Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Bit Better

But I Opted Out Again

I may yet decide to go out to lunge a horse or two as there is a breeze and it actually feels kind of nice.

My knee is a bit better, though, so that's good. If I put the braces on, I might be OK for some exercise. I didn't try to swim, though, as it still hurts. Maybe tomorrow.

More pictures for your entertainment in the meantime:
  This is what is still left of the huge tree the treemen took down. The trunk is at least three feet diameter. Someone needs to take it for firewood, or I am going to have to carve it into lawn furniture.
Here are the turkeys again in the paddock. This time there was no baby with them. I hope nothing happened to it.
Toby, disguised as an alien. He just kept coming towards me as I tried to take the picture. Hence, the close up. *G*

Tucker was in the barn, behind a barrier, so he couldn't get closer. This is the face that got Chance all upset the first time the Boys wore their fly masks.  Personally, I think he's kind of cute.

And for the grand finale:

I think this is the second brood of barn swallows this year. There are at least two nests with babies and this one maybe has four. The little clever critters ducked into the nest when I appeared. I used the zoom from the door of the tack room so I really wasn't threatening them, but they already have the instinct to hide.  My barn has at least a half dozen nests at this point. While they do make a mess below they also eat a lot of bugs, so they are welcome. And I do adore being scolded by Mama and Papa when I go in to feed.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Now It's the Other Knee

Ouch Again

This time my right knee hurts big time. It was so sore I could hardly walk when I got up to go feed the Boys.

I have mastered limping, however, so I managed. It was just a slower process than usual.

I did a lot of stretching and flexing during the day and lay around, trying to find a way to make it comfortable. It does feel a bit better now.

Needless to say, I didn't go swimming either. While some work in the water might have felt good, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to climb the ladder back out of the pool.

So, in essence, I've accomplished nothing of merit today.

I thought I had a bag of grain in the truck and it turned out to be alfalfa cubes. I have just enough feed for the Boys tomorrow morning, but their late night snack will have to be cubes instead. I'm pretty sure they won't mind too much, as long as they get something and some flakes of hay to keep them happy.

Because of the long spell of dry weather, the grass is almost non-existent, although there are a few bits and pieces here and there to keep the Boys amused.  Today, they were out in the arena, using the run-in shed out there.  I'm wondering if it's cool for them.  The only problem is that while there is room for three inside, Tucker and Toby tend to keep Chance out. So he just hangs out by the shed instead of in it.

Chance is low man in the herd, I fear.  But he doesn't seem to mind too much. He is pretty independent, after all, and besides, if the other two hang out together on one side, he can sneak out and get all the apples himself.  He is a horse of self-confidence, and above all, self-reliance.

Plans for tomorrow include a morning run to the feed store. I'll just have to be conservative about carrying the bags into the feed room once I'm back home.

Darn knees.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

They're Back

Let's Talk Turkey 
The wild turkeys are back. Today I had a visit from four plus one. The plus one is a baby. Unfortunately mom and baby made their way to the brush beyond the fence before I was able to get the camera out.  The other three fell for the "corn bribe " under the bird feeder and posed for portraits.

I think the big one in front may be a tom and the others hens but I'm not sure. They are still probably young.
It's a little disturbing to only see one chick as I'd think they'd have a bigger brood, but so it goes. Perhaps there are predators around.  I hope it's not because of some kind of breeding problems.

Here is one of the "bribees" at the feeder.

Meanwhile,  not too far away, Chance was "bobbing" for apples.

The stuff on the ground are the pine chips from the downed trees. I still haven't moved any of them, but will on one of the days when the weather moderates.

Success!! Apple found and downed.

Nothing else to report, actually. I went out for breakfast with a friend so I could not do much in the morning. The heat was back on for the rest of the day after some showers in the morning. I keep hoping it will moderate a bit, but things don't look too promising. Right now the humidity is creeping back in, so it feels very "heavy" out there. And the BUGS!!

Note to all about Chance.  He too is on a diet, like Tucker.  His feed has been cut considerably and he has lost some weight. I may have to cut him back some more, however, but some good exercise surely would help. He is a very laid back fellow.

More often than not, when I go out for late night snack, he is lying down, sleeping somewhere. Maybe what I ought to do is just let him nap and forego the snack!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Picture Fest

Time for Pictures and a Lunge

I was up early and lunged Chance and Tucker. Both of them were really annoyed by the flies, but I still managed a few pictures. Here you go:
Here's Chance in mid stride.
Hey, these flies are really annoying.
REALLY annoying!!
Tucker takes off.
And keeps going.
He attacks the "killer" sheet.
Trots a little.
Bucks a little.
Bucks a lot--right out of the picture.
While Toby says, "Where's breakfast?"
And Patches, who is now my best buddy, wonders what all the fuss is about.  

Just as a additional note here.  Despite his bucking and general silliness, Tucker was moving really, really well. Not only is he sound on that problematic front foot, but he was bouncing off his feet, trotting with more natural energy than I have seen in a while.

He is currently on Healthy Edge, low carb, high fat feed with a magnesium supplement and additional oil.  While I am still not ready to make any snap judgments, it is possible that treating him as a metabolic horse might be making a difference. 

Once the weather truly breaks and I get back to putting some real work into him, I will know for sure.  But I was pleased with what I saw this morning. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

More Lessons From A Horse

Part 2

Although the worst of the heat seems to have broken, I slept late this morning. I'd opened the bedroom windows last night and it just felt too good to get up.  Missed an opportunity to work the Boys while it was cool, but they are so out of shape it doesn't matter much at this point. If I get inspired, I might ride./lunge after dusk.

Note about pictures. I had to do a total system restore on the computer, so I'm not too sure about how the picture software I have installed will work, but I'll try tomorrow.

I did some yard work today. I mowed the lawn, weed whacked and mowed some more. I also started sorting and cleaning the horse blankets and sheets in the barn. I am being ruthless about throwing out several that really need a lot of repair.  Since I have replacements in decent shape there's just no reason to try to save the old ones. I washed two so far and have a number more to go. But I don't want to do too many in a row as I have well water and a septic system I don't want to overload. Two at time will do.

Then I did go for my swim, so I've exercised beyond the chores which leads to some of my insights today.So more lessons from the horse:

The work is never really done. Clean a stall, let your horse in and it's not clean for long. Mow the grass and it grows back the next well. Clean the water trough and you'll be doing it soon another day.  Sure, some "jobs" get done and tend to stay done for a while--like fixing a door or mending the fence--but when horses are around, it's bound to need doing again sooner or later.

There's never really "only one way" to do it. When I was thinking about teaching flying changes the other night, it struck me that each horse I've taught so far responded to a different technique. Now that I'm faced with teaching Tucker, I have a good number of strategies to use.  So far, I've had minimal luck--although we did run into some soundness issues that impacted an cut short the last effort.  But somewhere in that collection of methods--or perhaps somewhere else--is at least one method that will help him understand what he needs to do.  The same applies to most tasks we undertake.  Keep the blinders on you'll never know whether a side path might have even a better solution.

