Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Things I've learned this year. Or should have

NO resolutions this year. I made a few last year and wound up hearing God laughing through most of them.
Instead here are a few 'truths' I've figgured out for myself. Call me Captain Obvious if you will, but here they are in black and white.

10.  Never try to find a BART Space at the main stations anytime between 8 and 10 AM. You won't find one.

9.   Always make sure you have enough return money for a trip back to the BART Station from where ever you are in SF. If you don't have it, borrow it. Sure as shootin' you're gonna need it.

8.  The day you decide to dress a little down is the day the Boss notices you.

7.   Never ever leave the house with out looking in the mirror, front and back. You may have a pair of static electrified underwear plastered to the back of your sweater.

6 .    If you are over 50 , never ever put on make-up with out your glasses. Trust me, You can thank me later for that little tip...    

5.   If you bid on an item on a whim- make sure it is a whim you are prepared to live with and pay for.

4.   Nothing in life is a sure thing.

3.    When you start thinking that the Universe has forgotten all about you- it hasn't. It's just biding time to give you what you need.

2.    Learning to live with a fully grown daughter in your home is the greatest gift I've ever received.

1.  Whoever said that Grandchildren are the fountain of youth was right! I sleep like a baby after he's gone, Cry like a baby when he goes away and Drink like a fish in the time in between!( so the metaphor is flawed- sue me!)

What wisdom's have you learned this year? I'd be so happy to find out!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Good or Bad
Happy or sad, 
you've all been there 
literally and figuratively. 
Merry Christmas all you Bloggers and Lurkers
What fun 2012 will be!

OMG! I must be crazy!

I must be crazy.
For the last week I have been working back in San Francisco at Heritage.
If you ask me why I would say because I want to be helpful and I know Sweet Janice needed me.
I do love to be helpful.
Plus I need the dough to send Desi to camp.

This week we are moving~ about 14 blocks to the north, at the base of the Trans America pyramid. It's at the edge of the Financial District and in the Antique District which is also called North Beach. It is also just to the left of China Town and below Broadway which is the infamous Barbary Coast of SF legend. Google it.
In other words- Chi chi! Their shit don't stink. They dress way up to go to work. There are no bums to step over getting to work. The trees are continually dressed in bright white twinkling lights~ not just Christmas. We have many very nice and tasty restaurants to choose from for lunch.Our space is equally lovely, with high ceilings in a Victorian looking building, hardwood floors and windows fore and aft...

BUT- you knew this was coming... BUT
This is my space ( when I  work, which is probably not going to be much)

It is a dungeon. It is also a good thing I am a munchkin, because my head does not touch the low rafters- which I won't be able to say for most of my co-workers including my darling John.

But the shipping dept is just a piffle- of course. The Art Dept gets the choice of building spaces, and the rest of us just have to make it work.

So yesterday was moving day.
Art Dept Girl was no where to be found. One of the CD's was MIA too- and I'm a little miffed about that.
First let me say that I am not a young woman. I have issues and my butt isn't as trim as it used to be. I am at the edge of exhaustion at this point after working ten days straight. Here is the story...

John and I have been slaving away to wrap and pack and get the biggest collection away to Dallas, and the secondary collections to Dallas and then the rest of the materials and values wrapped to send to Jackson Street ( the new digs). My Sweet Jan and Darling Laura went to Jackson to meet the movers, the rest of the crew stayed behind. Me to supervise, and John to help load when needed.
All of a sudden one of the movers hollers-" Elevator is stuck!"

