Freedom and fall and more PICTURES

One of the blogs I really like is Mugwump Chronicles. She posted about kids and horses the other day. I don’t have kids, and wasn’t lucky enough to have a horse when I was a kid, so I don’t have much to say about the main point of the post. But I have been thinking about this quote for a couple days:

The biggest gift I wanted my daughter to get from horses is the sense of power and control they give. Young girls don’t feel in control of their lives much.

I know what she’s saying, and I don’t entirely disagree, but the thing that I love about horses is the sense of freedom. Really, the thrill of getting a horse to do what I say isn’t the exciting part. It’s the sense of riding away from everything, being free as a bird or a spirit of the wind or a woodland elf or something.

ANYWAY. Pictures! Of horses, and Mississippi on the cusp of November. It was downright cold earlier this week – we had FROST on the morning of my birthday – but it’s warmed back up nicely. It was 72 at 4 pm when I went out.

I like this weird washed-out picture of Champ. I was sitting in my truck (wearing a red shirt, you can see it in his eyeball and reflected off his cheek) and he was sure I had more treats somewhere.
Champ

Champ got bored and Dixie came up. Champ stalked off and Dixie cautiously came up to beg.
Dixie

This is her “good” eye. I really think she looks crazier from her off side, with all the white, so I call her near side her good normal sensible side.
Dixie's sensible side

Here’s the “crazy” side. She always looks like she’s about to jump out of her skin. I love her dark eyeliner and frosted eyelashes, and her half medicine hat, and the way you can see she’s a bay roan paint. But mainly I love her brown eye. I don’t know if I’ve told yall this, but blue-eyed horses FREAK ME OUT. I would not have bought her if she had a blue eye cause they just give me the willies. It’s bizarre, I know!
Dixie's crazy side

Here’s some pictures of green trees for Sara. :) The reddish ones are sweetgums, they’re the only local trees that turn red. Most of the rest you see are just scrubby baby elms, which are worthless trees because that Dutch Elm Disease will kill them about the time they get tree-sized.
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This is a sycamore, I’m pretty sure. They turn a pretty yellow in the fall. Look at how the plague of locusts, err, horses destroyed the grass!
Halloween in Mississippi

But the barn owners bring hay now. There’s two hay rings, so they drop off two or three rolls every …? couple of days? Week? They drop hay about like I would – wait til the horses eat almost all the hay, then wait one more day because there’s always some scraps left, then deliver some more. We get a hay surcharge on our bills based on the number of rolls that month and the number of horses each person owns.
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I didn’t take boring body shots, but all three horses are looking great. Champ isn’t ribby, Dixie looks fine, and Silky is pleasantly plump. Silky sounded really snotty today, though, which makes me a little worried.

And I dewormed everybody with ivermectin. I know, I used ivermectin last time, but I sure do have a lot of it and I’m hoping I timed it right to nuke the botfly larvae.

Epic truck fail narrowly averted

It was a pretty day today (high in the low 70s, nyah to the rest of yall) so I decided to change my oil. Yesterday I’d found a good deal at Autozone for Quaker State and a Bosch filter for $12.99, which is not bad! So I crawled under the truck and got the pan drained, the filter off, the plug back in tight and the new filter on tight. Dumped in 5 quarts of oil, put the cap back on, and started the truck up.

I waited for the stereo to come to life, then hit pause on it, because it seems like starting the truck back up requires gravity, not Bon Jovi. Then I stared at the panel, trying to decided if the oil gauge was like the battery gauge and snapped up immediately, or like the temperature gauge and gradually rose… no, I’m pretty sure it should be up by no- ABORT ABORT OH GOD SOMETHING’S WRONG!

I snapped the engine off, leapt out of the truck, and lunged around the front of the vehicle to watch my pretty golden Quaker State all oozing away across the parking lot. I stuck my head underneath – hrm looks like it all sprayed out of the oil filter wtf? – then sprinted upstairs to get the kitty litter.

It took me 50 lbs of litter – my entire backup stash – to mop up a gallon of oil. Then I hiked a couple hundred yards down the street to the gas station. They wanted $4.50 a QUART for oil so I kept walking to the Carquest next door. I picked up 5 quarts of no-name 5-30 for only $14.

I hiked back home and slid under the truck again. Wiped the filter down really good (I usually buy Frams for the nubby grippy stuff on the filter, but the Bosch deal was too good to pass up) and carefully took it off. When it came off, so did the old seal. Shit.

Well. I will NEVER forget to make sure I get the old filter AND SEAL off again. Ever. That one stupid little mistake cost me $13 for oil and filter, $25 for kitty litter, $14 for MORE oil, and god what if I’d sat staring at that gauge for another minute and wrecked the engine. :(

I put 4.5 quarts in – thinking, correctly, that ALL the old oil hadn’t spewed out – then stared at my truck for a very long time. I checked that everything was really on tight, bit my lip, and started it up.

You know what? The oil gauge DOES go up right away when you turn the engine on.

Ok picture time

So my (non-horsey) husband was in town over the weekend and I twisted his arm and made him come to my lesson and take pictures. Now I kinda wish I hadn’t. My god, my thighs are ENORMOUS. Eek.

