I’ve realized that I don’t write about my personal life as much as I used to. In part that’s because I’m relatively stable (read boring) right now. But here’s a rundown of what has happened recently:
1. I judged a trail ride in Florida last week. I’ve judged that this location in the past and it is hard. I judge on changes in the horses’ condition. This ride is flat and slow and cool. The horses are literally out there strolling through the park. It is really hard to judge this ride.
Last weekend though, it was different. The temperature went to 75 and the horses all had heavy winter coats. When it was all over 1/4 of the ride had to drop out for reasons ranging from being out of shape to not being fully recovered from previous illness to sore backs to sore feet to rider injury to family emergencies. The riders are really good at stopping the horses at the first sign of trouble. At one checkpoint I had three riders decide to have their horses trailered out. All the horses were fine with a break and a good meal in their stalls. I don’t have any pictures because every time I got the camera out I had to go check on someone.
On Sunday, we lost half of the experienced rider division in the first half mile. They went on the wrong trail. Then the park service decided that conditions were lovely for an impromptu burn of the forest that the riders were in. When we got the call that the trail was on fire, I burst out laughing. It was just that sort of weekend. Of course the trail was on fire.
They were seen starting the fire so they were able to put it out quickly when told that there was a competition going on in the area they were planning to burn. I believe an email was going to be sent requesting that they check what scheduled events are going on before they go randomly setting things on fire.
2. I got a new computer. My Mac Mini was 9 years old and tired. Now I have a brand new one but it required three trips to a store to get the right cable to connect it to ancient monitor. Why can nothing ever work the first time? The scroll button on the mouse works in the opposite direction when connected to this computer. That is confusing.
3. We have Z this weekend and she is sick. Now the husband is sick. I am not a doctor of humans. They forget this and think I am being unreasonable when I don’t magically fix them. Last night had Z had an earache. She communicated this by standing and screaming for hours. Lest anyone forget – this is not a toddler. This is an 11 year old. Her screaming would have been appropriate if a bear had chewed off her leg and then beat her over the head with it. It was unnecessary for an earache. I was the bad guy because I wouldn’t fix it. I considered offering her some of Freckles’ ear meds. Hatred of screaming children is one of the reasons I chose not to breed. Why did I end up with it anyway?
The husband was angry that his ex was sending a sick kid to him instead of keeping her home to rest. I swear his sickness is most likely psychosomatic but I’m smart enough not to say that. I’m missing my family Christmas party because I have to take the kid back to her parent now.
Z vomited today and wanted me to examine it in the toilet. I don’t do vomit. I’m a gagger. I refused to look at her vomit. Guess who is a bad person again? You can’t learn anything I didn’t already know from vomit. For the record, I take this stance with most people who want me to look at pictures of their dog’s vomit too.
4. I slept in the living room last night to avoid germs. I got up in the middle of the night and panicked my poor bird. I had to talk her down to get her to realize it was me and not a predator before I could move again and turn on the light. She was annoyed with me too.
5. I think I’m cool with the dog and the cats but you never know about these things.
Show jumping is the big draw at the horse show. We started the afternoon watching the Junior/Amateur championship. Kids and amateurs so you know, little jumps, right?
The big class of the evening was the $75,000 Ricoh Big Ben Challenge. When I was here a gazillion years ago, Big Ben was competing. He was a superstar. When it was his turn to come in the ring the lights would dim and he’d come in with a spotlight on him. I don’t know how he managed to jump with all the camera flashes going off in his face. His rider, Ian Millar, is still competing. Here he is this year with Star Struck.
The maximum height of the jumps in this class was 1.6 meters (5′ 3″).
Sometimes things don’t go so well. This horse didn’t fall or get hurt but he demolished that jump.
We saw two horse draft driving in the afternoon and six horse hitches in the evening. These were championship classes. The top three teams from the Percherons, Belgians, and Clydesdale classes all week were competing.
This is the winning two horse hitch.
