Friday, March 30, 2012


I have a friend who wants to come out and ride with me this weekend. She isn’t the most experienced rider in the world but she has ridden before. I’m still not sure if she wants to go down the road or just ride around the yard but I will obviously put her on Piney since he’s a babysitter of a horse. So question is, do I have her sign a liability release? I trust Piney more than I trust most people, but he is a horse, and he has hurt me before. Obviously I’d never ask my friend to load him into a trailer, so I’m not too worried about her getting in the same predicament I was in. But still, it is spring, and who knows he might be frisky and do something stupid. Unlikely, but stranger things have happened!

So  should I have a liability release waiver ready and have her sign it? I’ve signed them at about every barn I’ve ever set foot in, even barns that already have insurance against that sort of thing. My hubby said that it is covered in the homeowners insurance. Would having a stack of waivers in the barn and have everyone sign them when they ride be a good idea? I don’t want to think my friends would sue…but we do live in a world full of stupid lawsuits! Any light on this topic is greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I rode Duke!

I can’t believe I haven’t posted about this yet. Well, yes I can. The weather has been sucky so it has been draining my energy and making me mopey. The winds here have FINALLY let up for the most part, but I haven’t seen the sun in days! Anyways last week I finally rode Duke. I wasn’t planning on it but it kinda just happened.
Let’s talk about Duke for a while here shall we? Duke is my husband’s horse. He’s owned him for I think 8 years now. When Duke first came into his life hubby was living in the same town and was able to ride every single day, which he did. Duke was awesome when he was worked all the time. Well hubby moved away and Duke became a pasture ornament. He was ridden a couple times a year, but mostly he was a hay burner and that was just fine. Duke grew to like his buddies and life of leisure so he acquired some awful habits to assure that he would remain with his buddies and his delicious hay. When ridden he would become a great big crap head. Crap isn’t usually the word I use, I generally use a more colorful word to describe him, but I’ll keep this PG. He will do a lot of spinning towards the barn, and offer some little baby rears,  or he will just freeze in place. He’s done if for a lot of different riders who usually just give in to him because they are freaked out. When he does those things for hubby it just ends up pissing him off until he is so mad that he doesn’t want to ride anymore. Hubby has been riding a lot longer than I have, he’s a great rider, but he doesn’t have the patience for bull crap like I do. I generally take a safe horse over a bat crap crazy one, so I’ve never had to deal with their bull crap first hand. But I’ve watched a lot of people deal with the naughty horses though so I have played out scenarios in my head for many, many years of what I would do when faced with a big jerk of a horse. I got to live out the scenarios first hand last week when we went riding.
We rushed home from work because the weather was so beautiful and we’d both been itching to ride again after our awesome Saturday ride. I walked out of the house to see hubby and Duke butting heads by the barn.  Duke was glued in palce and was refusting to walk around the corner of the barn. Then hubby yelled over to me “he won’t move, I don’t want to deal with his crap today”. So I smiled and called Duke my little sweetie, ran my fingers through his whispy little forelock  and then grabbed his lead rope from my agrivated husband.  I then swung the lead rope behind me and it brushed against Duke’s big gut and low and behold he was walking around the corner of the barn with me. I tied him up kissed Duke on the nose and said “I’m not taking your crap today sweetie!” and then went to get my tack ready for my monster.
Tacking up of the beasts was pretty uneventful but hubby was done before me and mounted up. I could see it on both of them that it was going to be one of those rides. Duke was already pulling his favorite moves on hubby, and hubby was getting frustrated. I hurried to finish and mount up, hoping that once I got Piney going down the road and into the field, Duke would follow. Nope. Duke was set on staying at home and being an ass. Hubby managed to get him into the field where Piney and I were patiently waiting, but Duke was not going anywhere. I hate when this happens. Because when Duke doesn’t want to go anywhere I don’t get to go anywhere. Sure I could just go on by myself, but I feel like a jerk doing so. At one point hubby hopped off after calling Duke every name in the book, he looked up at me and said “ I want a new horse. Just get rid of this one.” Well that isn’t going to happen. As much fun as getting a new horse might be, I’ve grown rather attached to that crap head. I asked if he wanted me to get on, and he didn’t because he didn’t want to risk me getting hurt. HECK I don’t want myself getting hurt, but I figured that I need to try something because this behavior is getting really, really old and I want to ride longer than 10 minutes DAMNIT!