Here’s the new crossties / tacking up area. Isn’t it pretty? And so organized? (No, it’s not usually this organized – they’d just moved everything over there.) And yep, I slung my saddle over the wall instead of using the saddle stand, because I am a heathen who is not used to niceties such as saddle stands and I didn’t notice it. Sigh.

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Ok, I don’t know what is with the look on my face here. I must’ve been in the middle of saying something to Clipper. Anyway, Clipper isn’t actually pissed off, he’s just a lazy old horse. That position was just him stoppping as soon as he was halfway in the right spot in the crossties. He never moved a foot til I’d finished brushing and tacking up and unclipped him.

The spot on his left hind is an old healed scar.

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This is the best picture of us cause my legs don’t look too horrid here.

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The blue tights belong to the BO who was kind of teaching a double lesson. I am (obviously) still working on (fighting with) my legs, so she had me walk around and two-point at each light pole. It’s really hard for me to two-point at a walk, without that “push” from the trot, but it also kept me thinking about which muscles I was using to push up, what my torso was doing, where my calves were going, etc.

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I dunno. I am very tempted to say I shall never again let pictures of me riding be taken, but that’s counterproductive. Maybe I’ll make my husband come take pics like once a month so eventually I’ll see some improvement. I shudder to think how horrible I looked when I started!

I mean, really, WTF are my feet DOING here? And this was obviously one of the moments when I was not thinking about my torso. At least Clipper looks calm and bored, and I’m not snatching at his mouth.

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Ok, the BO was talking and demonstrating exactly which muscles I should’ve been using to rise out of the saddle with.

MY FEET WHAT FFFFFFFFF I am getting more and more bemused by this.

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ANYWAY. That’s me, on Clipper, trying to learn to ride. fffffffff!

I went by and paid my stall rent today. I requested a longe line lesson for Sunday – the BO agreed that it would probably be helpful. I think it really will – if I can stop worrying about telling the horse to move forward and turn and all that, I can get this figured out.

Happy birthday to me!

Yep, I am 31 today. Definitely old enough to know better. Think it’ll stop me? Naaaahhh…

I rode over the weekend – and my husband took PICTURES! – but I don’t feel like sorting through them and making a real post yet. Probably tomorrow. I went and visited my horses today, too – I didn’t actually ride, just loved on Champ and Silky and talked to Kelly while our dogs played. Then I came home and fixed a bizarre yet satisfying meal of bean tostadas, beer, and dark chocolate ganache. Now I’m going to check my horse blog friends and read a Dresden Files novel. Yay for peaceful birthdays.

Posted in me

I look like a skeet :(

I took off a little early today to get a ride in. Cersei is insufferable if she goes more than two days without serious exercise, but I was just too tired yesterday so she had to wait. Anyway, I zoomed home and grabbed Cersei, zoomed out to the field and grabbed Champ, and donned my new Anti-Deer-Hunter device.

See, I came down with a cold Sunday so I took off work Monday and laid around the house and slept a lot. I also went to the library and to Walmart, which is a major ordeal for me. I hate Walmart, on a bunch of different levels – (liberal) it’s destroying America and it’s a horrible place to work, (foodie) the “food” there is destroying our bodies, and (funder) I get lost and can’t find what I need. Anyway. So I had a cold and felt woozy and out of it and I *still* went to Wal Mart. I bought exactly what I intended to buy … plus a hunter orange baseball cap for $2.50. I have a hunter orange knit cap for when it’s cold, but people have been back in or near our trails target shooting a lot lately and I pity the fool who shoots me but doesn’t kill me.

So today was day one of “I am not a large deer.” We headed out, at a walk/trot, but then Champ acted like a retard and made me mad so we trotted more. Good news – knees on definitely feels more natural now, and I got a really nice rhythm where I felt like my torso was very centered.

Then the damn shooting started again. As soon as I’d started out – like, when I was untying the gate to get onto the trails – I’d noticed somebody had been back there. Very fresh tire tread prints. I assumed it was one of the guys who’d gone fishing, but when the shooting started I realized whoever it was was still back there. Champ thought we should run away, but I assumed it was Ross back there and we pressed on.

I made damn sure that the shooty noises weren’t “moving” and that I could hear where the shots started and stopped. My trail wasn’t taking me anywhere within the range of fire, and I DID have a lovely hunter orange cap on, so I rode on back. When I figured out where they were, I called Ross to ask if that was him back there. By the time I got him on the phone, I was within hailing distance so I hollered hello. Turns out it wasn’t Ross at all, it was three youngish rednecks dudes in camo skeet shooting over the lake. I rode up and said hi. We talked for a minute – they laughed and said my cap looked just like a skeet, and I laughed and said I was hoping that I didn’t look like a deer. Then Champ insisted we LEAVE so we left.

I know the barn owner’s gonna be like “Well why didn’t you tell them it was private property and that they needed to leave!” and you know what? Hell with that. I know our world is mostly civilized, and I wasn’t expecting they’d jump me or shoot me. But I sure wasn’t going to get near them, or get off my horse, or say anything remotely confrontational. Didn’t seem prudent.

ANYWAY. Then we trotted back home, and again, I felt really secure and comfortable posting. I’m gonna call the BO tomorrow and see if she’d padlock the gate to the back trails. I think most people are too lazy to climb the fence and WALK that far back.

Cersei is sacked out happy and tired. Mission accomplished.