I woke up today thinking about something that happened a long, long time ago. Whenever I got Buck, we couldn't afford a saddle. Six or eight months later, my grandma bought me one. She bought me a brand new saddle just because: Not for Christmas, not for my birthday, just because. I was so freakin proud of that saddle. I loved hearing the leather creak constantly as we broke it in. The innocence of childhood is a lovely thing.
About six months later, Buck and I hitched a ride (walked to town) for the horse show at the local fair. I had entered us in every single class and visited the library countless times-just to try and figure EVERYTHING out. Sometime in the day, about halfway through the show a very very old man walked up to take a look at my horse. He gave Buck a few pats and whispered something I couldn't hear. He then turned to me and said "that saddle doesn't fit this horse." I was a little taken aback. I mean, who is this guy and what's he thinking? This is MY horse. Good grief, I was such a stupid young selfish kid :) I shrugged my shoulders at him and he narrowed his eyes, I said quite haughtily "My grandma bought me that saddle." Indeed. He seemed angry and walked off and I just couldn't understand what his freakin problem was. I think I've figured it out. That old man probably didn't give two shits about a dumb ass like me, he just cared about my horse. In a way that it doesn't matter who had the papers, or a bill of sale, he just loved horses and saw that mine was uncomfortable. I get it now, and I will always do everything to be an ambassador for EVERY horse. Not just my own.

A little slice of my heaven...

I found a bargain! I've been looking for my own saddle to start Chester in. The only one I have is a big old ropin saddle-not the sort of thing to start in and WAY to big. I sort of gave up a few weeks ago because I didn't want to spend a ton of money for a starter. When he grows up, then I'll fit him with a nice one. Anyway, I was bopping around on Craigslist last night when I stumbled on a synthetic saddle for $50! Not only that, but I only had to drive twenty minutes to pick it up. I just couldn't believe my luck and went and got it! This is it..after I power washed all the bird poop off...

After I picked it up, I stopped at Atwoods and got a smaller girth and a halter/leadrope. They already have Christmas stuff out...crap, sometimes I don't realize how the time flies!

I was tired this afternoon, so Sami and I went to just hang with Chester for a while. Jeez, it was windy. He found something to look at...

Whatever it was, Sami stared too...

Uh, leave me alone! I'm still lookin!

Hubby, the kids, Sami and I all got home at the same time. Buckled down to homework, cleaning, laundry, etc...
Hubby worked in the garage, helping a friend with their truck.

Mr Smarty Pants figured out the quicker he gets done with homework and chores, the more Wii time he has :)

Later, we all sat down ate cheeseburgers and watched a Monsters vs Aliens halloween special.
A Happy Family is but an earlier heaven.
-John Bowring


I rant, rave, and love my horse.

I've found from various reads and chit chats that "training" is a very broad and often misused term. For starters, what does a "thirty day start" actually mean? I'd like to think the trainer took your horse and made friends, then slowly built up to haltering and the like. Quite the opposite. It seems that "training" or "trainer" should be labeled "constrain" or "tyrant." Don't go OFF on me, obviously there are people out there that understand horses should be taught not trained, but they're few and far between. Maybe the "trainers" see the income potential in forcing a horse to do things in a certain amount of time and that's how money exchanges hands fastest. Shame shame.
Horses obviously don't respond to a pushover. You've got to be a confident, firm, calm leader. Commanding your horse by fear only goes so far. For example: you're out on the trail and the horse spooks. One of two things happens 1)The horse freaks and takes off with you on top or 2)The horse draws strength from its partner-the one on top.
I think the main people-horse relationship problem is time. People are just not willing to devote time to develop a foundation, then wonder why horsey acts up at the most inopportune moments. Compare a child to your horse. When a child acts up or just doesn't understand what you want - is it appropriate to BEAT them with a whip, kick them, tie them to a post? Of course not. So why is it okay for such a gentle loving creature to endure these hardships? I may not know all the fancy lingo, I may not know how to train dressage: But this much I know - At the end of the day I have a horse who does his absolute best for me, who does whatever I ask, and is willing to try anything. For me. That's my partner, Wynchester DB.
Now I've posted my own opinion: Now I have found at least someone who agrees with me-or perhaps I agree with them...
"Legitimate training involves acceptable methods and mechanisms that gradually influence and modify a horse's behaviour to the extent that it receives positive rather than negative reinforcement....We have learned through the countless books, videos and clinicians, that there is gentler and kinder ways to condition your horse. The old excuse - my granddad did it that way - no longer holds water...If we were to subscribe to that philosophy where it came to the way we treat people, we would still be bleeding sick people out in order to rid them of most illness. " -Kimball Lewis

Nationals: Interesting...

