Monday, November 29, 2010
From the Front- stand in front of the saddle facing the rear. Take the rein and a chunk of the horses mane in your left hand. Twist stirrup around with your right and place foot in. Hop with your standing leg as you jump, twist, throw a leg over and settle in to the saddle facing the right direction. (this is the way I was first taught).
The Cowgirl Way. Grab the horn with your left hand and the cantle with your right. Place your left foot in the stirrup and then, while hoisting yourself up with the help of your hands, swing our leg over and swivel to face forward.
The SUPER Cool Cowgirl (or Stripper) Way- Put your foot gingerly into the stirrup without touching the saddle and (no matter how tall the horse) make it look effortless.... as if you were as flexible as a prepubescent teenage cheerleader doing a kick split... then in one fluid motion, hoist yourself up (again, be sure to make this look as easy as a *insert adjective that doest make me sound like a bitter chubby wannabe with a serious complex about skinny, flexible and athletic cowgirls*), then, using the horn like a slick stripper pole, swing yourself around (slow-motion hair toss optional) and settle into the saddle as light as feather on a puff of wind.
The SUPER Cool Cowboy Way- Walk towards your horse from the rear. As you approach the saddle, without breaking stride, jump in the air, snag the stirrup in your right foot, the horn with your right hand (pause here to admire the flexed and sinewy muscled forearms of said super cool cowboy) and in one fluid motion swing your leg over and settle your fine denim clad ass in to the saddle in less time than it takes to say thank you ma'am.
For the record I have tried all of the above methods. Even the Super Cool ones. Sometimes I give myself a little pep talk before hand... like "Okay Chelsi, let's get this done... you can do it!" or (see inspirational baby below)... No matter which way I've set up to mount the end result is the same- Foot in stirrup, hands on saddle, standing foot hops, jumps and then.... eghch.. hughmph.... eeeeee.... eeh, eh, e.... *very bad word*.... humph... and I'm up. I then settle lightly in to saddle. No matter how hard I have to work to get up there I never, ever, flop.... which is a minor consideration really when you consider the time I spend hauling myself up but I have to salvage what little self respect I can.
There is no happy ending to this story. I didnt write this to share some magic method or quick fix...nor did I discover some inspirational guidance that helped me accept myself for the "failure to launch" cowgirl I am.
And that's all I have to say about that.
Bitter Chubby Wannabe with a Serious Complex about Skinny, Flexible and Athletic Cowgirls
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Great song! I actually like both this and Bruce's version... Only...I have to admit that in my mind the song goes "revved up like a douche..." (as in the feminine hygiene product)... which I read on wikipedia is actually a fairly common mistake...
Anyways... so I made a few cakes this evening... as well as one batch of "epic fail" cupcakes. No seriously... You know when you are baking a huge batch of cookies or cupcakes... at first the pans are filled with evenly portioned pieces baked to golden perfection but with each batch you slowly but surely loose your will to live and desire to produce an edible product until towards the last batch the portions have doubled in size and though you've already consumed enough dough that you feel six months pregnant you still consider eating just a little more in an effort to reduce that bottomless bowl of batter... until finally, on your last batch you convince yourself that, in fact, the remaining batter really is fit to make 12 slightly over sized cupcakes rather than the 24...
I think you get where I'm going with this...
*hangs head in shame*
In other news...
"Blinded by the Caesar".... Only I (bitter sounding emphasis on "I") could actually hurt myself on a freak piece of lettuce! I mean, who does that? I was eating supper and this little bastard piece of lettuce did some kind of judo move on my fork and flipped up a glob of dressing directly into my poor defenceless eye. The combo of garlic, lemon and Tabasco quickly went to work in an apparent effort to singe and destroy by fire my optic nerve and conjunctie. I thought I had lost my eye. Seriously. So if, in the future, if you see me eating my Caesar salad with safety glasses on you'll know why.
And last but not least I'd like to wish my beautiful and amazing mother a very Happy Birthday!
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Anyways, so I got to thinking about how I could express the sentiment I lacked words to express and I came up with "Taken Aback....
That is what I thought!
"Taken aback" is such a blah say way to express shock... like really? Is that the best we can do? Let's see how this jives in a sentence....*insert up crust accent* "I tell you, I was quite taken aback that dirty harlot spat on my boot!"
