Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ta Do Ta Dun..

It's only Tuesday but this week has been one for the books. I watched several colleages and friends be escorted out the office doors due to a reduction in force. It was something we all knew was coming but never suspected the employer was going to handle it how they did. Corporate America is not always a nice place. For months we were all on pins and needles wondering who would be cut and the people they chose , in many cases, made poor business sense.. but then again, I don't run the business. If I did, I certainly wouldn't do the things they do. Now that the worst of it is over, those of us left have a sense of relief that it wasn't any of us but at the same time that feeling of relief is overshadowed by the sense of loss. It's been a hard week.However,  life continues and things need done at house and farm. Home/farm ownership is a constant process of change as well. Ongoing upkeep, reassessing use of land, corrals and herd managment. The big "farm" news is that Grace is going on to a new home to be a momma again.
Remember when she came home  from Texas? I posted here about it. Well, she is moving on again. We aren't sure if it's permanent move at this point, but for the time being, she is going to a friends ranch east of the mountains to be bred. She is not sound to ride more than light pleasure riding due to the mishap with JB, ( which ofcourse nearly killed JB and ended his endurance career )but also caused her some issues as well. In the mishap, she broke the tip of her coffin bone.  The good news is she still has some worth as a broodmare. She has some pretty hard to find Lippitt Bloodlines that just shouldn't be wasted and we have no intentions of breeding anymore. Tom had several foals out of her years ago but we are done with that phase of our horse life! So that's that. Moving on... 

The springtime ritual of dragging the pasture to bust up the turds is done and the pasture looks brown but neat. Now we wait for the green stuff to start sprouting. As mentioned here,the trailer is scheduled to go in to have the axles flipped at the end of the month (soonest we could get it in) and it won't be as pricey as we originally thought. That is rarely the case these days. Thanks ya'll for the info on the product that can be a protective coating. We are looking into it..

The truck goes in for a new windshield  and the trailer gets new tires next week. (Planning to hit the raod and head to Idaho in July for a pioneer ride!)

Today, we were given the good news that  the water softener system finally choked to it's final death so that was replaced  and last but not least, the fenced yard project is well underway.

With any luck ,Xena won't get any ideas and we won't have this situation..!

PS:I have also been working Maggie on the lunge a bit this week. It's going well but the canter is in need of some work. In all the years I have lunged horses, I have not yet seen a horse react quite like she does when she canters. It's almost panic as near as I can tell. I will be doing a post on it soon. Stay tuned..

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ideas please? Haywire for Home Built Hay feeders

We have mud, serious , deep EPIC mud,  like I have not seen for some time. The horses are miserable and I feel so bad but there isn't much I can do, short of putting them in the garage and all 6 won't fit. We have had to confine them to corrals now because they were tearing up the pasture too badly. They are not happy . I thought the least I could do is maybe invest in some kind of feeder to help get the hay off the ground for them.  I have always admired those heavy duty plastic spitoon looking feeders. Have you ever seen them? They are pretty nifty because they are easy to move around. You can fit 2-3 square bales in them . You can even install them with grates on the bottom for either drainage or to help keep the horses from gorging themselves. What is also nice is that the shape of the feeder does help to keep hay in the feeder better. Horses still manage to throw some out on the ground. They also won't try to crawl into these , generally, like they will with regular horse feeders( the big metal ones)
I had understood that the spitoon feeders were "economical" . So I went searching online. A company called Hi Qual makes them. But guess what? No one in my area is a dealer for them anymore. Figures.  The closest thing is about an hour drive away and I would have to order it. But the guy here that doesn't carry them said he lives near the store that can order it and pick it up for me. Sometimes I love living in Montana.! How is that for customer service. He even gave me his cell number. Ofcourse, if I order, it would be a week before it got here. That was all doable. What I wasn't expecting was the price. $455 big ones for them. Ideally I need two but that puts getting even one out of reach right now.

Plan B- I will gather the various metal water tanks I have laying around and use those until this mud subsides..sigh... I really want one of those pretty little spitoon feeders...

