Thursday, June 30, 2011

pow pow pow (firework noises)

First and foremost, my equine update:
Training is going well for the endurance race.  My new goal for the race is to finish in the same time (or less) that I did on Stan in 2007.  I don’t know if it’s a good time or a bad time or whatever, but I know how we raced before and I know I’m capable – and Orion is capable – of doing that same pace.  Orion is a lot like Stan in his temperament and attitude about doing things.  He is cranky – though not as much as Stan – in a ring, alert in the woods, and more fun to ride alone than with other horses.  Both horses are capable of being boogie-masters and running crazy fast, but won’t unless requested.  Both are super mellow around people and most random things (I haven’t found Orion’s kryptonite yet, Stan’s were big yellow school busses and white geese).  The similarities between the two horses are very interesting to me.  The differences only exist with their past history and with body type.  Orion is a work in progress while Stan was great from day one.  Ah well, time will tell with Orion.
Orion's training stats thus far:
  • Average paced trot mile: ~09:45
  • Slow canter mile: ~04:10
  • Fast canter mile: ~03:25
I'm uncertain as to if the canter times are good or not, I just timed him on those just because I was curious.  We trot/canter every other mile.  I timed three of the four trot miles today (technical difficulty for the other) and they were all within ± 00:10 of each other.  Go Orion for consistency.  He really is trying so hard for me.  And I'm really proud of him.  Such a great little horse.  Just wish his un-balance with himself as I get him fixed up and evened out body-wise didn't make him so hard to ride.  I can't keep up with his changing gait as he figured himself out and feels better.  I ride awful for it and I know it is hard on him to keep up with me trying to keep up with him.  (Because those weren't the two most confusing sentences ever...tough.)  All I can do is keep trying.  Sorry, little man.

Segue into other life matters....  
Now that I’m a full-fledged real-worlder for the next year I have $$ to pay for things.  So I treated myself to some new kicks!
I love them.  Apparently I’m a “hipster” for buying Tom’s, but whatever.  They’re SO comfortable!  I love them and am considering getting another pair in a light grey.  They’re great shoes for work.  Much like my moccasins but a little more summer-oriented.
Upon discovery from a native Californian that it’s a hell of a lot prettier out there in the spring instead of the fall I’ve decided to push my west coast trip to April-ish.  I’ll have definite funds by then, more annual leave accumulated, and a probable decision made on what my next steps will be upon the completion of this job.  It makes more sense to go later in the spring than this fall.  And besides, I’m such a photography junkie when it comes to the outdoors and places I haven’t been before that the prettier it is, the better!
This weekend I’m headed to Antietam battlefields for the big 4th celebration there.  Symphony music choreographed with fireworks display?  Yes, thanks, I’ll take that.  Expect lots of firework photos to follow!  And some proud-to-be-an-American photos chock-full of rich American fought-for-this-land-and-won-it kind of things.  The its-my-birthday-b*tches celebration.  Hurrah for the big 235!
Orion’s weekend will be semi exciting, too, despite my absence.  My friend Sonya is taking him to trail ride at Spruce Knob (WV’s highest point @ 4863ft.).  Sweet deal for me, and Orion, though he probably won’t admit it to anyone.  Spruce Knob and the Dolly Sods Wilderness are my two biggest dreams as far as riding in WV goes.  My horse will do one before I get a chance to, go figure.  Haha.
I wish you and yours a great long weekend!

Monday, June 27, 2011


Here are my thoughts:
If indeed I can stay on at my current position for a full year (this is if they have the funding, which, pray they do) I will have sufficient funding to do a volunteer project somewhere and gain some superb experience.  If indeed I am able to obtain these necessary funds I’m going to apply for numerous wolf, moose, and other carnivore and ungulate projects around the country (& Canada).  Though if I could obtain a paid temporary position in Alaska or somewhere crazy-awesome like that I would take that up, too.  OR if the perfect grad opportunity arose I would apply for that, too.  I figure I have some great opportunities to really put myself out there – finally – and do what I want to do.  We shall see.  I’m excited at the prospect of finally throwing it all to the wind and getting out there.  Making money now opens some doors for later.  Funding is essential.  Oh the possible places to go!
I’m currently planning a trip to the west coast finally.  San Diego to Joshua Tree to Yosemite to San Francisco to the Redwood forests…I hope it works out.  I’m psyched.
The pink pony, Zeke

Sunday, June 26, 2011

ziggity ziggity shwaa

Ah, baby horses, they make everyone smile!