There is just no zing! Neither does "disconcerting".... Who on god's green earth says "disconcerting"... picture this... two men sit drinking beer at bar when out of nowhere a naked redheaded women streaks across the room screaming, "You'll never catch me I'm the ginger-bread-man" Can anyone picture on of those men turning to the other and saying, "Did you see that? How disconcerting!"
No! They wouldnt! What would they say? Well... I could take a guess but I'm guessing my Mom is going to read this in the morning so I'll just go with, "Holy Sheeet!" Which, IMHO, is really boring, dont you think? My point is what you ask? Well! I have one....
There is a word that I think we should adopt in North America! It's a British expression (we wont hold that against it) that sounds like giberish but is just so perfectly and richly expressive!... Are you ready for it?
BOOM!! Just like that! When someone says, "I was totally GOBSMACKED!!!" You dont even need the cap locks and explanation points! It just speaks for itself!
How totally wicked is that word!
*really confused crickets*
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Last night the winds were gusting at 80-100kms (50-65 miles) an hour and the windchill was around -20C (-4F)... so... cold enough? Why yes it was! The problem with these cold fronts is that they come on suddenly and harshly. Last week it was a balmy 7-8C (50s F) and by the end of this week it should be back around 6C. The horses (and people) just don't have time to acclimatize.
So last night I stopped in to make sure LP was all tucked in snug and warm only to discover that she wasnt eating her feed as usual. She had eaten very little in the hour since she has been given her supper and when I offered her grain she showed no interest in it at all (which is VERY alarming for a horse that usually begs for it). She also had that distinct "funny" look that most horsemen learn to recognize yet that remains impossible to define. My instinct was that she was cold and that maybe her gut was clenched. When I put my hand under her blanket I didnt feel that usual pocket of warmth.... so... off I went home to grab hot water and a warm bran mash slurry. I threw a blanket in the dryer to get it warm before stuffing it in a garbage bag and heading out to the barn (at the suggestion of my trusty friend Barbie). By the time I got back she appeared a little less "funny" but still off so I threw the warm blanket on her and then a stall blanket on top of that. I then offered her the bran mash (which had a hefty dose of molasses in it)... to which she totally snubbed her nose. So I added some grain to it.... to no avail... so I added even more grain to it (wasnt going to let her eat it all but it would at least get her going) and she still wanted nothing to do with it. I shouldnt have been surprised... LP wouldnt eat carrots, apples, horse treats or anything besides grain when she first came. I tried warm apple juice with just a bit of grain in it but she wouldnt have that either. I gave up on feeding her something warm and instead dumped warm water in her water bucket...which she drank. I was there for about an hour total and by the time I was done fussy with her she had perked up and was eating with more vigor. I left the extra horse blanket on her overtop of her usual winter (usually it would go under but I didnt want to let out the warmth she had gained). LP will also be getting some extra grain until the weather turns to a more reasonable seasonable... the extra calories she can burn in to heat.
(P. in her jammies with neck guard up)
I think I am going to try to introduce small amounts of bran in to her diet and other such things so that if and when getting medication or a hot slurry on a cold night, it wont be such a big to-do.
While I was there I treated her mud fever (as I have been the past ten days or so). I am very pleased with how much of it has healed up. The treatment I went with was one really good removal of all the scabbies (after soaking them in mineral oil) and I clipped the hair on and around the effected areas. I then treated the area with a daily treatment of Hibitane ointment and some zinc cream on really wet days. She was kept in a dry paddock for a week to give it a head start against the wet fields. This spell of cold weather should help things along so I hope *fingers crossed* that it will be completely gone within another week. Her cough is completely gone now (after having her hay wet down and fed on the ground) but we'll have to wait and see if it gets stirred up again when I get to riding her. The spot on her cheek has a good start to filling in with new hair growth, I treated it with the Hibitane ointment for a week and am now giving it a little dot of MTG. LP also had rain scald on her neck which is clearing up nicely after I treated it with MTG.
(LP with neck guard pulled back)
I was told before that when you blanket you take responsibility for making sure that horse is warm or cool because you take away some of their ability to create warmth for themselves (by reducing the amount of hair coat they have) and their ability to "puff" that hair up on colder days (the blanket makes the hair lie flat). I should have monitored LP earlier and thought ahead better as to how much blanketing she would need this week... I hope this time that lesson will stick... never assume that your horse is warm enough just because you have a winter blanket on. Always check to make sure that there is a pocket of warmth under the blanket (there wasnt last night when I checked P) and double blanket if need be.
