Saturday, September 28, 2013

Out on the Arabians Again

Can She Ride Without Tall Boots or Half Chaps? 

Well, yes, of course she can. She does it all the time at home...but not for three hours!

Christina and her husband graciously added me to the clan for a trail ride up in the hills of western New Jersey--actually only about an hour from here.

First, in defense of my State. Many people think New Jersey is just Turnpike and industry. Not so. We have many beautiful, preserved acres of farms, woodlands, and amazingly beautiful land. Many of these places are" horse friendly" as Tewksbury was two weeks ago.

The above are pictures from the Tewksbury ride. The first is at the water complex at the end of the ride. I'm in front on JJ and Chris is behind on Nordisk, her 4 yo Arabian on his very first away from home event. The second shows the three of us, I'm on JJ to the left, Chris is on Nordisk to the right, and Larry, her husband is behind on Juan--a gray Arabian. This just gives a hint of some of the beautiful acres we have to ride here in NJ.

Today's ride at Horseshoe Park in Kingwood Township was no exception. Fields and wooded trails with some pretty formidable hills to challenge fitness and work ethic. It was about a mile longer than the Tewksbury ride and the terrain was much more difficult.

JJ, Nordisk, and Juan, all Arabians were definitely up to the challenge, although I'm pretty sure they were all tired at the end of the 10.2 mile ride.  We did a ton of trotting today and Christine actually cantered Nordisk for the first time and several times thereafter. I was so proud of her, and she should be proud of the training she's given Nordisk and his wonderful attitude. He is a solid young horse with a super temperament and a brave attitude about facing new things on the trail.

There were many, many natural obstacles to overcome. Creek crossings with rocks and steep banks, and hill after hill. Some of these hills were really steep. We had to go both up and down, of course. I hate down, but JJ is very surefooted and confident in himself, so he was a great ride.

As noted, I'd left my half chaps in my car after we left the barn, so I rode just in breeches and my paddock boots. It was just fine although at first I felt a little less secure in my leg. But once I'd been in the saddle for a half hour or so, I was just fine.

I have to admit, I got a really good workout. But it's a lot of fun when you are on an experienced endurance horse who knows how to take care of himself and his rider.

By the by, the Ansur Excel is still a great trail saddle. Hill and dale, it just moves with the horse and allows me to ride in good balance.

I'll need a nice soak in a hot tub tonight, but it was worth it.

What fun!!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Who Woulda Thunk???

Peppercorn and Squarly

I just witnessed the strangest encounter outside my window.  There is a maple tree a squirrel regularly visits. I put peanuts out there for him/her every day. Lately, I've been able to go out when the squirrel is there and it stays to wait for me to throw and handful of peanuts.

Today, I saw Peppercorn, my barn kitty suddenly leap up onto the tree. The Squirrel--I call him/her "Squarly" stayed clinging to the opposite side of the tree trunk, not at all upset by the cat. When Pepper climbed up into the tree fork, Squarly went up too. Showing no sign of being afraid of Pepper, the squirrel almost looked as if he/she was following the cat. Pepper climbed a little higher, and Squarly climbed too.

Part of the drama played out on the opposite side of the tree so I could not see all the interaction. It was hard to tell if Pepper was running away from the squirrel or if the two of them actually touched each other. At one point it looked as if they might.

I would have expected the squirrel to be wary of the cat. Not so. I tried to get a picture of the two of them, but when I went out, Pepper saw me and climbed down to run over to me and the squirrel got a bit shy and climbed up the tree.

Prey and predator? Prey chasing predator from territory? Or pals?

Horses? Could not ride today or yesterday as I had my knees injected again. The new therapy is "neuraltherapy" of a new sort. The doctor explained they inject a dextrose solution around the nerves to irritate them and stimulate them to react normally. Apparently what happens in many surgeries is that the nerves are damaged or trapped by scar tissue and cause pain. My doctor says it's very common after joint replacements.

I was able to swim, however, and today I did about a mile. I am feeling it a bit, but that's OK. Lots of exercise is good for me, especially since I am still trying to lose weight. So far, as of Tuesday, I'd lost about 23 pounds. Not bad.

