Monday, June 30, 2008

The "Cow" is back in Cowgirl

Cows......Oh working cattle....I am back! I am alive, energized and full of anticipation of what is to come. I took Harley to a cattle clinic this weekend put on by my local ranch horse club. I wanted to see how Harley would behave for me in an outside environment with other horses and energy since this is where we seem to have our issues. The clinic was three hours from my house and because my husbands job requires our truck I was unable to leave until the morning of the clinic. Nonetheless I loaded up and left the house at 7 am to make it there for the 10 o'clock start time. As soon as I loaded Harley and closed the trailer door it started to pour rain. The rain was short lived however and soon we had cloudy Sky's and smooth driving. There were about 10 participants in the clinic of varying degrees of skill. We did some arena exercises that related to working cows like rollbacks and stops, Harley was great. Then came the cattle! It has been about 12 years since I have worked on cattle, I used to team pen and sort with Tank when I lived in Florida. Now I have had Harley in cattle only twice since I owned him and that was only tracking and moving around in the herd, I have never asked him to work one. We used 10 head of cattle at a time, they were small and extremely gentle just what I was hoping for. We all took turns going into the herd and pulling out a calf to track and move around. Harley was a little apprehensive approaching the herd but gave me no static or resistance entering the herd. We pulled a little black calf out and I sent him down the wall slowly he had a little spunk and turned back quick and Harley instantly responded on his own cutting him off! Wow, just what I had hoped for. I actually was able to circle the cow and stop it on the fence both directions.
The boy is a natural! Of course with his breeding he should be. The clinician called me over to the corner after my go and congratulated me on nice work. He said I needed to slow down my hands (as always) but that I looked good with my horse.
Hard not to get excited in the moment of working a cow! We took a lunch break and had a wonderful TeX Mex buffet that the farm's owner had prepared. We saddled up again and practiced on the cattle again, this time with just one cow in the arena for our run. We boxed the cow at the top of the fence then sent it down the wall then circled it both ways in the arena. Harley was so excited but very responsive to my ques. I got several comments from other participants about him and what a natural he was. My good friend told me I was crazy if I sold him and that this is what he needs to be doing. I had to head out before the clinic ended because of the three hour trip and I did not want to travel after dark by myself with a black trailer on back roads. I left with a feeling of great accomplishment and really excited for the future. I made plans to start taking him to another trainer's barn once a week to work on cattle in August. I got home around 10 o'clock and have to say I was a little worn out but happy. Got that "now I know what was missing" vibe going through my head . Cow work......
Happy trails.....

Friday, June 27, 2008

Cooking with the Cowgirl

Ok folks, as promised I am going to let you in on the trail riding cowgirls secret
(ok not so secret) recipe for cowgirl cobbler. Those dandy little berries I picked the other night turned into a scrumptious summer favorite around here. This is an easy recipe and the beauty of it is you can substitute the berries with peaches or apples or just about any fruit you can think of. Here is the recipe:



Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place berries in a lightly greased square baking pan; sprinkle with lemon juice. In a medium bowl stir together egg, sugar and flour until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle over fruit. Place pats of butter evenly on top of fruit and dry mix. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.
This is about six servings.

Now here is the process on film:

This is the berries with lemon juice on top

Now it is ready for the oven

Here is the dish all baked and looking yummy, can you smell it?
Hardest part is waiting for it to cool.

AH, the finished product ..... wish you could taste how good this is all warm and yummy! Now get out there and make some yum for you.
Happy Trails.......

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Saddle quest

If you have been following this blog for any length of time you know I have been on a quest to find a saddle that fits Harley. I think the quest may be over and I am truly in love. Let's do a little history on the saddle search. I bought a Crates reining saddle brand new in 1996. I was very happy with the saddle from first ride, it was supple and did not take any time to feel like a good broke in saddle. I used the saddle on many different horses of varied shapes and sizes with no problems. Then along came Harley my pint sized 14.1 hand mutton withered little guy. No matter what I did I could not get that crates to fit him. Oh I tried different pads, girths and still it rolled and shifted and drove me plain nuts.

