Monday, August 31, 2009

Getting There....

I've been riding Possum on a fairly consistent basis. Friday I went to the barn and watched my roomie have a lesson and relaxed on the swing by the arena while munching on a roast beef sandwich (on wheat bread and light mayo). After her ride I was leisurely going to get Possum and then found out that the barn owner was taking a client out for a trail ride to the pond. I only had to think for 2 seconds and decided to forego a borning arena ride and hit the trails with them. They were ready before me, I still had to put britches on, tie Phin up and put on Possum's bridle so they went ahead. Note that Molly did not watch which way they went to the pond. There is a short way which is mucky and has a steep hill and then there is a longer way which is basically riding on the road. Possum and I geared up and then trotted through the field, walked down the mucky hill, cantered down the county trail, walked to cross the ditch and water and then cantered up a rocky hill to another field. I thought that it was funny that I hadn't caught up to them. I also wasn't noticing any fresh tracks in the trail, although both the other horses were barefoot so they blend in better with older tracks. When I finally got to the part where we cross the road and take the trail that heads to the pond I decided to follow back the longer way and see if I would meet up with them head on. Sure enough I meet up with them a few minutes later. Both the barn owner and I conceded that the extra mileage was good for Possum, I was also thinking in the back of my mind that it was also good for me to burn of a few extra calories. We had fun at the pond, didn't get too wet cause we had all our tack on, but enough to cool off and enjoy the scenery. When we got back to the farm I decided to have Possum go around some jump courses for a few minutes just to stay sharp. He was already plenty warmed up sp we trotted a few and then went right into cantering. The trail had taken him down a couple notches energy wise and he was pretty quiet and we ended on a good note.

Saturday I didn't ride. It was all rainy and yucky and cold so I opted to be lazy and stayed home for most of the day. Yesterday was perfect weather wise. The air was dry and the sun was shining but it wasn;t too hot. I got to the barn late afternoon, I had to watch the Red Sox game first ofcourse haha. It was too nice to just do work in the arena so we had a long warm-up and flatted some. We brushed up on some flying changes which he did well with and did lots of serpentines and softening work. He was doing so well, like butter in my hands. I literally had ounces of weight in each hand, even on his bad side. I decided not to push my luck so we turned for the trail. It was Beautiful! We just buzzed along. Trotted when the footing was iffy and cantered when it was good. SOmetimes I just really like trail riding by myself. It's when I do my best thinking and relaxing. I Don't even talk out loud but I feel like Possum is knowing all that I'm thinking. Either I'm really in tune with my horse, or I'm just a wackadoo, I'
ll leave that one up in the air for now. It was nice to just get out. But like most of my trail rides I do like to work on things, We worked on shortening andn lengthening strides at the canter. ALso worked on some flying changes which he did awesome with. He was soft and responsive and really working through his back at the trot. I was really happy with how he was going. We got back to the barn about dusk. I gave him a quick grooming and then he had his grain since his paddock had already been fed. I then turned him out and fed hay to the guys in his paddock. It was just starting to sprinkle when I left.

Not sure if I'm riding tonight. If I don't I'll atleast find the time to have 2-3 serious ring rides this week and then a trail ride or two as well. I Like to mix things up. Possum is a little like me and can get bored easy and when he gets bored he finds things to do that are fun, Like galloping around an entire jump course. I want to keep him on his toes and working on things, but also want him to think it's fun and stay in tune with me. I'm finding that it's a hard balance. As long as we have our regular trail rides and gallop sessions he seems to be pretty happy.

Didn;t do much socially this weekend like I said I stayed home most of Saturday and Sunday went to the barn. But I did manage to rustle up some fun on Friday night and ended up hanging with an ex......giggle giggle....and no it wasn't Nick. It was actually quite comical and trust me nothing came of it. I won't get into details since this blog has become quite popular as of late so I'll leave it up to your imaginations. Well that's about it for now. Work is getting real crazy again since school has just started and I've been moving my office to another room in the building. Now I need to make up some posters to hang in the schools. Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Another really good ride

Got to the barn after work tonight and the weather was almost perfect. It was cooling off and the air was a lot frier than it has been. Possum warmed up kinda slow but I took the time and we did lots of trotting and softening work. When we started to canter he was a lot softer and more responsive than usual. I was so excited and was able to just sit and try and equitate as best as I could.

After a good flat warm-up we started trotting jumps and he was really doing quite well. Then I had him canter one single jump. Cantering to the jump and then breaking to a halt about 8 strides away, turning him around and then cantering the jump the other way. After he did that decent we jumped a roll back. There was a lesson at the top half of the arena so we stayed towards the back. After doing that fairly well we did some diaginal lines and he was really listening and going nice and slow. I even tested him and we got 6 strides in a 5 stride line, I was thrilled that he was really coming back to me and shortening his stride when I asked. I put the roll back jumps up to 3ft and practiced just going back and forth over those working in both directions. I was really happy with the ride! When we were finished I could tell that he felt good too, his ears were up and he had a nice swing to his back andw as just looking around. I made sure to give him lots of praise.

Below are some pics. The first one is a pic of one of the new jumoes everyone has been painting, they look really spiffy!

I let Possum out loose to eat his grain and graze for a bit. Got a shot of his ugly appy eye hahaha.
This is a shot of the sun shining on him as he's grazing. It is so hard to keep him clean!

