Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Grumble, Grumble....G-r-r-r-r-r

Beeeeoootiful Day!!!

The morning was to die for. Cool, fresh, lovely and my knee hurts so much I have trouble walking!! Talk about bummed out.

I swept out the barn, and semi-cleaned the feed room. Everything needs a full clean-up out there, but for now it's passable.  I have to sort and clean the rugs/sheets/blankets again and build the new storage bin I bought to put them in.  I may be able to handle some of that today even in my debilitated condition.  And, I need to go get the storage bin for the garbage cans by the house to foil the greedy raccoon who keeps raiding me. That too might be something I can do today.

I also need to go to the municipal building to research a local issue that will fire up our campaign.  And I need to go pay for my hay.

All these can be accomplished with a limp, I fear.  This does remind me of what I did to my right knee nearly two years ago--I was still teaching in the other school, then. If so, it will get better on its own. If not, I will know in a week or so.  With knees like mine, the damage is done. There isn't much a doctor can do. Injections will tighten the ligaments which helps, or lubricate the joint, which might help, or take down any swelling--which depends on whether there really is any swelling. So for now, I will limp in my brace.

The Boys were out in the pasture this morning. It's been so dry there really isn't much grass, but when I mowed the other day, I did find some nice green stuff amidst the weed patch in the shady area. I have a feeling they found it too as Chance was over in that direction.  I think it's the first time they've actually gone out there since the mowing.  The heat and the flies have been so unbearable the barn was a far more comfortable option.

Which leads to the hay situation. We are kind of in the middle of hay season here. I have a chance to get a fair amount of last year's hay at a good price.  I'll do that since this is my regular hay supplier and he's ready to deliver some more today.  What a prefer, as do the Boys, is the second cutting hay.  It is less stemmy and softer to eat so they like it a whole lot more. We'll see just how much of it shows up in this delivery which, apparently, is a mixture of first and second cuttings.

For Claire, I posted this picture a while back of the Lazy River and the tubes. So here, for the enjoyment of all. You ride around on these plastic circular tubes. There is a current in the water that pulls you along. It's not usually as crowded as in the picture, though, so it is a bit more relaxing. Actually, that picture was taken by the lap pool, shown in the left background and the water slide to the right.  It's a "get out of the river" point instead of a "get in the river point."   
Here is another picture of the facility. The Lazy River is in the front and to the left. Further to the left is the wading pool for little kids. In the center is the Lily Pad crossing and Log crossing activity. Outside the photo to the far left is the family pool and the lap pool where I swim is outside the picture to the right.  Only on hot weekends and holidays is the place as crowded as it looks in the picture. Even then there is usually plenty of room to swim and enjoy yourself.  There are picnic areas on the perimeter and covered areas for shade.  There is a snack bar--I've never visited--and two sets of bathrooms with showers and hot water.  My membership for the season is about $230 or so as I am NOT a resident of East Brunswick, the Township that owns and runs the facility.  If I lived there, it would be about half that.  There are lifeguards all over and the place is well-staffed and maintained.  Here's an even better picture of the Lazy River.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

In K'need of Attention

Or Something

I've done something to my left knee. It hurts a lot more than usual.

That does not leave a lot of options. Like Tucker, I can just wait and see.  I tend to do that with my knees at this point since they are so bad anyhow.

If I go to the one doctor who can do something, it will cost me $600 out of pocket since the insurance company considers his treatments "experimental" and no longer chooses to cover them.

If I try the orthopedic doctor, then surgery will probably come up again, something I'd rather avoid. I am most likely a candidate for replacement surgery at this point and I'm not ready to face that.

Doctor #3 might be able to do something, or might not. I was going to have him do some injections back in February, but then the teaching job came up and derailed my plans.  He wanted x-rays and such at that point and time kind of got away from me. I figure I will need new prescriptions from him before I can do anything. Since he's only at the office on Mondays, that leaves me a week to think about it.

I can walk, and the swimming was OK, so I'll do my own physical therapy for the time being. As well, I do have knee braces to wear, and I am.

The hot weather did not yet break as predicted, so I didn't even entertain working the Boys.  Just as well since I am limping.  And the flies are biting, that's for sure. The Boys seem to be spending most of their time in the barn by the fans. The breeze both cools them a bit and keeps the flies off.  I do use bug spray on them too, but I don't like to use too much.  They seem to be doing fine.

Better than I am in this heat. But the pool felt great yesterday. The water was warm and comfy.

Bit of excitement there.  I was riding around the Lazy River and there was a little girl nearby who was a tiny thing, and just barely able to stay properly seated in her tube. Her mom was a bit behind us when suddenly, the little one tumbled out, not far from me. I was just out of range as she struggled in the water, grabbing for the edge against the current. In a second, one of the lifeguards was in the water and rescued her.  I managed to snag his flip flops before they floated out of range and tipped out of my own tube.  No biggie for me as the water is only about 3 feet deep. They told me to just get to the steps a bit further on and then have someone help me back into my tube.

I am not sure if I could have gotten to the little girl if the lifeguard had been farther away, but I was surely ready to try. I am happy to report that a few minutes later, the little girl was safely in her mother's lap on that tube, laughing, waving and giggling happily as they floated along for a few more turns around the river.

A happy ending was had by all.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dripping With Sweat

And I'm Not a Horse

It never cooled off last night and even by 5 AM or so, it was still hot....humid hot.  I considered going out around  7 and instead rolled over and went back to sleep until 8 AM.  By then, forgeddaboudit!

The Boys were hanging out in their stalls in front of the fans.  I fed and then cleaned the stalls, scrubbed and refilled the water tub.  Next on the agenda was to finish up  hitching  up the horse trailer  so I could go pick up the shed I'm buying to store my garbage cans in.  Raccoon Raider has made one  too many messes out there and I need to take some kind of action to get the cans out of his reach.

By the time I was done wrestling with the equalizer bar, I was dripping with sweat.  And I still have to clean the electrical connections and hook them up. Hope everything works because when I'm hot like this I don't have a lot of patience.

Today a swim for sure. Yesterday when I went past the pool it was far too crowded for my taste.  I would have had to park way out in the edges of the lot.  Not that I can't walk that far, but by the time you get back to the car after a swim, you're all hot again, so I just decided to crash in the air conditioned house instead.

The flies are a little worse out in the barn than I would have expected. I'm using fly predators and feed through fly supplement, but with the Boys hanging around there, they are peeing a lot in the stalls and in the run in, so there are too many wet spots/bedding for the flies to breed in.  I may have to do some baiting or spraying this year.  They are not horrible, but still annoying.

And the very wet spring did not help because the deerflies in the woods and the mosquitoes are all thriving.  Now we really do need some rain--may be thunderstorms tonight--but all that might do is encourage more bugs to breed.

When I was a child, I used to love summer.  We used to spend hours and hours outdoors playing. Either the temperatures have changed or else I have.

I wonder. *G*

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Short Work on a Hot Morning

Done by Ten

I woke up a bit later today--around 7:15, but I roused myself and went out to the barn, determined to do something with the Boys.  It was already feeling humid and was less pleasant by half than yesterday.  The forecast promised a really hot day and the morning was not denying it.