She was born early this morning.  This was her momma last night around 6:30p last night when I turned her out:

She had the baby outside all on her own.  Go Bug!

Not the most relaxing of weekends.  But I had fun.  And that's what counts.  In the past 4 days Orion and I completed 34 miles of training.  Booya.  Still hard to believe (at this point in time) that we'll do 30 miles in about 4 hours or so in just a little over a month! 

Kenai eating the food Orion drops...oh my boys
Booting up, tacking up, and getting out on the trail has been great though.  And he's really doing amazing considering everything.  Did 8 miles in an hour, 10 miles in an hour thirteen minutes, and 6 miles in 45 minutes today with lots of walking because someone is lazy - not the biped, but who are we kidding, I'm not doing the work so I shouldn't say anything.  Tomorrow he gets a well-deserved day off while I ride the pink pony (this horse is literally pink, pictures will follow some point soon). 

Hopefully in the next month I'll have photos/videos to post of Orion and I.  I'm working on bullying a friend into filming/photographing us.  We shall see.  Haha.  Orion looks so super snazzy in red and black though.  We picked up a lot of new gear this weekend.  Borrowing a super sweet Wintec saddle that is black, and was given some sweet new irons (stirrups) and a bright red pad (!!!) to match his bright red boots and breast strap and bridle.  So mostly red with black saddle and reins.  Ziggity, ziggity, shwaa. 

Monday begins the whirlwind of busyness.  Busy work weeks with riding every evening (be it my horse or that of someone else) && weekends of being out of town.  But those weekends will be wonderful.  Looking at my calendar for the next two months...oh dear.  A blur of colors and overlapping events.  Chaos reigns.  I think I might collapse after the endurance race is over.  Oi vey.  But all this chaos is self-inflicted.  And honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Under the rainbow you will find...

Well, Orion is going to stay north for the month of July.  Its right near a bike rail-trail which allows for TONS of mileage to build up for the race.  It will be a little harder to build in the hill time I need, but I’ll get it done one way or another.  If he can go the 30 miles in a respectable time on the flat then I know he’ll do great with a few hills.  Besides, my goal is to get us both through it soundly and in good health more than to win the whole thing.
For two past nights I was lucky enough to get to ride in an Austrailian saddle.  I very much considered buying it, but upon discovery that it probably wouldn’t fit him well if/when he actually puts on some weight I decided to hold off.  Its such a great deal though!  Oh well, pretty pictures of it have been obtained and that’s good enough for now.  It’ll help me in my quest to buy one of my own one day.  Someday when I’m willing to take the time to learn to ride in it better – we had some arguments, the saddle and I, when it came to cantering/galloping and how I should sit in it.  Ah well.

 Last night Orion did 8 miles in an hour.  Alternated one mile trot, one mile canter.  All flat land, but still, a pretty good clip to be traveling at.  His flat land endurance is gonna be bomber in no time!  It will be a great starting point for working on some hills.

I’ve been thinking about taking some “off-the-grid” weekends here in the near future.  Keeping my cell phone and internet usage to a minimum and just taking in the things around me in full.  Really appreciating and enjoying whatever I happen to get into to the fullest.  Perhaps I won’t even write about them when the week resumes.  Perhaps I’ll just post a photo collage if I do communicate.  I haven’t decided.  All I know is I like the idea of being off-the-grid and away from the real-world entirely. 

