Thursday, December 24, 2009

Twas The Night Before Christmas

The stockings were hung on their stall doors with care,
Depicting the occupant perfectly there.

Merry Christmas
Misty & Marley

May your stockings be filled with goodness.
(and carrots too)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Horses on Parade

The minis were adorable.

The drafts were statuesque.

The draft crosses were elegant.

A beautiful team of Hackney/Clydesdales pulling an historical carriage once owned by a U.S. President (Grover Cleveland if I heard the announcer correctly).

Monday, December 21, 2009

Misty's Monday Muse

We hope that someday Marley will be able to pull a carriage in a parade like these Fjordhorses.

In their cart were lots of toys for good little girls and boys.

More festive holiday horses will parade through this blog on their way to Christmas day.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Misty's Monday Muse

"A square wheeled potato cart."

That's how our new farrier described Marley when he watched him move. Like a square wheeled potato cart.

He said Marley walks like he's wearing these on his feet.

Poor Marley. We've been concerned about how easily he trips due to his low heels and long toes, even with hoof trims every 6 weeks. His heels are very short and very sloped. Previously we were told he has bad hoof conformation and nothing can be done about it. Our new farrier is hopeful that he can correct the issue, so he put shoes on Marley's fronts to protect his heels in hopes that they'll grow. We'll know more in 10 weeks.

We like our new farrier. He gives us cookies.

Do you want to know what the farrier said about my hooves?

I don't wish to brag, but if you really want to know.

He said... (I'm blushing now)...he said that I have "beautiful feet."

Maybe I could have a career as a hoof model.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Greatest Christmas Decoration Ever

I needed a good laugh this morning when this timely bit of humor arrived in my inbox.

Be sure to read the story below.

"Good news is that I truly out did myself this year with my Christmas decorations. The bad news is that I had to take my fake man down after 2 days. I had more people come screaming up to my house than ever. Great stories. But two things made me take it down.

First, the cops advised me that it would cause traffic accidents as they almost wrecked when they drove by.

Second, a 55 year old lady grabbed the 75 pound ladder almost killed herself putting it against my house and didn't realize it was fake until she climbed to the top (she was not happy). By the way, she was only one of many people who attempted to do that. My yard couldn't take it either. I have more than a few tire tracks where people literally drove up my yard."

Monday, November 30, 2009

Driving Mr. Marley

I've not had any time to post because I have been so busy with Marley.

Let me catch up...

I had a couple of nice lessons at Driving Pro's ranch while Marley was there for training. The first one went very well as I drove around an open field with Driving Pro beside me in the cart.

The second lesson went well too, but there was a chilly wind and Marley was a little spooky. A horse trailer went by on the road and the horse inside stomped its hoof and Marley jumped forward. I pulled back and said "Whoa!" Driving Pro reminded me that Whoa means Whoa, and only Whoa, and to reserve that word for stopping & standing. When Marley got a little jumpy, he instructed me to pull back on the reins smoothly and say "Easy". I got to practice that at least 6 more times because it was a very blustery day and the wind was carrying many strange noises.

Prior to driving, while we were harnessing, Driving Pro advised me not to be so wordy when working around Marley. I tend to talk to my horses a lot and use their names often. Verbal commands are useful aids when driving, so Driving Pro told me not to use Marley's name so much when I'm harnessing. For example, I should just say a simple "Whoa" when I'm harnessing him and want him to stand still - not "Take it easy Marley, Whoa Marley, That's a good boy Marley, I'm right behind you Marley, yada, yada, yada." Driving Pro said using a driving horse's name usually gets their attention and is followed by a command to move. Like, "Marley walk" or "Marley trot."

Marley came home after our 2nd lesson. We went back the following week for lesson #3 which was a small group lesson with my friend & neighbor and her Haflingers. Driving Pro had disassembled his large round pen and used the panels to fence an area between several of his out buildings, giving us a very safe and confined area in which to drive.

