Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Maternity Leave

So I am now in my 3rd week of maternity leave. Not quite what I had planned...but then again, neither is motherhood.

Call me naive, but I thought this whole baby thing would be a lot easier and not nearly as time-consuming. I haven't even had time to bundle Gracie up and introduce her to her "pony" yet!

Everyone said that babies sleep a lot, but what they don't mention is that the whole time they're sleeping, the new mom is "on call" and trying to calculate what chores can be done in 15 minutes or less and which chores can be abandoned at the half-point in order to feed the less-than-patient infant screaming in her 3rd soiled onesie of the day. And my sweet baby loves to be awake. She just sits and stares at things, sometimes for 15 minutes before she starts screaming again,

sometimes for only 3 minutes.

I guess the good news is that I have completely caught up on my Entourage, Gossip Girl, Psych (new addiction, thanks to the after Christmas marathon), Law & Order, and Top Chef. So, I guess it hasn't been a completely wasted couple of weeks! Thanks, again, to my wonderful fiance for putting cable and a dvr in the baby room!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Book Tag

That crazy brod over at the Middle of the Road tagged me! Naturally, the book closest to me is The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy. So here we go:

1)Grab the nearest book.
2)Open the book to page 56.
3)Find the fifth sentence.
4)Post the text of the next two to five sentences.
5)Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one.
Pick the Closest.
6)Tag five people to do the same.

"You check each other out with uncontainable curiosity but with the friendliness of comrades. You try to guess how pregnant your new comrade is (and whether she is looking as good or as bad as you are at this point), and you will have no qualms about asking this complete stranger her entire gestational history. If you are pregnant at the same time as a celebrity, you will develop a familiarity with her pregnancy that will make you feel "related" to her in some way. For example, you may be pregnant with Gwen Stefani, Reese Witherspoon, one of the president's daughters, or maybe Kate Bosworth or Sienna Miller, and Britney's probably game for a few more--and you'll feel maternal about their children, even though you don't know them. (Though I can't help but feel I know Sean Preston.)"

So there you have it, some great "girlfriend" advice from the Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy by Vicki Iovine.

Now, I suppose I should tag a few folks:

1. Twinville

2. Nuzzling Muzzles

3. Sunny SD

4. Pony Girl

Btw, my man hooked me up with some sweet cable action in the baby room. I may never leave now!

Wordless Wednesday--The Baby Room

Monday, November 3, 2008

The dashboard melted but we still have a radio.

So...I got to see my horse!! Not only that, I got to sit on him! And even better yet, I walked him through the barrel pattern! Just once though...I could tell it was making my mom a little nervous. But, my Dr said I could ride as long as I could mount from the ground, and mount from the ground I did!!

But maybe I should start from the beginning. I got outside around 10:30 and noticed that our boys were in need of a haircut. I did Yellow first, because he's closer to the gate and super easy.

Last time I shaved his bridal path a little long, so I left some that I clipped before. So that sticky-up part? Yes, that's how long his entire bridal path was. Loverly.

And being the evil horsewoman that I am, I clip my horses so that they face the most temping thing you ever saw...

I really don't care that the horses are practically standing on a 1,000 lb bale of hay while I clip them. They'll stand there, they'll not grab for food and they'll like it!!

But I'm not completely heartless. After all was said and done, I let Yellow have a bite. His sister Stella came to supervise.

It looks like she's counting calories or something!!

The reason for all this? A friend of ours has their 13 year old niece visiting from Germany, and she rides horses! So I had her over, threw her in a western saddle and taught her the barrel pattern. She is a wonderfully natural rider and got my horse moving very well.
Look how she has Yellow nice and relaxed and behind the bit!! No wonder those Germans win so many medals in the Olympics. It's practically natural for them! And the poor gal kept asking if we would raise her stirrups...sorry sweetie! This is how us American Cowgirls ride!!

And then, I couldn't resist. I told my mom to hold my camera, and, with shortened stirrups, I pulled my preggo ass up on that yellow horse.
This is probably the most uncomfortable I have ever been on this horse. And I'm in my old saddle. But dammit, I made it up there and I walked that horse around the barrel pattern and then I managed to get down, somehow, without ripping my pants. I'd say it was a successful day.

Does anyone else think my horse looks smaller with me on him now?? :P

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wine Country Horse Ride

So, I am in the process of planning a Wine Country Horse Ride for my lovely cousins and friends. You may not know this, but next to the Napa Valley, the Yakima Valley and Columbia Valley are the second biggest wine producing regions in the country. And I live smack dab in the middle of the two!

