Master very soon, as well as a post on my very beautiful birthday ride and my Million Dollar Idea.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Horse Master Cast/Crew

I'm having some problems getting my thoughts in order for this post, so while I try to put my thoughts in some semblance of order, I thought I'd share our crew photo with you.
Back row: me, Steve (camara)
Front row: Susie, Cheryl, Heidi (Producer), Julie (Star), Jackie, Lucy, Sditta
It's not often that we get Steve in front of the camara, but after some good-natured coersion, we managed.

Cheryl is Julie's Wardrobe Wrangler - she makes sure that everyone is looking their best.  She also was a cast member this time, so she was pulling double duty.  When it came time for her interview, Steve told her to go to a specific location, but she refused, telling him, "I'd rather do my first take here".  He said okay and this is what we got...

Note: Rachel, I added a transcript for the video, but I'm not quite sure how it works.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Horse Master Time Again

Photo cred: Heidi Nyland Melocco, the Whole Picture, LLC

I'm off this week to crew for Julie Goodnight again. For the last two years, I've been lucky enough to "work" as a member of her Colorado Crew for her TV show, Horse Master with Julie Goodnight.

In 2011, Heidi, her producer, about killed us with taping eight episodes and a complete DVD in four days.  This year, the schedule looks a little less likely to kill us.  That might be because Heidi is 35 weeks pregnant and she might need to "go easy".  Yes, I'm laughing at that, because she's a damn hard worker and I can't imagine her going easy at anything.

I'll be back in a week or so with the recap.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Hobby Horse Blog Hop - back at it!

I've been not very good at joining Dreaming's blog hop for the last month or so, but I'm back at it this week.

The rules are simple: answer the questions and then link up with Dreaming.  Easy-peasy!
1. How did your horse (dog, cat, other pet) get his or her name?
Estes came with her name and I saw no reason to change it.  She and the members of her herd were named after areas in the mountains: Estes (Estes Park), Meeker (Mount Meeker), Copeland (Copeland Lake), etc.

2. What names for horses, dogs or cats (chickens, guinea pigs..... and so forth) do you think are especially cute or clever?
Oh Lord, have you opened a bag of worms with this one.  Beel has always been one for coming up with great names for our pets.  We had Sebastian Johan Bark ("Sebbie"); Retread the snake (yep, someone ran him over before he became ours); Bomber the squirrel (he made a whistling sound when Beel found him);  two geese named Thanksgiving and Christmas ('cause that's when Mom threatened to eat them!); Sean Cannary; Kitten Kaboodle ("Kaboodle" or " 'Boodle"); and now Pounce de Lyon ("Pounce").  We had some pets with "normal" names and our horses' names are downright boring.
I personally have a really hard time coming up with names, but when you grow up with someone like Beel in your household, you don't have to work too hard - just ask him for suggestions.
3. Tell us about your first pet.
Michael is the first pet I remember - he was a big Irish Setter and his hair was the exact shade of Mom's.  I have pictures of other pets from when I was a wee one, but Michael's the one I remember most.  He had the greatest personality - he'd smile, go down slides and when he wanted to go visiting, he'd head on over to my Grandma Mary's house and knock on her door (a mile or so away from home).

My question for you: Riding in the 4th of July parade has become a tradition with Mom and me, have you ever ridden in a parade and how did you like it? 

I used to think that it would be a breeze, but so many things can go wrong in a parade that you just don't think about.  Even though we've ridden in the local parade for years, I still get nervous when we line up.  Only when the whole thing is over and we're back home do I relax completely.
Opportunity for something to go wrong,
both horses are VERY interested in something.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Parade Pimpin'

Every year, we try to come up with something "cool" to do to the horses for the parade.  The first couple of years, it was skirts behind the saddle.  Each year, we added something new.  In 2009, Mom added red, white, and blue ribbons to Jesse's mane.

In 2010, the year the parade didn't happen, we painted glitter paint on the mares' hooves.

Last year, I went bareback and we added butt bows and glitter gel to the mix.
Red, white and blue sparkly feetsies,
Butt bow,
Glitter gel
This year, I had a totally different vision.  I had seen the coolest mane weave on a draft horse and I had to do it this year.  Never mind that I was going to have to tangle my fingers in Estee's hair, it was going to get done.  And then Nebalee and I started talking and for some of Autobot's meets, Nebalee glues small jewels to the weave.  Oh boy, that really started my little brain a workin'.

For some reason, the parade organizers decided to push back the parade an hour, for an 11:00 start, which worked out perfectly - it gave me plenty of time to try to do Her Highness' hair (since I hadn't bothered to practice doing it).  Nebalee is pretty much our hair and butt bow expert, so she started in on Jesse while I started on Estes.
Nebalee whipped right through.

It took me a little longer.
While Nebalee and I worked on getting the manes done, I put Ashinator to work "Bedazzling" Estes' butt.
Estes and Ranger really got into it,
she's got marks all over her.
When Ash finished Estes, she went to work on blinging out Jesse's butt.  We've got Nebalee, who is the hair and butt bow expert, and Ashinator, who is the bedazzler/butt blinger.  Wonder how that'll look on a resume?

I had planned to ride bareback-bareback, but since Ranger was bad, Her Highness has a bit of swelling on her back, so I rode on one of Mom's bareback pads (which saved me from having the whole diarrhea-looking butt after the parade).

It took us just over an hour to get the horses ready (we didn't do a pedicure this year), but the effort was well worth it!

Jesse's mane ROCKED!
Estes' mane wasn't nearly as neat as Jesse's
but it looked pretty good anyway.

Parade Pimpin'

Them's some fine-lookin' mares, yessir!

Finally, it was line-up time and we rode over to our place in line, with Nebalee and her kids in Ripley.  Yes, we put our Korean car in the 4th of July parade, and she looked good!  Nebalee will probably never be able to listen to Party Rock Anthem again, as she and the kids were blaring it along the parade route.
Estes and me shuff-ff-ff-alin'
Stopped along the parade route,
have no idea what the hold up was.
Estes and Jesse were great for the parade - they pranced right along to Ripley's music and were pretty much rock stars until the end.  The turn-around is always tough - the Homecoming Queen makes her appearance and it's always a much more fun ride back to the Lodge.  Estes found a nice collected canter (yes, I did it bareback and on asphalt - and I didn't die!), while Jesse settled into her running walk.  This, of course, after some pretty dramatic shows from both mares of spins, sidepasses and moving on the diagonal.  Jesse is perhaps the best backer I've ever met and she gave one hell of a backing demonstration when it was time to come home.

This year was a huge success for the Bionic Cowgirl - in the past when Jesse started putting on a show, she'd have to dismount and walk back because she just didn't have the hip/leg strength to stick with Jesse's little temper tantrums.  This year, though, she stuck it all out.  Those bionic hips are kind of a cool thing (but Jesse may not agree, as she doesn't get her way a whole lot anymore).