Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Winding Down

Although 2011 started with too much snow and not enough riding; it is coming to a close with no snow, 40 degree temps and plenty of riding (so far).  My hopes are that 2012 won't be a repeat of last year and we won't have as much snow as we did.  Afterall, we've had over 69" of rain in 2011, the highest amount recorded since they started recording back in 1905.  Enough moisture!  If I remember right it was at least 3 months of no riding with the indoor arena roof tearing.  It was a long winter. 

After 20 years with the same company, I finally decided it was time for a new beginning and went to work for the very same Aerospace company where my dad worked for 25 years.  I ended up in the same division, helicopters.  Although there is no one left there that worked with my dad, there were some old timers from other divisions that remembered some of the names that I remembered from my childhood.  It's like deja vu walking some of the same halls that my dad walked; seeing helicopters that he helped design.  It's life coming full circle.  I'm totally enjoying the new company and the people I'm working with.

I finally got to audit a Mark Russell clinic, did numerous solo off the farm trail rides, but the highlight of the year was being chosen to ride at Equine Affaire in all three of Liz Grave's clinics.  G was wonderful and he proved to me that he is indeed a super star.  At least he will always be that in my heart.  Sharing our success with Liz and enjoying her company along with the others who participated in her clinics was simply joyful.  Its a weekend that I will never forget.  

We lost our fourteen year old Pomeranian Buster in mid October, which broke my heart.  He was the biggest dog I've ever met, even if he only weighed 5 pounds.  He was a tough little guy, but with that sweet face of his, he melted your heart.  Buster will always be in my heart.

I was very proud of my weight loss but somehow got sidelined in late October when we got hammered with a freak snow storm on 10/29 that left us without power for 8 days.  I've been eating wildly ever sense.  So 2012 will take me back to Weight Watchers and me paying closer attention to what I'm eating.  I'm hoping to begin weaning myself off of red meat completely in 2012 and eventually all meat.  I'm not sure its something I can do, but its a goal I would like to reach toward.  If it means I'm eating more veggies & fruits and eating better overall, that in itself will be a great thing.  

After 37 years without a real haircut, hubby had his ponytail cut off in celebration of his 50th birthday.  But he took it a step further and had his head shaved completely.  I think he looks awesome without hair, and he donated the ponytail to Wigs for Kids.  I think he's a sexy guy.
It only took us 4 months, but we completely gutted and renovated our main floor bathroom (Circa 1953).  It was hard work, and there were times I didn't think we'd get it done but when it was finished all the blood sweat and tears were worth it.  On to the next project!

Tonight we're going to First Night 2012 in Hartford.  We started going back in 1998 and the last year we went was 2002...we thought it was time to go back and celebrate a little (plus its supposed to be 40 degrees, woohoo).   2011 was overall a very good year for us.  I'm hoping that 2012 will be as kind; bring us all more peace & harmony; and all our heart's desires.

Happy New Year Everyone!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Equine Affaire November 12-13, 2011

Where do I start?  It was such an amazing weekend, with an array of experiences and emotions, and I’ve been walking on clouds for almost a month now.

The first new experience was trying to load G into the trailer in the dark.  It was a first for us both.  Seems I remember thinking it sure would be nice to install an interior light in the back where those two wires are sitting, but somehow we just haven’t gotten around to it.  After the fourth failed attempt, I tried putting on my headlamp to shine some light on the dark box I was trying to get him into.  Well, that was great as long as I was standing still - now there was a dancing spotlight inside, and G said “heck no, I’m not going in there, that light beam eats horses you know”.  It finally clicked in my brain to put the headlamp on the divider against the wall so the light would be still.  After three more attempts G finally relented and got in.

Now I’m certain that 45 minutes later he regretted his decision to get into the dark box.  He was being off-loaded onto pavement, walked into a dimly lit, strange barn and put into a simple 8’x8’ stall with bars all the way across the front.  “Whoa, what happened to my spacious 12‘x12’ room with a window and open door front?”  He whinnied several times and got no answer.  I could see the panic setting into his eyes.  You could see the lid above actually twitching with tension.  I knew he was in for a long night.

We set him all up with enough hay to last the night, a full bucket of his own water, and sat with him awhile talking quietly in reassuring tones.   One horse whinnied three aisles over and the chorus ensued.  It was like listening to an echo rolling through a canyon.

