Monday, June 25, 2012

Misty's Monday Muse - A Mysterious Tale

Somebody has been chewing on my pretty tail.

SaraJane, do you know who might have done this to me?

Who me? 
 I have no idea who chewed your tail.
 I'm just  minding my own business and making a mess of my dinner.
Gee, why is the little sister blamed for everything? 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hot! Hot! Hot!

We are hot and parched here, reaching record high temperatures and in drought conditions.

Despite the heat, Misty and I participated in a trail riding clinic yesterday.  We practiced some basic riding exercises in the indoor arena, like turning on the forehand and on the haunches, backing, and side passing.  Then we rode out into a cow pasture where we worked on skills such as opening a gate, riding up and down hills, backing up a hill, and trotting on natural ground. We didn't do very well at the gate. Misty was scared of it, so the clinician had me just practice walking her up to it, positioning her parallel to the gate, rest and praise her, and then I would push the gate wide open and ride her through it.  It was a start.  We did great up and down hills and trotting in the prairie grass.  

It was so hot during the clinic, that I couldn't make it back to the ranch's barn before getting too dizzy to trust myself to stay seated upright in my saddle.  I had to dismount and walk Misty back to the barn.  I tied her inside and got a cold, wet paper towel to wipe my face and neck.  That helped.  I was hit with a very bad respiratory virus 5 weeks ago and I'm still trying to shake it, while continuing to work my day job and getting out on trail rides whenever I can.   Just when I think I've turned the corner and am feeling better, I push myself a little too hard trail riding and am exhausted for days afterwards. That's why I haven't been online much lately.

While riding in the pasture at yesterday's clinic, one of the riders pointed out a big plume of billowing smoke way off in the distance.  It wasn't there at the beginning of the clinic.  A new forest fire had started in the mountains west of Colorado Springs.

KRDO TV Viewer Photos
 Click on the picture to see more photos from KRDO TV in Colorado Springs.

The fire is zero percent contained and spreading fast.  Mandatory evacuations are in effect and the fire is now threatening homes.  Penrose Equestrian Center is accepting horses evacuated from the fire area.   They are sending out a plea for donations of hay, fans, and extension cords.

The cause of this fire is unknown.  No lightning was in the area when it started.  There were upwards of 20 arson fires set in that county last week. It's too soon and too dangerous for investigators to begin their work.

 Record high temperatures are forecasted again today; humidity is low, and afternoon winds are expected to pick and gust in multiple directions.  Not good!  And to add insult to injury, there is a possibility of afternoon Thunderstorms that will produce lightning, but little, if any, precipitation.  Not good at all.

We are nowhere near the fire, but can see and smell the smoke.  I can't imagine what the firefighters are enduring, working such a dangerous and physical job in extreme summer heat.  The news reported this morning that firefighters were as close as 20 yards away from flames rising 100 feet tall.  And they haven't had much time off in the last couple of weeks as they have been battling other fires in the region.

 Is your state on fire?  Check the InciWeb site for information on fires around the country.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Hobby Horse Blog Hop 17 - Trucking

Dreaming is trucking this week, with questions pertaining to truckin' and trailerin' our horses.  Answer one question or all three.

1. What is the ideal trailer for you.

One that is paid off.

I also need a tall, roomy trailer for my big-bodied mare.  I had a few custom changes made when I ordered my 2-horse slant Titan.  It is extra tall and they moved the tack room wall forward to give Misty more room in the front stall.  I lost some tack room space, but it was more important that Misty have room to travel comfortably.

Ideally, I would have living quarters, but I've made a comfy nest in the bunk of my gooseneck trailer.  It is not insulated and can get pretty cold at night.  So this year when I took the trailer to the shop for spring maintenance I had an electrical outlet installed.  Now I can plug into an RV hookup and run  a ceramic heater and a few conveniences like a lamp, DVD player, or electronic tablet.  Just enough to take the chill out and relax watching a movie or reading an E-Book.

2. Do you use shipping boots, a padded halter, a head bumper or other protective equipment for your horse when trailering?
I have shipping boots and I've used them before, but I don't use them routinely. If it is really hot and I want to travel with the window screen down, I'll put a fly mask on Misty so debris and bugs won't blow into her eyes.  I don't use anything else, but I do secure her in the trailer with a Tie Safe Trailer Tie.  I keep her rope halter on, but have often wondered if a nylon or leather halter would be safer for trailer travel. What do you think?  She travels well and is calm loading and unloading, so I haven't felt the need to add much to our routine, although I've thought about putting a head bumper on her, just in case.

3. What item(s) do you always carry in your trailer, or recommend that other's carry?
  1. Tack & Grooming Supplies
  2. Saddle Bags & Rain Slicker
  3. Riding Helmet & Riding Gloves
  4. Whip/Carrot Stick with Flag attached (for sacking out & ground work)
  5. Extra Halter & Lead Rope, Lunge Line & Lunging Whip
  6. Roadside Assistance Information (I use U.S. Rider)
  7. Orange Traffic/Safety Cones
  8. Equine First Aid Kit (People First Aid Kit is in the truck)
  9. Equine Cookies
  10. Extra Hay (I use the ones with the smallest mesh holes for "in-flight" meal service)
  11. Fly Mask
  12. Fleece Cooler in wintertime / Waterproof, Breathable Sheet for summer camping
  13. Water & Bucket
  14. Manure Fork (be courteous and don't leave manure in the parking area)
  15. Extra Clothing, especially sweatshirt or jacket
  16. Mounting Step/Block
  17. Wash Cloths, Paper Towels, Toilet Paper, Anti-bacterial Wipes
  18. Camping Lantern, Flashlight, Extra Batteries
  19. Camping Chair
  20.  Portable Potty (comes in handy if you don't have living quarters)

My question for you:

What are your summer/vacation plans?  Misty and I are going to a mountain dude ranch.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hobby Horse Blog Hop 15 - Countdown

This week Dreaming prompts us to answer questions related to counting down.  We can answer one question or all three.  I'm going to answer question #1.

1. Tell us about something you experienced which began with a countdown.

 This is my season for trail riding.  I've been looking forward to riding the trails with Misty for many years and this year we are finally clicking.

I find myself counting down the days (or hours, as is the case today) until our next trail ride.

Yesterday we returned to the park we rode on Memorial day and explored more of the area.  We had a lovely ride.  Misty is maturing, gaining confidence, and becoming a wonderful trail horse.  I'm pleased that she is comfortable in the lead, in the middle, or bringing up the rear when we ride in a group.  However, she has a big stride and is a forward mover, so it can be a little challenging to get her to take baby steps when we are following a slower horse. 

Here are a few pictures from yesterday's ride as we followed our friends.  I notice that Misty often has her ears tuned to me when we ride.  I think we are becoming a good team.

My question for you:

Do you trail ride?  If so, what do you always carry with you on a trail ride?