Monday, May 23, 2011


Things have been pretty chaotic around our place. I have barely have had time to breathe , let alone sit down a write a worthy post. So, I will just try to summarize and give a few updates for now.

I have managed some decent conditioning rides on the weekends with Maggie as well as squeezing out an evening training session or two in the arena during the week. Our average mileage has been anywhere between 7-10 miles on the trail, but much of that is hill climbing. We certainly aren’t setting any records on speed or distance at this point but Maggie is becoming quite fit nonetheless. She constantly amazes me with her strength and willingness to "just keep going". On the down side, I have run into a few “training” issues with her that I am working on. Her “go” button appears to be stuck in the on position and as she has gotten more fit, it just gets a bit worse each time. I had this same issue with her last year but with some concentrated work in the arena, we made some good progress last fall. Maggie was listening well to half halts and would slow up and listen. I was even getting to where I could ask for a couple of different speeds at the trot. This year, we seem to be back to this same problem, however, I realize that that the issue is more about her focus. Her thought is not on me and the task at hand and there's a good reason for it.
For starters, she has become ridiculously attached to the younger gelding she shares paddock space with. We are going to have to separate them but that's a whole other post! It’s a love hate thing between Maggie and Brego, Tom's up and coming gelding. Often times, I am on Maggie and my husband is riding Brego at the same time in the arena and the training session turns into a frustrating battle for all of us. Both horses just worry constantly about where the other one is. It's impossible to get much accomplished if you can't get the horses attention for more than 3 milliseconds at a time.

The second part of the problem is me. It dawned on me this weekend. I have been doing a piss poor job of keeping her thought on me. This year, I have fallen into the trap of just "get on and go". Why?? Well, that ‘s pretty simple…. I am not focused, why should my horse be? I am not even trying to tune into her, why should I expect her to tune in to me, right?

I won’t go into details but there are some major stressors going on in my life right now that I am trying to manage. Unfortunately, its taking my focus away from everything else and at this point, it has to. At least for the time being.

So, pardon me for a while, I might be a bit more absent on blogs, face book and maybe a bit slow to respond to emails as this other situation consumes my time and energy. Eventually, I’ll make it back around to some sense of normalcy in my life and hopefully get back to being more “plugged in” at some point in the future .

Until then, Happy Trails!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

JB's first ride..

I started this post out originally talking about all kinds of announcements of sorts I wanted to share with you and spun in the news at the end about JB's first ride, but when I finished, it didn't seem right , it seemed like JB's first ride really deserved it's own post, so I erased all that other stuff and started over. The other stuff can wait.

For a few weeks now as time and weather have permitted, I've been taking JB for walks and doing ground driving sessions in the arena. Friday night I had gone out to halter him and the plan was to just brush him really well and let him hand graze. I was just coming off having a knock you on your butt flu and I wasn't feeling real motivated to do much, but I needed to go out and be with a horse nonetheless. The sun , which hadn't been out all day suddenly appeared from behind the clouds and it got nice and warm. I walked back into the tack room to get a different brush and JB, who tends to like to also get into the tack room, followed me in and sniffed at his saddle. I know this is going to sound a little crazy but he seemed to be telling me wanted to go for a ride. JB and I are pretty connected and I would like to beleive, after everything we have been through together, that we are tuned into one anothers thougths on some levels. I thought for a second maybe it was too soon yet. All the doubt crept in but really , what was I waiting for? For him to tell it was time?? Well, he seemed to be doing just that. So, the decision was made for me...
As soon as I grabbed his bridle, he got the most anticipatory look on his face that I have ever seen on a horse. He definitely got excited about it. He was trying to get him mouth on the bit before I even had it ready to pop over his little ears. He was pretty cute about it. Anyways, your probably wondering when I going to stop babbling and tell you how it went , right??

Okay, I'll tell you. It went fine. I know.. anti-climactic, right ?? Well, there really isn't much to tell honestly and that is exactly how I imagined it would go. I got on and we walked off, quiet as ever. JB was very tentative and unsure of himself, having to bear the extra weight of a rider. He was very careful and that's a good thing at this point.