The only trouble is that I've gone down a size in clothes, and may have even started to drop down to the next size. I just bought a bunch of new jeans to wear when I teach--colored ones that are really pants. They fit now, but I have to wonder how long that will last.

Good thing I love to shop. The trick is what to do with the too big ones. Last year I donated a lot to charity, so I'll probably do that again. It's a nice tax break and may actually pay off in the end.

I  should be fine to ride tomorrow, so I'll report back then.

Meantime, I need to spend some time clothes sorting.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Arabians Ride Again

JJ Works Out

I woke up feeling a little "undercharged," and suspect it might have been a reaction to the flu shot. It left my tummy and my breakfast at odds, so I was not well fed for the morning.

I did go over to Christina's barn as we'd planned to take JJ and her youngster, Nordisk on a trail ride. Christina wasn't feeling 100% either. She's been taking a boot camp exercise class and worked out really hard this morning, so she too was a bit out of sorts.

But that never stopped the intrepid duo.  JJ almost did, however. During the week he had banged up his left hind leg pretty dramatically and later in the week had banged his eye or irritated it with rubbing on something. Today, though, his eye looked pretty good and by the time I'd gotten there, Chris had bandaged both of his hind legs with working wraps, so he was ready to go after a nice grooming.

We both decided to just take it easy with no trotting.  We went along the cornfield that surrounds the Van Dyke Farm--the farm we worked so hard to preserve. Then we rode under the power lines, did a hairpin turn and came back along the back of the cornfield to the dirt road where we'd started.

With a good number of breaks to let the horses nibble grass and for Nordisk to play in the mud puddles, the ride took about an hour and a half.

On the way back, as we edged along the road, a car came rushing along towards us. Christina waved her arm trying to slow it down, but all the driver did was move over into the other lane and not slow at all. Chris yelled, and to my surprise, the car stopped.

Now, please note: In New Jersey, motor vehicles are supposed to slow down to 25 mph when horses are present and to obey any signals from the rider.

A car just before this one had stopped for us and then passed really slowly.  Chris and JJ had been hit by a car last year, so she is really sensitive about it.  The car's driver, a woman, got out and tried to make nice with Nordisk while Chris continued to berate her. She made it clear the woman had broken the law and threatened to call the police.

It was not a pretty scene, but I suspect that woman will think twice about flying past horses and riders next time. At least I hope she does.

Fact is, most drivers do not know the law. There are road signs which can be posted about the regulations, but when we approached out Township government about putting some up on these "horsey" roads of ours, there was no money in the budget.

I suppose we could start a fundraiser to buy a few, but I still think there are regulations about posting them.

In the meantime, we just may make our own sign and post it on the lawn in front of the farm.(I don't need one here at my house because I would NEVER risk riding my horse on my road, and there really is no place to ride on the other side, so I don't need to cross the road when I go out on trails. )

One more idea to ponder.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Chance Again

But In the Arena First

I did my hour's plus swim this morning. The pool is indoors, of course and it felt wonderful to get in the water. Outside the temperature was in the mid 60'sF--another beautiful day.

I did a bit of shopping on the way home. I need to do something about my back porch door. Last night--and not for the first time--a little skunk was inside eating the cat food. When he tried to get out, he could not fit under the door--the way he had apparently come in. I've had trouble with this before and there was an extra wooden sill attached to the outside concrete step.  I need to replace that, so I picked up some special adhesive from Home Depot.

Of course, once home, I did not work on the door. I'm not sure where the old wooden sill is, or if I still have it. If not, I am going to have to make something suitable. I may need to buy some wood, but better yet, I may be able to go to the school and have them fabricate something from some scrap wood there. Either way, it's a job that's going to have to wait until I have all the supplies at hand.

After lunch and a bit of computer time, I headed out to ride.

It was Chance's turn, of course. This time, however, I decided to work him in the arena for a while before heading out on a short trail ride.

I must say, Chance has managed to understand the concept of stretching down into the bit, but he is not yet at all soft about it.  Again, if I were to work him steadily on it for a week or two he'd improve considerably. I guess that's on the agenda for the riding season. I think too that some long lining would really be a benefit.

As they say, I'll get around to it.

After I'd done about 15 minutes of arena riding, I headed out to take the "middle" woods trail.

