Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Review in pictures

I'm related to this...
And him, too.
Tacky Christmas party - if you couldn't tell.
Workin' it.
One of the largest holly trees I've ever seen.
Very big.  My uncle is >6' for reference.
Everyone hikes with knitting needles - right?  No, seriously, just for reference
for the dbh.  I measured it w/ my camera strap and calculated it later to be 16.4".
Hike destination - top of Mt. Baker
Saw some hoof prints and horse poo - wish I could have ridden it.  Great trails!
Rewarding the carolers.
Soo, cousins are Clemson and we're WVU - no, we didn't talk about the bowl game.
Jetta's new collar I got her.
Texting my cousin all at once since he couldn't be there this year.
Nana - and bonus points if you see Jetta.
Tolerant little pup.
Face time with Ben since he couldn't be there.
Don't judge us.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Year in Review

Well I hope I have an audience to read this post (I'm going to act like I do), as it was more labor intensive to pull together than originally planned - but so fun to do!!!

I struggled through relationship battles and built a lot of character along the way.  Found the time to play with some bears get into the field to visit bear dens for my thesis project and made a new friend in the process.  I skied with Nat'l Ski Patrol for the first time and fell in love & made a heaping load of deer jerky on my own for the first time.  Oh, and was featured in a friend's hobby video climbing.

I tried to make the most of the crappy weather.  Enjoyed a few little road trips along the way.  Kept on my pursuit of graduate opportunities, and got a random text about a free horse.  I decided what-the-hell-why-not and said yes to going to see him to make a decision.  The day before my birthday I had agreed to bring Gideon Orion into my life.

Moved Orion to my home town earlier than anticipated due to appalling conditions at the originally-planned barn (stalls not mucked out in > 4 mo.!).  I interviewed for my current job - my first real interview experience full of thought-provoking questions.  The weather started to warm and I went to DC to see some cherry blossoms.

Crunch time came into play as I hurried to complete my thesis and study for upcoming exams.  Second semester senior year of undergrad was not the time for me to begin procrastinating - but it happened.  I ate way too many ramps and loved every moment of it.  On my weekends I made it hope to begin Orion's endurance training with some trail rides.  He got all vaccinated up and we had a lesson with an accomplished equestrian where Orion learned new concepts VERY quickly.  I got the job offer and accepted it!

I graduated from college!  ...and might have gone to my big graduation ceremony more hungover than I'd ever been in my life.  Seriously, don't head to the restroom while folks are ordering your drink for you and tell them, "Whatever you're getting!"  I returned to a glass FULL of Maker's Mark.  Yeah, I promptly ordered a ginger-ale.  My friend's foal was born, a beautiful filly with lots of chrome.  The New River Rendezvous was in full swing and I chose to volunteer; I had an absolute blast connecting with folks new and old and groovin' to Freekbass.  Orion's training was in full swing with daily trail rides or pampering on his off days.  I began the pursuit of starting a 3 year old horse who had no socialization other than his mother whom he'd never been away from - this pursuit would end in August after many failed requests to get his owners to socialize him and remove his mother from the situation.  Oh, and I survived the first rapture.

I started my semi-big-girl job.  Semi because its only "temporary".  Had my first riding lesson in YEARS.  Continued Orion's training and noted his increasing endurance skill.  Began my lessons about natural hoof care.  Started my 6 month OEC training course for Nat'l Ski Patrol.

Orion pulled up lame right at the beginning of the month.  What was originally deigned as a minor issue quickly resolved itself into a huge problem.  I tossed in the towel for the endurance race and began intensive rehab on the poor boy.  Most. Spoiled. Horse.  I found time to have some incredible weekend adventures jet skiing and hiking which led to a great new friendship full of deep conversation.  I reflected on what I liked and didn't like about my life and my actions and put them into words so I could begin to rectify them.

I volunteered and scribed for veterinarians at the endurance race and learned a TON.  I fell in love with the sport all over again and even harder than I thought possible.  Without even advertising Orion as "for sale", I was contacted with a request to buy him.  I'd planned on rehabbing him and selling in spring 2012 (as I'd realized he would never stand up to the equine pursuits my heart longs for), but figured I'd let her see him anyway.  Despite noting all of his negative points during the pre-purchase observations, Jordan was still interested and bought him (& he's fat, sassy, and super happy with her and her with him - it really is the perfect match!). I went to a semi-luxurious week of training for work and gained weight in the process, oh well.    Brought Stanley horse back into my life.  Survived the earthquake.