We drove around and around and did figure 8s at the walk and trot between some orange cones. It was great fun and very enjoyable. Marley behaved perfectly, although he was a little lazy. Mr. OnceUpon teased me about "feeling the wind in my hair" as we plodded along at a snail's pace.

Lesson #4 was at home where Driving Pro showed Mr. OnceUpon how to harness and hitch. Driving Pro doesn't want me to hitch the cart by myself yet; he wants Mr. OnceUpon to help so we can bring the cart up to Marley together and each put a shaft in the shaft loops on either side of Marley. Driving Pro said the majority of accidents happen during hitching and unhitching, so he wants us to hitch together to be safe and efficient.

All harnessed and hitched, we began the driving lesson.

We started out by driving around the property and up & down the road a couple of times. Then we ventured onto a paved road where we encountered a few surprised motorists who slowed down and waved as they carefully passed by. Marley was great; traffic didn't bother him at all. Then we turned onto that road Misty mentioned in her last Monday Muse where all the horses live and Marley got excited and Driving Pro had to grab the reins. I stepped out of the cart at the end of that street and Driving Pro schooled Marley vigorously with figure 8s at the trot and then had him trot up and down the street past all those horses that I now call "the cheerleading squad". I was really spooked by the incident but he made me take the reins on the way back home. Along the road we met another neighbor on horseback who road along side of us for awhile and all was well. Whew, we arrived home in one piece. Driving Pro said any horse could get excited in a situation like that where a bunch of horses run up on both sides of the road. He said the way to handle it is to "drive through it" and steer and stay on the road. But my skills aren't quite there yet. I'm so glad Driving Pro was with me. He gave me a homework assignment to take Marley back to that street the next day (ride him or lead him in halter) and do ground work with him in the street near the cheerleading squad. I did that and my fickle pony showed no interest in his adoring fans.

Last Wednesday Mr. OnceUpon helped me hitch and I drove by myself, out in the open, for the first time.

My cart is a Haflinger sized forecart made by Pioneer Equipment Company. It's not a fancy cart, but a farm cart; we can hook a harrow to the back of it and do some real work. It is solid and stable and good for a beginner driver like myself and ideal for going off road and driving on the prairie.

I drove around our property and up & down our street. Then I asked Marley to trot up the street. He trotted nicely but abruptly stopped as we neared our driveway entrance. I urged him forward, but he tried to turn left into the driveway. We had a little discussion that involved right rein, a tap of the driving whip , left rein, right rein, another tap of the whip and "Marely trot!" I was a little clumsy at steering and using the driving whip as an aid. He finally started trotting forward, but stopped at the next driveway entrance. We had another awkward discussion, but moved forward again. I tried trotting him the length of the road a 2nd time, but had the same issue at the driveway entrances. Each time Marley was trying to turn back toward the barn. Uh oh. Red Flag. We do not want this behavior to take hold, as he has had some serious barn-sour issues in the past. I got him beyond the driveways and into a trot to the top of the street and decided to stop on that good note and we walked around the property some more before unhitching. I was concerned though and called Driving Pro right away and scheduled another lesson.

I was worried and a little scared (which grew into 'a lot scared' as I thought more about it the next couple of days). The combination of the bolting incident by the cheerleading squad and a little trouble on my own Wednesday wore heavily on my mind.

I'll share those thoughts and lesson #5 in my next post.

My good husband is preparing dinner now and I really should help him.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Misty's Monday Muse

I'm going to tattle on Marley.

Marley gave My Lady quite a fright on Saturday when they were driving through the neighborhood. This was their first time out & about on open roads. They turned onto a street where a lot of horses live and suddenly things got lively! Curious horses on both sides of the street ran up to the road and pranced along the fence lines. Marley got VERY excited and started calling to his fans and then he wanted to run and show off. My Lady nearly fell out of the cart. Fortunately the Driving Pro was with her and he grabbed the reins and saved the day.