Make do.  My goodness, how many uses are there for baling twine anyhow? Or, for that matter, baling wire?  Someone once said a can of WD40 and duct tape are all you ever need.  I'm not sure about the WD40, but duct tape surely does live up to its reputation.  And double end snaps seem to be another marvelous invention. When something need to be fixed, the horse barn just seems to have something useful in it.

You'll always find it cheaper somewhere else.  Buy something for your horse and sure enough, you'll see it on sale someplace else a week later.  You could spend your life shopping for bargains, of course.  I spend hours researching the Internet for the best deals, but in the end, I've learned that if I really need it, I might as well just buy it and forget about it.  I still do have to laugh though about a popular fingernail treatment that was on the amarket for a while.  A small, one ounce bottle was about $10 in a "human" store.  The same product in the large economy horse size hoof dressing bottle was selling for around $7.  It was made by the same company and was exactly the same stuff.  Which leads to:

Read the label. Go to the pharmacy to buy a headache remedy and you'll find out that the store brand has exactly the same ingredients as the name brand for about half the price. The same is often true of horse supplements, feeds, and grooming products. Just because it has a fancy label doesn't mean it's really better.

Enough for now.  Any ideas from you?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Things My Horses Have Taught Me

Part One

For your entertainment and mine as the heat continues to sizzle I offer some unique insights my long association with horses has taught me over the years.  These are totally random and listed as soon as they come into my head rather than with some kind of logical organization.  So here we go:

There may be more to life than a carrot, but not much.  Watch your horse enjoy a sweet carrot or some other tasty treat and you will see a totally "in the moment moment."  The rest of the world fades away and the crunch envelops you in a sense of total contentment.  Worries vanish as peace takes over.  Everything that was a "big deal" is no longer a "big deal," and even the worst event of the day is gone.  We can learn a lot from our horses then.  Just let go and enjoy the flavor, even if it lasts for a short time.

You can lift more than your own weight. It's all a matter of how you approach it.  For women who own horses and have to do our own barn chores, this is a key lesson.  In the old days, all the bags of grain were 100 pounds.  Could I carry one?  Not full, but if I divided it into two bags by scooping some out into an empty bag, sure I could   I could drag one of those really heavy stall mats by rigging up a pair of squeeze pliers and a rope fastened to the tractor.  And twenty five shovelfuls of sand in the wheelbarrow might not fill it, but half a barrow is better than none and I could get the job done.  The heavy work of horse ownership teaches us to work around big problems, making them into smaller ones we actually can handle. 

Don't be intimidated by someone taller than you.  This one stood me well when I began teaching and my students were six foot tall teenagers who didn't always want to do what I wanted them to.  Fact was, they were smaller than my 16.1 hand horse and he didn't scare me one bit.  I'd always found a way to train him or keep him under control, so a classroom full of kids was hardly a challenge at all. I think most horsewomen I know seem to radiate an outward strength and confidence. It's a good skill to develop.

Losing hurts but it doesn't kill you.  I certainly have a lot more ribbons that aren't blue (here in the USA, blue is for first place, not red) and I've survived just fine.  Competing a horse puts things in perspective.  And, it teaches humility.  While your own skill, talent and training are on the line, it's always the horse who has the last word in the show arena.  Sure, it's nice to win, and many of us do, but ride a horse for any length of time and you're bound to lose one day.  Trust me, you'll survive.

Learn to laugh at yourself.  My friends used to get so mad it me when I was competing Russell R. and he'd misbehave in the under saddle class. (He used to buck for no reason.)  It cost me a few ribbons, that's for sure, but there was nothing I could do about it. (He did it to my very experienced trainer too.)  He was just expressing his boredom with the whole routine and needed to stir up some excitement.  Getting mad at him accomplished nothing and it surely wouldn't look good in a show class.  I'd just laugh--at the both of us.

Enough for now. I'll see what else pops into my head over the next few HOT days. 
 why do it?

Till then, enjoy your horse.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Need I Say It Again?

The Heat Wave Continues

The only saving grace for me is the swimming pool and my compulsive determination to swim at least ten laps every day...but mostly twelve.  All in all, it takes me about a half hour to swim.  I'm not really fast, but just swim at a moderate speed.  It's a bit over a minute going one length, so 24 lengths, give or take some time is about 24 minutes.  Were I riding, that would be a short workout for one horse.

I used to keep my schooling sessions to about 45 minutes, longer, of course when I was eventing.  Fitness for horse and rider changes according to the sport and level of training.  Upper level dressage demands good fitness on a horse's part, but I'd rather gain it through varying the exercise program rather than drilling dressage exercises every day for hours on end.

And then there is the "Thoroughbred factor."  By nature, Thoroughbreds build muscle and fitness pretty quickly.  As well drilling endlessly doesn't do much for their brains.  Mine have always tended to learn an exercise pretty quickly and while it might need practice to perfect, keeping at it for too long tends to:  a) bore them,  b) annoy them, or c) frustrate them, d) insult them.  Either way, the result is often an emotional overload that can lead to all kinds of bad behavior. 

That's not to say I haven't had my share of battles.  I once "argued" with Russell R. for well over an hour about half passing up to a gate.  I made faint progress for the bulk of the time until he finally decided to move off my leg and I quit.  We were both emotionally and physically exhausted.  It wasn't a violent session, but he totally resisted all my aids and simply refused to half pass up to the gate, despite being quite willing to half pass just about every where else in the arena.  He'd set up some kind of block in both his body and brain and it totally frustrated me.

Curiously enough, the next day when I took him out to work on the same lesson, he half passed right up to the gate as if he'd been doing it all his life.  Lesson learned, that's for sure, but to this day, I wonder if I might have accomplished the same thing without all the drama by being less demanding. 

Neither Toby nor Tucker put up with much "forcing of the issue."  Toby tends to get too upset and starts to offer just about every exercise he knows once he gets confused. and Tucker....well, he simply rebels.  As such, I have tended to try to find "ways around" to get to the same end instead of taking the more direct approach.  Of the two horses. Toby is easier to deal with, mostly because I really think he does want to do things right.  Tucker, on the other hand, really wants to do things his way.  Dealing with him is mostly trying to convince him that what I want him to do is exactly what he wants to and, more importantly CAN do. 

And with both of them, I need to remember to "keep it short."  Far better to spend ten minutes doing something well and quitting than an hour of just "doing." 

I'm pretty sure Chance will need a slightly different approach as he has far less natural stamina and needs more work to become fit.  Unlike either Toby or Tucker, lungeing him settles him down and takes the edge off if he is in "silly mode."  The other two just get more wound up and unsettled if I try to "work them down." 

