Sunday, December 25, 2011

Mini major relay

I could watch this all day! I had never heard of this event. Go, pony, go!

Happy holidays!

I would love to be able to perform in something like this someday. Such precision!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Rainy day lungeing

Here's Huey's lungeing session today. The weather was kind of horrendous; it pretty much poured the whole time.

Unfortunately, my camera's battery died, so you don't get to see Huey's super work in the other direction, and the massive amounts of FOAM he produced! He tends to be quite dry-mouthed, and today was by far the foamiest I've ever seen him.

I am such a big believer in lungeing done well (with side reins and a sense of purpose -- not allowing the horse to randomly charge about and "get his bucks out"). You can create straightness, forwardness, thrust, submission, obedience, and focus. It fosters a wonderful level of trust -- a year ago, I couldn't even pick up a lunge whip without freaking Huey out, and now I can touch him with it and even drape the lash over his back, and he doesn't bat an eye. It's good medicine!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Willow update

Willow is safely back in Texas! She was hauled to the eventing trainer's place in Liberty Hill on Sunday. There are three students there that are interested in trying her for a lease, and at least a couple of them might want to purchase if the lease goes well. Hooray! The student who is most interested got on her for a bit on Tuesday and really likes her. Trainer Vanessa reports that Willow was a doll -- not a bit looky in her first outing in the covered arena. That's my girl.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

October trail ride

Camilla and I, along with one of Camilla's friends, went on a trail ride in a nearby state park this evening. The weather was great and the foliage was beautiful. I rode in a hunt-seat saddle with short stirrups, and that felt really strange! I wasn't quite sure what to do with my upper body. But other than one unplanned dismount (ducks are scary!) which ended with me landing on my feet, I did pretty well. Huey enjoyed himself too. I hadn't been on a real trail ride in ages.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Texas bound, once again

I should probably just stop posting Willow updates, because just as soon as I publish, things change. Half a day after my previous post, I received a message from the eventing trainer in Liberty Hill, Texas, that she has two, and possibly three, students now interested in Willow. So, once again, the plan is to send Willow to Liberty Hill. If the logistics work out, she'll be hauled over on October 30. I'll likely let her spend the winter there, and if I can get her leased or sold there, great; if not, I'll think about bringing her back to Oregon in the spring. Unless everything changes again!

I had a good lesson on Huey last night. I'd been out of town for a week and for some reason forgot where to set my stirrup length, so I rode the whole lesson in stirrups two holes too long, which was pretty much like not having stirrups. I could have stopped and shortened the stirrups, but things were going well, and it really made me focus on keeping my legs quiet. Sitting trot felt really good.

There's a new gelding at trainer Leslie's barn -- a Hanoverian who is 18.1 hh. That's 6' 1" at the withers, for those of you playing at home.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Change of heart

About ten minutes after I wrote that last post, the prospective lease-to-buyer changed her mind about wanting to try out Willow. There have been a few nibbles since then, but nothing has come of any of them. And . . . and . . . I think I've decided I'm going to keep Willow and bring her back to Oregon.

She's been for sale for almost two years at this point, and I'm hearing that the people who have tried her have found her too sensitive. For such a freight train of a mare, she is terribly picky about the rider's balance and contact. The trainers have no trouble with her, but the amateurs who try her don't get along with her.

Additionally, in the intervening time I have been riding at a facility with no indoor arena. Where I have to scrape through the giant mud ball to find the gelding underneath. And I guess you might say I have gotten less persnickety about the barn I'm at. I no longer feel that I must be at a dressage show barn. Any facility with decent care and a covered arena will do.

I've been watching old videos of Willow and really liking what I see in them. Sometimes you have to get a little distance and see things with fresh eyes. I see a mare who was solid first level and schooling almost all of second.

Willow has really been enjoying learning to jump, so what I'm hoping for is this: 1) find a cheap but decent barn with a covered arena, and 2) find someone to pick up a half lease who would like to keep her jumping. I think she'd enjoy the variety, and I would really like not having to work her six days a week. Also, I'd like to find a way to keep riding Huey at least a couple days a week. Since I sent Willow away, I have met several riders in the jumper/eventing worlds, so I'm feeling much more confident that I can find a half-leaser than I was two years ago.