About a month ago I found a Bed, Breakfast & Barn that gives wine tours on horseback! You can bring your own horses or rent them. You stop at 5 wineries over 5-6hours of trail riding. Sounds like a dream come true to me! I can't wait until it's easy for me to get on a horse again...

I am planning on treating my mother to this ride because her birthday is in May and that's when the weather and the wine will be just about perfect! I'm going to insist that my mom ride Yellow so she doesn't have to worry about anything. I'll ride her goofy horse, and hope for the best. I'm a lot more, agile, mobile, and hostile and can handle shenanighans better than most. I'm sure they'll both be fine. But it's nice to get those rides, every now-and-then, where you just put your horse on cruise control and enjoy the scenery.

The day after the wine tour I'm arranging to use a friend's arena. This arena is HUGE! And it never gets used. He used to have ropings there all the time, but is pretty much retired now. Actually, I'm hoping he'll come down from his house on the hill and give us a little roping demonstration! We might get to work with some cattle, work on our barrel racing and pole bending skills, and just goof off and show off our horses. My mom's horse has actually done a fair amount of roping, so I might ride him and see if he remembers anything or if he's become a completely girly horse now and just likes to go in little circles and hit the trail. Yellow has been roped on twice and definitely isn't scared of it. But really, what is he scared of? Oh yeah, baby cows. Ridiculous horse.

It's been a wonderfully mild Fall and there have been several days where an afternoon ride would have made my day...but I've been pretty busy working on a nursery, trying to keep my feet up so I don't get spider veins, and bugging my fiance about every little thing that still needs to be done.

The nagging of a pregnant woman is never done!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hello? Is it me you're looking for?

Well, I finally saw my horse! I barely recognized him, and he hardly recognized me after our month away from each other! I'm carrying another person around, he's getting his winter coat, we both had things to marvel at!

I don't like it when my horse gets fuzzy. I think he looks funny. But I REALLY don't like it when he first sheds out because, as any of you who have or have had palominos know, they look like they have a skin disease. All horses shed out in patches, depending on blankets and such, but with a yellow horse it's SUPER obvious!

Yellow during his "fuzzy" phase last year.

My poor neglected horse wasn't too interested in me. I showed up right around feeding time and his attitude was, "If you're not gonna feed me, what good are ya?!?" I can't really complain, I'm the same way, especially to my poor fiance. "Of course I missed you today, dear, but I really need some potato chips right now."

Oh, and I just got baby shower pics on Friday and was out of town all weekend, so I'll try to get some up asap! But, with my crazy schedule, don't go holding your breath or anything!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


So, I can only write until my fiance wakes up and realizes I'm not in bed at 4:30 in the morning! But I have certainly been EXTREMELY MIA the last few weeks!

I have to blame most of this on starting a new job where I commute 35 minutes or so each way. I haven't even seen my horse since I started this job--when I leave it's dark, when I get home it's dark! So if anyone is going to complain about my absence, I'd like to think it would be him...in reality he's probably relieved.

Also, I have officially reached the point where I cannot ride. Bummer.

And on top of the job, last weekend was my baby shower! It donned on me about 3 weeks ago that we were about to have a baby shower and the nursery was FAR from complete, so we were not going to have anywhere to put our gifts once we got them!

So that has been the focus while I have been absent from BlogLand. I apologize! I know my advice (usually opposing all the other advice) has probably been missed around here! I do check in and read blogs when I can, but no time to comment when there's a crib to build! Is this how the rest of my life is going to work? I have a feeling it is.

When I woke up about a half hour ago, I thought, "Hmmm...I should really read and try to fall back asleep...or maybe I should go do something semi-productive and get used to waking up at all sorts of hours of the night!" A lot of the advice I got at the baby shower was to get as much sleep as I could now, because it was soon to be a thing of the past. So now that I've written the shortest blog in Palomino Girl history, I think I'm going to follow some of that advice and try to cruise back to bed.

Pictures of the baby shower to follow--while it was not horse themed, I did get a BEAUTIFUL boots and spurs quilt for the baby that I will have to show off...as soon as I find it in the pile of baby stuff sitting in the middle of the nursery!

Happy Trails--please, enjoy your horses for me. I am now living vicariously through you!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My New Peg Position

Some may have noticed I have been pretty quiet in the blog world lately. This absence has been a time of reflection for me. You see, on Tuesday I loaded up Yellow and we drove about an hour to see The Cowboy. I had arranged to get a lesson from him because, while Yellow has been doing pretty well, I felt like his hip was locked up a little and wanted to get some help.

