Monday, March 31, 2008

Mist Today

And Missed Today

My shoulder kept me awake last night. I managed to squeeze a chiropractic adjustment in during the school day which was good as I was feeling pretty miserable.

It was supposed to rain but never quite seemed to have passed the mist stage. Enough to make me need my windshield wipers (sorry, what's the Brit term again???) while driving, but not enough to really soak things.

Still, I decided not to ride for the sake of my shoulder which seems to be feeling a bit better tonight. Not quite sure what is causing what, but two of my neck vertebrae were out of place. Did the shoulder muscle pull out the vertebrae, or did the vertebrae irritate the muscle? Who knows.

At any rate, it does need some time to settle down.

Showers, wind, and warmer weather in the forecast for tomorrow.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Missed Opportunity

But I Got Books!

I realized half way through the morning's church service that I still did not have enough copies of Macbeth (special version with a modern English "translation" alongside Shakespeare's text) for my Senior classes to use. There were at least two big bookstores within ten miles of the church so after the service I headed out.

I scored a bonanza with the books and missed Stacie who had dropped by the house hoping to be able to ride Toby. She hadn't planned on coming, but was in the area. I would have LOVED having her ride him and I would have LOVED the company. But it was not to be. We missed each other by about 25 minutes. I told her she should have just gone ahead and ridden, but I can understand why she didn't. Next time she'll know it's OK with me if she does.

That left me with a nice day and three horses.

Chance was first choice. At the walk, he was quite willing and ready to keep his head down, but each time I asked for trot, he dropped his back and threw up his head. I worked the transitions for a few minutes and finally managed to get a good one or two, and we settled into some trot work. The ground exercises are paying off. He bent to the right and for the most part was able to keep himself in a nice little frame.

Then, I decided to try some canter. He actually does canter off and aid and took the right lead immediately. But after about ten strides it trickled back to a trot and when I asked again, he took the left (wrong) lead. I corrected him, and nearly completed a full circle before trickle down again. I reversed, asked for the left lead, got it at once, cantered all the way around the arena and half again before I brought him back to the trot. Then I reversed to the right and we managed to canter all the way 'round on that lead as well.

However, when I brought him back to the trot he was once again falling in on his right shoulder. After a few frustrated attempts to correct him, I dismounted did some in hand work, remounted and, provided I REALLY sat long on my right seat bone, had him shaped correctly again on the right rein. I quit after a few circles and gave him a nice hug.

I rode Tucker next this time taking the "French" approach of insisting on collected frame right from the start. Of course, to Tuck, this was most annoying. He did the "Paws (pause) of protest" to start. Then he figured he might be able to walk off sideways. Finally, with a sigh of resignation, he walked off in the collected frame.

From there, the trot actually started off pretty well. He was a little annoyed by the restrictions, but trotted off.

Then we started canter. At first all was well, but when he fell out to the left and I gave a strong half halt to correct course, he stopped and threw another pawing tantrum. I kept nagging at him until he moved off again, and we finally had some good canter work.

I finished up with some trot halt/trot exercises when I realized his trot to halts were all falling on his forehand. I mixed up halt/rein back/trot with trot/strong half halt/halt/trot exercises until he began to understand he needed to stop on his hind end instead of his front. It's not quite solved yet, but we're getting there.

When I went to collect Toby for his ride, he decided to play "catch me if you can." I didn't feel like playing. Instead I gave Tuck and Chance some treats, then called them in for dinner. When Toby found out he wasn't getting fed, he changed his attitude and come over to me trying to get me to feed him too.

Instead, I put his bridle on, saddled him up and gave him a short school--well a ride, actually since he doesn't really need much schooling--in the arena. His flying changes are simply amazing and so much fun to ride.

Riding him was a good end to the day and to my Spring vacation.

Back to work tomorrow with all the books I need to teach Macbeth.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sympathy Pains??

Another Day Gone And A Sore Shoulder

Maybe Caroline's sore shoulder headed across the Atlantic. Acutally, my chiropractor thinks I pinched a nerve. Nonetheless, it is annoying, but not debilitating.

But, I didn't ride. Mostly because I had gone to the chiro in the morning and also because I got totally distracted paying bills and figuring all kinds of financial thingies.

And because I was just too darn lazy.

I don't think the Boys minded. Little slivers of new grass are coming in and they spent the day nibbling them off. They also had plenty of hay, so no one lacked for food.

I'm a bit sorry I didn't ride yesterday as there is a stiff breeze today and it is definitely colder.

But the sun is bright and it should warm up a little by afternoon. I do have a good friend dropping by for a visit, though.

Addendum: Had a lovely long visit with my good friend. Had lunch. Then went to the feed store. Stopped at the tack store to look for a mullen mouth snaffle. No dice.

Went home. Called the other tack store. Found bit. Fed Boys. Went to tack store. Bought bit and had a visit with the proprietor who is building a new store in back.

Came home and decided to long line Tucker.

This time I started him off close to me, keeping him collected and asking him to trot slowly in a frame. He wasn't too happy about it, but he tried. Then I sent him out on a large circle and kept him in the collected frame, insisting he go forward at all gaits. Though his is still a little erratic about dropping his head too low and overbent--his choice of evasion, not my idea, rolkur opponents--when he does get into the proper frame he looks quite elegant.

He is not the ideal dressage mover, but he can certainly engage his quarters and his collected canter is a cinch.

Lining session done, carrots fed, shoulder sore and knees not much better, I am back inside making supper and just kind of sitting around.

There is an "Earth Hour" event at 8 PM when we are supposed to turn off all the lights for an hour. Hopefully my dinner will be ready before then so I can eat it by candlelight.

Or just sit around and ache.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Weather Follies

And A Ride in the Rain

The delivery guys came with my new washer and dryer around 9 AM. I'd fed the Boys and was just finished dragging the arena when they arrived.

All went well until it came time to hook up the wires to the dryer and we found out the power cord was too short. Darn. The guy showed me how to hook it up if I could get a longer cord.

After they left, I decided I'd better ride Tucker as the forecast called for rain the rest of the day. By then, it was already showering, so I saddled up and did a short, but good school in the arena. Tuck gave me some pretty good stuff right off, but did throw a couple of little mini tantrums, again because I had over corrected him on a downward transition. No big deal, but he does make it clear that he is either confused by what I've asked or insulted that I asked "too hard" for his liking. Thoroughbred ego at work.