Isn't it strange how things work out sometimes?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Willow heads back to the Longhorn State

On Saturday, Willow is being trailered to Liberty Hill, Texas, for a trial lease to buy! The lady who is trying her out is interested in dressage and a little bit of jumping. Perfect! Now we'll just have to see if they get along. If for some reason it doesn't work out, the trainer at this barn says there are probably a couple others who would be interested. Even better, this is a barn where Wolfgang clinics regularly, so I would still have that connection to her.

Huey was in the ribbons at an event two weekends ago; his dressage was much improved, and his stadium was apparently spectacular! The boy does love to jump. I want to get out to one of Camilla's jumping lessons sometime soon and take some pictures.

I had two great rides on Huey Monday and Tuesday. He used to get a little twisty when I asked for bend and flexion, but he has improved so much. I love the new solid feeling in my hand, and he's responding quietly to my requests to lighten the forehand, where he used to throw his head up, totally offended. Jumping is his first love, but he is surprisingly engaged by dressage, as well.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I embrace my inner 12 year old

August 25-30 a friend and I took the train to Vancouver, BC, to attend a convention for fans of the TV show "Supernatural." Picture a bunch of middle-aged women acting much like those girls in the audience when the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan. OK, we weren't quite that bad, but it was close.

Friday night, a bunch of the actors hosted a karaoke party. I almost wasn't even going to go, 'cause seriously? Karaoke? But it turned out to be an absolute blast, mostly because the actors were having such a good time.

For me, the most amazing thing about the event was the actors: they were all smart and funny, and they genuinely seemed to be enjoying themselves. To a one, they were all gracious with their fans -- none of them was just going through the motions. I got my picture taken with Steven Williams, who played Mr. X on "The X-Files"! He was a real sweetheart to this fangirl.

I've had some interest in Willow from an eventing barn in Texas. A student there may be taking her for a trial lease--I'm waiting to hear. I hope it works out. I'd like for her to have her own person again.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Huey and Flash cross country video

Huey's kinda hard to see, but my impression is of a very willing performance. No hesitation; just getting the job done.

I don't know much about jumping, but even I can tell that Flash is being pretty darn challenging! Best comments: "Is that her? "Mmm hmm" "Holy moly!" -- and -- "Finishing neck and neck as they come to the last fence . . ." Flash was not lollygagging.

Willow over fences (video)

I just got this video of Willow jumping -- the first time I've ever seen her in action jumping, except for a picture. Something's wrong with the video quality, but you can still get a good idea of how she's going. I think she looks happy, happy, happy! Trainer Gwen says she is rhythmical and honest to the jumps, and Gwen thinks she will tighten her knees as the jumps get higher. Willow is 16.3, so she can pretty much step over the jump at that height.

I am asking $4500 for her, btw, and she is located in Dubach, LA.

Huey got 7th place at a rated event this past weekend! Go, Mr. H! Apparently his dressage was a wreck, unfortunately. Distracted, tight, and all-around thoroughbredy. Oh well, he jumped his heart out. I should have some video soon.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cool canter exercise

I tried a cool canter exercise out with Huey the other night -- one that I learned from Wolfgang a long time ago. It can be used as a baby step towards schooling canter pirouette. I seem to remember that when I learned this exercise I trotted it at first, to get the feel for the pattern.

In this exercise you ride the whole figure on the same lead. So, you pick up the right lead where the arrow is (you're in counter canter to the wall). In the corner you circle right as small as you can for three-quarters of a circle, sending you onto your next straight line, lather, rinse, repeat, all the way around the square. As the horse's collection increases, you can decrease the size of each 3/4 circle, and theoretically eventually achieve 3/4 pirouettes at the corners.