As the seasons began to change I tried to get out with the dog and with equine partners as much as possible and enjoy the weather.  I enjoyed a change of pace at work with the opportunity to spend two weeks out of the office in the field - one of which involved the planting of 433 trees!  I [finally] found a helmet for riding that didn't give me headache/neckache/make me throw it off within moments of wearing it.  Now I'm finally a responsible equestrian for the first time in 3 [fortunate] years of not wearing one.

With autumn in full swing I pursued the outdoors as much as I was able and enjoyed some festivals along the way.  Took a couple formal jumping lessons.  And most notably, went to Cape May, NJ to trap and band raptors!  Best experience ever with one of my favorite people ever!  Oh, and I survived the second rapture.

I got crafty after joining Pinterest.  I geared up for winter with some warm new boots, played with some puppies, watched all of Heartland, started playing around with jumps on Stan, and got stuck on horseback amidst a bunch of angry re-routed Sunday traffic due to some crazy guy running amok with a high-powered rifle.  I decided at the end of the month to commit to a year of yoga - every day.

Completed my OEC training, passed the test, and became a Nat'l Ski Patroller.  Welcomed what little snow has arrived with exuberance and played in it with my snow dog.  Continued equine pursuits despite the snow, celebrated a year of blogging, noted my progress with yoga, and reflected on resolutions old and new.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

iPhone Apps for your HORSE (I mean, you..)

Local vet in the area noted the following in her newsletter!  Wanted to share.

IPhone Apps
1)      EquiCalc – For those of you closely managing your horses weight, this is a handy weight calculator that will also keep a running history of measurements. 
2)      Colic In Horses: An Owner’s Guide -  This app was created by a veterinarian in Texas to help owners when their horse is colicking.  The app walks the owner through taking vital signs so that you can more effectively communicate with your veterinarian during an emergency.
3)      Horses! - A fun educational app about the different breeds of horses.
4)      Horses Flip: Flashcards of Horse Breeds - A great app with flashcards containing information about the different horse breeds. A progressive program that will even learn with you by repeating flashcards until you get them all correct. A must have for 4-Hers!
5)      FEI Clean Sport Database - A critical app for anyone competing at FEI level events.  This app contains searchable database of the drugs and medications rules. 
            6)      AQHA Rules – A handy resource for those of you competing in AQHA events.  Have updated
             rules on competition and medications at your fingertips. 


In upcoming weeks this blog will begin to include a lot more videos!  Exciting, no?  My GoPro camera arrived with Christmas and I ordered a chest mount harness that should arrive this week.  I hope the chest mount will provide more clarity to the images than if it were mounted on my helmet.  As my dad pointed out, when guarding another player in basketball you should watch their belly button because they can't feign movement in one direction with that.  They may lunge out with arms or legs, but the core will stay still.  More still than one's head at any rate!

Riding, skiing, and maybe Kenai's view on the world shall be included in videos soon!

Oh, and some team penning may be in my future as well!!  More updates on that as I figure them out.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Or in my family, Merry Christmas!

Have a happy and safe holiday, no matter what holiday you're celebrating! 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Reflection and goals

A lot of my 2011 resolutions I kept to myself, and while I don't remember all of them, I do feel much better about my growth into the person I want to become.

In the past year I have learned to put myself first more often than I had.  I've learned to say "no" a little bit more.  I've carved out a little bit more "me" time amidst the chaos.  I handle a lot of things better than I used to, I'm calmer.  My future is bright.  I'm happy.

Goals for 2012 consist of the following:

- Continue to remain calm in all situations, keeping a calm mind and my wits about me will be much more helpful in overcoming difficult things, and help bar me from jumping to undue conclusions.
- Keeping my mouth shut more, I feel like I blabber about nonsense to fill silence at times when I'm with people I'm not 100% trusting of.  I'd really like to bring this practice to a halt and just be comfortable with silence in all occasions.
- Continue to be slower to judge.  Keep an open mind about things; take everything I can in and just sit and process it for a bit.  Become more like one of Tolkien's ents and make my life "less hasty".
- Learn some new skills as far as "making food" goes, and yes, this involves some new recipes entering my repertoire.
- Continue carving out "me" time and more time to get outside with the pup.  Still striving for that perfect balance of a healthy lifestyle...
- Don't beat myself up over silly things, quit sweating the small stuff.
- Find a way to stop my mind at the end of the day so my quality of sleep can be a little better.  As much as I enjoy dreams about flying, riding, and contorting my body like an expert yogi, I'd rather feel rested in the morning.

