As I mentioned yesterday, there was a horse show for our Working Horse Central. It was the Summer Sizzler and lived up to its name. A bit humid and hot for some of us delicate flowers, but really not all that bad.
It was a great show with many participants, including a good number of youngsters. They really did great, even when their horses weren’t cooperating. And one young woman was kind enough to lead and help out most of them. This really impressed me. That girl will be a good trainer in the future.
Apache and I did the best we’ve ever done, according to Sara. I was annoyed that I messed up the pattern in Functionality. I know we could have done better, but we each did our best. Apache did better on the Trail part, though I messed up the flag carry and he knocked over some blocks and really didn’t like the gate. Oh well. We did great trotting! Not great form or aids, but we improved.
We don’t have any pictures of me and Apache yet, because no one other than Tarrin’s son took any (Sara was helping me during the last two parts). But I took some of her. And I’m glad I did, because she and Aragorn did their best performance ever.
After their first event, I had goosebumps. It was so beautiful. She and Aragorn even got blue ribbons for this performance, over our much more experienced friend. We are all thrilled for her! Of course, our friend also did well and it was great to watch her and her horse, too. And her show outfit, which is all Spanish.
The whole time was impressive. All the horses and riders have made great progress. I was so happy to see this. Tarrin told everyone this, too. It helped me see that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself!
There ended up only being two entries in our class, because another friend wasn’t feeling well and the heat would not have helped a bit. So, we’re number two this time! I don’t mind at all, because Jackie and Jambo did great. It’s so fun to watch them together.
It was a fun day other than the heat making me a bit emotional for no good reason. I’m so glad we have our community of Tarrin’s students to support each other and grow together! I feel very lucky for myself and my horses.
Our poor horses were certainly glad to get home. They looked pretty good, since we’d wet them down nicely before we left. I had so much nice bonding time with Apache, since he got a bit bored and agitated by himself. He was doing everything I asked of him, so it was the least I could do to walk him around and let him nibble some grass. And hey, he didn’t break any more of my toes; he just stomped on his bridle. Good boy.
Here are a few random photos from the day. I hope some make you smile.
This afternoon my neighbor Sara and I managed to pack all our luggage as well as our horses’ luggage, and brought Apache and Aragorn up to the Watts Way arena for the summer Working Horse Central show. Yes, we know it’s technically spring. It sure is hot and humid right now, so all the hay toting and equipment wrangling made me sweat.
We had a very pleasant drive up to the Brennan, Texas area, and easily got our horses set up in their stalls. I’m really glad for the collapsible wagon I now have. The air was so still that we sweated here, too. I was glad when Sara’s friend, Kate, bathed her beautiful stallion, so I could enjoy the spray.
Kate left to go have dinner, so Sara is looking after Volem, the white stallion. We decided our guys needed a treat, so we took them for a walk in a pasture that was recently hayed. It was so peaceful.
Aragorn and Apache munched on grass, and Sara and I enjoyed looking at the beautiful horses here. Three were very curious about our guys, and it was fun watching them running around.
It was so relaxing to be in a quiet, very well cared for space. I think both the horses and humans relaxed!
We are lucky to be staying at the little apartment on the grounds. It’s almost as nice as the RV, plus Lee doesn’t have to waste a day!We’ve enjoyed the view and all the amenities, which I hope will allow us to do our best tomorrow!
What a pleasant day. I’m grateful to be able to do this with all my horse friends! I feel well prepared. Let’s hope Apache does, too.
Well, that’s an exaggeration for sure. But hey, I did find one plant volunteering on the fence line next to where the chickens used to be. It’s a squash! Now I just hope no one gets it with the weed eater.
My other “crop” is a potato that’s growing where I put some old ones to add to compost. We will see if anything grows. At least it’s something green. I have such bad luck growing things here.
My only other crop is my poor asparagus. It got weedeaten. I can’t blame our helper; it’s in with a bunch of annoying native plants (weeds) and some sorta edible native plants we don’t eat. That’s because all my plants failed. But look at it! It’s coming back. I’m going to put my weird tomato stakes on my volunteer and hidden crops so the kind people who take care of the yard will know what’s not a weed.