Huey's first response to this was "go fast!" Which is his first response to anything new and/or difficult. This exercise makes use of the corners as half halts, so you don't have to rely on your hands. It didn't take long for Huey to realize that blasting down the straightaways wasn't getting him out of anything, and he slowed down and seemed to enjoy the exercise. Left got very easy; right needs some more work.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Willow jumps!

Finally got to see a picture of Willow jumping. She looks so happy! I don't know enough about jumping to judge her form.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Baby Huey and Flash rock the schooling show

It was a super day for Baby Huey and Flash! They each got a blue ribbon, and Huey and I picked up the first level high point championship with a 65.8% on first-three. Go, Huey! Flash, who can sometimes be a little challenging, won his first-one class and behaved very well, after a slightly rocky first halt. You can see in the videos what great dressage potential he has. Such a free shoulder. Flash also took third in his other class. Huey and I got only a 59 on our first-two test. I didn't have him forward enough (but he was very obedient). Trainer Leslie told me to get him into a higher gear for first-three, and our score went up almost seven points. Trainers know best.

It was a beautiful day -- around 75 with a light breeze. The facility was extremely horse-friendly, the judge was consistent and fair, and the show was very well run. It was just an all-around good time!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Haven't done this in awhile

I am washing/bleaching my saddle pads, and have rounded up a white polo shirt, my pony tail hair net, and my white gloves. There must be a show tomorrow! It's the little schooling show that was postponed due to the EHV-1 outbreak a few weeks ago. My ride times are 3:30 and 4:30 (First 2 & 3). Huey has been to the venue before, so as long as he keeps his head in the game, we should have a good day. Camilla has warned me that if they use a whistle to signal that the judge is ready, Huey often thinks that's the start of a jumping round. Here's hoping they use a bell!

I had a request for a Willow update: she's fine! And I still own her. She is in Dubach, Louisiana, with an eventing trainer. The trainer thinks she would be a very nice hunter. I've had a couple nibbles, but she's still for sale. I have in the back of my mind the idea that I may bring her back to Oregon. Since I sent her off to be sold, I've made quite a few friends in the jumping/eventing world, so I think I could get her sold up here now. But for now, she's fine where she is. Let me know if you know anyone who's looking for a hunter with a solid dressage background!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Where did June go?

I think having an appendectomy speeds up the rate at which time passes. I'm pretty sure. Cuz there is no way it's late June. Also not helping -- the coldest spring/early summer since I first moved here almost five years ago. Up until a few days ago, we were pretty much stuck at Rainy, High of 58. Today it was 80 and everyone, including me, commented about how hot it was. And I'm a Nebraskan! So anyway, June is just about gone, and I've hardly posted.

I healed up from my surgery just fine. I was released to start riding again about twelve days ago, with stern warnings from my surgeon that Huey needed to behave himself. And he has! We've had some really lovely rides. Last night was probably our all-time best schooling session. He was SO on the aids -- I got a few half steps, and some almost-floaty lengthenings. The rescheduled show is on for July 3, and we'll be ready!

First, though, I'm off on a business trip to Philadelphia for a week, starting Thursday. The timing is good, because Huey is heading to Inavale Farm for a 3-day event. I sent my Flip cam with Camilla, so I hope to have some video to share in early July.

July 4-5 marks the one-year anniversary of Abby's great escape and my near-nervous-breakdown. This year she will be stashed in my bedroom whenever fireworks are likely and I'm not home.

Friday, May 27, 2011

And then THAT happened . . .

Wednesday night, 10:00 p.m. I went to bed feeling a little out of sorts. By 11:00 I realized I hadn't fallen asleep yet, and I was having some pain from my stomach area all across my abdomen. I figured I was having some sort of digestive episode, so I got up and ate a yogurt and some crackers. The hours ticked by during the night, and the pain just kept getting worse and worse. I was especially tender in my lower right abdomen (dun dun DUN) and getting pretty nauseous. By the early morning hours, I had developed a low fever and realized I was actually whimpering from time to time. I had never fallen asleep. At around 8:30 I decided it was ER time.

