Archive for » January, 2014 «

More Thoughts on Winning the Lottery

Because I even bought a ticket this time.

I thought about that live in nanny thing and decided it was just too much togetherness. I really don’t like having to be around people. I will put her in a house a mile down the road, that’s plenty close enough for a neighbor. She can be on call for when I want to get out. I she could keep house too that would be great. I guess she would have to be willing to travel with us to visit family and my other barns/ranches and of course to shows. Maybe also like to ride that could be very handy.

I have been looking at a building in town that has been for sale for years and thinking what fun it would be to open a store. Only if I didn’t have to depend on it to make money. What fun would a practical store be? I want to open a tack and book store. I have been planning this for years. It will have to be a pretty two story building. The one in town isn’t pretty but is the only empty two story building and is on the highway so I’ll go with it. On the ground floor will be the tack, new and used. I’ll go back east and pick up stuff at the tack sales and come out here and sell it. English, western, dressage all the good fun things that probably wouldn’t sell, anything and every thing horse related.

Upstairs will be the books new and used. It would be fun to emphasize local, Nebraska, authors with the new books. Marie Sandoz is as local as it gets. Maybe other locally made crafts and the like and who doesn’t love a used book store. There is no money in it though so it is good that I will have won the lotto. In front of the big windows I will put nice comfy chairs and have coffee and tea fresh brewed so people can sit and read their books. Ahh, it will be so fun, as long as I don’t have to sit there all day. I will choose books and decorate.

What really amazes me is that my very content husband has no dreams of what he would do if only. Is that good or sad that he has no great aspirations? I would have to insist that he stay home and quit his job and farm full time. Help manage all the horses I have collected.

Translation

Bawk – Chicken

Maw/Prrrr – Kitty

Leave me alone, I'm reading

Leave me alone, I’m reading

Dizzeeee – Daisy

Mmmmmmm(very high pitched in the middle) – Cows

Snort snort – Pig

Growl(with hands held in air) – Bear

Cluck (sound made with tongue) – Horse

Aaaagh – Sheep

Oo ooo – Owl

Sticking tongue in and out quickly and damply – Frog/lizard

Vrrrr(lots of grumbling) – Tractor/feed truck

Dare – Take me over there, now.

No(with pointing) – Nose

Uh uh (with a wave of hand in-front of face) – I am done eating, I do not want anymore and may never eat any of that again especially if we have just stocked up on what was previously a favorite.

Dat Dat – That, I would like that please. That right there, can you not see that I want that? Please give me that!

Danu (undetermined sound made upon being given something) – Thank You

Enthusiastic waving and blowing kisses in the air – Motions made to anybody who is showing no interest. Never when someone is talking to her or says goodbye.

Circle motions with hand while nodding happily – Please keep spinning the chair in circles until I am sick and throw up on the floor

Pathetic whimpering while clawing desperately for the remote – My show has stopped! Make it go again! I know that thing makes it go somehow if you wont do it fast enough let me try. Why don’t you love me enough to make it go again?

Holding hand out to object not quite touching then pulling it quickly back shaking it and holding hand to mouth – That is hot we aren’t supposed to touch it it will hurt. Maybe mom or dad would like to touch it? Please? It will be fun just try. Here let me show you how. (Grabbing your hand and pushing towards hot object)

 

If I Win the Lottery

I will very rarely buy a ticket even but it is a lot of fun to think what I would do with the money if I did. Especially when my mom keeps sending me adds for horses she thinks I should get. It wouldn’t be so bad if she didn’t know my taste in horses so well. So apparently if I had tons of money I would hoard horses big time. My ever helpful husband pointed out that I would never get them all ridden any way.

That would not be a problem. I would of course install a great trainer at my huge indoor arena and have all the assorted riffraff I collected in reining and cow horse training. It might be a little difficult to find a really good trainer who was willing to work with a breed besides the “usual” much less assorted riffraff. I remember how horrified the big trainer guys were, when talking to them at shows, that one in their midst was training a Morgan. Not me for once, they were discussing Monty Bruce I believe, riding the beautiful Rebels R We . I would find one though and my odd ball herd would travel the country making a good name for themselves. We would also make the Morgan Grand Nationals with the herd members of the proper bred.

To start my herd I would get this pretty little girl. She looks exactly like my old gelding Nate. May have to follow the link I could not get her picture to copy or the video to work

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=guYEZ6VyS3M

Look at the legs on this boy. It’s like draft horse legs on a pony body I love him.