The real-world is really getting to me lately.  The whole having summers off and having no responsibility during the “younger years” kind of ruins this real-world bit.  Summer is when I should be able to be silly, have fun, have no responsibilities…and here I am beginning my first real-world stint.  Don’t get me wrong, I like my job and I’m gaining incredible professional experience.  Buts its just hard integrating myself into a world of a little more permanence and less oh-I-think-I’ll-do-this-just-because-I-can-because-there’s-nothing-else-to-do mindset I’ve been in forever.  But I guess everyone hits this point eventually.  And having friends around me who love their jobs and find ways to balance real-world & play-world encourages me that I can, and I will find that before long.
I have a long weekend these next three weekends which is great.  Then after that I will have 3-day weekends every other weekend.  Hurrah flex-schedules and the government.  Granted I do miss the days of 4/10s and having three-day weekends all the time.  Though I wouldn’t have time to do what I want to as far as horses go if I got off later in the day.  Though my last government job that allowed 4/10s was also a position where I was outside all day everyday – or at least in a vehicle on my way to a sweet forested location.  Ah, the memories.  Makes me realize how many amazing opportunities I’ve had already.  How much professional experience I’ve built in my desired field.  Hopefully I can find my niche in the real-world for a bit while I figure out graduate school options.  I’m certain I can.  Off-the-grid weekends are bound to aid in putting me into this new real-world mindset.  Mini-vacations to put my mind at ease.  I can’t wait.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happiness: a work in progress

I’m happy.  I live a charmed life full of all things that thrill me and excite me on a daily basis.  It’s a wonderful way to live and an amazing way to allow for reduction of stress when things are seemingly impossible.  Having easy access to people and things that make me happiest is quite the blessing.
But – there’s always a “but”, isn’t there? - I have things I need to work on to keep my happiness level where it is and boost it beyond.
I need to work on my do-what-I-love-and-like-no-matter-what-others-feel-about-it attitude.  I’m far too empathetic and worried about upsetting other people at times.  Inwardly I want to please and make everyone happy.  That’s absurd.  And it’s impossible.  And it’s holding me back.
Personal happiness should be for yourself and for no one else’s approval or disapproval.  It’s got to be about a “me-first” attitude to some extent.  I’ve been working on my me-first attitude and actions since the year began.  And it is really making a difference, but I have more work to do on myself.
My actions and activities I partake in are for my happiness and enjoyment.  If someone happens to disapprove, well that’s just too bad.  I’m not going out and doing things to intentionally upset or offend anyone personally.  I’m the kind of person who apologizes for the way I am & what I’m doing too often.  It’s absolutely silly of me and I need to quit it.  I shouldn’t have to apologize for being me.
I’m an adult.  I’m becoming more and more well-versed in many topics and choosing to partake in things that interest me (that’s right, me not anyone else).  People are inevitably going to disagree and have opposing opinions about my choices.  But that’s their opinion and I don’t have to live by it.  Disapproval comes from bad experiences with certain things that certain people have done – things that turn out poorly in some manner or another.  The bottom line here is that I’m not those people.  I will inevitably make mistakes of my own, but they will be my own and unlinked to stereotypical bias with any group doing said activity. 
The person I am and the person I strive to be are difficult to mesh together at times.  Outside influence from people in my life resisting change makes it difficult.  I need to be stronger and overcome them.  It’s been said that nothing is stronger than its weakest link – I need to overcome the difficulty and break away from those weakest links.  I need to break loose from tip-toeing around things that are holding me back.  Burst through the seams and approach them head on.  Pity that’s so much easier said than done sometimes.  It’s a work in progress.  I’m a work in progress.  But asking people to accept me-for-me (&& the person I want to become), is it really so much to ask?

Monday, June 20, 2011

What a horse-filled weekend, indeed!

