Monday, December 31, 2007

Mixed Bag

No Riding But.....

No sooner had I finished up with the horses this morning and turned Tucker out in the ring--the pasture and every place else truly wet from yesterday--when I checked my phone messages to find that my electrician had indeed stopped by earlier.

I must have just missed him. I figure he parked his truck on the driveway opposite to where my bedroom is and then walked in to look at my ring lights because I never knew he'd been here. His men were coming by in about an hour to change the lights over to something far more reliable than the ones I had. The halogens were constantly going out and I'd had them fixed a number of times--far more times than the hours I'd used them would ever have justified.

Now the morning was really tied up. With the men working in the ring I couldn't ride and I had to put the Boys out in the pasture so they didn't "help" the workers by nudging the ladder and generally making nuisances of themselves.

It took them several hours to finish the job. In the meantime, I decided to hook up the digital cable box, which took a bit of work as the TV is in a large corner cabinet and the working space was tight. Then, of course the box didn't work.

I called the cable company for help and after a few efforts, they finally decided to send a technician who would come sometime between 3 PM and 5 PM, but he'd call first so I needed to stay near the phone.

He did call at 3, and arrived soon after to find out that I had taken off a short cable connection that needed to be on the box. Mind you, NO WHERE in the directions for setting up the system did it mention this little wire. Nor did is show this little wire in any of the wiring diagrams or pictures of the box set up. Bummer. I apologized to the cable guy who said he understood because this kind of thing happens all the time. Perhaps it's time the company rewrites the directions for set up so people don't keep making the same mistake I did.

By then it was feed time, so I took care of the Boys and decided to wait until dark to see how the new lights worked.

Well, they are not as illuminating as the original lights but they work nicely, giving me more than enough light to ride, covering nearly all of the ring except the far eastern end, where I don't tend to work too much in the winter because of the places where the water collects.

These are "dusk to dawn yard lights," designed to go on and off automatically according to the daylight, but I have them on switches and turned them off after I'd looked things over and.....

Dragged the riding arena. My new drag is really nice and does the job in half the time, but I know it is to little avail as it is supposed to rain again tomorrow. The soggy surface is OK for riding and dragged it's even better, but the repeated rain is just waterlogging everything.

I'll have more puddles to deal with for sure. *sigh*

Even though the day would have allowed it, I opted out of riding anyone. Things just got too complicated around here. Maybe the rain won't start by morning and I can squeeze in a short school. If not, I really did waste today.

I'm not at all sure Tucker cares one way or another.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Just a Line

Long Lines, That Is

I had an afternoon party to go to, so I just had time to work one horse after church today.

Who else but Tucker?

I set him up in the long lines and got some really nice work. I can't quite manage the lines behind his rump all the time as if he gets at all fractious, I simply cannot run with him since my knees are SO bad. We did do a bit of work that way, but in the end I put the outer rein up into the turret to finish up, allowing me a much better sense of control over where he was going.

Good work, though, and I must admit, he certainly is capable of getting his hind end well under him and might even get some "air" time out of his stride when he gains the strength.

No issues with the stifle when he is on the lines. If it's not too wet to ride tomorrow, I will be interested to see if he is happier. I started the omeprazole yesterday, so if the ulcers are kicking up due to all the turnout restrictions, he should be a more willing partner. If the stifle is bothering him, the ulcer meds will do nothing to cheer him up.

Rain, sleet and a bit of snow in the afternoon and evening, but the roads were just wet, not icy. Good thing as my party was about a 40 mile drive from home and it was really dark and soggy on the way home. I did have a good time, but might have stayed even longer with all my longtime good friends if I had been more sure about the weather.

If tomorrow is OK weatherwise, my electrician claims he will be here to change my ring lights to something far more reliable than the first ones he installed. Stacie mentioned she might come as well, so it may be a busy and fun day.

"Stardust" is definitely a winner, Caroline. Second time viewing on DVD is just as much fun as the first time in the theatre. Great present for your birthday!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Visitor for a Ride

Nice Day Again

I went to the chiropractor this morning and then went to the cinema to see "Enchanted." It's a fun film about a cartoon country princess who is magically transferred to New York City. I liked the film but not as much as "Stardust," another romantic fantasy. Since it was an early show, I was home again by around 12, time enough to put Tucker out after the sun came out.

My friend Stacie called to say she would like to come and ride. She'd visited her horse, Lucky, who it still in rehab after his surgery for removing the dead bone in his leg, and figured she'd make a day of it by coming over.

