Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year


I don't tend to make them. While it is a good idea on some levels, I find I much prefer to live life as it comes at this point instead of making too many plans I may or may not be able to follow.

I do hope to ride more than I did last year. My knees are ever so much better and I just want to enjoy my Boys. I seem to have lost the urge to compete, so that does make motivation harder, but I've always enjoyed training, regardless of the goal, and that's still true.

Regardless of where my riding goes from now on, I am pleased to have the option of the challenge of Tucker or the relaxation of Chance as options. And, of course, there is retired Toby who still can offer a fun ride to remind me of just where training can go if you stick at it.

So Happy New Year to us all, wherever we ride and whenever we ride. The moments we spend with our horses are priceless, whether seated on their backs or just being with them to share the wonders of the world.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

A Very Merry Christmas To One and All!

No more need be said!

Monday, December 17, 2012

This is Why I Tie the Tree to the Window

Kittens in Frolic

Let it well noted that I have an artificial Christmas tree, with no decorations save what are part of the tree--holly, berries and some fake snow.  The tree is fiber optic, so when it lights up--well I had to do some repairs this year--it's pretty. It also has some regular mini-twinkle lights on it.

This is not all my choice of proper Christmas tradition, but it has evolved as a practical solution when one has furry, rather playful critters in the house.

Now, I have also learned to tie the tree to the window lock with yarn, another practical move since the tree sits in my bay window and the stand "just fits" the width of the window seat.

But there is more to it all. When my now adult cats were kittens, Reggie thought the tree was a great place to hide. Apparently, its lure has not diminished over these last 6 or so years since his kittenhood.

The tree is still a great place to hide, and to play.
 As you can see, Joseph thinks the tree offers wonderful camouflage.
 But Joseph is not alone. CocoPuff agrees with him and is most ready to share the secret.
 Sister and brother are fully in the Christmas spirit.
 But sometimes, CocoPuff prefers the solitary existence of the tree dweller.
 DJ, one of the adults in the family supervises the youngsters. You can still see, if you look closely that Coco is still in the tree, well disguised from sight by foliage and artificial snow.  And Joseph tries to pretend he too is a ceramic cat like the one curled up to his right.
Stuffed horses lie in disarray as DJ analyzes the display.

As you can see, Christmas is a quiet holiday here at Follywoods, punctuated by the sound of whirling dervish kittens in the tree, galloping catfeet in the halls, and galloping horsefeet outside.

Gotta get some pictures of the galloping horses attached to the feet.

Meanwhile, cats will just have to do.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tears are Falling

Heartbreak in Connecticut

I heard the news of the school shooting in Connecticut this morning, shortly after it happened.  There wasn't much information then, so after following the story for a bit, I went about my daily chores. It was not until this afternoon that I finally heard the horrible details--20 children dead, 6 adults dead, one more dead at another related location, and finally the shooter himself dead.


No answers yet, and even when we do get the answers we can uncover they will never fully explain away the horror.

I am crying and praying as each part of the story unfolds, but beneath it all is a sure and certain anger.

I keep seeing those little kids huddled in their classrooms, hiding from the gunman who had invade their school. Those who survived knew the drill, and that is the sad part of it all. After the Columbine shootings, schools throughout the nation developed emergency procedures should their school be attacked. Here in New Jersey, schools regularly conduct drills so students and teachers will know exactly what to do in case of such an emergency. I have supervised numerous such drills in my classrooms over the years, and each time, I am chilled to think of what might happen if it were real.

When I was an elementary school student myself, we used to conduct air raid drills. We'd go out into the halls of the school and huddle on the floor with our heads covered so we would be protected in case of a nuclear attack.  Of course, it really made no sense then, for if a bomb did hit, the building would afford no protection, nor would our folded arms. But somehow, it made us feel we were doing something in the face of horrendous danger.

I'm not sure the emergency drills we run today would actually do anything to stop a determined gunman, either, but at least it gives you something to do instead of sitting around, waiting to be a target.

But why should we have to hide in the darkness in the first place? Why should mass murderers be able to so easily obtain assault weapons to use against us? Why should the gun be such an icon of worship and power? Why should we delight in video games where we shoot guns with merciless intent? Why do we allow people to buy guns freely and openly without regard to their intent? Why do we live in a culture where the gun seems to be the ultimate answer to every problem?

I don't know.

All I know is that my heart is broken for all those families who lost a loved one today for no reason.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Warm Day On Horseback

Shirt Sleeve Weather

It was quite warm today, so I took advantage of the weather to put up the outside Christmas decorations--at  least the front of the house. I still have to put up the barn lights and star and the string of greenery and lights at the back door. No biggie and I may do it after I rest a bit.

I rode both Tucker and Chance. I considered taking Tucker out on the trail but decided to stick to the arena where I did perhaps 15 minutes walk trot canter. No biggie and I didn't want to work much more because he would have sweated up a lot if I had. It was that warm--shirt sleeve weather and I was sweating myself. He was a good boy, all in all, with just one offer to buck on a right lead canter depart, but that may have been being silly rather they ornery, but with Tucker, I never quite know.

After I finished with Tucker, I took Chance out on a trail ride in the woods. This time I rode in the opposite direction so I could find the trail home by starting from home. There was a tree down at the woods end, definitely making the path hard to follow once I got there, so I don't feel quite so foolish about not being able to find it on the way home last time.

As for the rest of the trail?  It's as bad as I thought, with tree after tree blocking the way. It's going to take some persistence to figure out the best way around each one, but I was able to make it nearly all the way back to the farm on the other side of the woods. Then, however, on the last little stretch of trail, there was one final tree and the brush looked pretty thick on either side so I opted to ride along the first set of power lines to get back out to the field instead. Too bad, as I liked that little stretch of trail there. It has a nifty little hill and is just "kind of cute."  I'll give it a better look one day soon to see if there is a good way around, or if I can clear a way.

What I may do is go out with my clippers and pruning saw to do some minor clearing of annoying branches and sticker bushes around the fallen trees to make the detours easier to ride. It's just going to take some time and effort.

The weather is supposed to turn colder again by tomorrow, but for today? Lovely. Glad I took advantage of it and enjoyed some saddle time.