Still, I went to collect a horse or three for a short lunge session.  This time Chance did not run as far, so I got him first since Tucker had decided he was going to play hard to get. Please note:  Neither Tucker nor Chance was hard to catch when I first got them and Tucker was always easy when PJ was still alive.  Toby has always been bad about getting caught, even from 15 or 16 years ago. Sometimes he's fine, but at other times he runs off very clearly defying capture. At his worst, he will not even allow himself to be caught when I have a treat and will snatch the goodie and dive away.  I will always get him in the end, but he is very elusive.  Unfortunately, with horses, it's "monkey see, monkey do," and both Tucker and Chance have learned Toby's bad habit.  I am relatively sure with a little work I can straighten them out, but as long as the wily chestnut is herd boss around here, they will keep re-learning his techniques. *sigh*

At any rate, I added a little one foot high jump to the lungeing pattern, and had each horse jump over it five times in each direction as part of the workout.  Of the three, Chance is by far the most relaxed.  I'm not sure if he ever would be a good jumper, but perhaps his casual approach is merely proof that he thinks jumping is so easy he doesn't have to make any effort.  The curious thing is that he is actually loses impulsion over the fence. So, he takes off from a nice little canter and lands in a nice little trot.  I don't get the feeling he'd be a runaway on a course. *lol*

Tucker still shows the most potential as at least a hunter jumper.  He has naturally nice, soft impulsion into the fence, a relaxed jump and a quite canter off.  He tends to like to go clean, and rarely miscalculates a good take off stride on his own.  When I have jumped him under saddle, even with the little schooling he has, he takes a nice forward contact on the rein, pulling gently towards the fence, and then offers a nice jump.

Toby would be the open jumper with lots of enthusiasm and a clearly athletic jump.  He can pop you right out of the saddle if he has to make an effort as he uses his back quite a bit.  I've lunged him over some decent sized fences in the past and he had no trouble at all.  He will, however take off a bit after a fence and gets strong about it.  Then, of course, with him, there is the unexpected spook at new things, so of the three, he would be the one that would need the most schooling and exposure to all kinds of obstacles.

All that being said, I really have no intention of doing much jumping at all anymore. Those of you who have followed my blog know I was once an eventer and rode both hunters and jumpers for years.  Now, all I really want is for my horses to know how to jump.  It offers a good extra physical exercise for them and it assures me that should we run into something on the trail that we can't get around we can go over.  Besides, every once in a while it's fun to pop over something just to add some variety to a schooling session.

After lungeing, cleaning stalls and feeding, I decided to try out my newly repaired riding mower--the bigger one.  When I got home yesterday from visiting Stacie and my friend Jacquie who's here NJ on a trip in from Las Vegas, the mower was in the back yard, returned from the repair shop.

I spent about two hours or so, mowing the weeds in the paddock and the pasture.  It was, at times, a bit of challenge, even for this mower.  I finally developed a technique for getting through the thicker stuff and did perhaps half of the mowing I really need to do.  The morning stayed under cloud cover until around 10 AM or so and that's just about when I decided to call it quits and come in for breakfast.

I figure I'll go for a swim later in the day to cool off.

Meanwhile, the Boys have been worked, the chores are done, and it's not even noon yet!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

8:15 AM And All Is Well

Chain Reaction

I woke up at 6 AM, despite its being Saturday, and my cats insisted that it was not time to lie around when there was food to be had.  So I got up anyhow.

Getting the cat food off the back porch stirred up Patches outdoors so he started fussing.  Taking his food out caught the notice of the horses and they came to full attention.

No choice left. My intention to sleep late was thwarted by a Follywoods chain reaction.

But it was a cool morning, so I took the opportunity to lunge the Boys--all three of them.  Tucker seemed quite content to be caught and to my relief also looked completely sound on the lunge line.  So I gave him a bit of a workout, with lots of trot/canter transitions.  Not a long session, but one to once more start building him up.

Toby was NOT pleased to be captured and he did try to elude me, but he made a false step hiding behind Tucker and I snagged his flysheet in my hand. After that, it was a full surrender.  I gave him a short lungeing session as well, again, just to try starting a legging up program again.

Chance took off too, something he has unfortunately learned from Toby.  He went into the second section of paddock, then cantered around me and headed back to the front area where the other Boys where and stood quietly and willingly for me to put the halter on.  I don't think he's actually trying to run away, but he may think, since Toby does it, that it's some kind of required game I like to play before I catch him???

I worked him about the same as Tucker.  He does prefer canter to trot and will go into a little slow, relaxed, totally lacking in impulsion canter on each lead to evade trotting out.  It's kind of endearing as his canter is super comfortable when I'm in the saddle, but it does not have the same muscular effect as a good forward trot.  We'll work on it and the trot/canter transitions do help a lot.

So, by a bit before 8 AM I was done working all three of them.  I fed, cleaned the stalls and picked up around the paddock and came back inside for my own breakfast.

No bugs in the shady arena, so it was a good time to work. If I could only discipline myself to make it a habit, I might actually get some riding in this summer.

Yep, that's one big IF..... 

Thursday, June 24, 2010


And Grades Again

I ended up relenting on the students' grades.  The Principal had called each on of them in to tell them how disappointed he was with their grades.  Apparently some of the readily admitted they had earned exactly what they got.  So, I had them in my room in little clusters and first made sure they understood why they had failed and also what lesson they should have learned by it.  Then we went about making "amends" of sorts having them write the missing reports to hand in for partial credit. None of their grades came up to much more than "D's," but at least they were passing for the marking level. 

The one student I had been really strict with the day before was a bit chastened, at least, but when I told him the instruction manual had not been good at all, he started to defend himself about how "hard" he'd worked on it.  I stopped him at that point and gave him a pretty accurate critque of what exactly he'd done wrong with it and why, in his particular case, those mistakes were so serious.  Of all the projects, his is the one that is going to actually be used in the real world--as a hands on museum exhibit for children.  Thus, an instruction manual with safety features, good diagrams, pictures of the parts in operation, examples of how the computer screen should look with diagrams, trouble shooting details, and good solid information about when and where to get help should something go wrong was extremely importants.

I have no idea if he will actually sit down and think it through.  I told him sometimes when a person is extremely intelligent, as I'm sure he is, it's difficult to see the world and something like his project through the eyes of an untrained novice.  Personally, I think it is a hard skill to develop--something that's taken me years to learn as a teacher.  It's all well and good that he understands how the invention works and that most of the fixes are simple, but suppose it doesn't work and someone tries to open the back with a screwdriver to "repair" it, or the program crashes and doesn't boot back up the way he was sure it would?  People panic if they see an error message on a computer screen when they have little knowledge of the program they're using. And, unless they know the step by step method for rebooting and what to expect to appear on the screen during each step, they stay panicked.  "User friendly" has to be socialble to nearly all levels of potential users. 

He seemed to listen, but who knows.  Graduation was last night and high school--despite what these kids may think now--very quickly becomes a "thing of the past" once their new lives begin. 

