Tuesday, February 28, 2012


He comes when I whistle.  Its basically the coolest thing ever.  Half the time he nickers, too.  Which thrills me even more.  One day soon I'll try to film it.

Taken with ipod

He knows to give me space now when we work.  I ask him to trot, I ask him to stop.  He stops and gives me two eyes and stays where he is waiting for further instruction.  I can change his direction with a gesture; he backs up with a slight jiggle of the line; he moves calmly and willingly through tight spaces that only give him about 6-8" of open space off either side.  He's content to pick up his feet and have them picked out.  In the next week I need to get him okay with a rasp running over them because I plan on having the trimmer come out in the next two weeks.  He gets lazy and over reaches in the back lately, so I'm optimistic that a little trim will correct this.  It will be good to have a baseline for his feet anyway.

He has 24/7 turnout over....a lot of acres.  They can cross a stream and climb through a small cove of woods into a higher pasture, too.  There are three round bale feeders in addition to all the grass.  He's currently getting 1 scoop of low sugar, high protein grain each day.  When Jeanna took the industrial blow drier to him to get the dust off his coat was quite shiny.  His weight estimate is right around 600lbs. right now, and I think he looks better every day.

Its still a mystery to me as to what color he's going to shed out to be.  He's got places where he was bit or kicked before I got him that have grown back in a light grey, but the rest of him is that rosy grey.  His mane is black, his tail fades from black to light grey.  Around his ears especially, there are a lot of chestnut hairs, but the bulk of his body is a deep grey.  From what I've been able to find on the internet, he sounds like a rose grey, but I could be wrong.  What do you think??

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Dance

Its how Jeanna described one goal with our work, and I’m becoming a much better dance partner with my horse.

The trainer at the barn is very skilled in his understanding of the how-tos and whys of groundwork.  He’s been to a lot of clinics and had a wealth of instruction on the topic and is now helping me one-on-one with Griffin or his horse.  The experience I am gaining right now is priceless.  So, so amazing.

The horse he’s working with, I’ve deemed him “Chico” for lack of a name, is incredibly soft and so sensitive to the tiniest of maneuvers from trainer-man.  Trainer-man was kind enough, and trusting enough, to let me work with Chico for a few minutes.  We danced around the round pen.  I held the lead rope up with one finger and walked toward Chico, who was squared up facing me head on.  For each step toward him I took he took one backward away from me.  When I needed him to turn away from the wall he was backing into all I had to do was push my eyes toward the hip close to the wall or panel to push him away from it.  We completed an entire circuit of the round pen in this manner.  And then I used the same method to back him over a tarp.  He leads so softly.  Everything you ask, you can do it so, so softly.

The next night trainer-man and I worked with Griffin doing the same things.  Little horse is a side-steppin’ fool!  Using the pressure of our bodies with appropriate eye contact on certain places of his body I could get him to do a lot.  He’s a very quick learner. 

Prior to this he was all up in my space.  This is my fault.  I was seeking to me a matronly-leader instead of a leader-leader.  I know our relationship will be much stronger and benefit us both more if I’m a true leader to him instead of trying to prove to him I care about him by giving lovins.  A good leader is predictable and I need to be that for him.  He needs to know he can trust me and that I’m going to be there to provide him with what he needs and help him to learn things in a way that doesn’t frighten him.

I’m not 100% certain who established the methods I’m learning.  The underlying concept between many trainers out there in natural horsemanship is similar.  Trainer-man has been to multiple Buck Branhaman clinics, so its likely his methods I’m learning.  I ordered a new lunge line to train with.  I’m ecstatic to start working with it.  22’ with leather popper and safety swivel clasp. 

Trainer-man has Griffin and I doing a lot of work in tight quarters right now.  That’s our homework.  When we accomplish it then he said he’d give us another exercise to begin to work on.  I’d originally thought a lot of my work with Griffin in the beginning in the round pen would be free lunging, but trainer-man pointed out that all that will do is condition the horse.  Get him more fit to continue throwing antics (as if Griffin throws anything, psh).   By tight quarter work he’s learning more about pressure.  How much, how far to move, where to move, when to move, and why.  “You train a horse on the ground the way you want to ride him later,” that’s what trainer-man keeps saying.

I’m really enjoying the things I’m accomplishing so far with this training.  Its so valuable.  By July when Griffin is two and I can consider doing light riding he should be in a really great place for it.  He’s such a fantastic little horse and I’m really excited for what we may be able to accomplish together. 

And another plus?  He’s retaining more Arab characteristics currently than TWH.   Showed me a beautiful floaty Arab trot the other day, made me all excited.  D and Jeanna watch him move and fear that his trot will be hard to sit, but I see no worries with this!  I can post like a champ, and he’s going to change and develop that trot a little more as he grows and later becomes used to carrying me. 

Its going to be a fun several months.  I’m excited to see where this goes!

Friday, February 24, 2012


The special ones of you know I took this trip already, for the rest of you, I WENT TO NYC!  Okay, now you know.  I will now proceed to tell my birthday weekend (23 isn't a very exciting number...so one must do exciting things?) in NYC - my first time to the city - in photos!

*All of these were taken with my phone because after 1 evening with the DSLR I decided I was tired of being targeted as a tourist and asked to do/buy things.