This is a photo of my old crates.

When I took Harley to the Craig's barn for training, I spoke with them about my saddle woes and they agreed it just did not fit him. I noticed at the end of last year he was getting little white hairs on either side of his withers, a sure sign of bad saddle fit. Mike was nice enough to tell me to try any and all of the saddles in their tack room to see what if any fit him better. I settled on a Billy Cook Cutter and rode it about six times before I was convinced that indeed it fit him good and I actually rode better balanced in the flat seat. It was decided I put my saddle on EBAY and bought the Billy Cook. Happy at last ..... or so I thought.

Here is the Billy Cook I bought in May. My crates brought a fair amount on EBAY and now resides in sunny California. This past weekend I went to the Craig's for a lesson and to try another gelding out and Mike had three saddles for me to sell for him. We have a little deal where I sell saddles and tack on EBay and my lessons are traded in exchange. Hey a girl must be resourceful these days. Well the saddles were put in my trailer and Sunday I started the picture taking and measuring for EBay listings. Two of the saddles were Billy Cook, one cutter, one reiner and the third was a cutter by Murphy saddle company. I liked the look of that third saddle and wow was it soft and supple. I called Mike to get the scoop on it and asked where he got it. He told me he had bought it used (but barely) in Texas in the spring. It is a hand made saddle by Bill Lamb. I tried researching the maker and the company but have come up short. I decided to try it out on Harley this week and it fit him good.
I couldn't believe how comfortable it was, I felt like I was riding him bareback almost. I went ahead and rode it again and still liked it so I decided to give it the real test, I took it trail riding. I rode it at least three hours yesterday and I must say I loved it! My knees did not hurt and even with all the jogging and climbing hills I really enjoyed it. Best thing was when I got back to the trailer there were no dry spots on Harley's back and he was not sore at all.

Here are some pictures of the new beauty. I think it is a bit more feminine than the Billy Cook anyway. HA! as if that matters......
So yes, the Billy Cook is officially on EBay as of tonight and I am once again riding the winds of change. I am doing a cattle clinic on Saturday and cannot wait to try it out. Just a little tease so you know what's next on the blog!
Happy trails......

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mommy escape

Today I did the best thing. I escaped! No kids, no housework, no hubby. Just my horse and me, and a good friend and her horse. My friend Tiffany and I decided we needed a mommy escape. Tiffany has two kids around the ages of mine so she gets me and my craziness. I suggested we get out of dodge for the day and she jumped at the notion. We dropped the kids at respective babysitters and headed out for a day on the trails at Brown County State Park. We are so lucky to have this gem in our backyard, it is about 45 minutes from our house. Brown County Park is a great place to camp or day ride with about 60 miles of horse trails. The trails vary from flat and easy to some tough climbs that reach elevations of almost 1,000 feet. I am pretty adept at riding the park and am an excellent guide since I can decipher maps.
Today we took some different trails into what is called hidden valley.

I should start by telling you that Tiffany and her horse Cisco are three day eventers. We couldn't be more different in our riding styles or the size of our horses but we both share a love for all things horses. Once Tiffany accompanied me to a lesson and actually got up and tried a finished reiner just to see what it was like. She is always game for any horse event and has traveled with me on little horse vacations. She is coming along with me next month to Buffalo River for the week. Here is a shot of her and Cisco at a small creek we crossed today. Note he is sporting his fly armour! It worked great.

We started out on trail B which is a wide trail that runs the length of the campground and has trails that loop of it. The going was easy and with an overcast sky it wasn't that hot. We were pleasantly surprised at the few bugs we did see.
We took trail 14 which was a 3 mile loop off of B and it narrowed down to single file. Harley didn't care for the trench like trail at first but settled in just fine after a bit. There were lots of downed trees to practice our walkovers and he thought of jumping a few larger ones. The trail was beautiful with lots of little stream crossings and plenty of wildlife to view, we even found some berries out there to nibble on. Here is a shot of the Harley and I in a stream bed.