A close-up of him eating his dinner

Lastly a shot of all his muscles. He is quite fit and muscled. Look at that nice long appy tail, when I got him it was barely to his hocks and now it almost touches the ground. Also note that I do not touch his mane and that's all teh growth I can get. Luckily the barn owner is a whiz with braiding and make it look really nice for shows since I'm braiding challenged.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Great ride last night

Got home form work last night and changed, grabbed the dogs and raced to the barn. Possum was out in his paddock haning out with a round bale. I went out and go him. I was happy to see that the farrier had done his back feet. He had done the fronts last week and didn't have time and it was getting late and said that he would come back Monday. I was psyched cause his shoes were wearing thin and starting to make that "clunk" sound out on the road, meaning that it could go at any moment.

The weather held off and after tacking up we headed to the outdoor arena. I had no real game plan and was going to play it by ear according to how he warmed up. I let him warm up slowely not asking him to collect and just kept the reins loose so he could criuse around. After a while I asked him to collect. One of Possum's infamous traits is to suck his neck in, disengage his hind and crawl around in a nice false frame. I had to use quite a bit of leg to get him moving forward. It was then that I cursed myself out for not grabbing a dressage whip. Finally he started to really work through his body. I still had the Happy Mouth three ring Elevator on for a bit. He was suprisingly light and it was nice to only have ounces in my hands. We did some lengthening and shortnings. His canter was nice and round. His stiffer side is to the left and I worked extra hard on softening him with some shoulder in and lateral work. I was really pleased with how nice he was moving and feeling. We did some flying changes across the diagonal and he didn;t rush them and was quiet. Towards the end of the ride he was really stratching into the bridle and I could really feel him push with his hind end. I quit on a good note.

After a nice flat we hit the trails. He was a little sluggish at first. I could tell that he thought he had done a good job and didn't want to work anymore because a roundbale was calling his name out int he paddock. After about a quarter mile he perked up and really got into the ride. When we got to the long dirt road part he started to dance. We hadn't galloped in a while because of the funky thing going on with his left hind. I got up out of the saddle and we started to fly. It felt good to be out galloping again. His strides ate up the ground and before I knew it we were reaching the end. We walked most of the way back to the barn and cantered along side of the hay fields. I was very happy with our ride. Even though we didn;t go over a single jump, a nice flat is definately the stepping block to a nice hunter round.

Might ride again tomorrow. Have plans Thursday night so won't ride then, we'll see how hot the weather gets tomorrow. Possibly a wet weekend is coming so that means riding in the indoor mostly. Either way we'll get in some solid rides and keep working towards the medals.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Getting the wheels of motion into working order

OK, so The Downeast Medal Finals are slightly less than a month away. I rode Possum Thursday and Friday last week and both in the ring. Thursday was challenging but I could see some noticeable progress. I did switch to my bridle with the Happy Mouth Elevator for some added leverage. It did help some in getting him to halt in lines quicker and help to lift his shoulders instead of leaning on the Pelham. He can't lean on my hands as much with the elevator. Now some of you might be scratching your heads and wonder why I have to do all this bit switching and talking about heavy on my hands, because really a horse is only as heavy as you will let them. Let me start off by saying that Possum has some permanent nerve damage to his mouth from his past abuse. What Possum works best off of is poll pressure. He actually does great in a Hackamore, but unfortunately those are illegial in hunters and eq, I could use one in jumpers. So with added nerve damage, being naturally built downhill and riding like a 1929 dump truck; you can start to see where my problems are hahaha.

Hes a very good boy. He would never buck or rear or be dangerous in any way, but he is also not an easy ride. He has a very straight shoulder which makes his trot bone jarring. He has a neck that is on the shorter side and his withers and back are dead even, meaning that for him to lift his shoulder and the frontpart of his body and really push from behind makes it hard for him. What is easy for some horses like some dressage movements, or soft and collected downward transitions is hard for him. I realize this, but on the other hand it is possible and if we want to do well at shows we need to work on this lots.

I feel while I am pointing out the negatives of my horse I should also add in a few positives just to even it out. Possum is the best trail horse ever, hands down! I have talked about this before, but basically he will do anything that I ask on a trail. He has a wonderfully long canter stride and can eat up the ground easily. Conformationally he is not that bad. I mentioned the straight shoulder which could possible be trouble in the future, and the short-ish neck and the slightly downhill build, but nothing like you see on the Fugly blog or anything. But other than that he doesn't have an real faults that could make him unsound in the future. He just isn't built like those wonderfully large warmbloods who are up-hill with long sculpted necks who just naturally collect. The ones you see cantering in the field and it looks like their in a dressage test. When Posusm canters and gallops around the paddock he looks like an arab. Head up, tail up, back hollowed and usually cantering disunited and then tripping because he was off balance. Am I drawing an accurate picture here?

So Thursday's ride went fairly well. We continues to work on halts in the middle of lines, then trotting int he middle of lines and then after some success just a strong half halt in the middle of the line. I absolutely hate having to muscle my horse around, but sometimes to get through to him it takes very strong aids and then we just try to quiet them every time after that. I do have to give him credit though, he strides were more collected and he was rushing the second fences in the lines less which is plus. We also continue to have challenges in jumping lines on the downhill of the ring. Cantering and then jumping 3ft on a downhill adn then quicky gathering himself and getting off his forehand is very very very hard for him. We usually leave out a stride on the downhill lines but I was working hard to get those correct number of strides in and I could see some progress. I ended on a good note and let him cool out, we were both really tired.

