Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Winter feeding

It’s a heat wave! We’ve had temperatures back to above zero and I am happy. It’s pretty sad when you think 18 is warm. Last weekend we had a high of -14 with wind chill making it -25, so you can see why I am happy to have it up to 18. I often giggle when I see people complain that its 32 degrees and they think it’s cold. When it hits 32 here you see people wearing shorts…no joke!

What sucks when it’s really cold is that I don’t want to be at the barn. I do chores 2-3 times a week so I need to be there but I think if I didn’t have to be there I wouldn’t be there. How horrible am I? But it is cold out there! Here is how my barn nights go. When I get to the barn I first have to have a 5 minute pep talk to myself that the sooner I get out of my toasty warm Dodge Ram the sooner I can go home. Then I shuffle into the barn and get to work. On my way through the tack/feed room I check cat food mountain and add if necessary, then slowly walk through the arena because it’s the warmest spot in the barn. Then I plug in the heated hoses because they take about 20 minutes to thaw. Then I giggle as I pass the arena mirrors because I look like a sumo wrestler with all my layers on. When I get to the barn door I pause, and take a deep breath…flip on the lights then head on in. I frown because the barn boys haven’t been sweethearts and brought in hay for me. As I pass each stall I hop in and move feed pans towards the front, also checking how gross the monsters managed to make their water buckets since I cleaned them the night before. I grab the hay wagon and off to the Quonset I go. Depending on the snowfall and if snow plow boy has been there is a big factor in getting hay. If snow plow boy has been there getting hay is easy…if not…its hell. Once I get to the Quonset I check the water of the devil ponies…I mean Icelandic’s. They scream and screech and make all kinds of blood curdling sounds until I throw them their hay. I know you shouldn’t reward them for that kind of behavior…but seriously…listen to them once and you will do whatever it takes to shut them up…Then I throw hay to the geldings that live in the Quonset and check their waters. Then climb up to the top of hay bale mountain and throw down some bales. Carry them out to the cart and drag them back to the main barn. A gelding almost always manages to pull a bale off as I pass by their paddock. SO I mumble some curse words and load it back up. Then start tossing hay to each of the 14 stalls, admiring at how awesomely clean they are. (New barn boy is an awesome stall cleaner!). Then it’s time to bring in the beasts.

First is the paddock with my monster. He’s the boss, and he loves me so he gives me no problems. Then is a horse I like to call Moose…because he looks like a moose and acts like a moose. He is then followed by the only ‘western’ horse in our barn.

After that I go to the bad boys paddock and bring them in. They are horses that don’t seem to know how to behave with any other horses other than themselves. Then it’s off to the barn owners geldings. They are easy to bring in in the winter, but they usually bring me to tears at least once in the summer. I leave the girls till last, because I don’t like mares. And they are witchy. And they can be mean and pushy, and evil. In the winter it’s not so bad but again in the summer...ugh.

Once they are all in I start filling buckets since the hose is finally thawed. And as I’m doing that I check to see if everyone has all their blanket straps in place and adjust as needed. When all the buckets are filled, and the disgusting poop/hay/yuck filled buckets have been scrubbed and filled and I’ve succesffully dumped at least one poop/hay/yuck filled bucket down my leg, I head off to the tack/feed room to start mixing grain.

I’m amazed that I’ve memorized each horses feed schedule. I can’t even remember what I learned in college but I can tell you everything that every horse I’ve ever met has eaten for supper. So I line up the buckets and start filling grain. Some of the “special needs” horses don’t get grain so I give them their “special needs” feeds. Then it’s on to the smartpaks…Love em!! Then add the other supplements that are in big tubs. Then load them up into my grain cart and away I go. When I get to the barn it’s like a zoo. Every horse is making some sort of noise. I dig out their feed pan that they’ve buried under their hay. When I’m done giving the monkeys their food I check their water one more time and top off any that need it.

When that is all done I rake the aisle and sweep the mat by the cross ties. And by then I’m pooped. Keep in mind this is done in sometimes -40 degree weather. Can you see why I’m in no mood to ride?