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This one doesn’t appeal to me quite as much but maybe in person he’s prettier than his herd mate.

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This is my dream horse. If I had time and money and a live in nanny, which I will of course be getting with my lottery money. Or not, looking for his picture I see that there is a sale pending. Lucky people, hope they enjoy him.

Joker_L_side2_8_4_13_625x600

http://www.candomorgans.com/sale.html

Girly Girl

Very stylish

Very stylish

I’m afraid my daughter is going to take after her fathers side of the family, with all kinds of beautiful girls who spend hours on clothes and make up and doing their hair. Not after my mother and I who would rather go riding and consider a hat a good hair style. My grandmother would be proud at least, she has tried and tried to convert us to her very stylish way of thinking.

I was getting The Goblin Child dressed today to go into town and meet her father for lunch. I struggled against her squirming, trying to get clean clothes on her so she could look as adorable as she, almost, always does. Over her tights I put a tiny pair of Uggs, all white and furry, she immediately began taking them off. After putting them back on a couple of times I thought I had succeeded but as I walked out of the room she grabbed a different pair of shoes and followed me holding them up.

Obviously a much better shoe choice.

Obviously a much better shoe choice.

Looking down into her imploring little eyes I asked if she wanted to wear that pair instead. She nodded emphatically so I sat down

and we changed shoes. She was very proud of her pink cowboy boots and didn’t try to take them off once. Shows what I know, she is going to be a little shoe diva.

On Riding Bareback

In the winter, especially, it is the only way to go. Riding bareback improves balance and gives a better feel for the horse. How can anyone not love the smell of a horse, so warm and earthy. So why is it that when I come in from a nice ride, pleasantly exhausted and ready to relax for a bit, my husband gets mad at me for sitting on the couch?

2014-01-25 11.58.29

I don’t think horse dirt really counts as dirt.

Winter Riding

I got out for a ride on my pony yesterday. It has been a bad year for riding with the cold and ice and when I have gotten out it has been on Odie. The little Coyote has been neglected. He made that very well known during our ride.

My darling husband took The Goblin Child with out with him all morning to move a fence, put propane in the tank and feed cows. When he sent her in so he could get non child friendly tasks accomplished she went to sleep, immediately.  I was able to accomplish all kinds of things around the house, mostly cleaning. When he finally did come in he ordered me out of the house to enjoy some of the moderately nice weather.

I grabbed my bridle and a hand, make that pocket, full of horse cookies and went looking for horses. I could tell Coyote hadn’t been ridden for awhile because he came up looking for me. When he is being ridden regularly he heads the opposite direction. I slipped him his mandatory cookie with the bit and hopped on. He was very polite as we rode around their pen, we checked the hay bale and mostly looked for places to ride that were out of the wind. The other two ponies followed us, Jerry with short bursts of running and bucking, Odie cautiously vaguely curious about where we were going. I still don’t know if that strange pony even has a canter.

Bored with that I forced Coyote out the gate for a lap around the stack yard. We plodded slowly out checking out the cows and generally looking around. Then we reached the corner, the fence line, the turn around place. Every thing changed. We were headed

I swear this is what we look like

I swear this is what we look like

home, like a shot. His head came up, he pranced and danced, and leaped into the air performing high school dressage moves.

Sitting, bareback, upon my rampaging pony  I pondered the intricacies of riding. I could feel how still and steady and confident my seat was. Granted, I had a death grip on the mane, but there was not a drop of fear or tightness. Together we swayed and dipped in an intricate dance. I could feel his back muscles tighten and release with every spook and hop and I remained still, the eye of this whirling vortex.

So why can’t I ride? This is so frustrating. On Coyote, almost, nothing scares me, on any other horse everything terrifies me. It’s not fair. I am more nervous riding Odie, our twenty year old perspective kids pony. I do find him a little alarming to ride, I believe it is the lack of controls. I do mean that in plural, not a lack of control but the lack of buttons and levers. There isn’t the complete control over movement in any body part like I am used to. Coyote can be trying to run home sideways and I can touch him with my leg behind the girth and straighten his body, bringing the hindquarters back in line. Riding a horse without those controls is like driving a car with out, I don’t know, steering I guess.