Anyone have any good patterns or ideas for something similar that could be home built?

Off to step into the mud boots (which almost aren't tall enough) and scrub off a horse or two....

Friday, March 23, 2012

Good Stuff to Share

Here is a link to are recent blog post on Developing Engagement by Alice Trindle.  Not only is she an excellent hand with a horse, she is an excellent teacher of her art, which is a skill that many clinicicians and trainers often lack. She only comes to Montana once a year unfortunately but I hope to get some time with her again this summer. Check out her blog and and her you tube videos for some great advice!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Honey Do List

So vacation is over and despite the snow covering the ground, it's time to get into spring riding mode. Spring break is next week. That means Tom is home. He will be busy doing projects around the house and believe me, the list is long. The first order of business  is getting Maggie fitted for her Borium shoes so I can start riding her on the trails, which are still icey and snowy.  The farrier will bring them for me all made up so that Tom can install them.  Borium shoes are expensive enough,  but having the farrier put them on is one of those expenses I can bypass. I thank my lucky stars every day that I have a husband who is also a talented farrier.

The other big event on the to do list is getting some work done to the horse trailer. I had really hoped we were going to get a new trailer this winter. We looked and looked and found a few potentials but even a good deal on a horse trailer is still thousands of dollars for what we want. That's a big investment. Our old beater is just going to have to make do for a bit longer. There is a lot I like about our old steel clunker. For one, I am comfortable pulling it. The length of the goosneck is long enough and makes turning and backing much easier. It's an open stock trailer and its heavy but horses seem to travel well in it, even horses who have never traveled well in a trailer seem to do fine in this one.
Tom  customized it when he first purchased it new in  1997 to install a wall of plywood to create a tack room. The tack room is tight  but it works okay. We just stick a folding saddle rack in there and hang bridle hanger on the wall for halters and bridles. We replaced the wood boards for flooring in it a few years back. Best of all.. The dang thing is paid for...

There are  some not so great things about it that are beginning to grate on my nerves. It's beginning to rust. That gets really expensive to have fixed. Not sure what we are going to do about that yet. There are couple areas that are worse than others.  One major fix that we are planning to complete is the axles. Years ago, we flipped the axles , making the trailer's ground clearance  much higher. I wasn't keen on the idea but Tom used the trailer for hunting. He needed that ground clearance to get to the area he hunts in without damaging the trailer. It's Montana backcountry...roads that are unmanaged. Use your imagination a bit. Roads with wheel ruts 2 feet deep...  He doesn't hunt in that area anymore and it's unlikely he'll be going back anytime soon.We decided it was kind of dumb to keep the trailer jacked up like that..The horses have to jump in and jump out, which they manage just fine 99.8% of the time, but there have been times where they have miss calculated thier departure and have ended up cutting their leg. It pisses me off every time..

Having a "lifted" trailer also creates some other difficulties for short legged people like myself to get in and out of the tack room easily.I usually have an old milk crate I use as a step but there have been mishaps with that too. Surprisingly, they aren't always stable on uneven ground. More than once,  I have stepped down onto my milk crate, usually in a hurry, arms loaded with saddle, bridle, and packs,  and have ended up in heap because the flippin millk crate tipped to one side. It's surprising I haven't broken something yet..

 So, we are flipping the axles back to how they should be and I will gladly say goodbye to my milkcrate..

We are also going to install some sort of protective rubber on the lip on the back of the trailer because it's just bare metal.. sharp metal. This is the metal lip that the horses can catch their leg on if they misstep. Usually its a scrape to the front of the cannon bone...

Anyone have any suggestions for what product to use to cover this up???(please don't say duct tape!) 

The trailer is also getting a new set of tires for the season. We have been limping along on less than adequate rubber for a while now and frankly, I don't know how we haven't ended up with a flat... so an investment in tires is a must do.Last but not least , the wheel bearing will need to be repacked which is just another maintenance thing we check yearly. Last year we didn't need to but this year, it has to get done.

