Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Baby Steps to the Elevator

Subtitle: Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, I'm a Schizophrenic and So Am I

Harlan and I are in the process of rebuilding. Rebuilding our partnership, rebuilding individual confidence, rebuilding trust.

Hooboy is it hard. It was really surprising and discouraging to discover how fearful I've become as a rider. I know it shouldn't be surprising, considering the amount I've hit the ground and the injuries I've gotten (broken rib, bruised tailbone), but nevertheless. It's the ol' immortality complex: it happens to other people, not me.  And yet it has happened to me.

Harlan will always be a sensitive pony and I knew that when I bought him. I knew that I would have to be a more "present" rider with him than with Tanner. My new trainer asked me why I bought him if I had known that he had dumped people before, especially since I was used to bombproof Steady Eddy quarter horses (aka Tanner). I got Harlan because I *wanted* something  a little more "up", a little faster, a little more fun.

And for the first couple months we had a blast together! He was alert but relaxed on the trails. I trusted him to keep me safe, he trusted me to keep him safe.

Then I switched saddles and things changed, and it took me a while to connect those dots. Harlan started shying more and more often, throwing in a buck or two on occasion.

Once I figured out it was the saddle I went through quite a few saddles trying to find one that would fit him. The one that he liked the best was a Bob Marshall treeless saddle and it was very comfy. It was not, however, very stable. Which meant that when shit went south, the saddle was no help to keeping me on top.

Add a fall almost every ride and a couple of super painful landings, and something broke. Harlan no longer trusted me to be the confident leader he so desperately needs and I no longer trusted him to behave.

I really don't blame him nor am I angry at him. When things got scary for him and I "bailed" (read: fell off) he probably felt abandoned to deal with the monsters by himself. I didn't have the tools to figure out how to reassure him.

We both lost confidence in ourselves and in each other.

If I didn't have the opportunity to board him this winter and be able to work with a trainer, it probably would have been the end of our partnership.

I still don't have a good saddle that fits both him and me, but I have something that works in the meantime. We're working a lot on the ground establishing boundaries and increasing confidence. In the saddle we're working on a one-rein stop so that when things get scary we have a go-to maneuver that reassures both of us.

Even with this solid progress in a short time, when I'm in the saddle now I constantly have to remind myself to breathe and to relax. I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful. I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful.

I'm struggling with parsing out my feelings. On the one hand, I sometimes want to run away from the problem by finding a new home for Harlan and getting another bombproof QH. On the other, I feel like I owe it both Harlan and myself to give this a chance and don't we remember the good times?

I have a pretty strong fear of failure so sometimes when things start looking like I might fail, I bail instead. I also tend to subscribe to the Disney Prince Ideology, which normally applies to romantic relationships but can also be applied here.

The Disney Prince Ideology is the belief that if there is any sort of conflict between two people, it is obviously not meant to be.

For example: If he really was my Prince Charming, we wouldn't argue. We would understand one another and seamlessly get along forever and ever AND EVER. Which translates to: If he really was the right horse for me, we would understand one another and seamlessly get along forever and ever AND EVER.

But when I'm feeling like maybe Harlan isn't the right horse, I have another voice inside my head asking therapist-y questions. Where are these feelings coming from? Could this be related to your fear of failure? Let's talk about your childhood.

And then the second voice chimes in (it's busy in my head, guys). Yes, but should you force something that isn't right? Don't waste your time, yo! Cut your losses and move on.

Isn't that a little premature? Are you perhaps shying away from hard work? Are you SURE it's "not right"? Don't make a rash decision.

Well...maybe....but are you trying to force a square peg into a round hole because you think you owe it to Harlan or because that's what you feel like you're supposed to do?

I...don't know...


**spontaneous combustion**

I am not a patient person (shut up, those of you thinking Thank you Captain Obvious). I don't like not making a decision, I don't like sitting with indecision. I know that I don't need to make a decision right now and I shouldn't make one. I know that no matter what, working with him now will make me a better rider and him a better horse.