It was a nice ceremony, although I have rather mixed feelings about the students' speeches.  They were clever, I'll say that, but the messages were more memories of jokes and fun than inspirational.  I will say that each one of the students was an exceptional public speaker.  It is one skill stressed all along in that school and what I saw was a great deal of confidence and leadership in front of a large audience. As well, they were articulate, used their voices well, and enunciated clearly--something many teenagers are not likely to do.  On the downside, there was a bit too much ego and a touch of arrogance now and then which tells me something needs to be done to temper their self-esteem a little along the way. 

Which leads me to an interesting conversation I had with one of the staff.  We got on to the subject of rules in the school and how some of the seniors and teachers had griped that the new principal was "ruining things by making rules."  Actually, so far, nothing he has said or done that  know of has been unreasonable and everything has been simply following required State regulations, school system policy, or safety requirements. The trouble is, that on several occasions, when people have tried to do things that were perfectly fine under the old administration, he has said, "No."  Like rather petulant children, teachers and students have bristled at that.  So, in their eyes, he's the bad guy. 

To my eyes, by and large, he's been doing the right thing.  When I got there to teach, I shivered a few times and some of the "too much" freedom the kids had.  While it made them happy, it had my stomach in flutters.  They were not to happy with me when I insisted they had to sign out of class if they needed to go somewhere and when I refused them a few times.  They weren't too keen that I was strict about taking attendance in the morning and needed to actually see them before taking someone else's word that indeed they had made it safely to school that morning.  And, of course, how dare I actually insist that they turn in their work as required on time or suffer a penalty? 

The staff member I was chatting with said that the students had been spoiled and given far too much freedom, as had some of the teachers who also didn't exactly abide by rules they needed to follow--mostly regarding school monies collected for various activities. (Long story there...)  From what I saw, I have to agree.  Don't get me wrong, The school is wonderful, the kids are smart and generally well behaved, and the teachers are really good, but.....there have to be limits.  And the limits have to be set by the law. 

From my first day of teaching I was always reminded of that fact that we, as teachers and administrators, are acting in "loco parentis"--in place of our students' parents.  Mothers and fathers are handing over their children to us for the good part of a day presuming they will be safe, well cared for and properly educated.  In the vocational/technical high schools, where I worked, the word SAFE was always said in capital letters.  There are, of course, other laws set down that need to be followed, but making sure that students are accounted for at all times, and supervised properly is an essential. 

It's kind of like horses....see this is a horse blog after all...when you put your horse into someone else's care, you expect him/her to be safe, well fed, and properly cared for.  Trainers and handlers should be accountable for how your horse is worked with so that he/she doesn't get hurt or traumatized by any kind of cruelty.  Your vet need to be knowlegeable, competent, and responsive. Your farrier needs to be a master horse handler and tremendously skilled.  And you need to have faith in each one of these people that they will always, always do what is best to keep your horse healthy and protected.

Schools need to do no less. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Nothing Special

Another Hot Day

Summer has blasted in.  I did not get my swim in today because I left school earlier than usual and the pool had not yet opened. It was a decision to hang around until it did or come home.  I opted for home.  Aside from covering a few bookcases, the classroom is in order, as are all my records.  Graduation is tomorrow night and that's it for the students. I will go in on Thursday to sign out officially. 

There were a few discussions today about grades.  Most of the students were fine with what they earned, but one or two had questions.  I did change one grade of a student who had written one of the required papers without the instruction sheet, so I gave him a few extra points.  He had actually turned in an extra essay so I know he wasn't making excuses. 

Another student questioned his exam grade, but I have reviewed his paper and I will have to stand by my grade on that one as he really did not follow the required format.  He is an excellent student, but he went off track partway through his essay. 

The third student is another matter altogether. He is in a computer class connected to his career class. There were only two requirements for that course, both of which I very clearly spelled out to all the students.  Each week, students were to submit a progress report of what they had accomplished in the class.  All this report needed was one sentence explaining what they had done, or a list of tasks accomplished.  The idea was not to demand pages of writing, but simply for them to be responsible to file a weekly report.  This particular student did not file a single report during the whole marking period.  He did, however, turn in a rather poor project--in this case a user manual for the invention he had created. (That counted as the other half of his grade.)

His explanation? Since he had completed his senior project--the invention--during the prior marking level, he had nothing to do for the fourth level, so he did not file any reports. However, he should have been using his class time to work on the user manual at the very least.  He then brought freshly printed progress reports to me today, reporting that he had been contacting people regarding his project. and meeting with people to get it set up in the museum where it will be displayed. 

Since the whole point of the progress reports was that they be turned in every week, I was not at all willing to accept them today--after the marking level was over and the grades turned in as required.  I suppose there is always a chance the Principal may change his grade, but I don't intend to know about it, nor to care. I stood firm and let him know he was in the wrong and earned exactly the grade he deserved.  I had sent a possible failure notice half way through the level, warning him of his status, and he did nothing.  Sooner or later, when you don't meet the requirements of a course--or a job--there are consequences to pay. 

It is a lesson I hope he will remember.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Chance of Destruction

Mischief on a Hot Day

I apparently did not fasten the clip on the gate at the end of the barn aisle this morning after I left.  When I got home, Chance was stationed in the barn aisle amid a swath of destruction.  The gate opens in, so once he was in the barn he couldn't get himself back out--his breaking and entering skills need some exiting work.

There were several piles of manure and some wet spots on the rather trampled pile of blankets and sheets--some of which looked to have been ripped.   So I suspect he was in there for the  better part of the day. 

But the biggest casualty of the day was my nylon jacket-- a nice lightweight Harry Hall.  I'd left it in the barn a few weeks ago.  Guess I should have taken it back inside.  Now it is in the garbage can.  It is one shredded mess with no chance of restoration.  This is the second jacket my happy little  horse has torn into pieces.  I have to wonder if he has an appetite for my clothes or if he just likes the why sleeves kind of rip off in his teeth!  I am a bit disappointed as I really did like that jacket, but what's done is done...and cannot be undone.  *lol*

I did go for a swim after school today, keeping it to only six laps since it was my first time in the water since I caught my cold.  I was feeling pretty cured today. 

Good thing, because the air conditioning system in the school was not working on my side of the building.  It still wasn't as bad as my classroom used to be in my old school, but it certainly wasn't comfortable.  Worse, the building does not have any windows that can be opened, so there was no way to even bring in any fresh air.   I think they fixed the system  by the early afternoon, and the students left early after a half day, at 1:30, so I didn't have to cope with their complaints. 

I have nearly all the work done I need to do to sign out for the year.  My exams are all graded, all my grades are calculated, the books are counted, and the room is nearly cleaned of all materials.  I still have a few little things to put away, but that's about it.  I looked over my checkout list, and made sure everything is ready to go. 

We only have two more half days of classes and then graduation on Wednesday night.  The Principal has arranged things so I will go back in on Thursday to do the official signout procedure, so I'll have one extra day of pay.  I know he feels that sub pay is far too little for all the work I've done.  That's nice of him. 