That’s what I have for you today. I’m tired from training people at work, from waking up extra early, and four hours of horse stuff in the sun. All this was fun, though. The horses are making me proud, and I’m figuring out lots of the things I need to work on! I’m looking forward to a weekend show and learning more. Check out these running boys. Tarrin worked them HARD, but she hosed them off later.
Happy trails! And look, Apache is showing good form!
Today was a more encouraging day than many in the past few weeks have been. And I’m going to pay myself on the back, because twice today when people told me what a good job I’m doing, I didn’t say, “Aww shucks,” or downplay what I’ve done. I thanked them and agreed.
I finally was able to fit a horse lesson in today, after the mud dried up a bit. I enjoyed riding both horses a lot. All that time I’ve been spending with them has paid off. Even though Apache once again wasn’t thrilled at jumping, our riding was tons of fun. He’s so willing to do what I ask!
Tarrin did some ground work with him and helped him figure out his uncoordinated canter a bit. In the end she had him flying. I don’t know if he loved that, but he did love the nice hosing off he got as a reward for very hard work. We had a great time learning!
When Tarrin told me she was proud of how far we’ve come, I said thanks and did not try to downplay it. Nope. We HAVE improved. Compliment accepted.
Drew was also a lot of fun to work with today. Even though we each had some things to work harder on, the improvement in how we work together is sorta surprising. He’s getting to where I’m able to ride him confidently. Tarrin said we are getting close to being able to do shows. At first I doubted it, but then I could see what she meant. I accepted that praise.
When he and I were finished working on circles and trotting straight, Drew got to listen to Tarrin remind him of what he should be doing. He’s still a teen with opinions!
I’m going to now compliment my horses. For as much time as they’d spent in the mud and rain, they seem calmer and more eager to work than ever. They were great in the trailer, calm while waiting, and all-around good citizens. Hard work pays off. Knowing there will be ups and downs also pays off, though.
On the way home today, Lee repeated to me how impressed he is with what working with the horses has done for my confidence and mental health. I didn’t disagree. He’s right!
I didn’t want to write two blogs, so I’ll just stick this good news in here. Today on my walk, I heard “gobble gobble,” so I turned back towards the creek and found Tom here walking around eating bugs.
This was my first chance to really watch the turkey up close. I’m so glad we have them here again! My friends up North who have them everywhere don’t see why I’m so excited, but we didn’t have them here for a long time.
Even better news followed. As I was approaching our driveway, I saw something large walking down the road. It was another turkey! I think it was the hen, but I’m bot sure. I couldn’t get too close since I needed to go back to work.
Indeed, it was a good day for accepting praise and enjoying Nature’s surprises.
It was the first really pretty day in a long time. I was finally able to ride both horses and it hace to avoid squishy areas.
I can tell the squishy areas held some negativity for Drew from some of his recent escapes. He hesitated and slowed WAY down on the boggiest part of our exercise area. But he was otherwise brave and we went all around the front of our property. He’s come a long way.
Apache and I enjoyed ourselves a lot more nice we stopped doing groundwork. He wasn’t into jumping today. But I think we both enjoyed our practice with our skills and wandering around. We’re all tired of just walking in saddle or on the ground, but I think all the time I spent just hanging out with the horses while it was rainy and muddy paid off. We seem like good buddies who enjoy doing things together.
I think that was my initial horsemanship goal! I guess I really do have to think about cantering, after all.
Sorry folks, I’m running out of stuff that’s not navel gazing and depressing. I’ve got to stop dwelling on the end of democracy and the worship of guns over people. When did the second amendment become so much more important than the first? What a world. Ok. Last incriminating expression of opinion and back to cute animals.
So, I’m concentrating on love outside of the hate-filled realm of humans. Yesterday afternoon, Sara came over to do her farrier thing and trim Apache and Drew. While she was working on Apache, Droodles did everything he could to get attention. His head kept coming through the hole in the pens and poking us. Luckily, Mabel was in the pen with him, so she distracted him some. They just did calm friendship things together. Lots of rubbing and nuzzling. It was sweet.