So I slid off my dear, sweet Piney who was like “oh we are stopped? Cool. I’ll just stand here mom all right?” And I took a deep breath, and said a quick prayer as I grabbed the reins and a handful of Duke’s mane. I hopped into the saddle and just left the stirrups incredibly long. I really, really didn’t want to deal with them. And you shouldn’t rely on stirrups all the time right? Okay so maybe I just tell myself that so I feel better about not using them. I asked Duke to go forward and he spun around, so I turned him around and asked him to go forward. He took one step then spun around and hopped up into a baby rear. He did this a few more times. I was freaked the eff out and getting kind of mad. I urged him forward and we started to dance. He’d pull some crap so I’d pull him into a tight circle. We did a lot of circles until I asked him to go forward and he would. What? Was he actually doing what I asked? He sure was. I praised the hell out of him. We did some big rectangles and squares in the field so I knew that he was listening and doing what I asked of him. When he was doing everything I asked we started to ride off down a little ditch in the field. I could tell he was starting to relax and let out some big relaxed snorts and sighs. Almost like he was saying “You win lady, hey this isn’t really that bad. Hey mom can I have some treats when we get home?” We were losing daylight, so we decided to end on a great note and head home.
I’m sure I did a million things wrong and I’m sure someone will point it out to me. But I handled the situation the best I knew how. And it was the first time I was faced with this type of situation. When I started to get him figured out I was having fun with him. Am I going to go out and get an un broke horse this weekend and start him from scratch? HELL NO! I have no idea how to do that and am the wrong person to start a horse. Will I get on another horse with a little attitude about life? Sure. Duke KNOWS what to do, but he’s found that being an ass, he doesn’t have to work harder than he wants too. If you can get him to snap out of his bull crap right away, he is a fun horse. You just need to remind him who the boss is from the start of he will walk all over you.
I am proud of getting on him and working through his bull crap. I always thought that when I rode him I would be a day that I’d planned on riding him, and that he’d be a dream from the start. I guess that old Marilyn Monroe quote stands true for Ol Duke-y boy!

 “I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.”
Marilyn Monroe

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

3 year anniversary!

Three years ago I was standing in a pen filled with 40 OTTBs, in western North Dakota. I had my mind made up that I was bringing home with me a big, young, grey mare or if I didn’t like the grey ones, a big, young, solid bay, mare. I’d made up my mind and no one was going to convince me otherwise. But actually a friendly but and older, sad, little, red gelding convinced me otherwise. I’m so happy that he did!
Over the last three years I’ve had so much fun with Piney. I’ve LOVED learning about his history and have gotten to know his owners/breeders. Who are so happy that a horse from their stables has gone on to have such a wonderful life after his racing career. Piney has been a charmer and there hasn’t been anyone that’s met him that hasn’t fallen in love with him. He’s a beautiful mover and at one point my riding instructor told me that he was the most beautiful mover in the barn. We’ve won ribbons and he we even earned Reserve High Point at our last dressage show. He is such a great boy and I just love him. Weather we are doing dressage, or jumping or if we are just riding out on the road he is a champ. Of course there is that dark period in our history where he panicked in the trailer and I left with a concussion and had to have my head stapled back together…but we don’t like to talk much about that time. He’s been a great horse and a best friend to me. I love him more each day.
Happy Anniversary buddy! So glad I met you and get to have you in my life!
First time in the arena.

Hello, there!

Love that horse!

First show.

Piney telling me secrets

I see you!

Piney gettin his teeth did in a traveling horse dentist office, from the nice vet who gave him to me!
He also did his teeth for free!

Monday, March 19, 2012


On Saturday, March 17th 2012 I did what I once thought was impossible. Keep in mind I thought this task impossible for me, not for everyone and I’m sure there are dozens upon dozens of people who do it every single day. The task which I once thought impossible, you ask? I took my horse on a trail ride, using only a halter and lead rope! Let me add that I took my THOROUGHBRED horse on a trail ride using only a halter and lead rope. He is just awesome and it makes me look like an awesome horse trainer/rider.