Friday it was threatening rain all day. I did manage to get in a 40 min ride before the skies opened up. Not only was it pouring but the lightening was horrible. The next town over even had a tornado touch down. A tornado in Maine! It was crazy. So for our 40 min ride I warmed up fairly quickly. It was hot and muggy and I didn't want either of us to get too over heated. I just wanted to brush up on the jumping from the day before and see if any of it had sunk in. He actually did fairly decent. We rode a couple courses, nothing fantastic, but also nothing that would make people hold their breath.

This weekend was just a relaxing weekend for me. I literally stayed home all weekend. Saturday was another super humid day with temps in the mid 90's. I cleaned the apartment top to bottom. When I would get really hot I would go in my room and cool off in the ac and then go back to cleaning. The apartment really needed a good scrubbing and I was feeling motivated so it was a good combo. Yesterday I ran some errands and then watched some TV. We still havn't gotten ride of all of the fleas so we did all the carpet stuff again, bathed all 4 dogs and my roomie's cat in flea bath and washed all our bedding again. Those suckers are really hard to get rid of. The weather we're having isn't helping either. Hot and sticky exuals lots of fleas. Supposedly this is the worst year on record for fleas in Maine and we're not te only ones having issues. It was quite a project last night. My roomie and I in our bathing suits one washing the dog and one rinsing them. We scrubbed and scrubbed and rinsed and rinsed. It was so hot that the sweat was dripping off my face into the bath water, gross!! SO now the dogs are all squeaky clean, the rugs treated and the bedding washed. So keep your fingers crossed. Ok enough of my rambling. Hope to ride Possum tonight if the weather holds off. Probably going to do some flat and then a quick trail. Have a good day everyone

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

Here is Phin guarding the front door to the funeral home (where I live). I thought he looked so cute just standing there and Abby went up to join him. Phin is definately like his mother, he sits and thinks and is kind of a reclouse at times. He's my big baby.

Close up of Phin on the front steps. He was less than impressed about having his picture taken, he was still on the look out.

So this is my excuse for not folding and putting away all my clean laundry. Jetta was enjoying the AC in my room and decided to curl up in my clean clothes. This little dog does anything she wants!

Went to the barn last night to ride. Braved the above 90 temps and got all dressed in breeches. I go and get Possum out of his paddock, put him in crossties and notice that he is missing a right front shoe. Crap!! No riding for me. I groomed him up and inspected the foot. He was almost due for a reset anyways, but I was really hoping to get in a ride. We have been totally slacking lately because of the heat and we really need to get a move on. The Medals are in a month! I called the farrier and he called me later in the evening. He's going to be at the barn today and hopefully he will have time to show Possum. It's another hot and sticky day and I can't wait for the slightly cooler temps for tomorrow. My roomie is gone for 2 days so I have the house to myself and her dog is at the kennel. I think if I don't ride tonight I'm gonna brave the humidity and go for a run or long walk. I need to stay in shape and keep in a routine. Have a great day, off to a teen group at work......

Monday, August 17, 2009

Just a Quick Update

Wow, I just realized that it's been a while since I posted. I actually don't have much to resport on horse related. I did ride Possum Thursday last week. It was a long hard ride and we had to work through a lot of our challenges, like half halting in lines, not throwing his head up to avoid contact so that he can continue to the next jump. His hind end is almost completely better which is good. He is a lot stronger in corners to the left and keeping his hind lead nicely. By the end of the ride we were both hot and sweaty but atleast he was listening a little better and we had accomplished something, It may have only been a small something, but it was in the positive and that's all I care about.

Friday I went to the barn with every intention of riding. It was later in the evening, about 5:30p but it was still well into the high eighties for temps. I was all dressed in boots and breeches. Most everyone at the barn was sitting in the middle of the outdoor arena taking a break from painting jumps. They have been making and painting jumps lately and they look really nice! So I started chatting with them, and then someone else arrived. Then before I knew it I had a beer in my hand and was still shooting the shit. The sun was starting to slip below the tree line and it was then that I knew I wasn't going to get my ride in. Plus Possum was leisurely eating from a round bale and I don't think he minded not getting a ride in. It actually was a great night. I needed to laugh as much as I did. We sipped beers and told stories and before long it was 10p! I stopped drinking but continued chatting. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and you could see all of the stars. The temp was perfect and you could hear coyotes howling in the fields. It was after midnight when the last of us got in our cars and went home. The dogs were long asleep by this time and I had to wake them up to get in the car to go home. It was one of those summer nights that you get once or twice a year that everything was just really good about it and you get to hang with good people. It was one of this summer's highlights.