So, I figure the ten laps would be enough work for the big Boys, but Chance might need twenty.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Too Hot To Trot

The Follywoods Weather Report Continues

I have developed a severe allergy to heat.  It's more mental then physical, but I dread going outdoors this summer.  This morning was not too bad out there, either. It actually felt nice under the trees and there was a bit of a breeze. But already the arena was in the sun and the bugs were out in full force. 

Yesterday, I even surrendered the swim, mostly because I heard thunder on the horizon. The pool closes quickly when there are storms in the area. I don't think we ever got a full fledged thunderstorm, but we did get some off and on rain. It doesn't do much to cool things off. But it does make the grass grow, which means I will have to mow the lawn soon.

The big riding mower is back but there is still some kind of glitch in the new clutch they put in the mower. The guy told me what to try to see if I could fix it. If that fails, they will have to take it back and adjust something or other. It should be fine to mow the lawn, however, as the problem only shows up in the heavier weeds.

All three Boys were out under the apple tree this morning. Apparently, Chance's secret stash is no longer safe. The apples are not dropping in huge numbers yet and they are still too green to tell how many there are on the tree.  Since I don't do anything to encourage the trees, they seem to produce apples with a whimsical inconsistency. Sometimes, they produce heavily and sometimes lightly. I would think it has to do with the weather, of course, but I haven't yet figured out the pattern. When they are not yet ripe, it's almost impossible to see them up in the tree, so I never quite know if it's a heavy season or a light one. Either way, as I've noted before, I do need to keep an eye on things as I don't want any of the Boys gorging themselves on apples--green or ripe.

I am not a baker, but my Mother used to make a fabulous Dutch apple cake.  I keep thinking some year that I will make one myself. It is a not too sweet cake underneath with layers of sliced apples on top with the obligatory cinnamon sugar.  The apple's juices kind of bake into the cake layer below. Yummy.  But, I'm not at all sure it would bake well in the toaster oven, so that means I'd have to fire up the stove's oven which then heats up the house and we're back to my opening remarks.

The air conditioning has been working a lot, so it will be interesting to see what my electric bill will be. This is the first time I will get an idea of how efficient the solar panels are. One thing is for sure, with all the heat and sunshine they have been producing energy at the max. Last month I had a credit on my account, so I will be quite happy if that ends up paying the bill this month.

But, I have also added the fans in the barn to the equation. I have a decent sized floor fan in front of each of the three stalls so the Boys can take advantage of the breeze. And since it comes from the floor, that's where the air is coolest. "Cool" is, of course, a relative term this year, but it's an effort. The box stalls are just a bit under 12'X12' and often both Tucker and Toby end up sharing one. I have no idea what that is all about, but they seem quite content packed into the small space and far be it from me to try to convince them otherwise.

That leaves Chance a lot of options and he seems to be ready to take advantage of all of them. Sometimes he's in his stall, sometimes he's in Tucker's stall, sometimes he's under the trees--apple browsing--and sometimes he simply hangs out under the run-in roof in front of Toby's stall.

He is, however, most often fond of using the run-in shed at the end of the riding arena for nap time--especially att night. The floor is fairly deep sand and more than once I've found him totally flat out in there after dark, bedded down for the night. A few times, I've even taken his midnight snack out to him there when he showed no inclination to come in to eat it in the barn. Talk about room service!! But he's so cute when he's settled in like that I simply hate to see him get up. 
As one of our fellow bloggers noted the other day, I could watch my horses for hours, just enjoying their little habits.  They are truly fascinating creatures.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

But I'm Not Shakespeare

The Language of Home

First, let me clear up my main post title. Some time yesterday, Sarah Palin posted a Twitter message using the word: "refudiate."  Of course, that word does not exist. Now, Ms. Palin is pretty controversial already--she ran for Vice-President of the US in the last election and has been on the national stage since--and has often been questioned on both her knowledge and literacy.  So, critics pounced on this error immediately.  Unfortunately, like Pat Parelli, instead of easing off the issue and dropping her ego enough to admit to a mistake, she reposted using the word, "refute" which didn't work in the meaning either, and finally claimed that since English was a "living" language, it would survive a coined word now and then--after all Shakespeare invented words all the time.

Sorry, Ms. Palin, as clever as you may be, "You are no William Shakespeare."

Nor are most of us, but that certainly doesn't stop us from inventing words.  I often think of Shakespeare's Hamlet when I call one of my horses a pet name-- "you jibe, you amble, and you lisp, and nick-name God's creatures" (Act III, scene 1).  This is where Hamlet mocks Ophelia and women in general for being insincere and makes fun of such "womanly behavior as cuddling kittens and such.

All right, all right, this may be something only an English teacher would think of, but Toby's show name "To Be Or Not To Be" was not chosen at random here. *G*  At any rate, Ms. Palin's "misspeak or misstweet" as the case may be, reminded me of all the silly things I do say when I'm with my four legged friends.

There are, of course, the nicknames.  Chanceypants, the Pantsman, Pantaloons, Tuckerruker, Tuckster, Ruckster, Tobywobe, Wobey, Wobester, and My Pumpkins.  When I call them in from the pasture?  Tobyruckerchance! Tuckawoberpants!  Wobichanceruck! Works for me.  I will not mention the nicknames when someone steps on my toe, however. After all my blog is "G" rated.  *lol*

Then, we have such things as "horse snarf."  I'm sure you've all had some of that slobbered or sneezed onto your white show shirt.  And do your horses occasionally come "galumphing" over the hill? I borrowed that one from Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky," but somehow it suits when they Boys are not exactly being graceful.

There is, of course, the famous gait known as the "tranter" which wiser horsemen call a four-beat canter, but is much easier to say.

But I do have two favorites.

The first is "boofy."  This describes horse behavior on those days when everything is spooky and my horse is just silly.  It combines "goofy" with "boo" the sound a ghost makes to scare you. Since I'm never quite convinced said horse is really scared of everything, he is being a "boofus," and is "boofy."

But my all time favorite is "snoopervision."  This word was coined with Russell R. who was always around to "help" in any of the barn chores/repairs anyone was doing.  He would assist by carting off tools and generally sticking his nose into every activity.  My current little herd, especially Chance, tends to be as interested. The nice thing about this word is that it is adaptable. My horse can be a "snoopervisor" by "snoopervising" any activity.

How about you? Do your horses/cats/dogs or other four footed "associates" bring out the Shakespeare in you?

Monday, July 19, 2010

At The Risk of Repeating Myself

What More Can I Say?

The weather continues to torment with heat and humidity. There were some showers this morning, but there was no significant improvement, except while it was cloudy and raining. Aside from thunderstorms to liven up the atmosphere, things to do not look promising for days.

