January 31, 2016

January 29, 2016

Steve in the Lead

Steve and I gave both horses a good grooming on Saturday and then took them for a walk around the neighborhood.  I was riding Dani and he was leading Chance.  It was best for them to start on the ground and since it'd been another couple weeks since the fall and little work done with Chance we figured it was best to do some groundwork.  The weather has been colder and then there has been some rain and even some snow flurries.  It hasn't bode well for the riding area footing, the muddy Wormhole or for giving us a moment to work with either horse.

I rode behind Steve and Chance and sometimes in front of them.  Steve asked questions a couple times about what to do when Chance was pulling in front of him or circling around him.  I told him to snap the lead and make Chance back if he didn't listen and that seemed to work for them.  Chance was excited to walk out of the road and see some sights.  When we walked past a neighbors house things went awry rather quickly.  Chance decided to prance, toss his head and lift his tail.  Gorgeous as he was Steve looked like he was showing a silly yearling in a halter class and Chance wasn't listening very well.

Steve brought him back to the barn since he was afraid of getting out of control.  I didn't realize that and thought we were going to walk around the back of the property away from the horse Chance seemed to want to impress.  Dani started getting a little agitated now that Chance was gone but I wouldn't have that.  I made her circle and turn her hindquarters and then made her walk behind the house and by a plum tree to the easement on the north of our property.  She glanced at the large heating unit monster on the side of the house but I wasn't going to let her feign spookiness...nope.

We walked around the back of the house and then up the south western side by the wooded lot adjacent to our property.  A loud clicking sound got Dani very agitated and I noticed that a line of the fencing from Westeros was broken and laying inside the field.  There was nothing in our path to hurt her so we walked past the scary spot.  All this time that we were riding around the property Chance was having a fit and galloping around the paddocks and into Gallifrey the pasture we were using at this time.  He gets really upset and tears up the ground with his antics but I made sure Dani kept calm and didn't act up with her own shenanigans.  I don't know what to do about Chance but we'll figure out something.  We'll also have to see how he is if ridden off alone.

I eventually rode Dani around the front of the property and back to the barn where I dismounted to untack my mare.  We ended on a good note, not so sure about Steve though.  I think I need to work on him one on one with Chance, that way I can show him what to do when Chance acts a certain way.  We do plan on taking some lessons soon, possibly together since I'm not against going back to basics anyways.  Always good to work on your seat and the feel of riding since that is sooo much of what it is.  I think a weekly lesson on Chance could do wonders for Steve and I, it would be good for us both to ride Chance and Dani.  

I have noticed though that Chance is slowly getting more responsive to Steve and I at feeding time.  He's nickering more and not acting like we are the mean boss mare like Dani.  Sometimes Chance will move away fast from us as if he's afraid he'll get nipped.  The more we work with him he'll realize we are boss mares but a little more fair than Dani!  He and Dani are definitely different.  He's on the lower end of the pecking order and she's higher so there is a bit more of that "oh my god!" freak out reaction vs. Dani's "um...why should I?" reaction.  It will just take time and as the weather and El Nino cooperate we'll get more time in working with him.  It's a slow process when I have so much I need to do in order to make the substrate safer. 

Oh plus I need to find a job, there is that whole thing, I'm trying to find something biotech/lab related and since I haven't done that work in a while I'm taking some refresher courses at a local college.

January 28, 2016

How we Faired with Jonas

It's been year's since I've dealt with a Noreaster.  The snow is different out here, it's icy and there isn't much you can do to remove the stuff.  Powder from Colorado is easier to deal with.  I was curious to see how this storm would be.  

  The day before the storm was warm and sunny.  The horses didn't know what was coming but they were soaking up the warmth none the less

I was hoping we wouldn't be without power since we don't have a generator yet.  I filled a barrel with water and kept that in the garage as a precaution in case we were out of power and needed water.  The horse troughs were filled to the brim and the water heater working well.  If we lost power and water iced over my plan was to boil water on the grill outside and then break the ice and add the hot water to the troughs, not perfect but would work in a pinch.