We only encountered one group of riders today so it was a peaceful and relaxing trip.
The horses got along great and Harley did a fair amount of jogging to keep pace with Cisco's long legs. I tried out a new saddle today and am in love! But more on that in another post. We went back the same way we came in on B trail due to time constraints on Tiffany's part. I didn't care was just happy to be there. We decided we should do this more often and made a pact to schedule it at least once a month for the summer. Ah .........the glow of a perfect day.

HAPPY TRAILS............

Monday, June 23, 2008


I had the perfect post in mind tonight, then I decided to go out and feed the horses before I began my typing. Harley met me at the gate with his wonderful whinny as if to say "here I am MOM!" I really think he is happy to be home with Tank again. It is a beautiful night and I remembered that while I was riding Harley today I spotted lots of ripe wild black raspberries. With my trustee feed scoop in hand I braved the man eating deer flies and thorns to get some of those delicious goodies!

I am nothing if not resourceful. The light was fading so I had to pick fast. With all the rain we have had it looks to be a bumper crop this year. I think I ate as many as I put in my scoop tonight. YUM.... here is the evidence, how does that go?
caught red handed.....

My mind was racing with all the wonderful things I could make out of these wonderful little treats. For those of you who do not know I am a little Martha Stewart. I can salsa, pickles and put up corn and beans from my garden each year. I can be quite the cook when I so choose. What will become of these little darlins???

I did manage a short ride on Harley today when wee one was sleeping and even tried a new saddle. More on that in another post. Harley was good, despite being harassed by the horseflies and deer flies incessantly. I guess they too are having a bumper year from the rain. Well I am off to dream sweet thoughts of my little prize I picked tonight.
Happy Trails.....

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Progress report

What a great weekend it was! I finally have some quiet time to reflect on it and wanted to share it with all of you, my blogger family. I brought Harley home from my friend's house on Friday because my farrier was coming. He was so cute meeting me at the gate and jumped right up on the trailer ready to go home. I cannot believe the changes in this horse since I got him. He used to stall at the sight of my trailer and not really do anything bad just refuse to move forward or get in without a fuss. Now he will load in anything, ramp, step up, slant or open box. My farrier could not believe how docile he was being in his stall either. He has been openly aggressive toward anything,(except me) when in the confines of his stall. This is actually where he bit my son about a year ago. When I brought him home from Mike and Corey's barn I decided to try something new with him, I kept him over at a friend's house in a dry lot during the night and turned out during the day. She also had an arena and I was able to ride him 4-5 days a week no matter the weather. He has been an absolute doll since he has been there. Here I had been turning him out all day and stalling him at night. I think the difference is him not being stalled, sure he could go in a stall if he wanted and he did but he was not confined. I know how he feels. I love the outdoors and all winter I feel confined and grouchy because it is so darned cold outside that I don't spend enough time out there. On Saturday I loaded him up and went down to visit and ride with Mike and Corey. They had not seen us since we left in May. We had a good ride and they were both pleased with how well we were getting along. Mike had a gelding for me to try while I was there.
I must tell you I had no fear getting up on that gelding whatsoever. I rode him just about 15 minutes and knew he wasn't IT either. Corey seemed relieved that I did not like him and later I asked him why. In the privacy of our conversation without Mike (his dad) he told me he thought the horse was under me, meaning not enough horse and that I was beyond that stage. WOW! I think that was a compliment.
He told me that I might just be better off putting more time and training into what I have with Harley. Now folks this is a revalation because Corey has never been a fan of Harley , although I am not sure why? Anyway he looked at a video I had of a horse in WI that I was toying around with going to try and gave me his opinion on that.