By the time we'd finished we were both heading from damp to really wet. I figured that was it for the day, so I went back into the house, changed and headed for the appliance store to get the new cord. Shopped for a few other little things on the way home.

The weather kept changing. For one moment, it even looked as if the sun was going to come out. I still had to pay my hay man next door, and, I figured after that I'd go to the tack store to look for a bit to try on Chance since I don't think I have a solid snaffle anymore.

Well, I never got past the hay man. He is the owner manager of the sand company across the road--no longer a working operation--but still there and he also does developing around the area. In short order, we began talking about all kinds of development issues, engineering firms, environmental issues, politics, and all kinds of interesting stuff, until...before I knew was time to head back to feed the Boys dinner.

Top this all off by the fact that it never really did "rain." Showers, yes, drips, yes, but steady rain--not that I saw. The ground is hardly wet.

I guess I could've ridden someone else. Trouble was, after hooking up the dryer, going up and down the cellar stairs a good half dozen or more times, and riding Tucker, my knees were pretty sore.

That leaves another supposedly soggy day, not so soggy, and better hopes for tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Lunch And A Good Time Was Had By All

Weather Perfect

My sister-in-law (my brother has passed away) and my older nephew met my Aunt and me for lunch today.

This is the nephew who has just earned his doctorate in Asian studies with a dissertation on the Island of Kwajalein. He earned the degree in Australia and will be awarded it this summer. His dissertation will eventually be a book and is published in book form right now. Info about Greg can be found here:

OK, I could be prejudiced, but I looked at it as an English teacher and let me tell you, it is an impressive work. What is particularly wonderful about it is his conversational, really readable writing style which covers tons of historic and anecdotal (stories he gleaned from natives and many others) information in a very accessible way. There are dozens of pictures making it a truly wonderful piece. Honest! I can't tell you how amazing the whole thing is. He is also working on a documentary film as well. And, apparently has been contacted by a writer who composed a fictional work on the Island who is planning a major motion picture.

Greg, my nephew, told me one of his judges said it was "the finest dissertation" he had ever seen.
I can see why. This was one beautiful creation. My nephew spent much of his childhood on Kwajelain where my brother was an engineer on some missle projects. During that time, he traveled throughout the South Pacific. This led him to Japan where he spent numerous years while he became fluent in the Japanese language and even acted as a translator for the Japanese government. He is an amazing, accomplished man. Wow!

Lunch was, as you can tell, a really special way to spend the early afternoon.

When I got home, I did a few indoor chores, then headed out to the Boys.

To my endless surprise, Toby was hanging about the riding arena and actually wanted to be caught. I may have spoiled it all by giving him a workout in the arena. Mostly easy work, but I did end with some of the upper level exercises including canter pirouettes, and some trot half pass zig zags. What is really cool is that even at age 18 he is still supple, sound, and full of extra energy when he's challenged to do something tricky.

I saddled up Tucker next. My biggest frustration with him is getting him to go forward right away. It is probably that his short back doesn't afford the looseness he needs without some effort on his part, but I do wish he'd put more energy into his work from the start instead of needing to be "wound up" before he really startes to work.

He is not a breathtaking mover, but he can go quite well. It just takes too much effort to get him there. I have been "waking him up" with lots of transitions, especially trot to canter and back to trot. I must say, though, he is really getting a handle on the simple change of lead, so that is a major accomplishment.

After the workout, we went on a nice little hack in the woods to cool out. Mind you, it was around 50F and I didn't want to get any of the Boys too sweated up. And, I hate to say it, but the bugs were out and, unless I am mistaken, the mosquitoes were biting. Colder weather and rain in the forecast, though, so don't envy me too much.

I decided to stick to the plan an long line Chance. Interesting. He does fight the bit on the right rein, but stays quite composed on the left rein. He tosses his head enough on the right to make me think that perhaps, like Caroline with George, I might try a solid snaffle to see if a different bit settles him more.

We did get some nice work, though, but I had to be extra active when he was on the right rein to try to keep him steady.

If it does rain as predicted tomorrow, I will rest on everyone's laurels.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Another Day, Another Dollar

Taxes Done
The yearly ritual is over. I did just fine. This was the scene I found when I finally got home. Looks like I'm not the only one on vacation! Toby in the forefront, Tucker flat out, and Chance facing the fence. Who was standing on guard??

Headed out for alfalfa cubes afterwards. Noticed that the feed prices on the pellets I used to buy have gone up again, so I am doing all right so far with the grain switch over to the high fat brand at the other store. The high fat I was buying for Tucker is up to $20 US for 50 pounds!

Did a little grocery shopping before heading home. Then I ate some of it for lunch.

I finally went out to ride in the later afternoon. This time I decided to ride Toby, work Chance and then Tucker.

Toby and I went out on a nice little hack in the woods. It was a little chillier than I'd expected--had a turtleneck and sweatshirt on, could've used a light jacket. (Sorry, those of you who are under snow and ice.)

I was going to long line Chance and decided instead to ride him. I'm glad I did. There was a considerable improvement in his steering and response to the bit. He's still not where he needs to be, but he was much better with his head and his body--not falling in on the shoulder as he had been. I think I will alternate the in-hand work with some riding now. I was pretty pleased about that.

So we went on a nice little hack in the woods as well. He was a really good boy.

Tucker was hanging out in Toby's stall while I was grooming Chance after the ride. But, when I went in with the halter to catch him, he walked off, sending the clear message that he didn't want to come in with me. While he sometimes does this just to play with me, I just let him go. He can have a day off now and then.

It was feeding time by then anyhow. I fed them, then came back in to feed myself with a nice salad.

Two vacation days flown by. *sigh*

Monday, March 24, 2008

Can't Say I Don't Know How to Waste Time

A Day Spent Doing What?

Well, I started off driving over to my tax man only to find out he was closed today and I'd had the date wrong. My appointment is for tomorrow. Which meant I had to change the time the new washer and dryer were being delivered. Supposedly, the electrician is coming "first thing in the morning" to ready the wiring for the new dryer, which is a good thing. It's also a good thing I had to change the delivery date to Thursday, as there was a distinct possiblity the dryer might have arrived before the electrician and the old dryer would not have been disconnected and ready to leave.

So. Morning gone.

Then I had some issues with my potential mortgage lender for the solar system, so I had to make some calls and am in a bit of a pickle about that at the moment.