Our building is a SF landmark. With it's big Coca Cola light up sign on the top and its beautiful open floor plan, it is a old treasure with an old temperamental elevator that I would not call a treasure on most days.If you don't center the load, the floor tips and the elevator stops.
So I go to the edge of the elevator shaft which has a wooden gate to keep someone from falling down the shaft and I see that the elevator IS stuck and has three items inside that have tilted to one side and are pressing against the up/down button. And there is no one in the elevator. The mover had tried to send it up sans operator.
So to him I say " Ok, you're going to have to be a monkey and climb over the gate from the second floor and reshift that load."
He looks a bit baffled, but I take him by the collar and haul him up to the second floor.
I pull a stool over to the open elevator with the solidly closed gate and point to the two foot gap between the bottom of the door and the top of the gate. The elevator is stuck between floors, probably about 10 feet down. He stand on the stool and he is so heavy he cannot get his leg over the gate.  So the next guy goes and stands on the stool, but he's so old and rickety that he just hangs his head over the wooden gate and says,
"Oh I don't think I can do that."
"Get a ladder" I say. We put the ladder up to the gate, I wait for one of the guys to begin the climb. and I wait. And wait. They stand around shuffling their feet and worrying about what they are going to do, and say things like, " I don't know" "that looks dangerous"  "I don't think I can get over it, man"
"Oh, fergawd sake! " I finally blurt. "We don't have time for this!" I climb the ladder, swing my leg over the bar and lower myself at least five feet down to the top of the five foot cabinet jamming the elevator. Then I have to turn around and haul myself down from the cabinet. Then I have to manhandle the load until it is centered and the elevator begins to hum, finally depositing me onto the dock platform.
See picture: I have a hard time describing it, so I drew a simple map. I am sure it will eventually help in those therapy sessions I am going to need.

Then I am recruited to go to Jackson Street. I need to tell them where the desk and all the tables are going to go. On the way over in the Car, Sweet Jan gives me a pep talk about how one CD is not listening and wants everything he had in the old space. When I get there I am shown the Dungeon. I bite my lip to keep from bursting into tears. I trip down the first step, catch myself on the rail and wonder how many times I am going to save myself from a hideous fall before I finally miss and tumble.

And the bottom floor is dark, and dank, and all of the lights don't work...but there is places for storage, and I start in restoring order. One by one, the other CD's come to me and ask me to speak to the other and to also speak to Sweet Jan about this and that- so finally they are all sorta satisfied. No one got exactly what they wanted, so I consider it a success.They got what the needed and a bit more. I got George the Antelope hanging on the wall, but he has to go upstairs near the kitchen closet. 
Luckily I was able to restore some organization, I stuffed a bunch of boxes in one niche, another hundred in another and managed to get the 'good' tables brought down and set up for a 'wrapping' and' lay out' table.
But of course they can't use me next week, but I can come in on the 2nd to organize the rest of the Shipping Dept, before being laid off again.
On my way home I had pretty much talked myself out of this job, but today I feel better, got some rest and chocolate. I'll do it a little bit longer.
But once more I say " I must be crazy!"

Friday, December 16, 2011

Run for The Roses

Oh, just to have a little fun at Martha's Expense!

I have never fed my horses parsnips, or Barley. I bet her beautiful Friesan horses have the best of everything. I saw the inside of her stable on a tv show once and it was awesome. She has ultra comfy stalls and people to tend all of the animals (of course). When I come back in another life, maybe I want to be one of Martha's horses!

I am still wondering about that bull whip that Conan was foolin' with though- could he be right?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Words for thought on Horse slaughter

I am sure quite a few of my followers think that horse slaughter is just bad, bad, bad. I am going to tell you all, I am not one of them.
As a life long horse owner, and a realist, I was dismayed when the ban on horses slaughter plants in America came into effect. I could see the writing on the wall, and so could a lot more of my horse owner friends. What I feared has happened and the backlash of that is what we are all feeling right now. Weather you support the ban or not, you will be affected by it financially in your horse lives.


This blog was posted on FB, and at first I wasn't going to read it. I figured it was some one ranting on how bad the ban will be and why we should uphold it, and quiet frankly, I have enough people in my area that have a dreamified view of horse ownership that will give me that grief to my face.