I did a quick pick up of the front of the house and then went out to do some barn work--using the tractor to clean Tucker's stall and pen since the mud is so icky that using the wheelbarrow is a real challenge. Thank heavens for the tractor. It is fast becoming one of my greatest treasures.

Stacie arrived and she saddled up Toby while I tacked up Tucker. We spent about a half hour in the ring, with Tucker trotting most of the time while Stacie eased herself along on Toby. She hasn't ridden now in nearly a month, so she mixed up some trotting and cantering with nice walk breaks which I am sure Toby appreciated. He was really a good boy, but Stacie did discover that her leg aids had to be subtle or else she would get some unexpected half passes and other lateral moves.

Tucker was pretty cooperative although his did put on the brakes twice during the ride, trying to tell me he'd had enough. Fortunately, a tap of the whip behind the girth encouraged him to go on. I suspect his back/stifle just get tired and perhaps start to ache a bit so he chooses to stop. There were a few moments of excitement, though, when Chance decided to rip around the outside of the ring, putting on quite a galloping/bucking show, destracting Tucker into two or three attempted bolts. Toby hardly batted an eye. *sigh*

While Stacie kept riding, I saddled up Chance and then rode him in the ring for about 10 minutes to settle him down. Then the two of us rode out for a short hack in the woods. Chance led the ride, quite happy to be in front. Toby didn't mind being second horse. I think his philosophy is that if there are any monsters lurking about, they will pick off the lead horse and give him the option of escape "out the back door."

We finished up, came inside for a bit of supper and watched two of the dressage videos Stacie had brought with her. One was of Rudolf Zeilinger riding and 8 year old in all the Grand Prix movements. The horse was extremely talented, not entirely confirmed in all the exercises, but impressive nonetheless.

After the dressage we watched the DVD of "Stardust," and I think I enjoyed the film as much as the first time I'd seen it. Definitely better than "Enchanted," so my initial impression was confirmed.

'Twas a nice day had by all.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Full Day

Nice Weather

Lovely day, but the ground was still saturated. I took the chance and put Tucker out in the ring and pasture with Toby and Chance anyhow. It seemed as if the pasture wasn't too mucky and the ring was just very wet sand with puddles.

Then I went off to get the cable TV boxes to switch over to digital cable--which was going to be a requirement soon anyhow. The boxes are quite large, about the size of a DVD player, so I am going to have to be a bit creative as to where to sit them. The living room one MAY fit on top of the TV or, if that fails I think I can sqeeze it on the shelf next to the DVD/VCR player. Saving that job until I have the energy.

Then I went to the tack store to return the too small horse boots and to see if they had a pair of sandals like I got my one cousin for my other cousin. Luckily they did, so I got them for her as a belated Christmas present.

Stopped by a local restaurant on the way home to view an art show my friend--teacher next door to my room at school--particpated in with her wonderful watercolors. I also bought a take out lunch of a delicious turkey burger.

Ate and then headed out to the Boys. Rode Tucker first, about 10 minutes in the ring going over the cavaletti a number of times for his stifle. Then we went out into the woods for a nice little hack. He was an angel so that was a great ride.

When I got back, my friend the plumber was here to look at the spigot in my barn that was leaking and spraying water all over. We chatted a bit and then I took Toby out for a hack. We rode back to see if the flooding was flooded only to find it was fairly dry. I can see the water mark on my monitoring sticks, so there was water back there, but it has receded--a good thing. I was afraid it might be really wet but so far, better than expected. Toby was angel #2.

Brian, the plumber was still there when I got back and he'd managed to change the washer in the spigot, so the leak is fixed. Yea! Then he went to the outside spigot to work on that while I saddled up Chance. I had fully intended to take him on a hack too, but as soon as I mounted in the ring, he took off in a quick trot so I decided to school him instead. Good thing. He is far from really trained at this point so he quickly reverts back to head up, can't turn, hang on the bit mode. By the end of about a 20 minute session I was getting him to put his head down and approximate a fairly good turn in each direction, so it was worth the time. I promised him a hack either tomorrow or Sunday, provided he cooperated by being a little more settled. Not quite angel #3, but wearing a halo, nonetheless.

Rode three. More than enough for one day.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Miserable Weather

It was one of those misty, drizzly mornings. It wasn't really cold, but the dampness made the existing cold go right through every bone in my body.

I fed the Boys and just after I got back into the house, who should pull in, but my farrier. I had called him yesterday to check to see if his Christmas package had arrived as I'd had problems with something else I ordered. I had casually mentioned that the Boys were about due for shoeing, but no rush and lo and behold, there he was the next morning.