So, I finally decided to put some items up on eBay to earn some money. Darned if that didn't turn into a marathon. EBay has at least two different ways to set up listings. After nearly completing the first method, I found out I could not offer international shipping options, nor could I allow buyers to calculate their own shipping fees based on location, so I had to start all over...twice more before I finally got the listings all straightened out.

I am selling two new pairs of Ariat Maestro dressage boots. US size 8.5 and US size 9, both with full calves. They are gorgeous boots, but with a foot issue I have and the problem with my knees and wearing knee braces when I ride, the boots just don't fit me. I wore the smaller pair once around the house and yard before my foot became a problem, but I never rode in them. The second pair is brand spanking new--the model with the zipper, but they don't fit right either anymore. I've had them sitting around for a year, so now they are at auction. Along with them, I listed a set of brand new Toklat shipping boots with an extra bonus pair.

Now that I've "broken the eBay ice," I should be listing a number of other items. I don't think I'll put my dressage saddle--a Passier Nicole (Grand Gilbert) on there as saddles don't sell as well. But I do have some other horsey items. I'll keep you all posted via the blog in case you need anything. There will be a bitless bridle--synthetic--eventually.

Afternoon wore on until I realized it was nearly feeding time so I hiked on out to the barn to ride Tucker.

I started him off on a fairly longish rein, just insisting he go forward. Very early on, I had him in a canter, getting him to cement the idea of "go" in his brain to follow up on the longlining from yesterday.

Then, I took up the rein and put him into a fairly collected frame. He stopped. Pawed, fidgeted, and finally, moved off, keeping himself together. I did a lot of transition work, even bringing him back down to the walk with a halt and move off. He fussed a little about it, but it was more as if he were trying to figure things out rather than being obnoxious.

Then, I decided to do some lateral work--shoulder in and haunched in (renvers). Well, that was interesting. It was as if he hadn't a clue. Now, mind you, he has done these exercises before, but today, the haunches in was a total puzzle. I am wondering if being in a more collected frame shuts out previous training, or, if being in a collected frame demands he work his body more correctly so that the exercises become particularly challenging.

If that's it, then basic obedience to the aids goes out the window as he--with his "new body posture"--has to learn everything all over again. If so, it's going to be a longer haul than I'm used to, but it's OK. I find training the exercises to be an interesting experience as it calls on just about every riding skill/trick/technique I've ever learned. Kind of a crash remedial course for me as well as my horses.

I do have to admit that once we'd established the collected frame and Tucker found he could really go forward, when I finished up with some simple lead changes--canter/walk/canter--he nearly had them with the slightest hint of a trot stride in the downward. The upwards back up to canter are great, so we are almost there.

I had already decided Tucker was the only one I'd work today. I am giving Chance a day to process his lessons from yesterday, and Toby just needs to be legged up for whatever lessons he is going to be ridden in.

Day one of my Spring/Easter break has flown by. I'm going to miss it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

One Good Horse

Three on the Lines

The main title says it all. And who was the good horse? Toby, of course. Once again, he was master of the long lines. Quick to the voice commands, correct to the bit and rein aids, and a joy to behold. He is, however, shedding the most of the little herd, so he left piles of chestnut horse hair all over the floor.

Tucker was up next and while he was not exactly bad, I wouldn't exactly call him a star either. He started off totally lacking impulsion, forward, or anything resembling energy. When I flicked him on with the whip, he cantered off, just as not forward as the trot had been. Then, he kept trying to put his head down too far, or overflexing to the bit, mostly because he wasn't forward.

Finally, I got him going with some energy and he did get start carrying himself, but it was rather erratic. He was correct, overbent, correct, not on the bit, correct, overbent. So, I sent him off into a canter and really got him going forward. Then I started some canter/trot transitions, sending him back into the canter every time he overflexed at the trot. That seemed to do the trick and I had some nice work on the left rein.

Reversed, asked for the trot and he took off in a mad canter. Well, that surely was forward. And, there was no point in trying to do much more than keep some modicum of control over where he was going until he settled down himself. It was one of those "Thoroughbred things," ripping around in a gallop totally oblivious to most of the rest of the world.

I do have to admit that after the gallop was over, he did give me some nice work on the right rein. On the bit, forward, and fairly steady.

Chance was decidedly downhill from there. He started out fairly reasonably, but kept cantering off on the right lead instead of keeping the trot. He was super sensitive to my commands, so I had to keep it low key. Then, on the right rein, his difficult one, he decided to throw a tantrum. He slung his head up, tossing it over to the left, up and down until the leather holding the ring onto the surcingle gave way and the right rein was totally loose. At that point, he seemes quite pleased and stopped tossing his head around. So, I stopped him, ran the rein in a vee through one of the more solid rings and set him back out on the circle. He wasn't too happy about that, but finally settled down to work with his head lower and stretching into the bit.

I swapped directions, set the left rein in a similar vee and in short order had some pretty nice work on that rein after he tested out the rigging and found it just wasn't going to give. I finished up with a few more circles to the right, not quite as good as the left, but finally in a nice little frame and took him in.

Then, as I was trying to put him on the crossties, he suddenly "forgot" how to back up. Even my leaning on him with my hand did not make him step backwards. So I picked up the dressage whip and used the handle to cue him on the chest. That worked for two times until he decided to start tossing his head around again, fighting my control over the bit. I finally bopped him on the nose with the handle and told him to just cut it out. He startled for a stride, then surrendered, accepted the bit and backed three or four more times.

Obviously, my little Chance man is testing me. He has his own opinion about things and seems to think if it disagrees with my opinion it's worth a fight. I don't think there's a mean bone in his body, but he just wants to have his own way.

Can't say he doesn't have an ego!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sunshine On My Shoulder

And Sunshine All Around

Lovely day today.

I rode Toby first. I did a short workout in the arena, just walk, trot, canter with a flying change on each lead. Then we headed out for a nice hack in the woods. I trotted him all the way along the edge of the woods back to where the flooding is. What can I say. Nice ride, good horse, and sunshine!

When I got back home I picked out the arena as it is part of the Boys' turnout area. Had I been more ambitious, I would have dragged it as well but opted out and saddled Tucker up instead.

Not that he would drag the arena. *G*

Interesting ride. I started off with a pretty good walk session. On the long rein he was fine, but when I picked up the contact, he simply could not manage it. He stopped, pawed in frustration, then minced off, then walked nicely, then stopped, then minced, and so on. Once or twice, he stepped into a super collected trot trying to figure out what to do.