Unfortunately it’s more than that, I think years of starting colts ruined me. I know what horses are capable of, I’ve seen a mare who could kick a saddle as it was placed on her back. I know that they can still kick you no matter where you stand. My own little Jerry has gone from standing completely still to gone out from underneath me in an instant. That quickness made her a great cow horse but I don’t trust her with the child or husband even now that she is old and lame. I often think that if I could ride colts with the same confidence as I do Coyote I wouldn’t get bucked off but I think I used to ride all horses like that and it must not have worked because here I am old, sore and sure that I am coming off.

Sometimes I wish for a quiet well behaved horse but mostly I enjoy my wild, little, old pony. He makes me feel like I can still ride without forcing me to be able to still ride.

The Three C’s of Child Training

Training horses, training children, what difference?

Training horses, training children, what difference?

I have noticed, looking back, that I made many posts, while I was pregnant, pondering the possible similarities between training a horse and training a child. I haven’t done any since having her at least partially because I don’t want to curse myself.  If I say that I have this down then she may turn out awful. Still I feel safe in saying that there are many strong similarities. They are creatures who don’t speak and communicate through actions.

Up late one night feeding The Goblin Child I decided that I would go on the clinic circuit offering my training advice, for horses and children, to the millions. For millions of course. It was such a simple concept, my training theory. The secret to training is for the trainer to possess a few important qualities.

The next morning I couldn’t remember what my great training strategy had been. All I knew was that I would market it as The Three C’s. Occasionally I would remember one or two and I would imagine what life on the road would be like as I offered my genius to the masses. If only I could remember all three at once. The amazing loss of sleep involved in the first year of parenting was a handy excuse for my forgetfulness.

Then one day I remembered. It was great, the child started sleeping through the night and it came to me. There was just one problem. The qualities didn’t actually start with C. It blew my whole spiel. Not to mention it was a little embarrassing but who can remember how to spell at two in the morning. I still stand by the importance of my three c’s even if they don’t all start with c.

Calm, Quiet and Confident.

It would have been so great we could have given Clinton Anderson a run for his money. Oh well, I shall have to confine my training to my own child. Poor thing, she is receiving all my pent up need to train. This is every bit as much fun as training a horse, just a little longer in seeing results. That all important proper timing for the release of pressure, making sure you are rewarding the right thing, is still the most important. I do spend some time wishing that we could go for lessons. As with horses it’s important to know what the goal is and while I understand the end goal some of the smaller day to day goals are a little harder to pinpoint.

A horse is started after two, we work on giving to pressure on the ground, giving to the bit and saddling. When is the proper point to teach a child to drink from a real cup? Use a spoon? We work, we play but without shows how do we compare? Oh well, I suppose that would be even worse for children than it can be for horses.

Oh, wait.

Home Schooling as a Very Real Possibility

I always enjoy reading about home schooling. Some people look at me oddly and ask if we have an older child when the subject comes up. I admit it may be a bit early to be deciding, she isn’t even two yet. That gives us quite a few years since preschool is not happening and kindergarten is questionable. It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, I train it’s what I do, be it horses or my child. Is there any difference really? I always say that she will be going to public school only as long as the Hay Springs school is open. If our dear government ever does manage get it closed then that’s it we’re home schooling.

The rumors have circulated for decades that it will close. Recently when Mirage Flats School was closed for budgetary reasons they started up again as strong as ever. On the other side of the fence is the superintendent who quickly squashes any rumors as silly and says they are here to stay. There are also those who believe we are positioned far enough away from any larger town that the trip for a child to reach another school would be far too long. I am not saying that there is any chance of closing now, but…

It always amazes me just how hard our caring legislature back east in Lincoln tries to get ride of all schools in this part of the state. They managed to have all the rural schools closed. No more little one room school houses, bus those kids to town. I suppose I can see the sense of that, from a strictly budgetary point of view. This latest bill they are trying to pass isn’t necessarily closing any schools, yet. What it is doing simply doesn’t make any sense at all. Unless of course they are easing us into it. Please do read it here. We have a gentleman named Jim Scheer to thank for this piece of brilliance, not surprisingly he is from back east.

They feel that small schools, under 650 students, should have to group together until they reach a district size of  1,300. They don’t all have to share schools, just have the same calender and superintendent. Why? What possible purpose can that serve if not to ease us into more consolidation? If I could get a logical reasonable explanation of what they are hoping to accomplish here I might be all for it. But I haven’t found one, just a list of rule changes as though they are playing a board game and got tired of the old rules.