I'm actually glad I took on the job.  Working at this school validated all my teaching skills, as far as I'm concerned.  When I was in the other school, there were so many times I felt totally unappreciated both by my supervisors and my students.  Here, I've gotten nothing but positive vibes and one of my students stayed after class the other day to thank me because he'd enjoyed my class so much.  That made my day. 

I've spent 38 years of teaching spending a good part of every class trying to motivate students.  My success was pretty good, but it was often frustrating. Still, I knew I had accomplished a lot despite failures along the way.  At this school, the students are already motivated, so teaching them was far less challenging.  But, when I added all the little things I used to do to make class come alive for my difficult students, the techniques reaped ten times the reward.  It was nice.

I have put myself on the substitute teacher list for the Academy for next year, so I suspect I will be going in now and then.  I'll earn a little extra money along the way and keep in touch with some of the students I had in class this year. It will be fun.

It's too hot out to do anything with the Boys...again.  No biggie. With the barn raid by Chance, I'm sure everyone was quite amused for the day. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Great Suggestions All

After School's Out Again

I will once more be retired and things will be a lot easier. I can get up early to do something with the Boys before the lazy routine of the day catches up with me.  And I do like the suggestion of setting a time each day to devote to the Boys.

As far as taking in a boarder...I have no more room.  My land is maxed out with three.  I'd thought about that when PJ died, but after some long consideration decided I'd rather not take on the responsibility of someone else's horse.  Nor was I too keen about having someone coming here at all hours.  I'd never quite be able to restrict someone access to their horse at my convenience.  I might be willing to let someone come to ride now and then on a lease or trade deal for lessons and work, though. But I'm not quite ready for that either.

As far as trading work for lessons, that is an option.  But the one offer I had was for kids and that concerns me again as the "teacher" in me tends to realize that kids need supervision.  And I wouldn't want them driving my tractor or lawn equipment. And I don't really have the spare money at the moment to pay for help.  Maybe in a year or so when some of my other retirement benefits kick in, but not now.

Actually, at least for now, I am quite capable of getting all the work done myself--except for a few heavier jobs that need doing.  For those, I do have some viable options.  But, this morning when I went out to feed the Boys at about 8:30 AM or so--late on the weekend--I was soaked in sweat just doing the morning chores becuase it was so hot and humid already!  I really, really need to mow the lawn but....yuck!! What a dreadful prospect.  I am trying to psych myself up to just go out and do it. 

It looks as if the hoof packing did not stay in Tucker's hoof too well, but I only took a little look.  He was pulling his "go into Toby's stall and eat his food" routine on me, so I was chasing him more than examining his feet.  Toby used to be more aggressive about Tucker's attempted invasions, so I am a little surprised.  Either Tucker has moved up in herd rank, or Toby just doesn't care.  He does tend to eat and then crib, so he does get distracted.

Again, once school is out, I will lock Tucker in his stall for his meals.  The difficulty when I am going to work every day is that once in a while I lock him in and forget I've done about getting distracted.  Then, he's stuck in there all day, which in not usually my intention.  Then again, if I made it part of my regular routine, I'd be more likely to open his door as a habit, and not forget.  At least I'd be home to let him out should I mess up.   It's not negligence, actually, but rather a case of having too many things to do at one time.

I've cut both Tucker's and Chance's feed back to about 1/3 of what they were getting before. Lacking a bathroom scale big enough to weigh them, I'm not sure how much weight they may have lost--if any.  If I don't give them some more exercise, maybe I ought to get them a treadmill.  Too bad I can't set up a system where they could work on a treadmill to power some of the work I need to do around here.  (grass cutting machine, post hole digger, tree trimmer, stall cleaner, etc.)  Anyone have any brilliant ideas??? *vbwg* 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Where's My Motivation?

Not Here, That's for Sure

So, here I am with three good horses, two I can ride for sure and one still a bit iffy....

Do I ride? No.  Today it's hot again so it's hard to get myself up for going out, tacking up and riding.  I still have my cold, so that's another excuse. 

But really, years ago, neither the heat nor the sniffles would have stopped me.  I was totally immersed in riding and training.  I accomplished tremendous things with my horses.  I jumped big fences and have garbage bags full of ribbons to prove my success.  I moved two horses up to FEI dressage levels and competed there.  Granted my success at that level was not amazing, but just being able to enter the arena was an accomplishment. 

So what happened?  Is it the frustration Tucker brought into the picture?  That never stopped me before.  And besides, no one can ever say Chance has no potential and he certainly has a good attitude. 

I have the horses at home, so traveling to a boarding stable's no barricade.  I have a nice sand arena right here too, so no battles with other riders for a place to ride. 

I do know that part of the problem is that some of my physical issues are impacting me more than I'd like.  My knees hurt and there's not much more I can do about it aside from major replacement surgery, something I am trying to avoid.  My surgery in December really did knock some of the energy out of me, and a bit of my ambition.  Although I have recovered physically, I'm not so sure my mindset is back to normal, but then again, I wasn't riding a lot before the surgery either, so I can't use that as a total excuse. 

Frankly, I've gotten lazy.  And, maybe going back to teach wasn't the best idea for me in some ways.  I hadn't quite settled into retirement yet and suddenly, I was back in the classroom, working hard.  Even though I have been merely a substitute, I found it impossible not to give the best effort possible, including a lot of extra work. 

But, as I think of it, that too is part of the problem.  I have to change my thought patterns a bit.  I tend to be the kind of person who never tackles a job partway.  If I go out to weedwhack...another job that needs doing again...I can't seem to stop before every weed is conquered.  What I need to learn is how to tackle jobs a little at a time and walk away satisfied even when a task is half done, with part of it saved for tomorrow. 

So, I need to approach the horse thing with the same mindset.  If I simply weed whack half of the front bank in a day, that's OK.  And if I ride one horse a day and don't do anything with the other two, that should be fine too. 

Today, I picked up eight bales of hay in the morning. Perhaps, on a hot day, that's enough of a chore--aside from taking care of the Boys.  If I set lower goals, they certainly will be easier to meet, especially with my physical limitations.   When I first retired, I told myself I needed to accomplish at least one little job a day.  I think redefining "little" may help me.  What I need to do is a little at a time. 

Sorry for going on about this, but I do feel kind of guilty knowing I have three lovely Boys here I'm not riding. 

Then again, I'm not sure the Boys care.  They seem quite content to just hang out, just being horses.

Oh, speaking of which...latest plan for Tucker's hoof.  I did have some Forshner's hoof  packing here. So I am going to stuff the hole with some Betadine soaked cotton and then stick it in place with the hoof packing.  I will see if that stays in place better than the bandages--which do come off and let dirt into the hole.  I'll let you know how it works. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Not Much To Report

Still Have a Cold

I am still feeling icky from my cold--mostly tired and I've been coughing. All I want to do is rest when I get home from school.

Tucker looked pretty good again tonight, but I didn't lunge him to see. Perhaps in the morning...

To answer some of the questions and suggestions:  Tucker has been on a low carbohydrate feed now for several months. I have cut his feed back to 1/3 of what he was getting, so, yes, he is on a diet.  I will be switching over to another brand of low carb, high fat feed as soon as the other stuff I have is gone.  I will also be trying some oil supplements as Caroline had suggested to me.

