Thursday, August 22, 2013

Oh, My Birthday

So my birthday came and went - Wondering how it went?

Wednesday-Friday: Stomach Virus... Work was fun.

Friday (Lucky's Anniversary): Supervisor let me out about 10 mins early which was great because I still felt like crap, but bad because I got a phone call from Ms. Kate who had driven all the way over to give me a box of Lucky Charms. *sniffle* She dropped it off at my house and against my better judgement I ate a HUGE bowl of it with whole milk... I was going to regret that. But to know I have friends like that makes everything I try to be worth it...

Saturday: Woke up feeling like $1,000,000. Lucky Charms you did it again! Worked a good shift and headed over to feed the ponies then to attend a fantastic par-tay! There was even a bounce house which I took complete advantage of. Met the cutest little boy who I wanted to take home but I think that would've been frowned upon. Played some beer pong, flip cup, then ended the night with a concussion. Woohooooo!

Sunday: Headache... Sleeping... Missed out on the fair... Dinner with my brothers' grandmother and the family... Headache... Went to ride pony... Brantley was dead lame... On his scared leg of course.

Monday: Pony still lame... Had a panic attack in his stall because he couldn't turn around. Not himself. Went to work... Headache... Nauseous... Sent me home early to go to the walk-in, walk-in sent me to ER. There was a huge argument about who was going to bring me to the hospital between Mom & Dad... Did I really need a CT Scan she said? No... I could just be bleeding from my brain. Whatever. Grade 2 concussion. No riding for 2 weeks, good thing my pony is broken. Not supposed to work for 3 days, HA! No writing, reading, watching TV, playing on my phone. Har har har. If I can't ride, run, or work? I'm going to read. Taco Bell for dinner with Mason and my Dad.

All in all, Monday was a pretty good birthday.

Tuesday I went to work... Mistake. Called out Wednesday, and now it's Thursday (already had the day off). I've been sleeping like crazy and soaking B's foot 2x per day and he's already looking a lot better. Stone bruise abscess we think (I hope). Really didn't want to have the vet come out.

Needless to say, going to miss the barrel race on Sunday but that gives us both time for some R & R, ground work in the bit, and maybe get prepared for the schooling show on the 7th. We'll make it!

Alright, so I have to boast about how amazing my friends are, especially K. Her and her hubby stopped me at the park 'n ride before I went down to the ER insisting on giving me my birthday gift which was totally unexpected. When I pulled it out of the bag I seriously wanted to cry. It's a BEAUTIFUL breastcollar for Brantley. Leather, studded, cowhide hair. Probably the best gift I've ever received... I mean ever (that includes diamond earrings from an ex). But if you're a horse girl you'd understand. I can't wait to dress Brantley up and post pictures of it. Still haven't put it on him yet because I'd just want to ride even more.

Oh! Funny story about the gift... Once again she drove to my work and arrived like 10 mins after I left!

Ugh, headache is back. Hope everyone's enjoying their ponies so I can live vicariously through ya'll!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Cowgirl Up

Out for our first solo ride.
Lots to catch up on. Hopefully I can move the pictures around too. We've been hitting the trails like crazy people. Lu is really falling back in love with Rowdy and I completely get why. He's a fantastic little pony. I was having an okay day (birthday coming up and all) and decided I really wanted to bring B over to Tavern. Of course it'd have to be solo but we could do it. Tacked up and headed on over. Walked through the trails with only a little bit of hesitation. A lot less than I thought there would be. We ran into a few guys on their bicycles going over the jumps in the back and they stopped and let us go by. Brantley trotted off calmly and rationally so we could get out their way. Made it all the way to the neighborhood and I dismounted and walked him through.

Gentleman asked if I would tie B to his hitching post...
Hitching posts were made for ponies.
We got all the way towards the end and a few guys were hanging out by a car. Made a comment about B not being a SAAB but he gets me around. Obviously they laughed because I'm hilarious *har har har* and then one mentioned the hitching post on his front lawn. Challenge accepted. Come to find out later... The guy owns Quonset Auto Body. Go figure! His daughter came out and fed B an apply and sent us on our way. Walked to the main road, passed the coffee shop, lots of kids waving, then down the driveway. I got there right in time for some old barn mates to start riding. Rode with N and her new horse Commander who is an OTTB (love him). She lost her heart horse right after I lost Lucky, they used to be lovers. <3 Had a nice little ride and then made my way home. First solo trail ride? Success.