Our arena is heated, but only to about 42 degrees, any warmer and the horses could get sick, or something along those lines. I just get so exhausted in the winter that I don’t want to add the extra effort of going to the tack room and dragging out all of my tack. I would just hop on bareback but I have trouble getting up there all by myself.

I am not a very good horse mom…especially since 17 horses aren't really that many to take care of. There are plenty of barns with way more horses! I just don't like riding in the winter...

New phone

I got a new phone and I love it. Its an EVO. Its on the android operating system so of course i've downloaded a million apps. I think i've only recieved one call so far...

I wish they had some horse keeping apps.

Obviously I have the most fun with the camera apps. I just love the vintage-y feel to these pictures.

Piney is getting into the holiday spirt...

I love his blankie

Piney's home sweet home. I think he likes it better in the winter when the big garage door is open and he can look outside

the camera caught a picture of my breath

"Hi Mom! Got any treats?"

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Piney's brothers and sister

Piney has two brothers and a sister that he’s never met. They live at my house with me and they are puppies. Well two are adult dogs and one is still a puppy.

Diesel is an outdoorsey fellow
(he's "pointing" and not actually missing a leg!)
 I’ll start with the oldest, my best boy Diesel. His full name is “Turbo Diesel Dullay” and he is a 4 year old black American Cocker Spaniel. I got him when I was living on a farm and he was a great farm dog. He LOVED his life of chasing bunnies, and birdies, and deer. I’d let him out in the morning and he’d come home around supper time exhausted. But things changed and we moved into town and he’s adapted well all though he does long for adventure. When we go visit hubby’s grandma’s farm he comes alive and spends his days exploring the farm and being a “wheat dolphin” swimming through the fields. Diesel is very smart and knows a lot of tricks, he hugs, shakes, gives high fives, kisses, and can balance treats on his nose. I love my best boy. But his experience with his old horse brother didn’t go so well. He met him when he was about 4 months old and promptly met the bottom of Yellow’s foot. Thank goodness Diesel tucked and rolled the way he did! I kept them separated from then on…

I just LOVE those "eyebrows"
Next is my little girl. She is a total mommys dog and follows me around where ever I go. She is a 3 year old parti colored American Cocker Spaniel named…Pooper. Yes Pooper…her full name is “Parti Pooper” and originally was named “Piper” but that name was just to sweet for such a terrible dog. She was bad! My mom nicknamed her “the dog from hell” because well she was. She ate shoes, and chewed on people, and once I found her with a $20 bill so when I took it she bit me. She was bad. She has become very sweet though and I just love her to bits. She likes to cuddle and is attached to my side any chance she gets. Diesel isn’t really a fan of her but when he is left alone he is a wreck. Sometimes I would catch them playing but as soon as he saw me looking, he’d stop. I really do love her but she isn’t a dog for everyone. She needs me and I need her.

Boston "Terror"
Last is the baby…Tucker aka “Tux” or “the world’s worst dog” he is a 5 month old Boston Terror…I mean Terrier. I’ve had no experience with terriers. Cocker spaniels run in my family. My dad had one growing up, and I had one growing up. Terriers are a different species. When any of the Sporting breed dogs looks up at you, there is Love and loyalty in their eyes. Even when Pooper was horrible she’d still look up at you and you’d see that she was completely loyal. This little monster…yikes…I see nothing but flames and lightning bolts when I look in his eyes. Hubby was laying on the coutch once and Tux randomly jumped up and bit him in the neck! I try not to turn my back on him I’m scared that he might kill me. I really do love that little monster though. He is a puppy and I understand that. He was a wedding present to my hubby who’s wanted one forever. And he is starting to learn things, he’s just a little firecracker full of life. I’m worried about how big he’ll be though…He’s already much bigger than my Spaniels were at his age…He’ll probably end up being a great dane!! Just kidding! I love that little monster!

Diesel Bear loves to swim...but can't so he has to wear a lifejacket or he'll sink to the joke!

Fluff ball

Trying to steal my soul by looking into my eyes...