Clydesdale wheel pair
These guys were my favorites. This is the lead pair of a Percheron team. They won.
This is the whole class. There are nine teams with six horses each.
I went back to Alabama for the second time in 3 weeks to judge a trail ride.
I didn’t think this one was going to happen. It was scheduled in a national park which shut down last week. They managed to move it to private land at the last minute which was a huge undertaking. I’m shocked that they pulled it off.
There were donkeys to pet.
I’m thinking of requiring a donkey or mule to pet in my judging contracts from now on.
There were dogs.
Of course there were the horses that I was there to see.
This guy has been competing as long as I’ve been judging, which is a long time now. He’s semi-retired but occasionally he comes out and plays for a day.
I was in Alabama this weekend to judge a trail ride. It went pretty well with only one sick horse. There was a minimal number of human injuries that resulted from humans doing something stupid.
Have you seen those pictures like this one that show a horse waiting outside an outhouse?
Turns out they are true!
This had the added degree of difficulty of the rider still holding the reins. If the horse had decided to leave that would have been a real mess! One of the complaints that some people have about our organization’s rides is that we make people do obstacles along the way. Our obstacles are nothing compared to what the riders do to themselves apparently.
I was really on my way to take a picture of this little guy.
It has been a year to the day since I gave away Prize. It was a good decision. I recently saw a bunch of pictures of her. She has been going to horse shows and doing lead line classes with the owner’s grandkids. She was in a parade. There were lots of pictures of her ears – her owner was taking pictures from on her back while trail riding. They seem to be having a great time together!
I’m a major procrastinator so a year later I’ve finally taken her picture off the blog header. At first I was just lazy and then it started to bother me and then I got really annoyed every time I looked at it. Once I started working on it I had a new one ready in 15 minutes. Procrastination is so much fun.
Today is my last day at my old job. Officially I was supposed to work from 2 to 6. I had a massage and sewing day in the morning.
At my massage I found out that Prize went to a horse show this weekend and took first place in Leadline. Yes, thousands of dollars spent at top trainers so she can rock the leadline circuit. Leadline is just what it sounds like. Kids 6 and under get led into the ring on their horse, walk a few laps, and line up. I’m not sure how it is judged other than falling off is bad. But, my massage therapist’s other horse and other grandkid took 5th so the girls are now arguing over who gets to show Prize next. Prize probably loves not having to work so hard at shows!
Then I went to sewing where we had ice cream sundaes. My one friend kept squirting whipped cream into my mouth. When we finished sewing she drew up straight flashed me a Vulcan salute and said, “Live long and prosper.” We are such geeks.
Then I had to go to my work party. I’ve been the party planner for the 12 years I’ve worked here so I’m not shocked they were rusty on the details of planning one. I found out about it yesterday when I noticed that 12-2 was blocked off for my party. I questioned if I was invited because as you may remember from the first paragraph I don’t work until 2. The party was also being held at a clinic that I don’t work at. Did they think I would just magically appear if they forgot to tell me? I was sewing at that time so I told them I could only be there by one. Point two of party planning – ask if the guest of honor can be there.
I got there and they were very pleased by the cake. It was an ice cream cake with Batman on it because the one with the shark was too small. Obviously. Because they are random like that here. There was pizza and I got my very own veggie one because no one else will eat healthy stuff.
The clinic owner’s brother died. (Not at the party. He died last week.) They had a card for everyone to sign. But one person obviously was confused and thought it was a going away card for me so he wrote, “Get Out!” and signed his name. My boss said that his brother had already gotten as far out as was possible.
To finish off the cluelessness my boss asked if I knew how long it took to drive from my new house to the clinic. “I mean, have you ever done that?” Twice a week since January. Four hours roundtrip. That’s why I’m doing a happy dance when this commuting is over tonight!
I’ve known this for weeks but I keep forgetting to post this.
