Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year....B-r-r-r-r-r-r!

Lovely Morning Blown Away

Shoulda, coulda, woulda...not really. If I had not gone to the chiropractor this morning, I might have ridden. But my neck and back were not so good, so I headed out. On the way home I got my hair cut and bought some replacement blades for my car's windshield wipers.

Once home, I did a few chores and watched the temperature rapidly drop outside as a pretty hefty wind blew up. Along with the wind came some snow squalls. And soon, it was down in the 20's and darn miserable out there. I toyed with long lining or lunging, but the wind was really ripping up as the cold front blew in.

I opted for going out to put blankets on the Boys in place of their sheets. For once, I think even Tucker didn't mind having his "clothes" changed. I fed everyone and gave them each a big pile of hay in his stall.

Tucker, of course, had to head around the barn to go into Chance's stall to see whether his food was better. That left Chance out in the cold. I opened the inside door and told Tucker to cross the aisle and go back into his own stall. He gave me an, "All right, all right, if you say so," expression and then, quite happily marched back into his stall to eat his own hay, leaving Chance--temporarily at least--in peace.

You'd think Tuck would be happy with his own feed in his own stall, but he has to see if he can bully his way into eating someone else's portion as well. Hopefully when I go out for the late snack he will be in where he belongs. I didn't lock him in tonight because the ground is frozen so mud is not an issue.

Tomorrow is supposed to be cold as well and then the temps will moderate a bit for Friday.

Stacie may be going to look as a Thoroughbred not to far from her house on the weekend. If she does, I may go down. He looks pretty nice and has a super low price. If I needed another horse, I'd snap him up in a minute. I don't know if the link will work for you, but if it does, here is the ad:
http://www.equine.com/horses-for-sale/horse-ad-473060.aspx?search_id=83ce8e7d-55d2-4f2a-a423-9de9747d354f

Too good to be true? I guess time will tell.

I still haven't managed to see the warmblood at the farm across the way yet. I guess my timing is off.

Meanwhile, we just keep looking.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy Trails To Me

Took Three Out

Spent the morning trying to straighten out some bills. Drove over to see if I could see the horse at the farm for Stacie but failed. I must have been too late as the field was empty. Then headed to the feed store to pick up my horse pellets.

Came home, had lunch, and eventually headed outside to the barn. I cleaned the stalls and then let the Boys into the paddocks.

Tucker was quite willing and ready to be caught and worked. Taking a line from Caroline, I decided to use the new Ansur today. Hard to say, because I only worked Tucker for a short time in the arena, but he may have been straighter. I still need to work on "forward" with him at all costs as he gets very lazy, but I had a nice little school. Then I headed out to the "Tucker Trail" for a hack. Aside from one little spook at the fox that leapt up just as we were going out into the edge of the field, we had a nice quiet, pleasant ride. It was a bit over 40F, so it was quite comfortable and the wind from earlier in the day had died down.

I snagged Toby next and took him on the same ride. What can I say about Toby? With nothing to spook him, he is a delight.

Back at the barn, I saddled up Chance who was more than eager to go OUT!! Out into the woods and well beyond if I'd let him. He loves hacks. He trotted off a couple times which would be fine if I were sure the footing wasn't slippery in some places. Then when I got him back home in the area, I did just a little bit of schooling. Stacie's ride had encouraged him to go forward on his own, a big plus. But the biggest plus of all was the canter. On both leads, with no effort at all on my part, he dropped his head right down into the bit into a nice low frame, the start of really going correctly through his back. He made no move to throw his head up at all!! I was thrilled.

Usually I find that when a horse discovers how comfortable it is to drop his head and round his back under the rider, he starts to prefer to go that way on his own. Signs are Chance it starting to think that way. I love it.

Carrots all around as well as a nice fat serving of hay. Tucker is still spending the nights in as there is mud around the barn. But from the looks of everyone as I headed back to the house, I have a happy little herd out there.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Where Did The Day Go?

Fun Anyhow!!

I went to a late breakfast with some good friends at the Cracker Barrel restaurant about 20 minutes away. I put in a special order for their bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich on sourdough bread. When we drove down to Atlanta for the '96 Olympics, my other friend and I often stopped at Cracker Barrels and I fell in love with the BLT. It was a good as I remembered.

And the company was good too. My friend Donna drove me down with her and we talked horses on the way. She says there is a horse at her barn--just across the woods from me--that might be perfect for Stacie. I'll report more on this as I find out the details.

I was home by early afternoon. But then, the bank called to tell me I'd been approved for the home equity loan I've been trying to get. Yea!! This means a lower interest rate on some money I've borrowed and a good bite into the credit card debt I need to pay off. Things are looking up.

As I was on the phone to the bank, the hay kids pulled in with a full load of hay!! Another yea!! I'm not sure how many bales they unloaded, but I now have a full carport again, so I am quite happy.

Then, I came back inside to try to figure out how to apportion the equity loan and wasted a good hour on one website that just was loading as if I were on a slow, slow modem instead of my high speed cable. What a nuisance. At that point, the afternoon was on the wane.

Out I went to work the Boys. I decided I'd lunge again but this time over some trotting poles and jumps. The warmup on the flat was great. He was nearly instant to all the commands. Then we headed for the obstacles and he started getting silly. Sometimes he trotted the ground poles and sometimes he cantered them. The two little jumps were first set at a one stride. I had to pull him up a half dozen times when he bucked and ripped off at a mad gallop on the open side, for fear he'd try to jump from that. But, remarkably enough, each time he did approach the little combo, he carefully adjusted his speed, balance and stride to meet them perfectly. I love that instinct!

I shortened the pair to a no stride for the finishing exercise and once again, Tucker adjusted himself. He did misjudge once, hitting the first fence and knocking it down. That sent him off into a nother buky frenzy, but once again, he settled all on his own to jump several more times beautifully.

I took Chance out for a session next. While he does need some encouragement to go forward he too was a wise jumper. As it was starting to get dark, I hurried the work a little and left the jumps at the no stride. I'd lunged him through that kind of combination before so I figured it was worth a shot to see how he'd go. Once again, he didn't let me down. He went over both jumps on each hand with equal skill. Again, I loved his natural ability to adjust himself to get over well.

Obviously, the jumps were little but still, both horses showed good common sense in figuring out the striding on their own.

Now, if only I were back in the jumper world, I'd have two really good prospects. Guess I'll just have to play around a little bit.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Incentive!

Stacie and Chance

Stacie called this morning to see if we wanted to get together for the holiday. I called her back after church and she came over in the afternoon.

When we went out to get the horses, Stacie decided she'd ride whichever horse came over willingly At first Toby made a move, but when she ran out of treats, he turned and walked away. Chance, though, along with Tucker moved right in, eager for some attention even without the treats.

I caught Tucker, and she took Chance.

Grooming took a little work, but the sheets had kept them pretty clean underneath.

Tuck was pretty cooperative for most of the work. His trot was fine, and he cantered with minor protests. But part way through the ride, he started behaving strangely. It started when I tried to make a left turn across the arena... and he simply didn't. It was one of those drift out to the right, through the outside rein, bend the neck to the left, but not follow with the body kind of things. I eventually corrected it with a strong outside rein, but if I put my left leg on him, he really went crooked away from it.

I did not do any lateral work at all, and both canter leads felt OK, but I am suspicious there is still something bothering him behind. I will keep working him through it, but if it starts to become chronic, I guess I may have to get a vet out for chiro or x-rays, whichever ends up being the most logical.

Stacie really had to work to get Chance going forward. Sometimes he is on the lazy side, and sometimes not. Today was a lazy. I finally gave her the whip to encourage him and soon she had him going really nicely at the trot. Then, by accident, she pushed him into the canter on the left lead. It was the first time I'd seen him canter under saddle. His head was not entirely steady, but for the bulk of the ride, he was in a nice little frame and looking good! Considering how little under saddle work he's had in the last few months, it was quite a nice effort.

The temps were in the high 60'sF for most of the day, cooling off as we finished riding. All the while, Toby was exercising himself by running back and forth along the fence line, trotting, cantering, and bucking like a young colt. I thought he'd be all sweated up under his sheet, but he was OK enough that I was able to change into his lighter weight sheet for the night.

Tuck and Chance were sweaty too, but not too wet, fortunately. I put Tuck in his stall without a sheet for about an hour or so until he dried off and then put his and Chance's light sheets on too.

I figure we managed to exercise three horses for the price of two this time.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tired

And I'm Not Sure Why

Woke up with a bad neck, heading for a headache. After I fed the Boys I headed for the chiroprator. Had a bunch of stuff out of alignment.

Then I headed for Sears, not to far away to check out the sales on vacuum cleaners. I had had really bum luck with them and decided I try a Dyson. Expensive, but perhaps worth it???

Got my "animal" cleaner on sale with some extra bonuses on the price--including 3.5% less sales tax and headed back home. Stopped at Target to check on vacuum cleaner belts for one of the not quite working ones at home and bought new wreath hanger for the front door at half price.

Came home, checked the Boys, and simply crashed. I was overcome with tiredness. Maybe getting the adjustment did it, as my body just wanted to collapse. I listened and took a nap all the way until feeding time.

I was a decent, but damp day, getting warmer for tomorrow. Maybe if I get a good night's sleep I'll have more energy. I suspect I am fighting off some kind of bug since I usually don't feel this exhausted so easily.

I did put Tucker in for the night again as the ground is thawing back into mud in the paddocks around the barn. He seems quite content. The new hay is yummy, but the bales are really small. Not such a good value. I may go over there during the week to get another "flavor" with some more weight to the bales.