Saturday dawned hot and steamy, into the 90's. My roomie and I took the motorycle and went to lunch and then went to a friends house to swim in her popol for a few hours. Then it was game time! The big softball game that we have been practicing for, the police versus the fire department. I was playing for the police side. It was a charity game to benefit a local sexual assault center. I drank tons of water but still was sweating like crazy. The game was a blast and we ended up winning 12-5. I was a little disapointed with my hitting. I only got one really good clean hit and the last were little tings off the bat that resulted in pop-ups, one that was caught and one that was dropped on an error. After the game it was kinda bittersweet that we wouldn't have any more practices, I love practicing and doing drills, almost as much as playing in the games themselves. Afterwards we went to a local pub for some drinks and apps. Afterwards we then went to a friends house where there was 4 of us and we sat in the hot tub and sipped beers and basically stayed up all night talking and hanging out.

Sunday I was exhausted. I only got about 2 hrs of sleep and then my roomie and I grabbed lunch and then went home and showered and then went to my parents camp on a lake with the dogs and went swimming. We had a mini cookout and the water was so nice that no one wanted to get out. My dogs aren't much for swimmers, but my roomie's German Shepherd loves the water and she was even diving off the dock and going crazy. Here is a pic of the lake the camp is on.

After a few hrs we went home to chill. I took a 2 hr nap with the dogs in the ac and I have to admit that it was heaven to just relax. Later I went to a friends house to watch a move and then came home and went to bed. I don't think I could have packed anything else into this weekend if I even tried. Ofcourse I havn't heard from Nick and I don't expect to. I have erased his number from my phone and am hoping that after a while that it erases from my mind as well. I'm doing OK and just trying to move on. STaying busy helps and keeping myself surrounded with positive and good people is great. Am thinking of riding tonight after work, but as it stands right now the temp is 94 degrees and if it doesn't cool off significiently I might have to skip it again. It's supposed to aleast be less humid by Thursday so I should be able to get in a few days of good rides.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Finally something good to report on....

I finally have a good thing to write about which is awesome. As you all know I have been trying to shed some lbs this summer, and especially of late. I have lost a little over 20 lbs since this last winter but I have just really started to notice. I have been trying to do something active every night after work, be that softball practice, riding Possum or even just running down the road. I do feel a difference in my fitness level and my tummy is getting flatter for sure, but it's those damn love handles that just stick around.

I don't know why they call them love handles, cause I sure as hell don't love them and I don't know who else would. Their the start of a bonified muffin top which I am deathly afraid of. When I woke up this morning I was just walking around in a bra and underwear after I took a shower. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirron and I nearly jumped at the person I saw. No I wasn't rail thin or anything like that, but I saw some clear definition. I started to see small outlines of pecks in my stomach area and my legs were toned and defined. My shoulders were becoming more defined and my collar bone was noticeable. I was such in awe that I kept turning and looking from every angle, like a music box I had as a kid with a ballerina that twirled when the music played. Granted I am also very tan right now so that is always slimming to the eye.

I decided to do a little test. Just over a month ago I tried on a pair of cargo pants that are size 6 with no stretch to them at all. I couldn't even button the button on the top because it would have popped right off and the legs and butt area were so tight that I don't think I could have sat down. I gingerly picked up the pants that I had thrown in the corner of the shelf over a month ago and took a good look at them. With the nervousness of jumping off a cliff I opened them up and slid both legs in and pulled them up. To my pleasant suprise they came right up and without heisitation buttoned them right up. The legs weren't snug and there was even a little room and the waist area was snug, but not tight and I could definately not have to worry about popping the button off. I was so happy with the results that I decided to dig out my Tailored Sportsman breeches and try those suckers on. Their a 30in waist with no stretch in the waist or pant at all! I had bought them by accident 3 or 4 years ago without trying them on. Their the high waisted ones and with no stretch there is no hiding any bulge in these things. I put one leg in and then the other and then it was the moment of truth. Their side zip with a clip and not a button. Side zip equals getting over the "love handles" Without so much as a tug or a grunt or a 1,2,3, suck it in I was able to zip them up and clip them!!!

I havn't been able to wear those britches since last summer when I lost all that weight when "G" and I spilt up and certainly not after I broke my back and gained all that weight. I was literally on cloud nine. It felt nice to see some results of my hard work. This is not to say that I don't eat crap occasionally and I still love my Pepsi once every few days, but whatever I'm doing is working. I feel healthy, and energized and my body is responding in a positive way. This is just what I needed to lift my spirits and keep me motivated. I've been feeling down lately with the whole Nick thing and we talk less and less and I'm the only one initiating conversation or texts and then last night after practicing with the roomie I drove by his apartment and there was a chick there getting out of the car. It should be no big deal, but it still stung a little. I texted him a few minutes later if he wanted to have a beer or two and all he wrote back was "can't sry" I then wrote back that "this sux, we never even talk or hang out anymore" Ofcourse I didn't get anything back. It's just so hard to let go sometimes. I'm trying, really I am. I'm doing all the right things, keeping busy, working out, hanging with friends etc... But it's still in my mind. So the fact that I am losing weight just makes me feel a little better today. I wanna feel good and look good. I want to wear whatever I want and walk with confidence.

So it is with great pleasure that I can say that I am offcially in a size 6 (for the most part, women's sizes are screwy anyways). Below is a pic of Mariska Hargitay who is a self acclaimed size 6. I will never be a 0 like Eva Longoria, or even a 2 like Jennifer Anniston, I don't think a 6 is too bad!