Today I saddled Harley and rode around here at the house. I made myself a little trail course to practice on and what fun we had. I started with my pasture gate and worked with Harley on opening and closing it slowly. Harley likes to do everything in high gear. Next we did the swamp challenge, which was to cross a small stream running through my property. I call it the swamp because the approach to it and after it is very marshy ground, making Harley nervous that he is in quicksand. Then came the log walk over, it was a downed tree that came up to Harley's knees he did not hesitate with that one. I really threw him with the tarp from hell trick though.
I hung a blue tarp in one of the trees out back and asked him to approach it. We need some serious work here. He did not trust me enough to get within 10 feet of it on his back yet he would walk up to it if I was on foot. Hmmmm..... we will keep at it. Finally we had the giant ball roll. Yes just like it sounds, I used my kids giant ball and asked Harley to use his nose to roll it between two trees. At first he did not get it but I think he liked it after he figured it out. All in all he did a great job on the obstacles and I was proud of him, darn he is making me rethink this whole new horse idea!
Happy trails....

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The art of selling or buying a horse

Hi folks, as most of you know I am in the market for a new horse and I have Harley up for sale. I wanted to share some thoughts on selling and buying a horse since I am in the thick of it and am shocked with what I am finding on both ends. Let's begin with the selling of a horse. Foremost in my mind's eye is to be dead honest about the horse you are selling. Some people have told me to only speak of Harley's attributes and not the negatives I see in him (confirmed kid biter!). I personally do not want it on my conscious if he were to go and bite some body's kid and hurt them or just emotionally scar them. Second be realistic on what your horse is worth, yes I think he is grand and should be a ten thousand dollar horse but let's face it, the market stinks and horses like him are a plenty. Do list all of his accomplishments and what you think he may be a prospect for but don't embellish the truth of it, that will only reflect bad on you when someone actually tries the horse and finds he cannot do it. Return emails or phone calls promptly when someone inquires on your horse. Have decent pictures available or a video if you can manage,nothing worse than getting the " I'll try to get some pictures tonight" line come on you are selling something be prepared. Have a safe environment for someone to try the horse and be able to ride him and have your undivided attention while they are there. PLEASE remove your horse's ad from online or bulletin boards if he is sold, can't tell you how many phone calls and emails I have made to get the line OH, I sold him months ago. Hello! my time is valuable as is yours, take the time to review your ads and delete them when you sell a horse. If you are advertising horses for sale on your website, for heaven's sake update the dang thing when you sell or get new horses.

Let's get to the buyer's part. Be honest with yourself on your riding abilities and do not look at horses which are clearly above your level. Have a budget in mind on what you want to spend on a horse, don't be a tire kicker and waste people's time.
Do not call people late at night and ramble on about your horses and your abilities, have a list of questions which will give you a general idea if you should go and try the horse. Show up on time if you make an appointment to see a horse, a teacher once told me if you show up for a 9 o'clock appt at 9 then you are late already.
Do bring a trainer or friend for a second opinion on the horse. Ride the horse as you if you already owned him, try everything you would do normally when riding.
Don't rush into a decision, I never have bought a horse on the spot! Sleep on it, and give it much thought. Do have a vet check! This is an investment like it or not you may have to sell this animal one day due to circumstances.

Just my random thoughts on the subject I am sure there are many points I missed, feel free to give me your thoughts as always.
Happy trails......