I'm sure that list will evolve a little and grow here and there.  In addition to it, I hope to pursue the following on my 30 before 30 list:

+ Hike in the Tetons
+ Stay at a B&B
+ Climb a 14'er
+ Pursue yoga-ing everyday
+ Visit the Redwoods (and maybe Yosemite?)
+ A wolf perhaps?  I will be in wolf country in March it looks like!
+ Pursue my visits into my final 12 states
+ Learn how to telemark ski (I've got my boots and hope to find skis in the next month if it would F*#)@ snow)
+ Sleep in a hammock instead of tent while camping
+ Visit NYC (birthday weekend!)
+ Learn how to pack a horse and travel in the backcountry (c'monnnnn JUNE!)

Were I to complete all of the above, I would be half-way through my list.  Its a start!  I doubt I will complete all of the above, but 2012 has a lot of promise.  There is a high potential to do each of the above this year.  Its great to have my goals down in writing in a place where I can frequently note them.  Its helping me to mold my lifestyle and life choices to accomplish things that mean a lot to me.

But I have unwritten goals, too.  Like finding future-super-star horse.  And being able to ride and train said horse every - or nearly - day.  And having not only a job that I [firstly] enjoy, but one that [secondly] can support my pursuits with animal, travel, and adventures.

A valuable lesson I learned over the summer was that happiness is the ultimate goal to anything.  Knowing and understanding this has made a world of difference for me.  Behind a lot of the things I pursue, the question was first asked, "Will this make me happy?"  If the answer is "yes", then onward I pursue it.  Yes, I must be careful not to make mindless decisions in the process, but I am confident I have a good head on my shoulders.  When my judgement is flawed I have valuable friends to guide me.  That's worth everything in the end.

: : :

Have you started thinking about your goals for the year to come?  Things you'd like to accomplish?
Do you have a list of things to do before a certain deadline/age?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Best Christmas Gift

Remember my redheaded cohort from the adventures trapping & banding raptors?  Well she's pretty much the bomb and I'm super happy to call her the bestest friend ever - even if we do only see each other once or twice a year (damn you shrikes!).

But, no, seriously, since we worked together [or lack thereof, hehehe] summer of 2009 we've stayed close and became even closer.  (Its a redhead thing?)  We send letters (the snail mail kind) back and forth every couple weeks because they make life more fun.  I need to get on my A-game 'cause she always sends me the cutest cards ever (since CA is chic like that) and I'm lamely sending her Nature Conservancy cards...  Well, its that Christmas-time of year, so cards have been replaced with gifts.  And, oh boy, did she blow me away with the box in the mail yesterday!

Neat handwritten font addressing the box to me (which, I must say, is a style I frequently use also [freaky redhead thing].  Open to zebra print tissue paper.  Reveal a turquoise box.  Box opens with a hinge to more tissue paper.  Tissue paper reveals the below:

I'm certain my mouth was agape at this point.  And then I squealed at Kenai who was lying near my feet.  And he looked at me all bewildered-like.

Seriously, the greatest gift ever, no?!  I'm sure she could be commissioned to do other people's pets.  Anyone? Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Snow pup

I love this pup.  I'm having a hard time with NOT having a Christmas break right now though to play with him more.  With brother and boy at house for the month and not being able to participate in the fun...its hard.  But it'll be okay.  Hopefully the snow comes [to stay] soon!!

Ah, well, here's to another work week.  Hope yours is light and jovial with the upcoming holiday weekend! 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

Haynet Blog of the Day

Quite an honor, thank you!!
: : :

Now I feel obligated to come up with an equine-related post, even though horses haven’t been in my life since last weekend!  (Jobs are rough sometimes.)

Today will be a dreaming day…

It seems as if I have some very large, potential opportunities on my horizon.  Not wanting to jinx them, I won’t go into great detail, but each gets me out of the state I grew up in and onto bigger things.  Discussing with a co-worker/friend/mentor the other night we hit on the value of dreams as they pertain to my potential move(s).  You’ve got to have something to shoot for and achieve, or you’ll look back and wonder where all that time went and why you didn’t “jump” on opportunities as they arose. 