P.S. my boobs are nowhere near that big, so you can just take those out of the picture

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday Musings

Wow, what a weekend I've had. It was a busy one for sure, but I still can't help but feel very alone. I know that this will subside in time, but I'm just waiting for it to stop consuming my thoughts. Ok, moving on...

Friday night I had a great time. My roomie suprised me with dinner with my friends and then we went to the Old Port in Portland (Maine) and went to the clubs dancing and having a good time. There were 5 of us in total and we all had such a great time. We looked after each other and danced togther and all laughed. It was a great. We didn't get home till like 2am or something but I was still buzzing to I stayed up and chilled on the porch until I felt sleepy. I also got my hair cut Friday afternoon which desperately needed it and styled it with some curls for going out. This is a crappy camrea phone pic, but I was ready to hit the town in style hehehe.

Saturday I woke up bright and early (10am) and got ready and went to the barn with the dogs. It was a picture perfect day, a breeze, warm but totally dry air. I got Possum out and cleaned him up and tacked him and brought him to the arena. In some stroke of luck we were the only ones in the arena, score! I worked a long time on the flat still taking special care of that funkyness in his left hind. I could feel that he was getting stronger on it, but he still needed help from me to keep his lead in one corner, but otherwise he felt great. We then started jumping small courses after warming up and he was doing really well. Nothing was over 2'6" but he was taking his time for the most part and we were getting the right distances and striding. I was really happy with that and let him end. I took a long time walking him out to make sure to totally cool out that hind. I let him loose to eat grass while I just hung out. Then I took the dogs and went to my parents house to go to a local fire department for a chicken bbq. The chicken was awesome, the corn was sweet and ripe and the home made desserts were great. My parents and I sat on the picnic table outside near a pond and it was perfect and peaceful. You could see them flipping the chickens, hear the murmor of people talking and just the normal day to day activities.

It's times like these that I wish I had someone to share these moments with. Someone to just share a look with or hold their hand or even a small nudge from under the table. I'm such a sap, but it just sucks. When we got back to my parents house they gave me my present of toilitries, scratch tickets and $60. I was thrilled, I always can use shampoo, soap, contact solution, face lotion, conditioner and new razors! The dogs and I then all packed back in the car and drove home. I was pretty tired still from the night before and actually went to bed at 9P.
Sunday I got up at 5:30am to go watch a show that my barn was attending. They picked me up along the way and I took my small dog Jetta with me. It was 2 hrs away but the chatting in the truck makes it go by faster. It felt weird to be at a show and not showing, I should be used to that since I havn't been showing nearly as much this year, but it still kinda feels funny. Jetta and I set up the chairs along the ring and got to watch all the action all day. I worked on my tan while watching everyone else jump and flat around. I can't wait for the Medals in September, It's going to such a fun 2 day show. The weather was perfect for a horse show. Warm, but with a little breeze and the air was dry. The show didn't get over till about 5:30P and we still had to drive the 2 hrs home. We stopped for some quick food on the way home since we were all starving and told funny stories the whole way back. It felt good to laugh even if some of the jokes were at my expense, I should be used to that by now. The truck dropped Jetta and I off at the end of our road and we walked the short distance home. My roomie was gone to the house was quiet. I let the other 2 dogs out and we hung outside for a while. The cool air felt good on my crispy shoulders. I then went inside and played my Eli Mattson CD and put ina load of laundry. My roomie came home shortly after. I took a quick shower and went to bed fairly early.
I was plagued with bad dreams all night. I had a dream that Possum threw all of his shoes and took most of his hoof with it and I was running around trying to find a farrier to help. That was horrible. I had a dream that Nick was still in High School and I had just graduated and I was trying desperately to have him want to hang out with me by meeting him and dropping him off at school. It was so messed up that I woke up before my alarm and decided to stay up to make sure I didn't slip back into that dream. This day is just kinda blah for me. I'm feeling lonely. I'm trying really hard to be positive and look at all the great things I have going on, because I do. But sometimes you can't help that lump in your throat and the stinging in your eyes. I have softball practice tonight, but we also have visiting hrs at the funeral home so they might have to go with me annd hang in the car in the shade while I play. I hav't really figured that out yet. Well we have staff day here at work so that should be fun. Playing games and hanging out with co-workers all day with no work, how can I complain about that!

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Year in Review

So it's my birthday today. I am fast approaching the big 30. I am turning 28 today. A lot of things happened in my 27th year and I have learned ALOT! I'm not gonna lie and say that I'm not atleast a little depressed at where my life is right now. But at the same time I really have nothing to worry about. My 27th year started out with getting back with "G" and trying to work things out. This obviously didn't happen and then I moved onto Greg. You all know how that panned out and then Nick and I started hanging out. There's been some happy times and a lot of down times with tears. When my parents were my age they were married, had built a house and had 2 kids already. They are still married, still live in the same house and still have two kids who are now grown. I wonder what path the universe has in store for me......

Some of the good things of my 27th year have definately been with my animals. All the dogs, my horse and even my cat are doing awesome. They are all healthy and happy. Possum and I are progressing in our riding. We did fairly well at the medals last fall and have been riding consistently throughout the year. We even got so bored and bold this winter that we hooked up a rope and a tube and hauled people around in the snow, that was fun!