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Disaster preparedness

With all the recent flooding and tornadoes and general crazy weather all over our great country I thought a post on preparing for disasters might be in order. Several of you have asked me what I do with the horses when we have a tornado warning. Let me just say here and now that these are just my views and probably vary from other folks ways of doing things. In the end we all just do what we think is best for us and our animals right? Since I spent most of my years in Florida I am well used to the drill of Hurricane season and being prepared for the worst. Several times we had to make some difficult decisions on what to do with the stock and ourselves during and after the storm. The first thing I must say that I do to be prepared for any natural disaster is that I keep enough grain and hay on hand to feed my horses for a month. Some may feel that is absurd, but let me tell you after witnessing Hurricane Andrew and the aftermath there was nowhere left to go and get supplies and animals were unfortunately not a first priority. I also keep medications like Bute, Banamine and Ace here at my disposal and yes I am adept at giving shots muscular and intraveinously. Work with your vet and be taught properly how to administer drugs if necessary. I keep a horsey first aid kit in the barn and also in my horse trailer should we need to make a quick getaway. I personally used to glue luggage tags in my horses manes when a hurricane was approaching, also I haltered them with a snug halter and duct taped a camera vial with my info inside.
Perhaps the most important thing I learned from hurricane Andrew was that you need to have your horses papers AND a current picture of you with your horse available after the storm. I cannot tell you how many horses were not returned to rightful owners because they had no way to prove they owned them. Keep a list or have your vet's and farrier's phone number in your cell phone and by your land phone. In the case of a hurricane we decided that up to 100 mile an hour winds we would stall the horses, after that we turned them loose in a 100 acre pasture some friends grew sod on. It is a crap shoot since I saw horses killed when barns collapsed on them and I also saw horses die after being exposed to flying debris.

Now that I am here in North country I have winter storms, tornadoes and well this year floods to deal with. The feed and first aid kits still apply here as well. Something I learned this past month also was to find ALL alternate routes to and from your house out of town. Since most of the roads to my house were comprised or destroyed in the floods I was panicked at how I was going to get home to rescue the boys we left in the pasture. Thank God for GPS units......we just kept driving and letting it recalculate when we could not find a way through normal routes. During tornado outbreaks I generally leave the horses out in the pasture, there is generally not enough warning to get the human population and animal population rounded up in time, not to mention they love to come in the dead of night for some reason.....

I think as responsible horse owners we all must do our best to prepare for the worst and take care of our steeds as best we can in times of crisis. Hope this sparked some thinking about your plans and let me know your thoughts as always.
Happy trails....

Friday, June 13, 2008

Best of America by horseback .Indiana

Ok, I have kept you in suspense about the latest trail ride long enough. Here is my account on last weekend at Midwest Trail Ride and the Best of America by Horseback ride. I left my house with family and Harley in tow around three on Friday, it is about an hour and a half to the camp. My husband and I were surprised at the high water in the fields as we made our way across the county. We were greeted at the gate by Midwest workers who were to busy drooling over my husbands new Ford to notice Harley's coggins papers. We knew where to find the cabin since we have camped here lots of times previously. Here is a picture of home sweet home for the weekend, these are my three boys posing!

There were lots of trailers already there and it looked like a good turnout. We unpacked and got cozy in the little cabin turning the a/c on full blast since it was around 90 degrees. We set out for the snack shack for some dinner before too long.
They had a nice buffet set up and soon all the little hungries disappeared. I saddled Harley for a little spin around camp to work off his ansies, or so I thought. I was surprised to find that the crowd was mostly older folks of retired age and that most were riding gaited horses. I took Harley over to a little trail course they had set up and played around on some obstacles. We negotiated the wooden bridge with two kiddie pools on either side just fine. We had some issues with the hangings strips of plastic obstacle. Imagine a ten foot tall cross post with strips of white vinyl about eight foot long hanging down. Harley would walk right up to it and put his nose in them but would not walk through. I finally did manage to get him to do it but he flinched the whole way. Friday night we were slammed by a powerful thunderstorm and had quite the lightning show. I was happy Harley had a stall to stay dry. We awoke Saturday to a soggy mess and the ride was postponed for an hour. We had some grub at the snack shack and checked out some vendors goods.
I saddled Harley and proceeded to the round pen for opening ceremonies. The Indiana charter of the Ky Mountain horse gave a nice flag drill to some patriotic music and a lovely young lady sang the National Anthem. I snapped this picture of Tom Seay before the festivities started.

Tom made a little speech about the conditions of the trail that I thought was a little melo dramatic but told everyone to expect sloppy conditions and dangerous footing. Since I was familiar with the trails, I knew things would be muddy but fine. There were about 100 riders total and they split us into two groups, fast for gaited and slow for non gaited. Our lead riders may as well have been with the gaited group, they walked extremely fast! Harley had to jog almost the entire way.
I was OK though he has a jog you could sip tea while doing it. He did get a little excited at first with all the energy of the other horses. Here is a shot of Tom and I on our horses.

