Sunday, February 27, 2011

good and bad...

The bad first.  I feel like crap, my head hurts, my neck hurts, I somehow aggravated a sciatic nerve in my left leg and I am super nauseous.  There, all the fun.  On the good side, I am not going to be riding for a while and I have arranged for Nina to be ridden on Saturday and Sunday.  Ali is a former student of mine who has started taking lessons with my jump instructor and she is in town on the weekends, home from college.
We gave it a try yesterday, a beautiful day at the barn, and it went well.  The last time Ali got on Nina was a long time ago when Nina was in her get-off-of-me-or-I-will-kill-you mode.  Not fun and no forward movement and more than a little intimidating so I am sure she was a little nervous at first.  
Ali has a green Thoroughbred who is bigger and more powerful than Nina, but doesn't have her movement.  His trot is strong and big, but Nina's doesn't touch the ground, she just pushes hard and floats. A different kind of movement.  So Ali enjoyed that movement a lot.  I think this will be good for Nina, another person who will treat her fairly and ask her to work.
Here are some shots of them on Saturday afternoon.  This is all I could get from sitting in a chair at ringside, which is where my energy level put me.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

run over

I have not disappeared.  Last Saturday afternoon I stopped by the barn to put Nina's blanket on and as I was leaving I got blindsided by a loose horse.  I was standing in an aisle at the barn, waiting for a couple of horses being led to walk past so that I could cross the 10 feet or so to my car when I was hit in the back by a running loose horse.  I never saw or heard him coming.  I think he was trying to duck between the 2 horses being led and the fence and there I was. 
I was knocked out cold and woke up in an ambulance.  When I figured out where I was I was a little pissed off, since I was thinking about stopping at the grocery and then going home.  The paramedics knew what had happened and described it to me.  I still don't remember it.  Waiting to get in my car....waking up in ambulance.  Saturday sucked. 
I spent 5 days in the hospital with an interesting concussion and amazingly, except for the back of my skull, no broken bones.  My face and neck are black and blue, swollen and will be interesting colors for weeks.  I am sore all over, no prominent hoof marks. 
I think I was incredibly unlucky to manage to get run over by a horse that I never even saw, and incredibly lucky to have survived it, especially with minor injuries.
So - how was your Saturday?

Friday, February 18, 2011

day off

Nina's day:
visit with neighbor
Barbara showed up (late again)
turned out to roll - yuck - wet
mud washed out of tail
tail trimmed
dreadlocks scissored off of legs
snack on beet pulp
refuse treats - can't eat treats after being wormed - it's a rule
wait for dinner
watch the poor horses in the arena who have to work today
wait for dinner
eat dinner

Thursday, February 17, 2011

another nice day

Cruising through the horsey blogs it appears that lots of us are enjoying a break from winter.  The weather has been nice here, riding without jackets. 
Nina and I worked some more on her manners on the ground, she was better today and spent about 45 minutes just trotting big circles, mostly working on me.  Thanks to years of hard work and lots of yelling by instructors, my leg is pretty solid, but my upper body..... yuck.  Round shoulders, slouchy....I worked on sitting up, shoulders back, no slouching.  I think I am going to be sore tomorrow.  My posture sucks but I am going to fix it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

yay! connection!