The Canadian Cowgirls were in the next aisle behind G and there was a lot of activity as they got ready for their Pfizer Fantasia performance.  Of course we had to stop and let them know how much we’ve enjoyed their performances over the years and wished them luck.  After an hour or two we decided we needed to get home to get some sleep, as 5 am would come pretty quickly.  As we were leaving, I stopped and asked the Cowgirls if they could do me a huge favor.  I explained that this was G’s first time at such a large event, and if they heard a ruckus after their show, if they could just take a peek and make sure he was okay.  They said “you bet, we’ll even stop and talk to him”.  I left my boy, and I had a better understanding of how mom’s feel when they leave their child at summer camp for the first time.  Here's G with some of his new girlfriends:

When we got home, I knew I needed to shut down my brain or other I would never be able to sleep (yes, I am an overthinker) so I took two Tylenol PM caplets and headed to bed.  They worked their magic.

As I thought, 5 am came real quickly.  We arrived at the Exposition grounds at 6:30 and began our barn chores.  When G heard my voice he responded with a nice big nicker.  When he got his morning grain, he was even happier to see mom.  G was fed, groomed, and ready to ride by 7:30.  I called Steve Lunoi and we agreed to ride in the Coliseum.   
Riding inside the coliseum was probably another thrill for me.  Although G wasn't so crazy about it when the other three horses left.  He went from relaxed and walking, to stressed and side passing.  But hubby caught a cool shot of us that gives you a great perspective on how big an arena it is:

We ended up side passing all the way over the the exit lol.

What an incredible weekend!  I'm not sure I can truly put into words how proud I am of G, or the feelings of pride that I have for how he performed for me in each of the three clinics, and handled the whole circus atmosphere of EA.  I'm still walking on clouds and have so many emotions that I can't sort them all out to put them down in words.  I've just been smiling and yes, bursting with pride.  I think it gave me a slight inkling of the high that people get when they show a horse and are awarded a ribbon.  When a stranger walks up to you and tells you that you have a wonderfully gaited horse, and you later find out that he's a reputable gaited horse trainer, well it is such a high. 

One of the things that I loved about Liz and her presentation is that she includes a little bit of each horse's story, so the audience has an understanding that not one of us got where we are today without a lot of blood, sweat and tears.  This weekend wiped out all the nights that I sat on the couch in tears, telling hubby I had to sell G cause we just weren't connecting or I just wanted to give up cause I didn't think I was the person that he needed.  I told hubby that I thought I would keep him    Hubby was awesome, took lots of pics and video.  And he was even taking photos with Liz's camera for her...he was a busy guy this weekend, and I have thanked him a hundred times for supporting us the way he did this weekend.  Not every woman, or their horse, have a groom boy :)  Heck, I have to thank him for supporting us the past 9 years.  Without him and his encouragement, I'm not sure I would've experienced the kind of high I've been on the past two days.  Beyond the fun, I felt rewarded for all the hard work the pst 9 years.  It goes to show you that sometimes there really is a diamond under that black rock.  You just have to keep chiseling away until you start to find the small glints of light that keep you looking closer and chipping away at it.  I know I still have some shaping and polishing to do, but the diamond is finally in my sights.  Here's a couple of short videos of two of my favorite moments.  Like Liz, I love the big ole' head on my boy and I almost got a trot out of G yesterday afternoon.  When Liz asked me to try and get him to do it again, I couldn't repeat it.  But that's okay, I like his gait just fine!   Liz is just so awesome, and she truly makes you feel like a part of something special that's for sure.



I hope I don't bore you with all the videos (see below) but the fact that it wasn't just a few steps, or a few passes of wonderfulness, is still blowing my mind!!  I only wish we could've been in a larger arena to not have to deal with the tight corners.  But the GFS footing was to die for!  I have to send the video links to David & Lisa Taylor, as I know they will be pleased as punch to see the beautiful horse that G has turned into.  I knew back then that this horse was special, and can now thumb my nose at the 5 people before me that passed on him saying he wasn't worth a damn. Another example of why one should always trust their gut and stick to their guns.