When I finally did ask for the trot, it seemed to make him far happier with the contact. So, I spent the next session just doing transitions. Trot, canter, trot, walk, canter, trot, over and over until he figured out that he actually could go in all three gaits on the bit.

Then I started some lateral work. More frustration as Tucker simply would not move away from my right leg to the left. I finally got off, worked him off the whip from the ground for a bit just to establish the concept of moving laterally to the left. Mounted back up and managed some good leg yields, then half pass at the trot, but even getting one stride at the canter was simply too hard.

Once more, I repeated trot half pass left, then walk half pass left, then trot and finally a few good strides of canter. I can see this is going to be a bit of a training issue for a while. As I recall, Tucker had a hard time learning leg yield to the left as well, so ther is definitely a question mark in his body about going that way. It is a bit ironic since every other horse I've trained has had more difficulty going laterally to the right.

I do have to question myself, though since I tend to let my right leg slide back when I am working, so I think Tucker may have learned to ignore that leg as a special aid. So, I have to concentrate on keeping it at the girth. Rider flaw is as much as fault here.

I just put the bridle on Chance to work him in hand, getting him to give to the bit. He is now pretty ready to bend to the right, so that's good. the interesting element was how he simply would not move his shoulder to the outside as well. So, I turning to the left, he would fall in on the left shoulder instead of actually bending through his body. When I put all my weight against his shoulder to push it over, he was quite happy to just lean on me instead of moving away.

I picked up a short, about one inch diameter, stick and poked his offending shoulder with that. Instant reaction! Instant over-reaction as he leapt away. After that, all it took was a little pressure from the stick and eventually, just a point of the stick and he put his shoulder exactly where I wanted it.

Chance is an interesting fellow. He goes from ignoring me completely to sudden alertness and over sensitivity in a second. Quite unlike my Thoroughbreds who hard ever ignore and are always quite ready to react. I think it's easy to mistake his ignoring the aids for being quiet and calm when it's actually a deliberate evasion. Not that he has a bad attitude, it's just that he is not tuned into me yet and still lives in his own world.

Training, time, and some good consistent handling should fix all that.

Nice day, good horses. Who could ask for anything more.

Friday, March 21, 2008

March Blows In

Like a Lion

Hey! It's already Spring and March is still blowing. Where is that lamb??

Had Church last night. Too windy and too tight a schedule. Day off today. Hope to report later, but I am still waiting for the cold wind to die down.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


April Showers Early

Rain came and keeps coming.

At least I have motivation to get some good riding in. Gabriel will be coming, if all goes as planned, on April 26 for lessons. That means I need to have accomplished something by then.

Tucker is actually going really well--when I get to ride him.

I need several things to accomplish that. 1. Dry weather. 2. Healthy me. 3. No bad winds. 4. My not being exhausted after school. 5. Motivation.

Hard to gather all of these in the winter--which it still is at least for a day or so. Hey, at least most of the house is clean! I hope to keep it that way.

School was fine today. My substitute had kept the students on track, mostly. I did have to laugh at my last period class. They have been watching "Rear Window," the Alfred Hitchcock classic. The basic story evolves slowly at first, and is quite deceptive as to where it's going. So, for the first two days of 35 minutes or so of viewing, the students were not too enthralled. However, today's portion really brings the plot pieces together and starts to build some totally engrossing suspense. A few minutes before the bell rang, they were pleading with me to make sure they were going to watch it again tomorrow and insisting, "We have to watch more films like this!!"

This is all part of a mystery/detective fiction unit I teach and learning to understand how to build both the mystery and suspense and an integral part of the course. Anyone who knows Mr. Hitchcock's films is well aware that he was the master of both. I really love it when I can bring a classic like this into the classroom and get my students to become fans. It proves the true meaning of "classic" and exposes the students to parts of our culture they never would find on their own.

Sometimes teaching can be a real joy.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Pain in the Neck

Monday laid me low with a migraine that had gone too far to be quickly stopped. Stayed home from work and managed a late morning chiropratic adjustment that took away the worst of it.

By evening, I felt pretty good, so I really enjoyed the evening at my friend's house for corned beef and cabbage. A note on that. Apparently, that is the US version of a traditional Irish dinner for St. Patrick's Day. I heard on the radio during the day that such a meal is NOT really Irish tradition. More like lamb instead. We Americans seem to have our own take on everything. *G*

After dinner, as we were sitting around chatting, I felt a little twitch in my neck and found it a bit stiff when I turned to the right.

Premonition of more to come.

Woke up at about 2 AM with a definite headache and some dizziness. I iced it, used heat, tried everything, but by morning, the darn thing was still there. And, my stomach was not feeling too great either.

So I called in for another day and called the chiropractor. Just got back a while ago. Only one vertebra was out, but it was out a doozy and that was causing the headache. There is still some lingering discomfort so I am icing it again.

If I feel better later I might work a horse. Such a bummer when this happens. The vertebra that was out of place this morning was not one that was out yesterday, so that's good, as the first adjustment "held." Guess my body acts in "sympathy" with itself as one thing corrects and, in the process, throws something else out of whack as a reaction.

Interesting, at any rate. Just wish it didn't hurt when it happens.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cleaning Again

Well, It Was Raining....

The solo went really well in church this morning. I was pretty happy with it. We have a service Thursday night and then two services Easter Sunday morning. I have the solo I wrote at the early service and a solo with the choir, then in the later service, a repeat of the solo with the choir. Gotta keep my voice healthy till then.

It was raining this morning and into the early afternoon, so I went back to the cleaning project. Somehow, no matter how many clothes I give away, I still seem to have too many. I cleaned out the second closet and filled it back up again. If it weren't for the clothes still down in the basement near the half dead washer/dryer, I might be OK, but they create an overload. I should just shut my eyes, stuff them into bags and cart them off to the charity bins.

And, I need to stop shopping!

OK, 'nough said. This time, once I got going, I didn't want to stop until I was finished. Though the sun came out, I decided not to ride as any break in my frenzy would have short circuited the whole project before I finished.

At any rate, the bedroom is at last in reasonable order. Not perfect, but certainly nothing to be ashamed of. I'll tidy up the front of the house later. The extra bedroom is far from neat as all the clothes I am getting rid of are in there, but that's OK for now.