Cart driving can get a little dicey at times.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

One of Those Days

I was in a rush to get to work this morning. After caring for horses, I went straight from the barn into my car. Half way to work I'm still smelling that familiar barn bouquet when I realize I forgot to change my shoes! So here I am stuck at work all day in my muck shoes. I washed them off in the ladies room (cleaned the sink well afterward), but it is still like Misty and Marley are right here with me in all their pungent glory. Oh well, maybe folks will keep their distance from me and I'll have a peaceful day.

Some days I wonder why I even bother to wash my hair and put make-up on. If I don't arrive at the office with hay on my sweater, it's manure on my shoes.

Ever have those days?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cooking, Cleaning, and Cart Driving

Last week was very busy. We hosted our dinner party last night, so Friday and Saturday were full of grocery shopping, house cleaning, and cooking. My menu was assertive & challenging, but everything turned out well. I made another huge mess of my kitchen and the popovers came out of the oven 3/4 the way through dinner (wish I had 2 ovens), but everyone had a nice time and enjoyed the food. One guest went home with the recipe for the tenderloin rub and another wants the butternut squash soup recipe. It's a nice compliment when your guests ask for your recipes.

Prior to the weekend I had 3 interesting and productive driving lessons with Marley. I love that pony! I think he enjoys pulling a cart more than carrying a rider. He's built and bred for pulling. I will post details and more pictures later in the week.

But now, after preparing a Spaghetti Pie to cook for our family dinner this evening, I'm going to put my feet up and rest.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Misty's Monday Muse

Hey la, hey la, my boyfriend's back!

Sunday morning - 08/Nov/2009

Marley had a good week at driving school, but I'm glad he's back.

Life is better, when we're together.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Misty's Monday Muse

I'm lonely. Marley left this morning to attend boot camp for fat ponies. Actually, he's gone to boarding school for a week of driving training. But he'll have to exercise every day at school, so it will be like boot camp for him.

I miss my fat pony already. I will need extra attention from my people this week. And carrots.

Yes, lots of carrots. Carrots will ease my lonely heart.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Shakin' on Halloween

We won't be shakin' in our boots this spooky Halloween night. We'll be shakin' these cute pumpkin Salt n Pepper shakers.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Halloween is actually my favorite holiday, but I'm not dressing up or decorating the house in spider webs this year. Instead, I'm preparing a trial menu for an upcoming dinner party.

On the menu:

Spiced Butternut Squash Apple Soup
Roasted Beef Tenderloin
Orange-infused Roasted Green Beans and Red Peppers
Fall Green Salad (to be determined, suggestions welcome)
Roquefort Popovers

For dessert, probably something light like sherbert and a cookie wafer.

I have a thing for Salt n Pepper shakers. I have a small collection and am always looking for sets that are unique, cute, or holiday specific. One of my favorite sets is, of course, horse related.

The truck dispenses salt at the front. The trailer dispenses pepper from the back.

A perfect set to decorate the table of the horse lover or pickup truck enthusiast.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Blustery Blizzard

We've experienced a strong preview of winter weather the past two days, with today being the worst.

I chose to work from home this morning. Getting my car out of the garage would have been a challenge.

The wind was howling as the snow flew, swirled, and drifted. It was blowing into the stalls, so I closed the dutch doors and kept Misty and Marley inside today, entertained with a couple small snacks of grass hay.

"Marley, here comes our waitress."

"It's about time. Any longer and I might have lost a pound."

The wind and snow finally began to lighten, so I opened the doors to give the horses a chance to stretch their legs before dinner.

"Marley, are you under there?"

M & M are still dieting, but receiving warm, soaked & soggy beet pulp shreds with salt as their pre-dinner appetizer. I want to encourage water intake during these crazy days of fluctuating temperatures.

We're looking forward to better weather tomorrow and a nice Fall weekend.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Misty's Monday Muse

Marley and I saw the vet today and received our fall shots and rabies vaccinations. Rabies has been found in skunks, mountain lions, a cow, and a horse in Colorado this year. Better to be safe than sorry, so we had our rabies shots. My Lady is keeping a close eye on me because I had a bad reaction to my last rabies shot about 20 months ago. But they tell me the vaccine they are using now is not as harsh. Tomorrow will tell.