I had my own trailer partially backed up to the barn in slow anticipation of gathering the strength and energy to unload the grain I'd bought. When Scott found out I had to unload it, he volunteered himself and his assistant, Kyle to do it for me! Yippee!! In about ten minutes the grain was in the feed room and I was able to move my rig out of the way so Scott could back in.

We had a really nice time talking as he shod Tuck and Toby and Kyle trimmed Chance. Kyle was really pleased because he said it was the first time he'd managed to get Chance trimmed on all four without any problems. Apparently Chance has a limited attention span and starts to fuss after about three feet are done. He is not very good about being corrected, as I too have noticed because he either gets scared or pulls a bit of a willful tantrum. I have seen hints of this in his training but haven't yet really pushed him so far that we have a real confrontation under saddle. I have seen it on the lunge or long lines, so I know it's there. I think it may just manifest itself in a "try to go the other way" instead of a Tucker Bucker fit, but I'll save that for another time.

The only trouble with all the conversation was that I was totally chilled to the bone and beyond by the time Scott left. I came back in, made a cup of tea and ended up under my polar fleece blanket with the gas fireplace on for several hours until I warmed up again.

By mid afternoon, the drizzle had fizzled, so I headed back out to ride Tucker. The ring was a soggy, puddly mess, so it wasn't the best ride. Twice, when I changed direction, Tuck balked, laid his ears back and really threatened when I tried to get him trotting again. It is either the fact that his stifle is still sore--so I may need the vet out again--or some ulcer action as a result of the change in his turnout because of the mud.

On the plus side, each time, I did get him going again, and a light tap of the whip behind the girth didn't seem to inspire "airs above the ground." Also a plus was that he was super going over the raised cavaletti--good for building up the stifle, and he did not act crabby about his canter departs. Something is definitely bothering him physically, and I opt first for the stifle at this point. If so, he is just going to have to push himself through it. I will ask the vet if there is something else to do at this point besides just legging him up.

After about a half hour of work, I took Tuck out for a super short hack in the woods, just looping the trail behind the barn. He was delighted as it gave him a chance to ignore me completely and stop to pull what little greenery is left on the vines off to eat. We may have to work on that, but I indulged him today as he has been so deprived of proper turnout and the potential browsing it affords.

The soggy slop kept me off the other two Boys. It's supposed to be kind of warmish the next few days, so I should get some work in on them, but right now getting Tucker's stifle in shape must be my priority.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tired For Sure

OK, OK, Claire.....

But I think it was the Christmas festivities as much as riding Tucker.

I was definitely worn out today. I fed the Boys in the AM, came back into the house and caught up on some email correspondence. Then I just kind of hung out until later afternoon.

I gave Tucker a really good lunging session. He trotted for well over 25 minutes and also did the raised cavaletti 10 times in each direction. My knees were pretty sore, and I was tired out, so I just worked him as the other Boys snoopervised.

"Snoopervision" included Chance's stealing Tucker's sheet and dragging it off with the full intent of tearing it to shreds had I not managed to scare him out of the dastardly deed.

All well and good for that sheet, but when I went to feed in the morning, Tucker was naked and his other sheet was lying in a heap in his little run in shed pen. The center back seam was totally ripped open. Now one has to wonder how that happened, unless a certain chestnut youngster had somehow "helped" him undress.

I think I now have two of the newer orange sheets torn asunder. I do have a sewing machine, so eventually, I may be able to repair them, but for now I am just kind of mixing and matching suitable turnout gear. There are supposed to be showers over the next few days, so everyone is back in waterproof "jackets."

Here's hoping my stamina increases along with Tucker's fitness. Winter isn't the easiest or best time to be dealing with fitness issues, but we'll manage. It's a matter of doing a little at a time.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Ride

Well, At Least One

I rode Tucker in the ring for about 25 minutes. He was nicely forward to start and stayed that way for about 15 minutes of work and then stopped. Actually, he didn't stop entirely, he just stopped trotting, walked on nicely but balked at trotting again.

I diverted his attention by changing direction and then started the trot back up, suspicious that his stifle was bothering him again. If so, I am not surprised, because he hasn't been worked in nearly four weeks since I was sick. If his stifle muscle is weak because of the lack of fitness, it might start to bother him.

I know for sure my own knees were aching and very tired when I got off, so I had sympathy. Still, I need to get him legged up, so we will just have to press on. He was remarkably level headed after all the time off, so that was very positive.

One ride was all I managed, though. I decided instead to lunge Chance and Toby instead. Good thing because once I finished up the barn work and came inside, I was exhausted. And, my body was aching. I figure I will be a bit sore tomorrow, but I too need to press on to regain my own fitness.