Once the weather gets better I will start on the barn--tack room and rugs, etc. By then I hope to have the new washer/dryer, so I can clean some sheets. Right now, I can't even wash a load of lightweight clothes without a major hassle. The rinse and spin cycles just aren't reliable enough.

I've been invited to dinner tomorrow night--corned beef and cabbage, what else?

Wish I had some nice green shamrocks for the Boys to eat! They are craving greenery.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Busy Day

Ouch in the Head

Woke up on the brink of a migraine. Fed the Boys and called the chiropractor and made an appointment.

The adjustment did not clear my headache completely, but it helped a lot. That happens sometimes if I wait too long. Since this one came on sometime during the night, it already had several hours head start.

I then went to Home Depot to buy a new washer and dryer. My washing machine is over 20 years old and definitely not cleaning, rinsing, or properly spinning my clothes. I figured calling a repairman would be at least $200 and who knows if he could fix it. Since Home Depot was having a sale, I decided to go for it and buy new. My dryer has already had one repair for the problem it's having again--only drying on high heat--so I'm also not convince another repair call would solve its problems once and for all.

I had already preselected a make and models using the Internet reviews and information. What I bought was far from the most expensive, so that too was good. Delivery will be in more than a week because I decided to wait until Easter break week.

That set of shopping done, I headed over to my Aunt's house next door to give my cousin some sandels I'd gotten for her and visited for a while.

Then I came back home and went out again, this time to get grain. I have completely switched all the Boys over to the high fat feed and needed to stock up. Unloaded 10 fifty pound bags when I got back home and came back into the house for a respite.

Well, actually, I ended up working on the major cleaning job in the master bedroom. Aside from the normal mess, I had started a closet purge and never quite finished it. Right now, even as I write, the bed is piled with clothes as yet to be assigned to a proper "home" in the scheme of things. Hopefully I will get them sorted by the time I need to go to bed!

Finally, I managed to climb into my riding breeches and go out to work a horse. Since my head was still bothering me, I decided to ride just Tucker.

We had a nice warmup. Then I began some work on the lateral exercises with shoulder in, haunches in and some efforts at the half pass.

Going to the left, Tucker simply did not have a clue at the canter. He was sticky at the trot, OK at the walk, but canter? His hind end did not want to move at all away from my leg. It could be that it makes his right hock do extra work that's he's reluctant to do, or it is simply a matter of natural stiffness.

I ended up doing some slower exercises at the walk and then trot, getting him more supple and willing to move laterally to the left, then I asked for a little left half pass at the canter again, managed a few strides and called it a day.

The better news is that aside from one little incident of protest when I was trying to get him to do a turn on the forehand, Tuck made no attempts to balk or refuse to try. He was very cooperative and accepting of corrections. He stayed forward the whole session, and aside from the canter difficulties was really working well.

Carrots for all ended the evening and as soon as I am finished here, I will go back to my cleaning project.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Ah, Well

Another Day, Another Excuse

Nice day. Came home and fed the Boys.

Thought about going out to ride, even though the wind was picking up.

Then Stacie called to report on her appointment with the acupuncture vet. Turned out she was about 10 miles away, so in short order, we set it up to meet at our favorite Chinese restaurant for dinner.

We had a great time. Good conversation and tasty food.

Dr. Kenney, the acupuncture vet, really feels that the bulk of Lucky's problems are coming from his muscle atrophy in his right shoulder and his chronic neck problems. The theory is that if those issues are resolved he will be much sounder.

At this point, Stacie is not holding out much hope that she will ever really be able to ride and compete Lucky any more, but she does want him to have a happy and contented life at her farm as a "pasture ornament"--retired horse. Miracles can happen though, and Lucky does deserve a chance.

He is, though limping, quite happy and doesn't seem to be too distressed. Stacie says sometimes his ankle has heat, and sometimes not, so it's hard to tell just what is going on. In the meantime, by using special herbs and alternative treatments, they are doing all they can to keep him comfortable.

Dark out now. Again, I didn't ride.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Back in the Saddle....Again....

Lovely day with a breee rather than the wind, so I headed out to the barn.

I picked the riding arena first as the Boys wandered back out into the pasture. Then I went to collect someone, and, to my surprise, Toby headed over to me ready to be caught first. So, I saddled him up after a nice shedding blade grooming and took him out for a hack in the woods. He did shy a couple times, nothing big, but he was "on his toes" for the first part of the ride. Then, he settled down once we were partway through the woods road.

I rode Tucker in the arena next. I started off at the walk, and eventually began to introduce the half pass. It didn't take him long to figure out what to do. I moved into a little bit of trot and quickly began a canter warm up. Since the canter is the gaits Thoroughbred's are bred for, using it as a warmup gait can often loosen a horse up. I do think it works with Tucker and I've started using it more and more. Back in the trot, I rode some suppling circles and worked up to the half pass. Tuck is much better going to the right, but today, he was really getting the concept of going left as well.

When a horse knows leg yield well, the half pass can be a bit confusing at first. The change of asking for the bend in the direction of movement requires more flexibility in the shoulder. Tuck's advantage is his brain. I can feel him thinking it through when a ride and tonight, he thought both right and left.

The canter was another matter. Again, Tuck found going right quite easy, but half pass left posed a problem. Then, on my second little bit of right, I realized I was a good part at fault. In concentrating so hard on the bend, I was actually blocking his left shoulder with my hand by using too much direct rein on that side. When I finally let go, he was much better. Not yet a master, but definitely moving laterally and starting a true half pass.

Once done with Tucker, I took Chance out in just a bridle to do some ground work exercises teaching him to yield to the bit. He is decided willfull and perfectly content to stand with pressure on his mouth, not making any effort to give in. Since I was using Kenny Harlow techniques, I just waited him out. I'm not sure how long we were out there, but finally, Chance began to lick and chew as he relaxed his jaw and neck to start some basic responses to the bit.

I will probably keep this up for a few days before I ride him again. Then, I'll do some of the same work from the saddle, hopefully solving the steering problems once and for all. Chance is more difficult than any other horse I have started which leads me to believe his initial training was less than ideal for his personality. He wants to please, but will also "turn off" if pushed too much. His turn off, unlike Tucker, is to either panic, or just keep going completely ignoring my efforts to bend, shape, or turn him.