The vet said we are very likable horses. She also said we are both fat. She took one look at Marley (who has been dieting) and asked him if he was preparing to hibernate for the winter. She said he needs to lose 100 pounds; I need to lose 75 pounds. I think we over indulged on pasture grass this summer because this same vet told us our weight was good at the beginning of June. Our equine dentist also complimented us on our weight earlier this summer. But now we are both fat.

Pardon me, I prefer the term "fluffy". I'm fluffy. Marley is fat.

Let the dieting begin.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In The Soup

1. The white foam a surfer finds himself in after the wave breaks.
2. Meaning "in deep trouble" or in over one's head
3. A pilot's expression for flying in bad weather with no visibility.

My dad was a private pilot with an instrument rating so we often flew "in the soup". All feet and hooves are firmly planted on the ground this evening, but we are nonetheless "in the soup".

Sunday we were in the 70s; mid 60s yesterday and this morning. The temperature is dropping quickly and we are shrouded in misty fog. We expect to awake to snow in the morning.

Misty and Marley are in the barn, impatiently awaiting dinner while I prepare soaked beet pulp shreds - a warm, moist treat on a chilly night....just a little though, since they don't eat beet pulp on a regular basis.

Do you feed anything special to your horses when there are sudden and extreme drops in temperature? I boarded at a stable that fed bran mash whenever there were extreme temperature changes; they claimed it prevented colic. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Is it helpful or harmful?

4. Where "The Beav" goes:

P.S. I love June Cleaver. I'm nothing like her, but I have to admire a woman who can do housework in pearls and heels and still be so pleasant.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Morning Breakfast Routine

It's a chilly day in the neighborhood and we awoke to a fresh layer of frost and overcast skies.

Baby Ponderosa Pine

Misty and Marley were eagerly awaiting breakfast. They have a rigid routine they follow every morning. They stare at the house, using their combined mental powers to lure me out.

"Come feed us. Come feed us."

Then as soon as I step outside and begin walking toward the barn, Marley rushes directly into his stall and waits to be served, while Misty invariably does one leisurely lap around their paddock before strolling into her stall. It never fails; she always does that one lap.

Each horse gets fed in their own stall and I open the paddock gate so they can have access to the dry lot all day. Marley gets a couple pounds less hay than Misty and he eats much faster than she does. So as soon as Marley cleans up his hay, he goes right into Misty's stall and together they finish her hay. She is the Alpha horse and could easily chase him away, but she is a kind mare and is happy to share with her little pig-boy pony pal. We've managed well with this situation for a year and they both maintained a healthy weight, but Marley has packed on the pounds lately. I think I let him have too much time in the pasture without his grazing muzzle.

This morning, I closed Misty's stall doors so Marley can't get in there. I also had to lock the door latches so Marley can't work them open. He's clever that way and has actually taken a stall door off its hinges.

It's been suggested that I divide their paddock into separate runs, but I really don't want to do that. It's a small enough paddock already and Misty & Marley get along so well and like to groom each other and spend the night together in Misty's over sized stall. I hate to take that freedom away from them.

But I have to get Marley's weight down because we know that can lead to serious health problems in our equines.

The Gluttonous Pony is going to be a little cranky on his diet and I'll be running back and forth to the barn more to let Misty out of her stall.

What is your morning horse care routine?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Misty's Monday Muse

My barnmate, Marley, received a new item of Equineware today.

A harness!

There are plans being hatched to acquire a cart for Marley too.

Marley has been a pretty good riding pony this summer. But we suspect his real forte is pulling a cart. He looks handsome in harness, don't you think?

Marley in June 2008

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Summer Fall Winter

You-hoooo...Mother Nature!

You forgot something.

It's supposed to come between Summer and Winter.

Please correct this oversight by the weekend so I can go horseback riding.

Although, Marley has no complaints. He appears to be right at home today.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Misty's Monday Muse

Peek - A - Boo

I've been staying in my stall most of the day and I don't want to come out. It's cold outside and it has been snowing off and on all day.