The Boys seem to think the stalls with the fans are the preferred place to spend the day, although once and while they venture out for a nibble of grass, or, in Chance's case, a fallen apple. 

I did go over to the barn where my friend Christina is boarding to see her new horse, Juan.  Actually, Juan is her husband's new horse. He is a gray Arabian and cute as a button.  As you may recall, Christina is an endurance rider and I believe her husband has some aspirations to do some distance riding himself.  When they went to visit a friend, they met Juan and I guess it was love at first sight.

Needless to say, with the heat, I did not see Juan work, but from what I've seen of the pictures, he is one of those rare creatures--the perfect husband horse.  Even better, he an JJ, Christina's horse, are getting along like gangbusters and have bonded already after only two days of knowing each other.  They are adorable out in the pasture together and, although JJ was acting a bit jealous that we were paying attention to Juan first--after all he was the reason I'd gone over there--they are a good match. 

Not much else to report on the horse front. Or anywhere else. I have been swimming regularly and yesterday upped my laps by five.  I don't know if I'll keep that up as ten seem just fine, but every now and then I like to challenge myself.  The reward is always a few rounds of the lazy river which is really relaxing. 

As long as the heat is on, that seems to be the story.  Not much else to say for now.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

More of Same

Heat, That Is

I admit, I did wake up a bit late this morning, but already by 8:30-9:00 AM, it was hot. It never really did cool off last night, not at least so you'd notice. I fed the Boys, sat for a while with Patches and then came back inside to watch the Tour de France--my July ritual.

I'm not too sure where the rest of day went, actually. I did some cleaning inside, made some edamame salad and just kind of surfed around the Internet.  One story that has caught my attention is the Pat Parelli demonstration in Britain, where he used some strong arm tactics to cure Robert Whittaker's stallion, Catwalk, of a bridling issue.

If you haven't followed any of this controversy, there are discussions all over the Internet horse forums, including one at Horse and Hound, Pat Parelli Controversy.  I only refer you there because a few of the posters were actually at the demonstration and have some good insights.

It's hard to fairly judge everything that happened, but from what I saw in the video of part of the session, Parelli resorted to some pretty harsh techniques to work this horse. From everything I have ever read and heard about Mr. Parelli's claims, his "natural horsemanship" methods are all about being kind and gentle with a horse, seeking not to dominate but rather to inspire the horse to cooperate.  What I saw--a rope to tie up the horse's leg and a line on the horse's gum to "twitch" him--was certainly not "natural." 

I think it's fair to say I did not see the entire demonstration, but what I did see totally contradicts everything Mr. Parelli has said about how to train a horse. Was it abuse? Catwalk apparently did suffer some injury to his gums--enough to make at least one vet concerned. Was the horse "fixed?"  Supposedly he is no longer a problem to bridle. Was there another way to cure the problem? Hard to say, but I'd like to think so. The key, I think, would have been in time and patience--the horseman's best friends.  We'll never know for sure, but as far as I am concerned, Mr. Parelli proved himself more of a hypocrite than a horse trainer in my eyes.

That being said, I did manage some outside chores including cleaning the run in shed on the west side of the barn and then I went for a nice swim. 

There are some perks to summer--like a pool less than four miles away.  Not bad, not bad at all.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Not Yet Impressed

Bag Report

So far, nothing too impressive with the plastic water bags.  In fact, when I went out to feed dinner, there were two flies sitting on the bag at over the door into the feed room.  Perhaps they were special flies and not intimidated by the refraction. 

Perhaps not.  I am not too optimistic about this, but never say I don't give things a fair chance.

Too hot again today.  The temperatures were in the upper 90's F and the garage sun reading was about 116F. 

The Boys seem to be coping well, however.  I don't see them sweating a lot and they seem to like standing in the barn with the fans blowing on them.  They wander in and out at will, sometimes spending time under the shade trees in the front paddocks and sometimes venturing out to the pasture to nibble at whatever grass has survived the drought. 

And then, of course, there are the green apples.  There is a Macintosh tree in the paddock and another apple tree outside the paddock.  I keep track of the volume of apples that fall as the season progresses, but this early in the season there fall is pretty scant.  But Chance is on to it and monitors the tree far better than I ever could. I actually think he listens for the apples to hit the ground and then heads out. Since his stall is on that side of the barn, it's not too long a trek for him to reach the tree and claim the fruit before anyone else finds it.

And "anyone else" does include at least one resident groundhog.  The other morning when I went out to feed, there was the little furry critter sitting up on his haunches with a green apple in his front paws.  He was happily nibbling away.  That probably explains why the tree outside the paddock has not had very many apples dropped on the lawn.  Like Chance, the groundhog probably hears the apples fall and heads out to gorge himself.  I'd imagine he'd be pretty sensitive to the sound of an apple hitting the ground  if he were in his burrow--which I think is under the feed room. *sigh* 

I really do enjoy watching my animals, both wild and domestic.  Yesterday, Patchadoodle, the outdoor cat, took a flying leap at one of the squirrels who, in turn, scurried up a tree to escape. Patch just kind of sat there under the tree looking disappointed.  Since he's not a really big or husky cat, I seriously doubt he could take on a squirrel and win, but I do have to admire his ambition.  There is another stray cat skulking about now too--a gray cat with flat ears.  I've taken to sitting with Patch every morning and evening when he eats just to be sure he is getting the food he wants before the other cat comes in to finish up.  I leave plenty of food there for the stray, but knowing cats, I'm pretty sure he has chased Patch off more than once. 

For now, Patchadoodle and I are good buddies.  He lets me pet him and pick him up, although he doesn't exactly relax in my hands.  In a few more weeks, I figure he will be tamed enough to go to the vet for a checkup and some vaccinations.  If he checks out OK, I may try to make him a house cat.  He is a sweet little guy and I don't want anything to happen to him outside or on the road.  But I have to be patient.  If I terrify him now, I'll have a totally impossible task of trying to tame him again.  I'm pretty sure he was once someone's cat anyhow, so the trauma of either being dumped out or lost must have been pretty hard on him. 

I went to the chiropractor this morning and had a nice swim this evening.  It's not exactly like riding a horse, but at least I am exercising. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Experiment Begins

One Bag to Start

Did a bit of research on the pennies in the waterbags and found mixed opinions.  I also found they needed to be shiny pennies.  Then another website suggested shiny foil instead.

So I prepared one water bag with pieces of tinfoil in it and hang it over Toby's stall door.  The problem is that the bag need to be out of reach of the horses or they will be destroyed.  And, supposedly, they are to catch the natural light.  This poses a bit of a problem because the stall is under the shelter of the run in roof.  But, I could reach a good spot with the little ladder I have in the barn and decided to try that for now. If I hang bags on the run in eaves, or even in the stalls, I will need to haul out the tall ladder, something I was not quite inspired to do today in....THE HEAT. 