LOVES to be outside!

Also loves to be long as I'm outside

I really DO love him!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Winter is here and Mother Nature had let us know that it’s here for a while. Yesterday we had a high of 10!! Ugh! I had to feed last night and I, like every cold day I feed, had to give myself a pep talk to get myself out of my toasty warm Dodge ram. When I finally got myself into the tack room I threw on my favorite purchase ever…my Carhartt overalls and jacket and bundled myself up. Once I’m bundled up I really don’t mind chores that much. I just hate that I seem to move slower and can’t see very well to the sides with my bomber hat on.

I was beyond thrilled though that Santa made an early trip to the barn and brought us two 100ft HEATED hoses!!
As soon as I saw them I seriously think I heard angels singing hallelujah. I don’t know what it’s like to live anywhere where it doesn’t get freakishly cold in the winter. (I’m talking -40 for a few weeks straight.) I’ve learned to deal as I’ve never known anything else! When it’s time to water horses here in the winter it’s the worst. I mean absolute worst thing ever. We deal with frozen faucets, frozen buckets, frozen hoses. NO FUN! So anything that can help us out a bit is magnificent! This hose is awesome. We don’t have to drain it, I don’t have to fumble with three shorter hoses (that I ALWAYS end up hooking to each other making one large circle), and if it freezes up we just plug it in for 20 minutes and she’s good to go! LOVE IT! They are super expensive though so I’m glad Santa’s little helper’s board at our barn and are so very generous this season!

Speaking of cold weather, I LOVE pinecone’s winter blanket. Santa brought it for me last year and it’s seriously the best present ever. It’s held up amazingly and I think it’s better made than some of the more expensive blankets that some of the horses are sporting at our barn. I haven’t had any rips, tears or snags yet either. Maybe it’s because Pinecone is the boss of his padock. :-)  Santa got my blanket from Greenhawk Tack its in Canada but they do ship to the US. My parents still live in Canada and the store isn’t too far from their house. I send them there for things every once in a while. BUT during December they have a new special each day. And they are usually pretty good deals, heck they have good deals all year long in their flyers. I recommend you check them out

ummm not the rack I was looking for...

Friday, November 12, 2010

my jumping bean...

Last night I had one of the girls at the barn give me a huge complement on my monster. She said that she saw him jumping during one of his lessons with a young boy, and that he was probably the most beautiful jumper in the barn. YAY PINECONE! Things like that make me happy.

I rode him last Saturday and he was for the most part perfect. We did some baby jumps and a few low cross rails before he got REALLY fussy.

Or conversation went like this

Me: Walk!

Pinecone: NO! *ears pinned*

Me: Ok buddy. Please walk? *leg squeeze*

Pinecone: I said NO! *cow kick*

Me: WALK! *leg squeeze, light tap with crop*

Pinecone: FINE!! *buck, kick, buck*

Me: Thank you, now quit being a creep! I CAN and WILL bring you back to the ranch where I got you and you can sit there for years where no one will adopt you and love you and give you treats.

This happened one other time and then I figured something was wrong. He NEVER gives me that much attitude. I hopped off and then felt like a huge jerk when I realized that his saddle was pinching him. He’s put on some weight and I had forgotten to resize the gullet in my saddle. There were telltale signs on his pad and gel pad. I’m a horrible mother and I suck at life sometimes.

Someone said that he must have just really been excited to jump if he was willing to work through the pain for the first part of our ride. And we’ve all come to the conclusion that he wants to be a jumper. I see some of the horses at the barn jumping and they never really seem excited about it. They are just going through the motions because their “person” wants to jump. Do you think that it’s true that some horses like to jump more than others? Or is that something I’m just telling myself. I’ve ridden cutting horses who LOVE to chase cows. The moment they see a cow they just light up. ( I never actually got to cut cattle and I’m sad about that!) I’ve worked with racehorses who love to run. They get so pumped before the race they basically drag you to the paddock to tack up and then parade around it like a champion before the race(even if they come in last place durring the race.) And I’ve worked with racehorses who basically do a death march to the track. My friends horse LOVED being a Roping horse and she eventually had to sell him to someone who was going to rope more than she did because he just wasn’t happy not being used. I think some horses love having jobs, while other horses love being unemployed lol

just for fun i wanted to post pictures of my Pinecone...because I love him...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wedding pictures since the weather here sucks!!