No more need be said. My neat little trail horse--only "little" in comparison to 17h Tucker and 16.2h Toby since he stands at 15.3 or so--was nearly perfect out there. "Nearly" only because he did take a second look at cornstalk that had fallen at the edge of the woods near a mud puddle.

When we got back home, Toby was in the arena. I'd locked the gate but at one end, where the fence it totally fallen down, I'd blocked the way in with the blue barrels. Since three of them were lying down to make a "discouraging " fence to keep the Boys out of the arena, I can only presume that Toby jumped the barrels to get in. He frets and frets when one of his herdmates is off on an adventure, so he wanted to get to the woods gate to call for Chance.

Tucker, meanwhile, had not caught on to the barrel jumping technique, so he was stuck in the adjacent paddock, not at all happy to be separated from his buddy Toby.  He was galloping madly about, bucking and making quite a fuss.

When I did open the gate to let him in the arena, he put on a grand show.  It would have been the moment to have my camera and get some good action shots.

But, as usual, the camera was in the house.

Just use your imagination. 17h bay bucking bronco TB.

Cute??? Or not.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tucker's Turn

Beautiful Day

Despite a forecast for rain, the day turned out to be lovely. It was nearly a match to last Sunday at the pace.

I had church/choir in the morning and then needed to go back to Tractor Supply to get the bran I'd forgotten to buy yesterday. Since my church is partway there, it was a shorter drive out.

On the way back I stopped at the market to get some eggs, orange juice, and sausages since I had depleted my breakfast supply.  The store had a sign out front, "Flu Shots."  I'd waited too long last year and had a hard time finding some place that still had the vaccine, so I decided to take care of that today as well.  The nice young pharmacist injected me and after I sat for a few minutes to make sure I was not going to have an adverse reaction, I headed back home.

I planned on riding Tucker in the arena, but had to do some work first. There was a fence post down and the arena needed be poo picked.   Fortunately, the post was not broken, but just pulled out. I'm not too sure how that happened, but I did need to dig a new hole and reset the post. I did have a bit of "help" from the Boys if you consider sticking a horse nose into the hole "help."  Or tipping the wheelbarrow over, "help." Or getting in the way as I tried to put the fence boards back in place, "help."

After I finished the fence, I spent another half hour or so poo picking.

Then, at last, I saddled Tucker up for a ride.

We had a good session with just a couple of "almost explosions."  The first came when I decided to give him a kick to get him to trot on since he was really behind my leg.  He resented that one big time and threatened a buck.  My trainer always used to say, "Kick him!" when we had forward issues. Clearly Tucker does not take well to kick.

The second little mini almost meltdown came when my adorable barn kitty, Peppercorn, decided to gallop across in front of us in one of those mad kitty dashes.  Tucker focused on the cat instead of me and tried to join him for a stride or two.

Otherwise, aside from my not demanding too much because he is not in shape for really serious work, we managed to do some walk, trot, and canter exercises for about a half hour.  I finished with canter figure eights, trotting the change of lead in the middle.

Two goals there. One to get him more responsive to my leg, and the second, to prepare for the flying changes somewhere down the line.

Once again, it was a good day at Follywoods. Nothing spectacular, but things accomplished.

Looking forward to this autumn weather.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I Ride in Jeans

Out on the Trail

Scott came to shoe today, kind of confusing my plans for the day.

Not to worry. I managed to get everything done anyhow.  I was going to go to Tractor Supply in the morning to get some bird seed and alfalfa cubes. This is a bit of an undertaking because the store is perhaps 40 minutes away.  But the price on the bird seed is so good, it's worth the drive. And the alfalfa cubes are a dollar or more cheaper than the closer feed store.

Scott finished up around 1:30 or so and I was out of here soon after.

Did my shopping, drove home, had some lunch and it was time to go out to take care of the Boys for evening feed.

Now to the jeans. I had several pairs in the closet that had gotten too tight for me as I'd gained weight. Lo and behold, so far the two pairs I tried on now fit--with some room to spare. I was too lazy to swap over to riding breeches, so I put on my paddock boots and headed out with the intention of taking Chance on a short trail ride.