Meantime....nothing of horse value to report.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Bummer on Bolt!!

Not So Good X-Rays

I just talked to Stacie. Apparently Bolt's x rays showed "Significant" changes in both hocks. This is a 7 yo warmblood broken to saddle with viturally no work behind him. The middle hock joint is fused, but there is arthritis in the lower joint and, unfortunately changes in the upper joint as well. Stacie will have the x-rays to get another vet to look at them, but now it's pretty much a no go on a purchase.

Bolt's name comes from the blaze on his face. Not quite sure, but it has a brown spot in it. He is a really cute, good sized chestnut with, apparently, a wonderful personality and good movement. He has been standing around in the field for about two years--I think--just being a horse. What a bummer. Stacie has been looking for months and he is the only horse so far she took a real liking to.

Back here on the home front, the ground was frozen most of the day, and I was knee sore and just plain tired. I finally went out in the late afternoon to find the footing pretty good in the arena. I cleaned the stalls, then picked out the arena and hitched up the drag to the tractor and gave the surface a good grooming after I fed the Boys their dinner.

Then when the arena was nice and smooth, I collected Tucker and lunged him for a nice session while Toby and Chance watched from the pasture. Tucker looked great. Nice and forward and good an sound. That is a plus since we've had so many little issues over the last months, I never quite know what to expect.

Chance bopped over to me when I went to open up the pasture gate again--the only way to keep him and Toby from "helping" me lunge Tuck. So I slipped the halter on him and gave him a lunging session as well. He was, as well, nice and forward, but he tried to quit a few times. It's an interesting contrast with my two Thoroughbreds who just go and go like the Energizer Bunny. Chance is always ready, willing, and able to just walk instead of trotting or cantering. And, unlike the other two, lunging him will take the edge off if he is excited or wound up. With them, all the lunging does is wind them up more.

Carrots all 'round ended the evening before the sun set. Now I'm back inside just kind of sitting around. It is supposed to stay moderately warm without much in the way of freezing temps for my whole school vacation, although there are showers in the forecast.

Now all I have to do is muster the energy to saddle up and ride. It would help if we had some occasional sunshine!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

And We're Out!!

Christmas Present for the Boys

Turnout at last. I could have ridden since the windy night had dried the area footing, but I decided against it. It just didn't seem fair to either the Boys or me after three days of confinement.

Christmas Eve/Morning must have gotten even warmer past midnight as all the ice disappeared in the arena. That meant Tucker had a turnout place with minimal mud. I put them out around 10 AM and just brought them in again now, at about 8 PM after I came home from Christmas dinner at my cousins' house. I'd fed them in the arena before I'd left at around 1:30 so the later feeding hour was not a problem. And they had some nice hay in the pasture.

Dinner was delicious for me and the company of family added much to the day. On the way home, I drove my Aunt around to look at some of the houses decorated with Christmas lights. Some people get very carried away with all kinds of lit up Santas, snowmen, deer, candy canes and just lights everywhere. We just toured around a bit taking in the sights. It was a fun drive home.

Now, I am just waiting to hear how my friend Stacie's new riding prospect makes out in his vet exam tomorrow. You all, I am sure, recall Stacie's horse, Lucky, who had the bone problem and finally ended up being unrideable. Over the last several weeks, Stacie finally found a young warmblood to buy and has since taken him on trial. He is at a trainer for now, and tomorrow will get his x-rays. Please send good vibes for Bolt so he can have a wonderful new home with Stacie. I think I am nearly as excited as she is about him.

Weather looks semi-promising for the week even though it's supposed to rain again on the weekend. Temperatures will stay moderate and mostly above freezing. The problem will be, as ever, monitoring the mud situation, but I can cope with nearly anything except......ICE!!!

Christmas Miracle

The Ice is Melting

After midnight here, so it is officially Christmas Day. I went over to my Aunt's house next door for our annual Christmas Eve--dinner, pressies, etc. and when we all started to head home we were greeted with NO ICE!

Within a matter of about five hours of darkness, the temperature had risen enough to melt nearly all the remaining snow and all but the thickest of the ice. It is close to 6oF right now.

The family gathering was lovely as always and I received quite a few really nice gifts--mostly clothes. My cousins also gave me a lighted horse picture, kind of a stained glass effect. I haven't quite decided but I may hang it over my gas fireplace. It really is very pretty.

When I got home I had another surprise. Somehow, Tucker had gotten himself out of his stall. I didn't notice at first when I went out to see how the footing was in the arena--still a ways to go, but as I headed back into the paddock, I heard the sweetest little nicker, and there he was, standing in the run in shed. He must have reached over his door and pulled the latch open. Since his stall was fairly clean, I suspect he'd been out for several hours.

He was perfectly happy to go back inside for the night even after I let Toby and Chance out to stroll around. Those two are not too likely to get into too much trouble with the footing.

I treated them all with carrots and apples both at dinner, and at late night feed. (Carrots with tops for dinner!)

If the temperature stays up for tomorrow, with the promised sunshine, we should be fine. It's windy now, which is good as well because it will dry things up a little.

Don't know if I will be able to ride anyone, but at least they will be out and about.

Thank goodness for Christmas miracles.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Still Horrible

But I Do Have Hay

I called my hay guy and got no answer. I suspect he closed for the holiday week and forget me--mostly because of the beastly weather and the ice. (The place next to him is like a skating rink.)

So, I called my former hay guy--the farmer who farms the lands around my pasture and drove over there to pick up some bales. I decided to use my car since the truck and trailer had been disconnected and I'm not sure my icy driveway would be good for controlling them anyhow. I headed out right after school got out. The road into the town I have to pass through was closed. I took the detour, and they were doing road construction there too, but it didn't slow me down much at all. I picked up the first eight bales and drove home, then headed out again as I really wanted to stock up a little with another eight.

Hit the same closed road, took the detour and STOP! This time the road crew was filling in the roadbed with macadam--hot paving material. OK, but...but...they were filling it in by hand, shovelful by shovel full instead of pouring it out of the truck. I was stalled there for at least five minutes and it didn't look as if anything was going to move for a fair bit of time, so I pulled out of the ever increasing line of cars and took an even longer route.

The town of Jamesburg is a small little one, with a mainstreet split by railroad tracks. The road I needed to take is a main through road. Why would they be doing simultaneous construction on the only two routes in is beyond me. The detour took me into town from the several miles further out, but I eventually got to the hay barn to get the rest of my load.

Then I dropped by the supermarket to get the Christmas carrots for the Boys. (carrots with greenery tops) When I got home I figured I'd check out the footing around the barn to see if there was any way the Boys could go out for a bit.

NO WAY! Even the snow, having been soaked by the rains, was frozen into treacherous ice. And anywhere the water was lying, including in most of the paths the horses use, was suitable only for ice skates. I have those little spiky things on my barn boots and even I was having trouble navigating the footing. I tried to explain this to Toby and Tucker who were watching my every move and I think they understood. Chance, on the other side of the barn couldn't see, but I was very clear in telling everyone how dangerous it was out there.

Now there is rain on the way and much higher temperatures, giving me hope this will all wash away. But I am not sure how much worse the morning will be. Wet ice not yet thawed can be even worse.

I have one of the new bales of hay already next to the feed room, so as long as I can make it out there the Boys will be well fed.

The heated water buckets have been a godsend. I am so glad I invested in them.

Till tomorrow, then. I hope the news will be better on the weather front.

PS: Just thought to add that Reggie, my black kitty who went for the NAET treatment is doing so much better. He has virtually stopped his compulsive groominh and is, in general, much quieter and content. He still has a ton of personality and likes lots of attention, but he seems so much more comfortable. Can't wait for the next visit to the vet to see how things are going and perhaps give him another acupuncture session.

This for all the people in the world who question natural therapies as a way of curing physical problems.

Monday, December 22, 2008

ICE!!!

Just As I (Feared) Predicted

I left all three Boys in for the day and will keep them in tonight and for at least part of tomorrow.

The footing is absolutely treacherous.

I had to put my little spiky things on my shoes to go out to feed this morning. Tonight I drove the car right up to the feed room door. I still have to go back out to pick out the stalls, so the little spiky things will be back on.

Looked over at the yard across the way where they operate the heavy machinery. It looked like a huge skating rink.

Fortunately the temperatures are supposed to rise over the next few days going up as high as 50F by Christmas Eve--rain though. Then things will moderate into the 40's. That should do the ice in nicely.

Today was frigid. So cold, it hurt to go outside for any length of time. The wind was ripping too. I had Chance's top door closed to shield him for the day.

The heated buckets worked a treat. Each horse had a little water left in his when I got home--I had worried about that. Tucker drank from his unheated bucket first and finished about half of that and nearly the full bucket of the heated water. I think Toby drank some unheated too, but I'm not sure about Chance. At least his bucket was nearly empty so I know he had water. I filled them up again when I fed dinner and I'll go back out in a bit to do the stalls. I can't let the Boys wander in the aisle as I often do because of the extension cords for the water heaters.

I can't let them outside either because of the ice. I am afraid they will just have to be patient until things start to thaw out.

When I was boarding out one year, we had ice for well over a week once. I have feared that every since I brought the Boys home. The only thing I could do is pen in the little run in adjacent to Chance's stall--where I kept Tucker confined before--and let each horse out in that for a little while every day. That way they get to walk a little bit and see the outside world.

So...water buckets a big "A+" and the ice an "F."