X rays really did not show any abnormalities in his foot, including any real sign of laminitis. So in that department, we seem to be OK.  The same goes for navicular.

He currently has a heel pad on that foot and a rocker toe shoe with trim, etc. angled ideally according to the X ray.  Scott is an excellent shoer and he always does what's best for Tucker. In this case he has gone far beyond in an effort to get Tucker sound.  He is as puzzled as my vet.

I'm sure I could spend a fortune on all kinds of other tests to see what might be going on, including nerve blocks, but I'm not particularly in a situation to do that right now.

So it's back to wait and see......

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Well, This Is Interesting

Limping Less, If At All????

I went to a retirement dinner after school, so I didn't do much more than feed the Boys when I first got home.

I was back again, near dark, and I took Tucker out on the lunge line for about a minute, just to see how much he was limping.  For all intents and purposes, except when I thought I surely must be seeing a lame step, he was sound again. 

He was fussing about the deerflies which were really bad out there again--humid, hot and thunderstorms predicted.  So, I didn't do a thorough test, or work him on much more than a small circle, but there wasn't much sign of a limp.  I don't think he was moving out quite as willingly as he was the last time I lunged him for real, so he may be a bit tentative, but.....

What the heck is going on?? Could there be something going on aggravated by the wet ground?  When it was dry, he seemed soundest. Then we had some rain and wetter footing conditions.  I left him in his stall one day, with dry fresh shavings and the bandaged foot. Then I turned him out last night and all day today.  We've had no rain, so the ground is pretty dry.

Any and all ideas welcome, including fantastical speculation. 

I will try him again tomorrow to see how he looks. 

This is decidedly strange. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Phooey!! Lame Again

Tucker Was Limping This Morning

As Tucker trotted across the paddock in pursuit of Chance I thought I saw a bad step.  So I slipped the halter on him and put him on the lunge line.  A half circle was all I needed to see that he was limping again on that right front.

I brought him in, cleaned the toe area, medicated it and bandaged it, and then left him in for the day so it would stay clean and dry.  I've let him back out now that I am home and the ground is dried out.  I'll let him walk around with the other Boys while I go to the chiropractor again and then later to a meeting--political stuff. 

When I get home, I will once more check on him, to see if he is any better.

Strange indeed as he was totally sound when I rode him and totally sound to lungeing on Saturday.  I didn't fuss with them yesterday, as you recall, so I can't say how he looked. He does not limp at the walk so unless he trots on his own, I don't notice a limp.  I did feel a pulse in that pastern, but it was not  a heavy one.  Still, unless he did something else, I have to suspect it's his foot again. 

I am more puzzled than anything by now.  But about five years ago he did have that strange off and on lameness that went on for weeks until Scott finally found an abscess.  It was very similar to this so it's still possible that's what's going on.

Once more I am in wait and see mode.  I'm getting used to it.  *sigh* 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Well Now I Understand

Why So Tired?

Why the nap, and why was I so tired?  I woke up with a sore throat and now I am getting a stuffy nose.  Clearly I am fighting off a cold.  I don't have a fever as of last check, but I am achy and coughing off and on.

Could be from the swimming, of course, or I might have picked up something from one of the kids at school.

I'll just take it extra easy for a few days.  I bought some hot and sour soup, and some chicken noodle soup at the Chinese food bar at ShopRite.  And I got some orange juice.

I have cold meds and aspirin at the hand, and hot tea.  I'll sniff some tea tree oil steam, and take some extra vitamins. 

I am not happy to be sick, but rather satisfied to know my tiredness had an actual physical cause.

The Boys are hanging out around the barn.  The mosquitoes are horrible.  I have the fans blowing in their stalls so they do have some refuge.  The rain is not helping the bug situation.

Some good news on the outdoor kitty front. I actually managed to pet Patches yesterday.  And he is coming into the carport when I feed him letting me sit close by as he eats.  He was shy of my hand this morning, but given time, I think I will be able to tame him.  He has been making overtures to me lately, rolling on the ground not to far off, but if I approach he runs off.  Still, it's a far cry from the way he was a year ago.

I just need to be patient.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Another Hot Day

I Just Kind of Gave Up

Weater forecast issued a warning to avoid physical activity because of the severe heat.

I did. 

Hence, I accomplished very little.  I did clean the stalls and the run in shed, so that's done.  I contemplated mowing some of the lawn, but the darn tires were flat again, and that meant dragging extension cords, etc. to get the compressor going. 

And, I thought about a swim...but that, to me is my afternoon activity and as I contemplated, the sky grew darker and darker. 

At that point, Stacie called me to report on her new horse's performance at the show yesterday.  Pavanna was an absolute angel in the new surroundings of the showgrounds--warming up in the indoor and then competing outdoors to the tune of two over 66% scores at first level.  Stacie was not riding this time.  She has a talented trainer working with the mare and felt she needed to build some confidence before taking her out herself.  No worries there.

Now Stacie is psyched for the clinic she is going to next weekend.  I am so happy for her after all she has been through first with all the efforts to get her beloved Lucky sound again, and then trying to find a new horse.  It looks as if she now has a gem to enjoy.  Yippee!!

Well, during the phone call, it got even darker out and thunder started rumbling on the horizon.  I went out and fed the Boys, encouraging them to come in from the pasture so I could shut the gate to keep them from hilltopping during the storm.

So far, all we've had is a spritz of rain, so the cell may yet pass us by. 

Right now, everything is on hold. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Lungeing Again

When Evening Falls

On a hot day like today, the choices are limited.  Either work the horses in the morning or wait until evening.  It wasn't supposed to be so hot, according to the forecast, but my car thermometer was reading 87F when I came home from the library.

Library, you say?? Oh, it was the annual used book sale and my running mate was voluteering so we figured it'd be good for me to show my face too.  As it turned out, there were not a lot of people there, but I did meet some of the library insiders, which is always a good thing. And I ended up buying three books.  One was another copy of "The Silent Miaow" by Paul Gallico and the other two were novels related to "Gone With the Wind."  One was "Scarlett" which I may have read years ago...or not...and the other was one I'd never seen before, a telling of Rhett Butler's story.  Should make for some fun reading during the summer. 

Then, I headed off to the tack store for the annual Customer Appreciation Day.  I missed most of the festivities, but I did get some horse treats on sale, some supplement for Tucker, and some gloves with very tacky palms which, as it proved out, really helped me hold my soft but slippery new lunge line.

Fed the Boys and headed out for a swim.  Then, I went shopping again at another store to catch a sale item and then decided to have dinner out for a change.  Appleby's has an oriental chicken salad I really like, so I treated myself. 

All that done, I finally went out to the barn to lunge the Boys.  Tonight, I managed to work all three.

Tucker was spot on.  He is still nice and sound and gave me some very good, obedient work.  Lots of transitions between trot and canter sharpen him up nicely and he was going well forward.  He was quick to my voice commands and earned a big carrot reward.