More about that in a minute.  First I want to address Nina's bad behavior lately.  I realized yesterday when war broke out that I have been letting things slide.  Now some of you might think this was lazy on my part but I am claiming dark afternoons and cold weather.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Here is how it has gone.  Nina prances around before I take off the lead rope to lunge her and I make her stand still - sort  of - inconsistently - IF I am not too cold - or in a hurry.
Nina tosses her head while I am putting the bridle on and I struggle to fasten it telling myself that as soon as it is above zero we are going to have a nice long lesson in standing STILL.
Nina pulls on the lead rope while we are walking and I correct her but at the same time I walk faster.
In other words I let things slide and while this might not be a big deal with some horses and might take a few corrections with others... with Nina this is a blatant invitation to throw down the gauntlet.
Nina has had YEARS of pushing people around, fighting with people, shoving and pushing to get her way or to make them stop doing whatever they were doing.  I think a lot of it was self defense so it is hard to blame her, but the end result is a horse that will make doe eyes at you one minute and be just charmingly well behaved and deliberately run over top of you the next.
Nina is well behaved with me (mostly) because I am very fair, very consistent and totally willing to take all the time it takes to win any battle she wants to pick.  Until the last few weeks when I slacked off and started treating her like a normal horse with a history of good behavior, where if you occasionally do something wrong it doesn't result in total rebellion.  WRONG!
So today when she started prancing around in the round pen, we left the round pen and went for a walk and we did that every time until she stood still, STILL and waited to be told to move off.
When she acted like a jerk over the bridle we did the same thing, went for a walk (I had fastened the halter around her neck) and she flipped her head around and bashed herself in the face with the loose straps of the bridle.  We went back to the area where I tack her up and tried again, and again and again until she stood quietly.  Walking her around seems to defuse her, it at least breaks through her declared line in the sand and distracts her from her battle plans.

So now the yay! connection! part....When I eventually got on her we had a good ride.  AND got a good connection on the right bend from inside leg to outside rein, most of a circle, several times.  This is very difficult for her, it is her stiff side and on the right rein she reverts to kick-to-go and pull-to-whoa, I think because it is her stiff side and it is harder for her she tends to tune me out as just being annoying.  She got this on a bend to the left a while ago.
YAY!  Moments like this with her are fun, generally once she gets it, that's it, it's like the light bulb turned on.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

the great escape!

I got tired of Nina untying herself while I was trying to groom and tack her up so I hard tied her.  As soon as I turned my back she sat back, broke the halter and took off, saddle only loosely attached. 
She ran down a shed row aisle and one of the guys cleaning stalls opened the gate to a pen and she ran inside.  When I got there she was looking kind of puzzled but pleased with herself. 
Then she threw a royal fit and wouldn't let me get a bridle on her so I dragged her to a round pen with the lead rope around her neck and let her run like a fool for a little while.  When she was through running for her she got to run a little more for me.  Then she stood quietly so I could rearrange her disheveled clothes and get on.  We had a nice ride, she was quite obedient.

Monday, February 14, 2011

can't ride at all...

My can't ride days tend to be the same.  Instead of feeling like I am sitting down in the saddle connected to my horse, I feel like I imagine this must feel. Sort of waving around up in the air above the horse with not much control.   I call it my 'Riding a Camel' days. It's not a good feeling. 

Today the weather was perfect but the outdoor was under water so we went in the indoor.  Now Nina has not been ridden for nearly 2 weeks and because I am not riding any other horses, I have not ridden for almost 2 weeks.  I have a pretty good skill set, good reactions and I am hard to get off, but my confidence depends on riding everyday.  So Nina was high and I was tense.  We both needed to breath more.  We spooked around the indoor for a little bit, not too bad when suddenly I had Nina's ears in my face and she was at least 19h high.  I realized that the other horses that had been in the indoor had left.  OMG!  We were alone in THE SCARY PLACE.   She never did deflate and I never did feel like I had a horse under me instead of air, but we got through it without a wreck. 
On the plus side Nina was more excited than pissy and she stayed pretty obedient whenever her feet were on the ground.  It wasn't really that bad.  A bad combination of too much time off for both of us, a high horse and a tense rider.  At least we got it out of the way and the rest of the week is supposed to be fairly nice.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

you think YOU are confused.....

So maybe I shouldn't have said that I will just plan not to ride.  Maybe I should have said that I will just plan to do whatever.  Maybe the word PLAN should be deleted from my vocabulary. 

I left the house today a little before noon.  I even managed to remember to take Nina's beet pulp with me.  I forgot it yesterday and had to give her an extra ration of Nutrena Senior so that she had something to snack on.  She said that was ok, anytime, really. 