Actually, the jeans didn't feel too bad once I was in the saddle. I wouldn't want to ride for a long time in them, even though I used to do that all the time, but they were fine.

The only mistake I made was not working Chance in the arena for a little while before I headed out. That would have taken the edge off him. He was decidedly frisky on the way out. Not bad, but ever ready to jog off at the most inopportune moments--such as when I needed to duck under a branch to keep from getting my head knocked off.

We rode all the way out to the back field through the woods trails and found out that it was still possible, though a bit messy to get back out to the road along the field through the partially cut brush under the power lines. Not the best terrain, but navigable. Then we went along the other powerline road where it's usually flooded.  Despite the rain we've had, the roadway was dry so that was good.

We made the hairpin turn back along the cornfield and there I set Chance into a trot.  He was a good boy and it took the last little bit of silly out of him. Then we walked along the edge of the woods to the trail back home.  We were out for 35 minutes or more all told with that nice stretch of trot.

It was rather windy on the way back, making me think some kind of weather front was coming through. I suspect it's some cooler air as it's been back up in the 80's during the day.  That felt good and the wind kept any hungry flies from bothering us.

All in all, a nice day with much accomplished.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Knees in the News

I Am a Pincushion!

I went to my orthopedic pain specialist today with the intention of having prolotherapy to tighten the ligaments around my new knees. As regular readers know, despite a double total knee replacement, I am still having some pain after 2 years.

I did some research on this and discovered that indeed it can be common and that often during surgery or prior to, the remaining ligaments can be stretched and that creates an instability in the new joint which then can cause pain. I knew my ligaments were bad to start off with, so all this made sense.

Off I trundled to my doctor, ready to get some injections and be all fixed up. I had to take some money out of an IRA account to cover the cost because health insurance considers these treatments "experimental" and will not pay for them. Rubbish, but so it goes. Darn expensive but worth it if it all works.

Well, to my wallet shock, my doctor determined that part of the problem was that the nerves in my knees were also compromised--another very common consequence of knee replacement--and  I would benefit from neural therapy as well. This meant another series of injections of a painkiller along the nerve sheaths to take away the pain and nerve inflammation to help them heal as well.

Now, despite the mucho dollars this will all cost, I am somewhat relieved to discover that what I was feeling was not my imagination, that my suspicions were pretty much on target, and that there is a way to treat it. Ever since the surgery, despite the pain, there was this kind of almost numb, weird feeling in my knees that exercise and massage did nothing to help. The instability of the loose ligaments was one thing, but this other feeling was just strange. I kept thinking it might be nerve issues, but....

My doctor showed me a picture of where the nerves run in the knee area, and sure enough that matched my pain and strange feeling.

I have to go back at least three more times at some pretty hefty expense, but we did work out a payment plan so I can manage to cover it all.  I guess I will actually have some good medical deductions on my income taxes this time out, so there is a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel.

I hate to spend the money, but at this point I really want my knees to feel better.

I do have to say this doctor--Dr. Edward Magaziner--is on the cutting edge of new therapies to treat injuries and pain.

At the same time, I do tease him a bit as most of the therapies he uses were pioneered in veterinary medicine, notably with horses. He was proud to tell me he was using a new stem cell treatment with great success.  The stem cells were derived from the patient's own fatty tissue and it worked much better to help heal and restore damaged joint tissues.

I laughed a bit at that one. Several years ago, I had given him an article about stem cell therapy being used in horses--deriving the stem cells from fatty tissue. At that point, he was still using blood serum stem cells. He remembered and grinned about it.

Bless the vets!

Now I have to find out the next medical breakthrough in equine medicine that will benefit man.

We talked about the new surgery for kissing spines in horses, but realized that it would not likely help humans. Very interesting conformational difference there. We want our horses to release their backs and round them. Humans need to have their backs straight or a bit inverted to stand upright. If those ligaments were cut, we'd bend over instead.

How does the phrase go from Animal Farm?  As far as that surgery goes:  "Four legs good, two legs bad!"

No riding today. I was told to "take it easy" as far as exercise goes. I may  swim tomorrow and ride out with Christina on Thursday.

Hope to be on the mend in short order. So does my bank account.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

We Pace!!

And We Had a Great Time!