Since the weather here sucks (50mph winds mixed with rain/snow and freezing temperatures) and I haven’t gotten to ride since Thursday since I’ve been sick and out of town. I wanted to post a few more wedding pics from our photographer. I am so happy with how they turned out. She did an amazing job.

I got married last month at one of the most unique venues in the area. It is an old farmstead with a chapel, and a big white “mansion” and a cute white barn. It was a perfect day! I had origionally planned to have my monster trailed in so we could do some pictures with him, but decided that since his last trailering fiasco and the time crunch that we’d do a trash the dress session with him at a later date. (hooray!). But we did have some horses at the wedding!!
We hired a team of clydesdales  to give guests a little ride in the country durring cocktail hour

I want them! I asked the owner of my barn how much to board one of them and she laughed at me...

I am in LOVE with this house!!

I am also in LOVE with the bridesmaids dresses!! I want one!

The boys in front of the old grainery

Bride and Groom!

My besties little boy was the ring bearer. He's a little cutie!

You can't see it in this picture, but on my bouquet there is an antique brooch with a horse on it that looks just like Piney!

Friday, October 22, 2010

first and last rides

When I got to the barn last night I had one thing on my mind. I was going to ride my monster outside around the farm. For some reason I’ve been terrified to do it alone. The last times I’d ever ridden him outside I had a baby sitter, someone to watch us and basically hold my hand through it. I was thinking about it yesterday and I’ve ridden outside many times. In fact with Yellow I’d only ever once ridden him in an arena and that was when we took him elk hunting in Montana. Why was I so freaked out? I know I have a pretty good seat and am able to handle most anything that a horse can dish out, and hey that’s why I have health insurance right?

So when I got to the barn two of the girls who board there were taking off. “We threw hay and mixed grain so all you have to do is bring them in and water. See you tomorrow!” said one of the girls as they scurried out the door. HOORAY! That is an awesome day in my books! So I watered and dragged in all the monsters. Then I went and got ready to ride the beast.

I for some reason feel like I’m more secure riding outside in my western saddle. Maybe its just a psychological thing and goes back to all those hours I spent trail riding Yellow with my friends, or maybe I just think that in Minnesota/North Dakota you have to trail ride in a Western saddle because it just looks right. I don’t know. So I hauled it outside and it reminded me why I prefer my dressage saddle…my western saddle is heavy! I had decided to tack up outside because we still have screens in the big doors and I didn’t want to risk leading pinecone through the people doors with this gigantic saddle of mine. I’m sure he would have fit but I was nervous to try. I brought him the long way around the barn. Just to let him look around. The second I started leading him towards the trailers he stopped dead in his tracks. Eyes bulging out of his head, nostrils flared out. Guess I know he’s still freaked out about the trailer incident. I assured him we weren’t going in the trailer and I got him over to my saddle. I tacked him up with out incident and got on. We walked around the north side of the barn where the out door arena is going up. And a tractor about a mile away caught his attention and I had to assure him, that it wasn’t going to eat him. We rode up the driveway and then headed north on the gravel road. When we got to the tree line of the property I turned him around and we headed south to the south tree line. He was fine. A little jiggy, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I then rode him for 10 minutes in the front of the barn and he was fine, a little barn/buddy sour but not as bad as most horses I’ve ridden.