Anticipating all sorts of wonderful horses didn't prepare for Nationals. Where are the horses? Behind this sort of stuff...really the only way to see the HORSES was to sit in the stands. Hmm?

Yes, some even had actual walls and doors up.

Ah, the vendors. Just about anything horsey (even doggy) that you wanted you could buy!

I absolutely fell in love with this painting...Just look a little closer on the upper right hand corner and you'll figure out why it's not hanging in my living room right now!

After all the walking around we had to stop to eat lunch!

Ms Sami likes nachos too...

Dian will probably kill me for this picture.

It took the kids and I about two hours Saturday morning to get ready. After about another hour in the car they were wired! I had trouble even getting them to sit still and watch the show :)

We watched some English stuff in here for a while...

Then watched reining cow, which was very interesting.

Here's the actually "working" part!

After about a half day at the show, the kids and I were really ready to head home. They had a "fun night" at the school which is a fancy way of saying fund raiser. They got to get some energy out of their system playing the games and I bought some cool stuff at the silent auction.
Sunday, my dad was supposed to bring hay but couldn't, so we went and got it! Seventeen square bales should last a few days :)


Wow, it's chilly.

Yes, I'm a whiny ass. But, Ms Sami is too! You should see us outside-both in layers and shivering so hard we're probably loosing weight. Sami doesn't have any to loose...They're calling for a "frost warning" tonight, whatever that means. What happened to "freeze" or just a plain "it will be cold-wear a coat." I think Nationals will be fun regardless, and we're all planning on going. Minus hubby of course, he'll only go if one of us is actually showing and that's ok with me :)
I've got to somehow get Wynchester a blanket, but right now it's totally out of budget range so maybe he'll get an early Christmas present? So far, I've still been working with him, but rain and work are interfering this week. My weekend is full of fun! Work extra today, nationals Saturday, and my dad's coming to visit Sunday! (Okay, so he's bringing hay, but that qualifies as a visit!)


Acute Observation

So, Dian and I were talking horse last night at work. We were talking about getting the rest of her two year olds under saddle this winter and I remarked how interesting it would be when we got to Soli. D agreed and said without judgement "but I do push my horse more than you do." Agreed. It was nice that she said it without saying it was wrong...does that make sense? I've always gotten made fun of by how SLOW I go with my horses and I'm the first to admit it takes me forever! But I have a reason, I swear it! I look at my Chester right now and I see a child. I can relate to his mentality and short attention span in the way I can relate to my kids. You can't push to much on them at once or they get flustered and mad and then don't learn anything. So, I like to do everything at hum drum speed and make sure every single time I'm with him it's a positive learning experience. I want him to want to learn and look forward to me :) I think so far he's doing okay. The last time he got upset with me was about reverse. I backed way off and did short five minute lessons for about two weeks and we've got it down pat. This weekend when we were in the pasture and I tried to lunge he just couldn't concentrate on it, so I dropped it for the day...today we tried again and it went beautifully! The slower I go, the faster Chester seems to catch on.

Horses and Children, I often think, have a lot of the good sense there is in the world.
-Josephine Demott Robinson
-On another pasture note, I have been scared to go back down that wash where I fell. So, we went back to the same place today and did just fine. I squished fear and it felt good!


Weekend Warriers

This weekend was Fall Break for the kids. That means they were out of school on Thursday and Friday (plus the regular Sat/Sun). The weather was not cooperating and mommy still had to work, so they basically got stuck inside watching movies, playing games, etc...This is what happens when they're cooped up too long...

This is what happens to mommy when they're cooped up to long...

I caught my kitties in the flower pot. Apparently they got cold and decided to snuggle. AWWW.