Finished up with a night at choir rehearsal. I have three solo bits coming up for Palm Sunday and Easter. One is an Easter solo I wrote, so that will be fun. The other ones are with the choir, providing another kind of fun.

The only trouble is, my voice was tired out by the end of rehearsal.

Guess I need to keep quiet I will......

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I Cannot "Winterize" Myself Anymore

Didn't ride. No excuse. The wind was blowing, and it was cold.

Years ago, I would have declared this a perfect day for riding. The sun is now out and it looks quite nice out there, but the winds blows on. Not too strongly, but enough to give a fair wind chill.

It's OK, I keep telling myself. It will warm up. I will have more energy on other days, and more ambition.

I have finally decided on a home loan, so that's good. More yet to do on this with hopes it will all work out as I am planning.

The solar energy system is very expensive. It will supply the electricity for my house and perhaps some extra. This all gets sent into the electric company's grid and I get credit as an energy supplier. I will cancel my own electric bill, perhaps get some money back at the end of the year, and be able to sell my energy credits to someone who needs to get credit for green energy without having a green energy system.

Potentially, I could pay off my investment in 7-8 years, sooner if the price of energy continues to rise. And, I will feel that I am doing something to help the environment.

Have an Agricultural Board meeting to attend tonight to get caught up on what's going on with farming and farmland in our area. We have so little left we need to do all we can to protect and preserve it.

It is such a shame because the land around here was/is some of the best farm soil in the whole country. As I go to school in the morning, I must drive past ugly warehouse walls being built on what used to be over 100 acres of prime farmland. It is the last good acreage along that road as every other farm has fallen to industrial development in the form of warehouses. This was prime farmland all through this area. It is so sad.

We are still trying to preserve the last remaining large farm on my side of the NJ Turnpike. Luckily the farm adjacent to my property was preserved as parkland back in the 1970's. Some of that land provides my horse pasture and the rest grows corn and some wheat.

I am blessed with that land on one side, the rest of the State Park on two other sides and across the road, the no longer working sand company with a huge lake. It really is a beautiful location for a home. And with the Boys here, it's nearly perfect.

Monday, March 10, 2008


On the Phone

Trying to get the creative financing to put in my solar panels has sent me on the hunt for the best home financing loan.

Tonight, after stopping at one more bank, I made a phone call to another bank and then signed up on "Lending Tree" to see what kind of offers I'd get.

Good grief! Within a half hour, my phone was ringing off the hook. I spent nearly all the evening on the phone discussing loan options.

Somewhere in between, I did at least feed the Boys dinner and make sure they were all happy and content.

The tree is gone and all is nicely cleaned up, so that's good.

This was, by the way, an evergreen so the wood was not ideal for burning as it tends to build up stuff in chimneys from the sap. The big branch in the back yard was maple and might well have been good burning wood. Maybe Tree Guy took it for a fireplace.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Trees, Wind and Time

Daylight Savings Costs Me

Ok, the big evergreen tree filled up only part of the driveway and since I have two driveways, it really didn't matter.

I called the tree removal service I've used before and left a message. Within a half hour, the guy showed up, looked at the tree and gave me an estimate of $495 to clean it up and grind the stump down. I said OK and he said he'd be back tomorrow morning.

About 15-20 minutes later, another truck pulled in the drive and it was another tree guy. He offered to do the same job for $300. Well, it would have been really foolish for me to not take his offer which left me very uncomfortably calling Tree guy #1 to tell him our deal was off.

I suppose if I'd been lucky, Tree guy #3 would have dropped by, but he didn't because by then, Tree guy #2 had already started cutting up the tree. I paid him $100 for today's work and will give him the rest tomorrow for chipping and removing the debris. It is kind of sad to see the tree missing as it's been there forever. But, as it turned out, the trunk had been pretty well devoured by some kind of bugs, so I guess its life was over anyhow.

Unhappily, I have two big maple trees on their last years as well. If they go, I lose a lot of my shade. It's hard to replace them because they were so huge that there really isn't room to plant a new tree near where they were because the leftover roots are in the way. Don't know how long you have to wait before you can replant in the same area.

Suffice it to say, it looks as if I have a future ahead with Tree guys.

The wind was horrible last night, so there are trees down all over and the reason Tree guys 1 & 2 were out and about on a Sunday was that they were working on calls. I think there was another potential tree guy earlier on as another truck kind of slowed down to take a look at my tree, but I guess he decided he didn't want to do the work. Tree guys are certainly enterprising fellows.

I found Minky's border terrier article on line and below is the important stuff:

This from the Evening Chronicle of March 3, 2008
Meet my terrific trio

"BORDER terriers are cheeky little scamps with a big heart," says Nicola Anderson, of Lemington, Newcastle, who is making her second trip to Crufts this year. "I'm not really expecting to win anything. Just being able to attend is enough," the 35-year-old says.

"I'm not what you'd call a heavy shower. I'm a bit nervous about it all. I got into breeding by accident, really. A breeder of a stud dog we had who liked one of the pups had said, 'Why don't you give it a go?' and here we are." Nicola currently has three dogs, and has taken them to a string of recent local shows, where her pets have excelled.

Her husband Paul,44 races pigeons and Nicola also owns a horse so between us at weekends we're pretty tied up" says Nicola a care worker at Percy Hedley School in Forest Hall.

Terriers are often known to be aggressive, but Nicola says the opposite and that she was attracted to border terriers for their pleaseant nature. "I know terriers have areputation for being a bit snappy, but these are different. My niece is two and they are just great with her.

"They can be lively and they like to scamper around like any other terrier, but they have a gentle side as well."

I hope Nicola had a grand time and looked gorgeous in her new suit!

Did I ride today? Not yet, and maybe not at all. The wind is still making a bold statement.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Rain and More Rain

What More Can I Say?

I did drive to Agway to get some of their new high fat horse feed. It is nearly $8 a bag cheaper than the feed I was using for Tucker. Actually, if I switch everyone else over to the feed I will end up saving money on feed for everyone.

I am mixing the new feed with the pellets the Boys are already used to, so they will gradually switch over. The high fat should be good for both Chance and Toby too, even though they do not show any sign of sugar/carbohydrate tolerance issues as Tucker MAY have.

At any rate, it's probably better for them all.

It looked like it was going to clear around evening feeding time, so I put Tucker out with the others in the arena for a while as he'd spent the day in his run in shed. While he was out, I cleaned his stall and re-bedded it. Then I brought everyone in for feed and went to dump the wheelbarrow.