When I got him untacked and brought him back to the barn I kissed him on the nose and went to grab grain. I started dumping grain and when I got to Wizard's stall he was laying down. My heart sank. I got him up and called his owner/the barn owner. He’s been on a pretty strict feeding schedual. He’d eaten some of his hay, and all of his senior feed mix from earlier. His owner asked me to ride him bareback for a few laps around the arena. I rushed to grab my helmet and my clip on reins. He was down again. This time it took some more effort to get him up. But I got him up. When we got to the arena and I hopped on it was half a lap before he pooped. I felt a bit relieved. But I kept riding him around for about 10 more laps. When I brought him back to his stall he instantly layed down. He looked like he wanted to roll all the way over but didn’t. I thought maybe he wanted to get a good full roll in so I brought him to the arena again and turned him loose. He walked around nose to the ground walking in circles like a big dog, then he rolled half way over and then got up…he then continued to walk around for a while and found another spot to roll and this time he rolled all the way over. After he did it I heard his tummy grumbling. I thought that must be a good sign, that he was able to get things moving in his guts. I brought him back to his stall, and he laid down again. This time he laid all the way on his side for a while, his eyes half open. His breathing was weird, then he laid upright, and looked so tiny there all curled up. He kept looking at his stomach. He looked tired of fighting this, he looked like he was tired of being in pain. He looked like he was ready to go. I called his owner back up and said that I did everything I could. Then I started crying and said “I feel like its all my fault! I tried everything and he’s not getting better!” That’s when she said “it is NOT your fault!” and then I heard her voice tremble and she said “it happened when it was supposed to happen. It’s been two weeks and it happens almost every two weeks”. She thanked me for describing everything that was happening and said that I could go home since she’d be there soon. I went up and tried to give Piney a hug and he of course tried to bite my butt…but he did stick his nose through the stall bars as I closed the door and gave me a kiss.

When I got home Wizards owner called and said that the vet was coming out to give him something so he could rest easily that night and that they would be back in the morning to end his pain for good. I spent a good part of last night a crying mess. We’d done everything right and he had been doing so good! It just sucks so bad that you can do everything in your power and still it doesn’t work.

This morning Wizards pain will finally be over. He lived an amazing life and was loved by everyone who met him. He was the horse that many, many children learned to ride on. He was a confidence booster and the safest mount at the barn. He gave me quite possible my best ride of my life and continued to build my confidence in the saddle. He is going to be missed by everyone at the barn. Love you buddy..

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I love my little war horse.

I love this article written on ottbs How To Handle & Care For "Off Track Thoroughbred" I've read it a bunch of times and each time I pull something new out of it. I wanted to post my favorite part here. The last little bit almost made me cry.

 A racehorse today is the closest thing to a "war horse" from the past, and to be a part of that requires a huge heart on the animal's end, much bigger than a man's. The bigger the heart, the bigger the courage of the animal, which demonstrates itself and its beauty at every opening of a starting gate on every track in the world. As most admire the fascinating beauty of this animal in full run, you should learn to "hear" his heart, for it is not surpassed by any other divine creature of this Earth.

Of course, like in any other horse industry, there are many "chicken hearted horses" among the racing stock as well, and these are the ones that you will most likely get, as the greater racehorses will take part in reproduction. Nevertheless, accept this horse with respect even if only for what he went through. It is much harder for the coward to get through a war than it is for a brave heart. Where there is no fear, there is no courage, and it is the fear that makes heroes. These "little chicken hearts" are the true heroes of this "sport of kings" and they will need your brave heart to lean on.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Horse show pics

I was going through pics and I thought i'd post these pics from the dressage schooling show I went to this summer. I was supposed to ride but was a big chicken and thought my horse would flip out...but NEXT year watch out! we'll be there!!

the winds were CRAZY this day and the judges trailer closed right up as my friend started her test...

if you notice the back ground, that my friends is a race track...a HORSE race track...can you see why i might be chicken to take my OTTB to a race track?

We rode outside. Hooray!