I probably spent nearly 5 hours on horseback this weekend including my first lesson in nearly a decade (note my use of “decade” just because I can since I’m getting older and all). 
I had my first centered riding lesson this weekend, and boy, it was rough.  I wasn’t nearly as ready as I thought I was.  It seemed everything I did in the first half hour was utterly and completely wrong.  Orion, too.  We were a train wreck.  Well, we ARE a train wreck.  Been like this since I switched saddles.  Horse needs to find his inner fat kid and soon so I can go back to the saddle I love. 
Ever since I switched saddles to one that fits him & doesn’t please me my riding has been off.  I’ve noticed it on the trail – a lot.  I’m never overly sore or anything, just not as comfortable as I once was on Stan.  I kinda figured it was part of the whole getting-used-to-a-new-horse thing, nope.  After removal of said evil saddle at my lesson and replacement with one glorious treeless dressage saddle life on my end improved beautifully.  Semi-painful sensations from the new posture I was asked to assume wasn’t nearly so bad with said glorious saddle.  I. Want. One.  Pity they run around $2K. 
Once I found my comfort things started to click a little better as far as all of the maneuvers Orion and I were asked to perform.  Little man still sucks in a ring, but it’s not his fault – he’s only been in one twice now.  He’s exceptional considering. 
Trailering though?  Not exceptional.  Exceptional failure – yes.  He has loaded onto a step-up trailer numerous times without much issue.  A little reluctance, but loaded in less than 5 or 10 minutes on both occasions.  This weekend’s trailer though was a ramp load.  A nice, squishy, traction-rich ramp.  I liked the feel of it on MY feet.  Orion, not so much.  Friday night after 20 minutes we finally tricked him into backing on (with lots of pushing).  Saturday however was a complete and total shit-show.  No amount of anything worked, it seemed.  And it wasn’t as if he was stressed out about the whole ordeal at all.  The complete opposite in fact!  He would get agitated with our persistence and throw a kick at the offending lunge whip tickling his rear, but for the bulk of the time he was licking and chewing – known equine communication that indicates a relaxed horse.  A couple times both his eyes closed as if the snot was asleep. 
He just refused to place any part of his body on that damn ramp!  Planted all four feet and wouldn’t have any of it.  In the end, both times on Saturday, we blind-folded him and I belayed him on while others had a rope behind his haunches to pull him forward.  This guaranteed that he couldn’t throw his head to pull me out of the trailer and release the pressure on the halter.  Smart little bugger.
Once he’d half-jumped the ramp to gain access to the trailer he was completely calm and unconcerned!  Eating alfalfa pellets from my hand and plucking hay from the feeder inside the trailer.  No wild eyes.  No deep breathing.  Nothing.  Just that damn ramp.  Horses, sometimes I feel I’ll never understand.  I have my hypotheses about why he doesn’t like that ramp, and this week we’re going to practice some and overcome the issue (I hope).
Tomorrow Dr. C. comes up from Virginia and Orion will –HOPEFULLY! – get his [teeth floated].  This should help him find that inner fat kid he’s missing.  In addition, it should answer any other questions about his health.  It will be good to finally get him a check-up.  Besides, I find all horse vet activities interesting.  It was a career I thought I wanted for myself but gave up on when I realized the extent and difficulty of school that it required.  I don’t think I could handle that stress.  But I’ll do my best to take care of my own equine partner(s)!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mac vs PC

Alright people, comment on this post and tell me what you like about your Mac (if you have one).  My PC has finally shit the bed.  I'm tired of this happening.  Microsoft insists that I need updates and installs them anonymously at shutdown.  Upon restart I discover that I have access to nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  Luckily my photos are all backed up on my wonderful external HD.  (Thank goodness!)  Both my laptop and desktop are now set-up to where if something like this occurs its more inconvenient than anything because my valuables (photos) are backed up on my external HD.  Sigh to computers.

So now I am debating finally splurging to get an iMac - something I've wanted for years.  But with the student discount its still $1149.  Yipes!  And I'm not entirely certain ArcGIS would run on it...  And I feel I will be needing that with upcoming schooling.  So I don't know.  That's holding me back.  The "change" of it all is holding me back.  And of course the $$$$ is holding me back.  But I'm sick of dealing with this crap.  I don't know...

Has your mac ever copped out on you?  What do you love about it?  What bothers you? 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hoof care

Okay - I don't usually gripe, but I'm going to come right out and say this about horse hoof care.