Toby let himself into the aisle of the barn only to realize too late that he'd trapped himself into a lungeing session as well.  He is always nearly perfect on the lunge line and we too had a good little workout ended with a carrot.

Chance finished up the night with a good session too.  I did quite a few transitions with him as well, but he doesn't always come back down to trot on the first command the way Tucker does.  Still, I won't complain.  His repsonses are improving all the time and he is really listening to me.  He got a carrot, of course.

So it was a busy day.  No grass grew under my feet, that's for sure......

Friday, June 11, 2010

Nap Time

For Me....Z-z-z-z-z-z-z

Well, that didn't work out as planned.  I came home a little late because I'd stayed after school to visit my 9th graders fundraising "Game Night."  They had several electronic games set up throughout the school as well as some board games and charged a fee for students to join in the fun.   I didn't contribute any money but I did stay for about an hour laughing with them and just watching them have fun.

I got home, fed the Boys and made myself a light supper.  Then, after a bit at the computer, I was rather suddenly overwhelmed with "tired."  So I lay down on the couch for a little rest.


I fell asleep.  It's now dark out.  I could put on the lights and use the arena, but nearly 10 PM is a bit late.

The Boys were out enjoying the pasture when I got home.  When I fed, I called and there wasn't much movement towards the barn.  I guess I was out there for about ten minutes waiting and I THINK I saw Tucker starting to move towards the gate.

If the feed's gone when I go out for late feed, I'll know the Boys finally decided to come in to eat.  The grass is not that lush, but I guess nibbling green is tastier than nibbling grain.  As long as they are happy, it's fine by me.

And, I'd much rather have my horses act casually about their feed rather than charging in, tumbling all over each other and stampeding to the feed tubs.  Contentment is much more relaxing for everyone.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Recipes and Rain

More Rain Today

A downpour started when I was in the pool, but there was no thunder, so I managed to finish my laps.

More rain rained on the way home.  I have a campaign meeting tonight too, so waiting for things to dry out is not an option.  So I am sitting in a nice soft bathrobe, just relaxing. 

As for the recipes...unfortunately, we no longer have the sour cherry trees.  They died off some years ago, so, Mary Lou, no pie for me. But pie or no pie, if you do cross this way a visit would be a joy. 

The crumble recipe is a cinch, from the looks of it, and well worth the effort.  But the ripe berries are weeks away.  But this is the USA, as I recall, I did see some in the supermarket recently...better yet, there were raspberries there, and blueberries. Trouble it, anything like that requires eating and I am here by myself as the sole responsible eater of all things delicious.  I do try to avoid the sweets as much as I can.  (I deny the presence of a gallon of Breyers chocolate chip raspberry ice cream in my freezer......) 

The Boys were by the barn when I got home but they vanished as soon as my car pulled into the drive.  Talk about avoidance!  I did put their feed in the stalls and called them in, but they remained invisible.  I will have to check on Tucker's shoes and feel later, for sure, but for now I am not slogging out to see. 

I think sunshine is back in the forecast for tomorrow, but the weekend seems to have more thunderstorms ready to arrive.  I'll have to time my swimming at the outdoor pool to avoid them. 

And, ah yes, I will have to time my horsework plans accordingly as well.  *sigh*

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Swimming in the Rain

Indoor Pools are Great!!

I managed a full ten lap swim after school despite the rain.  Had the pool been outdoors, I would not have gone in.  It was rather cool outside. 

But indoors?? 84f water.  The building was OK, not really warm, but certainly warmer than outdoors and...the showers had nice hot water. 

Needless to say, I did not work the horses as the rain continued and still continues into the night. 

Just as well as I got a lecture from my chiropractor. A whole bunch of vertebrae were out of adjustment, not just the ones I noticed.  My doctor wants me to try to stay on a two week schedule.  I'll try, but sometimes things just get away from me. 

Claire, my mother was the baker in the family, so the blackberries are more of a nuisance than a treasure.  Hard to say, too just how nice they actually will be, although with all the rain, they should be big.  Then, of course, trying to get them before the birds do is another challenge.

When I was a child, my cousins and I used to pick them and sell them along the road.  Back then, we had a few places where the berries were huge and luscious.  As I recall, we sold a lot of quarts to passing drivers. 

We also had a strawberry patch here and I'd take berries in to school to sell.  People loved them.  My Mother would bake a crumbly cake and we'd have homemade strawberry shortcake for weeks of desserts.  I'm not sure what the recipe was, but the cake was kind of like a biscuit texture and not too sweet so it didn't compete with the fruit. 

But my favorite was the sour cherry pie made from sour cherries from our trees.  Once again, my Mother had a magic touch I never acquired in the baking department.

And, oh!!! Her Dutch apple cake!!!

OK, done. I do not need to eat any cakes, thank you very much.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Back Out

But Not From the Horses

I slept in some kind of strange position and threw my back out.  It's not too bad, but I opted out of riding tonight.

But I did go to the Township Council meeting with C and CH to present our concerns regarding horses and cars on our roadways.  Apparently, the Township makes its own signs, so with a bit of time to find out what would be legal to post and where the signs could be posted, we may actually get some safety signs out there.  These would inform drivers of the 25 mph speed limit and the need to obey rider's hand signals. 

Before the meeting, I tackled a few of the weeds and vines growing out of control all over my fencing and paddocks.  I'm still waiting for the big mower to get fixed, so I was working by hand.  I may try out the weed whacker on some of the greenery, but a lot of it might be too much for the strings.  If I can get the DR Trimmer working, that might do some of the work for me--better even if I could put the cutting blade on that.

But save it all for another day when my back is adjusted--tomorrow evening.

I did swim, which felt good. 

And the Boys came over to "help" with the trimming efforts.  I think they appreciated that I managed to clear a wider swath through the gate to the pasture so they don't have to duck past the rose vines on one side and the blackberry bushes on the other. 

Nature and the forest are determined to take over my land.  Greenery is nice to some degree, but not to the "NTH" degree. 

The battle begins. 

Beautiful Day!!

Some Days Just Work Out Fine

The weather was gorgeous!! Sunny, dry, "coolish," and breezy.  And, as it turned out, relatively "bugless!!"

I went for a nice swim after school, doing my laps with ease and a little more speed as my fitness has increased.

I got home, fed the Boys, did a little computer stuff while they digested and then headed back out.

This time I saddled up Tucker.  I have not ridden him in over a month, if I take into account all the days he was lame and then the week of dreadful heat.

May I say, with considerable pleasure, that my Boy is trained?  Well not upper level dressage trained, but certainly trained to the point where I can just hop on after such a long layoff and he is just fine to ride.

I started off letting him go in a long frame, not asking for much except some forward trot. I did not feel any lame steps and I kept the trotting up for about ten minutes.  Then, I asked for canter, and he rolled right into it. This, now, was a bit of a surprise as he had been protesting the canter aid before.  I did not canter long, as I know he is not more than lungeing fit, but both leads were good and he didn't seem unhappy about either.

Once, when I slid my leg back a little too much he swished his tail and started threatening "something," but once I put my leg where it belonged, he was fine. I'll have to sort that out with some haunches in as we go along, but I'm not too worried about it for now. As his conditioning improves, I'll think about the possible hock injections, but there's no rush.  I am not competing and as long as he feels comfortable, I'd rather wait.