AND, somehow I have to get some hay. My hay guy did not come with any. I called tonight and they were not there. I will call tomorrow morning and if I get no answer, I'll go to my other hay place and pick up some bales to tide me over.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Weather Or Not

Not With This Weather

It was raining and sleeting when I got up, then just raining when I went to church. Cold, soggy not quite get rid of the snow kind of rain.

By the time I got home after a luncheon at church, it had stopped raining so I put Tucker out in the arena with Chance and Toby for the afternoon. All the snow in there had turned to slush. Not so bad, except that the temperatures are supposed to drop radically overnight, turning everything to ice.

I spent the later afternoon hooking up the heated water buckets in each stall--this time running extension cords through the barn aisle mostly because I didn't want to plug them in the outlet near Tuck's door in case he decided to play with the wires. It's a bit of a mess, but as long as I keep control over who's in the aisle, it will be fine.

The plan will be to keep all three Boys in tomorrow. It is supposed to be bitter cold with heavy winds. While I am sure they could all be fine outside, the icy footing is my big worry. It might be quite treacherous. No sense in taking any chances.

I switched them all over to winter blankets. Chance a lightweight thinsulate over his Rambo sheet and Tuck and Toby have winterweight blanket on. I'm not quite sure what blanket I have that fits Chance at the moment, so the double layer will do just fine to protect him from the freezing temps. If the wind is blowing from the west, I may have to close up his top door too.

I do wish I were going to be home. That way I could check on them during the day. I'll fill a heated bucket for each one and one regular bucket of water. Hopefully they will drink the regular bucket first and save the heated water for later in the day.

Every day is a new complication in the winter.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Yuck

Footing is a Mess
Snow, frozen, ice, all kind of chopped up. Snowballs in the feet, and generally ICK. With another storm on the way tonight/tomorrow morning.

So far, I have been moderately productive for the day. I managed to unhitch the trailer from the truck--I'd left it hitched because there was still more horse feed to unload. Everything was frozen together and I finally had to pour hot water on the ball area so I could disconnect.

Then, I made a grave blanket for my parents' grave--quite pretty with evergreens and holly from the back yard, some silk poinsettias and a fabric bow. I took that over the cemetery and placed it. Then on the way home, stopped at a store to get some lights for the back of the house and filled the truck's gas tank--just in case. (It has the 4 wheel drive.)

Headed home. Put up the garland and lights on the back porch. Came inside and started a pot of chicken soup. Then the phone rang and my good friend invited me to a late lunch.

Off I went and I just got back around 5 PM, in time to feed the Boys. Both Toby and Tucker had icy snow balls in their front feet-with the shoes. I have shod them with snow pads in the past, but haven't needed them for several years. Don't know what to do this year with the "Tucker-lose-a-shoe-a-thon" in full swing.

Tuck's in for the night. Now, though I have to watch his water bucket as it was frozen over when I put him in. I have a heated bucket if need be, but as long as I am home to check, I can keep him watered just fine when he's in. The outdoor tubs have heaters so they are no problem.

Winter swings in tomorrow with the coming storm. It might be snow, it might be a wintery mix, or it might be rain, or it might be all three. No matter what the combination, it adds up to "sloppy." Then it's supposed to be bitter cold on Monday, meaning all the wet stuff will freeze to ice. Looks like all three Boys may be in that day. If it's too icy I will not risk anyone going out.

Hasn't been a start of winter like this in several years. Guess I was getting spoiled.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Nothing to Report

Unless You Like Snow

Or sitting around watching it snow. Or working for an hour or so making sure the stalls are clean and tidy even though you have to push the wheelbarrow through the mud.

Suffice it to say the weather has been quite contrary. Right now I am at school and we are closing down early due to the weather.

More perhaps when I get home. I left Tucker in for the day to preserve his shoes. The snow is one thing, but snow over top of mud is another disaster for shoes altogether. Hoping I can turn him out for a bit in the arena later.

Later....

Doesn't look too promising. It was raining/sleeting when I came home. Really unpleasant out there. I have about an hour more before I go out to feed. I'll see how it is then. For now, just slop.

Bought a Fling-ama-string" (http://www.thecatconnection.com/page/TCC/PROD/7997/) for my kitties. It kept Reggie entertained for a good half hour or more already. He is really beating the thing up. I do hope it survives. One would hope it was tested with very determined cats. I did get a sale price, so it was under $20. Kind of expensive if it doesn't last through a cat attack.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Too Busy To Count

And Another Day Passes

I left Tucker in this morning since it was SO wet. I also had a half day of school since I had a doctor's appointment for my knee. School was busy, with a parent conference during my hall duty, so I had no time to do any kind of real planning, etc. during the morning.

Then when it came time for me to leave, no substitute showed up, even though I had all the paperwork in on Monday for my half day. I had to call the main office on the intercom and then just wait for some 20 minutes before I was able to leave.

That left me a bit pressed for time, but I did manage to get Tucker out into the arena with Chance to enjoy the little bit of sunshine peeking through the cloud cover.

Then I went to the doctor and ended up there for over 2 hours waiting for my treatment. I rushed back home to feed the Boys...only to find Tucker out in the muddy paddock. Part of the fence in the arena was knocked down. This time, though, Chance was stuck inside the arena which surprised me. That means Tucker had either stepped or jumped out, and Chance had not figured out the escape route. (Tuck's shoes were still on...whew!)

Then, I gathered my black kitty, Reggie, and some items for testing and headed to the vet so he could have NAET (Namburdripad's Allergy Elimination Techniques) allergy testing and acupuncture. He has been compulsively licking himself and actually has taken off his fur on his belly and hind legs. My former vet is now just doing alternative medicine, so I connected up with him for the testing.

It is a fascinating process. An assitant holds the cat and puts her arm up to hold against a downward push from the testing vet. He holds various suspected items--food, treats, vacuum cleaner debris--and then presses on the assistant's arm (she is the surrogate for the cat who would not hold up his paw). When her arm shows weakness, then they know the substance being tested is a source of allergic reaction. (I have done this with my horses and it is really remarkable.) Anyhow, Reggie showed allergy to one of the dry cat foods I feed, two types of canned fish, and the vacuum cleaner debris. I am suspicious that since I did vacuum in the kitchen and vacuumed up some of the dry food, that might have triggered the reaction.

Once the allergens are uncovered, the vet acupunctures the cat to rechannel his energy--or perhaps affect the allergy/antigen system. Then Reggie has to be kept from the allergens for 25 hours and not eat anything as well while his body re-programs itself.

Well, Reggie is now locked in the bathroom and none to happy about it. Since I only have one bath in the house, this is an interesting inconvenience, but at least I will be visiting him during the 25 hour confinement.

In about two weeks I will be taking him back to be retested and also to be tested for anything else I might suspect--including fur from each of the other cats in the house. My vet said one woman had nine cats and one cat was allergic to just one of the other cats. He said it took a while but they finally got the problem under control.

Alternative medicines fascinate me. When my knee doctor heard I was taking my cat to my former vet, he was very interested. He knows my vet, so that's a plus but he had forgotten that he did the NAET treatments. He started asking questions because his cat has some allergy problems and now he wants to make an appointment too. Apparently he lives near the vet hospital.

So, that took up the bulk of the day. Tomorrow it is supposed to be pretty nice weather. I will have to get up early to fix the fence so Tucker and the other Boys can go out in the arena/pasture again for the day. Rain is coming back on Friday, so I don't hold out too much hope to get a lot of riding in.

The almost winter jinx continues.

What A Difference A Day Makes

S'now Go!
Talk about contrast! The picture below, of the fence in the front area of the house was taken Tuesday afternoon around 4:30 or so. This, after short sleeve weather on Monday.
The lights are LED and pure white so they really look nice when it's dark.

Top all this off by the fact that the fire alarm went off at school around 2 PM or so and we all ended up standing outside for about 20 minutes. The kids were freezing and wet since most of them didn't have their coats in class.

I'd left the Boys out in the paddock/pasture for the day and I suspect they had used the new run in shed because they were not all snow covered when I got home. I fed them and locked Tucker in his stall only to find him outside again when I went out for late feed. Since Chance was hanging about by his door, I can only surmise he opened it to let his play pal out. I tied it shut for the rest of the night.

It is supposed to get warmer and rain tomorrow, so I suspect Tucker will just have to stay inside for the day.

More pics of the Christmast lights for your amusement and mine since I did not ride.

The house, lit up in the dark.

The barn lights at night with the star.

And my "artistic" shot of a bow on the fence with the LED lights and snow.

Monday, December 15, 2008

This Is Ridiculous

Nearly 70 F Today

This weather is crazy. It was over 66 F when I was driving home from school.

I debated and debated about how to work the horses and finally settled on long lining Tucker. He was a super boy and worked really well on the lines for about 20 minutes or so--hard work. But even then he was getting sweaty so I stopped the hard stuff and decided to walk him out.

Now, mind you, while Tuck had some in hand work down at Kenny Harlow's, I really haven't focused much on that kind of training. And I have never done any of the "natural horsemanship" stuff or all the "joining up," stuff, or clicker training or any such "stuff."

Now, mind you I will not criticize any kind of work with a horse that encourages owners to really "work" with their horses but.....

With Tucker still in his bridle and surcingle, but completely loose in the arena otherwise AND with me not touching him in any way, we spent about 10 minutes just doing some simple exercises.

I said, "Come, Tucker," and he did, following me wherever I went.

I said, "Whoa," or chirpped to him and he stopped.

I said, "Back," and he backed up.

I said "Over" and he moved his hind end whichever direction I wanted.