Hubby and a friend of hers (Sue I think) took pictures with Liz's camera and Liz put a slide show on her website.  Some really nice pics which brought back lots of memories.  If you look closely in one of the early arena shots where we're all lined up, you may see some snowballs near Liz's feet.  Liz was razzing Steve about New Jersey getting snow before her in MN, so he made some snowballs from the October storm and put them in the freezer to bring to EA.  While Liz was talking, Steve took one snowball at a time out of a bag and gave them to each rider.  When Liz came to a pause, Steve said "hey Liz, remember you were making fun on me getting snow before you?" She turned with a smile on her face, and we all threw the snowballs at her feet!  Totally shocked her, she laughed and said something to the effect of "see this, this is how great gaited horse people are".
Here's the link to Liz's slide show (ignore the opening shot - hubby needs to learn when not to take close up shots lol): 

The following morning I took G back to the coliseum to ride (you can ride between 6:00-8:00 a.m) and as we turned to go in the entry, here comes a drill team of 6-8 riders with flags all waving straight for us.  Up Periscope went G's head and he took two steps back.  I decided today wasn't the day I wanted to desensitize him to flags, so we went around the corner to the covered arena at C barn.  Steve was there warming up Pavo and DJ.  I told him about G and the flags and he gave me some advice on how to go about it at home.  So a little while later Steve comes over to G's stall and asked me if I was ready to desensitize G to flags.  I'm like really now?  He said no, for our afternoon session I'm like what?!? Well. apparently the announcer for our sessions was referring to us riders as "Liz's Calvary" (as we know how she likes to reference the Calvary training manual). Since Steve had his flag shirt and American flag with him, he thought it would be fun to ride into the arena in formation.  And so we did.  G walked right up to Steve with his flag, and once under saddle never gave it a second look.  Goes to show you that following the spooky item is never an issue.  Again, Liz's smile said it all when she saw us coming in.  Good stuff, the whole weekend.

It was short, but I got to ride with Liz, woohoo - boy would it be fun to trail ride with her.  I think she wanted to make sure this horse really could hold a gait, as Bob couldn't keep him up beside G at a medium walk.  Amazing how "intent" alone can change a horse's motivation.  She may have been talking about using her pinkies on the reins here, not sure, but I'm paying attention to her hands (box what box?)


Saturday night we got together with the other riders and Liz at Storrotown Tavern, which is one of our most favorite restaurants.  Old world charm, New England stick to your ribs cooking, great service.  What a fun evening enjoying conversation with old and new friends.  Each time we go here we have another wonderful memory of our visit:

 What an incredible experience, G not only met, but far exceeded my expectations. My not so solid trail horse, is in reality one heck of a show pony!  Put him in an arena with other horses and it's like he's a super star.  I've never ever experienced a ride like what I experienced.  Not once, but all three clinics.  I do attribute some of his shine to the incredible GFS footing they had in the arena.  So level and cushioned.  I think G felt very confident about where he was putting his feet.  There were a lot of wonderful moments, and so much to digest.  A month later and I'm still trying to write it down and its turning into a novel.  G worked harder on gait these two days then he has in awhile. 

Links to YouTube Videos:

Video 6

And I think my most favorite picture of the weekend, which Liz was gracious enough to send to me.  Me & G with Liz sharing a laugh before our first clinic.  This summed up the weekend, yep, we were relaxed and happy!
I think I have an inkling of what it feels like to win a Grand Prix or Freestyle dressage competition.  When you're in that zone with your horse, there is nothing that breaks the magical connection that you have.  I have G to thank for that, as he has made me step up and become a better horsewoman for him.  I know I still have so much to learn, so much to work on, but boy does it feel grand to be in such a wonderful place.

I walked away from this weekend with such a wonderful sense of pride and accomplishment, and just when I did't think I can burst with any more pride or emotion, the one horsewoman I admire more than any other horse person who has walked this earth, paid me what I feel is one the highest compliments I could ever receive on Facebook this evening.  Words that brought me to tears. I hope she doesn't mind me sharing them, but it's the equivalent to a blue ribbon from the weekend to me!!
Elizabeth Graves-Kate Taylor
I'm home Kate although a long day traveling but I did want to share one thing I feel it important you know. You and G did a national title performance this weekend! I knew you would even though you you questioned your self at times in getting there I never, ever doubted you for a minute over the years. Thank you for being the student you are and share your journey in hopes others will grow also and follow you in theirs.
These words alone, are as big a reward as the magical connection that I felt with G this weekend.  I don't know if we'll ever be in the same magical place in the same way, but I think I got an inkling of what an Olympian must feel when their horse runs the perfect course, or performs the most magnificent freestyle dressage performance.  These words from Liz are like having a trainer patting me on the back and hugging me with joy.  The pride that one feels in their accomplishments with their horse in these moments is just surreal. 