At least I only had to use the grill for making filet mignons.  A little snow won't prevent a girl from Colorado from grilling.

 It will be nice to get a generator at some point to not have to worry about what to do out here in the country.

The ponies had their blankets, Chance's was a little too small (didn't cover his bum) and didn't have any insulation so I used the 100 weight liner of Dani's with his top sheet.  We'll have to get him a new blanket with some insulation but at least this worked well enough for this storm. 

 I was mostly worried about keeping them dry since we were to receive some freezing rain before the snow.

When the snow did come the horses seemed to have a good time in it and loved racing around the pasture.  The frozen mud that is located in the wormhole area was gated off.  I didn't like that there were deep pock-holes in the mud and that they were a potential leg breaking hazard.  I hope to get a temporary solution going this week to make that area more safe.  More to come on that.

The humans also had a bit of fun in the snow a couple days later!

January 27, 2016

Beer Touring

Steve's parents stayed after New Years since they offered to take care of our critters while we attended Marie's wedding.  That also gave us all time to check out some more breweries.

Oi my liver....and yet yum.  There was also another cool flight tray at this brewery!  Lonerider was pretty good too.  Lots of beers I liked so certainly a place we'll have to return.

Steve and his mom.

Mac and I.

New Year's day my brother who only lives 3 hours north of me came down to hang.  We went to Ponysaurus Brewery.  I don't know if I'm liking this one the best so far because of the name, atmosphere or the drinks available but it's a great brewery and I highly recommend it!

Selfie with beer!

Family time is fun even if it means fewer chances to ride the ponies.  The benefit of having them in the back yard will be that I work with them more often.  Here's hoping to good weather and more riding chances!

January 26, 2016

New Years and Ponies

Steve's dad and Steve really like going to local breweries.  Heck who am I kidding, so do I.  That's what we did on New Year's Eve until about 9ish, then we headed home to toast in the New Year properly....in our pjs of course!

Crank Arm Brewery was on the best breweries we hit that night.  I really like the creative serving tray they used.  The decor was very bike oriented.

There was a wit, a couple saisons (my favorite beer styles) and then some Golden ale and browns.  They seemed to have a good variety and most were pretty good.  We'll have to go again.

Steve and I took on the large came of Jenga...it went for quite a while but alas I was the one to knock it over.  I was doing good for a bit though!

Me with my in-laws Mac and Kathi.

Back at home with my love toasting the New Year with our Dragon flutes from our wedding....lovely gift from Michael and Justin and Mike and Ashaleigh.   Love you guys!

This was the first New Year's that I could go out and celebrate with my pony...now ponies!  I went out for a hug with Chance and Dani and tried to do some selfies.  In the pitch black dark I couldn't really see what I was pointing the camera at and I think I blinded both myself and the ponies

Nothing like a Chance ear and then a photo of my hand with Dani....didn't even make it in my own selfie!

Blurry nostril pictures are awesome...

Was very happy though to toast in the New Years with all my critters at home!  Hope you all make 2016 awesome!

January 25, 2016

My Bestie's Wedding

My best friend Marie got married in January.  We headed to Houston, TX for the ceremony.  I was one of the bridesmaids along with her two sisters.  Before the big day we all went out to a nice dinner just us girls and many of Marie's friends in Houston.  Marie lives in Ankey, IA and her future husband was in Oklahoma for a while but they are both now ending up in Houston.

It was a hard thing to plan a wedding from another state but what a gorgeous wedding it was!  I cried many times even before the big day.  It makes me so happy to see my best friend so happy.  I really like Raja her husband. They are a perfect match!  So for the night out with the girls I was told to be more dressy.  I'm a jeans and tee shirt kinda gal so this was different.  I still had jeans but donned mud free cowboy boots and a cute top.  I did my hair in air dried beachy waves.

Marie was badass as always and though I know she was exhausted from little sleep and lots of preparations she had a  great time and I think was pleased to have long time friends there to celebrate her night.  Several drinks and good food with friends makes for a great evening!