Tomorrow, I hope to ride two horses and perhaps ground work one.

I also finished setting up the new drag and, after spending an hour poo picking the arena, dragged it so I had a really nice riidng surface. I do suppose some of that work contributed to my physical condition, but it had to be done.

I went to my cousin's house for a wonderful Christmas dinner and just got home now--about 10:30 PM. As always, good food, good conversation and good company. When I drove my aunt home we toured the neighborhood to look at the Christmas lights.

The Boys were all nestled in their stalls when I got home and Chance was napping in Toby's stall--why not his own, I'll never know. I gave them their late night snack and a big red juicy apple as a Christmas treat.

A good time was had by all.

Monday, December 24, 2007


To One and All

It was a nice enough day, and I was busy.

Went to the feed store to stock up on horse feed and bedding. Took the trailer, so I had room for lots of bedding.

Came home and it had dried out enough with the wind that I could turn Tucker out into the pasture and ring instead of just the ring, so he was able to spend the afternoon with Toby and Chance for company.

Used the tractor to clean the stalls and get a better job done with the run in shed. Still more to do, but I didn't over do. I bedded each stall with two bales of shavings, so the Boys have a nice place to nap tonight. Put night hay in and also doled out a bunch of carrots with tops for everyone as well.

Then I headed back to the house to finish up the outside decorations. Garlands and lights on the fencing with red bows at each post, and a garland and bows on the back porch.

Back inside I vacuumed and did a bit of superficial cleaning so things are at least neat and I wrapped the presents for my family gathering tonight.

I guess you have figured that by now, it is getting late in the afternoon and I haven't managed to ride a horse yet. I won't even try. Tomorrow I will clean the riding ring and perhaps drag it while the Boys are eating breakfast and then, perhaps manage a ride or so before going to Christmas dinner.

Gabriel will be coming for lessons on January 19, so I do need to get some work in, but I am still getting pretty tired pretty quickly, so I will have to build up my stamina again.

In the meantime, I intend to have a Merry Christmas and I hope all of you have one too!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Rainy Sunday

Outside Events Curtailed

Miserable weather kept me inside. I did however go to church, sing my solo, and then go to lunch afterwards.

I had a ton of compliments on the solo. No one really realized I had written the song as well as sung it, so this time, I told people instead of being modest. The neat thing was that the lyrics perfectly suited the pastor's sermon which came right before I sang. He told me afterwards, it was almost as if we had planned it.
"Saw a star in the sky and I wondered, did I
What its glorious beauty would bring.
Heard a voice from on high and I wondered, did I
How its beautiful message did ring.
And I wonder why all the angels fly
In the blazing heaven above,
Proclaiming to the waiting world
The gift of God's boundless love.
And the night is filled with the Prophecy
And the promise of His Word
That unto us a Child is born
The Savior Christ the Lord."

More verses but the melody is very pretty and written for a soprano, which I am. If I could figure out how to post the music--I have a digital version of the accompaniment, I would, but you will just have to imagine....*G*

Anyhow, another neat thing as that the assistant pastor told me after the service that it was so beautiful, but better than that, there was a pregnant woman visiting from Virginia in the congregation and she said that as I was singing she saw her baby kick for the first time. The pastor said it had to remind us of the nativity and how the music might have inspired her child as well. Kinda cool.

Went to lunch with the after church choir gang and had a meal to hold me all day. When I came home I kind of napped for a while as it a hopeless cause to try to do anything outdoors. And again, I was very tired.

I did finally go out tonight to see if the Shop Rite Supermarket had carrots with tops...most carrots around here have the greens trimmed off when you buy them...which is my traditional horsie Christmas gift. (Sh-h-h-h-h. Don't tell the Boys.) I also got them some apples and am finally ready for Christmas Eve treats. I also put up the greenery and lights, including the star on the barn. I may not have the fence done in front of the house, but the important lights are up, so it does look a bit Christmasy around here now.

Better almost late than never.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Cleaning Frenzy!

Did the east two stalls and about half the run-in (mostly old hay--soggy etc.) this morning. The tractor was the key as it saves me from having to push the wheelbarrow.

Then I went to the chiropractor, got adjusted, went to the pet food store to stock up on cat food, hit a mall store and then made it to my luncheon date at 1 PM. Of course, my three friends were late, but when they did get there we had a grand time. Good company, good, intelligent conversation and Perkins home cooked food--which is pretty good for franchise meals.

Afterwards, I did a little shopping and got two poinsiettas for my house.

