Saturday, May 30, 2009


I think it was Bobby Ingersoll that said once that if you only get a 1% in what you ask for every day- in 100 days you will have improved 100%. I cling to that number. I think I got 1% today...
only 99 more days to go by that calculation!

Monday, May 25, 2009

All out rebellion

Yesterday we went to war- and I mean that literally. Des just was a jerk and consequently I had to go to war with him. And you know that when ever you do that - you have to stick it out until you win. I haven't had to go to war in a looong time, but yesterday I had just had it! 
 After the lunging warmup ( we do every time we ride,) I thought he was going to be calm and focused. Nothing was further from his mind. I wasn't in the saddle two minutes when he started head shaking, and elevating, looking everywhere and not focusing on me AT ALL.

 So we did small circles, usually that brings him around. But no. That didn't phase him, so we did some counter bending circles, that is the second tool I use. He just started to rear and buck! He got spanked and then he got his little head tied around to his left cinch and lunged more. After about fifteen minutes of that, he dropped his head and looked softer. Back up I go, offering him the chance to go soft and quiet. 

Nope! Psyche! So more circles, more counter bends, some half halts, some circle drills, all to little avail. Finally after two hours- yes that is right- I rode him for two full hours- he finally got soft, stayed between the reins and focused on just me! Man o man- sometimes I just hate that horse!
Today I went back early with Lil Mama. Tacked up, lunged, he was sure carrying the mail, rolled him back off his hocks a few times, and climbed on board. Just asking for a focused and quiet ride. That is all. Stay between the reins- keep your shoulders up!  
Hurrah! He was quiet, focused and compliant! Whew! I don't want to think what kind of shape my poor ol' legs would be in if he hadn't wanted to be good today! 

 Lil Mama reminded me- "Horses are cool. When I grow up I want to own twenty!" 

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's not just me!

So Lil Momma goes to the barn to exercise the horses yesterday, and when she comes back she says, " Your horse is a JERK!"
He didn't want to lope in the round pen, he wanted to 'pretend' to kick at her, he bowed up and got all 'Mr Badass ' with her. She smacked the crap out of him ( of course! Good girl!) and he settled down, but honestly! 
I was hoping he's settle down a little faster, but he is really pissed off( evidently). 
So today I'll go out and ride him myself. I am seeing a little bit of improvement, we actually were able to lope on Wednesday without him jumping sideways- at least for awhile. Then he remembered the scary bathroom just over the fence and started the jumping rearing thing again. Took me another 20 minutes of punishment circles to line him out and between the reins to get him past that spot again. Maybe it's the smell, but he's just gonna have to get over it! 

Other than that Mrs Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

On a brighter note, he's gaining weight FAST! ( What were they feeding him at the other barn? Cardboard?)

Monday, May 18, 2009

C'mon and follow me!

I have recently added to my growing list of jobs being a writer for the San Francisco Examiner.I am the SF Equine Examiner and you can read my articles on I have only two there now, but more will be up shortly. You may recognize Lil Mama on the 'Tips' article photo!
If you like what you read, let me know. I get paid every time someone visits my Examiner page!

Allison's Benefit

Saturday was a wonderful day full of lots of fun, a few tears and much hope and inspiration.

I had plenty of help to set up.
You can see the bean bag toss in the background. We painted it to resemble Allison and her horse Skyler.

Allison's Mom and Dad, Teri and Grant, came for the first hour or so. They brought a book they had made for the day with pictures of Allison in a beautiful jump right before the fall. There were pictures of Allison in the hospital too, and those were sure hard for me to see. There were pictures of Allison,her students and friends too, and those lifted our spirits. Teri is such a positive strong woman. Ginny told me later that just talking to Teri made her believe that Allison is going to be ok because she believes it so strongly.

A lot of Alli's Pony Club came out to play and a few of them even joined the Horsemen's Association.

Aren't these cute kids and ponies? These poor Moms ran like this all day!

These two lovely ladies are from my new barn! I didn't know them yet, but they came and took the Snack Shack and worked there all day! What troopers! And what a fantastic job they did! Thank you Amelia and Corrine.

We had roping, a fish toss, a bean bag toss, and face painting for the kids. Here John is teaching a little guy how to throw a rope.

Leesha painted faces all afternoon.

And of course the Littlest Cowboy had to get in on the fun!