Everyone has their preferred method and their thoughts on what is best.  We all think less of methods we don't favor - usually because we just don't know enough about them so we find it easier to hate on them than to learn more.  I'm guilty of this, I know.  But its really frustrating when I try to keep to myself and people blatantly bash the method in my face as wrong or that its going to go wrong.  Its a learning experience, I'm learning more every day.  I'm putting myself out there to learn more as I go.  Some of it I'm still confused about.  But - I'm making an effort to learn.  I don't volunteer or preach it to you.  If you ask me about it though, I will most certainly share it with you.  Teaching and learning new things is valuable to anyone.  While "ignorance is bliss" to some I prefer Derek Bok's outlook on it: "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance".  The only reason people have issues with methods is due to ignorance about it.  Take the time to learn it thoroughly.  You might be surprised.  I was.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cloud 9

Last Thursday I went to the local swim team’s first meet.  Oooh thememories.  I swam competitively for ten years, six on the Otters.  I miss it, I really do.  But theres not much I can do about that now.  I’m too old.  Sigh.  C’est la vie.  It was great to go back and watch the first few events though.  Watching the kids (ages 5 – 17) get out there and give it their best.  Writing in Sharpie all over themselves.  I miss that.  Five events was the max (I think?) that you could do.  Event numbers from 1 – 80 or something.  Girls were odd numbers guys were even.  So to remember we always would take a Sharpie and write the #s big on our forearms.  9, 19, 39, 59, 69 etc.  I don’t remember what my events were, but there were always five of them.  I was an over-acheiver like that.  “Idle hands are the devil’s playthings.”  I needed to staybusy and get in the water.  I also miss writing in Sharpie all over my back.  Drawing otters, emblazoning the message “eat my bubbles” for all to see.  Sillyness.  And,oh, how I miss it.  And I’m so glad to see that all of the sillyness continues.
My first week of work ended smoothly.  Nothing much to report there.  My fingerprints passed – oh  boy!  Still waiting on the background check…  I haven’t had a speeding ticket (yet – knock on wood) so I don’t anticipate it being an issue.
Saturday I headed to Canaan Valley bright and early for the first Nat’l Ski Patrol meeting for candidates – and I was the only one to show up.  Glorious.  All we did was set dates for the class to begin and I wrote the check for the course.  I’m super excited.  It’s a dream for me – and an item on my 30 before 30.  We start the last weekend in July and have classes every other weekend from then on out.  December 1st is our test out for the medical stuff and then on-the-hill training will begin.  The resort has just been taken back over by the state which means more $$ and getting things done – hopefully.  The goals are to move the tube park, put in a few new slopes, open old slopes back up, and increase snow making.  All awesome, and all going to contribute to it no longer being the quietest resort around  (Timberline and Snowshoe tend to get the traffic).  I enjoyed Canaan growing up because of its lack of lines and crowds.  But this will be great for the resort, even if I have to deal with lift-lines.  Wait – HA – no I won’t.  Patrollers get to skip.  Booya.
After a visit to the valley to get stuff in line for later in the summer/fall I headed to the 4-H horse club’s meeting to help judge the girl’s presentations.  They were very impressive and Iwas excited to see the direction they’re going with things.  Great little horse-women in the making!  While there I was gifted with and also borrowed numerous books on natural horse care and other equine pursuits.  Super excited for this new reading list!  Already delved into some of it.  I’m so excited I really don’t know where to start so I’m kind of bee-boppin’ around between them all.
From My Hands to Yours I've already read, actually.

I’ve also recently been addicted to watching Heartland since it has become available on instant-play on Netflix.  GLORIOUS!  I read most the books as a kid and loved them.  It was filmed and aired in Canada and I hadn’t been able to watch – now I’m nearly through all the episodes.  So horse-crazy as of late.  Its bad.  But I’m loving it.