And yet that circus keeps on yelling in my head. Arglebargle. 

So I'll end this schizophrenic post with a reminder to myselves to just take baby steps. Baby steps to the elevator, Bob, baby steps to the saddle. Rome wasn't built in a day, decisions don't have to be made right this very second, etc etc.

Eventually I'll be a sailor. Baby steps. 

I'm sailing! I sail! I'm a sailor, Dr. Marvin!

I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

I'm an Auntie! & Other Updates

Some of you may have known that my oldest sister and her husband were expecting a little 'un. Well that little 'un made a sudden appearance late Wednesday night to everyone's surprise.

Meet Henry!

He was born 3.5 lbs at 29 weeks. Mama is doing well and has been discharged, while Henry is in good hands at the NICU. He's getting lots of "kangaroo care" (having skin to skin contact for an hour at a time) and has both sets of grandparents visiting this weekend, plus lots of love from Maine radiating his way.

I am so excited to be the wicked cool auntie who plays fun games when Henry visits like "Shovel All the Poop" and "Run Around and Eat Sugar Til You Go Home"!


In less exciting news, winter is officially here. One upside is that I decided to move Harlan to a local barn with an indoor riding arena. Not only will I have a nice dry place to work with him, but I won't have to do winter chores once boarder horse Zin also moves for the winter. And I'm taking lessons to work on my riding, Harlan's training, and our partnership so (knock on wood) I won't hit the ground so much next spring.

School is winding down; just one last week of classes then finals week.  Classes have been SO BORING, and next semester won't be any different. I'm holding out though til next fall when I'll take more interesting, vet tech-specific courses.

Between work, school, and going out to the new barn, I don't have much free time. When I do, I spend it with the dogs and cats chillaxing and binging on Netflix. I'm so cool.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Puppy Love

I saw this video on Facebook....watch it if you have a few minutes and want to have your heart warmed.

The video recap is that a wonderful man went to the shelter and adopted a poor little beagle who sat in the corner and refused to look at him. He brought her home to be with his other rescue beagle, and it was instant love. Weezie showed Noodles the ropes of life and helped bring her out of her shell.

Finch did exactly the same for Hobbes.

After my then-boyfriend's dog passed away, we kept an eye out for dogs that needed a new home. I found a 3-year-old really cool-looking brindle pit mix on Craigslist and messaged his owner.

She was rehoming Dakota because he was scared of her young baby, especially when the baby was in that rolling chair thingy.

Dakota had been rehomed 3 times and been returned 3 times. One home didn't want to crate him and found out the hard way that he was a stress-chewer. In another home he was terrified of the father.

We decided to go meet him. We took Finch along because she doesn't always get along with other dogs and we wanted to see how they would get along.

It was instant love. Dakota really didn't interact too much with us but wrassled and wrestled and ran around with Finch. We decided to take him. And we renamed him Hobbes (bet you didn't see that coming!)

We didn't realize how sensitive, nervous, and scared Hobbes was. Any sudden movement and he cringed or darted away. If we raised our voices he would flinch and look like we were about to beat him.

Hobbes' first night home
But he looooooooooved Finch. They would play and play and play and then collapse together.

Finch was the brave and adventurous one. Through her and her excessive amount of confidence, Hobbes began to realize that life was actually pretty great.  He started to flinch less and less. He was always very sweet, but his behavior became less like a kicked-puppy-begging-for-love and more like a happy dog being happy.

When I compare his behavior today to when he first came home, I can't believe how far he has come. I know he had a good life with his previous owner but he really needed a dog like Finch to find his own confidence.

He is still nervous in new situations and with men, but as long as Finch is there to lead the charge he's not far behind.  They still play and play and play, as anyone who has been to the farm can attest.

'Twas a match made in heaven for these two yahoos.