Came home and cleaned Tucker's little run-in shed, his stall, and bedded the other two as well. I do need more shavings but will get them tomorrow along with a load of feed.

So, aside now from the rest of the eastern run-in and the riding ring which needs a clean and a drag, the barn is slowly getting back to order. I still have to reorganize and sweep the feed room--still suffering from the Tucker attack-- straighten up the aisle and put up the Christmas lights and star. So, I have two days.

Fortunately, at the moment, I feel pretty good. My voice seems cleared up so I should be able to do a pretty good job on my solo tomorrow morning. This is a piece for Christmas I have written and my choir director arranged. I am very pleased with the result as it is very pretty.

It may rain tomorrow. If so, I guess the riding might be curtailed, but if not, I hope to spend at least a few minutes on a horse or three.

It's been so long.

Caroline, my doctor said whatever the virus that's going around is, it is lasting for weeks with everyone. Guess it must be some new mutation or new one altogether that no one has any immunity to. Interesting how the body develops its own alarm system and then invents the antibodies needed to fight off the invader. I would suspect a "brand new" enemy might take a while to figure out the exact weaponry needed to fend it off. So far, victory seems to be assured.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Oh, Well....

Evening report on Friday confirms I am running a slight fever again.

When I came home, it was drizzling and chilly, but I thought, perhaps I could still do the barn, or part of it.

I had a cup of tea and a bit to eat and suddenly began to feel really tired. I lay down for what I intended to be a short nap. 3 hours later I woke up and had to drag myself out to feed the Boys.

Suffice it to say the barn is not done, nor is anything else. And my temp is a bit over 99F.

Think I am in for the night.


Will They Go Aglay?

Ok, here's the plan. Today, since we have a half day of school, there will be enough daylight to get the stalls properly cleaned.

I need to do it today so that if I do manage to throw my back out, I can get a chiropratic adjustment before Christmas as, for the first time ever--and good for them--the office is closed on Christmas Eve. I figured I might as well do the heavy work today.

I also have to get grain and bedding, so I may do that tomorrow morning early. I have already scheduled an adjustment at 11:30 AM on Saturday, so I do need to get up and out in the morning, as sometimes moving some of the grain can also make my back a bit dicey.

As for riding--I may either get in the saddle on Saturday afternoon, or perhaps wait until Sunday. The weather is taking a turn to the warm and only showers are predicted over the next few days, so I can be a little free about all this. The benefit of Sunday is that there will be no hunters in the woods. I am sure Chance would love a trail ride. Don't know about Tucker and Toby, but we will see.

I plan on taking it slowly as far as the riding goes. The horses have now nearly had a month off--unintentionally, of course, but that puts their fitness down considerably. As for my fitness, there's little to be said. I don't have any.

So, that's the plan.

Unless, of course, Tucker loses a shoe in the meantime.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Spirit

But No Horsing Around

Still haven't done anything with the Boys. I am hoping I will feel well enough on the weekend.

I do have a major clean the barn job ahead of me as it really is a mess. The tractor is going to be busy.

I managed to get the outside of the house partially decorated to it doesn't look so dark and dispirited. I still have some more garlands and lights to put up, but I think I need some more extension cords. Whatever I manage to do with the ones I use the year before, I'll never know, although at least three of them were in the barn being used for the fans. I had to leave two there for the heated water bucket in Tuck's stall, so I guess I am going to need to buy some more--again. *sigh*

I just set up a fiber optic tree in the house and my cats are rather active and destructive of such entertaining objects as tree ornaments, so that was an easy set up.

We had a really nice teachers' luncheon in school yesterday, and I am going to lunch with some good friends on Saturday. But, while I was sick I somehow managed to lose about 5 or more pounds and I don't want to put them back on. I am going to try hard to curb my lust for Christmas cookies and all those tasty sugary treats of the season.

That's going to be interesting. *G*

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Made It Through

Lots of People Sick

Something is going around because apparently a lot of teachers are ill. I am still not 100% and was really tired when I got home, but I am definitely better. I just need to take it easy.

Tucker was able to go out with the Boys having the run of all the paddocks and the barn yesterday and today. The ground is frozen, so there is no mud. He really seemed happy about that. This morning I almost....almost forgot to put him out and as I came out of the house to leave

It's just as well that I am not even thinking of riding since the ground is so hard and since I've been sick I never dragged the ring after the bad weather. The footing in there MIGHT be rideable at a walk if it had been dragged and then frozen while well groomed. But, that didn't happen.