I gave Prize to my massage therapist. I was scheduled for a massage and was a bit nervous. What if she absolutely hated Prize and wanted me to take her back? What if my massage suddenly really, really hurt? Would that be a sign that she was displeased with me?
I walked in and she started gushing. “I just LOVE her! She is so sweet. We are riding all the time. We’ve never ridden this much – not just riding a lot for January but riding more than ever. She loves to go! She gets all excited to go for rides.”
At this point I was staring at her incredulously. I was thinking that maybe she had picked up two horses that day and forgot which one came from me. I mean, this is the horse who could sigh from the tips of her toes whenever she saw me with a saddle.
She noted my look. “I know, it’s liking hearing other people talk about your kids.”
What made me really believe it was when she said that they were trail riding her and at first she was a bit excited but when they started riding her on the buckle she started to love it. That explained it. With me she was a dressage horse wannabe (I wanted her to be and she didn’t mostly). She had to hold her athletic posture and do what she was told when she was asked. With them she is wandering the countryside with her new barnmates looking at everything which is good for such a nosy busybody. “Riding on the buckle” means that she is on a very loose rein just doing her own thing wandering down the trail. That fits her work ethic (or lack thereof) much better. I’m competitive. If I would have trail ridden her I’d would have been pushing her to long distance competitions which I knew she was too lazy to enjoy. They are riding a few hours at most a day. Perfect for her.
To top it off, since she’s working more she gets a little grain at night. She’s got to be in Heaven!!
Prize went off to her new home today. Everyone keeps asking me if I’m ok but I really am. I almost feel bad that I don’t feel bad.
Her new people came today with blankets and masks for her to travel in. She got all bundled up and I warned them that she has a bad habit of backing out of the trailer. I specifically warned them not to tie her head before the back of the trailer is firmly closed.
She hasn’t loaded over 3 years. She walked up to the trailer and put her front feet in and stopped. Susan talked quietly to her and then she backed out. She led her to the trailer again and she did the same thing. After a few tries she went in and they closed the back door but not the slant divider. Then, they hooked her head. She immediately backed up, snapped the trailer tie, and exited the trailer. Most horses would have run off then. Not Prize. She stood immediately outside the trailer and looked around calmly like, “Now what?” The lead line was unhooked and she was totally loose. She was closest to the husband so he grabbed her by the halter and calmly said, “Come on.” She loaded right up on the trailer just as calm as you please and scootched over so he could close the slant divider.
Thank you Prize for reminding me why I found you so frustrating to deal with! Why does there have a be an episode of stupidity before you do what you so clearly know you are being asked to do?
Her new people never got excited and never raised their voices through it all so that’s good. I think they will be a good fit for her.
Happy Solstice! I’m so glad the days are starting to get longer again.
I’ve had a good news bad news kind of day.
The good news is that I finally found a home for Prize. I’ve been wanting to find her a home where someone would be able to ride her. I have no desire at this point in my life to ride. I especially have no desire to ride her. We have too much history together and way too much baggage. She’s been mostly hanging out for years while I pay her board bill. It is surprisingly difficult to give away a horse. I’ve been trying for years. With the move it got more urgent but she could have stayed where she was if necessary.
This happened quickly. I had asked my massage therapist about her before. Yesterday something told me to ask again. She was excited. Her horses are either very old or very young right now. She doesn’t have a horse that can be ridden consistently. She came out to meet her today. She seemed to “get” Prize right away. She works with the natural horsemanship methods that Prize prefers. Prize is going to go to her new house on Monday.
People seem worried about how I’ll react to being horseless. In a way I’ve been horseless for years. After Spirit died, Prize was boarded and I didn’t see her much anymore. For now at least I’ll play with the horses I judge at trail rides and wait and see if I ever want to get back into it in the future.
Now for the bad news. We aren’t closing on the house tomorrow so we aren’t moving next week. There is a reason why but for the life of me I can’t understand it even though it was explained to me by the SO twice. Maybe I do understand it but it is so completely stupid that my brain is rejecting it. We paid for an inspection that we shouldn’t have paid for. So, to somehow compensate for that even though we don’t care at all, there needs to be new paperwork and a scheme that sounds a lot like money laundering to my simple brain or else the loan company won’t approve.