If it's one thing I'll give LP, she sure has a way of keeping me on my toes!
Is it just me or is she a bit of a high maintenance Princess? Self fulfilling prophecy maybe? I think I am going to rename her Hardy.... Tuff or Resilient... or just plain Easy. I kinda like Easy as a name... despite the slutty connotation. What is a name or word that implies, "I'm really low maintenance" to you?
Friday, November 19, 2010
Anyways, I bought a Wintec 500 all purpose saddle with easy change gullet and CAIR panels. I also went out and purchased a different size (wide) gullet because the (average) size that the saddle came with was much to narrow for my hardy mare. It was really cool how quickly (less than five minutes) it took to change out the gullet. The store had provided me with a measuring tool to help assess what size she would be needing and I have to say that it appears (at this point *knock on wood*) to be a good fit. The CAIR panels are neat too... rather than traditional flocking the panels have some kind of air pocket system that allows for a better fit and good distribution of the riders weight. While the saddle is synthetic and "cheaper" than I would EVER consider buying in a western saddle I have to say I've heard nothing but good things and have high hopes that it will work out well.
As for "Why English?" (as I've been asked a dozen times now). The answer is simple. My Bob's Custom Bob Avila Cow horse saddle does not fit Lil'P. I L.O.V.E. my saddle, it is soooo comfortable, so pretty and finely made. It is the fourth (?) Bob's I've owned and to be frank (at the risk of sounding like a snob) once you've gotten used to a certain quality of saddle it is hard to go back. For me to go out and replace my saddle would be no easy task... I'd have to fit her, fit me, my taste and my budget. I also would have to figure out what type of Western saddle to buy based on what direction I plan on heading with her (barrel, roping, reining, cutting etc.). So there are a whole lot of question marks involved in buying a new Western saddle and I just didnt have the heart for the task.
But I still needed a new saddle. That is when I discovered that, as particular as I am when it comes to Western saddles, I am totally oblivious and not at all particular when it comes to English saddles. While fitting my horse is still important I dont have to worry about type, make, style. etc. I could buy a synthetic and be blissfully ignorant and unaware of my folly (if any). So I did. And I am. *guileless stare*
The other HUGE factor (pardon the pun) is an issue of weight. My Bob's weighs 37 pounds. My heavy western pad weighs a few pounds too. This English saddle (I believe) weighs about 12 pounds. The pad weighs a few ounces. So, as best as I can figure I've cut around 25 pounds off my horses back. Twenty-five pounds is no small amount of weight. I would have prefer to have cut that poundage directly off my ass but I cant afford the sugery... or maybe I could have if I hadnt spent it all on horses:)
Which brings me to my next point. I would like to loose that 25 (or more) pounds through the help of diet and exercise... exercise such as riding.... such as posting a working trot in an English saddle for a half hour or so. Trust me, I nearly died during my lessons earlier in the year... I believe I even called my very lovely instructor a very bad word. I appolgized once I was recovered enough breath to speak. I also could barely walk the next day. This English saddle is going to work my ass out better than Jane Fonda in a neon blue belted jumper thong ..
Or so I hope.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
When you meet a new horse what do you do? Almost as if by instinct, most of us reach out a hand to offer him our scent. By instinct that horse most often reaches forward to take in our scent. But in the moment that follows something will happen that to the man may seem inconsequential but to the horse may be the first clue to the answer of that age old question (who will be boss?). The horse will either reach forward and brush the mans hand with his muzzle or the man will reach forward and brush his hand to the horses muzzle. Such a small thing, right? Such a small thing can matter if it is allowed to turn in to something infinitely bigger and potentially dangerous.
I do not allow my horse to initiate contact between us. She is not allowed to pass her muzzle over my shoulder, to walk by me close enough to brush my jacket, to move in to me when I stand beside her...she is not allowed to search my pockets or touch me in any way. I believe that casual touch is a very mild, very tentative questioning of my leadership. When I fail to correct her for making that challenge I am effectively telling her that she should ask again, only more emphatically. By that same way of thinking I believe that something as minor as a gentle nudge of the nose could lead to her pushing past me on the lead to running over me in the field; that the precursor to a bite is a nip, is a nuzzle and that the stomp of a foot could turn into the cock of the hip, can turn in to a kick that ends with a ride to the hospital.