I used to play with Russell R. like that, call him my obedience trained horse. But I have not really done any of that with Tucker.

So, without all the "Bells and whistles" of the "games" or the "TTellington Touch" or whatever, my horse responds to the basic commands and follows me like a tracking device. ( I was going to say puppy, but didn't think it suited The Royal Tucker.)

I suspect with just a little work, I could get him to do even more, but for now, I think he's just fine.

I put up the barn decorations with the star and then strung the lights on the fences by the house. I still have a few little decor to add to the back door area to finish up, but I am now officially decorated for Christmas. (Did this in the dark, by the way. It is quite cloudy, but I think that moonlight was filtering through the overcase--or else I just have great night vision!)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Decoration Day


Tree in the house, in my bay window.

The House Is Nearly Done
All I have to do it put the lights on the fencing alongside the house. And, I still need to put the garland and star on the barn.

I took the time between church and church to put up most of the outside decorations.

That way, I avoided the tempation to try to ride the Boys.
Besides, after I went to buy cat food for the kitties, I really didn't have time.

The Vespers service was lovely and the party afterwards full of good food and good fellowship. The choir gang is a really great bunch of people so I had a really nice evening.

Tomorrow it's supposed to warm up. I plan on doing something with the Boys and perhaps getting the rest of the lights up.

Oh, yeah, and I have to teach all day at school too.

How many hours are there in a day?
Moon is lovely but really doesn't look much bigger than normal. I tried some pics but I'm not quite sure they do it justice.
.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cold to Spare

Not My Day to Ride

I never did warm up today. It was frozen in the AM, then I went to the chiropractor and physcial therapy.

I was still kind of sore when I got home, but my friend, Bill, and I had to go to the bank to find out about opening an account for the Eastern Villages Association--our community activist group. We spent longer than we both expected there, and also ended up doing some grocery shopping.

When we got back to my house, Bill helped me clean up some of the branches piled on my lawn ever since the day before I hurt my knee again.

Got some work done, at least. Not sure the footing in the arena ever really got thawed, but I was too chilled to work up much enthusiasm for working the Boys. It's supposed to be below freezing again tonight, then warm up a bit tomorrow, and finally get really warm on Monday.

Tomorrow is also the Vespers service at church, so I must follow my tradition of taking extra care with the horses. Well over ten years ago, I fell off PJ out on a hack and broke my wrist. By the time it was set at the hospital, and I managed to get to the Vespers, the service was nearly over. I had had two solos, and someone had to step in to cover for me. So now I am somewhat superstitious and don't take the Boys out for hacks on Vespers day. I may just lunge them if I have time. It gets kind of close as we have church in the morning and then, have to go back for the later service. Since we have a choir party too, I need to make whatever dish I am taking. It's an easy salad this year. *G* Essentially, I am bouncing in and out all day long and may not be able to coordinate a horse session.

The hunters are still out in force. Yesterday, I passed a guy on the road with a deer on his tailgate. It always upsets me to see that. Bill had a dreadful story about someone shooting--a nd not killing--a deer immediately across the road from his house. (The police had to intervene on that one.) While I understand the reasons for hunting, it still breaks my heart.

Anyhow, from the looks of the place where the hunters park, the woods would not have been very safe today. Apparently it was the last day of the regular firearm season. There are a few muzzleloader days left, and bow season goes on for a while yet. The bow hunters aren't so scary so things should get a bit better in the next few weeks.

Now if my metabolism and the weather would just communicate better...but it's hard to adjust with the temperatures changing so much every few days.

Hey, at least my neck and back are feeling better now.

And Tucker can stay out for the night because the ground/mud is frozen.

And I'll go out to see if I can get a good picture of the moon for Claire.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wet, Wet, Wet

Soggy Everywhere

Roads flooded, as did the paddock by the barn, so I had mud to spare.

Even though the rain stopped, I left Tucker in for the day. When I got home from school, I turned him out in the arena/pasture combo along with Toby and Chance. Now there is a lovely full moon and it is so bright out there, I hate to think of bringing him back in for the night when I go out for late feed.

But, tomorrow is another day. Hopefully, his shoes will still be on and I will be able to ride in the daylight.

It's chilled off again, but on Monday it's supposed to be up near 60F again. Rollercoaster weather. Guess I'll have no excuses about getting the outside Christmas decorations up.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rain and more Rain

Miserable Day

It was raining in the morning and just got worse as the day went on. I left Tucker in the barn for the day and I don't think he was too upset about it.

He'll have to stay in tomorrow morning too as the forecast calls for more rain until the afternoon. I hate to do it to him, but I just can't take the chance with those shoes. The mud is really bad. I'll turn him out in the arena when I get home from school so he can play a little.

Meanwhile the Solar system saga continues. The electrician was here today to install a new main panel and in the process, first didn't connect the outlet that my phone was using and then, for some reason kicked off my cable modem so I lost my Internet and my telephone in one shot.

Luckily, the electrician was still in the area, so he dropped by and found to disconnected outlet wires and fixed that. But the modem issue needed a call to the cable company.

Fortunately, I have a cell phone, so I called and set up an appointment for tomorrow evening. Then off I toddled to choir practice.

I came home and started getting rid of some of the extra phone wires I had near the computer, and in the process, unplugged (again) and replugged the modem and suddenly it came back to life!! It rebooted itself and I was back online and back with a telephone connection.

Now, what the heck was that all about? Maybe it just needed a nap? *G*

So I called the cable company to cancel the service call. My cancellation was handled by a lovely lady who asked me what I was going to do tomorrow now that I wasn't going to have to wait for the serviceman. When I told her I would be able to go (on time) to the school dance concert, I opened a whole "conversation" about her daughter, once in a color guard dance group with a marching band, and then the full story of her grandchildren. I mostly listened.

Don't know what it is about me, but somehow I seem to have a knack for making people want to talk to me, whether I actively solicit it or not. I thought, perhaps it was something sympathetic in my facial expressions, but since it happens on the phone too, it must be my voice.

Whatever the reason, I know a lot more about one Louisana family than I did some twenty minutes before. Note here: Louisana is a state in the USA, so I was not talking to someone in India about my Internet service. How refreshing.

So I am back online and back in communication with the world. And it's still raining.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Half a Ride, Half a Ride, Half a Ride Onward...

Taking No Chances

OK, so I had some time to ride today before the rains came. (Long story I won't tell now.)

The Kavalkade boots to keep Tucker from pulling his shoes had arrived as well--amazingly short shipping time from Germany--so I also wanted to try them out. They seemed to fit nicely, and Tucker went just fine in them.

I schooled in the arena for just under a half hour as it was getting rainier and rainier. He is nearly back to his usual more cooperative self on the canter departs, so that's good. Every time I work him the half passes are getting more solid and he is developing his walk pirouettes as well. It was a nice little session, but he sweated up a bit since it was so warm--nearly 60 F.

I then decided to reward Chance for his good work in the dark by taking him out on a hack in the woods again--in daylight.

Error!! In the dark, there is no hunter/woodsman out along the field with a chainsaw and a truck! Now, mind you, people, trucks, and machinery are rather normal around the world. In fact, people, trucks, and noisy machinery have been at my little farm more than once when Chance has been there. In fact, they are there now installing the solar system.

HOWEVER, this is not people, a truck, and machinery in the forest! There are not supposed to be people, etc. in the woods.

At least that's what Chance thinks. For the first time ever, he attempted to bolt off across the cornfield. Fortunately, he is rather easy to muscle back under control, but I wasn't too keen on making a big issue of it. The other horses were out in the pasture, within sight, whinnying to him, adding to the emotional upheaval, so I dismounted and led him the rest of the way home--no that far, actually. (So we'd really finished well over half the ride.) He was being quite silly about it all. At times like this, I really do realize how green he is and how inexperienced.

And I just keep reminding myself, "Things take time." Besides with all the hunting that's been going on out there during the last few weeks, perhaps he was right to be concerned after all. I'm not sure whether his guy was building a tree stand to shoot deer, or sawing up fallen trees for firewood, or, building who knows what. It was a deep mystery to me...and obviously to Chance.

Have to laugh as I remember one time when PJ an I enountered a man in a jeep changing his shoes out in the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area where we used to ride regularly. PJ ended up galloping sideways across the road and into a stand of pine trees before he stopped. Lucky me.

The good old days. (Revived.)

When I got home, I noticed the one boot had shifted off Tucker's foot. Darn. The other one was still perfect. When I investigated, I found out why. The heels of his left front shoe are too close together to allow the frog plate to fit in between them as it's supposed to. So, the boot was sitting on top of the shoe's heels rather than between them. Either Tucker's shoe needs to be opened or the boot plate needs to be narrowed. The other one was great and I really think if I can get them to fit, they will work well.

But again, another glitch in the plans. It's never quite as easy as I hope it will be.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

What A Ton Of Fun!!

Hacks in the Deep Dark Woods

It was a beautiful day! Cloudy, but warmish and really lovely.

Of course, I was stuck at school, suffering parents complaining about grades and teaching in a classroom with no real windows. The kids were great today, so that was good, but who wanted to be inside?

I rushed home--nearly hitting all green lights on the way and didn't get caught behind a truck!!--a miracle drive. And ran into the house to change clothes.

The solar guys are still on the barn roof, by the way, so I'm not sure what the status is of the system, but it's getting there....