I couldn't stand up straight, but I hunched my way over to my CRV and drove about 5 mph to my nearby small-town ER. In short order they had an IV in me with some anti-nausea medication. Sweet relief. Then they added some explosively effective pain meds, which made me study the beauty that was the ceiling tiles. I drank about a half-gallon of lemony liquid that helps to light you up for the CT scan. And lo and behold, the scan clearly showed an extremely fat and unhappy appendix. No time to wait; it had to come out immediately. This isn't what I had planned for the holiday weekend.

Two of my friends picked me up and transferred me to the larger medical center in Eugene. They popped me in a room, my friends left, and about twenty minutes later I was being wheeled to OR prep. A nurse talked to me, a tech talked to me, the anesthesiologist talked to me, and the surgeon talked to me. They all wondered if I was nervous, this being my first experience with general anesthesia. But I had had no time to even process what was happening, I was still flying on some leftover pain meds, and I had missed a night's sleep, so I was actually just kind of dozing off. I was perhaps the most relaxed surgery candidate of all time.

About two minutes after being wheeled into surgery, it was lights out, and the next thing I knew I woke up in recovery feeling awesome. They had told me I might feel anxious, but I was the opposite of anxious. I was so so so happy that that sick, toxic pain was gone. Plus, I was very floaty and peaceful. Those ceiling tiles again!

Back up to my room, a quick visit with a couple friends, a night of being poked and prodded once an hour every hour, and then I was discharged at noon today. Talk about a whirlwind. I just woke up from a nap and am feeling sore but good. I was supposed to be at the Bright Eyes show in Bend tonight, but oh, well. Apparently my appendix came pretty close to perforating, but didn't, so I am not going to complain.

No dressage for two weeks.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Well, darn

Stupid EHV-1 outbreak.

Due to the ongoing outbreak, my little dressage show was postponed. It was the right decision, but it's still disappointing. Huey and I were ready! The videos below were taken during our Thursday lesson right before the Sunday show. They were the very first times Huey and I had run through the whole tests (first-two and first-three). We have to ride around jumps in our usual arena, so I can't really run through entire tests there.

Huey and I aren't exactly setting the world on fire, but I like how we look. We're solid and no-nonsense. Trot lengthenings are still pretty flat, and his head is as usual a bit waggly, but I think we would have scored just fine. I like that this year they're allowing riders to post the trot in first level. Huey and I would have been fine with sitting, but I've always thought that forcing people to sit kept a lot of capable riders stuck at training level. I also like that there are now just three tests at the levels where there used to be four. Especially training level! How many ways are there to throw together straight lines, diagonals, and twenty-meter circles?

The show has been rescheduled to July 3, and it's looking like we'll be able to go, so that's good. More time to practice! And maybe we'll even go crazy and throw in second-one or something!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Baby Huey jumps!

Camilla entered Huey in an "A" rated hunter/jumper show this weekend. I went out today and caught two videos of them jumping .9 m. They took sixth place in the first class with one rail down, and second place in the second class with a clean round. I don't know much of anything about jumping, but to me the horses that looked and did the best traveled in a dressage-y frame and didn't lean in going around turns. Huey, for example, looks so harmonious between fences. What a good boy!

Monday, May 9, 2011

We're gonna show!

Baby Huey and I are going to show first level at a local schooling show on May 22! I haven't looked at a first level test in, like, seven years. But just how different can they be from seven years ago? There aren't that many possible movements at first level. If Huey and I can get it together, he should be able to score decently on everything except, maybe, trot lengthening. Sometimes we can get it, but more often not so much. Wish us luck!

Here are some clips from this evening. What a pleasant ride. You'll see a little bit of trot lengthening, lots and lots of trot-canter-trot, some walk-canter-walk, and stretching down. I love how the transitions are looking. If you've got nice transitions, you're doing something right. The walk-canter-walk isn't second-level clean yet, but it's not bad. I'm pretty sure Camilla can do it cleaner, so I just need to work on my timing.