The day of was pretty well organized.  Marie is not a picky person and was one of the most relaxed brides I've ever seen.  Her dress was gorgeous and she was stunning.

I had to bring Percy our traveling penguin along.  He was at Steve and I's wedding and was a hit with all our friends and family.  He wanted to at least come along and wish Marie well.

So here are Steve and I all gussied up for the wedding.  I'm wearing pearls!!!  Fake ones but still. I'm also wearing lace!!!!! Mandy, one of Marie's sisters had the idea we could do fuzzy wraps.  I wasn't sure about that but we all went with it and it turned out awesome.  It was like 1950's Hollywood glam!  Plus it was a weird chilly day in Houston and we were freezing so the warm wraps actually helped a little!

The next two pics are not mine, I think a family friend Sara took the one and Raja took the other.  I'm hoping I'll be able to show some cool professional pics once Marie gets those back, I know they are  going to be fantastic!

Look at the happy couple!

The wedding topper was perfect.  Marie has always loved elephants and it's awesome that her husband is an Indian man.  It's like fate or something.  She clicks really well with his culture and has already taken and plans to take more trips to India with him to see his family.  The rehearsal dinner had Marie dressed in traditional Indian attire and it was gorgeous.  The water works started there for me!

This is a glimpse of the reason I was gussied up....a fantastic occasion watching my bestie say vows with a wonderful man.  I'm looking forward to getting to know him better and seeing where their marriage takes them.  Cheers!

January 24, 2016

Serene Sunday

All gussied up....but why??

January 21, 2016

Been Cooped Up

One thing on the property we'd contemplated was keeping the chicken coop area as is.  Well, upon closer inspection it wasn't quite the condition we expected.  A lot of the wood was rotten and the security of the roof and doors was lacking.  The enclosure also wasn't too our liking since we want the whole thing wrapped with sturdy wire (chicken wire does nothing for predators) and we want it all at least 6 foot tall.

One warmer day between New Years and when we would leave for a friends wedding Steve and I took on the task of removing all the parts and pieces.  We had to dissemble the wood and take the metal off (for the Durham recycling center).  It was a task since it was all nailed rather than screwed so we had to pry apart the various supports.

The chicken wire was stapled and folded over itself many times in areas so it was a pain to get apart but we eventually found a routine that worked quickly.

We created our large piles of wood and metal and then arranged it in order for the Durham dump station.  We would have to toss the wood first then the metal so we made sure the metal was at the bottom of the truck bed.  

 The area is so much more open now and allows a nicer view from the window.  We still want chickens but have a particular coop and location in mind but that won't be for a bit.

January 20, 2016

Family Fun and Holidays

The holidays are lots of fun and even though I have family coming to visit I always say I'm going to ride.  It rarely happens.  We had one day where we went to ride the horses.  Mostly because of weather but other times because we were doing family things.  I sometimes find it hard to  go out to the barn for a long period of time.  Sure we groom the horses and do regular care but training?  Nope doesn't happen.  I need to get over that.  Steve's parents visit often and for a couple weeks at a time.  I know they don't care if I go ride my horse they are pretty chill about things but I guess I feel guilty in a way.  Anyways...enough of that!

Armani enjoyed his location under the tree but at one point I had to clean up a yarf.  Normally I spray most of my decorations with bitter apple but this year I didn't have any so he ingested some plastic pieces that he promptly threw up.  Yuck.  Still he's always cute snuggled under the tree, particularly when Stubs joins him.

We decided to do appetizers for Christmas eve while we watched movies, Christmas Story is a tradition that we have to watch the night before.

We all gathered around the coffee table with plates, wassail (hot traditional spiced adult beverage) and stomachs ready to be filled with cheeses, meats, hummus, veggies, bacon wrapped things, little smokies and chip dips.  Not your healthiest affair but it was delicious

Everyone gathered to watch the favorite movie.  Even Stubs in her prominent perch was enjoying the flick though we shooed her away from the feast...not good for little one's tummy.