Yep. The brief respite is over and we are back in a humid heat wave.  I didn't last too long out there.  Good thing I cleaned the stalls this morning while it was still a bit cloudy and cooler.  I'll clean the west run in shed tomorrow morning or this evening if it cools off. 

And in the meantime I have the bag experiment to keep me amused as I watch to see if the flies stay out of Toby's stall.

Since the sun came out, I decided to put the fly masks back on the Boys.  Chance and Tucker accepted theirs graciously and even seemed to appreciate them but Toby?? How long can a horse back up?  He let me come near, but as soon as I lifted the mask, he spooked, snorted and started running backwards away from it.

He wore the darn thing for three days and now he's afraid of it?? That's Toby.

I resorted to bribery.  I got some horse treats from the feed room and a lead rope and went back out.  Tucker was in my face in an instant, so that piqued Toby's curiosity, and when he saw that Tucker got a treat he edged cautiously over, ever ready to flee the lead rope in case I actually wanted to catch him for a ride or something.  He snatched a treat and moved off.  I guess he liked it well enough because I was able to get my hand on his mane and then the lead rope around his neck while he ate the second morsel.  Suddenly the terrifying fly mask was no big deal at all and I had it fastened on him in a second. I gave him a third treat as a reward and that was that.

It will be interesting to see how he reacts to the mask tomorrow when I try to put it on again.

With Toby, I never quite know. *sigh*

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Not Much To Report

Mostly Rain

And the Boys seem to have spent most of the day under shelter in the barn.  The rain was not constant but when it rained, it poured, so I  don't blame them. 

I did not put on their fly masks today because of the weather.  But I did note that Chance kept his on all day yesterday, so losing it the other day was probably an accident.  Good thing as of the three horses, the flies seem to bother him the most. That's probably because of his huge white blaze since flies seem to be attracted to light colors.

I went to pick up my contact lenses at my eye doctor in the afternoon and it turns out he has moved to a farm area where there are quite a few horses nearby. Like all of us, he's been having fly problems this year--he has steer on his property.  But he's used the fly predators and all the methods recommended with minimal success.  The trouble has been the greenhead/wood and field flies, most of which do not breed in the animal waste.  They thrive in the wet/ swampy ground.  We had an especially wet spring which was ideal for those critters. 

But here's the cool discovery I made. My doctor said someone suggested he put some copper pennies in clear plastic bags, fill the bags with water and then put them all over where the flies were gathering.  To his surprise, it worked!!! I have since researched this and apparently there actually may be some truth to this method. Supposedly because of the flies' eye structure, the prism effect of the water and pennies disturbs their vision and somehow convinces them there are predators about....or something to that effect. 

Anyone ever try this?

Be assured I am going to try it tomorrow.  I have plenty of pennies and a good selection of baggies that will work fine. If it works my place will become Plastic Bag City!!

Stay tuned. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Another Scorcher

But My Computer's Back!!

I picked up my computer yesterday and spent the better part of the afternoon setting it up.  This was after a rather long session at Staples where one of the technicians checked it out.

My big concern at that moment was whether or not I was going to easily be able to hook up my Internet.  They fiddled around in the store for about a half hour only to find that their connection was down, but that, from all they could tell, my ethernet card was working just fine.  They gave me a contact number in case I had trouble but....

I got home, ate some lunch and then set to work. Remembering my laptop issues, I shut off my cable modem, plugged in all the connections and in a matter of moments was back on line!! Now, they have set me up with Firefox as my browser, claiming that Explorer is far to prone to security issues.  Fine by me, I guess. It seems to work well so far.  But, of course, I've lost all my favorites.  I have tried to restore all the links to my blogger buddies blogs, but if I don't show up at your blog, please remind me that I'm missing in action!!

THEN, I began the effort of downloading and re-installing my 2007 MS Office Suite.  Since I had purchased it and downloaded it originally online, I figured that as long as I had the registration code--which I did--no problem.  WRONG.

The first problem was trying to find a download link on the Microsoft website.  Nope. They have links to Office 2010, but none I could find to 2007.  So, I contacted, via a chat window, a techie.  It took a short conversation but I was soon linked to the download.  BUT my computer did not have JAVA yet, so the download would not work.

I loaded JAVA, but had to shut down my Internet connection before that would work and lost the link to the download.  *sigh*  I contacted a new chat rep and instead of giving me the link, he directed me to call Microsoft support on the phone. 

Off I went on another telephone safari to India....if anyone is a long time blog reader here, you will know there is no love lost between me and tech support in India regarding my Verizon accounts, so you will know I was not particularly delighted.  HOWEVER, I met two lovely gentlemen who were very careful to listen to my specific problem and address it efficiently without a lot of the standard garbage troubleshooting I ran into with Verizon.  The second rep insisted we stay on the phone until the full download was both complete and installed.

Apparently, my cable connection is really fast because the download of the full Office Suite took only about 3-4 minutes, during which time we discussed where my rep was--New Delhi--how the weather was in India, what the seasons there are like, how the climate changes throughout the nation, and how hot it was here--over 100 F.  While weather is a fairly innocuous topic, we were both actually interested as we were so many miles apart. 

Office eventually loaded beautifully, and the rep made sure I had competed my online registration before leaving.  He then sent a confirmation email will all the support information I might need in the future.  All in all, aside from taking up the rest of the afternoon, it was a nice experience.

But I then had to go to one of the local parks to take some campaign pictures for our political website. (When it's finished, I'll give you all a link.)  I indulged in a McDonald's burger and milkshake on the way home and then went out to feed the Boys.

Chance's fly mask was missing.  It took a bit of a search but I finally found it out under the apple tree.  The velcro was open and nothing was ripped, so I guess somehow he managed to rub it off by the fastenings.  I've put it back on this morning, so I will see if its loss was intentional on his part, or just a happenstance. One thing I know about Chance is that if he doesn't like his outfit, he will somehow find a way to take it off!! I've found his sheet/blanket outside, just lying there, more than once with all the straps still done up.

Sometimes I almost wish I had closed circuit TV's out there in the paddocks to see what goes on when I'm not around.  It could be quite a show.

So my desktop and I are happily reunited, although I will still have to reload some programs and my files, but there is no rush.  I am happy for now.  

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Who Was That Masked Man?

What a curious morning.  I took the fly masks out when I went to give the Boys breakfast.

Of the three, Tucker was the most curious and he let me put his mask on first. His is a gray color with black fur trim.  I went back into the barn to get another mask and I heard squealing and stamping outside.

I went back out to see Chance acting like a stallion towards Tucker. He was squealing and striking with his front hoof.  Tucker kept trying to sniff noses with him but Chance would have none of it. Every time Tucker came near, he squealed and struck.