I snatched Tucker from the paddock, threw on his tack and the bright pink quarter sheet and headed out on his Tucker Hack. Nifty little ride through the woods. He was a star! Just a little spooky about the discarded pumpkins along the now cut cornfield, but otherwise a good, solid, forward trail horse. I trotted him for a few circles in the arena when we got back and then hurried into the barn to untack him--leaving his sheet off as it was that warm--and put him in his stall.

Toby was easy to catch and I quickly tacked him up as the sun began to fade on the horizon. It was rather dim in the woods, but Toby and I know the trails well, so we had no trouble navigating until the last little bit trying to find the narrow trail back to the barn. Toby knew where it was, but I steered him wrong and with a sigh of resignation, he marched along until he got us back on track. Then back to the stable and in his stall.

By now, it was about 5 PM and essentially dark. I had already decided I could give Chance a little hack in the cornfield as it's open and we could see at least a little. But when we headed into the woods to go out there, he was so positively confident and happy, I decided to do the Tucker Hack on him as well. Horses must have really good night vision, because Chance never put a foot wrong out there. He was absolutely a perfect ride! It was so cool. I could see the basics, and since I'd already ridden the track twice, I knew where everything was, but Chance acted as if it were broad daylight!

What absolute fun! He is such a good solid little horse.

All of the Boys are good solid horses in their own unique ways. I am so happy to have ridden all three out tonight, and pleased as can be at how they all behaved. I know it should be no big deal, but it is.

I decided the other night that while I do love to train, I will not put any pressure on either myself or the Boys to become dressage stars. As I've said before, I didn't miss showing at all this season, and just don't have much ambition anymore.

Tonight, riding in the dark was too much fun to think about schooling! *G*

Monday, December 08, 2008

Monday, Monday

And the Winds Stopped as the Cold Blew In

OK, in the 20's F all day. That's -2 or -4 C now that I am home.

I did have a parent meeting after school, too so I was a little later than usual getting home.

Do I have to say I didn't ride? Thought about a hack in the woods, dressed in bright orange and equally bright pink but I think my nose was already frozen enough.

Supposed to warm up on the morrow. Then, it's supposed to REALLY warm up and rain. Then it's supposed to get colder again, but not as bad as today.

Well, it is nearly winter. What else can I expect? *sigh*

The Sunday Curse Continues

It Didn't Rain, But.....

This time it was windy. And I mean WINDY--the blow away, icy cold, knock down trees in the woods kind of windy. After hearing a horror story about a young woman killed by a tree branch while out fox hunting a number of years ago, my imagination waxes wild about riding out among the trees when it's as windy as it was.

Thus, hacks canceled. Riding canceled as well as it was just too darn cold.

I lunged everyone instead. The arena surface was good, not frozen, yet as the temperature was just starting to drop.

Tuck was a bit silly, esepcially on the woods side of his circles, with some squealing, bucks and shies, convincing me that not riding had been a good idea. But he never really bolted off, so our session was good otherwise.

Toby actually seemed to want to get caught, so I lunged him next and then gave him a nice little grooming afterwards, getting off the mud from where he'd rolled. On the lunge line he was practically perfect in every way.

I finished up with Chance. Interesting. He started off with a limp which I thought, at first was in his front, but then realized it was coming from his right hind. Since that's the leg I had my vet check out this summer when he could find absolutely nothing wrong, I kept going to see what would happen. After a little bit of canter on the left lead, the trot was fine. And then he looked sound on the right rein.

There is some kind of chronic problem there, but he seems to work out of it, making me think it might be a muscle issue. I will continue to monitor it and look into some supplements that might help. If you recall, he has "said" to the communicator that he had been kicked as a foal. This may be so. As I don't have any major plans for him in competition, if he does have physical limits, it's OK. But I certainly don't want to ride him if he hurts all the time. So far, it improves as he goes along, so perhaps if I get him fit it will not be an issue.

Once again, as I always say, "Only time will tell."

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Yippee!!

Tucker Has A Shoe!

The farrier came early this afternoon to put Tucker's shoe back on. Good thing too as Tuck was getting chafed by the boot. It is a good fit, but I guess that's one of the problems with wearing boots all the time.

At any rate, that finally allowed me to ride him a little. Aside from a little nasty moment on a canter depart from the walk, he was a good boy. I challenged him with a little zig zag at the trot half pass. He managed quite well. He still has to develop more cross over if he is ever to learn the upper level movement, but for a baby zig and then a zag he did admirably.

Since Toby decided to come into the barn when I was grooming Tucker after his ride, I captured him and gave him a short lunging session. With just a halter and lunge line, he is as close to perfect as a horse can be--nice and forward, stretchy and round. What a good boy.

With daylight fading, I decided to ride Chance a little bit. He was nicely forward as well, and offered a good round stretchy frame with very little work on my part. So, I decided to try a little canter. For the very first time, with minimal effort on my part, he took the right lead and cantered a full circle with his head down on the bit!! Then, I changed rein, asked for the left lead and again, he cantered with his head down!! This is a first! I think if the whole ride lasted more than 5 minutes, I'd be exaggerating, but with those results I halted, dismounted, and then gave him a huge cuddle to tell him how wonderful he was. Essentially, he is now working in a good little training level frame at all three gaits.

Considering how erratic my training schedule has been over the last year, I am quite pleased with Chance's progress and delighted that Tucker is really confirmed in all he's learned so far. I past years, I would have moved both horses along a lot faster but I honestly don't have the ambition any more. I'm not sure why, but I am very mellow about what I accomplish with the Boys. If I show, that's fine. If I don't that's fine too. I am just enjoying the process of teaching them new things and discovering how well they learn.

Here's hoping the weather holds so I can go out on hacks tomorrow.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Solar Panels Up

And The Saga Continues

When I went into the feed room, there was no room to move. They had installed a big panel on the wall right above where I put the feed. It may interfere with my putting extra bags on top of the feed bins, or it may not. I will just have to see.

The panel is connected to the panels on the barn roof. There were several big boxes in the room blocking my way and the feed container had been moved to the center area as well. It made for a big of a mess when I fed the Boys, but I guess it will all get straightened out eventually.

If the electrician showed up, I don't know about it. He will not have access to the main panel in the house as all is locked up. I wasn't going to give him liberty of going in the house unless I spoke to him first and made sure everything was OK. I will presume he has enough to do outside in the barn prepping for the final hookup.

The panels themselves are very unobtrusive. I do wonder about what happens when it snows. One part of the roof, over the run in area has a very shallow slope. Normally, snow would slide off and not collect there, but what if we have a big storm? I need to ask the company whether I will need to clean off th panels. That could be an overwhelming job to take on.

Meantime, in case you haven't figured it out, I did not ride. Tucker is doing very well with his protective boot, so he is out during the day, enjoying what is proving to be nice, chilly, but sunny weather so far. It did rain a little last night, but nothing to really make it muddy or miserable.

By the weekend, the arena should be really nice for some riding. I should drag it as well to level and smooth things off. No word from my farrier about coming to reset the shoe. Typical, though as he is not the best about calling back. Sometimes he just shows up. Could be a bit tricky if he comes and the solar guys are there too.

I have order confirmation on the German boots, but I don't expect them to come for a while. Still, the International shipping fee was very reasonable, so I don't mind too much. I am kind of excited about trying them, though. It really would solve the problem if they work.

More later.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Will I Ever Get Going Again?

*Sigh*


OK, the solar panel guys were in full swing when I got home yesterday, so I didn't dare bring the Boys into the barn. I ended up feeding them in the riding arena, hanging out to supervise so Tucker didn't eat Chance's dinner.


The installers hung out until dark, and the Boys were stuck in the arena/pasture area. That, and the general mayhem of the installing, left me not too keen on trying to ride somebody. And, even if I did, I'd have to chase the non-ridden horses out into the pasture where they'd be stuck until I was done. Just too darn much work for a schoolday evening.


Tucker is wearing a Simple boot which really seems to fit his bare foot pretty well and, thank goodness, stays on. However, as I said yesterday, I really can't ride him in it as he is unbalanced and "limps" at the trot on the corners. He seems fine frolicking around himself without me, so that's a plus.

I found some really cool boots from Germany designed to keep a horse from pulling his shoe. I have ordered a pair for Tucker. My farrier has used the Hoof Armor with mixed success and is willing to try, but first I will go with the boots and shoes.

When I first got Tucker, he was a barefoot baby. I kept shoes off him and he was OK, but then had some stone bruises. When I did shoe him, front only, he moved much better and felt far more comfortable to ride. Then we had the issue with the hoof crack which seems to have grown out. But the lost shoes are a chronic problem. (His conformation and way of going). While I suspect, over time, he could be OK barefoot, it was not too successful when he actually was, so I am not too confident about it. Still, my farrier would be ready to see how it could go.

The Kavalkade boots are here: http://www.kavalkade.de/kavalkade/ballenschutze.html
Very interesting concept and it does look as if they would do the job. My farrier worries a little that they might chafe if used extensively for turnout. However, I was figuring to use them when the ground is bad, and then keep Tuck in the arena and pasture--as he is today--during the day and put him in the stall--bootless--for the night, at least when the ground is wet and we have mud. So the boots would come off every night.

Don't know if the solar panel guys will be done today, but the electrician is supposed to meet me to look things over. I also have a parent conference right after school.

Hate this time of year when the sun is down before 5 PM. It is not too inspiring to work outside.

Or am I just getting older??

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Confusion Abounds

Solar Power Is On The Way

Not that I exactly have the money for it at this point, but the solar energy company plans to start installing my energy system this week. In the long run it will be a good thing, but right now, it is a bit painful financially.