Even though I havn't been able to attend as many shows this year as I have wanted due to lack of funds, we have been doing alright, especially with only competing in the 2'9-3' division. The Downeast in June was a good show for us, and luckily the Medals this year will be held at the same show grounds and the footing is great. Here is a pic from the show in June.

Last summer at around this time my roomie and I were settling into our new apartment above the funeral home. It has now been over a year and I still love where I live. It's huge and comfortable and most importantly their dog friendly. I also got my nose pierced this winter which is my first piercing ever.

This year was also the year that I broke my back which was really tough. Not only breaking it, but all of the stuff at the barn and just having it be one huge accident was horrible. This is something that I will never forget and I will also never forget to thank my lucky stars that both Possum and I made it through with only bumps and bruises and were able to make a full recovery.

This year has been one of growth and stretching my legs. Trying to be comfortable in my own skin and also recovering from broken relationships and a broken back. I'm connecting with friends and learning to just relax and have fun. The just relax part needs some work. As a person with high anxiety, relaxing is not always easy unless your sleeping hahaha.

So my goals for year 28 are as follows: Doing my own thing. Focusing on myself and not trying to force things to happen ie. boys. Fun Fun Fun. Not someone else's idea of fun, but what is fun for me. Be that going to the barn , or singing outside my house or doing cartwheels and handstands on the baseball field (what my roomie and I did last night after practice). I also want to focus on losing weight and being healthy. I'm doing well with toning up and being more physical and shedding some lbs. I hope to be fairly slim by Thanksgiving time if all goes well. When I feel better about myself physically, I also feel better mentally. I have more confidence, can wear the clothes that I want and feel healthier. Save some money. This is a hard one for me since I don't make a lot to begin with and usually after all my real life bills it all goes to the animals. I do want to put some away into retirement, even if it's onle a few bucks a week. Hanging with my friends, both barn and otherwise. But there is nothing like your barn friends. We all live breathe and speak horses. There's nohing better than a big group of horse people (who all get along) and having a good time.

The next big thing I'm looking forward to is the Medals in September. It's going to be a weekend filled with horses, friends and showing and I am bound and determined to have the time of my life. No boys or other stressors are going to get me down. There will be jumper classes and of course the medals. We will be camping out at the grounds and will have a blast. But until then, It's just a day at a time, an hr at a time and even a minute at a time.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Gone to the Dogs

These are pics of the most important kids of mine. I don't have any really good ones other than random camera phone shots, but the first one is Jetta and I when I got her last year. The second one is Abby taken this summer at the barn. And the third is Phin. I love this pic cause it's just too funny. He was growling at my roommates dog and I got right up close and took his pic. He totally looks like Cujo.
My dogs are a big part of my life. We do almost everything together. Yes, they have even been to work on occasion with me. They go to the barn, they go to my parents house, they go with me to friends houses and they all sleep with me at night. We're best buds and they help me a lot especially when I'm feeling down. They can always make me smile and laugh and just being with them makes me feel better. I always joke that I would rather hang out with my dogs then most people.
This is not to say that they don't have their flaws or get into trouble. Phin, since he was a rescue has issues with little kids, especially little boys. He gets nervous and can snip at them if I'm not around. He has gotten better at this, but it's something that needs to be watched carefully, especially with kids at the barn. Abby and Jetta love to chase horses that are loose and running on the property. They won;t chase them if their not already running, and if their in a paddock, but if their loose grazing or anything, it's game on. We've had some stern talking too's about this chasing behavior and they've been getting better.
As I have previously mentioned in earlier posts I was never allowed to have a dog as a child so Phin is the first dog I have ever had. Then Abby and then Jetta. Dogs are the best because they are always happy to see you, they never hold a grudge and always want to hang out with you. My dogs would spend the whole day in the car just chilling if I let them. Their extremely well behaved in the house. No messes, no accidents and no chewing or destructive behavior. I have been really lucky in getting three dogs that are so well trained in the house and do not need to be crated or even started with crate training. I give Phin a lot of the credit for teaching the girls how to behave and act when no one is home. They don't have separation anxiety which is also a plus. I usually kiss and hug them each bye in the morning and they just sit there and watch me walk down the stairs.
Because my dogs are very important to me, it's also important that the guy I'm seeing (don't get excited, not happening right now) also get along with them. That was one of a list of reasons that I was totally bummed about the Nick thing. He really loved the dogs and they dogs loved him. My dogs can be hard critics so when they take a liking to someone it means something. So while I don't have a man in my life, I have my dogs and my horse to keep me busy and supported. Some might think I'm crazy for holding my dogs in such high esteem, but they really are like my children. I would give my animals anything that they needed. I even have a little nest egg set aside just for animal emergencies in case anything were to happen.
Now onto my pet peeves. I can't stand it when animals are neglected. Not from lack of food or water or health care. But from lack of attention. Animals, and especially dogs like children need nurturing and attention paid to them. Too many times I see people who are never home and just leave their dogs around or crated for hours on end. Dogs to some are seen as just some kind of ornament. I make sacrifices for my dogs, not because I have to, but because I want to. I come home early from places to spend time with them and let them out. I rarely ever go away because of my dogs, plus I miss them like hell when I'm away for a few days. I have dogs because I love them and know the responsibility that it takes to keep them healthy and happy both physically and mentally. I always use the example of people putting themselves in the position of their dogs. I know personally that if I were just left on the house or tied outside for hours upon hours with no stimulation either mentally or physically that I would literally go insane. And many dogs due. They take out that energy in destructive manners, like a child would. Any attention is better then no attention whether that means getting it in a positive or negative way. I even go as far on a hot day if it's going to be really bad, putting them in my room with the AC on so they stay cool. Dogs also are very different by breed as well, and that needs to match your life style. If you have an active lifestyle that your willing to include your dog on, or if your a homebody that likes to just stay home and are not very physical.
I personally have been lucky with my finds at the shelter. All of my dogs came from the shelter. They all three get along great, no one vies for attention over the other and I'm also mindful to spread the attention equally. Everyone always laughs or looks twice when I bring the dogs for walks around the neighborhood. They all have matching Lupine leads and collars and I take all three at once. It's quite a sight to see going down the road.
Well I guess I'll get off my soap box here. My dogs are just an important piece of my life and I wanted to give them a little showcase here on my blog. There are many great dog owners out there and that's awesome. Many kids also have less than ideal lives and that sucks too, trust me I used to work in CPS and it's not pretty. My philosophy is that if your a great animal owner, your going to be a good parent, oh man that's scary when I turn that on myself hahaha. Have a great day everyone. I think I might hit up the barn tonight and chill with Possum, but the day is young and I'm open to anything.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Productive Ride