Everyone got lots of fly spray, since Haggard the bill was also hanging out, and like most cattle, he was covered in flies. Droodles immediately rolled his spray off. At least he rolled in a dry spot.
When Drew tired of Mabel, he bonded with his other friend, the bull. They played for quite a while. The horses have enjoyed him while he’s been over here.
Apache was just sighing and getting his feet done through all this. Both horses look much better now. I’m glad it dried up enough to get this done. It rained overnight of course.
After the trimmings I was hot as heck. It’s so humid. So I jumped into the pool. Suddenly, I heard an unfamiliar squawk. I looked over at the pond behind the house, and sure enough, there was a large bird at the very top.
I thought to myself, ah, that must be one of the green herons who are building a nest in there. I’ve been seeing them flying around together, and just recently saw them bringing large sticks over to what I figure must be a nest deep in the trees. I’m pretty excited about it. So, I took pictures.
So, I dripped my way into the house and grabbed the binoculars. HA! That’s a male yellow crowned night heron in breeding plumage! Dang! How beautiful. I wish I had a real camera and good lens, because this guy was gorgeous. As I watched him, there was movement slightly lower on the tree. I saw a bill and realized his mate was also there.
That means there were two pairs of herons together. I confirmed it when the Merlin app identified them both during a squawking episode. I never saw the green ones, though.
The best part of my poolside bird watching was when the pair took off. They flew right over me, and with my binoculars I could see the beautiful female really well. Ah, love.
Sometimes my days seem schizophrenic. There are so many highs and lows that it makes my head spin. More accurately, I end up with a full-blown anxiety attack, complete with shaking limbs (that make me trip over a dog then drop and break a pretty bowl) and chest pains. Nota bene: I know it’s not my heart, no need to tell me to go to the ER.
See, I’m also prickly and can get annoyed for no good reason, like imaginary unsolicited advice. Let’s back up.
I went to work at the Red House, since I had a training to do and didn’t want to drop the meeting suddenly. That was fine, though I left my mouse at home. Does anyone actually LIKE trackpads? I’m all ready for the training. Suddenly I hear chainsaws.
There’s my kid and his coworker. They inform me they’re going to cut down the dead and dying trees in the yard. These are HUGE trees. I was dubious. But they did get a lot done, plus got limbs away from the roof.
All was well, though, since no one could hear the cutting and thudding but me. I made the mistake of looking outside and seeing the two young men on top of the house. I was scared for them and got sorta nervous. It looked pretty dangerous. I mean, they aren’t arborists, just guys willing to do what they’re asked to do. They also admitted to being scared. That’s a healthy admission, I think. As far as I know, they survived. They have good sense!
I also unpacked a box of glassware from the Austin house. I do dislike doing that, but it was nice to see my Starbucks mugs and favorite green glasses. Lucky renters will get to use them.
Things continued to go downhill as I raced home to get ready for my horse lessons. It was extra hot and humid, which didn’t help. The horses were hiding, because they don’t like welding, which was going on in their pens. (Too bad, I’m very happy the pens are getting worked on and think they look great.)
I sorta got Drew cleaned up, then trudged back for Apache, who was sweaty as me. I was deeply involved in trying to de-sweat and de-mud him when our welding friend called out to me. I nearly jumped out of my skin, which is weird, because I knew he was there! It turns out Mabel had braved the welding area and walked out. I had exactly zero minutes for chasing after her, so I probably looked like a nasty old woman running around cursing.
Mabel responded to food, of course, but Apache never did get groomed. All this prelude leads to this: I had a great lesson on each horse, learned a few things, and really felt calm and together, like I’m getting a clue. Well, when Drew started to toss me around because mares were running up, I yelled at Tarrin that I was going to die. But I didn’t. She got me and Drew back on track. He actually settled down after being frisky because the weather changed.
Im so grateful for Tarrin’s help, and I think the horses are, too. Apache hates to leave her training area! And we get to laugh at cantering cows and thank the weather for cooling down the moment my lesson started. It’s good stuff, the horse training.