As it is I am going to have some major poo work to do once things thaw out--probably by the weekend and the week of Christmas break. The barn is still in tatters and I have decided that since the Boys are not forced to stay in, it can be a bit messy until I am fit enough to do a good job of cleaning. I will definitely be using the tractor to carry stuff out to limit my physical efforts.

I love to have the barn all clean, snuggy, and well bedded for Christmas Eve in case we have any special guests needing a stable for the night. Hopefully I will be able to manage this year.

So many little things I usually do right before the holiday have fallen by the wayside. My house is still not decorated. It looks kind of dull compared to all the Christmas lights around. Setting things up is usually a pretty quick job once I drag all the decorations up from the basement. Might manage a bit of it tonight. We'll see.

I also have a star and garland to adorn the entrance to the barn. That too is a pretty quick job, just a little physical.

Well, it's not Christmas quite yet, so I still have time. Bit of shopping yet to do and.....s-h-h-h-h, I have to buy some special treats for the Boys too. Don't quite know about the kitties. Might find them some of those furry mini mice--really lightweight and they bop around easily.

So little time so many deeds.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Gone Away???

No Fever

And I felt pretty OK, which was a good thing as my church vesper service for Christmas was tonight and I had a solo to sing.

I managed to keep my voice intact through the whole service, and then went to the part afterwards. It was not a riotous group, as we mostly sit around and talk, and eat. The eating was good as I haven't done much of that in the last two weeks.

Poor Tucker was stuck in again for the day since it was raining and windy all day long--Britain take note, as I have just suffered a nor'easter (winter storm) here. If it's going your way, expect lots of wind and wet. The other Boys stayed in all night with their doors closed since the wind and rain were coming from the east. But as the day wore on and the storm passed, the wind shifted from the west, so I let them out. They ended up mostly the the stalls anyhow as it was very nasty out.

Tomorrow, if I am still OK, I will try school. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, thank you for all your concern and good wishes. Being laid up for two weeks with whatever flu like thing I had is no fun. It was nice to "hear" your voices encouraging me to muddle through.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Fever Soared

My temp was over 102F early this afternoon. To make it more depressing, my doctor called with the results of my blood tests which clearly indicated I was sufffering from a really nasty virus, not an infection, so antibiotics would definitely be useless.

Needless to say, no real horse news. Unless Tucker's getting himself wedged in the tack/feed room is a story. The Boys were supposed to be locked in the ring/pasture today. My friend's sons were over to do some work for me--clearing the evergreen branches that had fallen in the ice storm, fixing more broken fence, and putting the water heater in my tub. One of the boys had told me that the horses were in the paddock area.

While this was not good, since that's where the mud is--Tucker's shoes--I was feeling too lousy to go out to herd them back. It wasn't until later that I looked out to see Tucker's head sticking out of the tack room. EEK!

My tack room is elevated off the barn floor by about two feet, with a plywood floor--the middle section of which is now covered with a layer of 1/2' plywood to cover the hole Tucker made when he fell through years ago. (He was smaller then....) The room is 10 X 10, but there is a tack cabinet on one side, the feed bins, and on the other, two tool cabinets. Once a horse is in, it's impossible to turn around, so bacing out is the only real option.

However, Tucker had managed to knock things down behind him on his way in, so there he was, happily munching on the grain while totally stuck in the narrow quarters.

So out I trudged, dragging myself to the rescue.

I have to admit, keeping my voice low and calm may have helped because Tuck just kind of stood there watching me as I asked Bill's son to move the tractor out of the way--it sits under the run in shed part that is just outside the tack room's outer door. Then, with no fuss, I opened the outer door, and Tuck stepped down and out onto the lawn as I breathed a sigh of relief. The tack room was trashed, the feed was a mess, but my horse was safe.

We herded him back into the paddock and all was well--presuming his shoe is still on. Whew!

Friday, December 14, 2007

On the Mend

I Think....

I have now taken the entire week off from school. I have over 170 sick days "in the bank," so using the time was no issue. The problem is leaving my students with substitute teachers.

They are generally well-behaved but it's not fair to leave them without real teaching for so long. Thus, I have become a "cyber teacher" for the week. I have what is called an "eBoard" which is a simple website accessible through the school website where I post assignments. Today I have given them an extra credit Christmas assignment which offers them two possible extra credit test grades.

My seniors were supposed to attend a peer matinee of the dance concert yesterday, but due to bad weather--sleet, snow, ice--school closed early and the performance was canceled. They were really looking forward to it as I got a phone call from the vice-principal on Tuesday when the student came to her to ask what they were supposed to do since I wasn't there.