We crossed the stream and headed uphill while the crew filmed us for the tv show. I was disappointed to find out that it would be the only film of the ride. It wasn't exactly what I thought the show was about. We had a nice ride for 3 hours over some pretty terrain ranging from moderate climbs to ridge views. Here is a shot of the riders behind me.

We all made it safely back to camp and enjoyed the ride even if the temps were uncomfortably hot. We had a family good time in the creek splashing and playing with some other kids we found at camp. I looked like the pied piper starting out with my two, then added kids as I went along. They had a great time and I wish I had thought to bring my camera along. We had a great dinner Saturday night with everyone getting a certificate for riding with BOA. A dance followed and yes I shook my bootie just a little bit before hitting the sack at eleven. Sunday morning after cowboy church we started getting news about the flooding back in our town. Instead of riding we thought it best we pack up and get home quick. We had to drive an hour south to get over to the interstate to go North. We did finally make it here and you know the rest of that story. My rating on the ride on my scale of 1-10
is a 5. The facility could use some updates, mostly ventilation in the shower house.
The BOA part was not what I expected and No I would not pay to do it again, they were more focused on their clinicians than the ride itself. Glad I went and always happy to share my experience with you.
Happy trails.....

Hope prevails...

Hi all, an update on all of us here in flood central. Water was finally restored to the town of Hope after 6 grueling days. Thanks to the National Guard for hanging in here and supplying fresh drinking and bathing water for everyone. Slowly things are getting back together. There are huge piles of debris from houses and the stench from the now dried mud is well....Swampy. Fema has opened an office and folks are starting to apply for money to get back on thier feet. Speaking of which I am going to update you on "our" adopted family. I will introduce them as Rose and Damon only to you. I met them at the McDonald's this week pushing a shopping cart with all they had left. I took them to a hotel and have been working with them to get them back on thier feet. Rose is a single mom, has been since Damon was born. They lost just about everything in the flood when thier rented mobile home flooded with 18 inches of water. Yesterday I took Rose to the Red Cross and was able to secure her two more nights in a hotel, we also got vouchers for food and filed for unemployment since her employer was also flooded and closed leaving her with no job. We went to her house and we bagged up all thier clothes in garbage bags and took them to the laundry mat to wash and dry them. I have to tell you the condition of the house shocked me. I have been through lots of hurricanes and suffered some myself but this was total destruction. You could see how high the water had been with marks on the walls, mud covered everything. We weren't able to salvage much other than some pictures high on the walls and some kitchen things. I have contacted some people I know and we are working on securing her an apartment for next week. She is a proud lady and despite her loss she was helping her neighbors salvage items yesterday afternoon. Several of you have asked how to help and I am thankful for that, email me privately at to get my address if you would like to contribute towards getting this family back on it's feet. With such tough times for everyone out there it makes me proud that you want to help, and I am glad I can help. Enough for now, I promise a horse post next!
Happy trails....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Flood update