So, the old beater of a trailer will have to suffice for another year.It old, ugly and not set up to make camping easy but it's paid for and it's safe. What more can a rookie endurance rider ask for?   

Now where did I pack the tent??

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Top of the Rock

I  look out the window at our now snowcovered yard , drinking a margherita and longing for the weather I just came from, just 12 hours ago. I just got home from a long weekend "sister getaway" to Scottsdale, Arizona.  It was great. We laughed, we lounged by the pool, flirted with the cutepool boys, drank margheritas,  went for a  run in shorts (kind of a big deal for those of us living in the Northwest), shopped DSW , bought a cute pair of sandals, and the best part...hiked Camel back mountain, twice..
The "twice" part was not part of the plan but the first day, but I will get to that. It was forecasted to be  87 degrees. We were told it was only an hour one way. We each took a water bottle. We are both pretty fit and figured, "ha, no problem". We got this.

 This is sis at the trailhead.  We took the Cholla trail because it was supposed to be less roack scrambling. Neither of us had any previous experience rock climbing so we figured this might be more appropriate for our skill level.  We took our spot in the crowd of others also ready to take on the infamous mountain.  I had heard it was a crowded place to hike but I really  no idea how bad it was. It took us 20 minutes to find parking, about a 1/2 mile away.

Sis drinking the last of ALLthe water we had packed- shouldn't be too much further though....

The trail is sand and rock, some of it sharp , some of it smooth and covered in just enough sand to make the footing slick. We hiked for about a half hour and thought we could see the top. We thought we were about at the halfway point. We are still having a good time, nonetheless...

We kept on hiking and kept thinking it was just another corner, another short climb...we had to be close to the top ....

 This is a peek at where we had just come....

 The problem is , this is where we still had yet to go...plus more climbing  that is NOT captured in this photo....

All  I could think was  CLIFFHANGER... (the movie)

At this point, dear ol ' sis who is a vegetarian that had not eaten that morning and had not had enough to drink , and has been hospitalized for heat exhaustion was  really struggling.. We sat and rested for a bit to see if she could continue but I could clearly see she was not feeling well. her heart rate would not come down. She's a nurse but I am an endurance rider. I know all too well what that meant..We were done.. I had visions of her being airlifted off the mountain and maybe this is a bit selfish but I did not want to spend the rest of my vacation watching over a family member in a hospital. I  decided  we were going to turn back and head down...

So, DAY 1 , Camelback  was not conquered...

Sis may be a bit less durable , but she is still my sister and is almost as stubborn as me.. She wanted to get to the top. She was bound and determined...  so we made a plan to return the next day, equipped with more water and she promised to eat in the morning to fuel up appropriately....

And we did. We climbed and climbed. We made it past the point of which we had turned back at the day before. Sis reported she was "fit to continue" so we did.. We were in for a bit of a surprise. The climbing became quite a bit tougher. No longer was there a trai but boulders that had to be scrambled over. Neither of us had ever been rock climbing, before today. But scrambled we did and eventually... we made it....and joined the large crowd of others (50-60 people) at the top of the rock.

It took us two tries, but we made it...


check it off the bucket list...

Monday, March 12, 2012


The checked the schedule the other day. The 5K I have been planning to  attend is a little earlier this year than normal. It is  scheduled for April 15th. In keeping my eye on the ball, the training continues. I can't tell myself that "maybe" I will attend. In spite of my slow progress and the injury set back, I will be attending.  I have been consistently running 2-2.5 miles in my new Saucony Kinvara’s for 3 weeks now since the injury.  No major issues other than tight hamstrings and a little Sciatica flare up (due to forgetting my right shoe lift).

This week is an abbreviated week for me. I leave Wednesday and head to Arizona for a few days of R&R. That means my workout routine is a little messed up since Wednesday is a workout day and instead I will be stuck on a plane. Today, I snuck out during my lunch hour for a workout at the gym. They have a track. 8 laps = 1 mile. I also forgot my ipod. Running without music makes it that much harder for me. The schedule said 3 miles today. Ugghhh… This would be my first attempt at 3 miles since before the Achilles tendon injury.