At that point. Toby trotted over and pushed between the two of them, apparently protecting Tucker.  With Toby between them, Tucker again tried to sniff noses and when Chance reacted aggressively, Toby snaked out his neck and snapped at him as if to reprimand him.  Chance moved off.

At that point, I tried to put Chance's mask on, but after I slipped it over his ears, he moved away so I couldn't fasten it.  I got out of the way as Tucker approached him again, trying to be friendly.  Chance squealed, spun and tried to kick him.  Once more Toby moved in to body block for Tucker.

It was pretty clear Tucker was totally confused by Chance's sudden aggression. The lure of feed in the stalls finally settled things down and I finished putting the fly masks on everyone, crossing my fingers that the masquerade ball would sort itself out.

To be honest, I was really surprised at Chance's reaction to Tucker's mask.  Tuck was sporting a silver gray mask with black fur trim.  Both Toby and Chance have gold color masks with chestnut trim.  Neither Toby nor Tucker seemed at all bothered by seeing the other horses in their masks, unlike Chance.  For him, it was as if he no longer recognized Tucker and began treating him like a stranger.

Clearly, he is much more visually oriented than scent oriented.  I wonder if it was the loss of eye contact with Tucker that upset him, or if he really didn't recognize Tuck.  For his sake, Tucker seemed really concerned that Chance was reacting to him that way. It was almost as if he was trying to reassure his pasture buddy and was both confused and upset by his behavior.

Toby, as the good herd boss and alpha horse, was trying to intervene to make peace between the two.  He had recognized that Chance was the aggressor and seemed to think Tucker needed to be protected. But he was, himself, not at all violent about it.  Instead, he kept using his body to get between the two antagonists to keep them from getting hurt.

It was a totally fascinating interaction.  Horse behavior never fails to interest me.

When I got home from church--after a successful performance--peace seems to have been restored at Follywoods.  All masks were on and everyone seemed to be getting along.

Boy, am I glad I got plain masks. Heaven knows what might have happened had I gotten those ones with the big comedy eyes on them I've seen advertised.

Who knows what Chance might have done?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rainy Relief

Sort Of

Not exactly relief, except that we did have off and on showers for most of the day.  Soft rain, so far, the kind that does soak into the dry soil.  My lawn actually does look happier already.

But it never really did cool off.  Not so you'd notice.  The humidity just made the day feel warmer, I fear.

So what have I accomplished so far today?  The Tour de France watch, of course. Then a trip to the feed store to get some fly masks for the Boys and five bags of alfalfa cubes.  And an organic fly repellent called Flyswatter to sprinkle around in the stalls.  It wasn't too expensive and one of the women in the tack store said she's been using it with great success.

Using it and the fly masks is planned for tomorrow--depending on the weather.

Today I am doing the laundry and some inside cleaning, just as desperately needed as the outdoor work.

I didn't swim today because of the weather, and because I am singing the duet again tomorrow in my church.  no point in filling my head with water.  Besides, I know there were thunderstorms in the forecast so whether the pool stayed open is questionable.  I can't say I noticed thunder, actually, but somehow I also missed a few of the heavier showers from the looks of a few puddles outside.

We need more rain, though and I'm not going to complain if we get it.  But there were some really heavy storms going through the middle part of the country and those we don't need.  I have another tree branch down making three or more to clean up.  This one looks to be small enough for me to drag by hand, but the others are going to require the tractor.

Another job for another day.  Fact is, I am just taking it one thing at a time. What gets done, gets done. What doesn't, doesn't.  I always take care of the Boys, of course and my kitties, but the rest of it can sit until I get around to it.

It's one of the blessings of retirement.

Friday, July 09, 2010

There Was a Breeze

Finally a Bit Of a Break

Not much accomplished today.  My Tour de France viewing took up the morning.  Then I am not too sure where the bulk of the day went.

I did go swimming later in the afternoon, after I'd fed the Boys.  I had considered going to buy some fly masks for them too, but decided to wait until tomorrow.  It is national riding helmet day and the tack store is offering 20% off and I may want to get a new helmet.  So I figured taking only one trip there this week would make more sense.

Last night I did manage to get the second bin put together, but it's not in the barn yet.  No point in doing a whole lot about it until I sort....again...the blankets and sheets I need to either repair or wash and store in the bin.  It's plastic, so if it rains, it will be fine outside.

After my swim, the breeze seemed to have picked up, so I went out to lunge.  The breeze wasn't strong enough. The deerflies and other biting bugs were not discouraged.  I finally took Chance back in the barn gave him a good fly spraying and then put on the fly mask I use when I ride and then took him back out to finish up the lungeing session.  He was a good boy despite the bugs, but I didn't bother with the other Boys after that.

Instead, I spent about an hour poo picking the riding arena.  And getting attacked by the darn deer flies myself.  When I went to dump the wheelbarrow and had to pass through some weeds, I really stirred up the bugs and was even more pestered.  Horrid things.  I got most of them before the actually bit me, but they are so annoying buzzing around my face and hair.  No wonder the horses get so antsy.

Darkness was closing in as I finished the arena.  There's a 50% or better chance of rain on the weekend, so I'm glad the arena is clean.  If we do get the rain I can drag it again and that will help the footing a bit.  At least we will have a little respite from the dust.

So, I accomplished something today after all. It certainly wasn't much too productive, but a nice 10 laps in the pool, three times around the lazy river, one horse lunged and a poo picking riding arena isn't too bad for a summer day.

At least it was something.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

A Bit Cooler

But Only Because of the Clouds

If the sun were out, it would be brutal.  The humidity is fairly high too, so that makes it even worse.

But on the good front, I did put the Rubbermaid storage shed together for my garbage cans.  It was easy in theory, but the pieces were kind of big, so that required some extra physical effort on my part. And one piece is a bit stubborn about staying in place, although I THINK I may have finally gotten it locked in place.  The two recyling bins and the garbage can fit inside nicely so Raccoon Raider may finally be foiled.

That will not deter Opossum Purloiner who greeted me in the barn last night when I went out for late feed.  This is not good as I don't really want such furry folk in the barn as they can spread disease. There's not much
I can do, however, as my barn is too open to keep out such visitors.  I will just make sure the feed is safely locked away and that the hay is kept clean as well. It is a worry, though.  I will need to do some research to see what I might be able to do to discourage my invader. Hopefully just keeping all the edibles locked up will eventually deter him.

The Boys seemed to be enjoying the brief sapite from the hot sun.  When I was banging the little shed together, they got all stirred up and came a-galloping into the front paddocks to see what all the bother was about.  I'm sure once I recover from the shed effort and take the bin inside the barn to put it together, they will "snoopervise" that procedure too.  I must admit horses are rather easily entertained by rather ordinary events.  Then again, perhaps they just enjoy watching me work while they simply stand around.