Seniors have a performing arts requirement they must fulfill for graduation and some of the other teachers did not do any of the work needed last year so I have one class where we have to do everything this year. Kind of a bummer, but I will manage. I did add at least one option to the extra credit project which will allow them to complete a part of the requirement, so perhaps they will grab on to that and run with it.

Meantime, I think I am finally recovering.

I certainly hope so. Sunday is the Vespers service at church and I have a solo. Right now my singing voice is OK, so I need to take my vitamins, etc. to keep it OK at least until then. I may also have a solo next week in church if I so choose. I have written a new Christmas carol, my director has arranged it, and I can perform it Sunday if I want to.

Getting sick is bad enough, but being sick just before Christmas is a bummer. My outside decorations are not up. My house is a mess. The barn is a mess. The horses have knocked down part of the interior fence, a good size evergreen limb has fallen in front of the carport where I store my hay, and I am not quite down with my Christmas shopping.

The shopping will be a cinch once I get back in gear, but the rest....yeech!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Still Not Well

Went to School Anyhow

I wasn't bad in the morning. It was early afternoon when I started to feed badly again.

Some Tylenol helped me make it through the day. Yeech.

I have NEVER been ill this long. Flu, according to the school nurse. Not much to do but wait it out. Take vitamin C. Airborne, colostrum, whatever.

Poor Tucker had to stay in. Nasty day. Rain. At least he has some room to walk around.

Even if the shed were not dead I don't think I would have turned him out.

Sighing off.....sigh.......

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Dead Shed

It Doesn't Look Good

Glad I got some pics of the shed while it was still up. It is presently a skeleton lying in the arena.

The wind sheared many of the bolts holding it together. Amazing to see what the power of nature can wreck on the constructions of man. The kind of gusts we had were unusually strong, but what could I expect? I don't tend to cry too much over spilled milk and remain optimistic that the shelter can be revived. If not, I own Mark a big apology for all the work he did helping put it up, and I'll just go on to find something else to provide some kind of protection for Tucker if he has to be left out in the ring in questionable weather.

Meantime, after my friend Bill's two great sons sorted out the shed mess, they decided to fix my broken fencing. I had one very badly set fence post in the riding ring and one broken one. I was using corral panels as replacement parts and had already replaced two other posts myself.

When I had my barn built, the builder did most of my fencing, which I had bought from a good fence company in Pennsylvania. (The state west of NJ) We ran short when I did a bit of paddock reconfiguring and needed more fencing to enclose the riding ring. The builder got some fencing from someplace else and those posts were not as well cut as the ones I bought. Since it was interior fencing, it really didn't matter security-wise, but darn if the horses didn't manage to do some pretty heavy duty destruction by playing "Fence" (a game where they spar over a fence) , cribbing, (Toby's specialty), and general scratching. (Fences make great places to scratch those hard to reach spots.) Once one post went, two more followed. The last post was, for some strange reason, set in cement and far more shallow than all the others.

Fortunately, when my pasture was fenced, there were extra posts--from the good company--and I'd managed to buy a bunch of decking lumber matching the size of my fence rails, so I had plenty of supplies. The two young men made short work of setting the new posts.

I did let them use my tractor which seemed to thrill them both--made sure each brother got to drive it a little. It was actually the best way to knock loose and remove the one broken post as I had discovered on my own earlier. And it was the best way to move the "corpse" of the shed's fabric cover--a heavy chunk of vinyl fabric--out of the ring so certain horses would not find it the perfect play toy.

I didn't do much work at all myself. Later, I went to get some grain and only bought half my usual order so I wouldn't have too much to unload. As per all of your advice, I am trying hard to take it easy until I am fully recovered.

So, aside from watching the Boys watch the boys working on the shed, I have no horse news to report.

Except that Billy, the elder son, told me he'd had a bad dream the night before that he'd been chased by a horse and had to climb a tree to escape.

Fortunately, this time, at least one dream did not come true.

Then again, I did lock the Boys out in the pasture while the bulk of the work was being done.

Friday, December 07, 2007

And It Continues

Still the Fever

I have never had any kind of illness last this long. Either my being older now is having an effect, or else the viruses are just getting more determined themselves. I do feel a bit better and my temperature is lower, so that's good.

Meantime, I hope to have a load of hay delivered this afternoon. The guy next door has found a young man who will bring a load over and stack it in my carport for me. Yippee!! It will be nice to see the shed full again.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, my friends two sons will be over to see if we can get the shed back up. However, now the forecast is for rain, sleet, and snow, so I don't know if that will happen.

And, I have a ton of poo picking to do in the barn. I have not been able to clean for the entire week as just getting the basic chores done was a mighty effort.