We pulled in at 10:00 a.m., right on time. The Cowboy gets VERY irritated when I'm late. He unloaded Yellow and tied him up at a hitching post. He ran over him with a curry comb quickly and commented on how Yellow has put on a good amount of weight and looks real good. I actually think Yellow is a TAD heavy right now...he blew through a 1,000 lb bale in a little over 2 weeks, and has a small pot-belly. I think it's sympathy weight.

I thought he was going to groundwork Yellow and would see the work I'd put into keeping him alert and focused while "sending" him. No groundwork. The Cowboy just mounted right up and went to work. First he disengaged Yellow's hind end, which he said worked fine. Then he went to move the shoulder and something got jammed up. Yellow would rather sit on his butt and jump around on his haunches than step through his turn. The Cowboy was not impressed. He went to work fixing this problem, which required a few "motivators" to get him moving forward instead of stepping back. This irritated Yellow, who would then put his head down and jump around and get pretty light on his front end and do just about everything he could to get out of having to USE his front end.

While this is occurring, the Cowboy is cursing at the horse for trying to fight with him, and yelling at me that I've spoiled him and have him all jammed up for a number of reasons. I don't have him in the poll, and without that I can't do anything. Then I've been backing him into turns and he bangs into himself and that makes him not want to turn. After the first mini-rodeo, the Cowboy tried out Yellow's lateral flexion, something that I work on EVERY time I get on. I know he's soft. Well, the Cowboy told me Yellow isn't soft because I've been letting him twist his head and just bring his nose around instead of keeping his face vertical and making him give at the poll and the neck. So Yellow put up another big fight...backing into the fence, jumping around, and pretty much doing everything he could think of, besides buck and rear. I think even Yellow knew either of those actions was going to result in something really, really bad for him.

The Cowboy is not one to back down from a fight. When Yellow gets defiant, he would get a quick over-under and a spur. The Cowboy has a good seat and wasn't going anywhere. I could see Yellow's eyes rolling back in his head, his mouth gaping, and a total expression that said, "Listen lady...I don't know what you were thinking bringing me here, but was I really so out-of-line that I deserved THIS?!?"

Once the fighting was over and Yellow went through his paces with ease, the Cowboy dismounted. I asked if I could ride a bit to get a feel for what I needed to be doing instead of what I was doing. He said sure, but that I needed to walk him around a bit to make sure his new mindset was gonna stick.

So at this point, I've seen my horse be re-programmed, and kind of fight his way through it. And through out the whole process, I've been told what I've done to cause all this. Now, it's my turn to get re-programmed. But do you think the Cowboy is going to lecture Yellow on how he's trained me to let him get away with stuff? Hell no.

My hand position wasn't right, I wasn't pulling back in the correct position, I wasn't releasing fast enough, and at one point, the Cowboy told me I wasn't listening. Well, I was listening, but my mind doesn't translate to my body that quickly!

After about 15 minutes, the Cowboy thought I had it down okay. He told me I need to get the baby business done and then bring Yellow back for a month, and I need to come twice and week and ride. At the end of 30 days, I'll have a finished horse and I won't have to worry about messing any of his basic cues up. I think the Cowboy likes my horse (actually, I know he does) and wants to ride him for a month.

Everything ended on a good note. Yellow sometimes has issues getting in the trailer...not that day! I've never seen that horse more willing to jump into the safety of his horse trailer! On the way home I called one of my favorite cousins and attempted to find humor in the situation. I've had Yellow for almost a year now, and I suppose I could have ruined a lot more than just his front end!

The next day the Cowboy called me to see when we purchased our Oklahoma horse from him, and I told him February, and then he launched into an apology for being a little hard on me the day before, and said he just really wanted to get his point across. I think maybe his girlfriend, who was there the whole time, layed into him that night. I told my mom that had any of our horsey cousins been in my shoes, they probably would have cried. Or been pissed. But I know he's right. Everything that came out of his mouth made perfect sense, so I couldn't really get too upset. But sometimes, delivery is everything!

I told the Cowboy I knew he was right, and that I'm just a little sensitive with all the hormones. He really felt bad when I said that because he knows I can't ride as much as I'd like to, and that my poor pregnant mind can be a little unfocused.

But let me tell you, there is nothing like a day like that to knock your confidence and peg and make you think twice about jumping on your horse and doing whatever you feel like! I haven't had time to ride since we got back, but hopefully my horse will still be talking to me the next time I jump on his back. After all, if he won't, I can just threaten to take him back to the Cowboy.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Re: Forever Homes

Most of you, I'm sure, read Pony Girl's blog about "forever homes." Well, being the college debate club officer that I am, I feel it is my duty to present the other side. I started to leave a comment on her blog, and then realized my comment was blog-length! So I might as well state my case here. Here we go.