So somehow I have to coordinate these guys coming and going to get the work done. And poor Tucker is stuck in the barn where the guys will be climbing all over the roof to install the panels.

I have him out in the arena right now with a Simple Boot on his unshod hoof. If it's still on when I go out for late feed, perhaps he can be out in it during the day until he has another shoe. I hiked around this morning and didn't find the lost shoe, so as of now--will look again tomorrow morning--he needs a replacement.

I also found this stuff on the Internet: http://www.hoofarmor.com/ I have emailed Scott, my farrier, to see if he knows anything about this stuff. If Tucker could go barefoot, it would solve the problems, but I cannot take the time or risk it would be to transition him. Supposedly this stuff solves the bulk of that problem. And, it might be a permanent alternative to shoeing if it really does work as described. I told Scott if he wants to experiment, I am willing to let Tuck be the subject, as long as we can get shoes on him ASAP should the product prove a failure.

Otherwise, I will be running into this lost shoe scenario regularly. It's not good for me and definitely not good for Tuck. Horses need to get out, move around, and exercise, not be kept in stalls like hot house flowers, dependent on the time a human being can handle or work them to provide exercise.

I know there are plenty of horses that spend all their time in a stable but I personally don't think that's at all good for them.

So, again, we shall see what will be.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Can I Rewrite An Old Blog Entry?

Tucker's Lost a Shoe (Where have you heard that before?)

No comment beyond the fact that it is muddy. It's the OTHER shoe, the one my farrier's assistant did not reset. It was on this morning, gone tonight.

He is now locked in again. There is no other option as I cannot afford to have him bruise his foot.

As I needed another chiropractic adjustment for my lower back issue tonight, I was home after dark so I could not do a shoe search. That will have to wait until morning. Guess I will be getting up early.

I was not planning on riding because of the chiro, so that was not messed up, at least.

What I need to find is some kind of protective boots that fit him well enough that he can work if he loses a shoe. The ones I have do not fit over a shoed foot, so when I get one on the bare foot he is uneven. Maybe I should get one size up. Then he could wear two and at least be sound enough to trot a little.

As far as the mud management goes, I am having fence problems with rails going down around the arena fence. Until I get that sorted, it is not a successful way of turning Tuck out only on the sand. I'm pretty sure Chance is the prime culprit in the fence demolition service.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bah, Humbug!

Why Can't The Weather Take a Holiday?

Woke up, as planned, just before 7 AM. All I heard was rain beating down on the skylight in the sunroom.

And it was not a pretty rain. I had sleet in it on a generally nasty Sunday morning.

So much for hacking in the woods. And so much for riding altogether. I rolled over and caught another hour or so of sleep.

After church it was still raining, so I went out to lunch with my choir friends. Then I headed to the tack/feed store to pick up some stuff I needed and to use at least one of the 25% off coupons offered for the Thanksgiving weekend.

Still raining and miserable when I got home. The Boys were alternating between standing by the hedgerow and, more wisely, hanging out under one of the three run-in options. They did have waterproof sheets on, so I guess they weren't too bothered by the wet.

I never do quite understand why horses will stay outside when they have available shelter, but so be it.

It is getting dark by 5 PM every day now, so there isn't much time to hack out after school during the week. The plus side is that the hunters who go out then are usually the more experienced guys so it's a little safer. If I do manage to get a horse out a day during the week, we will all be dressed in fluorescent colors, so none of us will look like deer.

For now, though, all plans were just a washout.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Fantasty Horse Show

Three Blue (First Place) Rosettes

OK, first. I misspoke yesterday about travers. I should have written renvers. Slightly different exercises. Thanks for catching me on that one, Caroline.

On to the fantasy horse show. Held in my very own arena, the competition was stiff. Each of the Boys had to ride against some of the top show hunters in the nation.

Toby was up first in the open class. We first had to work at the basic gaits, with the judge super critical of way of going and manners at the walk, trot and canter, both ways of the arena. Toby was hoof perfect. Then it was 10 jumps over in imposing obstacle (1'4" or so) with the judging based on style and obedience. Once again, Toby was faultless and won the first place ribbon going away.

Next was the novice class. Tucker entered that one. To be totally honest about his performance, he got away with a little naughtiness on the first canter depart on the left lead, but the judge was looking the other way, so she never noticed. Then we went to the fence work, with the jump set at an awesome 1'4" as well. Tuck was marvelous. (To be serious for a moment here--he was really delightfully ratable at the canter, and when I had the eye for the fence I was able to easily adjust his stride for the take off. He really did feel great, even though it was a tiny little jump.) Once again, the judge was awestruck by his style and he too won the class.

Last to go was Chance, in the totally green class. The judge did allow for a few little errors here and there, especially in the canter departs, but Chance made up for that in sheer presence. Then we headed for the crossrail, set at about 9 inches. He was quiet and obedient at the trot. Then I asked for canter and headed towards the jump. Spot on! Letter perfect. (Again, seriously, this is the first time I have ever attempted to jump him under saddle, especially at the canter. Neato!!) There was no doubt about it. Once the last of ten fences was behind us, the judge had no option but to pin him on top.

So, since first place in the USA is a blue ribbon, each Boy now has an invisible blue rosette hanging from his stall door. Hope they don't chew them up the way Tucker did with the last real ribbon I left within his reach. *G*

Every once in a while I entertain myself with one of these imaginary horse shows.

I do have to admit the jumping, as small as it was, was kind of fun. By the time I'd approached the second fence on Tucker I was already getting the old "feel" for it back again. However, considering how my knees feel, I doubt if I could ever do much of it. Still, it's fun to play.

Tomorrow, I am considering getting up early enough that I can take all three Boys out for short hacks before church. I am quite sure the ATV/mini-bike riders will be out in full force in the afternoon. Gas prices are low and it is the holiday weekend. But teenagers just won't get up early on a Sunday morning.

That's the plan. Will I follow through? Let's just wait and see.

Friday, November 28, 2008

All Three

In the Arena Again

No sense in trying to go out on a hack today or tomorrow as the hunters are out and about. The guys are pretty good around here, but I really hate being out there on my horse when a gun goes off close by. It's not so much that we'd be shot--me in my very bright neon orange jacket and the Boy in his neon pink exercise rug--but the spook and possible run off from the gunshot is no fun. Then again, there may be some idiot out there who thinks deer dress in neon!

This is one of the drawbacks of living in a State Park/wildlife management area.

So, into the arena I went.

First I rode Toby. I just decided after a short warmup that we'd do every exercise he knows how to do so here's the list: walk, extended walk, walk on a long rein, walk pirouettes, trot, extended trot, shoulder-in, haunches in (could have done travers too), leg yield, half pass, zig-zag half pass, (forgot to try a little piaffey stuff--whoops), canter, extended canter, canter half pass, canter half-pass zig zags, canter pirouette, single flying changes, three stride tempis, two stride tempis, halt from all three gaits, and reinback. I think that's it. Mind you, we did most of these on a fairly long rein as well. No reason to demand collection when Tobester can do it all with the simplest of aids. *G*

Then I rode Tucker. I worked a little bit on the walk pirouettes as he kept sticking his nose out going to the left. Leave out the zig zags, the flying changes, and canter pirouettes and you have his program. Instead I did simple changes through the walk. He too was a good boy and worked on a more collected, vertical frame.

Then came Chance. Leave out almost everything except basic walk, trot canter, and you have his ride. But we did start some elementary leg yield and he started to get the idead. Far better going to the left, but he did give me some trot on both reins. He is relaxing more and more at the canter, offering a lower head carriage after the depart. There's still a lot of work to to, but I am pleased.

Everyone had a nice apple and carrot after work.

I guess I rode for a grand total of an hour, though I took longer to saddle up and groom. But 20 minutes or so per horse is not a bad effort after such a long layoff. Toby and Tucker could acutally stay pretty fit if I did that each day as they are Thoroughbreds--easy to leg up. And when I work, it's pretty intense with basically no walk breaks. Not sure what Chance needs, but I'm sure if I were going to compete him, he'd need more work to get fit.

As long as they are happy, healthy, and content, I'm just fine with an easy schedule.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

Short Rides on an Exciting Day

Somehow, I messed up my back again after my chiropractic adjustment, but I soldiered on anyhow, figuring a ride or two would either make me feel worse, or better. Like that logic?

As I said in the post below--my "tagged" post--the horses were riled up this morning. The hunters were out in full force in the back woods/fields and guns were going off on all horizons. Since it was Thanksgiving morning, a lot of hunters had the day off from work so they decided to make the best of it.

I actually had to lock the Boys in the barn to get them settled enough to eat this morning.

I went out late morning to see how riding felt. Chance very happily headed over as soon as he saw me at the gate, so I brought him in first, figuring he'd be the quietest.

Wrong.

He was "bouncy" in the barn and about ten feet tall when I tried to bridle him. I took him out on the lunge line first, thinking I might as well work some of his energy off before I took any risks. 'Round and round he went, alternately trotting and cantering , spooking at the gate out to the woods, and just being an excited young horse. It took quite a while to settle him down to the point that I felt he'd be a reasonable ride.

I mounted up with his head away up in the air, as if he was ready to simply take wings. But, bless his heart, a little work with the reins and leg and soon his head was down in a nice little frame and we trotted off. He still tended to "bulge" at the woods gate--have to think perhaps a hunter had dropped by earlier in the AM--but all in all, he gave me some really nice trot work. I didn't ask for any canter, but that's just fine.