After I finished up with Tucker, I decided to give my own out of riding shape body a break, and lunged Chance instead of riding him. Lots of canter/trot/canter transitions energized him.  He has a nice trot, hinting of some suspension.  Strangely, he kept taking the right lead canter, even on the left rein--quite contrary to his normal response.  He did have his flysheet on and I began to wonder if perhaps the hind leg straps were causing an issue.  I finally loosened them and he gave me the lead right off, so that might have been the problem.

Either way, out little lungeing session was a good one with the Boy getting a nice little workout.

Toby clearly did not want to get caught, so I left him again.  He is retired, after all.  Why work??

Uhm....I'm retired too....why work?

Gotta to work....*lol*

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Storms on the Way

Will It Make Up Its Mind?

In know it's not human, but the weather is so fickle today!  This morning it was unbearably hot. C's hubby, henceforth referred to as CH, came over in the morning to repair my doors.  Meanwhile C rode over through the woods on  her horse just to visit.  It was hot and windy.  JJ, her horse, an Arab was spooking at all kinds of wind monsters in the woods.  

So I brought them both into the arena for a little evaluation/lesson thingie.  JJ tends to carry his head up, as some Arabs do.  (Lockie used to say it was to keep the sand out of their noses....*G*)  He is stiff on the left and hollow on the right at the moment. Nothing serious, but typical one sidedness some good dressage work should fix without too much trouble.  Just walking along, I had C do some work to get him to yield to the bit.  He tends to bulge his neck out at the poll and a bit below when he's on the left, blocking the flexing down through his shoulder.  I walked alongside, pushing him where he needed to be in order to bend correctly.  

He was so cute. You could tell he was totally confused, but he kept trying to do at least something in response, even if it meant stopping or backing up.  Then I showed C the Kenny Harlow/John Lyons exercise of giving to the bit--hold rein until horse drops his head, then immediately let go completely.  JJ got the idea at least a little bit and I suspect if C has the time and patience, he will get the concept pretty quickly.  He's a smart boy and really does seem willing.  I think if he can learn to round and lift his back under saddle he will be a much stronger endurance horse, and I'm wagering he will muscle up quite a bit in the wither/neck area.  It will just take some time.  

After C left, I chatted with CH for a while as he finished up the door repairs...beautiful job!!! I am SO happy.  

Then, I came inside for some lunch.  Outside the skies clouded over.  I checked the weather forecast and decided I'd better go for my swim by around one or so.  I was a bit later than that, as the clouds kept gathering.  I swam 12 laps, took three tours in the Lazy River and listened as they announced that they were going to close the big umbrellas because there was a tornado watch in effect.  Out of the river, I headed back to the lap pool and did three more laps for a total of 15 today--closing in on a half mile of swimming--750 meters.  Then, I headed home thinking I might get a ride in while the clouds and wind cooled things off.  

Changed clothes, and headed out to the barn, only to find the sun out again and the heat back on in full force. So I decided to feed the Boys instead--just done with that.  Of course, now the clouds and wind are back, but the radar map doesn't show any storms for another couple hours, yet.  So, I may let the Boys digest their food and then saddle someone up for a short ride.  

Time will tell. Supposedly the heat is going to break with this storm front. Hope nothing else breaks along with it. *sigh*

Aha addendum:  The storms failed to appear and the warning was canceled. However, shortly before dark and cool front did come in with sharp breezes and temperatures dropping to the beautiful 60's F.  So I headed out to ride a bit.  Chance seemed quite interested in the affair so I caught him while Toby and Tucker rather pointedly made their way out to the pasture.

I have to admit that Chance has not really deteriorated much in his training, a good sign that the basics I've worked on have actually stuck.  He stretched nicely in the walk, although he still tends to fall to one side or the other with his body if I don't focus on riding him straight between the reins.   The same is true for his trot, so I have to really work my body to shape his body correctly.  He tries to drop inside with his left shoulder and drop me off to the right.  If I concentrate on keeping my seat to the left, I can keep him rounded, but if I end up on the right seatbone, I push him into that left shoulder.

But again, while it is physical work, as long as I sit correctly, I can fix his crooked tendency without too much trouble.  The biggest improvement is in the canter where he no longer throws his head on the depart and is seeking some contact with the bit.  And better yet, the right lead no long rushes off but is starting to get some balance.

I did not ride long--perhaps 20 minutes at the most, but it was a good start for both of us.  Now if the promised weather forecast is right, the week should be really nice.  I'm sure it won't be quite as lovely as tonight is, but I should be able to get some more riding in without getting heatstroke.

A nice change of pace.  

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Bit of a Lunge

And a Bit of a Plunge

The heat continues, although there was a bit of a breeze as the evening came in.

I went to the feed store in the AM and got the Purina low starch feed.  It has a little more starch/sugar then the feed I was using, but it is $6 a bag cheaper.  And today it was 20% off, so it was a good deal. 

The battery on the truck was dead when I tried to start it, so I had to put the charger on it.  I need to drive the truck once a week, I think, as the computers and all do use battery power when it just sits.  But now I need to drive it a far amount in order to reset the computers anyhow.  I took it to get the feed.

And then, I took it to the swimming pool where I did 12 laps today in some wonderfully comfortable water.  It felt great!  Afterwards I went around the Lazy River three times and came home. 

Inspired by the hint of a breeze, I went out to lunge the Boys again.  This time, I set up a little jump for them just to make it interesting.  Because of the heat,  I didn't work anyone too hard, but just enough to warm up and then jump over the obstacle four times in each direction. 

Toby was really bothered by the deerflies again.  He was a bit fussy, but once more super on the lunge.

Tucker, to my surprise, was not too fussy about the flies, but he was his usual lazy self and didn't expend too much extra energy on the jump.  Fine by me as I don't want him careening around quite yet. 

Chance was also bugged by the flies and had to stop to rub his face during the first circle around me.  I do have to laugh, acutally as when he first came here and I raised the whip to flick it at him, he panicked an tore off.  Now, when I crack it, snap it, whap the ground with it, and make all kinds of threatening gestures to encourage him to keep going, he nonchalantly keeps up whatever pace he's in, completely calm about the whole thing.  Apparently, my desensitizing worked a little too well. *lol*   He did jump nicely though, so we ended on a good note as well.

I will ride, eventually. But I'll have to put the bug armor on when I saddle up, which takes twice as much time.  It's no fun in the heat. 

But, as they say, I'll get around to it.....

Friday, June 04, 2010

Hot Again....

So No Horsework....

It was just too miserable when I got home from school today.  I was supposed to give my friend a lesson on Toby, but she canceled, which was just fine with me and, I am sure, fine with Toby.

I hooked up the fans and set one in front of each stall to give the Boys some relief.  They were out in the pasture when I got home, so the flyspray must have been doing something good. 