Horses are not children, and really shouldn't be considered pets either.

Novice riders should never buy their first horse thinking it will be his/her forever horse.

Horses don't feel, reason, or depend on humans emotionally the way a lot of riders/owners hope they do.

Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Willis?

Okay, so horses are not children. That part is obvious, I'm sure everyone will agree with me there. I joke a lot that I hope horse training and parenting are similar so I'll have a little more luck raising Baby Grace. Well, they are and they aren't. Horse's CANNOT reason. They don't predict the consequences of their actions. They don't say, "If I listen to all my rider's cues today, that will make my rider happy, so I'm going to do that!" Sorry. Not how it works.

Now, the "horses not as pets" statement may be a little more controversial. I know of several horses who have been raised by someone with the mindset, "I will raise this horse from a baby and we will have the most amazing connection." They picture bareback, bridleless gallops through pastures, a horse so intuitive it seems like he/she can read your mind. Immediately, they adopt this horse as a pet. It's cute when the horse rubs on you when she's younger, she must like you! It's okay to let your baby snack on grass during a training session...she must be hungry. Be careful when putting fly spray on her, you don't want to scare your baby!

In other words, when people start seeing their horses as pets, they start spoiling them. This is how horses become dangerous! They are very large animals, and the second they think you are equals is the second they realize, "I don't have to do this. I'm bigger." They don't care that it will make you mad. They just want to see what it takes to go back to the pasture. They are waiting for their RELEASE!

Just an example, everyone and their dog has seen the Stacey Westfall bridleless video. It's fun to think that that horse works so well with her because he loves her and can read her mind. Not so much the case. Stacey rides that horse PERSONALLY 5-6 days a week. That horse is broke. No other explanation.

Moving on, I've already mentioned that horses don't feel or reason. Everything a horse does is based on release. A horse doesn't "like" fly spray, so he starts jumping around when you spray it on him. You stop spraying. His release? Yep, he got it when he started jumping around. Also, I would like to point out, THIS DOES NOT MEAN HE WAS ABUSED WITH A FLY SPRAY BOTTLE!! I will be the first to admit there are legitimate cases of horse abuse. But it is usually not training-related! It's just that bad behavior has been rewarded with a release, so why should a horse straighten up and fly right? All he has to do is jump around a little, and he avoids the issue all together?! Shoot, if I could avoid household chores by jumping around a little, and my fiance finally said, "Just go outside and play with your dogs," I would do it EVERY time. And horses remember the last thing that happened. Not the time before that, where they stood perfectly still and it was no big deal. They remember the last time, where they got YOU freaked out and got away with it!

With all this said, I think it is a huge responsibility for horse owners to only own the horses they are using. Dead-broke horses who have taken 5 kids through 4-H and are being passed on to a new, novice rider are how we get more people in the business! We need that turn-over. We need new riders to be on safe horses, and then when they have outgrown that horse, to pass it on to a new, novice rider! Then they go in search of that junior level horse that will--not just take them to the next level of the show ring--but take them to the next level in their horsemanship skills!

It can be extremely dangerous for a new rider to own a horse that isn't broke. My definition of broke might be different than some people's, but my definition of broke means you can take a horse anywhere and have anyone ride him and he's the same horse. So, you get a novice rider who picks out a pretty horse. The horse isn't broke. The rider has no idea how to handle this horse, and becomes afraid. But she loves the horse because the horse is pretty. She will never sell the horse, but she doesn't want to ride him because she is terrified the horse will kill her. Then you have the gal who has been riding the 22 year old thoroughbred mare who has put 4 kids through 4-h and one through pony club. The gal assumes all horses stand quietly when being saddled, can be taken to a show, a roping, or on a trail ride and behave the same (so why all the fuss with safety guidelines that don't apply to her horse?) and will never sell this horse because she is comfortable and confident. We have two trainwrecks, waiting to happen. Horses that don't match rider capabilities for different reasons. We know that both horses are probably happy. Neither of them is ever challenged. But this is bad news for the industry! And it's just not reasonable.

Been there.

Done that.

How many of us would be competent riders if we were on push-button horses all of our lives? And how many of us would have felt confident riding these more complex horses if we hadn't started out on the push-button horse? This is the way my horse progression worked, and I should really thank my mom every day. It's probably the reason I am so confident on my horse now. I can count on one hand how many times I've been thrown off a horse in 19 years of riding. I have never owned a horse I couldn't handle or that I didn't feel confident on.