Hobbes + Finch = <3 4EVA

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Chicken Check-In

I don't talk about them much, but the four girls are still going strong!  Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn, Edith, and the Pheasant Sisters (Lottie and Dottie) are free-rangin' around the farm. They spend their days picking up dropped grain from the horses as it hits the ground, digging dirt baths in the summer, and always sneaking into the grain room if I turn my back. They sleep in their coop; they are free to come and go 24/7.

Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn in front,  directly behind her is Edith,
and the Pheasant Sisters are the two on the left and in the way back.
Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn is very bold and not afraid of people, although not exactly friendly.

Edith is her sidekick and the broody one...she's more skittish.

The Pheasant Sisters want nothing to do with humans and are very fast runners.  They get panicked easily and squawk up a fury. They are never far apart.

All of them co-exist very peacefully with the dogs and cats. Finch will occasionally try to chase one if it's already running, but they usually just stop and look at her until she veers away.

I was getting 4 eggs a day (I ate a lot of egg salad), but the girls quickly caught on and moved their communal nest. For a while it stayed in the barn...in one stall, then the next, under the stairs, behind the hay...but now I can't find it.

I went to look in the coop tonight to see if they started laying back in there (nope) and saw that there were only 3 sleeping chickens. Edith was nowhere to be seen.

I figured she was either brooding on the nest in a mystery location or that something had gotten her. Hoping that it was the first, I grabbed a flashlight and started prowling around checking the likely places. It doesn't help that Edith is juuuuuust the right color combination of grey and brown that she blends in with everything.

I had given up and thought glumly that she had been eaten by something, so I went to close the screen door on the coop...I don't normally shut them in but I figured if a chicken-killer was around that I'd feel better if they were safely inside.

I happened to glance up at the top of the door because I couldn't remember how I had latched it open.  Then I shrieked and leapt backward.

Hello Clarisse...
I never did find the nest.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tanner's New Digs

Blonde Bomber Acres got a little less blonde this past weekend; on Sunday I took Tanner to his new lease home.

When I decided it was time to retire him, I focused most of my energy on Harlan and getting him in shape and ready for MMSAR (and figuring out why he was misbehaving undersaddle). Then I started school and I had even less energy and time for Tanner, which made me feel super guilty. I knew he deserved more and that he was too good of a horse to not be shared with someone else.

While I would have loved to keep him here and have someone come to ride and love on him, I live in the boonies and don't know anyone nearby who would want to do that.  So I posted on Facebook hoping a friend or friend of a friend would be interested. When no one stepped forward, I shrugged my shoulders and figured someone would come along in due course.

And someone did! A woman named Brittany posted an "In Search Of" ad in one of the horsey Facebook groups I'm part of, looking for a beginner safe horse to keep her docile quarter horse company, give occasional pony rides, and take her fiance on trail rides. I sent her a message and told her what I was looking for in regards to Tanner, we talked, and we figured it was a pretty good match.

It turned out to be a perfect match.

Brittany brought her QH, Zip, home for the first time ever on Sunday, about 45 minutes before Tanner and I arrived. Zip had been running around and around during that 45 minutes, but as soon as Tanner got off the trailer Zip became completely calm, like he had just been waiting for Tanner and now that he was here Zip could relax. For his part, Tanner gave everything a calm look-over, and then placidly ate grass while Brittany and I talked.

We then put Tanner in with Zip and backed away, waiting for the squealing and kicking to commence. Only it never did...Tanner found a new patch of grass to eat and Zip followed suit. Tanner would wander to a tastier-looking patch of grass and Zip would follow.  Zip would go look at something in the opposite corner and Tanner would follow.

No squealing, no sniffing each other's butts, nothing.

These two seem to be made for each other. They are both older, mellow, doofy QHs who are pigeon-toed and creaky.

So while I cried on the way there, double- and triple-guessed my decision, and concocted reasons to back out in my head, I really couldn't have found a better situation for Tanner.  It was actually surprisingly easy to leave him there.

He's getting love and attention every day, if I want to go see him he's only a couple of hours away, and when I have more time for him or magically find a significant other who wants to ride, he'll come back home.