The less than good thing is that JB is not sound, not really anyways. It's not what I would call a limp, but a shortened stride on his right side, which I beleive is coming from the shoulder, not the pastern. His shoulder sustained numerous soft tissue injuries (torn muscles, ligaments, etc) in the accident and he had a huge hematoma in his heart girth area. My hope is that this will improve as he gets stronger, along with some massage work and stretching. He's not in any pain, he runs and jumps at liberty without hesitation. The pastern doesn't seem to bother him in the least and I am very happy about that.

Riding JB for the first time was obviously a bigger deal for me than I am able to even try to begin to portray here so I won't get into all that. When I finished my ride on JB and jumped off of him, my husband, who had come up to the fence of the arena to watch, walked over to me and said "Congratulations, this is a big deal" I hadn't thought about it that way because it just happened and I hadn't planned on it being the day I ride JB, but he was right. It was a big deal, considering. I managed a meager "thank you" and choked back the tears I could feel coming. I was mildly sad because I had hoped JB was going to walk off feeling much more sound than he did but realistically, a year ago, at this time, I was struggling with the decision on whether I should put JB down. I can deal with a shortened stride and a horse that is just happy to be with me.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


So it's May, the sun is shining and Monday night I came home from work with a killer headache which turned into a migraine. I woke in the middle of the night with the chills and achey all over.. Tuesay morning, the full blown flu had descended upon me... This is the first time I have been out of bed since yesterday.

I haven't had the flu in years. Guess this is why people get the flu shot..

Monday, May 2, 2011

We weren't exactly lost....

First , for those who lost a loved one on September 11th, I hope that last night you slept just a little better knowing that Bin Laden is dead. Stand up and salute those who serve. Here's to the land of the free and the Red , White and Blue.

Now, onto yesterday's ride.

I headed out to my usual training ground, a large section of State land, known as Kuhn's. It's about a half hour drive from home but it's actually the closest to me as far as area's to ride. I have ridden this area for 10+ years so I know it pretty well. You can easily ride several 12 -15 mile loops and if your adventurous, you can get more mileage as well. There are plenty of good hills as well as nice long flat areas. It's really a great training area. Yesterday, a friend and I headed there for the first time this season. We planned for an easy 8-9 mile ride.

I had heard the loggers had been in there over the winter, but I didn't worry too much about it since they have been logging small sections in this area for the last several years. The terrain is very heavily wooded and definitely needed some logging, however what we found yesterday was quite surprising.

For the first half of the ride, I mostly knew where I was. Mostly. Atleast well enough to find a few of the trails I was familiar with. The second half of the ride, we somehow managed to get into an area I could not even recognize. It was amazing to me that the logging had changed the look of the landscape to me so much. I kept thinking that something would eventually look familiar but it didn't. So, we just kept riding, figuring eventually it would come out somewhere that we would recognize. It never did. I knew we were quite a ways south of where we needed to be and when we ended up in behind a subdivision I was finally able to recognize, I realized wewere about a mile and a half south of where we needed to be but if we back tracked it was about 3 miles.

Maggie and Zira were starting to get a little tired and so we opted for the shorter route, given it was already after 5:00 p.m. Unfortunately, the shorter route also meant we had to trespass and potentially get shot at or chased by dogs. Sometimes, you have to weigh the odds !!

We cut through a couple of back yards, which was an area known for it's "back woodsy " folks who didn't really like "visitors". Luckily, no one seemed to notice us, or if they did, they didn't bother with us.

We finally made our way out onto the gravel road that I knew would get us back out to the main road. From there, we could then follow that back to where the trailers were parked.

Lesson learned?? There were a couple: First; learn to use GPS I carry for more than just mileage and speed tracking. Second, never sweat getting a little "turned around"..Given the changes to the landscape, it probably won't be the last time I get lost in there this season.