Now, I am not saying that no one should ever keep their horse forever. Shoot, I've said plenty of times that I will never sell Yellow. But there is a reason for this: He's earned it. And if you met my horse, you would know why. He is tried and true in every aspect we've exposed him to. And, I take him back to the trainer for tune-ups every so often to make sure I'm not spoiling him. (See my future blog about that!) I just would like to point out that before we start assuming every horse that has ever been sold or passed along has seen a Black Beauty-type life, we need to consider that horses are animals, and most are not needy. They like being in the pasture with other horses, some like going to work, some like human affection, but they lack the mental capability to be sad that the girl who used to ride him never comes to visit.

I love my horse just as much as the next girl (or maybe more!) but I've waited quite a while for a horse like this to come along, and I made damn sure I was a good enough rider for him before I found him!

And my last controversial statement for this blog: Horses don't trust the way people trust. It's based off respect, herd mentality and pecking order. As long as your horse sees you as the herd leader and knows that he is below you in the pecking order, he will work for you and even do things he's uncertain of because he knows you're the boss. He doesn't sit there and think, "Well, she's never lied to me before! Except for that time she said she would feed me alfalfa and gave me grass hay...but I guess I can forgive her for that and trust her one more time!"

Ignore all this if you would like, I sing a completely different tune if we're talking about my dog and many dog trainers have told me I've spoiled her beyond repair! Well, I don't care. She's 9 lbs of spoiled yorkiepoo and I am pretty sure her sun rises and sets on whether or not she gets to be by my side all day long. And no one is going to convince me different!

She likes being dressed up, I swear!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

You like me, you really like me!

I have received my first (but certainly not last) blog award!! This is a proud day for my blog team, consisting of me, Stella, and sometimes I borrow my mother's assistant, Rory. I might even have to treat myself to a decaf extra powdered white chocolate americano with an inch of unsteamed soy!! Got all that? Anyway...

Courtesy of TWO wonderful fellow bloggers, Saddle Mountain Rider at Middle of the Road and Crazy Horse Woman at Adventures of a Horse Crazed Mind. Thank you ladies!!

Here are the details about this award;

1. The winner can put the logo on her blog.

2. Link the person you received your award from.

3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.

4. Put links of those blogs on yours.

5. Leave a message on the blogs of those you have nominated.

I believe that most of the blogs I read have already received this award. For good reason. I don't want to read some blog that no one has ever loved! So for that reason alone, I am not going to nominate any blogs at this time...I would like to reserve the right to nominate a blog or two in the future. I think it's only a matter of time before more horse-crazy bloggers find us!

So, for my acceptance speech, I would like to thank all the people who made this possible.

First, my fiance, for knowing to leave me alone when I'm at my laptop because I am CLEARLY either reading about horses or writing about horses.

Second, my wonderful pony cousin Pony Girl, who has inspired many of us and continues to humor me almost every day with her adventures with My Boy. Who, you should all be jealous to know, I have ridden. And let me tell you, he is lovely. Well, once he figured out I'm not a beginner who is going to let him wonder back to the herd...but lovely, nonetheless.

And finally, to Yellow. My dream man. He is the peas to my carrots, the Coco to my Chanel, the wind beneath my wings.

Thank you all for reading, and stay tuned. Life is only going to get more interesting from here on out.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Michael Caine and John Wayne

I'm watching a re-run of The View, and Michael Caine is being interviewed. Joy Behar just asked him about some advice he once received from John Wayne, and that advice was, "Talk low, talk slow, don't say too much, and never wear suede shoes." Well, obviously the suede shoe comment raises a few questions. As John Wayne explained it, "Because you'll be in the restroom taking a pee, and the man next to you will recognize you. He'll turn and say, 'John Wayne?!?' and pee all over your shoes."

Hahahaha! Isn't that the truth? And aren't we lucky to be females??

So, then I had to do a little research and see where Michael Caine and John Wayne worked together...but as it turns out I don't think they did. They were just good friends, and Michael Caine visited John many times while John was hospitalized toward the end of his life.

Who knew?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lesson Horse

Just a few days after Yellow arrived in Spokane, I had some friends out to the barn to meet him. These friends were Becky, her husband Chris, and daughter Brooke (7) and Grace (4). Yellow, was also 4. Grace found that very entertaining.

Grace and Brooke brought their new riding helmets and I had been on Yellow enough that day to know he would be fine just carrying them on his back while he walked around the arena. And sure enough, that's exactly what Yellow did. Pretty soon each of the girls was in control of the reins, and I walked around with them, just in case.