Pony hugs!

Smitty and B

Visiting the old barn.

More pony kisses.

Commander and Brantley
Pony kisses for Autumn.
Brantley and Star, one of the first horses I learned to ride on. I think he's like 40.
Next day it rained but we went back to work in the ring and had our first success ride with the bit. He was little stiff with the flexing but it gave me something to definitely work on with him, especially if there is a schooling show in our future!

Starting in the bit.
We did walk, trot, canter, some circles and a lead change. Bam! WINNING! So proud of my pony.

Yesterday started off as another usual day off, me and two trailers of hay with 400-500 bales to unload. I decided it was cool enough to let Chevy come along and he was very very well behaved. Did some "find" training using his favorite squirrel cue and we just hung out while we waited for the guys to show up.
Taking a nap waiting for the guys.
Just chillin' with the dog.
The Green Tractor :)
He was very unsure about what to do about the cows, but I was happy with his performance as a farm dog... Can't complain with that face!
It was such a nice day, I really wanted to go out for another ride. Texted N to see if she wanted to do some barrel and pole patterns (just at the walk, we're not in a rush) and she said she'd meet me at Tavern. I walked halfway through the neighborhood and the dismounted and walked the rest of the way. No one was at the barn when I got there so I took advantage of the fenced arena and we did our exercises on the fence then the usual w/t/c. It was "Wing Night" over at the bar next door so it was busy and packed, we had an audience of children. He was really great with all the cars going by on the main road while we were riding. N pulled up the driveway and we got to catch up while sitting on our ponies more than doing the actual pattern. 

Lu messaged me and said she was headed out on the trail so we made our way home to meet her. I walked down the beginning road of the neighborhood and decided... Why am I walking and not riding? Rode THROUGH the neighborhood without a flinch. Can't complain about that. Met up with Rowdy and Lu, finished the night with an awesome sunset. He got the day off today. :)
Exploring the neighborhood. 2nd solo ride.

What a sunset...
So tomorrow it will be two years since I lost my boy and Brantley is becoming more and more of a god send to me. I don't know where I would be without him or Chevy. They've really saved me in a way. I miss my guy like crazy though... Can't even tell you. Kiss your ponies. <3 <3 <3


If you saw the Conjuring, you'd understand why my coworkers hid this in my back seat.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Keep Your Head Up

That day is right around the corner. The day I dread every year and try to avoid. Yes, my birthday. With my birthday the bad memories out weigh the good ones. Two years ago I lost my best friend and the one who really understood what I was all about. Last year I received a phone call at 1230 in the morning from someone telling me how horrible of a person I was and threatening messages throughout the weekend.

Every year I hope for something better. This will be it. This will be the birthday I've always wanted. But it always fails. Finally I stopped even really caring that it was my birthday. No more parties, no more special day or week long fiesta. Friends ask, "What are we doing for your birthday?!" and my response lately has been "nothing" because it's not an excuse to throw a huge party anymore like it was in middle school and somewhat high school. I would always use my birthday as a reason to throw a huge summer bash in my backyard at my mom's house. Tried it one year at my place but of course, bad things happen when you date a drama queen. I've kind of just given up.

This year, things are finally coming together. I have my horse, I have a whole group of new friends (K, L, girls from work) along with the old ones that I still love so dearly. So my big plan for this year? Tattoos, Texas Roadhouse, Mechanical Bull. That's all I want to do. But like every year, I'm not setting my heart on anything (but the tattoo). I'll be happy with anything, or nothing. Just knowing that I can go spend the day at the barn is fine with me... Well, the weekend, not my birthday (working 12-8). I'm honestly content with just that... Birthday with Brantley and Chevy.