The past couple of years I've talked a little about how much I would love to work with Liz out in Minnesota as she does apprentice/internship week long programs, but knowing it would more than likely never happen.  As we were trailering G back home from the expo grounds Sunday night and we're talking about how great a weekend it was, hubby said "I think you should work with Liz".  Huh?  He said "I know you've dreamt about going to Minnesota and working with Liz, I really think you need to go, you deserve to take it to the next level in your journey".  I was floored.  So, if we did it right and Uncle Sam gives us enough money back next spring, I will be making plans to fly out to Shades of Oak Ranch to continue the journey. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Equine Affaire - November 2011!!

I'm very excited..... G and I were chosen to ride with Elizabeth Graves in her three clinics at EA this fall.  I've been fortunate to have audited one clinic and participated in one clinic during the first 2 years of our relationship; when I knew only a smidge about gaited horses; but more than 6 years have past and I'm curious to see what Liz will have us work on.  She posted on Facebook that she's very excited at the five horse & riders that she has to work with this November.  So I'm sure she'll have some fun exercises and challenges for us.   Here are the three session descriptions:

1.    SAT 11/12/11 • 9:30am–11:00am • The Five Essentials of Gaited Horsemanship: Achieving Straightness, Engaging the Hindquarters, Raising the Base of the Neck, Moving in a Weight Bearing Posture & Bending in the Rib Cage 

2.    SAT 11/12/11 • 2:45pm–4:15pm • Developing & Refining the Easy Gaits: Identifying a Horse’s Easy Gaits, Creating Shape for Each Gait, Achieving Consistency of Gait & Conditioning Each Gait 

3.    SUN 11/13/11 • 3:30pm–5:00pm • Maximizing the Rider’s Seat, Hands & Legs for Gaits: Learning Detailed Applications to Support, Guide & Direct A Gaited Horse Ms. Graves will accept up to four horse and rider combinations.  

Hubby said he'll be my groom and cameraman; I think he's as excited as I am!  The only downside is we're attending on the weekend, and it is a mob scene.  I usually attend on Thursdays and Fridays when it's not so crazy.  I've already decided since the barn is a 20-25 minute drive from the fair grounds that I'll bring him home Saturday night so he can relax in his own stall.  I'm hoping that will make for better performance for both of us!  I know I'll sleep better knowing he's tucked in safe at home.  For those not familiar with Liz Graves you can check her out at   She's a wonderful horsewoman and so down to earth - if you ever get a chance to work with her, I highly recommend it! 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

And now....Summertime Bliss!

I took a 4-day weekend, and yesterday I loaded up my boy and took him to Salmon Brook Park to ride their lands and McLeans Game Refuge.  It was 78 when we left the barn, and with a 70% humidity it was muggy/warm, but the breeze kept it manageable and the clouds kept the sun from heating up the day.  

It was such a pleasure to ride alone, just the two of us.  Being able to ride at your own pace and stop when and where you want is divine.  At each stream we stopped mid stream and let the cold water cool G down.  About midway through the ride, I called David at Evening Shade Farm, where I bought G from some 9 years ago.  I wanted to thank him again for selling me such a wonderful horse.  We've certainly had our challenges and obstacles to overcome throughout the years, but he's kept me honest and continually seeking to improve as a rider.  We had a great conversation.  I always enjoy talking to David and hearing about the horses he and his wife are currently working with.  Interestingly enough, two minutes after I thanked David for such a wonderful horse, he spooked!  But of course!  Still not sure if it was deer or a coyote in the bushes next to where the trail turns to the next field, but it caused G to do a half hearted spin to the left.  We did quite a few circles to keep the feet moving and always in the direction of the trail. 

Even so, it was a great ride, and comparing yesterday's reaction to that of 8.5 years ago, it so paled in comparison.  The best part of all was that at no time did G want to rush back to the trailer, even when he knew we were headed in that direction.  It was probably the most relaxing ride I've ever had to date.  I think he loves standing in the streams and munching on grass, it makes his time out on the trail much more pleasurable.   And the bonus is that G is now loading into the trailer with just the one door open.  I used to have to open up the whole back and remove the center post.  I believe he's finally trusting me to take him away and bring him back unharmed to the place that he loves.