Christmas day of course meant presents and then a family dinner of prime rib, glazed carrots, broccoli and risotto.

It was warm and happy our little gathering.

Even though Armani only ate his cat food he was sleeping like he'd drank a bunch of wassail.

Obviously I had a few glasses of wassail so had to get some kitty cat and me selfies....cheers!!

January 19, 2016

Christmas Family Visits

WOW it's been busy around here!  We've been chugging along getting fully organized in the house and then the holidays arrived!  We had Steve's parents here for about 3 weeks and his daughter Cierra for just over 1 week.  Cierra is 20 years old, almost 21....she's counting the days and goes to school at Salisbury University in Maryland.  She took some riding lessons in high school and simply loves animals.  We were pleased that we had some nice weather finally during her visit where we could ride.  We've received non stop rainy days for several weeks.

These pictures are all from Cierra's phone either taken by her or my hubby Steve.  We started out grooming the two horses and getting them tacked up.  Steve and I hopped on first to get a feel for how the horses were.  It'd been a while since we've worked them or ridden due to weather so we wanted to see how they were feeling.  Steve rode Chance for the first time and was doing quite well.  Chance seemed to follow Dani around mainly, we rode in The Shire.  A couple times I circled her around and Steve seemed to do well with directing Chance.

Then Steve had some issues getting Chance to listen to him and what Steve says is that he sped up or kicked out or something like that.  I was in front and didn't see anything but Chance going one way and Steve going the other with the saddle spinning to one side of the gelding.  Luckily the ground was soft and Steve also wears a helmet so he wasn't hurt.  I dismounted and gave him Dani's reins.  I think Chance maybe had some beans pent up from the rain and lack of exercise lately.  I worked him from the ground and told Steve and Cierra that Dani would be fine to ride.  I think Steve rode her some but I know Cierra did and had a pretty good time from what I could tell.

I needed to have a good note to end on with the pony boy, he certainly was worked up a bit and when mildly asked to trot in a circle we was kicking up his heels and snorting a storm.  The soft ground at one point seemed to slip from under him and he actually fell on his side!!!!  Oh my goodness my heart nearly stopped!  I took nearly all pressure off him to see if he would just walk in the circle and he did with no indication of any leg issues.  I brought him into the smaller riding pen to work him in there so we wouldn't add more area that is torn up.  I have so much I need to do with this property to include getting a safe lunging area completed.  I didn't ask for anything more than a trot but the silly boy cantered at times and spun when asked to change directions or simply snorted and bucked on the line.  A couple times I reprimanded him for the bucks.  I knew he just had pent up energy and we haven't had much of a chance to work with him but I didn't want him to get so worked up he hurt himself.

Cierra on Dani enjoying a nice ride.  They look so cute together!

While Cierra and Steve played around with Dani I continued working with Chance to get him to use the thinking side of his brain.  He finally got to a better place so I asked Steve to come lead him around with me on top.  I was scared for sure but I breathed deeply and mounted up.  We walked around in a couple circles and then when I felt more confident I asked Steve to step back.  Chance was still a little hesitant to walk on-wards with me on top, it felt like I was doing most of the work to get him walking instead of just asking and him going at a steady pace.  I've had horses that wouldn't move under saddle and I know I just need to work with him; ground work and in the saddle.  The balking has a tendency to make me more tense and thus perpetuates the cycle and then the horse responds with either more balking or running off.  I'm okay with the former at this time but I need to find a place where I can mount up and be comfortable with Chance and he with me.  We'll get there.  This exercise just showed me that he's not really what I'd label a cold backed horse but he's not a horse like Dani that can sit in the pasture for several weeks and then go for a ride with few issues.  He has a more active mind and Steve and I have to learn how to work with him.  

Doesn't my step daughter have a nice natural seat??

Since then Steve and I went out in the neighborhood, me astride Dani and him leading Chance.  It's best to work from the ground up.  Steve did well and so did Chance.  I'll post about that later.  At least over the Christmas holiday ride no one was injured and I think there was some quality father/daughter time though not the quiet trail ride together for which I was hoping.