Chevy and I haven't started training yet. We start horse-sitting on Tuesday though. A job he can actually stay with me at. Very excited about this. Tomorrow we'll hopefully get out on the trail again. Went to the dog park with him and the beagle today. Made some new friends and they were all impressed with his recall abilities. First time I got to introduce him as an SAR dog in training and as "K9 Chevy". Looking to order him a vest, must say "in training" on it though.

This week has been filled with a lot of trail rides and even a wanna-be-hunter ride. My friend Emma's (who will hopefully be able to ride B a couple of times a week) saddle fits him pretty well with the help of a lami-cell pad. I sold my english saddle earlier in the year to help pay for training. Tacked him up, jumped on, and hoped for the best. We're still going bitless but I can't really complain about that. He was great, slow, low, easy going, even with a horse loading on the trailer. Then yesterday, after getting hay, K and I finally got to go out on a trail ride together.

I can't tell you how awesome it was to go out and ride with her again. I miss it a lot (I know she knows and will probably read this). I'm confident, calm, and I don't worry about anything when I go out with her because I know she understands what I have to do with B. She rode Rowdy and I knew it would be a good breather for her. She could really relax. We took Cairo out and went on our way. He was really nervous going over the first bridge, shaking, looking, listening, but lead the way for the first time over it. The second bridge Rowdy had to go first. I think it was because it was wet and probably smelt different. Highly sensitive ponies! We walked down the road towards the other pond before turning around. I was unsure about going past the softball fields because there was a game but B seemed pretty confident. It went really well (I'll add pictures when I'm home). He stood and stared stallion like watching them play then dropped his head and we went down to the ramp. It was a good ride, I was happy... Deserved the day off.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

the Beginning Adventures of K9 Chevy

So I woke up like every other day, went and fed the horses, then went to work in surgery. I worked until noon and then went home to change for the barn. I made plans with LuAnn to go out with Rowdy on the trails again. Very excited! Chevy gave me that look like he wanted to get out and play (kept throwing his ball at me) and I decided since his e-collar was charged... Why not? Threw him in the Jeep and off we went.

Let our ponies out (left them in because there was a storm brewing), threw some lunch, walked over to the main barn and threw more lunch, Chevy plotting along right beside me. I can't believe how good he was. I only had to correct him once when we got there, it's been a long time since we've gone and worked in the field. L was at the barn when we got back and we did stalls then tacked up. She does SAR (K9 Search & Rescue) with her dog Abby who is up for the K9 Hero Award around here, and she let me borrow her "Rescue" harness which is orange and has "Service" tagged on it. I got on Brantley, strapped Chevy's leash and remote to the horn and off we went!

B was so good yesterday ducking under trees and branches that I decided to take the path where the dirt bikes go and bring L backwards through the trail we did yesterday. Up the steep side of the hill and down the other, he maneuvered very well. Chevy... Outstanding. He stayed right by the left side of Brantley just like he used to with Lucky. I can't believe he remembered how to trail with a horse from when he was 6 months old. He trotted about between the horses, sniffing off the side of the trail, loping up beside us with a jingle. B was so well behaved even when the pup weaved in around his legs. It was like the accident in the ring never happened.

I have to explain real quick that Chevy was tied to the picnic tale next to the outdoor when B and I had our really bad accident... I have never seen him act like that. Growling, snarling, barking, howling. Pulled the picnic table a few inches. Ever since then he had been distant around the horses and vicious towards B, especially when he put a foot out of line. To see them how they were today, you would've thought they had always been two peas in a pod! I can't tell you how happy I was.

A mom and her two kids came out of the woodwork and Chevy trotted over wagging his tail to greet them. The mom welcomed him with open arms so I didn't call him off but one of the boys stayed far behind. She explained that he had been attacked by a black lab earlier in the summer and you could see how nervous he was. I called Chevy back and asked him to sit and lay down for the boy and offered him to pet him. He said no but thank you which was very sweet. What I was really impressed with was that it was like my boy knew he was nervous and didn't run over to him. This made me very happy and they sent us on our way.