The first mile was horrible. Everything felt out of sync, my hanstrings were tight (even after stretching) and I got my usual shoulder /sideache thing (anyone have a clue what this is?) half way into the first mile… but I unhappily continued. I focused on putting one foot in front of the other , thinking, just one more lap and let my mind drift. There is always plenty to think about.

Is the dog okay at home? Did I let Rebel out of his pen ? What time is my flight again? Crap- that report is due tomorrow, I need to call the farrier and get JB on his schedule, where did I put those socks I need for the trip? I wonder how I got that stain on my t-shirt??

Before I knew it I hit the 2 mile mark. This is my comfort zone. I wanted to call it good. I took another lap anyways. I passed an older woman on this trip around. She was a small woman and very hunched over but that wasn’t what got my attention. She had two walking sticks and on her back was a small pack which held her oxygen tank. There she was, slowly making her way around the track for some exercise, clearly in some real discomfort . I am sure every cell in her little broken down body was telling her it would easier to play it safe, stay home and not exercise and yet here she was. In the face of real physical limitations, she pushed herself to get dressed, get to the gym and walk that track. Slowly , albeit, every step an obvious effort.

It was the kick in the pants I needed at that moment. Call it doggedness, perserverance, determination, whatever you want but that woman right there? She had grit and tenacity. I only hope that someday, if  I am crippled up  ,  I can have a glimmer of that internal strength and fortitude to drag my sorry butt out to the corrals and climb on my horse to steal one more ride.

Another 7 laps? Yeah, I can handle it..

3.0 miles 31 min/25 seconds

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Mud Rat

Today had a pretty tight schedule , lots on the To do list but this afternoon, I just had to take advantage of the mild weather. I ran into town early and got back by 1:00, unloaded the car , changed clothes , put the muck boots on and headed out to find this....

Yes,  there is a horse under all that mess and mud. The mud princess...I took one look at  her and didn't even know where to begin with the grooming.This job was going to require the metal cow curry... no two ways about it. If it had been warmer, I would have just hooked up the hose.Wet caked mud... lovely.

After alot of elbow grease, hair in the mouth and sore forearms, this was the final product.. It doesn't even look like I made a dent..Sigh....

Here's what I am fighting- Wooly Mammoth Morgan winter coat.

We did saddle up and went up the road. It was a much better ride than last weekend. Only one small temper tantrum when some horses galloped up to a fence along the road , but overall , she did much better.The whole 2 miles out, we were on a loose rein and a fast but relaxed walk..

After the ride... see the lower lip????She's back talking me and yes, the mud is still there, only now it has a little horse sweat mixed in. I brushed her more,  but there's no help for it.. I turned her out to the pasture and what did she do???

Found the biggest , sloppies mudhold she could find and rolled...

That's my girl!!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A BIT Better..

Maggie's New Bridle

Bits have been on my mind a lot lately because the new  bridle that Tom has been building me is done. YAY!! Its really beautiful.I love it.  I am so lucky to have a husband who can make some of my tack!! I will try not to brag about him here but he is really talented . He does some amazing fancy nautical knots in his tack. He has even made mohair girths and of course he makes all of our halters and lead ropes. My new bridle is completely hardware free. Even the reins attach to without hardware. The connections are all done with knots. best part? When it gets dirty, do  you know how I clean it?? I throw it through a cycle in the dishwasher... seriously!! I have done this for years with all of the bridles he makes. They hold up amazingly well.

So, with a new bridle, I need to find a new bit. I was going to steal the bit off the bridle I have been using (also a bridle he made me) but ideally , I want to just keep her current bridle intact and have a whole second set up for this new bridle.

The bit I use is a Myler Western Dee w/ Sweet Iron Bristol Roller and Copper inlay in the mouth piece. You can see a photo of it here.