I'll have to see how I feel later today because Tucker may have to stay in his stall and little pen when the bad weather rolls in and he really does need a clean place to hang out.

Frustrating being sick. My sympathy to anyone who has a chronic illness limiting what they can do. It must be so hard to get things done.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

And Yet Again

Still Sick

I went to school yesterday, which was a mistake since I felt lousy.

Then I had a doctor's appointment for my metabolic testing and all the test results were skewed by my running a fever. Doctor told me to go home and go to bed. He gave me a note to stay home the rest of the week, so I am.

Nothing to report on the horse front, needless to say. It snowed about an inch yesterday and the Boys were stuck out with no shelter--no biggie as they have sheets--longer than I intended because I got caught in a horrendous traffic jam on the way home.

I had opted to take the road parallel to mine as turning directly to my road from its cross intersection is really hazardous. But, I was sitting in traffic for nearly a half hour only to find that I couldn't get to my road from that end as it was police barricaded. So I turned around and headed back to the intersection option which was also all tied up and barricaded. I turned anyhow and told the officer I lived on the road and he let me get home--finally--more than an hour later than I should have been.

The Boys were quite pleased to see me, but not really too upset. I'd left them plenty of hay in the morning and there was still some left, so they didn't starve.

I did move the tub with the heater over to the ring, so they also had plenty of water.

Not perfect, but if I can get the shed out of the trees and set back up this weekend, it won't be half bad.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Still Under the Weather

Was I Running a Fever?

My chiropractor thought so when he adjusted me today. I stayed home from school again and just totally crashed on the couch all day.

Meanwhile a howling gale outside carried my little run in shed over the fence into the trees. I can't quite move it myself, so I have to wait until one of my kind friends has the time to help out.

The Boys were not too keen about the "treehouse" but finally managed to work their way past it to go out to the pasture.

I am still keeping Tucker on restricted turnout, in the ring and pasture only as long as there is no mud. Toby and Chance are out with him when the pasture is open, but he stays in the ring by himself if the pasture is too wet. What I still have to do is hook up the water heater in the water tub I've put in the ring. It hasn't been cold enough to freeze the water solid in it yet and the temps this wekk are supposed to moderate a bit. So, I guess I have time.

Meanwhile, I feel to tired to ride. Whatever bug I am fighting is certainly determined to keep me out of action.

I do hope to go to work tomorrow, though. It's a little hard to teach from a remote location.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Nothing to Report

Snowy, Sleety Day

I suppose I could have ridden, but it was just so miserable today. A coating of snow in the morning promised winter was on its way, and then all day long either a light fall of snow or sleety rain kept things pretty uncomfortable outside.

I am battling a cold as well, so I just wanted to stay warm.

I did pay my pasture rent for the year and, at the Christmas tree farm down the road where my farmer sells fresh cut trees, I puschased a grave blanket for my parents' grave. I took that to the cemetery and placed it, adding some lovely holly springs and evergreens from home.

When I finally got back in the house, I just kind of crashed on the couch.

Stacie called this evening to let me know she had brought Lucky home, or at least back to the NJ Equine Center where he will be spending the month.

The only worrisome thing is that the vets a New Bolton were a little concerned about how sore he was. I guess they would have hoped to see him feeling a little bit better after his surgery.

Otherwise, nothing to report. I guess I was "under the weather" in more ways than one.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Update on Lucky

All is Going Well: Lucky Update, Yesterday's Post Below

Stacie called me last night to let me know Lucky came through his surgery well.

The vet was pleased to find that the damaged/dead area of bone was small and he cleaned it all out. He was also very optimistic about Lucky's recovery because it was apparent that the necrotic bone was caused by an injury, not arthitis. It seems some horses have chronic arthritic conditions that can kill the bone and he was worried about that in this case, but he found no evidence of it.

Lucky now faces a four month lay up. One month in the stall. One month hand walking. One month of restricted turnout. One month of walking under saddle.

This is posing a bit of a puzzle for Stacie right now as she has three horses at home and whenever one, especially Lucky, is separated from the others the lone horse is very upset. She is also concerned about the restricted turnout, because even though she has a round pen for that, she doesn't think Lucky will settle to a "quiet" turnout by himself.

Right now, she will be stabling him at NJ Equine Clinic, as I said, for a week or so. Then she may move him to a layup barn near her house. The trouble with all of this is that it will cost more money than keeping him at home.

The good thing is that this has all happened in the winter, so losing the riding and training time is not as painful as it might be during the better weather.

As they say, "Every cloud has a silver lining."