We walked through the trails, back over the bridges (Rowdy leading this time) and around to where the water was. Chevy plowed right in swishing around in the water like a fish. B followed right and Rowdy watched, he finally went in too. Heading home I saw another walker with their dog on a leash and whistled to get Chevy's attention. He looked at me, then looked over and saw the dog. Tired enough where he only tried to lope over, I said "leave it" and he came back to me. No correction, no second recall, nothing! I just said "leave it" and he came over, happily wagging, and we walked down another trail home.

Moral of the story, Chevy and I were welcomed into the AMPWDA - American Mantrailing Police Working Dog Association. Chevy will be beginning his training as a Search and Rescue K9 Service Dog... He will no longer be just a dog - K9 Chevy, K9 Officer. Glad to see I've done something right!

K9 Chevy 2013

Swimming with K9 Chevy!

Brantley running from the Chevy shake! 
LuAnn, Rowdy, and Chevy

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Trail Riding with Ol' Man

A new pony moved in this past weekend, still miss Charlie and Lauren though. His name is Rowdy and he's a 26 year-old quarter horse who looks like he's 10-15. Moves great too. A friend of mine was looking for a place to board (which is always the case) and luckily I had a stall. Fun part is, Rowdy is safe for kids and beginner riders... Plus Kate! Mason has already ridden him twice and he has a 14 year-old girl leasing her. We'll see how this goes over the month but I hope things will turn out for the better. Sherry was going to take him as a companion for Pretty but honestly, I have a feeling he'll be staying with us for a while.

LuAnn (Rowdy's mom) came to the barn today and asked if I wanted to go out for a ride. Of course I said yes because I knew Rowdy would be a good match to get B out on the trails with and let me tell you, they were awesome. He was a little tapped yesterday during our ride (of course Deb came and watched) but hey, cowgirl up or get in the truck! Little bit of a jumpy start but as we went on, except for the bugs, we had an awesome ride. I took her to the bridges and B didn't want to walk over so I got off and walked him over. Rowdy made it over well which was great, she wasn't sure how he'd be. We only went over the bridge where the dam is, got back on, and rode over it. I decided B was being so good that I'd take it a step further and we did the whole circle. I showed her the hill area I love to work in and because I was reaching up smacking bugs off his neck and face, I thought he'd be okay brushing under trees and branches... Something he really does not enjoy. The first time was okay and he lifted his head but after that he was great. We went up the main hill and B was very well controlled going down, I just had to remind him to think before he steps. We made it home safely and even ducked underneath the low branch I usually walk him under!

A few other things he was great with was Rowdy, as slow as he is, trotted up behind us to catch up. He is not a quiet horse running up behind you. The first time I think it spooked me before it spooked B, but I had her keep doing it, just warn me so I can remind myself not to get startled. He probably could've loped up behind us and B would've been fine. Very happy about that. We also ran into an old man with his dog and after I told him he could pet B, he reached for his hind end area and brushed him slightly before I got the chance to tell him to rub his neck. He literally flicked an ear and waited for a pet on the neck. Very very proud.

We've been working a lot on hind end stuff when in the saddle, mainly me just reaching back and rubbing and scratching him. If you know the story of Brantley, you know what a big deal this is. When I first got him back from Cherry Croft and we went through our routine, I thought he'd be okay. The routine consisted of standing up in the stirrup and rubbing down his neck, patting the saddle, and rubbing his hind end, all before throwing your leg over. I thought it'd carry to being completely in the saddle. NOPE! The first time I tried he scooted and it took me 15 minutes to get his head back together. With some patience and work, I can rest and lean on his butt with one hand and even scratch without warning - totally cool with that! I think that's the main reason why he didn't freak out about the old man trying to touch his hind end and he feels safer going under things. 

Can't wait to get out there again. I have a goal! August 25th I believe is the next NBHA race at Cherry Croft and if I can get a ride... I want to bring him. Plus I think Gigi's owner (the buckskin) is going to ride her soooooo I'm out a pony to ride which is fine, I haven't been able to get together with them anyway which is sad especially because CB's been working with her and doing mounted shooting! I'm trying to get her to post more on her blog but hopefully she'll post and you can check it out. Stuff is amazing! Tear Drop Winken: August 2013

Tear Drop Winken