Becky and Chris held a very strong point of view that if their girls were to ever get a horse, they must first understand all the work that goes into caring for one. During the months that the girls received "lessons," they were encouraged to groom, pick up after, and feed Yellow. There were a few times when the ride only lasted 15 minutes or so, because there was a lot of other care that needed to take place. As all of you with horses know, this is a very realistic occurrence.

When Yellow came to live on the farm in February, Brooke and Grace were pretty sad. Grace drew me several pictures of Yellow, most of them were of him getting to eat tons of apples (which the girls found out were his favorite!), and they write emails to check in on him.

In June, a former teacher of mine contacted me and told me her daughter, Audrey, was about to turn 5 and LOVES horses. Well, what 5 year old girl doesn't? She would love to pay me to let Audrey come pet the horse, brush the horse, feed the horse, and if it wasn't too much trouble, ride the horse. Of course!!

So on a beautiful Monday in June I got Yellow out and had my fiance saddle him up. We practiced having an adult ride behind the saddle because I knew both mother and child were anxious about riding a "big horse." He's 15 hands, only 2 inches taller than a pony, but most people don't realize that.

Audrey and her mother on Yellow.

Little sis Maggie and mom take their turn.

Audrey was quite nervous about getting on, and was very quiet. After her mom mounted and moved into position, we got Audrey in the saddle and off we went in a small loop in my back yard. After about 15 minutes, it was younger sister Maggie's turn. We took a short break to have some hot dogs and cupcakes, and then Audrey was ready to try it by herself. She was getting a little more assertive about wiggling her little legs to have him move forward, and gently pulling on the reins and saying, "Whoooooaaaaaa" to have him stop.

Just a week later another young lady, this time the daughter of a friend of my mom's, came over to ride the Amazing Lesson Horse. She was a lot more confident and sure of herself on my horse's back, and had lots of fun getting Yellow to go wherever she wanted.

Since these young cowgirls have ridden Yellow, he has also been ridden by many a novice cousin. He never loses his patience or his will. It's truly remarkable to watch a 5 year old horse respond to a 5 year old child the way he does. I will have absolutely no doubts putting my daughter on Yellow. And that will happen as soon as she can sit up on her own!

Cousin Brooklyn on Yellow.

Cousin Haley on Yellow.

Cousin Jamie on Yellow.

Cousin Tena on Yellow.

Me on Okie, because Yellow was too tired after all the cousins getting to ride him!

Friday, August 29, 2008

The name of the game is...


So I've been tagged by Middle of the Road. Apparently, she doesn't get enough of me every day and would like me to share some unusual facts about myself. Well, here goes...

1. I LOVE TV! I worked for FOX for about a year, and was much more in love with the atmosphere than my specific job. I'm hoping to go back to work for a TV station soon. I love knowing what shows are performing the best, what demographics watch what show, I love seeing good actors work with good writers, I love quality TV.

2. Before I got pregnant, I used to drink 2 coffees and 2-3 diet cokes every day. Caffeine addict!! I blame part of the reason I was so tired during my first trimester on the pregnancy, the other part on the absence of caffeine.

I sure love me some diet coke!!

3. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the low-key, minimal planning of Thanksgiving. No buying gifts, just a wonderful meal with several of my favorite foods. I also love Fall, all the colors and the smell of apple cinnamon. So Thanksgiving incorporates all of that!

4. My favorite hobby is starting new hobbies. I love learning new things, getting new supplies, and becoming good at something new. This has included (in the last 5 years) rock climbing, golfing, wakeboarding, knitting, snowboarding, guitar, dog training, and getting back into horses after a short hiatus. Oh, and photography. I even downloaded instructions for turning your bathroom into a darkroom, just in case I ever have a spare bathroom! I might still like to do that...I wonder if I still have all the darkroom supplies...

The guitar I bought and played 3 times.

My candle making class...shortly after the class I purchased all the necessary equipment to make my own candles...but, sadly, never made a single one.

5. I have a designer jean problem. My fiance used to think what I spent on jeans was ridiculous. Until he got his first pair of 7s, and now he doesn't want to wear American Eagle jeans. I haven't bought a new pair in quite a while, but having spent so much money on nice jeans gives me EXTRA incentive to get back into them when Baby Grace is here!

