Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I'll take a George, with a slice of lime...

As new as my horse is to me, (4 mos this weekend!) I can honestly say that one of my favorite things about him is how he just stands and listens and gives me those big brown eyes when the cold and the grey and the long winter get me feeling a little blue. Lately old George has been the stiff martini I have needed. I think I am really beginning to like the old fella.

I lost a good friend a few months ago. Actually, one of my best friends. I met Pam about 16 years ago when we worked together. She and I immediately connected...one of those friendships where you just hit it off and love the heck out of each other from day one. She was a super wife, a great mother, and a true friend. She was a peach...and probably one of the funniest people I have ever had the opportunity to meet. Although we went on to different jobs and moved about our lives during the years after we met, we were always able to pick right up and laugh and have a drink anytime. We had great fun. Pam died of lung cancer in October. She never smoked and did everything as healthy wealthy and wise as the rest of us...it was one of those terribly unfair deaths that make you shake your head and wonder what the hell just happened.

I miss Pam an awful lot.

As corny as it sounds, I find that during those quiet moments in the barn when I am brushing my horse and just concentrating on the silky reddish color of his coat and the calming brown color of his eyes, I know I am getting the best therapy ever.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

All creatures great and small

I am back online! We have been without power for the entire day...geez, light and heat are great!!
Anyway, the mare finally had her baby...Snowy Eyed JoAnn arrived early Thursday morning! She is a healthy, bouncy, Buckskin Filly. We are all in love with her! We call her the Blizzard Baby due to the fact that her impending arrival included various weather conditions that made all of us anxious. How sweet she is...my first experience with a newborn. She is so soft and curious...it is hard not to stand and watch her for hours.
Some pics...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My Friend Flicka...er...Emily

So the weather finally broke(!!!) to an amazing 40 degrees (give or take a few, who cares) since Sunday. What is a girl to do??? I mean, a girl who is nervous about how her new and yet-to-be figured-out horse will act after the cold weather layoff yet is wanting with hopeful desperation (is there such a thing?) to get to know her wacky new horse and, well, you know...RIDE!!??? Ya, this girl. The one who hates that she is afraid but yet is a bit afraid. That would be me.

I headed to the most knowledgeable and available person I know: BarnFriendEmily. Emily was as excited to ride as I. Thus, I asked Emily to *help* me. *Help* to a 14-yr old horse-crazy girl means she totally showed me what to do by lunging all of the bucks and piss and vinegar out of old George and by then taking him for a test ride so we knew he "was gonna be ok". *Help* means she, with her 14 yr old confidence, gave ME the confidence to hop on and ride and do absolutely fine. *Help* means she will never know how much she helped me.

Emily and I rode our horses last evening. The weather was warm (for here, that is!). We talked and trotted and did a few transitions just to let our guys know we are in for some work...but not so much work that we are frustrated or scared or fruit-loopy.

And the *guys* seemed to enjoy getting back to business. They behaved like perfect gentlemen, much to our delight.

Finally, I enjoyed my George. We had fun and relaxed. Isn't that what this is all about?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Out of the mouths of babes

I am sitting here in the Sitting Room...just waiting for the TWO to THREE inches of snow to finish falling so I can head out to clear the driveway. I have to admit, it is pretty and sort of Christmas-y; however, aside from the feverish flu I seem to be fighting I think I also have a bad case of Cabin Fever. I. Want. To. Ride. My. Horse.

Yesterday I talked BarnFriendEmily. Emily is 14 and quite refreshing in that she is one of those teens who is polite, sweet, helpful, and wears jeans that actually fit. Emily is also horse crazy...I just love her to bits. Her parents just purchased for her the horse she has been leasing from the owner of the barn where we board. When she called to tell me he was going to be hers "forever and ever!", she was in tears she was so thrilled. No ipods or cellphones for her dammit, she just wanted a horse. My kind of kid.

Anyway, when we talked yesterday I expressed to Emily how frustrated I am about not being able to work with George. I told her I am a bit nervous about just hopping on him after nearly a month off and how am I going to know if he is going to remember everything, blah, blah, blah. I went on and on, raving like a lunatic about my fears and frustrations. Emily just listened for a few moments and then said, bless her 14 yr old heart, "Oh, it's no big deal! Last year I took the whole winter off...don't worry, you will be right back on track for summer after just a couple of weeks."