Yesterday was a BEAUTIFUL fall day! It was warm and sunny and perfect. I decided that I wanted to take my monster out to hand graze him for 15 minutes. Ever since that disaster of a day in the spring where he accidentally sent me to the hospital to have my head stapled back together, I’ve been a little chicken to take him out of the barn/arena/his paddock. I used to be so confident leading horses around the yard. I used to hot walk Thoroughbreds at the track for crying out loud! But of course an injury sets you back and I am a big chicken because of it. But I decided I NEEDED to get him out walking around to get me more comfortable about it. Well as I was walking to the barn I heard a combine pull into the field that neighbors the barn. “Great” I thought. But I was gonna get him out gosh darnit! I brought him out to the big patch of grass in front of the barn. He didn’t even notice the big green “monsters” eating the soy beans behind the shelter belt. He was happily eating grass as fast as he could. So after 15 minutes I thought “hey he’s being so great, why don’t I ride him outside!” I took him back to the barn and then asked my riding instructor, who was doing some Wizard duties, if she would babysit us as I rode outside. She said she’d be happy to!

I tacked him up in his stall then brought him outside. I mounted up right outside the barn and away we went. I honestly don’t know why I was so freaked out to ride him outside more. He was LAZY! Like lazier than I’ve ever seen him. I didn’t bring my “weapons” with because I thought he’d be full of the devil and adding a whip to the mix would have caused me to hit the dirt. Boy was I wrong. I know for next time that I’m definitely bringing a weapon. But we walked and trotted a bit. He of course thought he was being eaten alive by flies and mosquitos even though I sprayed the crap out of him.

My riding instructor thinks that next time a group goes out on a trail ride I should join them. Too bad we don’t actually have trails just roads and fields. Ahhh gotta love the Red River Valley!

Monday, October 4, 2010


Driving out to the barn tonight my stomach was turning. I still hadn't heard anything about Wizard. I figured no news was good news but I still felt weird. As i pulled up and parked i looked over to where the barn owner burried her horse who had lived to be over 35 years old, as well as her beloved barn cats and german sheaperds. The ground had been dug up, my heart sank. I continued on to the barn and i then heard the sweetest sound. It was a horse whinney from Wizard! He was in his stall and he looked very happy!
He now has a new diet of 3 cups of senior feed, a handful of sweet feed and 18 tablespoons of light mineral oil, at night with a leaf of really watered down hay . His morning feed is a little different. We are hoping that this diet will keep everything going through his guts! and that way we can keep him happy and as healthy as we can!!
He also was hand grazed for 20 minutes before he had his supper so I took the time to get some pictures of him.

Same as the previous pic...just don't know which one I like better!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Time to say goodbye...

I just got a text from one of the girls at the barn. “Wiz is in again. Not good. Looks like it may be time 2 say goodbyes tnight.” Wizard is a lesson horse at our barn. He is a 14.3hh fleabitten grey Arabian and he is 21 years old. Wiz is the horse that everyone learns to ride on and he is the only Arabian I’ve ever liked. He knows the skill level of anyone that hops on board and if you are just learning he’ll be nice and slow with you. If you know what you are doing he’ll give you a run for your money and teach you a thing or two. He was always so much fun to ride. I showed him at our barn schooling shows last year and we kicked butt together. My riding instructor told me that our training level test last year was the best she’s ever seen anyone ride him. He was perfect.

Wizard and my friend. It was her first time riding a horse.

This last year has been a challenging one with Wizard. He’s been sick. A lot. He’s had ulcer after ulcer. And he’s been colicing a lot. His owner has had him in and out of the vet at least once a month all spring and summer. Each trip costing at least $1000. Last night I rode and when I was putting my monster back in his stall, I noticed Wizard was laying down so I went and got my instructor(wizards’s owner) and we got him up. (She said that he was in pain. She went into a lot more detail but I just can’t remember what she said.) When I left she was walking him in the arena. And he seemed happy. But then I got that text today. They are sending him home with drugs to keep him comfortable, but I think that the vet will be called to put him to sleep.

Its something we all face as horse owners. When is the right time to put them to sleep and say goodbye. Wizard has been so sick for so long that it just seems like the right time. Last winter a friend at the barn faced a similar decision, her horse was diagnosed with EPM and they had been treating him but it never got better, and he only continued to spiral downwards. She had invested all her savings into saving him, but nothing could be done.