In short order I was soaking wet as a heavy rain started up again. Guess it's going to continue through the night. *sigh*

The time changes here tonight/tomorrow morning as the clocks go ahead one hour. I am looking forward to the extra daylight at the end of the day.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Spot On Forecast

Whether (Weather) Or Not I Like It

The Weather Channel forecast called for it to start raining at 3 PM. School lets out at 3:30 and when I passed the exit door heading for the office, the sidewalks were wet and the rain was starting to get heavier.

It was cold, a bit windy and downright miserable.

The horses, left in the arena and pasture for the day had no shelter and their rainproof sheets were soggy on top. They, fortunately, were pretty dry underneath them.

Brought everyone in for feed, changed them into their heavier waterproof sheets and settled them in with some hay and grain. Tucker's in his run-in stall, and all's right in the barn

Nasty weather predicted into tomorrow.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Lovely Day and Sore Knees

Too Much Walking At School

And on the hard floors, I guess, because my knees--at least the left one--are sore.

So, I rode only one horse tonight. Tucker.

He is a very interesting fellow. If I make too strong a correction, or tap him with the whip when he feels he does not deserve it, he lays his ears back and threatens to act up. Tonight, when he did that, I "growled"at him and he went on working, even though I could tell he had been mightily insulted.

As well, if he really doesn't understand just what he is supposed to do, he stops, protests and then when I explain again, tries the exercise. I started off with a lot of walk work which is always hard as the walk has little natural impulsion, so it's not the easiest gait to work in. I did a number of baby pirouettes and after the first one to the left, Tuck stopped, fussed a little and then went back to work as soon as I assured him he had actually done what I'd asked. From then on he attempted the exercise with no problems. I did have one pirouette on each rein that wasn't too bad, so I moved up to the trot.

I had some nice trot work and was able to ask for more as we went along, half halting and rebalancing as needed with good cooperation on Tuck's part. Then I moved into canter and quickly realized that when we were on the left rein, I actually did not have control of his right shoulder. Essentially going around the short end of the ring, he would drift out slightly to the right both front and back.

When I tapped his right shoulder to push it over, on came the little tantrum. Nothing big, but a definite resentment of the correction. Riding more off the outside rein brought the shoulder around and kept the hind end correctly to the inside, but I lost the bend to the left.

I decided then to do some suppling circles to the left, concentrating on keeping control of the right side with my leg and rein until he understood that he actually could bring his shoulder around with his head/neck flexed to the left.

Interestingly enough, Tucker's left lead canter feels much "lighter" in front and he seems to carry himself better. The right lead is a little more awkward and likely to fall towards the forehand. I may need to spend some time on right lead counter canter to help him learn to carry himself better on the right rein, but I will save that for later when I know his muscles are getting more regular exercise to protect his stifle and hock.

Tuck was pretty determined after we stopped working on going out for a hack in the woods so I walked him out on a very short loop on the trail. He seemed quite happy and came back with a mouthful of winter greenery to chew on.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Windy and Wet

After the Rain

It was sunny when I turned the Boys out in the arena and pasture--the restricted turnout for Tucker's shoes after a muddy making rainstorm last night.

Well, did I feel guilty about two hours later when I heard a miserable downpour hitting the roof of the school. But, as the day wore on, the skies dried up and the sun peeped in and out.

But, then it got windy and by the time I was home, it was blowing up quite a bit. The arena was "iffy" with mud puddles, so I wimped out again. Instead, I cleaned the stall with the confined run in roof for Tucker to spend the night, and cleaned under the shed roof itself. Two wheelbarrow loads later--pushed through the mud, and it was suitable for him. Then I brought all three Boys in for dinner.

Lines of Communication

Twice the Fun

It was another lovely day, sorry, everyone. If it's any consolation, it rained hard early this morning, so the mud is back.

When I got home from school, rain was in the forecast, so I opted for long lining, since I didn't have to worry about getting my saddle wet if the rain did start.

Tucker was first, and he was nice and forward. The only flaw I have to deal with is that he tends to get too low and deep on the lines. It is a bit of an evasion he has always done under saddle when he was tired of working. It is not easy to correct on the lines, even with some half halts. I found the best solution was to push him into a canter. That tended to "open him up" and lift his forehand. Then, I'd ask for the downward transition, allow him to trot until he dropped behind again, and then transition back up. It worked a treat.

I closed the session with some fun jumping over the barrels. Tuck is very inexperienced over fences, but I have longed him over jumps often enough. Still, I guess the barrels looked "huge" to him. After a few "scoot arounds" he jumped them with about three feet of clearance. Then he settled in and did some nice quiet efforts on each rein. He really is a nice jumper and tends fold his knees and naturally jump off his hind end unless he really misjudges the distance. It was fun.

I lined Toby next getting some excellent work. He does not drop down, but comes nicely on the bit and tends to keep a very forward stride into the bit. I did a lot of trot/canter transitions with him as well because they are so good for building strength.

Then I lunged him over the barrels. What a ripper! After the giant leap, he bucked and galloped, always heading right back at the jump and sailing over it. I did ask that the last time he jumped he do it from a controlled, slower pace, but it was pretty clear he was having a grand time doing it for time. He'd be amazing in a speed class. He is a very able, springy jumper, but, as I've said before, he is too spooky about new things to have ever made a good competitor without a lot of schooling and experience.

Watching the Boys jump does make me a bit nostalgic for the old days when I was a jumping fool, but I realized I don't miss it "that" much. I might pop a fence now and then, but I've settled into the dressage queen role quite happily.

Chance had the night off as my knees just couldn't romp with one more.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Stubborn Little Warmblood

Taking On Chance

It was a gorgeous day, so I was back outside as soon as I got home.

I saddled up Chance, planning on riding him for a nice little school. Well, to my astonishment, he decided to spook at "something (nothing)" in the woods and after bolting off for about 10 strides simply refused to head off in that direction without fussing. I circled him off and headed for another part of the arena, which distracted him enough that he forgot about the lurking monster.

But, he kept insisting on falling in on his right shoulder, with his head either dead on straight or bent to the left. If I bent him right, he fell in so badly, it was almost impossible to do anything but a little tight circle. I concentrated on sitting long on the right to use my seat and leg to push him to the left, outside rein, but it was not very effective. He was just too resistant and stiff on the right rein.