That got me thinking about what bit to use? I went hunting. Between Tom and I , we have enough miscellaneous tack to outfit a cavalry. I rummaged through it, hoping I had another one of these identical bits lurking. All I found was a lot of regular run of the mill cheap snaffles, french links, a couple of old curb bits (which should just be hung on the barn wall cuz we will never have a use for those), a couple of racing gags from when I exercised track ponies, a bridoon, and even a Tom Thumb(gasp) which came from my old Chili mare. When I bought her, the previous owner gave me her bridle. The Tom Thumb was on it. I promptly removed it. I should toss it into the garbage so one less horse would be subjected to it. No,I am not a fan..in case you didn't notice. I would be happy to do a follow up post if anyone is interested in th reasons why but I am sure most people know the downfalls of the Tom thumb. I didn’t find what I was looking for, unfortunatalely.
This whole process got me thinking. The bit I am using is considered a level one in the Myler bit world. Level 1 bits are for all intents and purposed about keeping the horse comfortable while they get used to carrying a bit in their mouth. They rely more on tongue pressure and less on the bars. The bit I am using is also broken into 3 segments ,(triple jointed). This is to again increase the comfort level to the horse.This design creates less of the “V” pinch , often seen with a regular two piece snaffle (double jointed) The triple jointed bit also allows the sides to work independently, which translates to letting the rider pick up a shoulder if need be. The function of this bit is referred to a pinch and restrict with a quick release. This means that the horse gets rewarded by the release of pressure, if the riders hands are responsive. Ideally, the rider would not be in the horses mouth constantly. The sweet iron on this bit also encourages salivation. All in all it is considered a comfort snaffle. In my opinion, it’s about as good of a bit as possible to start young horses in. I have started almost all of my horses in this bit and have had good results.
Before I go any further, I feel like I should put in a bit of disclaimer. I know that there is a lot of noise out there about how all bits are bad and if a person wants to be a kind horseman/horsewoman , they should not consider using a bit. Most of you have probably heard this or even been involved or subjected to a similar discussion. Maybe you are even one to believe that bits are inhumane. While I think it’s a broad sweeping general statement to say that no horsesshould be bitted, I am not here to convince you otherwise. That’s your business and if it works for you and your horse, great. A lot of horses go fine in a bitless bridle. Someday I hope that I can get Maggie collected and responsive enough and I can transition her to bitless but we aren’t there yet . I still need that tool to communicate effectively with her at this point in her training. Besides, it’s not the bit that is harsh, it’s the hands behind it. The snaffle can be one of the harshest bit in the wrong set of hands. So there’s my plug.

I use a bit on my horses, unabashedly. I am trying to determine if now is the appropriate time to move Maggie on to a Level 2 Myler. There are some general guidelines that the Myler Website offers to help horseowners decide what bit level is right for their horse. It seems like it should be simple when you look at their site but its really not. Too many variables.

Level 1 bits are intended for horses that are just learning about carrying a bit, getting used to directional pull , lateral flexion and is working on other basics in regards to gaits and transitions. In addition, the horse would also be in the beginning stages of being able to break at the poll with soft contact with the bit.

So far so good. Maggie has all of this going for her.
Level two bits are for horses that have basic training established, are relaxed at the poll, which means they hold the position when rein is released and has the ability to bend, collect side pass and lead change.

Maggie only has some of those Level 2 skills and only some of the time.It’s certainly not consistent.

Before I go any further, my bit philosophy is this; I don’t believe that a bit is going to fix training issues. Bits are a training aid, just like a whip, spurs, or lounge lines, etc. Getting a harsher bit is not usually going to fix a chargey horse . In fact, it will often make it worse, the horse will just learn to get above the pressure and charge through it. A bit won’t make a horse collected. Just because the horses poll is in what appears to be correct position, does not mean the horse is collected. I have seen too many horses with a vertical head set and a hollow tight back along with that really attractive dip in front of their withers.