New addition to my life: running.  If I didn't have Kenai, I wouldn't do it.  But I do have him, and so I'm running.  Just a mile every night, not to lose lbs or burn calories so much as to get him out and just get some light conditioning for myself.  I'm enjoying myself so far.
Orion is – wait for it – SOUND again.  Hoorah!  I was beginning to forget what riding a trained horse was like!  Pegasus is doing phenomenally, but its kind of annoying having to constantly urge him and reassure him that its all okay.  That and I haven’t been above a walk in two weeks!  So thrilling to break into a brief gallop on Orion yesterday.  We’re getting a lesson this weekend in centered riding.  I’m not familiar with it.  I haven’t had a lesson in 12 or so years though, so it’s bound to be good for me – and Orion!  And beginning this weekend Orion will be staying at my friend’s place north of where he is now for a few weeks.  A rail trail is there to afford me with lots of milage.  I am PSYCHED.  Bring on the trotting.  As long as he remains sound, we’re going to catch right back up to where he was and begin to accelerate our endurance training.  Have I mentioned how excited I am?!

Mr Pegasus and his momma, Gracie.
His feet are slowly changing for the better.  I’m trying to be a better caretaker.  We’re getting there.  Suzanne was thrilled tonight with his progress.  And I was thrilled to hear that - not to mention we'd just had a phenomenal ride!  Only forty-five minutes long, but goodness!  That time off must have done him good.  He was energetic, forward moving, so ready to run.  He was anticipating places to gallop.  So awesome.  Today was the first day I finally felt connected to him the way I used to feel towards Stan.  I'm on Cloud 9.  The weather was perfect - low 70s - partly sunny, and just plain gorgeous.  Aaaaah happy!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Day One

A whirlwind of papers, signatures, SSNs, addresses, & copies, copies, copies.  Detail and redundancy and all that is the government.  Oh the joy.

But most of that busy work is done and complete with only a few forms remaining.  Computer problems exist to be tackled on the 'morrow.  Tech support and I are gonna be real tight I have a feeling.

Upon discussions with my superiors I discovered that most of my beginning work is going to be drafting letters to companies who are planning wind power projects in our area.  My letters will inform them of threatened and endangered species in their proposed project areas, demonstrate their area with maps and known locations of species of concern, and tell them how they can work around them - if they can. Pretty powerful stuff, no?  So thats exciting - and daunting.

I've chosen a work schedule deemed "Compressed (5/4/9)" which will have me working nine hours Monday - Thursday, eight hours on the first Friday, and allow me to have every other Friday off.  Three day weekends every two weeks will be really amazing.  I'm excited.

I'm also excited about this whole $$ thing.  In a year I'll have earned nearly 30K.  That will more than pay for my online master's certificate classes, and it will give me some more starter money for school or - what I really want to do a little bit of - travel.  Talking to one of my supervisors today about some temporary jobs in Alaska doing field work; he is one of the many who says I should really take six months to go up there and do it.  Getting there is the hard part, finding a place to live - Kenai, too! - wouldn't be impossible...  Its so tempting.  And something to think about.  And it would be such a resume booster (yet another!).  Oh dreams...

Pegasus (front) & Gracie (his mom)
After work I went to do equine things.  Without having a ring to work with starting Pegasus is more than unconventional.  But what did people do back in the olden days if they didn't have a ring?  What did the Native Americans do?  So I can't be entirely wrong, just not normal in most of today's standards.  Tough.  Its working so far.  He now understands how pressure in his mouth with the bit works.  I put a bareback pad on him, took him down to one of the fields and after doing some prelim groundwork I hopped on.  He seriously could have cared less.  So then we learned how to turn left, turn right, and slow down.  Oooh did he resist at first.  But he learned within the forty-five minute session that he didn't like that pressure on his mouth and that when he turned where directed it would disappear!  A good boy so far.  His worse habits - he's orally fixated on anything near his head & is super preoccupied about where his momma is (he was never separated from her - ever).

Multiple images of Orion's feet
After seeing Pegasus I went to see my boy.  I soaked his feet and fed him and walked him around.  He's not as tender today.  I'm optimistic to be riding him this Friday!  Silly boy and his tender feet.  He's getting there though.  And his health comes first.