By the time we got home, Drew had managed to kick everything around in the trailer and break his trailer tie. That allowed him to mostly exit ungracefully without me unlatching him. That got me all worried he was hurt. That guy! But he’s no longer the ranch baby, because Sully had her baby today, a little filly! I can’t wait to see her.
By the time I finally got the horses fed, I was starving, which probably led to some of the shaking. I just feel like I was not my best self much of the day, but at work and with the horses I was great. Eh, that’s probably normal.
Now to settle that chest pain down. I’ll pet Carlton. That will help.
I wasn’t able to blog last night, because a storm came through and knocked out cell reception for most of the area. My phone kept saying SOS and I told it to calm down, the towers would return. I sure am having the Internet issues! But indeed, I got to enjoy the cool clouds.
It looked like tornado weather, and indeed, it was. Friends had a brand-new shed hit by a small one. It missed their house, though, so it could have been much worse. It’s hard to get used to so many scary weather events so close together, though.
We managed to get through the storm just fine. It was a very fast one! When I woke up this morning, there was more weather news. Tarrin contacted all of us who were signed up for a clinic at her ranch to let us know there were going to be very strong winds today. She let us know we could put it off.
We all said we’d just show up and hope for the best, much to Apache’s disappointment. He was not at all interested in going anywhere or doing anything this morning and kept bopping me with his head until I had to get firmer than usual with him. I managed to get most of the mud off him, including huge globs nested in the base of his mane. Not the most fun start to a day, but I’m happy to report that the rest of the day was a lot better!
He is always happy to go to Tarrin’s, and he got to head over with his buddy Aragorn. Sara drove today, and we always have a good time together. I ended up in a great mood all day, myself, and enjoyed meeting some new folks and their horses. There are some real success stories in the latest bunch of training horses!
After relaxing for a while in his luxurious (in his mind) stall, Apache came out to do our part of the clinic with me, and he was an absolute dream. We started out learning the newest dressage pattern that we’ll use in the next shows. We did it really slowly, stopping between each section, to help the horses pay attention to our cues. I enjoyed doing it as well as watching the other two riders in my group, one of whom was just starting out on her horse after training.
It was a great feeling to know that we’ve come far enough along to be role models of calmness as things blew around and spooked other horses. Tarrin made sure to share that it wasn’t all that long ago that Apache was nerved out at lots of random things. Meanwhile, he nearly fell asleep when it wasn’t his turn, even when something blew by and hit his leg. What a guy? Yeah!
The second part of our session was learning to do small circles precisely and teach the horses to pay attention to us rather than memorizing a pattern and blasting through it. That was a lot of fun for us, especially when we got to trot it. Apache and I have really made some improvement, and I was so happy to try these new things and refine how we do them. So much learning!
After our turn, we had an educational session where Tarrin showed us what a horse with severe hoof issues looked like on the inside. Camina the dog really wanted to eat that demo horse leg. It’s really cool that a horse can contribute to education after it has to be put down. It’s like they live on.
Another thing we did was each of us stood on two scales and had to practice balancing so that each scale read the same. This was not at all easy. We also found that slight shifts of our hips made the scales move many pounds. What this demonstrated was that our shifts can really affect our horses, and also that their shifts can also affect their performance.
The folks in the last, most advanced, group in the clinic focused on this balance and helping their horses get not only straight but balanced before doing activities like beginning a canter from a stop.
Now, this annoyed each of the horses as far as I could tell, but it was fascinating to watching both horses and riders learning to refine their balance.
Then they all cantered around those barrels we trotted around. Wow, some of those horses are beautifully trained. Aragorn did a great job as well, even though he’s just learning. Sara loves this photo I took of them together.
Of course, since it’s City Nature Challenge weekend, I snuck off to take photos of the plants and insects at Tarrin’s. I saw so many butterflies, and a gorgeous scarab beetle that visited my jacket. The ladies I was sitting with were fascinated with me looking at it, photographing it, and figuring out what it was.
The only negative was that I keep touching plants and really should check to see if they are nettles BEFORE touching them. Ow. There were also some very spiky trees that are either Hercules Club or Spiny Ash.
It was a really fun day for all of us, even the horses. We didn’t let that awful chilly wind slow us down!