It's inappropriate to snow on the last day of summer. I'm not ready for this. I'm still wearing my summer clothes. Marley has a head start on his winter coat. He started getting fuzzy a couple weeks a go. I'd better get busy and grow some hair.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Equine Rabies in Colorado....It's Baaack

First equine rabies case in Colorado in 25 years:

The Horse: Rabies Reported in Colorado Horse, Multiple Skunk Cases

I had Misty & Marley vaccinated in Spring 2008. Misty had a very bad reaction to the rabies vaccine; she developed a huge lump at the injection sight and was very sore and uncomfortable. So I decided to skip the vaccine this last Spring 2009.

I talked to a couple vets and horse owners; I read that rabies is very rare in Colorado and mostly found in bats. My vet recommended the shot but said half of their clients were skipping the vaccine because they don't want to over vaccinate their horses and half were having the vaccine because they didn't want to be the first equine case in the state.

Wake up call!

Misty & Marley will be getting their rabies vaccinations with their Fall shots. I'll have the vet send us home with something to ease discomfort if Misty reacts again.

Skunks are the wild animal most likely to infect a horse and skunk rabies is on the move and headed west. More information from Colorado State University is here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Nice Weather, Good Neighbors, Let's Ride!

The weather was beautiful through the first week of September, so I've been absent from the Blogosphere in favor of spending more time in the saddle. I know you will all understand. Misty and I have been doing some arena riding and have gone on a couple more trail rides.

On Labor Day, a few of us neighbors got together for a ride in our community. We had a wonderful time and it was great fun to get to know some of the other equestrians in the neighborhood.

From left to right we had a Spotted Saddle Horse, Haflinger, Norwegian Fjord (Marley), Percheron (Misty), and a Paint (Andy who has been Misty's trail buddy this summer). Andy's owner let one of our horseless neighbors ride Andy while she rode Marley. (Thank-you Neighbors! Marley enjoyed being included this time.)

This was only my 3rd trail ride with Misty and we both did well, with one nerve-racking point on the ride.

We crossed a small dam that doesn't look intimidating at all in this picture taken from the ground. But atop a horse, the path is narrower and the sides of the dam are much steeper.

We started along the path at the top of the dam with no problems, but half way across there is this cage-like structure where water runs through the dam. It makes weird gurgling noises and Misty is sensitive to strange and unfamiliar sounds. As we approached this point she became very worried and nervous about this odd burbling object below to our left.

She went on high alert and began to shy to the right, the problem being, there is nowhere to go to the right but down the side of the dam to where the water dumps out on the other side:

Misty was freaking out a little and I was getting terrified that if she exploded, we'd both go tumbling down the right side of the dam.

My own fear is an issue I'm trying to conquer as an older equestrian returning to the sport of horseback riding. It annoys me to feel fear and insecurity that I did not experience as a younger rider, especially now that I have a young mare who particularly needs me to be confident and relaxed.

I talked to her and applied my right leg to say "no girlie, do not go that way!", and fortunately she responded and remained on the trail and we quickly passed by the rackety monster and all was well. Whew.

We had an enjoyable time and look forward to more rides with our equestrian neighbors. I'm sure we'll be confronting the monster in the dam again.

Alas, our perfect riding weather is coming to an end, so I'm hoping to catch up on blog reading this weekend...and maybe do some housework too.

P.S. On this day I would be remiss if I didn't share my appreciation for my country and the men and women who have made huge sacrifices, some the ultimate sacrifice, to allow me the freedom to enjoy a beautiful ride with friends like the one on Monday. Thank you to all good people around the world who strive for peace and freedom. Ride on in good health!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Good Morning

This morning is too beautiful to feed Misty & Marley in their stalls. I've scattered their breakfast hay outside so they'll get a little exercise while dining.

It's going to be a lovely day.
....I wish I didn't have to go into the office.

Alas, Misty & Marley like to eat; therefore I go into the office.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Misty's Monday Muse

BIG HORSE, little horse.