The Raffle was the biggest surprise of all. Our own Wonderful Trainwreck donated three beautiful prints, and when the crowd saw those, well lets just say that people dug DEEP to pay for Raffle tickets! We saved them for last, and just when the crowd was breathless with anticipation, we raffled them off.
I didn't win one.
Either did Lil Mama.
We were sad.
But not for too long, because when we counted up just the raffle money we had a total of $700!!
Though we had other prizes donated, it was those three prints that made everyone want to participate! Thanks a MILLION TW!
So for a Benefit that I had three weeks to pull together, with the help of my fantastic club members, we made..............................drum roll please................................
And I know that there will be a few more donations rolling into the mailbox this week also, so perhaps that amount will increase to $5000.
Teri is setting up an account for Allison at her Credit Union, so the money will be deposited there for their use.
If anyone is moved to visit to read Allisons story be sure to sign her guestbook. People from all over the world are reading and wishing her well !
And if you are so moved to send a donation of your own, you can send it to - MHA,P.O. Box 1954, Martinez, Ca 94553 ( write Allison on the memo line ).

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Back to Basics

Bad ponies go back to basics! I know that he's only been in the barn for less than a week, and things are super scary when you're new, but Desi has been a few places- and he's old enough at 8 to not be so spooky, at least one would think so. So today we went back to the basics- walk and jog a circle. Big whoop!
I put his snaffle,cavesson and martingale back on, lunged the buck out (mostly!) and then mounted up.  He was still a little stiff to the left, and bracey to the right, so we worked on small and large circles at the walk and the jog. After about 40 minutes ( that is thirty minutes less than on Tuesday!) he began to supple up, and give his face. Ahhhhh! So as a reward we went to the SCARY end of the Arena to rest. And then back to walking and trotting circles, and rest at the Scary end. You get the picture. I am a firm believer in two simple tenets- One: Make the wrong thing hard and the right thing easy. And Two: If they don't like it- do it some more. 

So after he was 'good' he got tied in his stall to think on what we did as I rearranged the tack box ( again). The hardest thing really is not knowing where everything ended up! 
And now off to shop for the Benefit!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Horse people are awesome!

Of course you all know I am Chairing a Benefit for Allison Angove- the 16 year old who fell with her horse five weeks ago. She is still in a coma, but there have been eye flutters, hand squeezes smiles and tears from Allison. She has been moved to Oakland and is going to move to Saratoga- a children's ward- very soon. What you probably don't know is the power of a few people with a whole lot of love to give. is a fantastic website, set up to assist family members and friends keep up with someone in the hospital- so you don't have to just keep calling an already stressed parent or spouse. It is free- relying on donations from the people that use the site to maintain itself. Right now, Allison's page is getting over 1000 hits a day from all over the WORLD! It seems that someone told someone, and they told two people- and they told two people... etc...
As we all know the horse world is a small one indeed! Many of theses people are horsemen, that don't know Allison or her family, but feel moved to pray for her or just send her their good wishes. Allison's Mom reads them to her every day.

The Contra Costa Times did a front page, below the fold, article on Allison in todays paper, featuring the Benefit that the Martinez Horsemen's Association is giving on Saturday. I had phone calls from strangers offering donations in her name since 8 Am this morning. 
People from my new barn know Allison- she stabled there a few years ago- and they are coming up to me offering help, money, trailering for others- anything to help her. It sure does make me just kinda well up! (sniff**)
I am overcome by the love just pouring in from you blogger too! Trainwreck sent three fantastic original prints with the Certification papers for our Raffle ! Thanks TrainWreck! You are a peach! Add to the other donations, we have Gift Baskets, spur straps,horse tack... the list goes on! 
So if I don't blog tomorrow or Friday or Sat- don't despair! I am SUPER BUSY getting this whole thing in the air! I'll get back with the good results on Sunday! 

Monday, May 11, 2009

Briones Horse Center- Ta DAAaaa!

Here is the front of our new barn. Nice huh? Our horses are stabled in the wing to the left, about three stalls in.

The arena isn't as large as it looks here, but it is plenty big enough to lope circles and practice trail!
Here is Lil Mama tacking Bob up. The stalls are good and large- and he needs every inch.
My ride today was a disaster! Desi has totally 'forgotton' everything he's ever learned. We spent a hour and a half just reviewing a circle, at the jog, bending the ribs, not dropping a shoulder. Sheesh! I'm just going to chalk it up to the move- and his little vacation. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.
On a brighter note- no pulling back today!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Its finally finished

Here are the before and after pictures of the side of the barn. Desi had actually only kicked the top one out, the rest fell due to gravity and poor workmanship.

Many many Thanks to my wonderful Son-In-Law for fixing this for me. I don't know what I would have done without your help!
We loaded up the boys today, along with the remainder of our tack and equipment and headed out to the new barn. Stressful- YES! Happy to be done with the old barn? DOUBLE YES!
Everything went very well. The boys were settling in quite nicely. I took Desi out and let him run around the new arena. He really snorted and acted like Shazzam the Arab today! The when i took him out and tied him to the hitch rail, he promptly pulled back, broke the lead rope and wandered away. Luckily he wasn't too freaked out to catch! But if this is a precurser of things to come I will have to NIP nip nip it in the bud! NO PULLING BACK!
Bob looked like he was doing airs above ground with Gin today, but after about five minutes he settled down with an " OH! This is a working kind of place! I see!" attitude.
I'll lunge and ride tomorrow. It's been four weeks since I climbed on him- I've just been too upset to ride.Tomorrw starts the first day of the rest of my life ( Oh come on! I was raised in the sixties!) I'll start my training all over again!
Are we in Paradise- not quite but it's a lot closer than it's been!