Understanding and agreeing with a concept is easy. Putting it to work in the every day handling of a horse is a different matter. I struggle to consistently recognize and correct LP's questions and challenges, to not misinterpret those questions as an expression of affection and/or playfulness.
I want to explore that delicate balance between my horse the cute and loving pet and my horse the 1100 pound flight animal on a quest for world domination.
More on this next post.
PS- That reminds me! Remember Pinky and The Brain? Come on! It was a great cartoon! I loved how in the intro, when Pinky would ask, "So Brain what are we going to do tonight?" Brain would reply, "The same thing we do every night Pinky! Try to take over the world!" Okay, well.... it looses it's dramatic effect in type... Here, check it out!...
Thursday, November 11, 2010
(In Canada, on the eleventh hour of November 11th, we pause to give thanks and to remember our veterans. It is a national holiday we call Remembrance Day.)
(Man at Left is my Poppie)
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I'm not sold because of the look of the spot the first day I found it. It actually wasnt "bald" when I first found it, it was a crusty spot and when I scratched at it the hair fell out. I took a picture that first day... take a look. Hmm.... at first I was thinking scarzoid (sp?) but now I'm not sure. I put some anitfungal on it. I'm thinking of trying MTG on it but will wait and see how the cream does first.
Monday, November 8, 2010
I've been feeling guilty for not spending more time with her but am also so confident that she has been so well looked after by the wonderful people I board off of- she has plenty of good feed, a buddy, some grass and a warm place to sleep at night... which I like to think ads up to the quotent of a horsey good life.
But then on Saturday I came out to the barn and realized that I had completely forgotten to pick up a bag of grain and that she had been out for nearly two days. Not cool. Then I realized that there was a note on the board letting me know that the bald spot I'd found on her cheek is really dry and needs attention. And then this evening it was pointed out that I had slowly crapped out on treating her mud fever and that it was getting worse...then the (awesome) lady I board off noticed Princess coughing. Which pretty much confirmed in my mind that I'm a crap horse mommy.
I cried. Well, not really but it was a near thing. I ate a bag of mini eggs instead. Not helpful. When I was done the mini eggs I got to work on the mental list of all my deficiency's as a horse mom. Then, when that was done, I got to beating myself up over it. I'm pretty good at that....I've got practice! I get this bunched up knot of anxiety in my chest and my stomach gets all flippity floppy and I cant sit still. The worst part though is that running commentary in my head that runs through all the horrible things that I've done- all my failings as a caregiver to my horses, man, family, cats, dogs, etc.. and OMG all those guppies I killed back in elementary school! Then I tell myself I should just sell Princess and Abby and not even have a horse...
But this evening I decided that I really need to stop doing that. I'm going to let this one go. I still feel like I need to own the mistake. I am not telling you this (my hypothetical reader) to ease my conscience... I failed to meet my own expectations as a horse owner and while I am not proud of it I'm going to give myself a "get out of jail free card" on this one....which is a novel concept to me but one I think I could really grow to like:) While most days I try to be a good horseman sometimes I fail to try hard enough... or at all. Some days I suck. The point is that we all fail sometimes. And that's not the end of the world. It's isnt good but I didnt kill anyone or burn my house down (yet *knocking on wood*).
Tomorrow my Princess will get some cough medicine, she'll get an ointment for her spot and I'll treat her mud fever. Tomorrow I will step up and do better. And I'll leave the guilt and the self deprecation behind.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Was it a mistake to have run her? Is her legacy tarnished by this loss... did her perfection define her greatness or is she all the more memorable for having tried and failed. I guess time will tell.
Video of Mike Smith's emotional response to the loss...
Link here or address:
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I guess I'm a traditionalist that way. I've know some people like to take their KD to the next level....My brother-in-law actually puts peanut butter in his!!!! He claims that if you really think about it long enough it isnt that gross... I wont even give him the benefit of the doubt on that one. My stepmom used to melt real cheese into it and my granny loved the Velveeta addition while my Mom wont touch the stuff claiming she had it too often as a kid. Personally I tend to use less milk and a good dollop of butter and over cook my pasta just slightly...I like it thick and squishy:) Throw some hotdog bits in there and all the better.
Anyways, there it is...a post that is neither provocative, funny or even remotely interesting but still oddly relevant. There is simply no replacing that vibrant orange plate of cheesy goodness (with Ketchup on the side please).