But I did read it and this guy has hit the nail on the head on every point. It's the same thing I have been saying for the last five years, though I am sure I was not quiet as eloquent. His number figures will vary, of course, across the country. Right now hay in my area is nearly $20 a bale and co-opt mixed grains- the cheapest grain you can buy- is about $22 for a 50 lb bag. Shoes for a horse range from $100-$200, vet costs are going up because gas prices are going up. Board in this area is cheap at $400 a month. There is very little pasture boarding. If you need the services of a honest trainer the prices are from $550 -$1000 a month. In other words, it makes horse ownership a real commitment and it makes taking a rehab or a rescue into your fold nearly impossible.

 I have taken a horse to slaughter. When there was a plant within 50 miles of me, I did load up an evil horse and have him become chicken food. I didn't feel badly about it. I used the money to feed one that wasn't evil. Some horses are just so damaged that they cannot be rehabbed and need to die before they hurt someone.

But I have had many horses euthanized. And I have stood there when the cocktail was given or the bullet was fired. I have seen them fold and fall. It wasn't noble. It was wrenching.But I did it because it was the right thing to do, I had an emotional attachment to a horse that had given his best and I was able to give the final gift.
I realize that not everyone has the resources to pay for such a gift, and the fact they shouldn't own horses won't ever change that fact. There will always be backyard breeders, and horrible or ignorant or irresponsible owners. Rescue organizations will always be needed. They can still go to the sales and buy whichever horse they choose. The only thing changing there will be that the horses not bought at the sales will not be shipped overland in cramped cars with no food or water.  The un-chosen horses will be humanely destroyed. To me that will be a win.

 As horse owners we should all be advocates for the welfare of the horse as well as the industry.We advocate when it is fun ( teaching your neighbors to ride) and when it suits you ( going to the Rodeo and passing the PETA fools). We go to the Movies, ( WAR HORSE and SECRETARIAT) and buy the books (SeaBiscuit). Now we need to advocate in the face of ridicule, anger, ignorance and fear. The industry needs the plants back.
Please read this very well written blog.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Want to give the best gifts and save money? Read this blog today!

A friend of mine just posted on her blog that Black Thursday is taking away the thought and intent of Thanksgiving. I agree wholeheartedly.

 My girls say I'm turnin' into a scrooge. No celebrating Christmas until Dec 1!

Well, I'm not really turning into a scrooge, but I am avoiding shopping in the mall.
This year, like last year, I shop in my own little quaint downtown or I order online. But there is another better option opening, and it will do you and your heart and especially your pocketbook a whole lot of good! That is shopping at home with your friends and not on the computer or the shopping channel!

The trend is called Home Shows. It's been around for years- you know it best as Tupperware, or Avon or Mary Kay. But laugh not ye of little faith- the Home Show is the All American way to spend your dollars this year and I will tell you why. You can thank me later!
More and more young women are forced out of the work force due to having and caring for their families- having these home shows allows them to keep up the pace of their family, make some money, learn a lot of new skills and to bring you and your friends, lots of wonderful holiday ( and not holiday) items. Not just candles, and perfume, but makeup, skin care, Home accessories, House wears, shoes, purses, wallets, even Horse tack! And it is fun. All your friends around you trying stuff on , playing games, drinking wine or punch and eating cake~ sounds like heaven to me!
If you are still shopping for your family call one of the representative in your area right away. They would be glad to book a show for you immediately- plus you usually get some killer price off the items you wish to buy( sometimes you even earn free stuff!)
Another tip is ETSY. What a great site to buy from craftsmen, artists or vintage hounds like me. You get unique items that will tickle your Secret Santa's fancy and can put a few dimes back into the ol' piggybank.

Last tip- your blogging buddies are a bunch of interesting and talented people. I'll just bet that you can find someone to draw that picture, make that calender, braid the bracelet you want or write you a book or a tune. Last year I bought calenders from a few good bloggers- will again this year too! And that money goes directly to them- no middle man- and I like that- A LOT.

So keep the car in the drive, invite your girlbuds over along with the hostess of a new product. Everyone wins and your Christmas's will be stellar!

You can thank me now! 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December already!