In my quick look upon the internets, Chadron appears to be safe. Gordon-Rushville also sneaks past, they have already combined. I haven’t heard how that is working for them. I have heard, completely unsubstantiated, rumors of knife fights in the city park between high school kids, yeah that’s enough for me, she’s not going there. Plus it is a good forty five minute drive. Would they want to join up ( to quote Monty Roberts 😉 ) with us? What is going to be in this for them? For any of us for that matter? And where are we supposed to find enough children to meet their 1,300 required? Hemingford is close and together we could top 650 but that only counted if you started with that many. Then, what the heck, we could throw in Crawford, with their two hundred some students, they are only and hour away. Wait that only brings us to ruffly 900. Okay, the entire panhandle, minus larger cities, will join together for one properly sized district. This is going to be great.

I have not been able to find any discussion on this although I know it must be out there. I would like someone to please tell me why? What is the purpose of this? All I know for sure is that it is one more step towards homeschooling.

A Comparison of Twenty Year Olds

A year of so ago my mom bought a very nice twenty year old Morgan gelding, a former show horse and a former Amish cart horse. He has proven to be a sound, quiet, dependable and just all around good horse.

This winter I bought a twenty year old Paso Fino or Peruvian Paso gelding a former trail horse. He has been very good so far it remains to be seen exactly how he will work out for us.

I got to ride Indy when we went back to visit over Christmas and as expected our two very different twenty year old bays rode nothing alike. They match in color, almost dead on, and age but that is where any similarity ends.

Indy

Indy

Indy has the most beautiful legs I have ever seen on a horse. They are a favorite body part of mine. Is it weird that I have a leg fetish? No hoof no horse is how the saying goes. He has big, beautiful bone, large, round hooves and his legs are nice and clean after years of trotting down the road for more miles a day than us recreational riders can begin to imagine.

He is big, huge by my pony sized horse standards. 16 something maybe? He may have seemed bigger than he really is to me because I had to mount him from the ground. He rides like the tank he is, like driving an extended cab, long bed, pickup. His trot was gigantic and springy, as a youngster he might have been a great dressage horse.

As it is, he has been driven his whole life and his neck is upside down and his whole body stiff as a board. Mom has been doing a commendable job trying to teach him to give to the bit. She has even taught him to give to the leg, a little bit. Not for me, but she can get gates off of him, it made me feel a bit incompetent. She can also get a good fast walk out of him. I don’t doubt that those long athletic legs of his can speed along. Not for me of course, the day I rode him we plodded through the snow and walking was hard enough without having to add speed.

Ody has some of the worst legs I have ever seen on a horse, They look kind of like toothpicks. Slender and sloping inwards to a narrow pastern and tiny hoof. It amazes me that he was able to be ridden in the Black Hills or by anyone over fifty pounds. I say over and over again that if he had been a youngster I would never have bought him. I would have figured him for lame by ten. He is not young though he has reached a grand old age and seems to be going strong so who is to say there is anything wrong with his

Ody

Ody

toothpick legs. Why would he need big bone when….

He is tiny himself. I believe the add said 13.2, just the height I was looking for. Not a real pony, to small for an adult to ride, but a pony sized horse, big enough for me and the husband. He is easy to get on and we have less distance to the ground if we fall off. He rides like a sports car, little and zippy. I am assuming you picked up on the gaited part from the breed, great suspension, not a drop of bounce.

His neck bends the right way, he gives to the bit with contact. He is very responsive with a beautiful light rein, luckily because he has no clue what any other cue means. Nobody has ever asked him to give to leg pressure and I am unsure whether it is worth trying to teach. He is meant to be a child’s horse. A child who’s legs will not reach his side for so many years to come that it is doubtful if he will be around by then. I definitely need to teach him to step over to the mounting block. He is so short it seems pointless but, back to the small child again, he will be tall for her.

He was ridden in a mechanical hackmore, I hate those. I switched him over to a nice smooth snaffle and he is working nicely. I got my four wheeler riding husband out on him, finally, and they did good together. My theory is that learning to ride, for husband and child, will be much easier with out the trot to deal with. When he speeds up in stead of bouncing and getting scarey it’s a cool smooth gait and just fun.

It is so much fun having our matching horses, maybe we should start coordinating our clothes and stuff too.

To all those people who said twenty was so old, why would I buy such an old horse, take a look at the collection of aged horses at moms barn. The oldest of the bunch had to be put down a couple of years ago, not for age related reasons. She was thirty four and still so hot she was a handful to ride.