Remember when I talked about my fun upper-back muscle knot? And remember when I jolted my back a couple weeks ago? Well, my jolted lower back got about 80% better on its own and then hit a plateau at "not spasming, but moderately ouchy." Several people at work swear by a local chiropractor, so I decided to give him a try. He doesn't do the jerking thing; he uses the little tool that thumps you (I've seen it done on horses). I thought, hey, he can fix my lower back and also tell me why I have frustrated about six different massage therapists who can't get my upper-back-knot to let go. I had my appointment today. The thumping he did on my lower back already seems to have helped a lot. And when he found my knot he started laughing. "That's no knot," he said, "that's your second rib." The muscle that attaches to the rib has pulled it out of whack so it's poking out. He thought it was pretty funny that for a year, massage therapists have been pushing on it, trying to break it up. Pretty hard to break up bone. So he thumped around there, too, and whatever he did has stirred up a hornet's nest. I felt kind of sick all afternoon, and tonight I'm just icing and icing. He said this might happen, and it should subside in a day. And he said to tell the massage therapists to work on the posterior scalene muscle instead of pushing on my rib.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

omg sun

A rare sunny day yesterday! And the bees left Huey alone, too.

Not in the video was a little hop, skip, and a jump Huey threw in during warmup, much as he always does, but for some reason this time it tweaked my back. I didn't notice too much as I continued to ride, but when I got off all the muscles spasmed at once. Fun! I didn't sleep well at all last night, and when it was time to get up this morning I actually had to crawl to the kitchen to feed my dogs. Luckily everything is limbering up as the day goes by. Ice and naproxen sodium.

I volunteered at the roller derby last night (luckily they had me selling tickets, where I could sit the whole time), and at some point my volunteer partner, who was handling Will Call, said, "Hmm, there's someone on here named Captain Tightpants."

I practically ripped the sheet out of her hands, and yes, there it was: 4 VIP tickets reserved for Captain Tightpants. Now, I just happened to know that Nathan Fillion was in town yesterday supporting Arcimoto, a local electric car manufacturer. He owns an Arcimoto. So I thought to myself something coherent like "omg omg I'm gonna meet Nathan Fillion omg omg." But then I got hold of myself and asked the volunteer coordinator just exactly how that Will Call got put on the sheet, and she shot down my hopes and dreams, telling me that it was the ECRG (derby league) who set aside the tickets and invited Nathan via Twitter, and there was little chance he would actually show. Yet another dream, dashed on the rocks of harsh reality.

Nathan, next time you're in town for an Arcimoto gig, call me? K?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Videos from Marseille

Aren't my nieces just the cutest little girls ever?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bad blogger

Apologies for my extended absence! The Marseille trip took up the last part of March, and then last weekend I once again got to hang out with rock stars at the Bright Eyes concert in Portland. So much fun! We also visited Portland's Japanese Gardens, a must if you're ever visiting.

I just found out today that Aron, the magnificent schoolmaster I got to learn on when I lived in Lubbock, died today. He was 27. He will always be very special to me.

For your viewing pleasure, here is Lola doing her best trick. She does it whenever she wants to get my attention, and it works every single time.

I had a super lesson on Huey Thursday. We got him the most collected I've ever had him, and he stayed loose and listening. I was having a good ride on him today, too, until an angry bee attacked his head twice. It freaked him out (understandably) and he may have even had a light sting somewhere around his ears. I kept riding, and he was doing his best to be obedient, but he was rattled about the bee. I didn't blame him. But when he just about took both of us down by tripping big in the middle of a canter, I decided enough was enough. We came so close to going down -- there was mud on my saddle pad, on my shirt, and I even found a little spot on my face. Camilla saw it and thought for sure we were down -- and then suddenly we popped back up! No injuries, thank goodness. We'll try again tomorrow, and hopefully Mr. Bee will be elsewhere.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Je suis a Marseille!