…. I will sum up, to quote Inigo Montoya. I’m getting very behind in my blogging.
Last weekend I was here.
In theoretically sunny southern California where it got to a high of 10 degrees less than predicted. When I was heading out onto the trail to start judging on Saturday morning the temperature was 29 degrees and yes, that is Fahrenheit. I was wearing all the clothes I could find and I was still cold. It was shorts weather in Ohio. The world had gone all twisty.
But there were mules and that makes everything better.
There was also this little guy. I’m referring to the horse not the kid, of course. He was one of 3 Icelandics there. I’ve never seen one at a ride before and now there was an abundance. He was the only one in competition though. The others were the point horse (that goes out first and fast to check the trail and make sure the markings are correct) and a safety horse (who goes last and carries the first aid kid and goes searching if someone gets lost).
Isn’t he cute? I get all squishy over small furry horses. He would have been extra furry in his natural state but he was body clipped since it had been 90 degrees in CA up until a few days earlier. You can see what isn’t clipped around his eyes.
There was much hugging of him. You just have to. He’s like a stuffed animal come to life.
Speaking of small furry things…
These guys weren’t very active because they were cold too!
The SO and I went to Quarter Horse Congress to see the freestyle reining. This has been planned for months. This has been discussed for months. That’s why when I got home from work and said that we should leave around 4 and he looked at me incredulously and said, “What? I’m not going anywhere today,” he almost was murdered.
He argued and whined and bitched but we went. Then he found a trailer on display with HDTV and the game on. He sat there while I walked around. Then we went to our seats and his was broken. Much more bitching ensued. We finally got new seats in a box.
Finally, after that we got to see the event. Excuse the picture quality, it is dark and the horses are moving fast.
This guy wasn’t the best reiner but I think he had the most fun. He had a pink feather boa, a tiara, and fairy wings. Whenever he spun he put his finger on his head like a ballerina.
This was a better ride with a good costume. There were gold metallic streamers in the mane and tail.
My favorite costume was Tarzan and the elephant. There was much speculation around us as to the feelings of the horse about this – ranging from “Thank God no one knows it is me under here” to “I am so bucking you off tomorrow.” I was just impressed the trunk stayed on.
Here is the winner doing a bridleless routine. I found it on YouTube this morning.
Way back when Miss Prize was a youngster she had a spot of difficulty finding a trainer to work with her.
Trainer #1 was during the winter of her two year old year. She was working on voice commands in preparation for driving training. For four lessons Prize totally ignored this woman. I didn’t understand. I was starting to think my horse was learning disabled but she could do everything when I asked her. Eventually the trainer refused to return my calls.
Trainer #2 and her daughter worked with her under saddle in the spring of her three year old year. I was already riding her but wanted her fine tuned. This is where she learned to buck. They declared her viscious and untrainable. They would only ride her if someone was holding her on a lunge line. I took her home and continued riding her around in a halter and leadrope.
She fell in love with trainer #3 and worked beautifully for him.
The other day, nine years after her one month with trainer #2, the trainer’s daughter walked through the barn where Prize lives now. She recognized my sweet little horse on sight. She told the barn owner that that horse was viscious and she wouldn’t ride that horse for any amount of money. The barn owner said she had to be mistaken because they have a 12 year old riding her with no problems. At that point Prize reached out of the stall to have a cuddle with the barn owner. The trainer’s daughter recoiled and repeated that she was so viscious that she shouldn’t snuggle with her because she will get bitten.
What can I say? She didn’t like those people and the feeling was apparently mutual.
I’ve been trying to find someone to lease Prize since she is standing around doing nothing. There is a girl who hangs out at the barn sometimes and loves my horse so I’ve been trying to get them together more formally.