One of my biggest dreams – other than just HAVING my own little home and my own super-star horse – is to really get into endurance riding.  Inclement weather and long hours in the saddle are things that have never bothered me.  If I’m on a horse, I’m the happiest girl ever.  I love getting out into remote, or seemingly so, places on horseback.  I love the solitude of it.  I love the adventure.  I love the unique trusting bond that forms between rider and horse due to these excursions.

Sure, a deep bond forms between any rider and equine partner, but each discipline will form a different kind of bond.  Getting out into a wilderness setting without aid of another person close at hand – and potentially no cell phone service! – creates a very different bond.  You trust your horse’s senses to cue in on things that could be potentially dangerous, and your horse trusts you to help s/he guide through obstacles and choose a safe path from one destination to the next.  Something I do, too, is really keep my eyes and ears alert for small things that aren’t dangerous to us, but my horse might find scary at first because they are novel concepts.  A startle that leads to a fall in the woods in the middle-of-nowhere would not be ideal!  In addition, I always cue in on my horse’s ears when we’re out alone.  His hearing is far superior to my own; if his attention flits somewhere its usually for good reason.  I’ve seen a lot of things I would have otherwise missed thanks to this!

I love getting out and seeing new places – what better way than an endurance ride?  This would guarantee a higher degree of safety for my horse and self, while still allowing me to get out see some truly incredible places.

Pre-me doing any of this, I need a horse.  And I recognize that its going to take loads of time and commitment on my part to help my horse rise to the level I’d like us to reach.  Slow and steady.  It’s a goal to shoot for in the next two years or so.  Build my finances, get dream horse, begin training, do a few LD rides here and there, slowly building over a few years to where we are comfortable doing longer and longer rides.  I’m 22 now.  By the time I’m 30 – it could be the year I turn 30 – I want to have ridden in the Tevis.  This feat is one of my biggest horse-related dreams and I truly believe I could get there in 8 years.  If I don’t, well, I guess I don’t.   I wouldn’t risk the health of my horse for it, but I hope to find a horse who is capable of this.

In 6 months in 2007, I had Stan conditioned pretty damn good apparently.  I didn’t realize how well (other than noticing that he wouldn’t lather up in sweat like he used to, his breathing was rarely very labored, and he was more than capable of cantering 2 miles up a mountain road/trail) until people experienced in the discipline told me so.  They reckoned he could have easily completed the 50-mile ride.  We just did 30.  And that was pretty sweet.  But all that conditioning?  To me it was just the greatest excuse in the world to get to ride 5 days a week!  I LOVED getting out.  80% of the time I was riding alone, too.  So, given that I have trails available to me to ride with future-super-star, conditioning won’t be too big a barrier!

I'm excited to have this dream to work toward in the near future.  And I'm excited that it has a high probability of coming to fruition by the time I'm 25.  All I've ever wanted was a horse I could ride and play with all the time. (Noo, I wouldn't ride future-super-star into the ground.  I know the value of off-time!)  The thought of working on one little goal after another, each day/week/month/year with future-super-star is thrilling.  I can't wait.

: : :

Now its your turn, what big dream(s) did you have for your future-super-star and yourself?  Have they happened already?  Are you working toward them?

Equine need + book suggestion

Chewed up, spit out, confused and left to deal with it, and NO time to see a horse & fix it until the afternoon [maybe].  Must. Have. Horse. Time.  I'm need to be un-wound.  Work has had a lot of extremes this week and I'm left feelin' quite rocked and rolled.

Last night I nursed a bottle of wine - not all of it, no worries! - and watched an older Sandra Bullock chick-flick, Practical Magic.  Pretty good.  Not quite a "romantic comedy" as described.  But good nonetheless.  I really hope to see New Years Eve at the theater soon.  Tonight I shall scour Netflix for further chick-flicky nonsense.  Maybe I could find one with horses?!

OH, speaking of media/entertainment, has anyone read The Hunger Games trilogy yet?!   I 150% recommend it!  Love, love, loved them & I related to the lead female role in a deep way, which made it more fun for me to read.

Nothing more exciting to report - here's hoping for horses, snow, and cheer very soon!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Yoga Progress

The following series of poses are the routine I go through with certain #s of repetitions and breaths during specific poses.  Its nice to have a lot of it ingrained already so I can just put on some music of my choice and fall into a rhythm.  Pandora Christmas station graced me with some wonderful instrumental numbers this evening!  (Minus the head stand extension.)