Does size matter?

The researchers at Cornell University think so. They are studying the genetics of equine body size to learn more about how genes make us grow and influence our breed-specific traits, as well as how genes affect disease growth. Marley and I are participating in the study because we want to help horses live healthier lives.

If you are a horse or pony that would like to help, and you are at least 4 years old or full grown, here's what you will need to provide:
  • Tail hairs containing your DNA.
  • 35 body measurements from the length of your ears to the circumference of your hind cannon bone.
  • A 3-generation pedigree, so they can be sure horses in the study are unrelated (have a different dam and sire).
  • Profile photos
Marley's measurements were taken yesterday. He was a little bored, but he did enjoy a couple of the measurements. He liked having his neck measured with his head down to the ground because there were snacks on the ground to lure his nose down and stretch his neck. He had some fun when Mr. and Mrs. OnceUpon were standing in just the right spot measuring his tail bone; he let out a slow "whooooooosh" of stinky gas. "Oh Marley!" they exclaimed as they waved their hands in front of their noses. Then they laughed and said that must be the equine version of "pull my finger."

I'm getting measured today and I will try not to "whooooooosh" in anyone's face. But I am a horse and I eat a lot of fiber, so I can't promise.

Read more about the study and how you can participate in Equine Study Needs Participants.

Friday, August 28, 2009

My First Breyer

There was something missing from my horse crazed childhood.

I had a Barbie doll; Ken too.

I had a family of trolls and their troll house.

I had a Betsy Wetsy doll and an Easy Bake Oven.

I had a large collection of stuffed animals that included a gorilla, a snake, and a tiger. I also had Toucan Sam that my mother ordered for me from a box of Froot Loops.

There was one stuffed horse that I brought home from a trip to Germany when I was 10 years old. It's the only stuffed animal I still have from my childhood.

I had a squirt gun, a slinky, a jump rope, and a hoola-hoop.

I enjoyed many of the typical childhood toys.

Oddly though, I never had a collection of Breyer model horses.

At the ripe age of 50, I have decided to right this wrong.

My first Breyer horse arrived in the mail recently. I opened the box to find inside...


What? You've never heard of the Breyer Mummy?

Ok, so Breyer never really made a Mummy model. Who could it be then? Let's find out...

2004 edition of the Old Timer mold.

Since I love drafts and he looks like he could be a Percheron, this guy seemed like a good start to my belated collection. I'll never be a big collector, but I plan to buy a few that have special meaning to me.

Did you have a Breyer horse collection when you were young? Or young at heart? It's never too late, you know.

Hmmm? Maybe when I wake up Saturday morning, I'll have an urge to watch cartoons while I eat my cereal. Froot Loops, of course.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Misty's Monday Muse

I have been a very good girl this summer, if I may say so myself.

I went on my first trail ride in July. My Lady rode Marley and Cowboy Trainer rode me. You wouldn't have known it was my very first trail ride, I was so calm and relaxed.

I was a brave girl too.

Most of the horses balked at all the mud holes on the trail...

Not me. What's a little mud and water? I think it is good for my hooves, and maybe my tail too...

None of the other horses dared cross this one with the temporary bridge...

Ho hum, just another mud crossing.
I like bridges.

I walked over some big, fallen trees off the trail too. Cowboy Trainer said it was like riding a horse with a lift kit.

We had beautiful weather this past weekend, so My Lady took me to a 2 hour lesson Friday afternoon. The instructor did some ground work with me and rode me for a few minutes to see what I know. It didn't take her long to discern what a good girl I am. My Lady got on next and we did some exercises at the walk and the trot in the arena to help us get in sync with each other.

I had a nice cool shower when I got home and then I rolled in the dirt. It felt great!

My, what big feet I have.

The next morning we picked up Andy and his mom and we went to a lovely park where My Lady and I had our first trail ride together. Andy and I got along great and we became good trail buddies.

That windmill was a little scary though. Andy thought so too. It moved in the wind and made creepy noises as we rode by.