Once I'd finished riding him, I went out and fetched Tucker. For the first time in memory, I can honestly say, Tucker felt like a good solid, mature horse both when I led him in, and when I took him out to the arena. I didn't even bother lunging him, but hopped right on. Almost at once, he offered a nice round frame and a good trot. Again, like Chance, he was a little uncertain by the gate to the woods, but the spookiness was minor and he worked out of it quickly.

The only low point was the first two efforts at canter, one on each lead. He laid his ears back and threatened to buck. I literally growled and snarled at him, and he reacted by giving me a fair depart the first time, and then pretty good ones for the rest of the ride.

Interesting. PJ used to react best to verbal snarls from me whenever he was naughty, so perhaps it is a good tool to use with Tucker too. At any rate, it worked today. No need to kick or really get aggressive with my aids when a snarl works just as well.

I did not ride either horse for long, but my knee felt just fine. My back actually felt better when I rode too, but it acted up again later so my hope that the riding might throw it back into alignment failed.

I took a nice hot bath, dressed for dinner, and after feeding the Boys an early dinner, headed off to my cousin's house for a delicious turkey dinner.

Hope your Thanksgiving Day was as good as mine, even if you don't celebrate our US National holiday. If you had even only one thing to be thankful for today, I'm sure it was.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Have Been Tagged

Twice
But since I am not all that interesting, I am only posting one tag reply.

Here's the deal as I understand it. When you are tagged by another blogger, you need to post a suitable reply and then tag six other bloggers. In this case the reply must write six things about himself/herself other people probably don't know.

Nothing too exciting here, but here you go:

Six things about me:
I have written two 1200 page unpublished fantasy novels and am partway through the third part of what I’d like to be a four novel series. Selling them to a publisher is the hard part. I am not a good salesman and although I have sent it out a few times with no luck, I haven’t submitted it in the last few years. My bad.

My dream would be to own and operate a horse/animal rescue. I’d have a huge farm with workers to do most the labor I cannot do myself, and give horses a place to live out their lives in comfort and contentment.

I don’t like eating fish. Most of the time, if the fish doesn’t have that “fishy” flavor, I don’t mind the taste. But all I have to do is find one bone in my mouth and I’m done. I once attended a friend’s wedding and at the prenuptial dinner, the entrĂ©e was salmon. No one ever asked what we’d like to eat. I didn’t touch mine and was starving for the rest of the night.

It took me forever to learn how to post the trot when I first started riding. I bounced for months. Maybe that’s why I don’t find it hard to ride the sitting trot now.

When I started teaching, I had some really difficult classes. Sometimes, I’d just go into the stall with my dear horse, Russell R., lean against him, and cry. He always listened and made me feel better. I’ve heard about medicine horses and I think he was my psychological medicine horse. I’d also swear that PJ was as capable. I had a bad migraine one day when I went to see him. I leaned my head against his neck, and my headache disappeared. It wasn’t a complete cure, but for those few minutes I was gone.

I really resent all the Hollywood concepts of the lonely, single woman with cats. I am a single woman with cats. But I am perfectly happy as I am. Why is that so wrong?

I am actually a very shy person. However, I am a pretty good actor, and teaching has helped me a lot. Whenever I go into a social situation where I might be worried about what to say, I just take on my teacher persona, and I am just fine. Besides, I’ve learned the best way to interact with other people is simply to ask them questions about themselves.

So, I will tag:

Keith, Bazz's Dad

Katie, Keith's Daughter

Muriel

Minky

and???????

Enough for now. Horse post later, I hope.

The Boys had to be locked in for breakfast. The hunters are shooting all over the place and they just wanted to be out there to see what was going on. Apparently, there were some hunters in the cornfield behind the pasture, so that was particularly exciting.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rain, Rain, Gone Away....

...Left a Puddle in the Way

Actually, it didn't stop raining until early afternoon. Everything is pretty wet.

And I had a teacher's meeting after school, so I got home late.

And I need to go to the chiropractor to get adjusted before my "out of alignment" neck gives me a headache.

And my knee aches.

And I think I'll wait another day to ride.

The Boys look fine, but I think Tucker has upped the bullying against Chance again. The kid has been hanging out more by himself and when I pulled into the driveway, Tucker chased him off.

To his credit, Chance does not seem too upset by the whole thing. He has a pretty good self-image. Tucker, though, has delusions of grandeur, thinking he should be top horse. But that position falls to Toby who is a definite alpha. He is not mean, just powerful authority figure.

Years ago, when Toby was boarded out, my friend Stacie bought a horse from the yo. Turned out he was a rig, but at the time we didn't know that. So he was turned out with the geldings.
He gathered his herd and Toby gathered a rival herd. They grazed on opposite sides of the very large field. But every now and then one or the other would invade and trouble would start.

My PJ was part of Toby's herd and I didn't realize that turning him out without Toby was dangerous until one day he got beat up. I found out later that Stacie's horse had attacked him before, and Toby had always come to his defense. PJ was a big strong boy with a naturally cresty neck which, I think, always made other horses see him as a stallion. He was actually very gentle, though.

The barn manager told me that one day, he had seen Stacie's horse attack PJ and actually gotten him down. He had thrown rocks to break it up. He said too that Toby was really the "king" out there because he was the smarter fighter. Stacie's horse would rear up to strike and Toby would dive in underneath and nail him every time.

Another time, Stacie's horse got loose from the shoer and challenged Toby over the fence of the pasture. The shoer kept saying, "They're both stallions, they have to be. You should have seen how they were acting. It was scary."

Toby is definitely fully gelded, but he kept his dominant personality around the other horses, that's for sure. Nobody messes with him.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oooops!

Nearly Forgot I Had A Meeting

Tonight. And I stayed a bit late at school doing some computer things.

When I did get home it was nearly dark. I fed the Boys and figured I go out after I ate supper to do some kind of work. Then, I remembered my meeting.

We have--our local environmental/preservation group, the EVA--a grant to do a project for the State Park behind my house. We really need to get something going as far as some good solid plans. Some of the work may be able to be done in the winter, but it really is a spring/summer project, so we have time, but there is a lot of planning to do first.

Probably just as well about not riding. My knee is a bit sore after the day at school.

However, now Chance's good sheet is ripped. It is supposed to rain/shower tomorrow as well. I am not sure I have another one that will fit him to keep him dry. That means I need to repair this one tonight. In the meantime, I will look to see what else he can wear just in case the mending fails. There is a strip of sheet torn from his wither all the way to his rump.

These are, by the way, good, strong nylon "ripstop" sheets with waterproof liners. "Ripstop: the rip stops here...but starts over there."

I am going to have to start taking the sheet replacement money out of the carrot fund.

Do you think that will discourage the destruction?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Everyone Looks Sound

Sounder, Than I Am, For Sure

I lunged each Boy for about five minutes just to see how he looked.

Tucker does not look footsore in front, so the thrush is not bothering him. His hind end looked just fine too, so whateve was going on with that leg seems to have resolved itself.

I lunged Chance next. He always warms up just a little short on that one hind leg, but after he gets going, he looks fine too. He got very silly during his session as Toby and Tucker were starting to romp around in the paddock next to the arena. I must say, Chance's galloping on canter looks just fine too. *G*

It took a bit of bribery to catch Toby but once I did he trotted out strongly. Then Tucker wandered into the arena, and when I went to chase him, Toby bolted off, stepped on an snapped the lunge line--it's pretty old-- and just keep trotting and trotting around me in a circle as if he were still on the line. I had trouble stopping him so I could reattach the line. He was on total autopilot. But he surely did look good at liberty.

I'd cleaned all the stalls pretty thoroughly using the tractor, so at that point, I was thinking maybe I'd done enough with my knee for the day. Instead, I poo picked the arena, planning on perhaps dragging it after I was done as it had pretty much thawed. But, trying hard to listen to my body for a change, I decided against it, fed the Boys and came back into the house to settle in for the rest of the night.

The Family Channel, TV, is showing Christmas movies all weekend, anticipating the upcoming holiday season which officially starts right after Thanksgiving on Thursday. I figure I'll just hang out and watch a few.

I'll be curious as to how my knee feels in a few hours--or in the morning.

If it's OK and the weather is OK and the time is OK, I hope to ride at least one horse tomorrow.

OK???

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Not the Day to Try

Cold and Windy Again

I'm not even sure the arena thawed out enough to ride today. My water hose was frozen so I had to carry buckets to the water trough.

The Boys probably would have been fine, but it was windy and cold enough that I'd rather not try it. My knee feels pretty good at the moment, and I'd like to keep it that way.

I did take the trailer to pick up 17 bags of horse feed and my friends sons came over to unload it for me. There are still a number of bags in the trailer, but that's fine as they will stay dry in there until I need them. And at that point, I should be able to unload them myself or simply use the trailer as my feed room.

I also need to mow the leaves on the lawn to chop them up and cart off my fallen and trimmed branches, but that too can wait. Thanksgiving is this week, so I will have a half day of school on Wednesday and then Thursday and Friday off. If the weather cooperates, I can get at least a little done using the tractor.

The Boys were so cute when the grain was being unloaded. Tucker, of course, was head snoopervisor and completely distracted the younger son by hanging his head over the gate just looking to be petted. What a ham!

I have a feeling the sight of the feed bags was what was really intriguing him, but he at least acted affectionate. Could be he'd missing the attention from me too as I haven't been hanging out there too much for the last two weeks.

The guy at the feed store said he heard we are in for a cold, snowy winter. Not my favorite kind of weather.

But, as they say, we'll just have to wait and see.

We Shall See

Windy And Chilly Today, But Tomorrow???