 

Our Local Drama, A Comedy of Errors

Beautiful, cold, wide open Nebraska in winter.

Beautiful, cold, wide open Nebraska in winter.

So it all started last Friday, the police chase and two people escaping across pastures. Well they caught them, the official story here and here. That is what the cops are saying, read it and remember because from here out it is all gossip and hear say and much more interesting if I do say so myself.

The last we heard was to lock doors and beware, dangerous criminals were roaming the neighborhood, then, nothing. A whole weekend of wondering what was going on. Gossip started to trickle in. The private plane that found them was piloted by a friend of a friend. He was bored and decided to go looking. He found them easily and circled waiting for police to come. They may have been carrying things into an abandoned house. They saw him and took off again. Still no police, they were a hill or two over and couldn’t find their way.

He watched as the poor Subaru died and they ran on afoot. Running low on fuel he headed back long enough to refill then went back and found them again. Getting bored with the game he buzzed them sending them diving. Still no police arrived and he got tiered of it and went home.

That was the last we heard until the news broke Sunday that they, or someone, got arrested in Hay Springs at the gas station. They leave out any interesting details though. I was dieing of curiosity wanting to know where they had been and what they had been doing.

Monday morning we got the first part of the story. A certain ranch family had brought them in at gun point and handed them over to the cops. Two people had the same basic story so it had some credibility. Then talking to a friend I mentioned the excitement and she sat back in her chair arms crossed and began the story. The news had it all wrong, her father had been there. At last the whole story.

The couple had gotten gas in Alliance and left with out paying. They were trying to get to Edgemont to see the girls mother who was, supposedly, dieing of cancer but they didn’t have any money. Then they sped out of town bringing on the police. They had no clue where they were going and headed the wrong direction across a pasture. Edgemont is northwest, they went east. After the car died they huddled in a tree row, supposedly not too far from where the car stopped.

It hasn’t been miserably cold the last few days, it didn’t even freeze one night. Saturday was down right nice even, but they are from Greeley, not here. They were not dressed for what they were doing. She was wearing spandex and “moccasin flip flop things”. Neither had warm clothes or supplies, they did have a dog. They didn’t eat it or anything interesting, it’s just amusing that they were running from the police carrying a small dog. They had stranded themselves on the border between farm country and ranch land, in the farmed areas it is fairly populated, a house at least every mile or two. If they had strayed to much further into the sandhills houses and people become much fewer and farther between. They could have become permanently lost.

Apparently western Nebraska was more than they could take, they ran into the road flagging down the vehicle of said ranch family. The man and his wife stopped and picked them up. That is pretty amazing to me, knowing that these were the people running from the police, it would have been hard not to recognize them or at least realize that they weren’t any of your neighbors,  they stopped and picked them up. With their children in the car.

These are RANCHERS, the epitome of the name, the ones who’s yard I would not want to hide in as a fugitive. The wife should not be considered a bystander, she is one tough woman. So, never fear, they had a plan, they called a neighbor, my friends father, and asked him to bring them a gun. I am kind of surprised that they didn’t have one with them. He brought them a gun and took the children with him. Two of these children are large teenage boys, I should mention that, I would be scared of them not the other way around.

They called the police. Our county told them that they wanted nothing to do with this, it was the problem of the other county that had started the chase. The man,or probably the wife, told them to get the other county called then because the people really wanted to be saved from the wilds of Nebraska. The couple were frozen solid, the man complaining that his joints were aching from being out in the elements for the last few days. They fell asleep nearly instantly, after recounting some of the horrors of their journey, and slept all the way to town where the police had agreed to meet them.

On arrival they refused to get out of the vehicle. It was the first warmth they had had for so long. The rancher talked them in to coming inside by promising a nice hot cup of coffee. Supposedly, upon getting out of the vehicle, the police pushed Rancher out of the way, ordered the man to his knees and when his sore aching joints didn’t allow him to move fast enough they tased him. Both were taken to the hospital to be treated for the results of their adventure.

I don’t know if all of that is true, as always with gossip I guess. In defense of our local cops most of them are really good guys. Except, of course, for the one that was at the car wreck before Christmas. When asked if the two poor, cold, dazed, boys from the wreck could sit in his car to stay warm, because we really did have a train to catch, he was horrified and only reluctantly agreed. To busy standing there with his lights flashing trying to look important I guess. So we will say he was the taser if there was one.

It started out scarey, looked like it was going to be a really funny story and wound up just being pitiful. A comedy of errors.