Andy had a piece of grass sticking out of his mouth. He looked silly, so being the good friend that I am, I thought I would help him get rid of it.

Pssst, Andy, you've got something in your teeth.

We're looking forward to more lessons and more fun trail rides this summer.

Did I tell you? I'm a very good girl!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ticket to Ride

Saturday morning, on my way to the Buck Brannaman clinic, I stopped for gas and discovered my wallet missing from my purse. I had been shopping online the previous evening and left it on my desk next to my computer. The trusting fellow at the gas station accepted a check without I.D. and I was back on the road. I'm not a speeder, but I took extra caution to observe the speed limit closely as the Interstate was thick with Highway Patrolmen giving tickets. Heaven forbid should I get pulled over and found to be driving without a license.

On the way home from the clinic, I remained very conservative with my speed. But I started getting really sleepy as I drove along the Interstate. I was shaking my head, had the A/C blowing cold air on my face, and was singing along with the radio...rather badly...but belting out the lyrics to keep myself awake. I decided to exit the Interstate early and take a road home that I don't normally travel, hoping the change of scenery would perk me up a bit.

Yep, you know where this is going.

I was unfamiliar with the road which happens to have quite a low speed limit for the type of road it is. I hadn't noticed a speed limit sign and I wasn't paying attention to my speed when I crested the top of a hill and there he was; a sneaky Sheriff Deputy sitting on the other side of the hill just waiting for someone like me to come over the top. Gasp! I looked in the rear view mirror and saw him do a quick U-turn in the road; I knew I was had.

I haven't gotten a speeding ticket in 30 years and what are the chances I'd get pulled over the one rare time I forget my wallet and am driving without a license?

Fortunately, the officer was in a forgiving mood that day. He said, "Ma'am, there are several things I could write you up for, but I'm going to give you a break." He was very understanding about my wallet sitting next to my computer at home, and didn't penalize me for driving without a license. (Maybe his wife is an online shopper who forgets her wallet too.) He clocked me at 19 miles over the speed limit, but only wrote me up for 4 miles over the limit with ZERO points! That was a relief.

(In the United States, you can incur penalty points for exceeding the speed limit by 5 or more miles per hour, and for other traffic violations. The bigger the violation, the faster the speed, the more points you receive. Points are dreaded because the insurance companies will raise the cost of your auto insurance for a number of years. Not only do you have to pay a substantial fine for the violation, but you pay more for auto insurance for a long time.)

I was lucky, but the fine was still enough to put a damper on my plans to go back for another couple days of the Brannaman clinic. There is an auditing fee for each day of the clinic and my clinic funds were now redirected to government income.

My speeding ticket became a good reason to stay home and ride my own horse instead of watching others ride theirs.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Misty's Monday Muse

Bits of wisdom shared by Buck Brannaman at a recent clinic My Lady audited:
  • It is impossible to have a horse dull to your leg and light to your hand.
  • Proper use of spurs requires independence from the spur; not dependence on it.
  • Riding in a western saddle without a rope is like not wearing underwear.
  • You may never work cows, but a horse prepared to use a rope will be the best riding horse ever.
  • Think about the position of your body so that you aren't taking energy away from your horse.

Rope Work (click to enlarge)
In this exercise the student lopes (canters) around Mr. Brannaman and his horse. As he moves his horse along, the student must ride so that the rope doesn't touch the ground.

Students also loped around & around a barrel, letting out their rope and winding it around the barrel like thread on a spool. Then they had to turn around and lope the other direction, around & around the barrel, while unwinding the rope and coiling it neatly with their hands. Here, Kathleen and Hollywood are preparing to lope around and unwind their rope from the barrel.

Check out the fashion in cowgirl hats being worn by the gals riding in the clinic. They aren't wearing the traditional cowboy hat that has the brim turned up on each side. These brims are flatter and the hats look more like a ladies sun hat you might buy at a fine department store. Very stylish. If they came with ear holes I'd wear one too.

Cowgirl Hats