Sara and I spent much time when we got home telling our horses how proud we are of them. These are the times to remember when things get challenging again!
…you answer a blog prompt? Ha, no. I just thought the question was so easy! I wind down by blogging and knitting. Writing and handcrafts both involve repetitive motion and take your mind off other things.
I’m happy to report that today only started out demanding, however. I dragged all my computers out to the Red House (our vacation rental) because it now has wifi. I was able to actually get a lot done, though, plus I was able to finish the laundry and sweep the porch.
However, I still hadn’t heard from AT&T about replacing my router. So I called the special line for my equipment. I talked to some woman who tried to sell me equipment insurance and somehow I got rid of her and was able to talk to a reasonable person. The news was bad. They no longer make my equipment.
Folks, I was truly annoyed. I was extra frustrated. I have wasted a week trying to get something replaced that couldn’t be. Why didn’t someone say that last week? Grr.
I was so patient. I just took a deep breath and ordered a wifi hotspot to use until we figure something else out. I think we will do another service. Stay tuned.
The day got way better after I finally made a plan and could get off the dang phone with the AT&T people. I ran home to get the horses ready for a lesson, and somehow got them ready (-ish — Drew still had globs of mud in his mane but I got the majority off his body).
Lo and behold, Apache wasn’t sick and Drew was in great form! All of us had a really good time. Apache is learning to speed up and slow down correctly and stay straight. I’m so proud of him and so glad he is no longer all inflamed. I succeeded in helping him!
Drew was a relief to ride. He has gotten over whatever was up at the last couple of lessons. Tarrin wonders if maybe he wasn’t feeling well when he was acting so funny. Today was fun. I felt like we were working together.
It was beautiful watching Tarrin ride him after I was done. He cantered so well and easily. I love watching him move. He looks fancy!
What an interesting day it’s been! Interesting animal health news abounded, and animals impressed me, too. I’m just going to start with the actual seasonal miracle. Well, you may recall me saying we’d lost our hen, Betty, the Americauna who laid light brown eggs. I said that because when I checked on her between rain storms, she was lifelessly laying in a puddle.
I didn’t put her in a plastic bag to be disposed of, because of the rain. Next time I checked, I realized she was still alive, though she hadn’t moved. Yesterday, when I did my evening check, she’d moved. What?
This morning when I went in, she’d moved again, and I saw her move around. I mentioned to someone that I could swear she was actually better. But how? She was really looking bad for a few days, and was soaked. Nonetheless, when I got home from horse training today, after being given up for dead for three days, there was Betty.
So, her name is Not Dead Betty from now on. Who knows what was wrong? Did she have a virus? An impacted egg? A cold? I just cannot believe this miracle of rebirth. How seasonal!
So, What Else?
Well, there’s good news and bad news in the horse department.
Good: I was able to get Drew groomed today, with just a few clods of dirt left in his mane. He’s all soft and smooth now.
Bad: Apache seemed ok in grooming, but when we got to Tarrin’s, his back was all bloody. Drew was biting him in the trailer. No wonder the trailer was rocking all the way there (which took extra long, of course, thanks to having to get gas, hitting every traffic light, AND being blocked by a train again.)
Bad: Apache seems to be all inflamed for some reason. His lymph nodes are all puffy. Tarrin thinks it’s allergies from all the new rich grass and pollen. He gets to stay in the pens during the day for a while to work on it, and he will need lots of exercise (that’s good).
Good: Drew was amazingly better at this week’s lesson, even with no riding in the past week. It was like watching a different horse, and riding him was actually fun! That was a miracle to me. Both Tarrin and I needed positive horse experiences today, so hooray.
I was relieved that Drew was doing so well today and paying attention to me so well. I am equally concerned that Apache is having his issues flaring up. I hope we have caught the inflammation in time to get him back on track. When one of your animals is sick, it’s like your child is ill. I’ll just hug on him and dote on him and let him eat hay all day.
There were all sorts of other things going on here, none of which are my stories to tell, but I’m glad we all have each other to support one another around here. If you have any to spare, send vibes out to my family, okay?