Chester got a saddle again! This time, the cinch got tightened, the saddle made noise, stirrups flopped, he got lunged, and I put a little weight in the stirrups just to push my luck. It honestly took every will power muscle I have to NOT get on.

He was obviously uncomfortable with the whole ordeal, but Chester took it all in like a true gentleman and didn't buck, kick, or flip out at all.

Dian and hubby took pics because we were all so excited!

Here he relaxed some...

This is what Chester thought of that nasty contraption.

This blanket is another one of my Chester good luck charms. The first is a huge leather halter that Buck wore, it worked wonders on Chester's halter-taming. This was Buck's blanket. It worked wonders on saddle-taming. I have a few more...

Here's Chester giving a shit about a bridle-path clip job...it takes me forever. I haven't had enough practice at it to be quick, so it's really imperative that he's patient.

A little whisker trim to top off the clean look that I've come to really, really like. Umm, you can see from the shadow just how RELAXED he really is about clipping.

HA! The man who "hates" horses caught again! I left with the saddle and blanket - hubby stayed to brush Chester. Earlier though, while I groomed Chester, hubby groomed Gracie. Shhh, don't tell him I saw cause then he won't come in the pen :)

Here he is again. He was talking to Chester telling him what a good boy he's been today....

I must tell my Friday story. I didn't get any pics, what I got will stick in my head as a lesson learned. Learned the hard way.
Friday evening, I got some alone with Chester time. Hubby has come to understand that when they're out of school AND I still have to work-I usually need a break. So, off I went. I took Chester across the street again to the pasture to try and lunge and explore a little. The lunge didn't work out-we've not done it outside the round pen and with all the other horses excitement he couldn't really focus. He tried, but the dance didn't work just then. To satisfy his obvious curiosity we started to walk. We walked around, up some little hills and back down, until we got to the creek. Just before the creek there was a steep embankment with a worn path that veered sharply to the left, across a deep washout, and back up the steep part. I thought that looked like good practice for my future mount so I coaxed him down and we went to the left. The large washout, I had to jump across-Chester was right behind me. I jumped, and as he gathered I was going up the other side and I fell. I fell flat on my face just as Chester was jumping. Chester did a little mid-air hop to the left and missed my body by about an inch. Then instead of heading up, he stopped and put his head down so that our eyes were looking right into each other. We talked. I said thank you. I grabbed a chunk of his mane and Chester pulled us both up and out. Thank you Chester. Lesson learned. Trust is a two way street, and I won't forget it again.

"In my dream I saw you.
You came not to me,
I came not to you.
In the middle
we meet.
You whisper softly
it's our secrets
you keep."
-Sally Massey


Mom Musings

The weather is starting to turn colder. Chester and I have continued our walks. With the roundpen muddy and no end to the rain in site, it's working out well. He likes getting out to enjoy the last of the green and I enjoy the quiet drizzle.

Little Ms Sami is intently asking if she can come too. Fine, but you're getting a bath...


Relax and Ride.

Saturday October 10, 2009

The most challenging part of the ride is yet to come. Complete with steep climbs and water crossings aplenty!

We're off again, this time headed west along the fenceline.

Take a vote. Is Dian having a good time?

At this point, I couldn't decide if the weather was going to get colder or stay the same. The sun kept coming in and out...

There were usually hang-ups at the water. Prize and Garry would not have went if not for Baby.

Dian, as always the social butterfly-I just take pics.

Now this little horse impressed me. Before we started again, the lady on the horse next to the gray, had the gray lay down on the ground so the little girl could mount!

Wide open spaces - they're hard not to take off in.

This water was moving along pretty good from all the rain.

Wow, we've been a long way! At one point I finally talked D into a little fun. Hold the horses in on the down (to let the one's in front give some room) and then take off up the hill! At one point I gushed "Hey! I'm cantering! I haven't done that in like TEN YEARS!" I wasn't kidding, it's probably been eleven. At that point though, I looked down to find Prize had lost her right front shoe. Bummer, cause we still had a way to go. She did good though, I let her pick her way and although it got tender she wasn't injured.

If I can hitch a ride next year, I will go on the Diabetes ride again. It's well put together, beautiful, and at $45 it's a total bargain for a day of fun!