So many of you have such beautiful Christmas cards showing your families, horses and dogs. I tell ya's, I don't know how you guys do it!
I can hardly get my family in one room for any length of time!
I can hardly believe it is the first of December already. It seems like 2011 flew past. Good or Bad, it was at the very least a wild ride. And although I always dread December, this year I am just happy it is nearly over and I can start fresh in 2012.
Starting in 2012 I am sending the still unsold Desi to Trail Camp for 30 days. Although I used to ride the trails every day , now I do not, and with no real wish to do so. But it seems everyone who has come to see Desi wants a 'trail broke horse', and I cannot in good conscious say he's trail broke. Thus the Camp. It will be good for him. Even if I don't sell him, on my visits to see him I will ride the trails, which are private, thus more enjoyable.
In 2012 I plan to do more showing.
I plan to have a job I can count on daily or weekly or monthly.
I plan to finish my latest book.
I plan to do more travelling with Hubby.
I plan to do more with my friends.

So with all this planning, maybe I'd better start by planning a great big Christmas!
I may not get a fantastic picture of my horses, dogs and kids all together, but I'll get a big tree put up for my grandson, a big dinner planned for my Hubby, great gifts for my daughters and a Happy Holiday smile for everyone else.
So Merry Christmas Everyone! Let the Party begin today!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It really is a 'horse' life.

I'm not a shy woman.
I can talk to most anyone about anything. And if I don't know about the subject, I am a good listener, which makes people think I'm a good conversationalist. And if I'm 'feel'n froggy' sometimes I will make stuff up to see if anyone else notices.
And sometimes, I just don't talk at all. I've found that saying nothing is sometimes the best option
But the one subject that I will talk about for hours,sometimes to the exclusion of all else, is of course, horses.
I'll bet a few of you are the same.

It doesn't take much for me to hear the word 'horse', or be asked a simple question about horses and I am off and running. It is my favorite thing to talk about.
Keeping horses is the only reason I work. It is the reason I get up in the morning and the reason I lay down at night. I read,write,draw,photograph, breathe and exhale horses.
So when I see an article that reminds me that I am not alone in this weird way, I want to share it. And when I want to share- I want to share with all of you!
Horse.com puts out this newsletter and it is full of great stuff.
I particularly enjoyed this article. I hope you like it too.
And if you want to talk about horses- I know a gal....


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Check out the new blog I found!

If you look at my Blog Remuda you will see a few of the Blogs that I like and follow. I found a new one via the photo editing site Picnic. It is called Zooborn.
Check it out!  

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Once again my job has really let me down!
I am so frustrated!
Evidently working hard, showing up on time and giving it your all just isn't good enough any more.
Heritage has decided that they don't need me.
To them I say HA!
Ha! Ha!
You will need me!
And I won't be there!
So now I have to regroup and punt ( as Snoopy used to say).
Job Hunting again...sigh***

So in the meantime, I'm selling beautiful and interesting things on Etsy. See the link at the top left of this blog.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Disaster Averted

Trying to take advantage of the late spring weather and my only day off, I rushed out to the barn and saddled up to ride.  As I put Desi's bridle on I noticed a 'funny' looking loose strap. I almost didn't take the time to really look at it, I just wanted to get on the horse. 

But something, intuition or instinct, made me drop the bit and look again. 
Boy, I'm glad I did. I had lost a Chicago screw! As a matter of fact- I had lost two.  
I could so easily have not gone back to look at that 'funny' looking loose strap...and the outcome of that would have been a dropped bridle at a most inopportune time. 
I'll bet most of you don't check your gear daily either. 
Oh we SAY we do. 
We mean to...
but there is always one more ride and then....
Today was a good lesson for me. 
There are other places that I DO check regularly 
the slobber straps, 

...and the off side billet. (That one I buy new every year. It's just my own weird little quirk..)

And of course I check the rigging plate on the near side, and the latigo.  You can see that my saddle needs a few new stitches! ( But the copper brads are in good shape.)
The most overlooked places to check are the ones you don't readily see- 
Under a buckle you will want to check for missing screws or ties.  Under the fender you will want to check the blevins buckles and hobble straps. 
On your bridles you will want to check all of the straps for wear,cracking or rotting. 