Yesterday I went to meet with her parents at the barn. She also had a friend and her mother there. The friend was the typical “I’m 12 and I’ve shown horses for a whole year so I know everything there is to know about them” type of brat. The girl I want to take Prize had ridden her with the barn owner lunging Prize earlier in the day. That surprised me because I didn’t know they had moved to that point. I’m glad that my drama queen horse was actually very good.
Then the friend was going to ride. Yeah, my horse who hasn’t worked in years was suddenly on two-a-days. Luckily the kids are very free with the treats which excuses a lot in Prize’s world.
She was really good. She didn’t like the bit she had on so she was fussing with that but she behaved. I directed the know it all on how to ride her. She doesn’t have the skills yet to really understand Prize and since I’m the worst rider Prize had ever previously had on her she was bit confused as to what the kid was trying to communicate. I even got on her to show what she can do but the people didn’t really know enough to know what I was showing them.
Hopefully, they will decided to lease her for the first kid. The parents are hesitant but 12 year old girls with the prospect of a free horse of their own are hard to resist!
I’ve been AWOL for a while. Here’s what I’ve been up to.
-My mother came down last Wednesday.
-Thursday we drove to Virginia
– We stayed with my childhood best friend overnight. She has one year old twins.
– She bragged about how well they sleep. One screamed for a long time that night. That’s what you get for talking nice about kids.
– Friday we headed into the national forest to judge a trail ride
~~~~~ Entering a haze of sleep deprivation from having to get up when the time started with a 4. ~~~~
– They were sending the horses out on the trail at 6 AM. That means any morning exams I had to do on late arrivals (Saturday morning) or an injured horse and the morning trot out (Sunday) had to be done before that.
– I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON!!!!!!
– Riders were off the trail by two or so in the afternoon. They can nap. I was doing more exams.
– Sunday we drove six hours home after the awards. We got there at 11:30 pm.
– We transfered everything of my mom’s back into her car.
– The dog didn’t notice we were there until I was in the shower.
– The SO woke up long enough to apologize for being asleep but he had “a very long day.”
– I was too tired to strangle him.
– The dog decided that the cat was evil/insane/making weapons of mass destruction on the armoire and was barking at her all night. Then the cat got mad and decided to go downstairs so the dog chased her around.
– The SO woke up long enough to ask me to strangle the dog because he was too tired to do it.
– I had to be at work at 8 am for a 10 hour shift.
– It was one of the busiest Mondays I’ve ever seen at this clinic.
– I was on the couch at 7:30 pm watching Torchwood and Hoarders.
– I finally got to sleep for 12 hours and I feel like I’m back in the land of the living. Having to be a morning person totally messed me up.
Before I went to the hands-on acupuncture class last week, I went to the barn and practiced finding points on Prize. This caused the barn owner to double over in laughter at the thought of me trying to put needles in my dearly beloved pony.
Ok, sure, she once slammed me into a wall for taking blood from her. Yeah, and she once stomped another vet’s bag into the ground because she saw him pull a needle out of it. She’s also a Fire Horse. In Chinese medicine that means that she is highly emotional and prone to having fits. In my words she is likely to have a fit of the vapors whenever things don’t go her way. Yes, she’s Scarlett O’Hara in the flesh.
I figured it might be worse if I tied her up because she doesn’t really believe in cross-ties. I put her in the arena loose with some hay to keep her busy. She didn’t want the hay. She wanted to play with my bag of stuff which she picked up by the bottom of the bag – all the better to dump it out and sift through it.
I took a deep breath and just went for it.
No problem. I fed her a treat after each needle to reinforce that this was a good thing. I put four in her legs. She wandered around a bit. The barn owner came out and was amazed by the fact that she had needles in. But, she got bored in a few minutes and started getting mad that she was in and everyone else was outside. I pulled the needles instead of forcing her stand. I’ll go back later this week around suppertime when she is happy in her stall and put them in for longer now that I know it can be done.