So, I stopped, and began some basic flexion exercises, asking him to yield to the right rein with his head and neck. The basic principle is to hold the right rein and when he gives, to let it go until he understands he needs to yield to the pressure. I had minimal success. He would give and then pull the rein away, tossing his head up and flinging it to the left. It was a bit disconcerting, because I worried that if he threw a tantrum about it, he might rear. So I dismounted and continued the exercise from the ground.

I'm not sure how long we kept at it, as Chance obviously has some pretty stubborn determination. He obviously does not like to stretch his left side to give correct bend to the right and makes it clear he doesn't particularly like to try. I insisted, he resisted, and we just kept discussing it. Finally, after a good long time, he began to get the idea that I was more stubborn than he was. Eventually, I had him walking with his head slightly right and his shoulder and body stepping a bit laterally to the left.

I had to use my body against his to get the right shape, though. I have done this with youngsters before, using my hip and shoulder against them as another horse might to put them where they belong. Chance, unlike Toby and Tucker, seems to require much more physical command sand contact from me. At this point, he really doesn't seem to respond to aids unless they actually push his body where it belongs. Fortunately, his size allows me to work up close and maintain control over the rein aid at the same time, something I find almost impossible with 16.3h Tucker. Since this somewhat unorthodox method seemed to work, I will do in hand exercises for a few more days before I try riding him again. It's pretty clear he doesn't have George's will to please, so it looks like I have some serious schooling to do.

I ended the evening with a short school for Tucker. Unlike the last time I rode him, he was tentative about going forward at the start. Even though we were just walking, he was looking for things to spook at. First the barrel, then the water trough, then...well, who knows. I didn't reassure him about any of it, but just pushed him forward with a bit of verbal reminders. I spent most of the ride just doing one transition after another. First it was walk/halt/walk. Then trot/walk/trot. The trot/halt/trot. Then canter/trot/canter, canter/walk/canter, and then canter/halt/canter, with a turn on the haunches before the second canter depart. I did a few leg yields and then moved to half pass at the trot, managing a fairly nice effort on each rein. I did some trot, reinback trot and finally a trot/halt/trot on the center line as is required in most of the tests I ride. Then I called it a night.

Toby was actually willing to be caught, perhaps because I told him I wasn't going to ride, so we had a nice little grooming session with a big fat carrot at the end.

The footing is postively lovely and the ground has dried out quickly. I know it's supposed to rain later in the week, but for now, I will bask in the sunshine and enjoy the warm (upper 50's f) weather.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Nice Day for a RIde

So I Did!!

It was still chilly, but the wind had died down and the footing in the arena was really good.

I saddled up Tucker and went out to give him some easy work. I had suddenly realized with the snow, slip, and cold, it had been over a week since he'd been ridden.

I was a bit worried when we started off, because he was very, very slightly off on his left front. If it was a real limp, it wasn't every stride and it came and went. I dismounted, took him back into the barn and cleaned his hoofs, thinking perhaps I might find a stone, but they looked OK. I got back on and he was still just a touch uneven.

I decided to ride on, to see if it changed as he warmed up. I cantered on both leads, and when we went back to the trot, he was fine. I suspect it was some muscle issue, or some stiffness from not being worked, or just nothing. I will monitor it closely, but once it worked out, he felt great! I did some easy exercises and then headed out into the woods for a hack.

Well, that was interesting. Twice, Tucker tried to bolt. He jumped forward and made to run for it, but I was able to keep him under control. I'm pretty pleased with myself as in the past, that kind of action on his part--tossing his head downward, striking with his forefeet, offering a threat to buck, and then leaping forward--made me decide to get off and lead him home. This time I rode it out, and he listened when I "chirpped" him back down to a walk. It's not quite a total mental breakthrough for me, but we finished the ride in good form, so I'm happy.

I took Toby out for a short hack next. But I actually think I spent more time grooming him and riding. He is shedding like crazy! The shedding blade left a pile on the floor both before and after our ride.

I figured Chance would be shedding too, but to my surprise he has hardly started. I didn't ride him, but spent some time grooming him and trimming his mane. He still needs more work on it, but it is looking a little tidier. I also put the mane and tail conditioner on his tail, hoping I can get it to grow.

They are all back in the sheets for at least tonight. I have to decide if I want to put the lighter sheets on for tomorrow as the temperatures are going up every day. Tuck was sweated under his winter blanket today, but the other guys were OK, so I suspect he might have been frolicking a little more than the others.

Stacie and Lucky update: Lucky is back home. He was walking sound for nearly a week, and Stacie took him to a consult with our ace acupuncture vet who is working with the "miracle vet" from Long Island. Our vet was studying in Florida with one of the Chinese herbal experts who knows the miracle vet well, so fate seems to be intervening. At any rate, apparently, Lucky has some pretty obvious muscle atrophy on his right side. Our vet said this is not normal, even with his ankle injury/surgery. So, the theory is to use acupucunture and herbal remedies to help balance him.

In the meantime, our vet told Stacie the worst thing possible for Lucky was to keep him in. So, Stacie gave Lucky some tranquilizer and turned him out this morning. Apparently the tranq didn't do much as he promptly galloped wildly all over the frozen field. Needless to say, his ankle got hot and he is limping again.

But, he's been locked in for three months. All the x-rays show the initial problem is healed, so our vet strongly believes that nature is the best healer at this point. And, indeed, if his lameness is caused by the muscle problems, then exercise is eventually going to help.

At this point, I think he'll be OK, but it is just going to take time.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Weather Turns

Now It's Getting Warmer and I Wind Wimped Out

Last night was frozen solid when I got home. In the early morning hours, it snowed, but that quickly changed to rain. Not much, fortunately. Sunrise brought moderating temperatures and me with a migraine coming on. So went to the chiropractor for an adjustment. As I post it is just past noon. and the sun is making a valiant attempt to shine.

Should be a riding report added on later today.

OK, I wimped out. The wind never died down, so even though it was warmer the wind chill was cold. I kept the Boys in their winter blankets all day and could not get myself warm at all.

When I finally went out to feed at around 5, it was still blowing. So, I poo picked, cleaned the water tub, and finally dragged the arena.

By then it was getting dark and finally the air was calming down but I just surrendered. After all, riding is supposed to be fun for me, not a chore at this point. Being chilled to the bone is not fun.

Tomorrow bodes well for rising temps, so that looks good.