In some places it has already begun raining or even snowing, so now is a good time to really go over ALL of your gear and check it for wear. 
And if you find something that needs repairing or replacing- do it right away. Your riding is probably on hold due to the weather anyway. A few hours out of the saddle won't matter but a missing Chicago screw or a few thin stitches will. 

It is just too important to put off! 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

How do I look?

Here are just a few pictures of Slick taken a few days ago. Does he look any thinner? I finally got a weight tape and I think it is defective. It says he weighs 982 pounds. I'd a sworn he was more! 
He is smaller than I thought though-about 14,2hh,  I can stand next to him and put my arm across his back and rein him back if necessary. 

He had his best work out yet today. The area where this picture is taken is a round pen, and it has great sand footing. The boarding operator moved some branches that had fallen into it, so now it is available to use. Yippee! 
Slick is friendly- in fact he is one of the friendliest most lovable horse I've ever worked with. BUT he has NO work ethic. 
Why would he? 
He hasn't had to work in a really long time. 
But all that has changed. 
After the clinic with Jaq I decided to use some of the showmanship tips with him. 
Hmm... can you say respect the chain? 
It didn't take Slick long to figure out where to put his feet. They aren't perfect, but they are getting close. He stands like a statue- unless another horse comes by. Then he gets goggle eyed and wants to gaze at them longingly. 
Can't say I blame him, after being alone for so long- but it is still unacceptable. It almost breaks your heart to see him try to pay attention to me and yet keep one crazy eye on the passing horse. 

Today I saddled him up and rode him with spurs in the round pen. He zigged and zagged around, didn't want to track along the wall of the pen. 
So remembering what Sandy Collier always says, you change their direction to change their minds. 
Every time he lifted his head to look around, he got pulled into the center of the pen and we changed direction. 
The railroad tracks run alongside the road next to the pen too ( oh joy) and when the locomotive came chugging down the tracks, hissing and snapping, he lifted his head... and got checked into the middle of the pen and changed directions. 
When a car drove into the driveway, slinging gravel and blaring the radio, he spooked sideways, got checked into the middle of the pen and changed directions. 
All this time we never quit trotting, as fast as he wanted to go, as long as he tracked along the pen and didn't drop the inside shoulder. After twenty minutes, he was puffing pretty hard. 
So was I! 
He never offered to buck though- which is a blessing! 

Then it was time to work on Whoa. 
I said whoa. Nuthin'. 
So I said whoa and squeezed my legs. Still nuthin'. So I said whoa and squeezed my legs and pulled him down to a stop, then backed him up repeating whoa,whoa whoa, changed directions and trotted off. 
A few more of those repeats and Slick was listening for that wonderful 'W' word. 
Whoa! He lifted his back,got his legs under him and stopped. We did it a few more times, just to make sure he was getting it.
I think that he did great! I can't wait to see how much of it he remembers tomorrow. 
On the other pony front though I am very discouraged. 
Still no one has bought Desi. 
I've even dropped his price radically. 
I have never in my life had this much trouble selling a horse!
I can't buy TC until Desi is in a good home. 
I'm still trying, marketing him to other horsemen and putting him on websites, but with winter just around the corner it seems like a long shot. 
I am really depressed about it. 
Such a nice horse, and broke to death, and no one is buying.
Desi is too nice to just give away. 
And since I've tried to separate myself from him ( emotionally) now I feel like if he doesn't sell I'll have to try to fall in love with him all over again. 
I know that sounds totally stupid. 
I feel totally stupid too. 
And yet, I just can't give up on the idea that TC should belong to me. 
And that there is a perfect girl out there just waiting for a nice horse like Desi to be her one and only.
I'm not getting much sleep, my mind keeps running schemes in my head. 
Like The Mask said, 
"Somebody Stop Me!" 

Monday, October 24, 2011

When is a Clinic not a clinic?