My mother and I are visiting my brother and his family in Marseille. I have a minor in French studies, and I'm happy to find that I remember a good bit of my language skilz. I can understand about half of what's being said. Yesterday we went to the Vieu Port, and Wednesday we are taking a 3 hour cruise (shoutout to Gilligan) to see the Calanques, which are French fjords along the Mediterranean. Pix and video to follow!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Late February schooling session

Here Huey and I are playing around with ground pole work and simple changes through trot. The day before he had been jumping 3' 6". What a versatile fellow.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Well ridden!

Be sure to watch through to the very end.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hey @expedia ! You suck!

My mother and I are going to Marseille the last weekend of March. I booked tickets for the two of us on Expedia. Since it was an international trip, there were a lot of screens to get through as I completed the booking. Somewhere along the way, I accidentally entered my mother's maiden name instead of her married name. It was a dumb mistake that I recognized right away when I received the confirmation. I was pretty sure I would have to pay a penalty to get it fixed, and I wasn't going to let my dumb mistake put a damper on the trip.

On February 14, I called Expedia to explain my mistake and ask for advice on the best way to get it fixed. I talked with a very friendly and helpful gentleman who said it was a bit of a tricky problem, and he needed to call the three airlines I would be using (Delta, Air France, KLM) to see how best to proceed. He asked me to hold as he consulted with each airline, and all told I was on the phone for well over an hour. My cell battery was running low. In the end, though, he said he would fix it by cancelling the ticket and applying the Delta credit to a new ticket under the correct name. There would be a penalty, but not very much, and I said Great! Do it! Thanks! He was working on completing the booking, and I was on hold, when my cell started beeping that it was about to die. I knew the rep had my phone number, so I disconnected.

I went to lunch and checked my e-mail when I got back to work. I had a confirmation e-mail from Expedia for the new ticket. Just to be safe, I went to the My Itineraries screen on the Expedia site and pulled up the new itinerary. Everything looked correct, but there was an "On hold" notice at the top. I called Expedia back and asked why. This new gentleman reviewed all that had happened and said that it was no problem, the booking was going through, and I was all set.

I kept checking the itinerary all week, and the "On hold" notice persisted. So yesterday I called Expedia again. Here's where the fun began. The lady I spoke to said it was on hold because the ticket couldn't be fixed. I had to buy a whole new ticket and I wouldn't get reimbursed at all for the ticket with the wrong name. I explained that the gentleman a week ago had carefully checked with every airline and come up with a solution, had then booked a ticket, and that a different gentleman had confirmed that everything was fine and the booking would go through. She said that was wrong. I said, I don't care if it was wrong; it was your employee's mistake and I have a confirmation e-mail that says everything is a go. She said that the e-mail was a mistake. I repeated that I didn't care; the key was it was their mistake, not mine. I told her to fix it however she needed to, but to do it for the price I paid originally plus the penalty and no more.

She said she wasn't authorized to do that. I said, find someone who is authorized. She said she understood my frustration but wasn't able to help me. (Oh, and by the way, there was a man sitting next to her feeding her these lines. I could clearly hear him saying "Tell her you're not authorized." "Tell her you understand she's frustrated." Oh, the rage.) Additionally, every so often during this argument she would say that she needed to put me on hold for 3-5 minutes, but would actually leave me hanging for 10-15. I believe 100% that this is part of their strategy; they know some customers will be forced to hang up, or will give up, when left on hold for too long.

At one point I said, "OK, this is your mistake, and I have proof that it's your mistake. You can't tell me that Expedia can't afford to just buy me a ticket and fix this." She said, "No, we are not able to do that." I said, "You're able, you're just not willing." She was silent.

Another thing she said to me was that the ticket wasn't fully booked the first time because I disconnected. I told her I did that because my cell was ready to die after being on hold for over an hour, but that I called back on a land line at my first opportunity and was told the booking would proceed. (More proof that keeping people on hold is part of their strategy -- if you disconnect, they try to use it against you.)