At that moment, I realized how frigging old I am. When exactly is it that we get to a point in our lives where we feel like we are running so short on time? When, if we aren't exactly on schedule, everything will fall apart, never to be fixed! To Emily, this cold snowy weather biz is just a small glitch. An inconvenience, but nothing that will stop us from picking up right where we left off once the weather breaks. All will be fine and we will be riding again in due time. There is plenty of time for everything and no need for worry.

I guess the more I thought about what Emily said, the more I realized I must dig out my Inner Teen when I get stressed about all things George. Then, when the time comes, I may actually just sit back and enjoy the ride instead of analyzing every teensy glitch.

Meanwhile, it looks like the dog has the hang of it...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

...and then it snowed some more

Another day off work due to snow! This is like getting a free weekend...except for the work of digging out, that is. I did finally make it out to the barn this morning. (Still no baby...Mother Nature must be holding off due to weather!) George was outside. I sat in my car for a few minutes, just watching all of the horses play in the snow. They are so beautiful...I just can't get enough of watching them.

I am using this time to get a little plan together so once the weather breaks, George and I will be able to have some fun. This break is good in a way because George is doing much better as far as fitting in with his pasture buddies. He was bucking and running around with all the rest of the snowbunnies today. His barn manners are getting much better as a result...I think he was just frustrated because he had no friends! His nipping has stopped and he stands nicely for me when I groom him. YEA!!

Once this weather breaks, we will do some groundwork and hopefully a bit of riding. The riding part makes me a bit nervous (see previous post) but we'll just take our time and do things at our own pace.

(Happy Valentines Day!!)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

As the snow flies...

I have been home all day...big blizzard conditions closed our office. It is nice to have a day off to get things done...you know, all of those things I keep putting off because, well, I tend to spend a few hours at the barn. Now I am being held hostage...the plow has not been by yet and I doubt my little car is fit to hurdle thru the snow drift at the end of the drive.

The weather has been challenging my horse-ownership skills the past few weeks. After a lovely December, we were plunged into sub-zero temps and now we are covered in snow. Yes, I board George at a barn with an indoor arena; however, I have not been able to ride in nearly 3 weeks! The owner of the barn, who is new to the whole boarding/indoor arena thing, watered the arena footing to keep the dust down. Unfortunately, it is all now frozen...therefore, a bit dicey for walk/trot/cantering. Further, I am a little nervous about just hopping on George after several weeks of not working him. I don't know him all that well...what if he is a fruitloop??
Ah, fear. My new faithful companion! I don't know if it is the cold or the dark winter evenings or my being in the midst of not really *knowing* George yet...but whatever it is, I have been more nervous about riding him and sometimes even working with him lately. It is so frustrating! I don't WANT to be nervous. I want to be relaxed and enjoying the whole process. How does one get to that point with a new horse? I have been doing bits of groundwork with him whenever possible. He is getting a lot better with paying attention to what we are doing and his biting has just about stopped. Looking back at how he was a month or so ago, I know we are making progress. I guess I need to focus on the small progressions and not expect to have an Olympic partnership right off the bat. Certainly, once we can get on a more regular riding schedule I will become more confident with him. Here's to hoping Spring springs soon!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

At least the poop is easy to scoop!

We are in the midst of a deep freeze here. I think the high for tomorrow is something like 0 with wind chills of -35. I drove to the barn today to check on George. All of the horses were inside, including a mare that is due to give birth at any time. The barn owner has not ever had a baby born this early in the year...nor has he had one due in this kind of cold! He bought the mare already bred and he didn't know she was due so early in the year. He is going nuts trying to figure out a way to keep the baby warm. Mama is doing fine so far...we are all hoping she has a healthy, hearty little one!

I have a light blanket on George. He has somewhat of a coat, but not as thick as is probably needed for being outside. I only have a lightweight turnout blanket so he is going to have to muttle through. There are so many theories on blanketing I am not sure what to do...and I hate to go out and spend $150 on one of those poly-filled ones if he doesn't really need it. Poor George. He has a mom that is so cheap. He is never going to be Homecoming King with a mom like that. Since the weather is not supposed to break until late next week, I am hoping he will get to go out at least for a couple of hours a day...I think everyone else is hoping the same for their horses. George will be a fruitloop if he is in for more than a couple of days...as I found out earlier in the week when he did his rodeo thing while I was leading him to the arena. I am not sure I would feel too confident going thru that again so if he doesn't get out tomorrow I am going to have to ask someone to help me turn him out in the arena.

Meanwhile, I cleaned his stall, told him to please be patient, and prayed that his water doesn't freeze. Brrrrrr.