Went to the barn after work tonight to get in a good ride. It was pretty hot out and I had to get my motivation up to make sure I get a good ride in. Possum came right up to the gate and was ready to come in. It took a while to groom him up because he was filthy and shedding! When I got to hid ears I always know his favorite spots. The farrier was there and some of the kids were holding a horse for him and all laughed when they saw the expression on Possum's face. He stretched his head down and forward as far as the crossties would allow him and I scratched away. His eyes rolled in the back of is head and his lower lip dropped. He really looked like an ugle mule, but he was thoroughly enjoying himself. After he was all clean I tacked him up and away we went in the outdoor arena. He was a little sluggish to start. I took a long time walking and taking special care of his funky hind end deal. Then we did long sessions of trotting all the way around the arena. I was really wanting to work on my equitation and let him trot along on a long rein. I focused on my lowered heel and keeping contact with my calf and thigh while trying to keep my hips back and back arched. Did lots of surpentines and then started working on transitions making him more sensitive to downwards, getting to use less rien and more legs and seat. He was doing pretty well.

We then warmed up at the canter and he was pretty decent, although at the top of the arena turning left down the long side I could feel a slight heisitation and a small twist in his ribs. I kept my weight even and tried to support him as much as I could not wanting him to lose that hind end lead. After thoroughly cantering him in both directions it was time to work on the meat and potatoes of the ride. First we did walk halt and then trot walks and eventually worked up to canter walks and canter trots. I wanted to mix it up to make sure that he was listening to me and not just expecting on what was happening next. Towards the end of the ride he was doing really well. I gave him lots of praise when he did it well and let him have a walk break. Positive reinforcement is a big part in how I train and work a horse. They need to clearly know when they do it correctly and when it's incorrect. When they do it right I like to reward them on a job well done. After getting many canter trots and then canter walks I let him end on that. I opted not to do any jumping. I didn't want to push the issue with his left hind. We walked around the farm to cool out. It was so ot when I was riding that I felt the sweat dripping off my face. As we were walking around I felt refreshed and like we had accomplished something. Sometimes it's about taking a small bite instead of the whole thing when it comes to working on areas that need improvement. Today it was downwards and I was satisified with the results.

Whenever I have a good productive ride I always feel more clear headed. My body also feels good working and burning calories. I sometimes have a bad habit on my downwards to let my hips move side to side. I concentrated on keeping my upper body still, my arms bent and letting my seat bones settle in the saddle. Since Possum is very downhill he needs a lot of support on clean downward transitions and it takes an incredible amount of core strength. After Possum was thooughly cooled out I untacked him and gave him a good brushing since he was quite sweaty. I gave him a treat and then turned him out to eat his hay for the night. I don't think I'm riding tomorrow, but I hope to ride again Thursday and work a little more on transition and then possibly trotting jumps. Troting jumps is always good for a horse rider. It gets them using their body and can develop an even better eye. It also gets them snappy with the front end. For the rider it's good practice for position and distances. Well I think that's about it. I'm just home sitting in the ac and watching re-runs of the Cosby show. It's so funny because as a kid I was allowed to watch it and then I had to go to bed right after. I used to hate it that in the summer my parents made me go to bed when it was still light out. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those care free days when I only lived in the moment and my biggest worries were if we were going to the beach that day. Oh well, life is good. With freedom comes responsibility and at this age it's just learning to balance the two.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Holy this summer is flying by

I can't believe that it's August 3rd already!!! That means my birthday is 4 days away and that summer is starting to wind down. It seems like we're just getting into nice weather and fall is knocking at the back door. Had a busy weekend and the weather held off for the most part. Friday I got out of work at noon and went and did my banking and stuff and took the dogs to the barn to run around. It was starting to rain pretty heavy at that time and I made the executive decision to not ride since we would have to ride inside and there were group lessons going on. I hung out for a bit and fed Possum some carrots and then went home. I pretty much just hung out on Friday at home. Later that night my roomie came home and we sat in the living room and sang songs, big ballads like Roy Orbison's Crying, and Whitney Houston, I Will Always Love You and Leaving on A Jet Plane. I was still singing them as we let the dogs out at about 10p. The next morning we were outside in our PJ's letting the dogs out again when our neighbors came over and thanked me for the serenade last night. At first I was confused and then I got really embarrassed. They just laughed and said that I should sell tickets next time. I sheepishly apologized and quickly made my way back inside. I was totally embarrassed because I know I'm not that good of a singer, but apparently that night I didn't care, oops.