All-in-all, a productive day. And I'm pooped.  Bring on tomorrow?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bobtail kitten anger

My last few days of "vacation" have been enjoyable.  Thursday I hung out with Matt at his dad's house which is on a river big enough to boat and jetski in.  It was awesome just relaxing around the water on a hot day and having some quality conversation.  Jet skis are the greatest thing ever - and baby ducks, and fawns.

Friday afternoon Chris talked me into shredding (a small two-person raft) the Upper Yough a Class IV-V river he is very familiar with in his kayak.  Whitewater tends to scare me more and more and this day was no exception.  I was happy and calm and then the shredder flipped and I had to swim.  I came up underneath and realized it was stuck in the hole and not going anywhere.  I didn't know where to swim to escape best - if there were any hazards to avoid - but I knew I couldn't remain under the boat.  I balled up and submerged.  Luckily came out in an okay area and got to shore.  But I was seriously freaked out.  I got into a raft with a fellow who'd been rafting that river for 15 years for the rest of it.  Still scared to death, but feeling a little better.  I survived the day - obviously - but definitely pulled my glut in the process.  Walking yesterday was a feat.  I'm rather pathetic, and rather amused with my pathetic-ness.  You never realize how much you utilize a muscle until its injured.  Silly muscles aiding my bipedal abilities, why must you get injured?

I bought my first app for my ipod.  iBird PRO for $15.  It seemed like a lot - and it is - but its such a SWEET app.  And I should have my ipod around for a long time, and should get my money's worth from it.  Super freaking awesome amounts of information in this thing.  I'm so impressed and excited.  If it makes me more of a nature-nerd than I already was, tough.

Orion's feet are looking better.  He's had a full seven days off after his seven days on.  Not ideal by any means, but with his foot issues (and his lack of an inner fat kid) it was necessary.  His feet are opening up - finally nipping that thrush in the butt!  Woke up to rain this morning.  Had planned on a morning ride, but had to wait until after breakfast.  Orion is now gimping on his left rear.  Who knows whats going on.  Gut feeling is that with all the things changing for him (fattening up, feet trimming, rate of exercise) his body is changing and he's trying to rebalance himself.  I'm happy to give him another few days to see where this goes and if he gets better.  If not...well, the vet'll be here soon.

After seeing Orion it was time to go see the colt I'll be working with for a few months.  He's never been ridden.  Beautiful - fat - red and white tobiano paint named Pegasus.  He'll be four in August.  He's had a little bit of ground work done and loves people, but nothing significant.  I've never started a horse that has never had a rider before.  Its a new world for me and Pegasus.  I'm not conventional in my methods by any means.  But he's a smart guy and ready to learn & I understand horse language pretty well, but still have more to learn.

My biggest goal today was to give him a positive experience and teach him that I'm not going to hurt him and I will try my best to show him the world and strange new things aren't so scary.  I was lucky to have Chris (aka the calmest person ever) with me.  After a brief - pathetic - lunging session I held Pegasus' lead line and told Chris to just lay over his back to see how he handled it.  Pegasus didn't care.  We repeated this two more times and Pegasus continued to be uncaring and just concerned with whether or not he could eat.  Confident that the horse wasn't worried I told Chris to just get on him (bareback).  We talked in calm voices to Pegasus the whole time and let him stand and figure it out.  He decided that a person on his back wasn't a threat and returned to eating.  Excellent.  We talked to him and let him eat for a time then started leading him around the pasture.  He bunny hopped twice but nothing significant at all.  I put on the bridle and told Chris not to pull on his mouth but just to not let him eat any more.  Pegasus played with the bit a lot and figured out that that was an okay sensation, too.  So we went on a "pony ride" per se, me leading Chris on Pegasus around the campground and back to the house.  He did very well.  I chose to end it on a positive note and left things as a brief session so he'd be happy to do more this week.