What can I say?  The weather was absolutely beautiful to start off.  We met the barn around 7AM and were on our way by a bit after 8.

The drive up to Tewksbury was a bit over an hour, so we arrived somewhat after 9AM.  We signed in to get number 13 on our pinny.  Not to worry. It was good luck for us.

Christine had a little trouble loading Nordisk on the trailer to leave so more about that later.

The best part was the ride itself. According to the organizers, it was 8-9 miles long. We had decided not to try to be competitive as Nordisk had never been away from home before and he's only been under saddle for four months.  Both JJ and Juan--Christina's husband's horse--are seasoned endurance horses, so it was an ideal team for a youngster's first outing.

The trails were gorgeous!! Beautiful scenery, excellent footing and truly varied terrain. We had woodland paths, open fields, streams, hills, road crossings, backyards, and just about everything you could imagine.

Nordisk was a little nervous at first, but Christina rode him really well and after a few other faster teams passed us, we all began to gain confidence that he would be just fine.  We walked for the first half of the ride, just taking it all in and enjoying ourselves.

After the mandatory water stop for the riders, we got a bit bolder and started some trotting sessions. By then Nordisk was nicely settled.  JJ was an angel and let me pace him to keep Nordisk close to us at all times as we moved out on some of the really wonderful paths along the edges of the fields. There were a number of nice small hunt jumps out there and I had to admit I felt a twinge of nostalgia for the old days when I hunter paced Russell, PJ and even Toby.  Those fences looked really inviting, but it was not the day to lark over any of them.

JJ's endurance experience was proven time and time again as the terrain got challenging, or there were potentially spooky things along the trail. What a super horse he is to ride. My Ansur dressage saddle seems to suit him perfectly and I must admit it certainly was comfortable to ride in.

All told, we were out for nearly three hours. We found out after crossing the finish line that it was actually a "trail pace," not a "hunter pace."  I am positive we were still too slow, but I have a feeling a lot of the riders who galloped past us will have come in well under time.  I will be interested to see what the ideal time was. I suspect the way we rode the second half, with all the trotting, would have been a good time.

JJ was cool and relaxed the whole ride and came in with a good heart rate and minimal sweating. He was evenly sweated under the saddle and not lathered up at all.  He's certainly fitter than I am!!

We hung out for a while to let everyone recuperate and then decided to load up to head for home.

Nordisk would have none of it. He balked over and over about getting into the trailer.  Christine worked hard to get him in, but did not lose her temper.  Larry tried to load him, I tried to load luck.  I'd guess we spent well over an hour trying to get him in. Then, we put a rump rope on him with Larry at one end and me at the other, and he finally decided to get on.

Whew! Christina has her work cut out for the next couple weeks practicing loading, that's for sure.  It's currently a hole in Nordisk's training, but she's done such a good job with everything else, I'm certain she'll fix it in short order.  He's a really good boy, so I don't think it will be much of a problem in the long run.

The other training step to face is actually cantering Nordisk under saddle. He offered a few strides of canter today, but Christina stopped him as she has never tried it and it's still a little scary for her. I fully understand and plan on riding a bit with her to help her take the next step.  Nordisk is very naturally balanced, so I don't think it's going to be a problem either. We'll just take it as it comes.

After we got back home and settled the horses in with their dinner, we went to a nearby restaurant and had a nice dinner ourselves.

I got home just over an hour ago to feed my boys and now, to blog!

I had an absolutely wonderful day, on a wonderful horse, on some wonderful trails, with some wonderful friends.

How much better could the day be?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thunder Overhead

Out on the Trails

Christina and I went out for a long--at least 2 1/2 hour--ride today.  We covered a lot of varied terrain crossing several streams on the way. Nordisk, the young fellow, led most of the way. He had a few stops at some of the water crossings, but patience and, in one case, a lead from the more experienced JJ--even with me on his back--got him through just fine.

There is a long, winding woodland trail behind Christina's barn that we followed. Apparently, it has several more miles we did not even cover on the ride with options to go to some local parks and other interesting places.