Answer...When it is given by not only a wonderful horsewoman but a personal friend!
Jacqueline Allen Burke , owner of Superior Quarter Horses in Clements Ca, came to the Dolittle Ranch in Loma Rica and gave a few of us 'show-girls' a real informative and hands on riding clinic. We didn't just do ONE thing- we did EVERYTHING!

Darryl and his new best friend Roxxy.
Remember the gelding I posted here named Darryl? Well, a friend of mine bought him for herself and she brought him to this clinic. Boy he's grown and gotten a whole lot redder. But the best thing - he is perfect for her!
Ms Jaq riding Ms Mel's dun filly

We started the morning on Saturday with English Hunter- Quarter Horse style. She had those gals posting and posting. I remember now why I don't ride English!
Sheesh! What a lot of work!

Then we went to Western Pleasure. This is where I got to ride TC. He is soooo smooth to ride, even as a growing colt. And cute! Man o'man! Jaq worked on our leg positions, our hand positions, working the corners of the arena, how to position yourself on the rail to optimum advantage, when to school and when not to school. More info in that hour than in any other clinic I've ever been to. Makes a cowgirl hungry!
 So we had to have some fantastic pulled pork sandwiches for lunch.
One thing about the Dolittle Ranch~ the chow is unbeatable!

After lunch, Trail, and Horsemanship- finishing up the afternoon with Cocktail Showmanship.(Which is way more fun than regular showmanship!)
The nice thing was, you could ride any of the segments or just one or two. Of course you learned a lot by even watching and listening. I used some of the Showmanship info on Slick today!

I feel particularly lucky because Jaq brought The Colt- the little QH stud I'm trying like hell to buy- and I got to ride him a lot of the day. He was especially good at Trail even though he has never been anywhere before, was surrounded by mares and  was asked to pay attention ALL DAY!

Jaqueline and TC ( The Colt)
Aside: I thought I had Desi sold, but the young girl backed out. My frustration level at people right now is at the top end.  I'm sure Jaq feels the same way about me trying to purchase TC. 

Desi waiting his turn
Ms Linda in the Cabana
 Any how- after the riding portion of Saturday was over, we retired to The Cabana for Cocktails and Hamburgers...

...then to the fantastically relaxing hot tub! (Sorry no flash photography there! EEGADS!)  The stars were close and bright, the October weather was balmy and the company was more than excellent!
Krissy on her new horse Xena.

The next morning we got up and saddled, warmed up with Jaq coaching and then Big K ran some BIG calves into the arena to work. Desi got a little snorty at first, but then he figured out what I wanted and he started getting under himself and turning when they turned. If I could work him on cattle more frequently, I'd bet he'd be great at sorting. Too bad the nearest sorting is once a month, on a Sunday, in the evening, about 100 miles away!
Big K has just bought a big grey gelding to work cows on. He was freshly gelded, and is only two- but he was sure cute! Did the Trail obstacles, and really went to work on those calves! I like him bunches!
Big K's new Colt (freshly gelded) Shasta. 

Remember Darryl? Here he is!

Jaq and TC. Looks like he's smiling doesn't it?
A beautiful morning in Loma Rica. 


Jaq was great, and Deniserita and Big K are the most gracious host you could imagine!
We can safely say that a good time was had by everyone!
Thanks D and K!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Best quote this year!

“History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.”
Bertie C. Forbes

This was extracted form the first Horse Training Tip on this website. 


I know it's hard to persevere, it gets harder with the bad weather, your age, your ability, or what ever else ails you.
I know- I get discouraged too.
But I keep at it.
Some people call me a cock eyed optimist.
But listening to other people who have trials helps me stay the course.
I hope this website and especially this quote, helps keep you motivated.
Ride happy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sometimes it's the small things

Working where I work, I run into little bits of History every day. 
Some times it is easy to see the historical significance of an item; like Hitlers Chair, Mussolinis' wool coat or a weapon used by a famous outlaw. 

But sometimes the significance is hidden. 