Uh-oh.  The sun has just come out.  Maybe I won't be putting the bin together...unless I wait until dark.

More to come?  We shall see.

I'll post some pics when the other computer comes back. Not sure I can do it with this one.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Hate the Laptop

But It Works

Which is more than I can say for me!  I did have a rehearsal this morning, so that took up some of my day. 

But it is SO hot outside, it's not even worth going to the pool.  I'm not sure I'd survive the walk from the parking lot to the lap pool across the park. 

And I have definitely entered my retirement schedule again where I take a nap in the afternoon--sorry everyone who works--and then stay up really late at night doing
"things."  Trouble is, last night it did not cool off outside enough for me to do any outside things.  I still have to put the Rubbermaid shed thingie together, as noted. 

The Boys were out in the pasture again during the earlier part of the day.  Despite the heat, there was a bit of a breeze off and on.  Later they were up in the barn letting the fans do their work.  They are not particularly sweaty, so they are bearing up in the heat far better than I am. 

I have had Tucker on the new oil supplemented diet for just about a week now and I THINK he is not quite as ravenous about food as he was before.  If so, this might be a good sign.  I've checked out oil supplementation on some websites and it seems that even if he does not have metabolic issues the diet will still be fine for him. 

With the dreadful heat wave, I certainly am not riding him so I can't make any judgment yet as to whether the dietary change helps his work ethic or not.  He is a curious horse to work with, regardless--and decidedly opinionated about almost everything.  He can go very well when all is well, but he is bothered by more than most horses by any distraction.  And, if something is bothering him physically, he always lets me know.

Then again, I do indulge him if he tries to "tell me something" with his body language or attitude.  I suspect that makes him feel quite entitled to an opinion in most every aspect of his training.

Kind of reminds me of a teenage English student. *G*

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

On the Laptop

So I Am Online After All

But I hate the laptop keyboard as it's too small for me to type well on.  And, I do not have all the Blogger addresses of my blogger pals, so if I miss your blogs for a few days, please forgive me. 

My other computer is in for a complete tuneup which includes a complete system restore which was actually cheaper than just trying to clean up all the file problems.  Staples does advertise a free service, but apparently that's only if the problems are minimal.  Mine were getting worse and worse.  Something was definitely wrong with my Windows Registry and my Internet software was totally going downhill. 

I had a back up of all my important files on a USB drive, so wiping out all my data is not an issue.  There are some programs and games, etc. that I have loaded I may not be able to save, unless the software company has a record that I paid for and downloaded them previously.  Nothing too sad to lose, actually, but still.....

It is blisteringly hot again today.  I just realized that the reason the pool was so busy yesterday was because it was the Monday holiday to celebrate the 4th of July.  People had the day off.  Not being a working girl anymore, I tend to forget things like that, although I wouldn't have much noticed in the summer anyhow while I was still teaching.

The Boys seem to be coping pretty well, hanging out in the barn again with the fans blowing on them.  Chance does keep looking at me, I suppose wondering why I don't spend more time with him, but what can I do.  Both of us would pass out if we tried any form of exercise beyond just kind of "being there."  I am monitoring the water trough, however, as they are drinking quite a bit, which is good. 

Tomorrow is supposed to be the last day of the bad heat and then we are maybe going to have some thunderstorms come through.  We really need the rain.  My lawn is brown, which saves mowing the grass, but the weeds seem to be doing OK.  Nice to know nature always has a few survivors in the wings to make it through the bad times.

So much for now.  The Tour de France took some wicked twists and turns today with more crashes and more injuries.  Kind of frustrating when that happens, as I said yesterday.  At least the race is proving to be exciting, although I am not too keen on this kind of excitement. 

Off for a swim after I refill the water trough.

Monday, July 05, 2010

The Boys Were Out

To My Surprise

The Boys were out in the pasture during the early afternoon. This was a bit of a surprise as it was VERY HOT today.  But perhaps outside was more airy than inside or there might have been a bit of a breeze out there.

The temperature on the garage in the full sun was reading 120F, so you know it was hot.  That is not a typo.  The saving grace was that the humidity was not horrible but it promises to increase as the week goes on.  We seem to be stuck on the weather, but it does have such an impact on what the horses and I do, or rather don't do.

I did go for a swim.  I waited until around 4 PM, figuring the families of mothers and children would be heading home for dinner by then.  They were, but there was a long line of people at the pay for the day window waiting to get in.  I have a membership card, so I had no wait at all.

The pools were all crowded, but for once, the lifeguards were enforcing the lap lane rules and I managed to get in my laps without too much interference by non-swimmers.  It was nice and cooling and the walk back to the car wasn't too bad as I had gotten a parking place in the second aisle of cars.

That just about sums up my accomplishments for the day.  I did, of course, watch the Tour de France in the morning.  Crashes today and yesterday are taking their toll on the riders and tomorrow, there are several stretches of cobblestone pavement which is supposedly very hard on bike racers and their bikes.  A few guys have already gotten hurt and had to drop out.  That is always sad to me as these racers have trained all season for this big race.  It must be so frustrating for them.

I've bought two Rubbermaid bins--one for my garbage and recyling cans and one for some of the blankets in the barn--but so far they are in huge boxes in the back yard, waiting for me to assemble them.  I, in turn, am waiting for some kind of tolerable weather to work in.  The boxes are far too big to come into the house so that is not an option.

Maybe, if it cools off at night, I could do some work out there then as I do have lights.  Or, I could do the early morning rise.

We'll see. Right now I am once more a bit short on motivation.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

In Case I Disappear for a Few Days

Do Not Worry

My computer has been acting up and I may soon take it to Staples for an overhaul.

I do have a laptop but I am not sure I can properly load the Internet connection.  I have the software, but one never knows.  I do get kind of lazy about stuff like this as it means a bunch of disconnecting things and carting things, etc., but if my software keeps behaving badly, I will have to do something.  Theoretically, the laptop should work fine, but theory and practice are sometime elusive partners in the world of cyberspace.

It's to darn hot to do anything anyhow.  I managed about three hours at the picnic, sitting under the shade of a big tree with a breeze blowing before I had to surrender.  As I have gotten older I have become less and less tolerant of the heat and today was no exception.  But the food and company were great, so it was fun while it lasted.

The duet was quite good at church this morning. We do have a recording of it, so it will be interesting to hear it from afar.  I wasn't 100% satisfied with every note I sang, but I am a perfectionist when it comes to that, so it's hard for me to judge fairly.  The congregation gave us a round of applause after we finished, do I guess it must have been good for them.

We sing the duet again at my church this next Sunday, so I get a second go.  It's nice to be able to do a performance more than once like that.  It makes the time and rehearsals worth it.

The Boys are hanging out in the barn again, taking advantage of the fans in the aisle.  There's not much more I can do to keep them cool, but I think they tolerate the heat much better than I do.  Animals cope--I complain.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Surprise Visit

Oooops, Nearly Missed It

I was inside the house watching TV previews of the Tour de France which starts today.