Today is the Day!

It has been a long and stressful three weeks, but today is the day we move the other horses to their new boarding facility. I feel like a ten year old that has to change schools! You know, excited and happy and anxious all at the same time? My girls used to say " I'm scared!" when they felt like that and I would tell them- " That is because you are anticipating the fun!"
Almost all of my tack is out of the old barn and my very kind son-in law Jeff Sr is fixing the hole. And he's fixing it ten times better than it was ever put up in the first place.
Lil Mama and I took his big ol diesel truck to the lumber store in Richmond yesterday to pick up the materials. His truck is a Dodge, with a huge metal square camper, utility racks and giant bumpers front and back. When it goes down the road you hear and see it! So we have the littlest cowboy asleep in the back seat when we get there ( of course! Thats the only time he wants to sleep) and when we pull up, three yard men( I used that term loosely) turn to stare. I tell LM-" I guess they don't ever see a truck like this in Richmond with girls in it!"
SO in I go, to buy the materials, the guys inside are nice to me ( I'm kinda a cute granny!) and we go around back to pick up the stuff. Those guys are driving big forklifts thither and yon- all at warp speed- and everyone that passes just ogles us- both! And they aren't even sly about it. Nope, just head turning, tongue-lolling kind of stares. And the truck is still running- cuz GAWD the baby is asleep and don't you DARE wake him up! And another guy- a customer- comes up to me standing there waiting for MY crazy forklift driver to get back with the stuff- " Hey what kind of work do you DO?" He nods to the big truck.
I have to laugh! I say- We build barns! Hahaha!
More on the 'Mission' when it is done and I promise to bring pictures!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I didn't take pictures- but yesterday I moved Glacier away from the boarding stable I've been struggling with for awhile. And the weird saga of poor Glaciers life just continues...
My friend owns a retirement facility very near where I live. It's 60 acres of hills and trees, just a horse kinda heaven. I called her and she agreed to take Glacier for the summer. I sort of explained that I had taken the horse as a rescue, and all the hills and grass would be great for the girl. So I load the mare up ( easily) and take her over there, unload the trailer and turn Glacier loose in the arena where she will live until she was settled.She immediatly started calling and running around, head up- eyes bright.
My friend and I continued talking (while watching to make sure Glacier would be ok) and I told her the story of how I came to have the mare. Then Megan's -the little biznatch- name cam up- natch.
" Oh yeah" says my friend, " That spoiled little girl was here with three horses and her friend had a horse too." And then she got a funny look on her face. " This is Glacier!"
"Yeah" I say.
" She's been here before!" says my friend. " I had to ask her to leave, they were so rude and arrogant."
My friend could see that Glacier had gone downhill since she had seen her last, but that she was healthy now. So more good Ju-Ju for Glacier!
In a few days Glacier will join her herdmates on the grassy hills of Martinez! What a great way to begin the summer for her!

Friday, May 1, 2009

I think I can

First let me say that I am NOT a bicycle rider. The last bike I rode had a way cool banana seat and pink tassels!
My first thought upon seeing this clip was-" Oh no, bikes- not interested." But I watched a second longer- and my next thought was "OK- this guy is going to just wipe out! He's crazy!" So I watched a little longer- because that's the kind of girl I am. And when he took that bike across the fence- I was more than stunned. Here is a guy that is an absolute athlete. He's an artist on a bike. I thought, "Wow what could this guy make a horse do?" Of course I quickly thought better of that notion because a guy like that would leap his horses off cliffs- and bikes don't have feelings, so bikes are probably better for him.
But the last thought I had about this guy is" What a view of the world he must have!" Every public project has become his own personal obstacle course. Every piece of masonry, fencework, stonework is HIS. This is a guy that says- about everything- Yes- I CAN. I WIll do that! And what a great way to go through life- don't you think?
So many times we have taught ourselves to say- "No, I can't do that, it's impossible, I don't know how, I'll get hurt..." instead of seeing the possibility in everything. Instead of trying to do the impossible- we just sit back and wish.
I am not going to do the death defying feats of Mr Macaskill- oh no, but I AM going to try like hell to remember his view of the world when I am anxious, or afraid, or lazy. I am inspired!

PS- I love the fact that he wears only a helmet to protect his noggin! No other safety gear( I hope he's wearing a cup!)