I don't get mad very often. I am very even keel, and I try not to yell at low-level customer service people. But after half an hour of speaking with this puppet woman, with her puppeteer feeding her her lines, I told her I was going to post the whole story on my blog, my Facebook account, and my Twitter account -- a combined audience of well over 500 people daily. She said she was going to put me on hold and consult her supervisor. I said she damn well was not going to put me on hold again -- that her supervisor could call me when he had a solution. Twenty minutes later a gentleman called me, confirmed that the switch was just between a maiden and married name, and said he would fix the matter.

I checked with Delta a couple hours later, and they sent me a Delta e-mail showing the booked trip. Relief. Then, about an hour ago, I received an Expedia confirmation for a flight that is sending my mother to Rome. Not Marseille. Rome. I am truly beyond the end of my rope. I will call Delta again tomorrow to double check that we're fine.

I am NEVER using Expedia again. The tactics they use to screw people are so utterly transparent. They don't want to help their customers; they want you to give up asking for help and cave to their demands out of sheer exhaustion. In case you think mine is an isolated incident, I offer the following for your consideration:

Those are just the first five that come up. Please feel free to share this post far and wide. The great thing about social media is the power it gives us, as consumers, to hold companies accountable.

Nebraskans know how to party

Monday, February 14, 2011

Baby Huey, superstar

I heard tell that Huey was floating over 3' 6" on Saturday from a collected canter. Huey tends to get a little, shall we say, jazzed when jumping, so this was quite an achievement! I know very little about jumping, but I assume the higher the jumps get, the more adjustable the horse needs to be.

Sunday I schooled lots of canter because it was feeling so good. Then, for fun, I started schooling flying changes and simple changes across the diagonal. Huey often gets hyper when he does a flying change, so I mixed up both movements to keep him guessing. It made him slow down and wait for me, and he did just super. After 16 years of doing dressage, I've never had the chance to earn my bronze. Could Huey finally be my partner? That would be fantastic. But we gotta really work on his medium trot.

Lola is seriously the easiest dog on the planet. I have had not one moment of stress from the moment she moved in. She is just a happy, happy dog.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Our new bundle of joy

Ostensibly here for a weekend test-drive, Lola (formerly Leeloo) is going to be staying. She's such a good girl!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

And bassador makes three?

I've mentioned recently that I've been feeling ready to add another dog to my little crew. Last night on CraigsList I found a four-year-old basset/lab cross whose owners are moving and can't take her. What's that cross called? Bassador? Labrasset?

After work tonight I went to meet her. She is sweet, gentle, calm, and very funny looking. I think she's going to get along great with my beagle mix and GSP. Her people are dropping her off tomorrow for a weekend test-drive.

Could anyone resist this face?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Happy New Year!

Wow, time does fly. January is already half over! We're having day after day of 50-degree-plus weather and rain, rain, rain. I was on the U of O campus a week ago, and there were daffodils in full bloom. If Huey starts shedding, we're in for an early spring for sure.

Chihuahua update: both little guys have new homes. Trainer Leslie took one of them and named him Gizmo. I myself have decided maybe now is not the right time for a puppy, so I'm instead thinking about an adult rescue dog in the spring. A vizsla if I can find one; otherwise whatever strikes my fancy.

Proving that I am so clumsy I can hurt myself while sleeping, I am on week three of dealing with a radial neuropathy in my left arm. I injured the radial nerve, and now can't straighten my wrist or move my thumb very well. Prognosis for full recovery is good, but it may take a few months. I'm able to ride if I wear a wrist brace, but typing is a drag. Also, the physical therapist sent me home with a little machine that shocks my muscles via electrodes. I get to do that to myself three times a day. It's just as pleasant as it sounds.

Due to my wonky arm, I've been mostly lungeing Huey for the past couple of weeks. Huey has major trauma in his past from a nasty person who chased him with a lunge whip. He therefore can be quite a handful on the lunge. Sometimes he turns his butt in and kicks at me out of fear, and it's such a delicate balance to let him know he must not do that, without scaring him even further. I've been so pleased to see him steadily coming around the last two sessions.

Here's my New Year's Day ride, with some turns on the haunches and shoulder-ins. Huey was distracted by an invisible monster to the south but mostly very good.