But for now, he's in great hands and great company.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Camping, Riding, Old Friends, New Friends, and Massholes

Last weekend the pups, Harlan, and I headed down to Myles Standish State Forest in Massachusetts for a weekend of fun with my SAR friend Tammy and her friend Ardys.

Home sweet home for the weekend!

We went for a lovely 3 mile ride Friday evening with the dogs tagging along. The trails were beautiful and gloriously empty. I was glad I had the dogs with me in the tent that night because brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...it was around 45*.

Saturday quickly warmed up though, and the entire park was aflutter with activity. We planned our ride and I tied the dogs with cables to a tree in the shade and told them to stay.

Finch studying the trail map.

We had to ride past a triathlon to get to the trails. The trails were pretty nice but it was really really hot and a lot of the trails were unshaded. We did find a nice pond to splash around in though! And Harlan was a superstar.

At about mile 8 or 9, my phone rang. I didn't recognize the number so ignored it. But it niggled at me so I googled the number and it was Myles Standish State Forest. Shit. I called them back.

"Hi, do you have a pitbull?"

"....yes." Goddammit. I knew the park rules said you can't leave your dogs alone. I should've put them in the horse trailer.

"Your dog escaped and is with a ranger, we'll meet you at your campsite." Did Hobbes escape? That would be weird, but if Finch escaped and was still loose, maybe Hobbes chewed through his collar and bolted too...oh god, Finch could be anywhere!

"Okay, be right there."

"Be right there" turned into another hour as we were still 2-3 miles out. We passed a ranger on the way who said "You going to pick up that little blue eyed dog? She sure is cute." Okay phew, it was just Finch that escaped, and she charmed the rangers so hopefully they won't be too mean to me.

I rode up to my campsite and found a forest ranger sitting on the ground with Finch in his lap and Hobbes on his back getting pettin's. I shamefacedly dismounted and apologized to the ranger.

"Oh it's okay! She chewed right through her harness. But she's been with me since 11:30 [it was 2:30 at this time]...some folks at the triathlon found her and put a harness and leash on her. I happened to walk by and they turned her over to me. We walked through the triathlon for a while to see if anyone recognized her; people kept saying 'I didn't know the forest rangers had a K9 unit!'

'Then I put her in my truck and we drove around all the campsites...she didn't seem to react at anything, so I put her up in my lap and we drove through again, and she went crazy at your campsite. I called headquarters to verify that site C36 had two dogs since I could only see one dog. When they verified, I approached Hobbes...he was wrapped around a tree several times and couldn't reach the water, but he was growling at me and wouldn't come near, so I sat down and played with Finch until Hobbes warmed up to me."

Picture Finch's face photoshopped in.
At this point I'm feeling like a terrible pet owner and person...someone could've picked up Finch and decided they liked her so much that they just took her. Or she could've been hit by a car. And poor Hobbes couldn't reach the water. And I wasted all that time of the ranger's.

But that ranger was so damn nice. He reassured me it was no problem and just gave me a gentle reminder not to leave the dogs alone.

So basically Finch had a Baby's Day Out-style adventure. She got lots of attention and got to ride around in a ranger's truck.

Tammy's mom and aunt came to have dinner with us and then my lovely college roommate Annie came with her boyfriend Greg and mutt Murray to camp out overnight.

After a leisurely breakfast and catching up, we all headed our separate ways. Annie, Greg, and Murray were going hiking, Tammy and Ardys were going home, and I was headed to my friend's barn in Townsend, MA.

Except none of us got very far. I was the first to leave and headed out of the campground only to be foiled by cones across the road. It was apparently day 2 of the triathlon thingy...I got out of the truck and asked the volunteers if the road was closed.


"Uhhh...till when?"

"Probably after 2 o clock."

"This is the only way out..."

"Sorry. You can try turning around and going the wrong way down the one-way road."


I backed up my truck and trailer about half a mile to reach an area I could do a 3-point turn in and went the other way. I passed by the campsite just as Tammy and Ardys were leaving so I told them what was going on. They followed me as we went the wrong way down the road, until we were stopped by another set of cones.