Packed and ready to roll
Waiting in the airport
Prepare for take off
Riding shotty in the shuttlebus
Hello NYC!
Yeah, taxi
View out our window
Central Park and the Upper East and West sides from the
top of the Rockefeller Building
Empire State Bldg. and others
GREAT South African place
From top clockwise: Grilled octopus, lamb shank empanadas,
eggplant with goat cheese and tomato
My mother and Mr. Lauer...sort of
Iron-something building
My first time eating dumplings - this place ruled
Across the street from ground zero
In the financial district near WTC
Fancy church can't remember the name
Made to look like trees?
Financial district
Address of where we stayed
Sooo, my first night out with old
We see this.  And HAD to take pictures of course!
Upper West Side
Our tour route(s)
Supposedly everyone who's anyone
has played here
One of Trump's
There are no words.
Close as I'll ever get probably
Ashley, this is for Joel, I had to take
a photo JUST for him
FAO Schwartz says I can have this for $1200
No feeding or clean up or exercise....

Thursday, February 23, 2012


©2012 Mark Dawson

A few weeks back I decided to help out a friend with a photography project and model some.  I'd never done anything like this before outside of senior portraits for high school.  Mark, the photographer, let me know how I needed to dress and wondered where would be a good place to get what he was looking for.  He's very familiar with WV, but not as familiar with high elevation areas with rock outcroppings and a view as I am.  There are a lot of places that meet this criteria around here, however during the winter months lots of roads are closed to these places.  This issue greatly plagued our options.

The best location I could come up with (that still required a mile + hike in due to road shut off for XC skiers only) was Lindy Point lookout in the Blackwater Falls State Park.  This location ends up being one of the coldest, if not THE coldest in WV at this time of year.  While our winter has been unseasonably warm (boo), this day's windchill on top of the low temps had it feeling like single digits (Fahrenheit, people).  And BOY was it windy!

The photo above was a shot he took for me after he was done snapping the ones he needed for the project. I was NOT allowed to wear that jacket for the other shots.  Oi vey.  I shivered violently at times and just had to laugh at the absurdity of the situation.  There I was, voluntarily exposed on a rock outcrop above the Blackwater Canyon in single digit temperatures.  Absurd.  C'est la vie!  A fun experience, but not one I will likely repeat anytime soon!

Oh, and if any Marmot reps happen to stumble across this photo....I LOVE your products and this jacket is but one of 4 and a pair of pants I have from y'all.  YOU ROCK.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Yoga update

So, remember when I said my shoulder hurt?  And I hadn't done much yoga as a result?  Well, a weekish ago I was getting out of the shower and noticed in the mirror how my AC joint area on my left shoulder appeared to be higher on my left side than my right.  CONVINCED that this had to be a trick of the lighting I pivoted hither and thither, flipped numerous lighting sources on and stared and analyzed.  I figured I was semi-crazy so I went to a second source - my mother.

Both my parents are in/were in medical professions.  Dad was an ER doc for years and mom is a public health nurse for the county.  I had mom feel both sides simultaneously, "What do you feel?" I asked.  She pondered a moment and then replied, "This side *indicates to left* seems higher."  Great.  

Over the weekend I had NSP folks assess it, too (numerous doctors, lawyers, and (I really wish I could say "Indian chiefs" here...) nurses/paramedics).  Everyone came to the same opinion - I'd likely suffered from a 1st degree AC separation.  Lovely.  At this point it had been 3-ish weeks since the injury.  My symptoms and slow regain of abilities within that time frame supported this diagnosis.  

Its been almost 5 weeks now, I think. I plan to begin yoga-ing again this week.  Prior to this downward dog would make my shoulder make a horrendous sound and cause me pain.  We'll see how things go!  So much for 365 days....  Though my posture is better and my breathing practice to calm myself down is something I practice daily.

PS - The first person to read this post will be the 4,000th person to view my blog.  Thanks to you and to everyone!  I never thought this blog would become what it has, it continues to be so much fun connecting with everyone around the country and world.  Thank you, thank you!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Griffin video

This is a week of videos.

I captured the following after a crap ton of snow fell off the roof of the barn landing on my shoulder/side and scaring -rightfully so - Griffin off.  He was prancing around the barnyard (all fenced in) and I wanted to get some footage of him moving.

Oh, and there's a nice shot of Kenai chasing and being chased by the mini, Charlie (or as I call him, Chah-wee.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The other horse

I mentioned the Spanish looking horse at the barn a week or so back.  Here are a couple videos of him.  Any guesses as to who his grandfather is?

His grandfather is Hollywood Jac, none other than the sire of Hollywood Dun It.  Go figure.  Fun to have a horse with similar lines to one of the most famous quarter horses ever.  I can't remember his immediate parents names off the top of my head, something with cow or cowboy or cattle or something.  This guy is 4 years old and full of spunk.  He's been saddled so far, but he still tests his trainer at the beginning of every session.

We think he's gorgeous, what do you think?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Wishful thinking

My birthday is coming up next weekend, and while I honestly don't really need anything it is always fun to come up with a little list of wants-if-I-had-the-money.  So here is my birthday list for this year:

A second pair of the regular ladies Toms in grey or navy:

A pair of the new ballerina Toms flats because they're just so damn cute:

Blaze orange saddle pad(s).  I would love to eventually own all red/blaze orange/yellow tack and accessories so that it can double for safety during hunting season wherever I may be!  And while I can't wear any of those colors well with my hair and complexion, they do tend to look stunning on many horses!

Prana's 2012 spring/summer collection is simply beautiful and I'm really digging the following two items:

As well, I think I'll splurge this summer and finally get myself a pair of these, so cute!

I really want to do this sometime soon-ish:

And finally I think the greatest gift ever would be if someone could either find or make some beautiful wood frames in various sizes.  I have several shots I've taken over the past year that I'm really proud of and would love to print and frame for my [future] home.