Such as this cavalry spur.  

It was in a lot of other stuff- non horse related, in a manilla envelope marked, "Important Spur".

Of course I had to peek. 

I found an English type spur, brass colored with a broken and rusted rowel. 

I closed the envelope and went back to work.

But I kept thinking about that spur. I had to look again. 

I took it out of the envelope, setting it on the table.

It seemed unimportant at first glance. 

Attached to the side of the item was a small typed note: 
" Confederate Cavalry soldier's spur. Killed in the Battle of Gettysburg."

I thought about that for awhile. 

This spur, this one lonesome little item, was a battle scarred veteran of The War Between The States. 

Some young man had strapped this spur to his boot and ridden into  battle.  

 This spur had touched the hide of a war horse, urging it into a charge.

This spur, with its rusted and bent rowel had lain on the bloody Gettysburg field.

 The battle had lasted three hot days in July.
 So many men were killed, horses too.

As I held this spur, images flitted through my mind, heroic and horrific. 
One little brass spur. 
Still here. 
Still with a story to tell. 
Who will listen? 

Monday, October 10, 2011


No, we are not getting ready for a parade! But he's cute enough!
After a week of getting to see and hear and smell other horses and people, Slick was ready for his first lessons. 
Actually I was ready to find out just what he knew.
I've rehabbed horses before- mostly when I was wearing a younger woman's clothing- so I wanted to be a little careful. 
First I needed to see if he knew how to longe on a long line.
He didn't. 
So we spent the first day learning about going, and staying, on a large circle. He was a little worried about it, but with some encouragement, he finally figured it out. 
Whew! He was so relieved! 
The next day we did it again. Again- worried! 
But he got it a little bit sooner, both directions, and he's starting to 'understand the words that are coming out of my mouth'. 
Walk, Trot, Whoa! 
Then it rained and he got his first taste of outdoor weather in nine years! 
I was more worried about it than he was!
So I put a blanket on him. 
He stood for it, but he didn't know what it was. 
This weekend I decided to put the bit on and longe him. 
I usually take the reins and just run them back to the cinch rings, and then over the saddle seat. It doesn't put a lot of pressure on the mouth, but gives a little contact if they lift their heads up too high. 
He was really worried about it!
We started out at the walk, and he kept getting his tongue over the snaffle. 
"Figgr it out" I said. 
He walked and fooled around and finally he did figg'r it out. 
Then I asked him to trot. 
And when his head came up- he hit the bit,
and went straight back and down. 
He whipped his head back and around and jerked my shoulder something fierce. 
But I eased him back on the circle and kept him going forward. 
He kept wanting to raise his head just a little too far- 
he sat back and jerked himself down three times. 
Forth time, he started to do it again- remembered and with a little more encouragement- he moved forward, flexing and dropping his neck just a tad. 
Yeah Slick! 
We did the exact same thing the other direction. It took him only two times around to figg'r it out that time! 
Woke up today with a HELL of an ache in my shoulder. Ouchh!
But had to go back out again today of course, I only have three days in a row to work him.  
Saddled him up, tied his head like before, 
around and around he went! 
Walk,trot and lope. Stop and back. 
No flinging himself!
No jerking my arms! 
I decided I would step up on him. 
Took off the long rope, untied the reins and tightened the saddle- actually I call this particular saddle 
"The Barcalounger" because it is heavy but comfy. 
He wanted to walk around and not stand still, so we just walked in little circles - I actually hopped- until he stopped. 
Then I swung up. 
And there we are. 
I got up and down several times. He quit the circling after the third time. When you're this fat it is just too much  trouble! 
I just sat there. lifting on one rein until he turned his head to it, then back to the center. 
Then the other rein, and then back to center. 
Then we walked around in a few circles. He's sooo stiff in the ribs. 
But if I press my inside leg hard, he will step away from it and cross his leg over- and that is a good sign. 
He spooked once, but not too badly, and we kept going around. 
Finally I let him stop and just stand. 
He was sweaty! 
So was I! 
So I think our first three days of lessons went extremely well. 
I found out~
He gets worried early but with encouragement he relaxes. 
He tries to please.
He remembers from lesson to lesson.
He stands without being tied for everything
He loves cookies.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Further Adventures (and Humbling) of Vaquero Girl in the Bay Area

It rained today.