This time there was an angry park employee who proceeded to yell at me for going the wrong way. I (mostly) calmly explained that I had gone the other way and it was blocked off, and they had told me to come this way.

"Well you shouldn't have listened to them! You should NOT have come down the wrong way!"

"Okay, but they told me to..."

"Well you shouldn't have listened! You should've called the park! You will have to back up and turn around again! There is NO WAY you are coming through here!"

He sped off in his truck to presumably yell at the volunteers to let me through and I turned the rig around yet again. Tammy however has a huge 3-horse trailer that wasn't going to be turned around in that small space. She called headquarters who sent an escort for her.

I was already turned around so I followed the d-bag park employee and passed Annie and Greg on the way, who turned around and followed me. The volunteers moved the cones and waved us on...into two-way bike traffic. There were hundreds of bikers, no exaggeration.

It took me an hour to get out of the park. The bike race was occurring on the main road for multiple miles. Sometimes I could go around them, sometimes I had to just go slow behind them to avoid wiping anybody out with my trailer. This did not make the bikers very happy; I got lots of insults hurled at me. I just wanted to leeeeeeave! They hurt my widdle feewings. :(

But I finally got out of the park (after a final "You suck!!!" thrown at me by a passing biker) and headed to my friend Amanda's barn. I connected with Amanda online when she posted her blog link in a Facebook group we were both part of, I stalked it, and realized that Amanda had been the one who had looked at Harlan right before I did. Small world. We became very good friends, and this was our first time meeting "in real life." It was more like a reunion than a meeting though!

I unloaded Harlan (who gave me a look like "Really? It's a million degrees out and I want to go home.") and we went for a short and delightful trail ride. I loaded Harlan back up, and home we went.

Very long story short: I had a nice time with new friends, I got to catch up with Annie and meet her boyfriend, and I got to meet Amanda finally! And a park employee made me mad and some Masshole bikers hurt my feelings. But we're focusing on the positive!

Bonus pics: This is what Harlan did when I went to get him from the pasture Friday to head to Massachusetts.

Can't see him? That's because he ran off and hid behind the trees.

"You can't seeee meeeeee!"

Monday, September 15, 2014

Insider's Look: MMSAR - Mounted Training

This past weekend I loaded Harlan onto the trailer and headed up to Corinth for an overnight training with 6 other Maine Mounted Search and Rescue unit members.  MMSAR president Sharon kindly hosted us and our four legged partners, letting us set up little pens for the horses and opening her home to the humans.

We had a brief teleconference with the southern members who had their own training last month, and then we had a great GPS training with Bryan, the education director for the Maine Association for Search and Rescue.

After some on-foot GPS practice, we saddled up and split into two teams for mock searches. Sharon's husband John and his friend Alan were amiable victims and hiked off into the woods for us to find. I was with Nancy and her 28 year old appaloosa mare Lacey, and Dolly and her 21 year old paint mare Scarlett while Melissa and her 17 year old Tennessee walker mare Peekaboo acted as command post/observer. Harlan was the youngster of the group at "only" 12 years old, and a popular dude with all the ladies!

Tammy/Sugar, me/Harlan, Nancy/Lacey, Dolly/Scarlett, Shirley/Spice, Sharon/Zephyr, Melissa/Peekaboo
Our first scenario was a 42 YOM (year old male) who was LSA (last seen at) 0900 when he headed out to the woods on foot to scout deer stand locations. He was wearing camo pants, a grey sweatshirt, and possibly a hat; 6'4 and 180 lbs. PLS (point last seen) was on a particular trail. We were given a specific area to search, located it on our maps and GPS, and headed out.

Shirley on the other team administers first aid to John.
Dolly took the left as her search area, Nancy took the right, and I had the center and up in the trees. Pretty soon Nancy spotted the vic (victim) sprawled over a downed tree near a tree stand. We dismounted, tied the good ponies to trees, grabbed a first aid kit, and approached the vic. After a little bit of confusion, Dolly took the lead in medical with Nancy assisting and I communicated with command post (Melissa) by radio. Vic was unconscious with no obvious bleeding but suspected head/neck/spinal injury so Dolly established an airway and held his head still while we waited for the wardens/EMS to take over.