If it is more moderate weather tomorrow (today now as it's after midnight) I am going to try a little riding. My knees feels pretty good but I do promise I will be careful.

At the very least, though, I want to lunge everyone for a couple minutes just to see how sound they all are. I haven't seen Tucker trotting much and the ground has been frozen so he's been walking cautiously where the gound is uneven. Toby looks fine, but with the possible abscess the shoer found, I need to give him a good look over. And, Chance is shoeless but I want to make sure the hard ground is not bothering him either.

That being said, I'll saddle up somebody and toddle around the arena a bit. I don't dare go out into the woods because one of the hunting seasons is in full swing and if it's nice the weekend hunters will be out. I'm not keen on being out there with guns and bows at the ready.

My friends sons will be over in the early afternoon to unload the grain I'll pick up in the morning. No matter how much better my knee may be, I will not take the chance of trying to lift a 50 pound bag to carry into the feed room. Bill's sons are the sweetest young men I've met in a long time. They have done a lot of little chores for me along the way and every time they have been wonderful. What I really like is how the two of them work together and figure out how to solve any problems they run into. Great kids. (although I should actually be calling them men. The older boy is in college--university--and the younger is probably nearing 18 by now.)

School is fortunately back to as normal as it can be. The testing is over so I have my classroom back. Some disruptions with students today, though. It's not a full moon, so I have no idea what's going on.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Just a Shot

Of Cortisone in My Knee

The cultures are not back. The doctor drew a little more fluid from my knee and gave me a cortisone injection. Hopefully that will make it feel better until we can decide what other treatment to do.

The Boys had a nice day out with plenty of entertainment. The farmer was harvesting the corn in the fields around the pasture, a surefire spectator sport.

But spectating was not all the little gang was up to. Apparenly there was some roughhousing going on. Suffice it to say, another turnout sheet has bitten the dust.

This time it was Tucker with his bright orange sheet practically hanging down to his knees, split lengthwise along the wither area. I never quite seem to be in the right place at the right time to see one of these destructions, so I have no idea....or do I???....of who might have done it. Could it be the secret Chance the ripper?

Good thing I had another sheet to put on. It is rather chilly out there.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tomorrow to the Doctor

I Think I Kneed It Too

Going to my knee doctor again tomorrow. It is better, but not wonderful.

I didn't have to walk as much today as I was actually in my room all day. However, my students were in there along with the kids taking the test, so it was pretty disrupted. I really could not conduct a normal class so the kids had to read and work on their own instead of discussing the material.

They were good, though, so it all worked out.

The counselor who was originally supposed to be conducting the testing was in charge today and it was much better organized. She was frustrated by the whole series of events as well, but quite pleased at how well my students coped with all the mess.

Tomorrow? Who knows? I have good lessons for each class which a substitute teacher can easily handle. The students know they are responsible for the work. All could go smoothly--or fall apart as it usually does when I am not there.

One thing I do know. Very few of the classes that came into the rooms to be tested behave as well as my kids do. And very few of the other teachers seem to think a class should behave as I expect my classes to. My next door neighbor was really upset after school today as she had seen some of the testing going on. Some of her materials had been damaged, used, abused during the course of the day and her room was a mess. I'd straightened up my room at least twice and her room once during the day. Finally, after one class was done testing and my room was again in disarray, I said something and the kids/teacher managed to at least set my desks back in order.

Whenever I use someone else's classroom, I try to leave it neater than when I came in. Guess I am just too old fashioned. *sigh*

The Boys all were fine and still shod when I got home. I was a wee bit late as I'd stopped at the grocery store to get some soup ingredients and some oatmeal for breakfast. Toby was quite eager for his dinner and I had to remind him of his manners so he didn't knock me out of the way to get his grain. He is very easy to correct, so it was not a big issue.

Tucker likes to crowd me too, so I shook my finger at him and he tried hard to be polite. I think they are finding it hard to be patient as I gingerly limp my way down the aisle. The step up and down into the feed room takes a little extra effort too, all slowing me down.

I keep telling them I'm lame, but they don't seem overly impressed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wrench

Am I Right, Or What?

Monkey wrench in the works for tomorrow.

The replacement classroom will not be available as the Superintendent of Schools needs to use it for a meeting. Thus, I have no place to take my classes.

The Principal, at least, does not want me hiking all over the building trying to find a place to roost. He proposes I use the classroom next door to mine even though it too is needed for testing. I am not at all sure how that's going to work out.

Frankly, I was just about ready to simply take the day off and let someone else worry about it. Trouble is, I have started some good lessons with each of my classes--in the replacement room-- and am not too keen on having them all disrupted. As it is, I have a knee doctor's appointment on Thursday, but I have good follow up materials all prepared--if the substitute teachers should happen to assign them. (Been having some problems with that too despite having left 4 copies of lesson plans the last time I went to the doctor.)

Had the replacement room all set up for tomorrow when I found out I couldn't be there. So I had to undo all the set up. Bummer again.

And, my kids will have no idea where to go for class either, so that just adds to the confusion and ruination of effective teaching.

The good news is that Tucker's shoes were on when I came home. Still have to see what's up when I go out for late feed. I'll leave him in overnight again just to be safe and to let his thrush dry up.

The bad news is I had water all over the hardwood floor in my bedroom. I think I have a leaking radiator, but I can't quite see where. I spent a good hour sopping and drying and moving things about to get all the dampness up. But part of the floor is pretty messed up. It might be restorable, or it might need replacing. That, though is not a high priority with me. If I stay here forever, it doesn't matter. If I decide, at some point, to sell and move out, it does. So there. I have no plans to move. There may be a leak in another room too, but if so, it's not as bad.

More bummer, eh? Not having the best of autumns.

When I went to take out the trash and recyclables for pickup tomorrow, the Boys were all in the paddock by the house, just kind of hanging out. I should have stuffed their cute faces with carrots, but I was preoccupied with the trash and my knee. I will make up for it at late night snack and treat them then.

They are always ready to "snoopervise" any kind of chores I am doing. Guess I serve as entertainment. Pretty sad.

Maybe I should sign them up for cable TV.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pain in the Back

And Another Frustrating Day At School

OK, took my crutches in so my knee could get a rest. Found a subsituting slip taped to my mailbox. Again, I was going to have to hike down two hallways to cover a second period class.

Meanwhile, my classes--all but two--were doing computerized testing in my classroom. This will go on all week and I will have to conduct class in another room. So, I did manage to get some of my grade reports (due Friday) completed on my classroom computer while my students tested.

Then I limped and crutched my way to the subbing room only to find the Principal already there with another teacher. He figured someone else could take the class so I wouldn't have to drag myself down there, but he failed to tell me. Once I was there, there was no point in limping back, so I stayed to cover. I knew all the kids anyhow so that part was fine.

But, when I tried to use the teacher's computer in that room to keep working on my grades--no go. The regular teacher had somehow locked down the power supply so no one else could use the station. All her files are padlocked too, and the whole set up of the room is like a fortress. Downright strange. The computer systems all belong to the school, not to the teachers, but some teachers seem to think they have the right to keep everyone else off. My computer is open to anyone who has a school password, and my subs are welcome to use it any time. I have my own password for my network drive and files, so no one can really access my stuff without it, so what's the problem?? Yeesh.

So another class period went by with my not being able to do any of the work I needed to finish.

Next period, my computer class was moved to the replacement room where there are laptop computers on a cart. But they were locked up and we couldn't use them either. We ended up just kind of hanging out for the period talking about college applications and such since we couldn't do any kind of regular assignments.

Spent the next period in my room, testing, then left for another class in the replacement room. I had a worksheet all ready on the story the kids were supposed to read last week when I was out at the doctor's. I'd left four (4, count'em, 4!!!) copies of lesson plans on my desk with all the assignments my students needed for the day. The afternoon subs never gave the kids the assignments, and I didn't see one copy of the plans left anywhere. So, that class could not do today's work, and I had no copies of the story for them to read in the replacement room. Instead, I invented an assignment. *sigh*

Back to my regular room for more testing and then, finally my preparation period. I stayed at my computer working on grades, but there were two other teachers there with their classes for testing and, as I turned out, I was the only one who understood how the testing program worked, so I ended up spending a good part of the class period helping them get kids signed on, etc. (the Counselor whose job it was did not come in until well into the class period. And she was subbing for the Counselor who was supposed to do the job, so she didn't even know all the passwords and test program tricks.) Good thing I ran this testing about 4-5 years ago and still had some of my notes as to how to access features.

My final class of the day was testing, and by then I just about had managed to get all my grades squared away. I still have some rechecking to do, but I was essentially caught up. Good thing as I will not be in my room for the rest of the week....no, wait, one period tomorrow for my other class to be tested.

In case you didn't know, this is what teachers do doing the day, along with teaching, of course. I honestly did not have more than my 30 minute lunch and perhaps another 15 minutes to myself all day in order to get my work done.

After school I went to the chiropractor as my back was really bad--a consequence of all the limping about.

Then, when I got home, I saw Tucker's stall door open and I almost had a panic attack.

Luckily, my shoer's assistant had come by in the afternoon and fixed Tucker's shoe. Then, he turned him out. I am going to put him in for the night and let him out in the sand paddock tomorrow. He won't be all that happy, but he will be out in the best footing I have. Don't know what else to do at this point except just keep my eye on his shoes.

Looking forward to tomorrow's adventure at school. I set up all the materials I need to teach after school today, so I THINK I am set. Then again, someone will surely throw some kind of monkey wrench into my plans.

Can't wait to see just what kind of wrench it is. *G*