On the way home, however, we heard a rumble of thunder overhead. Sure enough, another crash and  a bit of rush of wind brought in a strong downpour. Nordisk got a little upset and even JJ, who is fairly immune to weather started to react.  We dismounted and led the boys home for the last 15 minutes of the trail, getting soaked ourselves in the process. Since it had been pretty hot and humid yesterday and not a whole lot better this morning, I have to say, the rain did actually feel good.

However, soggy clothes, soggy tack and soggy horses were ultimately not all that pleasant.

I was upset to discover when we got back that my girth had rubbed JJ at his right elbow. Hopefully he will be fine for Sunday's ride. I will use one of Christina's girths instead then. I feel bad about it, but what's done is done. It's not a horrible rub, but the hair is gone and the skin is irritated. Poor kid.

The sun is out again now, but there are still storms in the forecast. Nothing like what hit Colorado over the last two days--hope my blogger pals out that way are all OK!!  Here, the blessing is that the stormy weather is bringing back the cooler, drier weather. It should be super on Sunday for the pace.

I swam for over an hour yesterday in the college indoor pool. It would have been a perfect day to swim outside, but this time of year, most of the outdoor pools are closed for the season. I'm lucky I have a place to swim and it's a super nice facility.

I'll swim again tomorrow, keeping up my exercise program. I am about a half pound short of losing 20 pounds since I started with my nutritionist. I'd like to lose at the least another 10 pounds before I reach a maintenance weight. If I lose 15, I'll be back to the weight I was in college and that might be even better.

Onward and downward!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

So Far It Was Fun!

I Ride Two Days in a Row

I, as planned, took Chance out to the pumpkin patch for a ride yesterday. We were out for about 45 minutes with two short, but nice sessions of trotting. Chance was a star on all accounts, except for two spooks.

First, however, was his absolute non-spook at birds suddenly flying up out of the cornfield on either side of the trail. The corn is too tall to see over at this point, and the birds flew up in a rush and noisy flutter. Chance only flicked his ear at them. I was honestly amazed.

Once we were out at the tree farm, all was well until we reached a spot where a bright white cultivator was parked. It really did look strange and the sunlight bouncing off it accented the sudden whiteness. Chance froze, then spun around to escape the "monster."  I collected him back up, tried to go past it and again he spun. But I turned him back towards it, let him stand and stare at it for a moment, reassuring him as he did. Then, although quite tense an prancing, he did manage to pass by. The cultivator was about 50 feet off the trail, but still it was a big scary thing.

Then, partway into the pumpkin field, we had to pass by some beehives. These were gray boxes. Unfortunately, Chance was still a little unsettled from the cultivator, so he spooked and spun again. This time, I simply turned him up one of the other little roads through the pumpkin patch and we circled the field in the opposite direction. When we reached the beehives again, from the opposite side, we did end up taking a wide berth into the patch itself--a spot where there were no pumpkins, fortunately and some sparsely planted ground--and managed to get by just fine. On the way home, past the cultivator again, he hardly batted an eye, so I suspect the next time, even the beehives will not be too upsetting.

He started a tiny bit at a bicyclist riding up the road behind us on the way back, but that was nothing at all of concern.  All in all I was delighted with him.

Today, I went over to Christina's barn to ride her Arabian, JJ.  I took my Ansur dressage saddle and I'm really glad I did. It fit JJ just fine and really made me feel quite comfortable on a strange horse.

We rode in the grass arena for perhaps a half hour as I got used to JJ.  He is nicely balanced and has a super good attitude. I did need to work at getting him to drop down on the bit for me. He had some tension, perhaps worrying about me and even being a little perplexed by the totally flexible saddle on his back. I got him going pretty nicely in fairly short order while Christina rode her young horse as well.

Then we headed out for about an hour trail ride. JJ was a nice solid ride under me. He as a bit lazy, which was fine, mostly because he was so relaxed. I'd like to think my riding had something to do with that, but I won't take much credit for it. He's a nice horse, and that's all there is to it.

And Nordisk, Christina's baby boy whose only been under saddle for a few months, was a superstar!  He actually lead the ride for nearly the whole way. We just walked, but he was sensible and good about everything. He has an inch or two on JJ and his walk seemed to easily outpace us. He really is a lovely horse and Christina's done a fine job of training him so far.