… but don’t get me started…

Collection doesn’t start at the poll and move backwards, its starts at the hindquarters and flows forward, correct poll position being a secondary response to true collection.
So, with all this considered, I am questioning if a level 2 bit would give me any additional benefits that would help me help Maggie to progress to the next steps in her training? Would a Level 2 bit help us move towards improved responsiveness, more lightness. A second level bit is basically making more bar contact and therefore (bar contact)when pressure is applied, it makes it more uncomfortable for Maggie when she responds incorrectly. As I ponder this, I realize the burden is ultimately on me. Again , the bit is a tool. I have to be responsive and my timing has to be right for it to be an effective training tool. Maybe the more important question is this, Does the level 2 Myler offer enough of a difference to make it worth the increased pressure she might be experiencing or am I best to just keep plugging along with with the Level 1? Can I get her to the training level I want her in a level 1?


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

NSC's: It's a bad word ...

I recently had Maggie into the vet for some dental work. She had a few indicators of irritation on the inside of her cheeks and needed her wolf teeth extracted, but overall, her teeth were looking pretty normal. I did however have a lengthy conversation with my vet on Maggie's weight. It's a bit of an issue for her. Morgan's , especially the Lippitt Morgan , as opposed to Brunc junk ( no offense to anyone, it's just a term used for the Morgans that are today's show bred horses and have some other breed influences) are prone to being easy keepers. Maggie weighed in at almost 1200lbs. Ideally, she should be around 900-1000 for her height and bone, muscle structure. Morgan breed + overweight can be a pre cursor to Cushings, founder, and insulin resistance. I am all too well aware of this. As a result, I don't grain Maggie. Even two summers ago when I rode the snot out of her, she got good quality grass hay with about 20" alfalfa. Her energy levels never suffered and we trained and completed a 35 mile LD relatively successfully (i/o/w we finished and she got all A's and B's ) ride story here .
My feeding program that summer was just hay, up until one month prior to race day, I incorporated a small amount of soaked beet pulp and alfalfa pellets. It was more about getting her system accustom to it prior to the ride, knowing that getting someting in her belly with good water content would be important. She did well and in the days after the ride she recovered with out any issues. One week after the ride, we ceased that intake and she was back to just hay.

As spring has been approaching, I have paired Maggie back on her hay consumption already. The temps are not as cold.She doesn't need the added energy. All the horses will be getting penned up in corrals by this weekend to allow the small amount of pasture we do have to come in. We are realtively wet in the spring here in NW Montana and our grass has realtively high sugar content in the valley. When we do begin to let horses out onto grass, (usually by early July) it's abbreviated.1/2 hour at first and then build from there. Maggie however, will most likely be kept at only a half hour or just some hand grazing. She'll spend her spring and summer dry lotted until August when the grass starts to dry up and lose it's sugar content. My vet wants me to use a grazing muzzle on her this summer. We'll see how she does with dry lotting first. If she starts escaping , we might have to go to the grazing muzzle.

I have copied an exerpt from an interesting article recently published in Horse.com. A horse like Maggie is one that most informed horse people look at and know that watching NSC's is going to be crucial with her. The article takes a different approach on NSC's. A study was done for those Non Obese horses and what their risk with NSC's might be. I have inserted the oepning paragraph's below but if your interested in reading the entire article, I have added the link down further in this post. It's an interesting read.

By Nancy S Loving, DVM

The words "nonstructural carbohydrates" have become almost synonymous with "bad news" in the horse industry, mainly because many owners' goals have been to reduce these sugars and starches (while increasing fat levels) to provide "safer" calories for certain horses. Such strategies are desirable for horses with conditions such as recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis, polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM), equine metabolic syndrome, or Cushing's disease, but until recently it was unclear what an NSC diet means for a "normal," nonobese horse.

At the 2011 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention, held Nov. 18-22 in San Antonio, Texas, Joe Pagan, PhD, president of Kentucky Equine Research (KER), described his and colleagues' research on the effects of carbohydrate and fat intake on glucose tolerance in the healthy horse.