Hi guys, still no internet so bear with me with the short posts. The water has receded and now it looks like a war zone and the best and worst in people is coming out. Looting is abundant and people are stressed out. Today I went to town and bought cleaning supplies to donate for people trying to clean up their houses to move back in. I stopped at Mcdonalds with my boys for lunch and saw a lady sitting outside with her son who was 14 and two dogs with a shopping cart full of stuff. I approached her and asked if she was displaced. She told me that the cart was all she was able to salvage from her house and that she lost everything including her car. Her place of employment was destroyed by the flood and she had nothing left to her name but those possesions. She was unable to stay at the shelter with her dogs so they slept outside last night. I bought them lunch and drove them to a motel and paid for them to stay two nights, it was all I could afford right now. I took her dogs with me and told her I would foster them until she could find a place to stay and get back on her feet. I cried all the way home and my kids kept asking me why it flooded and what was going to happen to those people. I feel so blessed to have a home and all that I do right now. Promise I will post pictures and keep you updated as I can.
Happy trails...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Hi all, sorry about the non posting but as some of you may have seen on the news my town is a flooded wasteland right now. I did make the ride part of the weekend before coming home to rescue the horses and deal with the flood. I have no internet right now so I am at the library in town jotting this note. I have it better than most here, I do have a house and very little damage to it and I have electricity and water. My house has been a haven for neighbors in need of AC and a shower. The town still has no water but hopefully by today it will be fixed. Every road around my house is either heavily damaged or completely gone, making traveling extremely hard and expensive. Today I had to drive six miles out of the norm just to get into town.
Each day they discover more damage to bridges and roads now that the water is receding. We have no hospital, it was flooded with 11 feet of water on the first floor. Two people drowned in the flood waters. I have been helping place animals in temporary homes and getting them back to their owners for the last few days. I will post more when I am back up and running at home and of course post pictures of the ride with Best of America. I hope my pals in Wisconsin haven't been subjected to this also, I saw on the news they are flooding too. Pray for us!
Happy trails....

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Round Two of Weather Hell.

Ok, enough of the weather already. Yesterday was another whopper storm day. Lots of wind, lightning and rain that I do not need. Also, more tornados..... A little closer to home this time. Last evening I had to fetch the kiddos from their snug beds at 10 pm when the sirens started blaring. Luckily I heard them, they are some three miles from my house out here in the sticks. Was weighing my options of trying to run for the creepy basement which requires going outside or hiding in the closet under the stairs. Fortunately my neighbor called and insisted I get in the car and drive next door to her house. Meanwhile my husband who is on the road, is calling every three minutes stressing me out! I was trying to stay calm as I hurried my kids to the car while my 5 year old kept asking "why are we going to Sharon's?". The tornado came within 5 miles of us but disipated and we went unscathed except for some tree limbs. The people to the west of us were not so lucky..... two people died and the town lost several houses and a covered bridge that was over a hundred years old. Today was rough storms but no tornadoes, thank you God!

Needless to say I did not ride the Harley man today but I did capture some still pictures off the video that I cannot get to post. These are from the show a few weekends ago and I hope you enjoy them.

Happy trails....

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wind, Rain and Tornadoes....Oh MY!

Wow, we are having some kinda crazy weather these past few weeks. Just Friday a town one hour north of me was devastated by a tornado. Today as I pulled into Tiffany's place to ride Harley a big ole storm kicked up. I had just enough time to dodge into the arena before rain fell like crazy. She was just finishing riding Cisco and was untacking. I had planned to ride this am but forgot I had the annual Mammogram thing to deal with (that's right girls, I am taking good care of me!)so had to wait til this afternoon. As we weighed our options of making a run for the house or waiting it out, a very loud gush of wind came through the arena tearing the door off.
I suppose it was a straight line wind because it was over in about 10 seconds. We emerged from the arena to find her tape fencing torn down in places and her porch furniture now resided in her hay field behind the house. Luckily the horses were penned up in the dry lots and were under their shelters safe from the storm and debris. After the storm passed I was able to ride Harley, it had been four days and I was a little concerned he may be feisty. Alas, he was a gent and it really has me wondering what in the world has gotten into him. I'm wondering if my new found confidence has something to do with it?? I really would love to take him to a show and see if he gets fired up again. Nothing doing til at least August if I still have him.

I am so looking forward to the weekend. Started packing the horse trailer today with supplies for the family. I have a girl that is going to look at Harley while I am at the trail ride, she is a cutter and wants to start ranch horse showing. I can't believe this is the first time I am getting out this year, usually I have a few trail rides done by now. Well, I am off to do my house goddess duties for now.
Happy trails.....