Saturday the roomie and I got up fairly early and went to the barn to ride before it got too busy and hot. It wasn't that busy, but it sure was hot. Possum was pretty good. I rode him in the pelham and started outside, but due to all the rain the night before it was still kinda slippery so could only flat in the dirt portion. Another lesson started and I decided to try a little jumping down in the indoor. Possum was doing OK, but his left hind still felt a little sticky. The lumpy bump on his fetlock was going down and hard and cool so I didn't think it would hurt it, plus he was full of energy. We warmed up over some small verticals at a trot and then just cantered them. I really wanted to work on him listening to my half halts, especially in between lines. I had him halt in the middle of a three stride line of jumps at about 2'3". He wasn;t that great. At first he was like a bull and kept charging down the line almost jumping the second jump. He threw his head up to avoid the contact and hollowed his back. He couldn't evade the contact after a while so he would skirt sideways. After a few tries he was doing better but still nothing show worthy. I then asked him to canter the whole line with a sharp half halt in the middle and he did listen to that which was nice. It was soooooo hot in the indoor that we were both pouring sweat and puffing hard. I walked him around the property to cool him out.

I don't know what it is with my horse. I'm trying very hard to not blame him and really see what is going on big picture. I hate to admit it, but I do think that my horse is smart, maybe too smart. He loves to jump, and sometimes that takes priority over what the rider is saying or asking. Never do I have to ask him to go faster in a line unless we really get a horrible close spot and need to make up ground, but he is always more than willing. He likes to do things on his terms, even though I know better. I also know conformationally it is hard for him to sit on his hocks and rock his weight back on downward transitions because of his downhill build, but ya know, it is possible! Unfortunately he has the heart and mind to make a terrific jumper, but his body not so much. He is brave to every jump. never looks at a thing, and trust me I've jumped him over scary things. He never refuses unless the rider really screws up and that is totally not his fault. I guess what needs to be done is to keep grinding away. We need to perfect all of these little things before the medal finals. We both need to be sharp and on our A game. He needs to be ready for tight turns and roll backs and long spots and short spots, and most importantly being able to adjust his stride!

My friend the other day was talking about Possum and I and saying that he really did turn out to be a good horse for me. I kinda laughed at that statement, but what she said was that I always like a challenge. If I had an old plodder or a push button horse it would get old and be no challenge. This may be true, but damn, sometimes I could use one of those for my own sanity. Oh well. I have softball practice tonight, but I plan to be back in the saddle tomorrow.

Saturday after riding we went to a pool party and had fun. I played horse shoes (of course). Ate some yummy food and swam in a great pool. Thanks Courtney! I then went to the movies with a friend, we saw The Ugly Truth. It didn't get great reviews, but I thought it was cute and funny. It made me laugh a lot. Thanks to whoever suggested it on here.

Yesterday the roomie and I took the motorcycle to the little open show to cheer on some people from our barn. We had fun and the weather held out for the most part. One of the finniest quotes of the day was from my friend Emily. There as a friesian there that everyone was ooooing and ahhhing over. I'm not a big friesian fan myself. Their pretty and all, but ughhh, I think they look much better in harness than being ridden. Here is exhibit A and B below:

Well the friesian at the show was kinda strung out and getting wrong leads all the time and the rider didn't really know it was wrong. As we were leaving I was talking about the friesian to my friend and she simply said "friesian's can do whatever they want." How true that statement is hahaha. I didn't even have a come back for that. Friesian's are so highly regarded with people, especially with the not so experienced horse people. I really have no use for them in the jumping world and those feathers just scream scratches to me. I know I would be shunned from society if I clipped them. SO I'm sure I'm gonna catch some crap for this statement, but hey, it's my opinion. I own an appy for Gods sake, so obviously I'm not into looks or athletic ability ahahaha.

After the show we rode the bike back home. It was then we found out that all of our animals have fleas. Not infested or anything, but we had noticed more scratching lately and sure enough when we put the flea comb through them they all came up with 1-4 fleas each. We then went to Walmart and got stuff to treat them. Also got carpet powder and washed all of our bedding in hot water. The cats were less then impressed about the treatment, but it had to be done. If it's one thing I hate in this world it's fleas!! I think it came from the cats under the porch in the dirt that brought the fleas into the house. I'm crossing my fingers that the treatment will work and we caught it early enough to kill them all. Well that's about all I think. A busy and fun weekend. I also think my roomie is planning a surprise for my birthday. It just dawned on me last night that she has asked me like 5 times if I had plans for Friday and she's been kinda secretive on the phone. I have to say that I'm excited to see what happens. Have a great day everyone. Can't wait for practice tonight.