The big news of the day is that the door to the tack/feed room fell off.  It was loose last night and I managed to get the door closed, but this morning, when I went to open it, the whole thing crashed off the side of the barn as the frame had come loose from the wall.  Fortunately I wasn't under the darn thing as it's pretty heavy and the top of the dutch door was open and facing away from me.  Whew!!

I pondered all day as to how I was going to fix this, deciding that while I am sure I COULD do it I wasn't at all sure I WANTED to do it myself.  The guy who cut down my trees said he did all kinds of handyman stuff, so I was prepared to call him but then, a stroke of luck! 

My friend, C, who took the lesson on Toby has a handy husband--the kind of guy who likes to fix stuff.  She said she'd talk to him and sure enough he was quite eager to take on the challenge.  The deal is that I will trade a couple riding lessons for the work.  Good for me, good for C, and good for my barn. 

I've asked him to fix Tucker's doorframe too and reenforce the other door frames that are hung the same way.  No point in having this happen all over again because the other ones give way too.  Guess the lifespan of the original build was right around 13 years?  Hope my house remodeling lasts longer. *sigh*  (Then again, I have a high quality Anderson door that has needed replacement parts twice already in a 15 year span.....h-m-m-m-m.) 

Thunderstorms may come through tonight and early tomorrow morning.  But it doesn't look as if they are going to break the heat much.  And, of course, the mosquitoes and another annoying flying pests that like the wet will thrive. 

And my lawn, which I just mowed needs it again.  My one mower is at the repair shop so I can't do the paddocks where the weeds are getting pretty tall. 

Guess I'll just hang around watching the grass grow under my feet.....for now....

Thursday, June 03, 2010


On Another Hot Evening

Summer weather in early June does not bode well for what the real summer will bring. 

I did get my swim in today and yesterday, so I am developing more fitness and energy.  A friend told me it would be a year before I was fully recovered from my surgery, so perhaps that has slowed me down.  Hope so, as I really do need to get some good riding back in my schedule.

Yesterday I had a meeting with my political running mate so I had no time to do much more than feed the Boys and clean their stalls. 

Tonight, I did a repeat of the lungeing sessions with all three Boys.  Except that I pushed Tucker a bit more to energize him.  He got quite silly and let loose with a few bucks and a good stiff gallop around the circle, letting me know that he is feeling just fine! 

Toby was, as always, practically perfect in every way, except that when we first started out, the darn deerflies were attacking us both.  I took Toby in and gave him a good fly spray and for the rest of the workout, at least he didn't have deerflies in his hair--like I did.  Darn things. 

I did a lot of trot/canter/trot transitions with Chance and was quite pleased at how almost instantly obedient he was to my voice commands!  What a good boy.  I was able to count canter strides, ask for trot, get it, then count trot strides, get canter...etc. with some really good responses from him. 

Carrots all around, although I need to get a new bag.  And I was just at ShopRite tonight on the way home from school.  Didn't think of carrots!! I will remedy on the weekend.

Meanwhile, my hay guy brought me some hay to tide me over until his new delivery arrives and the feed store is having a 20% off sale on all feeds on the weekend.  Looks like a shopping trip for sure! 

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Sound At Last!

Triple Lunge

Let me start of with the weather report, mostly because it ruined my plan for the day.

After school, I headed over to the pool for a swim.  I managed three laps before the lifeguards called us all out because of the thunderstorm fast approaching.  Apparently, it's not even safe in an indoor pool because the pipes, etc. are outside and a lightning strike would be conducted into the water.

Since waiting it out would put me about a half hour behind time, I decided to call it quits and headed out to my car in what was the start of a torrential downpour.  I was wet already, so it didn't matter too much.  I drove off and about three miles out, the roadway was completely dry.  I stopped at the supermarket to pick up a few things I needed and while I was there, another torrential downpour hit that area--only a few miles from home.

Once again, on the road, I stopped at a neighbor's house to get some more petition signatures and then made my way home.  The Boys were fine, sheltering under the run in on the east side of the barn.

It took a couple hours for things to dry out a bit, so I headed out to lunge the Boys.  Toby was in the barn, so I caught him easily and he was first.  Nothing need be said about him. He is almost always perfect on the line. The only trouble was the very nasty and persistent deerflies that seemed to be out in force. I guess the rain encouraged them.

Tucker was close by, so I got him next, holding my breath as he trotted out to the end of the line.  Not a hint of a limp!! Nothing!  Sound!! Both directions.  I gave him a moderate workout both trotting and cantering and he looked just fine.  I will take it easy with him for the time being, but it looks like whatever is bothering him seems to be gone.  ????????????

I got Chance out last and he too was a good boy.  What pleases me the most is how relaxed and balanced he is now on his right lead.  No longer does he rush around, inside out as if he has to go fast to keep his balance. He looks to be a happy camper in both directions.

Now, if I can just get my motivation up to do some riding/training, I will ride this week.  I need to get on Toby too so he is a little more fit to give a lesson.  Chance just needs training and, apparently, I can start to get Tucker in shape so he can resume some dressage training.

Swimming will help me get my own fitness back, so all I have to do is hope the darn thunderstorms stay away!!

One Of Those Days

Monday, Monday

It promised to be a hot day, and it was.  But I took advantage of the morning to mow the lawn...well.

First, I needed to put air in the tires of the lawn tractor/mower.  This means, at the moment dragging an extension cord to that part of the garage since a short circuit has made the wall sockets there dead.  No biggie, just annoying, as is the fact that the tires keep going soft.

Got the mower out and off I went, managing to get the front lawn done, but as I was working on the side front lawn--farthest from the house, I ran out of gasoline.  I trekked back up to the garage and got the little can to fill the tank again.  Off we went mower and I to nearly finish that part of the lawn until I mowed too close to a lilac bush and hung the mower up on a little stump.  Now the tractor was stuck. 

Went back up to the barn to get the Kubota tractor and the tow line and drove that down to pull the mower out of the bush.  Put the Kubota back on the back lawn only to find that now the lawn tractor would not start. The battery seems to be failing. 

Walked back up, got the Kubota again and pulled the lawn tractor up to the front of the house where I could hook up the battery charger.  Left both tractors on the front lawn for the time being and went inside to eat some lunch as the morning had already passed me by.

Fortunately, the battery was the problem, so I managed to finishe mowing the rest of the lawn. 

But now I needed more gasoline since I'd  used up the last I had in the cans.  It was pretty hot at this point, so I decided to go to the swimming pool to cool off.

So did just about everyone else in the area.  I had to park out in the auxillary lot a fair hike from the pool entrance.  To my surprise, however, the water was absolutely delightful!!  Warm enough to feel good and cool enough to feel even better on a hot day.  I did my laps, rode around the lazy river a few trips and hiked back to the car.

Then I took a trip to Home Depot to get another extension cord so I can leave one set up in the garage for the compressor and battery charger in case I need either one next time.  And, on the way home, I stopped to fill up two gas cans for later use. 

By that time, it was time to feed the Boys.  I figured I'd be able to work them after they ate.

But thunder was rumbling in the west and south.  Sure enough, a series of thunderstorms made their appearance, ending any plans to ride or lunge. 

Murphy's Law was governing the day. 

Don't think the horses cared.