John was a very realistic victim with his leg bent at a weird angle until he started giggling as we approached.

The second scenario was a 46 YOM, 5'8 155 lbs, LSA 0900 when he went to the stream for fishing.  This time I found the vic, laying face down at the edge of the stream. He had significant bleeding on his head and leg (signified by red duct tape wrapped around said body parts) and was conscious but delirious. No spinal injury was suspected so we removed the log trapping his leg and repositioned his head so it was no longer laying downhill.

The mock searches were really interesting. Nancy is a very experienced searcher and Dolly has combat medical experience so it was very educational to ride along with them.  Harlan was very well-behaved except for a minor meltdown when Melissa and Peekaboo temporarily left the group (they're good buddies apparently).

After a debriefing and late dinner, I was very happy to conk out on a futon.

Day 2 started with breakfast and watching a video on mounted self-defense. Through the video we learned of a variety of tricks and maneuvers to use if someone was attempting to unseat us.

I was nervous from the get-go for hands-on training. I still haven't recovered mentally (or physically for that matter) from falling off in July. It didn't help that all the horses were antsy and fidgeting because of the cold weather and brisk wind.  Harlan was particularly sensitive that day; any leg pressure and he humped up and shot forward. One of the tricks from the video is to "wake up your horse" and get them ready for an attack -- no need to do that with Harlan Pepper!

John was once again a good-natured participant, this time as an assailant. First we practiced on the ground, using the horse as a barrier between us and John.

Then it was onto mounted self-defense training. The first exercise was pretty easy; loudly and assertively telling John to stop, back up, this horse bites!

The second exercise is called "the spin." If the assailant tries to grab on to you or the saddle, you spin the horse away so that the horse's hip pushes the assailant away. We first did it with John at a distance, then with him close up.  Harlan was very on-edge so John first gave him a cookie to bribe him, and then you can see how the maneuver works.

After Harlan doing that so well, I called it quits for most of the other exercises and just watched everyone else while Harlan practiced standing patiently. For those comfortable with it, John actually grabbed onto the rider or saddle and applied weight for the horses to try to spin off.  

The other major maneuver is called "going on a date." You trap the assailant's hand against the saddle or horse and ask the horse to move forward, picking up speed and then flinging the assailant's hand away. If the assailant hasn't fallen over already, this will make him lose his balance for sure.  For John's safety, it was practiced just at a walk.

I did participate in one more exercise, where the assailant takes your foot out of the stirrup and tries to pull you off the horse. You sink your butt into the saddle which then adds in the horse's weight for the assailant to pull. Harlan did really well for that too.

We then paired off and headed off onto a trail loop where John and his martial arts master Mike stationed themselves to "attack" us on the trail.  Riders could do whatever maneuver they wanted; Harlan was throwing a tantrum because he was separated from Peekaboo so I just did the verbal "STOP! BACK UP! HE BITES!" and the spin at a distance.

And then the training was over. We untacked, packed stuff away, ate lunch, and dispersed to our various homes. I left my trailer at Sharon and John's; John is a mechanic and is giving my trailer a look over as maintenance.  

Which meant Harlan went home with his girlfriend Peekaboo where he will stay until this coming weekend when I pick up the trailer. Like any kid at sleepaway camp, he has to have an adjustment period. Peekaboo decided that she needed to protect "her" herd (of Freya, a quarter horse mare, and Spud, a sassy pony) from him despite Harlan being in a separate pasture, which left Harlan feeling rejected and lost.  He broke through a gate when the other three pretended they were wild mustangs and were running around like crazy horses.