Monday, June 2, 2008

The search

Hi all, am back from my very long trip to Michigan and am ready to dish you the scoop. I headed out Friday afternoon around 3:30 to head to my friend Candy's house which was about half way. We had vicious storms moving in and I was racing against mother nature to get there before they hit. I just pulled in Candy's driveway and the emergency alert on the radio went off anouncing a tornado warning for a few counties. I had no idea what county I was in! I flew into her barn in a panic as the sky's were dumping rain and it was black as night. She assured me she had heard it also and it was for counties south of her. We finished her barn chores and headed to the house, a phone call from my hubby who was concerned if I was caught in the storms or not. We watched the radar and went over some of my prospects I have saved and talked horse over dinner. She had just recently (1 month) bought a finished reiner for her husband who is a novice rider. I was dying to try him! She had contacted that trainer about finding another and he had emailed her earlier Friday that he had two for me to look at in Ohio. Off to the barn we headed, I saddled up Disco (reg. name It's a disco bingo) and was treated to the best ride I have had in awhile. He was a complete gent and I did all the maneuvers on him and found out that indeed I can ride better than I think. Since her husband was off getting Candy's horse from the trainer's barn I decided to clean up Disco for him in exchange for my ride. Fast forward to Saturday morning.....

We left the house at 5:45am and headed north to Alto, Michigan right near Grand Rapids, another three hour trek. We had two horses in tow and Candy, Jeff and I in the expedition. We chatted about horses, the ranch horse club and an up coming fun weeekend we have planned. I came up with the idea for a ranch horse race at our fun weekend as a fundraiser. We are going to do it, sort of like an extreme cowboy race thing. We arrived at Lyle Fredrickson's, Triple F Ranch fifteen minutes before the start of the clinic. What a beautiful place it is, large indoor with clear panels around the entire top making it very bright and we needed it on the gloomy day we had. After parking and checking in I introduced myself to Lyle. He promptly told me he had forgotten all about me coming to try the horse, and that he had done nothing to him for over a month. I was not discouraged by this at all. We went to the paddock where "Stetson" was happily munching hay and had a look. He was a bay in his winter hair still and not as small in stature as Harley. He was what I considered just plain. Never the less if he was all that, I could over look his plain looking appearance. We decided at lunch break I would get him out and try him. There were nine riders at the clinic ranging from green horse to just green rider all the way up to green rider on finished horse. I audited the clinic and found Lyle to be a very good communicator and watched as he rode a mare recovering from West Nile.
I liked his idea's on training mostly and thought he was a good clinician.

Lunch came and we caught Stetson with no issues and brought him in the barn. He was quiet and well mannered for the cross ties and grooming and saddling. We decided I would use my saddle and just get up on him without Lyle warming him up. I must say I did not have any intrepidation that I thought I would. Lyle told me to ride him like I owned him already and ask if I needed insight. One thing Lyle does that I have never been exposed to is get his horses "in frame" by using both spurs against the belly until they frame up. After walking around a piece and saying our hello's to one another, I tried framing him up for some serious stuff. He responded with his head going to the vertical but WOW he would grind his teeth whenever I asked. I had him jog and it was a most pleasent jog with no jarring at all. I did notice he did not neck rein all that well, wouldn't call it plow reining but definately had to guide with the off rein. I asked him to lope off and he took five faster steps in the trot before he loped. Oh the lope, not an oh the lope good either. It was the most horrible ground pounding lope I ever sat. I tried framing him up, speeding him up, slowing him down all of that. NO Go... this lope was bone jarring no matter what.
I pretty much had my answer already but decided to spin him and stop him anyway.
His spins were lathargic and his stops half hearted. Not sure if he would be any more peppy if he were in shape. Lyle saw me get off and asked to ride him some. I watched and he definately got more out of him than I did but I knew he was not the one for me. So........ the search continues on and I feel good about it and am glad I went to try him. Let's me see how good of a horse I do have right now and that I am a better rider than I think. I am trying to set up a time to view the Ohio horses soon, will keep ya posted.
Happy trails......