6. I don't care for a lot of the natural horsemanship hooey. I know Pony Girl is a big fan, and we actually have a lot of similar ideas about things, but I don't think you need to make everything a game for a horse to like it. Some horses like work. Sure, some are more lazy than my perfect Yellow horse, but some horses like to compete! So I see our time together as "work," and work can be fun! Haha! And I don't "spoil" my horse. I don't feed out of my hand, I don't let him graze on grass (especially not with a bit in his mouth!), I don't have any tolerance for goofiness. Now, I say "spoil" not because the act in itself is going to do harm, but because that's what I see a lot of horses spoiled on. You know, the horse that is constantly trying to eat on the trail, or nips anytime a hand is near his face because he thinks that hand contains a treat?

7. I think I had a very special connection with Clinton Anderson. He came to a town nearby for his clinic, and we signed up right away. On the first day of the clinic, he was giving away prizes. He was sitting on Diaz right in front of me, and he started to ask a question about rollbacks. I shot my hand right up in the air and he said, "I haven't even asked the question yet! How can you know the answer?" to which I replied, "I bet I do!" and he said, "Okay, what is it?" I said, "Slow to turn, quick to get out." Well of course that was right! So I won an advanced riding DVD set. The next day I had him autograph it and I made sure he was going to do more horsemanship clinics in 2009. Rumor has it he's about done with the traveling clinics. Anyway, he said he was, and I told him all I could do for the next 9 months was groundwork so we should be pretty amazing by the time he comes back. He asked why and I told him I'm pregnant, and he told me to be careful. See? Clinton Anderson definitely cares about me. Me. He didn't tell anyone else to be careful. But he was concerned for my and Gracie's safety. We have a connection.

Okay, so that just about sums it up for my moderately interesting facts! In turn, I must tag a few unsuspecting bloggers, and I choose:

Adventures of a Horse Crazed Mind

Photog Chic at Equine Mine

fssunnysd at It's Sunny in SD


Flying Lily at When Lilies Fly

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Excuse

My poor horse, Yellow, must think I've lost it. First, I'm riding him almost every day like we're training for some sort of Olympics. Then, I stop riding him for three months. Then, I start riding him sporadically, and start putting on some serious pounds which causes me to be off-balance, especially when posting. I'm posting a lot more frequently, and all of a sudden he's become a walk-trot horse...no loping. No rollbacks. No galloping into a sliding stop. And certainly no cattle work.

Worse yet, I don't even saddle him anymore! All of a sudden I would rather poke around riding bareback, or try this new saddle, a hunt seat saddle.

It's all very odd.

Yellow, it's because you have a sibling on the way. Well, sort of. If this baby comes out looking or shaped like you, I'm going to have a heart attack. But I did find out in April that I am pregnant, and have had to be cautious ever since. And who pays the price? My darling Yellow horse.

Baby Grace Lauryn Kendall, ready to ride, I think!

I had to wait for doctor clearance to be able to ride, and she said second trimester was safer. But I'm not allowed to lift more than 30 lbs, and throwing a saddle was completely out of the question. Well a fat-lot of good that does me! So I just started riding bareback if there was no one around to throw my saddle for me.

And then one day I became inspired...I remember back at the barn in Spokane, someone told me my Yellow horse had a lot of good English action. "WHAT?!? You mean I bought this western pleasure/roping/reining horse, and he looks like one of those sissy English horses that prance around like fricken unicorns?!?" No offense, to all you English riding folk. But it's just not what you expect to hear about your stock horse, you know?

We're riding western, but we look rather...English...guess those gals at the barn had a point!

So I drove my hiney to the local feed store and got a new dressage-style pad. I managed to find a larger girth (my former mare that I showed on in 4-H was not quite as...round, we'll say.) and my breast collar. I saddled up Yellow and explained to him that this wasn't supposed to be pretty, but functional. And it would hopefully help me get a little posting balance back. Or I would fall off, and in that case, he needed to drag me by my foot down to the hospital. I quickly told him the quickest route. Then I asked him to get up next to the fence so I could mount.

I wish you could see the look Yellow sometimes gives me. This was one of those times. I never have to use objects to get on, and he was just thinking, "Listen lady, if you can't mount from the ground, you really shouldn't be riding. Don't make me call your doctor."

"The Look" is something like this...

So, we headed to the riding area, doing one-rein stops all the way there. He seemed perfectly comfortable with this half-saddle on him, and oddly enough, I was comfortable too! I think I have better posture when I ride hunt seat, and it took some pressure off the belly.

We didn't ride for very long because it was crazy-dusty in our riding area. Quite the opposite from Pony Girl's riding area! Wanna trade, PG? But I did lope him in a few small circles...shhhh! Don't tell! He was EASIER to lope in this danged English saddle! Or maybe I was using my seat and legs more efficiently? Whatever the case, it was FUN!