I took a couple of videos on my iPhone so I could remember the wonderful day we had.

Turn it up to hear the stream!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summertime Blues....

I've always loved summer.  Summer means spending lots of time outdoors, and once I had a horse, that meant trail riding, trail riding and more trail riding.  Well, not this summer.  We've gone from wet to hot, hot to cool, back to wet, and hot again.  It has created an environment for gnats, mosquitos and deer flies to not only exist but to thrive!  With the wetlands in and around this area, the woods out behind our boarding facility are impossible to traverse, as the moment you enter the woods, you are swarmed by deer flies.  I'm talking 30-40 at a clip.  I've never ever seen anything this bad.  The past two trail rides, I've trailered over to Salmon Brook Park and ridden there for a couple of hours.  Its been wonderful, but I miss the convenience of just riding out the back door so to speak.  Even riding the outdoor arena can be daunting between gnats and mosquitos.  One of the down sides is that G isn't in as good a shape as he was last year traversing the hills out back 3-4x a week.  It's definitely noticable under saddle, as he has lost some of his hind end strength.  All we can do is wait until the first frost that kills off the bugs and start enjoying our woods again.  

And like the annoying mosquitos and gnats, we have a new boarder coming in this week.  She's someone that two of us in the barn were very happy to leave behind at the old barn, which is closing its doors.  She is a non stop talker who thinks she is queen of the world and all that she surveys.  I can only hope she hates it and leaves.  Truly, I'm not sure I have the patience to deal with her any more. She really burned a couple bridges at the last place with me and hubby.  So I guess the only thing I really can hope for is the bugs to die off so I can spend more time on the trail and less time at the barn, lol!!  Praying for strength, I'm gonna need it.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Fun with Liberty

I have realized that lately I haven't spent as much time working with G on the ground as I used to.  I've missed it.  I'm not so sure G has, but it goes a long way in keeping the lines of communication open and learning.  For both of us.  I bought a new camera recently so I thought what better way to test it out - video!  Hubby was sweet enough to come with me to run the camera.  Love having a supporting guy in my life!  The 35 minute video has been broken into two shorter segments.  One shows the magnetic connection when it's working, and then when the magnetic connection is lost.  There's nothing fancy or showy, it's just the beginning stages of our liberty work.  I just picked up Caroyn Resnick's Liberty Training DVD, which I hope will help me go to the next level with this.

The connection...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Okay, I'll Keep Him....

All my fears were for naught.  G, the unforgiving type, completely forgave me my moment of insanity and we have been enjoying the spring like temperatures.  Oh heck, just not having snow on the ground is exciting and new!! We hit the trail a week ago Sunday with Ozzy, who was sooo excited to back at the barn, never mind out on the trail with his buddy G.  Since this was the first trip out, we only did the small wooded trail out back that leads to a large crop field.  I think we stayed out all of 35 minutes, but every minute of it was wonderful.  Here's a little video between G's ears.

This past Saturday, we got together with Jane and her mare Sierra and did the same trail but kept on going along the crop fields for an additional 30 minutes.  We still haven't found the end of them, and I'm betting we can travel another 6 miles before finding a road to cross (well, that's my guess).  G and Sierra are really good together.  G loves her calming influence, and since he stays cool, so does she.  Normally when we turn for home G gets more than a bit anxious, but Saturday he was happy to just move along at a nice forward walk without any stress whatsoever.  It was a perfect ride in my book, and one that again reminds me of the bond that we do have, and makes me reflect on how empty my fears of losing him were.  We are good together.  He brings out the best in me (eventually).  He keeps me honest with myself and makes me strive to make our relationship that much tighter.  I know I'll never be the perfect rider, nor will G ever be the perfect horse, and that's why we were made for one another....we will just strive to be the best that we can be. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

In Time of Need, A Quote From a Friend

"Never let it be far from your heart that he lives in a world made by us not by them and sometimes their pressure builds and needs to be released just as ours does at time. He needs you and these are the times to dig deep in our selves and find that inner strength to help him , just as they do for us when we need release as well. Grow from it and let it all take you to the mature wisdom in self growth and the next level you need to look to in you advancement of horsewomenship. You can do it, you are strong and I believe in you, so believe in your self!