The owners were beyond thrilled with today and think its some miracle, but honestly I attribute it all to remaining calm and giving Pegasus nothing to be alarmed about - besides it wasn't too big a deal, really.  It was a great first step towards earning his trust.  Its very good that he likes people so much, too.  Tomorrow evening will be different since it will be just me.  I plan to take him on a walk again to get him acclimatized to different things and introduce him to the world.  I'm taking a bareback pad with me and hope to ride him a little more.  Slow going, letting him be himself, slowly teaching him how we can communicate together so I can direct him better.  I really want to prove to him that there is nothing to fear from a rider, or tack, or anything to do with the whole experience.  As his confidence builds, I'll give him more to deal with.  We'll see how things go.  A learning experience for all involved.  I'm excited.

Tomorrow I enter the real world.  Waking up this morning - early because I chose to - I realized that I wouldn't be able to sleep in whenever I wanted or take an afternoon nap.  I haven't done either of these things in awhile, but knowing that they won't be happening whether I like it or not doesn't thrill me.  Money will be great to have though.  I'm happy about paychecks.  This morning I was freaked out about it all, but I'm feeling a little better this afternoon after a day with horses.  I'm excited to have a schedule again.  I'm excited to have a routine.  Wake up, morning routine, maybe go see Orion briefly, go to work, come home and eat, do equine things until dark.  I'm uncertain how I will divide time between Orion and Pegasus currently.  But I know it will work out.  Orion comes first, but since he's having issues currently I can give a little more time to Pegasus at first.  Should have about three hours of daylight after I get off, so I will have to divide my time accordingly.  I'm excited - if that wasn't obvious.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Goodness grief has it been HOT around here the past two days!  I think we beat a temperature record from 1919 yesterday - old record @ 92 degrees and we were slated to reach 95.  Ack!  When you consider how close 95 is to 100 it makes it seem even more miserable!

Monday zip-lining was fun despite the heat though.

Mom really enjoyed herself minus the 30+ foot rappel at the end.  She really didn't like the lack of control (guides lowered us via a belay spool).  I had fun, too.  Granted, I think a zip-lining experience outside of my first one will be hard to top since my first was a canopy tour in Costa Rica with lines nearly a quarter mile long & 300+ feet in the air...  But this one was cool all the same.  Nice to chill out in the shade, bounce on bridges, and meet new people.

One of our guides talked me into going back for the Via Ferrata sometime with the promise of "Oops, what's this 70 meter rope doing here?  Oh well, we better go climb..." since its a private area and typically I wouldn't be able to climb there.  So I'm kind of excited for that prospect later in the summer.

So my poor horse has super screwy feet currently.  His right hind has an open abscess or maybe just a hole in it - uncertain which.  And his right front has a cut in the heel bulb area from clipping himself.  AND his thrush is just not getting better with the methods I was pursuing it with so we've moved on to the next method.  Needless to say the poor guy is all poulticed up with different remedies (a separate one for his right hind) and booted up in the field.  His red boots DO look rather nice though!  (White bell boots due to his long hind toes clipping his feet in the front currently...)

While I won't be riding him until Sunday at the earliest, I did suit him up in his breast plate to see the effect.  (Ignore his silly fly mask in this photo.)

Shedding out, muscling up, gaining weight - getting to be quite the handsome man!

After playing doctor for Orion I headed out to see Stan for the first time in about a year.  I feel bad not getting out there more, but he's not my horse and I always feel as if I'm intruding - even though I know no one else is riding him much.  It was SO awesome to ride him.  He's SO much bigger than Orion.  Nearly four inches taller and two or three hundred pounds heavier.  I never realized how big he was.  He's gained weight,  too.  Not in his belly, but his ass is massive now.  Looks more like his quarter horse relatives than his thoroughbred ones.  Big ole quarter horse.

Orion on the left, Stan on the right.  Big size difference.  Orion needs to gain some weight!
Monday I surrender myself to the real world.  I'm really not looking forward to it, but it's happening whether I'm ready or not.  A few more days of freedom and fun - then I'm livin' for the weekends.  I'm sure I'll settle into my schedule, but I'm not ready yet.  I'm headed to Morgantown for some fun in the sun & water.  A few more days to enjoy it all - and work on this tan thing I seem to have going on, SUPER STRANGE! 

I hope your weekend is full of fun in the sun, as well!