Back when I was an exchange student in Sweden I began taking riding lessons and leased my very first horse. The horse I was leasing was an Arabian mare named Xanadue. She was a pill but I loved her anyways.  The barn she was boarding at was a 45 minute walk from my house. Of course if I knew how to ride a bike it would have taken much less time, but I hate bicycles and I hate that I can’t ride them. Thanks, traumatic bicycle incident as a child! Anywho, on my walk I took some BEAUTIFUL bridle paths and trails. They were just breath taking, and of course I never got pictures because I was always going to bring my camera next time, and just never did. But on those beautiful trails I’d often run into a pair of girls and their horses. Sometimes they’d have their horses tacked up but usually they would just be riding bareback, on loose rein laughing and having a great time.  I wanted to do that soooooo bad, but I’d only just started taking lessons, and the mare I was leasing was an extremely barn sour night-mare on the trails.  It was out of the question at that point in my life, but I always kept on to that dream.
Fast forward 100 years, to present day. The weather was absolutely beautiful and unheard of for March in North Dakota. Record breaking temperatures in the 70’s instead of record breaking cold weather is very , very welcome here! Hubby hopped on Piney in the pasture because his horse was not having any of that nonsense. He then asked me if I wanted a leg up and I happily hopped up and started riding around. As I was happily riding around, hubby went and got his horse tacked up and then asked me if I wanted to go with him down the road. SURE! My two cocker spaniels got to join in on the family trail ride, but the Boston Terrorist had to say home because he is more of a nuisance to the horses. The dogs don’t quite understand that horses don’t often like having something following close on their heels but he didn’t even care that they were there.  We rode for about an hour and a half down the road and onto a prairie trail into a field. We just walked and I did a little trotting because Piney is pretty slow moving. I had to grab a big tall weed along the way to use as a crop to get him moving though. I just love that big red horse. I am more than happy with how the day went. The dogs were exhausted when we got home, and Piney got a little sweaty around his ears and where I was sitting. I am sore all over, we obviously need to get back into shape!

OH and to top it off, I was wearing a tank top, in March, outside. It’s pretty unheard of in these parts. The weather was just sooooooo perfect! And I couldn’t have asked for a better day for riding. Here’s to a nice long summer with plenty of riding!

I love my big red horse.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Busy weekend.