Here is his first Letter from Camp:

Dear Mom,

I was a good boy and stayed put last night, that fence is bitey! And it's COLD here!! I was shivering this morning so Aunt Melissa gave me a little grain. I almost stepped on her foot while she was bringing it out, she called me a big galloot but I just looked at her with my baby blues and she smiled and gave me a pat and put my grain down.

I did get excited when the girls ran up the hill but I settled down when I remembered that I had Spud for company, even though he's still giving me the stink eye some.  I have lots of grass to pick at in the barn yard so I'll try to be a good boy today.


I am tired but it was a really educational weekend and I'm proud of how well Harlan did even though I was incredibly nervous and wound up on the second day.  As an inexperienced unit member, it was so helpful to have practice as well as the opportunity to observe more experienced searchers in a low pressure situation.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Last Days of Summer

Last week I started classes in the vet tech program! Sort of. The first is physics (which is a pre-requisite for vet school if I choose that path) and it was excruciatingly boring.  The second is mammalian anatomy and physiology; I was very apprehensive about it.

Human anatomy in my first round of college was THE WORST class ever. It was entirely separate from human physiology, a class that I actually enjoyed. Anatomy was a whole different animal; the professor was proud of the fact that he had a high fail rate. It was a cadaver lab class which didn't bother me, I found it fascinating. But I failed the first lab quiz because I didn't put whether a marked structure was found on the left or right side of the body.

But mammalian anatomy and physiology looks like it will be much much more interesting. I mean, I get to doodle animals in my notebook!

I have another online class about addiction that I haven't started yet, but hopefully it will be interesting. 

My ribs are on the mend -- I really only notice that it hurts when I bend weirdly or breathe really deeply. So I went on a ride yesterday with a couple friends that was actually an 8 mile scavenger hunt. There is a local trail riding club that puts it on annually; they give you clues and send you off on a trail. There were 10 stations where we had to look for whatever the clue meant.

By about the 8th station my ribs were protesting the getting off and getting back on. But today they are fine, so they are healing!

It was a LOVELY day. Back at home, Harlan immediately rolled in the pasture.

Zin decided that looked pretty nice.

Tanner was just enjoying the sunshine.

Harlan made some puuuurdy faces.

Here's hoping we have many more lovely days this fall!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bigger and Better Things

You guys remember Cooper? Recap here, here, and here. Cooper was Blonde Bomber Acres' black lab version of Tanner; an easygoing, slowpokey, nothing-fazes-him kinda guy. He was the ultimate western trail horse but it took him a little bit to find his person.

Now known as Cole, he is tearing up the show scene with his owner Deno! He is no one trick pony, folks. He and Deno are competing in halter, dressage, equitation, western pleasure, and have even been in parades.

I was really hoping to make it to their last show of the season on Saturday but unfortunately wasn't able to.  Seeing the pictures is super heartwarming though, I am SO GLAD that he ended up with Deno. It warms the cochles of my heart.

The following pictures are from Saturday's show, and are courtesy of the Sebasticook Riding Club.

Congrats, Deno and Cole!! I am so happy for both of you.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Checking In

Life has been relatively boring lately, but is about to get pretty interesting.

I broke a rib during my flying from the saddle event so I've been laying low. I managed to go two whole weeks without riding before I just had to play hooky from work and jump on Harlan.

I mean, how could I not?
I did pay for that rib-wise though, as well as for hauling hay bales and bags of grain. Two steps forward one step back in the healing process. I have at least progressed to the point of only needing 3 ibuprofens at night, instead of eating them like candy throughout the day.

However, some good things are happening as well! Blonde Bomber Acres got a new member recently, a boarder horse named Zin. Zin is an Arab cross gelding and almost pony-sized; he reminds me a lot of my first horse, a Morab named Marmar.

He is owned by the other Kelsey (KR) so hopefully we will have some great riding adventures this fall.

Madazin, also known as Zin.

Me and my first horse Marmar, in 1999.
And beginning Sept 2, I am cutting back my work hours to half time and am starting classes in the vet tech program! Woo!

Oh, and to show that I have no life, I have created this Tumblr based on email spam.