For more on the above article- Click HERE on Nonsturctural Carb Tolerance.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Crazy Hot and Royally Pissed

The temps hit 46 degrees today. The sun was shining. It's riding weather but I don't have borium on Maggie. The trails are still snow packed and icey but the dirt roads around my neighborhood were soft and ice free. The urge to ride was too much to stand. Even if it meant road riding , which can be taking your life into your own hands in my neck of the woods, I decided that today it was worth it. Maggie and I headed out.Both of us a bit apprehensive. Maggie, for leaving her herd. For me, the first spring ride of the season. The wind was blowing , blowing Maggie's temperment into a fit. As usual, Maggie got about a 1/4 mile up the road and realizes "oh oh, I am out here alone, let's go back". So she tries to turn around. When she can't get turned around she tosses her head and tries to buck. I can't get after her with any leg pressure because she just gets more pissed and tries to buck more. So, we spent the first mile and half going through her temper tantrum's and me trying not to get unloaded. (should have brought the quirt) She was so tense and uptight about leaving her herd that when she tried to whinny , all that came out was a high pitched "eeeeeehhhhh". I don't even know what you call it but it was hilarious. She was royally pissed, I mean royally pissed, that I kept making her move forward in the direction she did not want to be going. temper tantrums be damned, we made our way along the gravel muddy roads, only meeting one dumbass along the way. He was yelling at me as he slowly passed by . I couldn't hear him obviously, but apparently I had done something wrong. Not sure what... like I said, dumbass... We turned around and headed back, same route... unfortunately there are no loops unless I head out to the main highway. Turning a horse around to travel home the same way they went out can often create issues. It did. I had to deal with the other personality; snorting blowing, jigging, crazy hot mare. We did alot of circles , side passes, half halts, back ups and finally , the last mile home, she gave me a flat footed, albeit brisk, walk. We were cruising along and we were both starting to relax a bit when a herd of 6 deer came running along the edge of the pasture that was just below us to our left, crossed the low part and head up the hill towards us. We stopped , let them pass. Maggie was more surprised at their abrupt appearance rather than scared but she used it as an excuse to have another temper tantrum. We got a slow five miles in. It was better than nothing and even with all that went on, it was enjoyable to be riding, to feel a horse underneath me. Riders are really crazy, when you think about it. We will withstand all this just to go out and ride a horse. So , final thoughts here? Sure, lots... 5 miles wasn't near enough I need to make her leave the herd from home more to get her more confident, even if it means I lead her along the road if there is too much traffic. Get borium so I can get off the roads Ride the hide off her Take the quirt next time

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Back on the Horse

Well, figuratively speaking. As much as I would like to be throwing down a post about a wonderful ride today,I can't. No riding..just whining about weather and ice , the usual. However, I am back on a running schedule of sorts. Last week I ran 3 times, all of them 1.5 to 2.5 miles (please, try to hold back your snickering, I know it's not much ). The achilles tendon appears to be holding up and not causing me any pain. It gets tired but not painful. Nothing like it was a month ago. I now have two weeks of running on the books.It's good to be back to it. I am working on my mid foot landing form and the odd part is that if I try to think about landing mid foot, I can't. I heel strike. Not the goal here. If I just focus on bringing my knees up a little higher than I normally would, then things seem to start working. Jonna, over think something??? NEVER! So, I think I am back in the saddle, so to speak, in my own "endurance" quest of sorts. I am probably being overly cautious because I think I could probably add another mile without much trouble but I do not want to reinjure myself. I feel my best right now at 2.0 miles. After 2, I am falling apart in form and breathing.. I know its all mental. I broke through this same "block" 2 months ago complelely by mistake but this time, I have to think about it. April is coming fast...

Speaking of breaking through. We hit the 40's today along with a snow eater... (chinook). The overnight temps are not supposed to dip too much. Several parts of the pasture have turned into their spring time lake, in only a few hours time today.
Now, we wait.
We wait for the water to "crack" the frost and for the water to saturate into the ground. In one of my favorite books "Valley of the Horses" , it seems the ' Foehns' are a real thing. For the last couple of weeks, I noticed people , even myself, are more irritable and testy with one another. It's the evil sprits that ride in on the spring winds. The equinox is coming and with it... warmer weather and saddle time..