We had a busy weekend and the weather was BEAUTIFUL!  There was a lumber and building supplies auction out west by my husband’s hometown that he went to last year with his father. They bought all kinds of great deals last year so we went again this year. Since our property is a fixer upper and needs PLENTY of work we figured that getting supplies for cheap is a good route to take. We woke up early, basically the same time we wake up every morning to go to work. I remember quite vividly that the only time I was ever up at that hour was when I was still up from the night before. But we got on the road and made it to the auction right before it started. The weather was supposed to be nice but it ended up being WAY nicer than I anticipated. It was 71 for most of the day. I forgot to bring sunscreen and ended up looking a bit like a lobster.
There was a little mix of everything. Lumber, cabinets, windows, doors, insulation, siding, etc. it’s basically surplus from building contractors who need to get rid of the extras. All the cabinets were brand new but hadn’t been used for whatever reason. There were lots of good deals! Cabinets were going for cheap. We bought some for a few little projects that I had in mind for the house. We saved a TON by going the route. One of the cabinets we bought for $30 on the way home I looked up how much it would have cost us at the store and we basically got it for less than half price. We had hopes of getting some new windows for the barn, and windows were going for CHEAP, but we didn’t have measurements, and there weren’t enough of the same kind. If we wanted miss matched windows we would have been in luck! But we did buy some doors for the barn. Correction, we bought some FANCY doors for the barn. I am going to have the most elegant barn in the history of barns. Well maybe not, but my tack room is going to be pretty fancy. I had seen a picture of someone’s tack room where they had their saddles behind glass doors, so sure enough, we bought one. We are going to make a saddle locker for a couple of our nicer saddles, with a nice frosted glass door. We were going to buy some cedar, but it ended up going for more than we wanted to pay, and it wasn’t quite exactly what we wanted. But we will track some down! We also got a big heavy, wooden door that we are going to install in my yet-to-be-built tack room. I can’t wait to start that project!
The auction ended and we bought PLENTY of building supplies. My barn is going to be awesome once we start working on it! We were looking for lumber to build some corrals, or a riding arena but they didn’t have much green treat, so we didn’t get any. Plenty of projects to tie us over though!
Yesterday was the final day of the North Dakota winter show about 60 miles from our house. It’s basically a week long agriculture show with horse shows, rodeo, livestock shows, vendors, exhibits etc. It’s usually a pretty good time and worth the drive. The snow has been melting like crazy with our warmer temps. We had to drop my pickup into 4x4 to get through the parking lot! It was a muddy sloppy mess. We had just parked and were making out way to the building when my heart stopped. I saw him, well I thought I saw him. Yellow, my beautiful palomino gelding being ponied around by another girl on her horse. I know it wasn’t him but it still made my stomach hurt. I wanted to run up to the girl leading him around and yank that lead rope out of her hand and take my boy away. But it wasn’t him. He had the same dapples, and the same 3 white stockings, and even the same blaze that came to a point right at the end of his nose. I think deep down inside I am still hoping that he is alive, and that he had been sold to someone else who is loving him and enjoying him. When I was told he died, I couldn’t make myself go and see him. I wanted to but something just wouldn’t let me go out there and see my boy so cold and lifeless, covered by the only thing that ever scared him, a big blue tarp. I still to this day haven’t forgiven myself for not going to see him. I kept looking back at the horse who looked so much like my boy, wishing he was still in my life. But then I sort of chuckled to myself that it couldn’t be my old pal at a rodeo, he hated everything rodeo. We tried him on cattle and he just didn’t have it in him, and he was WAY too slow for barrels. That obviously wasn’t my boy.  He was a western pleasure horse all the way. 
We went inside and had a look around at the vendors. I ended up buying a rhinestone western belt to replace mine that I lost a few years ago, and an English girth extender. I figured that it’s much cheaper than buying myself a whole new girth for big ol fatso Piney.  I’ve owned girth extenders in the past, but they’ve magically disappeared at various boarding stables I’ve been at over the years. Funny how that works right? Good thing I’m a tack hoarder now and my collection only grows and grows!
After we got home from the Winter show yesterday afternoon, we took the dogs for a run behind the fourwheeler. Tucker can run 25mph, while the Cocker Spaniels can run 8mph. They tried to keep up as best they could, but they just aren’t as fast. They had fun in the puddles and melting snow though. I am so very thankful that my house has laminate floors and not carpet. My floors are disgusting and full of muddy paw prints currently but at least I can mop it up and don’t have to spend the day cleaning carpets!  My middle dog is the most disgusting mess right now. She has white furry legs that are now grey and dirty. She needs a bath, but it’s really quite pointless until it dries up, as she LOVES rolling in filth. I am going to buy a set of dog clippers this week and attempt to shave the two cocker spaniels down.  They are much easier to deal with when they don’t have mops on their legs!

Monday, March 5, 2012

I hit the ditch...

This was after I'd been pulled out halfway. I was too mad to take any
other pictures.
Well I finally met the neighbors this morning. Too bad it was because I BURIED my truck in the ditch! I’m talking waist deep snow buried. I was headed to work this morning and was about 1.5 miles from home. When all of a sudden my truck hit some ice/snow and pulled to the left and BANG! In the ditch. I almost thought I was going to roll the beast! I shouted a few very loud and obscene words, and I’m sure there is a cloud of them still hovering around where I hit the ditch. I tried calling my hubby, and texting him too. He didn’t answer. I figured his phone was on vibrate or something so I decided to try and find help. The snow was deep and there was NO way I was getting out by myself.   If I was able to get out on the driver’s side it would have been about waist deep. So I crawled up and over the passenger’s side and barely got the passengers door open. Those things are heavier than you think! Especially when you are almost flipped sideways! Then I proceed to walk to my neighbor’s house which was only a few hundred feet away. They are the neighbors who have a big outdoor roping arena and some horses. I’m so very thankfully they were home and were super nice! The lady got her husband up and he went to warm up his truck. We chatted for a while about horses. Her son competes in high school rodeo mostly roping and steer wrestling (bulldogging?) They also used to do team penning and cutting and their daughter did barrels and poles. Turns out we also know some of the same people. The horse world can be pretty small sometimes! Turns out she won a saddle back in 1997 with my friend’s mom in team penning.  I her husband came up to the house and said he was ready to get me unstuck. I said good bye and left her my phone number in case she ever needed to let me know my horses or dogs had come over for a visit. She said that it does happen and they usually just throw the visiting horses into a pen and then wait for the owners to come get them.  I’m glad that my neighbors are horse people!