Apparently, Scott, my farrier "sneaked" in through the driveway on the other side of the house while I was just hanging out with the TV.  Imagine my surprise when I saw the truck and Mick, his dog already in the backyard by the barn.

I went out to find Tucker nearly half shod already.  Scott had figured I was sleeping and didn't want to bother me, so he didn't ring the doorbell.  Ah, well. Rather embarrassing to see him there.  But all was well.

My horses do not need to be held for shoeing.  They all stand well on the crossties in the aisle of the barn...although Tucker does tend to wiggle a bit.  And, they are polite for Scott as well.  So when I am there, I usually spend my time amusing Mick with games of fetch and chatting with Scott about all kinds of things.

Today the main topic was the Township's potential purchase of a commercial dog park using Open Space money. This is going to become an early campaign issue.  There are far too many questions about the purchase and subsequent operation of the park under public control.

Scott did all three Boys' feet today.  Tucker and Toby have shoes only on the front and Chance is the barefoot boy.  I am pleased to report that Tucker looked absolutely sound after being shod.  I lunged him for about five minutes so Scott could watch him.  The current supposition is that the bit of white line disease in Tucker's toe was the cause his bout of lameness.  Whatever it was, he seems to be fine now and is all ready to go with his nice new shoes.

Which is more than I can say for me.  Both knees are bothering me now, although the left one is worse and still not quite ready for much action.  It's OK for the next few days anyhow, as it's gotten hot again and will be dreadful tomorrow.

Fortunately, the church where I will be singing is air conditioned, but I do have a picnic later in the day. There is plenty of natural tree shade at the picnic site, though, so if there is any kind of breeze at all, it might not be too  bad.

Happy Independence Day, America! May the red, white and blue fly high in celebration of our nation's birth!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Not Sure About a Ride But More on Shape Ups

Another Nice Morning

I'm not sure about riding yet. My knee was a bit more wonky this morning when I got up. I am thinking of going back out after the Boys are done with breakfast to lunge someone, just to see how that goes. The brace seems to help a lot.

More on the Shape Ups.  My chiropractor told me the design was based on some kind of earth shoe that came out years ago.  The idea is to create an instability in the foot, which then makes the foot work more naturally.  Skechers has added internal cushioning of some sort making them unique.  Whatever they've done, the shoes are very comfortable on hard surfaces.

If you do decide to try them, you might find them a bit strange to walk in at first as the rocker sole seems, at first, to require extra balance.  But I got over that really quickly.  I feel as if I have better posture in them too.

As for helping your back?  I would say, "yes" to that as well.  And, I've had issues with my ankles as well as my knees and they have definitely helped them as well.  I, like many of you, am not into believing in gimmicks either so I bought my first pair on a special deal from the Skechers store in a nearby mall, fully expected "just another shoe."  But it didn't take me long to get hooked.

Am I getting toned up as all the ads suggest?  I have no idea. But easing the pain and strain on my joints is reward enough.  If I get beautifully tones legs out of it, that's just a bonus--but I'm not holding my breath. *G*

Addendum:  I did lunge Toby and Chance this morning.  Tucker was losing the shoe on his damaged hoof.  I wrapped it in Elastiplast and duct tape to keep it on and have now locked him in his stall.  I called Scott, but no reply yet. It would have to be a holiday weekend....bummer.  The other Boys are kind of hanging around the barn anyhow, keeping in the shade and fans, so Tuck is not too bad off.   He'll be OK for a few days if need be.  He's pretty good about being stuck inside.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Huge Improvement

Knee is Feeling Better

I am sooooo tempted to push it yet tonight as there is a nice cool breeze.  But I am forcing myself to give my knee at least one more evening off.  If it still feels good in the morning, I think I will try riding just a bit. It is such a shame to waste this weather!!

It did get a bit hot this afternoon, but with the lower humidity, it still wasn't bad. The morning was, again simply beautiful.  And, as I've already said, tonight will chill off too. Then the heat starts to come back in.

The Boys are enjoying the weather without me, spending some time out in the pasture. But without rain, the grass is pretty dry and not growing at all.  I do have plenty of hay for them as my guy delivered some yesterday.

I am adding oil to Tucker's food, following Caroline's suggestions and treatment for Campero, just in case Tucker has some of the same metabolic issues. I already have him on a low carb feed as noted before.  This is Purina's new mix pellets:  Healthy Edge.  Of course, I haven't been working him enough to notice if there is any difference yet, but as long as he stays sound, I may be able to find out on the good weather, no bad knee days.

I had a rehearsal today for the duet I am singing in church on Sunday.  We are singing, "Pie Jesu," by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It is a rather vocally challenging piece with a repeated leap to a high A flat for me in the lead part.  This is not usually a problem, but this time of year sometimes my voice is not at maximum capacity as I am bothered by allergies and, of course, the cold I just recovered from.  So, since it's cooled off a bit, I am avoiding the swimming pool as I do tend to get water into my head when I swim.  I use earplugs, but I probably should add a nose clip too.  Trouble is, I will be singing again the following Sunday so I need to try to keep my voice in shape next week too.  Nose clip is a quick future purchase, I think.....

Actually, when I swam the other day, my knee hurt too much anyhow, unlike the first time I swam after the injury.  I'm still not sure what I did, exactly, whether it was a wrong step or the little bump I got when I walked into the hay cart. It was not a serious collision, but when my knees are as fragile as they are, I suppose that could have been the trigger.  Regardless, as long as it's getting better, I'm fine with it.

Oh, yes! I should have reported before on Skechers Shape Ups.  I tried a pair about two months before school let out and fell in love with them. If you have seen the advertising, these shoes are designed to help you get fit simply by walking in them.  They create a rolling motion to the foot that transfers through all the leg joints and muscles to add tone.  But, they also help bad joints! Honestly. I did not realize how much they were helping me until one day when I went on one of my marathon shopping sprees. I had on another pair of good walking shoes, but as I was heading out of one of the last stores on my list, my legs ached so horribly, I was nearly ready to call it quits.  I had my Shape Ups in the car in my gym bag as I'd taken them off when I'd change to go swimming the day before.  On a whim, I put them on.  Two steps across the parking lot and suddenly the aches in my legs disappeared!!

I've been wearing my Shape Ups nearly everywhere ever since.  I got some good deals buying some pairs on eBay as I know my size and have just recently purchased a pair to wear when I am working around the barn.  The difference between them an regularly soled shoes is amazing for me.  They are on the expensive side, but well worth the investment so far...and, as I said, eBay deals can be pretty good.  I am a bit of a "shoe nut" actually, so I now have a pretty good collection.

I did not have my Shape Ups on when I hurt my knee.