I want to go out there and say good bye, but at the same time I don’t want to go. I love that little white horse but seeing him will just tear me apart. Am I a bad person for not wanting to go out there? I dunno. I suck at good byes. I never got to say good bye to my first horse Yellow. I missed it and it kills me. But at the same time I knew being there would have made me feel worse. I dunno what to do…

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pinecone's past life

One of the coolest things about ex racehorses is that if you do a little digging you can catch a glimpse into their history as a racehorse. This website offers past performance, pedigrees and sometimes race replay videos of horses. They also has some awesome information about all things race related, from a glossary, to race comments, fractional times etc. You can really learn a lot about racing there.

I have been extremely lucky in my search for Pinecone’s history. I’ve been able to find out the history of his name and I’ve also gotten some of his win pictures. I had managed to find one of his trainers on facebook and sent her an email. I half expected her to never respond and I other half expected her to yell at me for bothering her. She was super nice and said she was extremely happy that he’d found a good home. She has no control over what happens to them after they leave her barn and she often worries. Her mom had a few of Piney’s win pictures so she got in contact with me and emailed them to me. I’ve been in touch with her a few times keeping her updated on how he is doing. She was thrilled to hear it and told me it made her day to hear how great he is doing.

I’d also managed to find the farm where Piney was born and raised. The place looks awesome! If I was a horse I’d want to live there! They had a “contact us” link to an email so I decided to just send a brief email never expecting to hear back. I told them that I had adopted a horse that had been owned by the owners of the ranch, and that he was amazing. I also commented on how beautiful their place was and a few other little things. It was a few weeks ago so I just figured the email had been read then deleted. It shocked the hell out of me when I got an email from the owner on Friday. He told me that Pine Bend was named after the oil refinery in Minnesota that a close friend of his owned. One of Piney’s win pictures still hangs in the president’s office to this day. He also thought it was fitting that he ended up in Minnesota since he was named after a place in Minnesota. He also said that if I’m ever in Arizona that they’d love to have me out to the ranch for a visit. He also told me to keep them informed on how he’s doing as he was one of their favorite horses. How cool is that? I’m so grateful that people in Piney’s past have been so kind to me. And no doubt they were very kind to him as he is the sweetest horse I’ve ever met!

Pine Bend Refinery, Piney's namesake

Naughty Horses

Yesterday I went to the barn to feed as I normally do, and got a call from the barn owner on the way out saying that the stall cleaner bailed on her and was wondering if I could clean some stalls. No problem, I like cleaning stalls as long as I’m not doing all of them, every day. I’ve done that, it’s not my favorite. When I got to the barn I walked into the barn and stepped into a pile of crap, odd. Then I looked down the aisle and it was trashed! Everything was everywhere, the hay cart was demolished, there were manure piles all over, and then I saw him. Our Icelandic/gypsy vanner being followed by the 14 year old girl who helps me feed a few nights a week. She didn’t look happy. Apparently she got there and a whole bunch of the geldings were hanging out in the barn making a mess. We rounded them back up and threw them all back outside. Then it was damage control time. They tipped over the garbage and dragged the twine from the bales all over the south entrance, they knocked everything off every ledge they could find, and all the grooming kits on the stalls were shaken empty all over the aisle. They managed to break a water bucket in one of the stalls and that was spilled all over. One of the fire extinquishers was tipped over, i was amazed they didn't set that off. So we cleaned that up and feed the monsters outside because they were all spending the night out since we FINALLY have a nice stretch of good weather. Apparently the stall cleaner came in the morning to turn them out and forgot to lock the gate to the paddock with all the barn owners geldings. It’s been this girl’s third strike and we put an ad up on Craigslist last night for a new stall cleaner.

When I was cleaning my last stall the boy who has been taking lessons on Pinecone came up to talk to my instructor and she had me grab the monster for him. I then helped him groom and get ready to ride. They were having a jumping lesson and I was excited to watch. Pinecone was in true Pinecone form and a pile of lazy bones. The little boy wasn’t feeling good though so he didn’t have his focus on riding. So they cut his lesson short and I hopped on up. My riding instructor told him to watch me so he could see what I do to get him moving out. His attitude switched when I put my feet in the stirrups. I could feel him under me and it felt like he was saying “allllriiiiggghhhhtt! Lets show em what we can do mom!”