Her husband and I headed out to the disaster I created to assess the situation. It was bad. We turned around so we could try and pull my pickup back out. He hooked his big ol Ford F250 to the hitch of Dodge ram and started pulling. We tried for about 10 minutes. And we only got half way out. It was then when my other neighbor pulled up and said that her husband was coming with his tractor to help out. I laughed and introduced myself. Can’t believe we needed a tractor too! BUT I am very glad that I was within walking distance when I got stuck, and that my neighbors are nice enough to help me out. So we waited in the f250 until sure enough a big ol Case IH showed up and hooked on to my hitch. A couple of good hard pulls and I was out! Thank goodness!  I was beginning to think I would have to leave her there until spring! Even then it would have only gotten worse as I’m sure she would have just rolled down into the field! I thanked everyone for helping me out and asked if I could repay them in anyway they said don’t worry about it, and they were glad to help. Just as I was headed towards work I saw hubby coming down the road. He had gotten my missed calls and texts as he was pulling into work and then turned around and headed to help me out.

Today just really made me realize how lucky I am to live where I do. I’ve always been pretty lucky to have great neighbors. When we were living in town in our townhouse neighbors on both sides were really nice. Of course there was the brief time when the house connected to the north side of us was being rented and I had to call the cops on them for having a loud party. Hey I’m all for partying, don’t get me wrong! But slamming the back door every 45 seconds, causing my dogs to go into a big frenzy at 4 in the morning is a bit much. The beer cans they threw in my back yard were a nice touch too. They were kicked out and then some really awesome people bought the house and I really liked them. Even if our dogs HATED each other and we had to make sure they weren’t in the back yard when mine were. We always had a good chuckle about it though. We often said we should just rip down our fence and let the dogs get over it! My neighbor to the south was really nice too, if she had her snow blower out and saw me struggling with my shovel she would come blow out my sidewalk and driveway for me. I realize that in other parts of the country things like this wouldn’t happen. I’m so glad that my neighbors who were strangers until today were able to help me out!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Don't turn around! and Dog updates

The person behind me kept flashing their brights at me...they wanted me to know THERE WAS SOMEONE IN THE BACK SEAT!!!

hehe! Tucker found the step stool I had in the backseat of my pickup and sat on there the entire way home.

My blackberry takes awful pictures! I miss my awesome new phone that Tucker broke. *sigh*

In other Tucker news...
Someone was a conehead. You can kinda tell that his right eye was sore. He must have poked it some time last week and it was so yucky and puffy, and got really cloudy. The vet said it was an ulcer (like I have a tendency to get!) and that he needed to wear his cone and be on a bunch of meds. When he wasn't feeling good he was super chill, and all he wanted to do was snuggle. He played major guilt trips on me and I let him sleep in the bed with me. He's been doing that for a week now. He's feeling much better, but he still thinks he gets to sleep with me and I still let him.

The other dogs are LOVING farm life as much as Tucker is. The front corral at our place is just overgrown weeds so I let the dogs play in there last week...proably where tucker poked his eye.
Cocker Spaniels LOVE playing in tall grass. They were in heaven
Cocker Spaniel in his natural hunting habitat.

Love him!

Happy Boy!

"Throw the Ball!"

Crazy face!

Pooper making her snow angels. Please note how disgusting her white fur is. All that rolling did nothing but make her more disgusting. My sweet little girl rolls in all kinds of things...daily.

"I'm ACTUALLY a pointing dog mom!"

"ummm throw the ball!"

Favorite from yesterday.

I know I already posted a bunch of pictures from yesterday but I was playing around with one and edited it a bit more. Have I ever told you that I have a mad passionate love for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom? Well I do...

It shouldn't be my favorite since he looks absolutely miserable but I just love how it turned out.

Also Duke felt pretty pissed off that I never posted a picture of him "suffering" in the cold yesterday.

They both survived just fine yesterday without their blankets. I felt like an awful mother when I saw them so snowy yesterday, but their snow coats didn't last all that long. I looked out about an hour after taking these pictures and they didn't have any frost left on them. They are pretty hearty creatures. Their coats are designed to handle most everything!
Piney used to be blanketed every day it was below freezing when I boarded him. He was also stabled at night. He has adjusted just fine to being naked and Duke, well he as been naked his whole life. He's never even been in a stall and he's the healthiest damn horse I've ever met! It's not fair I tell ya! Not fair at all!