I wouldn't even mention it, but being in California and all, we don't see a lot of pre-sip.
But it rained today- the first rain of the season ( just before Cow Palace as per usual) and today it sucked more than usual.
Some people like the rain. I don't.
It grew dark and the warehouse was clammy and cold. The people didn't come and the day just dragggggged by.
Finally it was time to drive home- via rush hour traffic on Hwy 80 and Hwy 24.
If you have ever driven in rush hour traffic in the Bay Area, you that there is NO Rush to it at all. It should be called Slow Crawl Hour or This Sucks So Bad Hour.
There I was... doing the Slow Crawl towards home. It had been a super slow day at the Auction House because of the aforementioned rain, and I was looking forward to a glass of wine and a chicken breast;
 Something blew up in the engine of the BMW.
Smoke and Water Vapor poured out and the damn car just DIED in the second lane.  I was able to finally get it started ( First Thank you to my Big Guardian Angel) and pulled over to the middle median. Luckily during Slow Crawl Hour everyone goes at a slow crawl. People shook their heads in pity and joy that it wasn't them pulled over in the median.
And contrary to belief- there are a few Good People left in this here world. Even though THREE tow trucks passed me by, several motorists of all persuasions rolled down their windows, in the rain,  to ask if I was ok and did I need them to call for help!
 Bless all of you people!! 
I called 511 which is a free service in the Bay Area that will help stranded motorists. I was at the edge of Oakland and that is a poor place to be, anytime of the day, but especially in the glowing twilight. 511 did send a tow truck and Bless his little Heart, he hooked up and pulled me off of the freeway.
As he did , I realized that had I driven just four more minutes I would have been inside the long, dark no shoulder, no median length of the Caldecott Tunnel. ( Second Big Thank You to my Guardian Angel).

The Tow Truck driver took one look at my sorry , wet, OLD, blonde, self when I asked, in a small voice,       " Will I be SAFE in the part of Oakland you have to take me?" before he tucked me about a mile closer to the tunnel, on a frontage road that was easier to access and MUCH safer instead! ( Third BIG Thank You to that Guardian Angel!)
My cell was nearly dead ( of course).
I managed to call Hubby and had him call AAA Towing to come and get me and the car and take us home. Thanks AAA PLUS plan!

My old friend Jerry who is a retired CHP and knew me and my Step Dad heard my name on the radio. He called my cell to make sure I was ok.

Then while I was waiting for the 2nd Tow truck another  CHP came by and checked on me. What a little cutie pie he was and a nicer young man I have yet to meet.

The AAA Tow Truck Driver just happened to be around the next bend and he showed up in about 30 minutes.( Fourth Big Thank You to the Guardian Angel, in case you are counting!)  He got me safely home, parked the car in front of the house and refused the tip I offered him.

So even though my day totally sucked- the forces of the Universe that I insist exist- formed around me, not only to protect me in body, but to renew my spirit and faith in the humans that live and work around me. And to make me feel lucky and to count the blessing that the Universe has heaped up on me that I have a tendency to forget.

A hard lesson, relearned once again.
I am humbled.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Meet Slick

Here are a few first pictures of Slick. Actual registered name- California Ink Spot. He's actually a half brother to Denesirita's little paint mare Anne. Too bad he isn't the Hair Farmer she is! He has no top knot at all and a very flimsy tail!
But you can see by the pictures that he was enjoying his run in the arena.
He's a real sweetheart too- a 'in your pocket' pony fer sure.
And though he was a little unsure about lunging on a rope in a circle, he figured it out right away. A+!!
Also, he moved away from my hand pressure, stepping nicely over his front feet in a pivot- which will be a plus for halter or showmanship!

So all in all we had a good first day!