Sometimes, it takes someone with more wisdom, abundant horse knowledge and horse heart,  to give you a little help you see the forest through the trees.  I consider myself a very fortunate person to have such a friend and mentor in Liz.  

But I would be remiss in not mentioning all the other wonderful horse friends that me & G have acquired over the past 8+ years.  Your kind words of encouragement were heart felt, and I thank all of you for taking the time to share your thoughts and stories.

I spent last Sunday just hanging out with G.  Rather than letting him have his lunch hay with the herd, I set him up in his outdoor stall run, and while he happily munched on his hay, I gave him a thorough grooming.  We had a nice long chat.  Well I chatted, he listened - or least I think he listened. I apologized for failing him; and that I would try harder if we have to deal with the dreaded dog again.  Then I stopped chatting and just sat on the groom tote and watched him eat.  Every once in awhile he'd stop and do the camel lip thing on my knee.  Not sure if he was checking out the jeans or simply scratching and itch, lol.  All the reasons I fell in love with him in the first place came flooding back to me.  His beauty, his heart, the sounds he makes as he eats.  After he was done eating I took him out to the arena and let him loose.  He trotted, cantered, and when he got to the corner where the kids popped out it was like the devil was after him.  He galloped across the arena, screeched to a halt at the gate ( a sliding stop a reiner would've envied) raised that head as far as it could reach and snorted like crazy.  When I asked him to move out again, he was a little crazed, but I kept asking him to slow and walk, and within about 5 minutes he finally did.  After he circled me in both directions a few times I asked him to hoa, and then gave him the signal to follow me.  We then walked around the arena for about 10-15 minutes.  

He shadows me like a heeling dog.  I stop, he stops, I turn, he turns, I back up so does he.  Again the flood of wonderful memories of why we are together rush over me.  I stopped, he stopped and I just hugged his neck.  He doesn't quite understand it when I get emotional, but he puts up with me.  I cried a little, then had another heart to heart as I gave G a mini massage and had another chat.  The best therapist on the planet; the other reason why I love him so.  Tomorrow hubby heads to New York for his buddie's last lost weekend (getting married in July).  I'm going to head to the barn and spend some quality time with G.  It's supposed to be in the 50's so maybe we'll get a small ride in, maybe not.  Just spending time with him is a good time.  

When I come home I've got some beautiful new papers and accessories from the scrapbook store Thursday, so I'm going to create!  It's going to be another wonderful indulgent day!! 
 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
And lest I forget..... 

      A rider needs to recognize the horses' need for self-preservation in Mind, Body and third factor, Spirit...he needs to realize how the persons approach can assure the horse he can have his self-preservation and still respond to what the person is asking him to do. ~ Tom Dorrance

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Melt Down

It's been a pretty terrible winter this year.  We didn't get many opportunities to ride, even with and indoor arena.  I believe our snow total for the year is 85 or 86", which puts us in the 2nd snowiest winter on record for our state.  When the roads were good enough to drive, there was so much snow on the arena roof, that they closed it for fear of collapse.  Once the owners were able to clear the snow from the ends of arena roof, the center ripped open from the weight of the snow and ice.  Now, picture trying to ride inside with a big piece of canvas blowing over our head.  I didn't mind so much, but you can imagine how Mr. Sensitive felt about it.  So we were restricted to "unbreezy" days to ride indoors.  I dropped from riding 3x a week to 1 time a week if I was lucky,  and stuck to lunging him for the most part.

Fast forward to we have mud and lots of it. The outdoor arena is finally cleared - yippee!  I've only managed to ride once a week the past couple of weeks.  What a great feeling to be riding outdoors again.  