It was cloudy, a little windy and cold when I left my house.  I drove into sunshine, a mild warm breeze and temps that had me peeling off my jacket fast. 
I was wearing jeans that aren't comfortable to ride in, mud boots, no half chaps in sight and Nina's bridle is hanging on a door knob at home because I am going to thoroughly clean it (uh-huh).   To top it off there were exactly TWO people riding in the indoor and both can steer. 
There are some weather and scheduling faeries somewhere close by just laughing their shiny little asses off. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

time to regroup

Nina has been going so well that I was getting excited about getting her out to some of the early spring schooling shows, like in March.  So we have had weeks of off and on below zero weather and now we are buried in very wet snow.  When I got to the barn today the parking lot was full and there was no one in sight.  Everyone riding indoors in an arena the size of a small dressage ring.  (20m x40m)
The outdoor had the snow scraped off, that's what the picture yesterday were, and it was totally underwater.  The rest of the ground was frozen solid with water running over it.  This last snow was like a spring snow with all the water in it, but the ground is frozen from all the sub zero weather, so the melting snow has no where to go. 
I wasn't taking Nina into the melee indoors, the outdoor is a bog, so is the turnout, the ground every where else is rock hard.  I didn't even get Nina out to walk around.
And she needs to get shoes put back on her hind feet.  She has been barefoot for 3 months and is still tender footed.  She just has thin soles and the hard ground is not comfortable for her.
I need to stop stressing over not riding and just chill.  When it is possible to ride, just walk or walk/trot, don't worry if it is days between rides and wait for the weather to get better.  We are not going to make it to the March shows.  This has been the worst winter for riding for as long as I have been in Colorado, I hope we don't have another one like this. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

the sun came out today

And even though it was still cold it certainly altered my mood.  A few days of dark, gloomy, cold and snow and my Mood-O-Meter drops well passed Pissy and into Cranky.
I was enjoying a little time at the barn, even though I was really cold by the time I got back in the car, it felt nice to be out enjoying the day instead of hustling around as fast a possible to just get done and get gone.
I found myself inexplicably getting excited about this coming spring with Nina.  I say inexplicably because I haven't even ridden for a week.  I have some thoughts about that, but they will have to wait for tomorrow.  Tonight I'm going to fix dinner, watch Criminal Minds and go to bed. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

teeth and cold

It took a while to drive to the barn in the snow and ice, but I made it there and Nina got her teeth done.  As I thought, she had some hooks on the last teeth, otherwise nice straight teeth.  The box stall section of the barn is heated so that is where the vet worked.  Afterward it took over two hours for the drugs to wear off.  Almost an hour of standing around and another hour plus of walking her in the indoor, which is NOT heated.  I bundled up in so many layers that I actually got tired before I got cold and it was COLD, 6 degrees. 
And she is now officially 17.  If you remember, a while ago I was wondering what to put down for her age on entries, USEA registration etc.  The vet and I went over what I know of her history, what her teeth look like, etc.  and we decided that 17 is probably a good age to call her.  It's close anyway.  He also looked at the tattoo and just shrugged, not going to be able to get help there.
That makes her born in 1994, right?  I need to go write that down.  

Monday, February 7, 2011

a talent for scheduling

The forecast high for today is 45.
The forecast high for tomorrow is 12.
Guess which day Nina has an appointment to have her teeth done?

Sunday afternoon

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Saturday, February 5, 2011

it's snowing...

again, still, whatever.

My lesson this afternoon canceled because the indoor was full of people letting their horses just wander around while they were texting and talking on phones and others were tacking up IN the arena, there was no room to ride and it was snowing a blowing and muddy outside. 
Why is it that the people who are clueless and RUDE get to do whatever they want?

ah, my shining steed

Thursday, February 3, 2011


We don't do SLEET in Colorado, that's something they do in Ohio, or Kentucky or someplace.
Several hours of sleet today.  Yuck.  It did turn to snow late in the afternoon as the temps dropped.  Just in time for a yucky rush hour, which I was home for.