I plan to go over to ride again Thursday morning. I'm sure my muscles will feel some of the riding tomorrow, but so far, so good. I certainly am physically fit enough with all the swimming I've done, but as we all know, riding does require its own set of muscles.

At this point, I am really looking forward to the pace on Sunday. We will not be competing for time as it's far too important to give Nordisk a good experience on his first time out.

Thought about going for a swim, but I decided to stick to my original plan for the week which was to swim on Wednesday and Friday instead.

Wish the indoor pool were closer. I miss the water.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Stepping Out

Hope It Will Be Fun!

My endurance rider friend has three horses--Arabians. Two are seasoned veterans of many endurance rides. One is her youngster just "learning the ropes."  (Side note here:  she won the youngster in a raffle!)

Anyhow, there is a hunter pace on Sunday and she decided it was time to get the young horse out. Her husband rides one of the seasoned horses, but there was no one to ride the other fellow. 

In I step. 

Christina emailed me and asked if I'd like to join them in the pace. 

Talk about jumping back into riding mode full force. I agreed. I will be going over to her barn tomorrow to do some test rides on her horse. Obviously, more reports on this enterprise will follow.

Meantime, I am just about to go out to take Chance out for a ride. It's another lovely day and I found a new trail to ride. Well, it's not actually a new trail, exactly. The farmer up the road has a pumpkin patch for pick your own pumpkins set in the much larger cornfield. The road into the patch opens onto the tree farm which is an nice trail ride from here. Then, the path goes all around the pumpkin patch and comes back out to the tree farm. It makes a nice little loop with good footing and will be a perfect ride for us. I will not have to ride along the NJ Turnpike to get in a full trail circle. 

I walked the trail yesterday to get some exercise and it added nearly 20 minutes to my hike. I know Chance walks faster than I do--at least I hope he does--so I figure the whole ride will take, at most, about 40 minutes since we have to take the long way out through the woods instead of walking along the paved road as I do to get out there. 

Now, all we have to content with are the bugs. I guess I'll put on his fly gear. 

See you tomorrow with news of a new day.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Oh, Chance!

Silly Boy

I guess somebody needs some work to keep him out of trouble.

I went for my first indoor swim of the new season this morning. I managed to get in a hour's worth of swimming and water exercises before the pool hours closed for the midday. They were open from 11AM to 12:15 today. They have both earlier and later sessions, so I have ample opportunity to fit in m workout during the day.

Afterwards, I did a bit of shopping on the way home. Land's End swimsuit pieces on close out for 70% off the already reduced prices!! Since the reduced prices were at about 50% of regular, that was a steal. Needless to say, I stocked up...I have a vast collection of swim separates to mix and match so I hardly every have to wear the same suit unless I want to.

I am a bit of a "swimsuit junkie," I fear. But it's OK. It motivates me to get to the pool as often as I can.

I got back home with about an hour to spare before I needed to head off to the nutritionist. I am still working on losing weight and doing quite well. The only downside is that it's quite possible a lot of the new clothes I've bought will be too big.

Darn. That just means I will have to go shopping again.

Anyhow, back to Chance. As I was about to pull out of the driveway, I looked over to the barn and there was Chance with his head stuck out over the gate across the door to the inside aisle of the barn. Note here, he was on the inside, not outside where he was supposed to be.

The gate pushes in from outside and has to be pulled open from inside. Mr. Iamacleverboy apparently has figured out how to push his way in and cannot comprehend how to pull the gate open again to get back out, so he was stuck in the barn aisle.

Chance in the barn aisle is a wrecking machine. I must admit, today he was a little off his game. There were several horse sheets dragged about. The garbage can was dumped. The wheelbarrow lay on its side. A halter was dragged across the aisle into a pile of poo. A wash bucket was dumped, and various items from inside the feed room--which was fortunately blocked off--were scattered about on the floor. Aside from a plastic bottle of hoof treatment that spilled, nothing else was damaged beyond rescue.

I ushered Chance back out to the paddock, did a small cleanup job, and then headed off for my appointment.

As I left, I saw Chance eagerly drinking from the water trough. I guess his demolition job had left him rather thirsty.

Either I am going to have to be even more careful to latch that gate or teach Chance how to open if from the inside as well.