He wasn’t the lazy pile of bones anymore. Maybe it’s just I know how to make him do what I want him to do. The girls at the barn think it’s because I’m his person, and that he loves me and wants to make me happy. He doesn’t ever go as well for anyone but me. Anyways I started out showing the boy that Pinecone CAN have a nice big walk and not a death march. We then picked up the trot and over the poles we went. That big red horse of mine sure does love poles. We went over the ground poles and then over the small cross rail. I didn’t have it in me to ask him to canter today. I was sharing the arena with a little boy and the gypsy vanner so I didn’t want any shenanigans and I had to keep my eye on them. I went around the “course” a few more times then called it a night. He’s so funny when I’m done riding he always puts his head down and into me as if to say “mom was I perfect today?” I love him.

I honestly think my horse gets cuter every day. One of the girls was holding him and giggling she said “Pinecone you are so cute!” I had to agree.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Look out we have a jumper!!

Last night’s lesson made me want to cry. It made me want to cry because everything went so right and it was perfect. One of the instructors was giving a lesson to a little boy and I just kinda hung out in the back of the arena just happy to be on my horse. Then she started setting up ground poles and a small crossrail jump for her next lesson and I asked if I could hop in on that lesson. She said “Sure!”

Right now a bunch of us are taking jumping lessons. We are still learning so it’s mostly ground poles and usually one cross rail. This was my first jumping lesson in about 7 years. So I was pumped! We started out with two ground poles by B and two more by E and a cross rail at X on the K X M diagonal. Having not ridden in a while I decided to just trot all the poles, as I didn’t feel comfortable asking for the canter just quite yet. Well as it turns out my little Pinecone LOVES poles and jumps. He perked up and was amazing! The little girl in the lesson even said “Wow! I’ve never seen Piney so excited!”

Halfway through the lesson the instructor set up a little course for us. And it was a lot of fun. Coming around one corner I asked for a canter and then got it we then proceeded to FLY over a ground pole. It was awesome. When we were done with the little course his walk was different. It was like he was strutting. If he could talk I imagine he would have said something like this. “Hey, did you see that? Yeah, I totally jumped that pole. I’m like the best jumper in this barn.”

My instructor had come in to watch us. She said that he just really must enjoy poles and jumping. When he does dressage he just seems to work his way through the test but he’s never excited about it. I think he finds dressage to be boring. And not gonna lie, maybe I have too. I think it’s because we are only doing intro level tests. If we get our butts in gear and work on getting a nice canter right when I ask for it, not half way down the arena, we can move up to training level tests and we will both have me fun with dressage. Then of course by next summer we’ll be doing Grand Prix level tests, obviously HAHAHAHA!

I am just blown away by how awesome my horse is. I know I seem to say that all the time, but I seriously mean it every time. I had a big grin on my face the entire time I was riding yesterday. He just keeps getting better and better. I feel like I don’t deserve him most times or that something has got to go wrong. He’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a horse and he’s things I didn’t know I wanted. I’ve never met a horse like him.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Good Time To Review

It just came to my attention that I never explained the title of my blog. Good Time to Review was the registered name of my first horse. He was a 15.1hh palomino AQHA gelding. And when I say first horse I mean first everything horse. He was the first horse I ever fully owned. The first horse I’d ever went camping with. First horse I rode up in the mountains. First horse I ever went to drill team practice with. First horse to be kicked off the drill team. The first horse I ever rode in a parade. First horse I’d ever have nicker at me when I hugged him. The first horse that has ever dried my tears. And the first horse I’d ever lost.

So in honor of my buddy here are a few pictures of him. I wish I could have just one more ride on him...

This is my absolute favorite picture of him

At work

BIG SKY, MONTANA!! (sweet outfit huh? it was hunting season!)

havin a drink
on the way to Montana
I miss you buddy...