Is anyone actually RIDING????  I feel like I should link this blog to the National Weather Service and take it off the horse blogs site.  It doesn't seem to be much about horses.
Anybody, everybody bored with the weather reports from Colorado yet?

I had a lesson to teach this afternoon and we decided to bag it.  Normally around 2pm there is nobody at the barn so it is safe to schedule a lesson regardless of the weather, the indoor and outdoor are pretty much empty.   I got there this afternoon and my lesson was mounted up and walking inside.  Along with two people ponying horses, one person lunging, 3 or 4 other riders and (apparently some parents are eager to collect the life insurance) a child hand walking a horse in the middle of that.  All in an arena the size of a small dressage ring.  We rescheduled for Saturday. 

Nina was pissy.  She hates getting her ears wet so she was staying in her shed and not happy about it.  She nearly shoved me out of the way to get her beet pulp, thought better of it at the last second and put on a happy face for about 5 seconds.  I think she is bored rather than hungry.

I hear you can climb on the backs of these beasts, they call it riding.  I'm going to try it someday. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Nina's day...

A little rolling, very unsatisfying in a heavy blanket....

A little trotting, apparently I am out here to get some exercise.....

All done, ready for beet pulp...

the power of the sun

The radiant power of the sun, especially at high altitude and low humidity is pretty darn impressive, even when you are used to it. 
I drove to work on definitely passable roads this morning, but still hazardous, as proven by the countless fender benders at intersections and one big snafu that took three lanes to one. 
The sun came out in full force today, not the wimpy grey/cloudy/foggy sun we have had for a couple of days.  When I got off work at 1pm, my car was HOT inside.  I drove to the barn (about a half hour drive) without turning the heater on and watched the ice on the roads evaporating without melting in great swirling clouds of steam.   The  roads were nearly dry. 
Getting out of the car at the barn into the single digit temps after that drive was gaspingly cold, even though I can read the actual temp and spent time bundling up in the car, it was still a shock. 
Amazing that tomorrow this will all be gone and normal 30s temps will be back.  After watching what this front did after it left here, we got off easy.  We got some pretty extreme temps but only a few inches of snow, unlike some areas getting both. 

6am -17 wind chill -29




Tuesday, February 1, 2011

made it to the barn

I left for the barn around 1pm.  Tons of sand, mag chloride, a little bit of sunshine and high altitude combined to make the roads MUCH better than they were this morning.  Very little traffic helped too, in fact the roads were almost empty.  I stopped and got some HEET for the gas tank.  I had a fuel line freeze one time in sub zero weather and it was not fun.  And I noticed the car temperature display doesn't go below zero.  It zoomed from 34 (in the garage) to zero in nothing flat and then started flashing and stayed there.  That's ok, little Nissan, I don't think the temps should go below that either.

Nina was fine, warm under her rugs, happy to see me (and the beet pulp) I stayed and chatted with her as long as I could, she wandered back and forth between the feed and me.  When it got too cold and my fingers were numb I left.  Feet stayed warm, I LOVE these new winter Ariats, they really work.
Driving home the temps were dropping again and the roads were getting slicker but still moving along except for the one moron who managed to spin out, jump the curb and mow down a fence.  It looked like he might have been going fast enough to manage that on dry pavement.
It is supposed to get even colder tonight, but at least I am not stressing about Nina, she is fine and there was hay littered around her run, so she is getting plenty to eat.
Tomorrow we are looking at a high of 10, wow!
If you are in the path of this thing, be prepared.

oh joy

The temps seem to be stuck at -15, hasn't moved for hours and hours.  Wind chill at -40.  I did not go to work, it's a 37 mile drive and I have had fuel lines freeze at these temps.  I am going to try to get to the barn after noon.  This is just stupid weather for this area.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...