Yesterday after work I headed to the barn and got G tacked up for a ride.  We had the arena to ourselves which was a real treat!  G was doing great, he felt loose, he was yielding smoothly, side passing right and left and I was happy to find that even being out of practice he still had his moves.  Ater about 15 minutes I felt him tighten up, his head swiveled looking over to the next property and he just stopped dead.  I had my iPod on softly so I took one ear piece out and I could hear voices of kids yelling.  Before I could think the words "what the heck" G spun and started to head toward the arena gate.  I doubled him and asked for a circle.  He was tight and not listening.  I asked for him to stop and stand as I wanted to figure out what was going on.  The voices got louder, he started backing up.  I asked him to move forward, he side passed.  He was snorting, jigging, and he wouldn't stand still.  All of a sudden two kids come running up to the backside of the arena and they're yelling "willie" or "billie" not sure which and I yelled "stop yelling you're scaring my horse".  Well all of a sudden from the side yard comes this medium size black dog who looks like he's running for his life.  He ran straight through the arena, not paying us much mind.  Well G was paying a whole lot of mind, and I'm asking him to stand which he won't, so I decide to keep him moving forward at least.  Nope, he jigged, he side passed; completly blowing off my cues.  Meantime the kids are still yelling, one of them running along side the arena yelling for the dog, the dog is flying all over the place, and all I want is G to stop for one second so I can dismount.  One of the fellow boarders who had been in her car hopped out and tried to help the kid corral the dog.  I've never seen a dog run so fast and pay zero attention to its owner.  Of course I have to yell "where the heck is his leash....if he runs into the road, you're going to be minus one dog".  What was I thinking?  I'm not, I'm reacting and being a bitch.  But the barn is on a major commuter road and the cars travel on average at 50 mph.  This dog will stand no chance if he makes it out there.  Why do parents let kids handle dogs that aren't trained?  So now I'm uptight, really uptight; G's still moving his feet and I make another attempt to ask him to stand.  He starts to back up faster than I've ever felt him and for the first time ever, I felt him start to rear.  I made one more attempt to push him forward, and when he did I popped my right foot out of the stirrup and pushed myself off him.  He stopped still. The head pops up and he starts snorting like something is out to kill him, he starts spinning right and left as I'm holding the reins and I'm trying to talk calmly to bring him down.  Zip, in comes the dog again and starts it all over again.  The dog now discovers G and starts rnning back and forth behind him barking at him.  Great, it was like a three ring circus.  The next thing I see is the dog running down the drive toward the road, with the little boy chasing it....never chase a running dog, it will just keep running.  I didn't hear any squealing tires and it got quiet so I figured maybe they caught him.  Katie comes into the arena and starts talking to G in this wonderfully soft voice, "oh what a brave horse you are G, that was a big bad dog wasn't it" G's getting calmer, and I'm thinking to myself, "why can't I be that soft and gentle - that's exactly what G needs".  Katie left and I walked G around the arena for about 10 minutes, he finally lowered his head and took a couple of heavy sighs.  I decided I'd remount and just walk him around for a couple of minutes and then call it a day.  Everything was fine for all of about two minutes until we got to the backside of the arena where the kids had popped out initially and he tried to bolt again.  We jigged, I asked him to soften and circle, he started to sidepass, I ask for a circle again, and kept circling til we got to the gate where I didn't wait for a stop this time, I just hopped off.   I opened the gate and G ran into my shoulder.  This was the final straw and where I lost it,  I backed him up 10 feet and then jogged him into the barn where I stripped off his tack and roughly walked him into his stall.  I can't remember the last time I've felt such anger, it wasn't pretty and looking back its as if I lost all control of my wits.  When I went to remove his bridle he raised his head as high as it would go with this wild eyed look.  I know this look, it's fear, yet it didn't stop me from yelling at him and backing him into the corner to remove the bridle.  I called him Alpo, I told him I was through, and that this was the last time I would deal with his assinine behaviour.  I shut the stall door, put all my stuff away and walked away.  When I shut the barn door the last thing I saw was G's head hanging over the stall door, still waiting for his treat.  He has no clue of what just transpired.  I got into my car and the tears started to roll down my cheeks.  As mad as I was at G for over-reacting, I was four times madder at myself for losing control.  All that I've worked so hard for, any amount of trust, just shattered in 20 minutes.   I started to drive and the tears continued to flow.  

Today was a perfect example of why I feel I'm not the right person for G.  He deserves someone who is a relaxed soul, someone who knows how to maintain control at all times; someone who recognizes in themselves when its time to back away. Someone who can connect to G's soul and gain 100% of his trust, in a way that I don't think I ever can.  What scared me the most was that going into the ride I felt totally relaxed.  I didn't feel any stress whatsoever.  Where this anger came from was deep and it was scary.  I still don't understand where it came from, but I do know that I didn't like it or me at that moment, and I still don't.  I can only hope he can forgive me.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Is it Spring Yet?

I used to love snow as there is something so pristine and peaceful about new fallen deep snow.  The world gets quiet, sounds are muffled.  Wildlife is easy to spot and follow as you snow shoe through the woods.  