I have only ridden English once since, and that was for our pony cousin roundup in Cle Elum. I have it on video, and it doesn't look too shabby, especially for not having had an English lesson in over 5 years, and being on a horse who has NEVER been ridden in that manner. But I think he likes it!

Looking mighty pregnant in Cle Elum! No wonder I have trouble balancing, I'm front-heavy!

Anyway, Yellow, I am very sorry that soon I will have to stop riding again. And realistically, once this little one is here, who knows how much time I will have to devote. We will remain members of the Back Country Horsemen, I would still love to take you to a Clinton Anderson 3-day clinic, and we will be joining the Yakima Valley Team Penning Club, and either get into team penning or sorting, or both. But, about this time next year, you're going to have to be your old, solid self so Baby Grace can get her first few rides in on you. Of course, I won't let her steer. I know you don't like to be tugged on, but it will be a lot like when you gave Stella her pony rides, except that Travis and Nana will be snapping about a million pictures and Travis will probably be a nervous wreck and threaten your life just before he hands our daughter over to me, sitting on your back.

From LtoR: Yellow, Travis, my dad, Rory, Me, Yellow's butt.

The good news, Yellow, is that we have the horse trainer looking for a small QH for Gracie. I have spent many nights explaining to the bouncing baby after a particularly exciting horse day that Yellow is Mommy's horse, and we will get her a beautiful horse of her own...just don't get too excited and start thinking Mommy will give you Yellow. Mommy and Daddy will give you a lot of things...Mommy's horse is not one of them.

Cowgirl Baby Shower...yep, this baby is being raised correctly right from the start!

On a side note, I have to say that while I am not yet a parent, I have heard that many horse training techniques can be directly applied to children. Is this true? What techniques might some of you parents or aunts or uncles use?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hey Stella!

I have a wonderful helper on the farm. Her name is (get ready for this) Stella Louise Madonna Ashley Nicole Carmit Jessica Kimberly Melody Jaquish Kendall. And no, I'm not joking. I can say the whole thing, in that order, as many times as you would like.

Stella in her Halloween costume.

Stella will be celebrating her 3rd birthday on September 15th. Her father was a yorkie, her mother was a poodle, therefore she is a yorkiepoo. I received her for Christmas 2 years ago, and it has never been her choice to leave my side since.

Stella, 12 weeks old.

Unfortunately, last summer, she had to come stay with my parents on the farm because I was moving around in Spokane and struggled to find a place that would allow dogs. I just knew if each of these landlords could meet my little Stella they would feel differently about allowing dogs in their rentals!

Anyway, that summer is when Stella really became a farm dog. I was concerned about her getting out of the fence and getting on the hiway, but she never once challenged the fence.

Farm dog in training, herding geese at Manito Park in Spokane.

Yep, Stella had all those geese headed back for water in no-time!

During that summer Stella got to go on a camping trip where she had the very important job of picking out scrapbooking papers, ordering lattes, and keeping chipmunks, squirrels and large bugs out of the camp. I'm told she was fabulous.

Stella on a latte run.

Stella in her pink camping sweater.

Stella helping with scrapbooking layouts.

Stella did get to come back to Spokane for a while, right around the time Yellow arrived. I would take her to the barn with me and she would run up and down the aisle, keeping all the birds up in the rafters. The horses would stick their heads out of their stalls and watch this black, bouncing object run back and forth, back and forth. Then, she would come over to Yellow in the crossties, and I would pick her up and Yellow would smell her. At first Stella was scared, but then she realized, "This is just a big puppy!" and would give him kisses right on the nose!

In the indoor arena Stella had a chair she would sit on and watch me ride. Most of the time she watched quietly, but one time she was whining quite a bit. So I rode Yellow over to the chair, reached down and grabbed Stella's harness, and hoisted her up in the saddle with me, and off we went. Of course, Yellow doesn't neckrein so steering was interesting while holding a 9 lb. dog, but I think Stella really enjoyed her pony ride! A few of the other boarders were so impressed with her abilities they snapped some pictures! Of course, they didn't give them to me, so I have no proof...I guess you'll just have to believe me.

When I moved home this summer my little farm dog began helping me with all sorts of chores. We feed the horses, she picks up hoof trimmings after a shoeing, she LOVES anything having to do with the garden hose, so watering horses is another favorite job. As a matter of fact, she is even laying next to me right now, helping me write this blog. I'm tellin you now, if you do not have a farm dog to help you with all sorts of chores, large and small, you should get one.

Stella in my lap, Ernie on the floor, ready to load up the Pro Hauler.