Okay that was then, this is now!  I hate snow, I'm tired of snow, I wouldn't mind if I don't see it for the next two winters!  We stopped counting the inches we've had so much.  I think last count was 85" this season and the all time record is 115" so it is feasible that we could see that again.  UGH!!  

We haven't seen the ground since mid December.  It was so nice in the beginning as we could ride the trails and enjoy the beauty and peacefullness.  Then we got an ice storm that put a crust of ice on 2' of snow.  Needless to say that was the end of trail riding for us.  I'm guessing that we still have 3-4' of snow on the ground.  Much too much to ask a horse to ride through.  Heck, they're all having enough problems out in their pastures.  Each pasture has single trails that meander not more than 1/3 of the way into them lol.  They certainly aren't getting much exercise out there these days.  

The last storm dumped another foot of heavy snow which has demolished its share of roofs and buildings throughout the state.  Today another horse barn roof collapsed, this time horses were inside and were killed.  It's devestating to hear about.  Folks all over are buying roof rakes and getting up on their roofs to shovel.  I'm betting there have been some slips and major injuries doing this, as its not the safest thing to do when a roof is dry. 

Our indoor arena has been closed since last Friday due to the inability to remove all of the snow from the top.  It's one of the clearspan types with the heavy fabric roofs.  It took a few days just to move trailers and get the snow removed from around the arena so they could drive the boom truck around it and use the roof rake.  Unfortunately with the weather and cold they've only been able to do a little each day. 

I did get to ride G up and down the driveway last Sunday as it was near 40 degrees and the snow/ice was loose enough to not worry about slipping.  I so can't wait until we can ride again.  I know G would love to kick up those heels so I'm thinking he will have the opportunity to free lunge before I mount up lol....I'm not sure I'm ready for all the energy he's been storing up!  

Is it spring yet?  whine whine whine

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Another Snowy Ride

Last night we got another 3-4" of snow in our parts of the state, though towns to the south and west of us got upwards of a foot.  It was that heavy snow that sticks to everything and makes the world look like a peaceful, yet cold, wonderland.  So after Saturday morning chores I layered up, grabbed Ozzy and headed to the barn.  I know it was below 32 degrees, but I was afraid to look at the temp so I drove to the barn with my nav system off so I couldn't see it lol.  

I decided to try using our Liz Graves sidepull.  It's been almost a year since we used it, but I thought he would certainly enjoy a trail ride without cold steel in his mouth.  He was super relaxed heading out, though there were a lot of slippery spots under the snow.  I was really pleased with his go forth and explore attitude.  Ozzy of course was having a blast running in the snow, he's such a great trail dog.  When we got to the field rather than temp fate with the footing we turned around.  

G pretty much forgot what pressure on his nose was all about and tried to speed up for home.  We had an interesting and lengthy non verbal conversation pretty much the whole way back to the trail head.  Once we got back to the farm, the conversation slowed down.   Needless to say when we got back to the farm, we continued to work.  I worked with the liberty ring for a bit, and just hacked around.   

One of the gals at the barn agreed to take a few pictures for me since I'm usually out on the trail with Ozzy alone.  It's nice to have pics of the three trail buddies! (thanks Sharon). 

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Years Day Ride

Since we had the snow I haven't dared trying to traverse down the backside of the Christmas Tree farm.  So day before yesterday we christened the snow up the hill through the woods and just looped around the top of the tree farm.  When we came back down I noticed deer tracks along the end paddock so I decided to follow them.  When we got to the corner of the fence I found quad tracks from their neighbors property leading out to the woods so we followed them.  It's not a very long trail, but it takes us out to a huge crop field.  We went back again yesterday and Cheryl rode one of the lesson horses out with us.  She tells me that you can ride clear into Massachusetts to the next mountain.  Come spring I think we'll have to check it out.  Today I took Ozzy back out with me and we just rode by ourselves.  We did the loop around the tree farm and then back out to the crop field.  Since we were on our own we walked around the perimeter about half a mile and turned around.  Hard to believe it was January 1st, as it was nearing 50 degrees.  Gorgeous day and a great ride with my pony and trail dog.  I took a short video of the rowdy trail dog....this was the first time he's taken off into the woods on us.  He usually trots right along side us, gotta love that bell!   

Wonderful way to start out New Year.  Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

A short video through the woods...  YouTube Video