Spring rambling

We’re back in a period of absolutely beautiful weather here, and I’ve had two more lovely rides. A few thoughts:

I love that pommel bag. I’ve started carrying water for the dog in one bag and the camera in the other bag. And I figured out a clever way to strap the GPS on the pommel with some carabiners and the bag straps! Carabiners are just as important as vet wrap and duct tape, and they don’t get enough credit, IMO.

I think the boots are working out ok. She seems to move ok in them – up and down hills like a mountain goat, and she can canter in them. I made sure the pastern straps were way looser today and didn’t have any rubs.

I’ve been looking through the USGS maps, and I have some names for places. Today we went up in the Coyote Hills. Here’s a view back over the lake toward Peavine:
More Peavine

This picture from over the weekend is of the Petersen Range. It’s just west of Red Rock Road, right on the CA state line Apparently the easiest way to get there is from Hallelujah Junction, California, and you can dig for opals and smoky quartz. Cool, huh?
Petersen Range

I’ve been taking pictures of the wildflowers, too. It’s amazing how the greeny-grey boring sagebrushy desert has exploded in blooms of different sizes and colors. I’m going to keep adding to the set – there’s a blood-red shrub I haven’t snapped a picture of yet, and a bright purply-pink flower with blooms the size of pencil erasers.

Still haven’t remembered to work on the trot-out. Oh well.

Fly mask fitting

Here’s some goofy pictures of Dixie modeling her Cashel long-nose fly mask, which took the slow boat from the East Coast.

I got an awful lot of these:
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because she’s sure the phone is actually food. I did manage to outrun her enough to get a few full-horse shots.
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I have no idea what to look for. I mean, her ears go in it, the velcro fastens around her jaw, and it’s not poking her eyes as far as I can tell. That’s all there is to it, right? (I know her forelock’s supposed to come through the slit between the ears, but I didn’t feel like fussing with it for a 5 minute fitting.)

Here is a bonus shot of Dixie’s pet goat. She just loves this little dude. He eats with her, plays with her, even climbs on her when she’s trying to nap. I have seen the hoofprints on her back!

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That horse is the weirdest damn creature I’ve ever owned.

Snow far behind

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT

I just wrote a huge post and Blogger ate the whole damn thing and it’s my fault for not saving it to the clipboard before I clicked submit. I am just furious. Here is version 2, which is not as awesome as version 1 was.

I’m way behind on reading yall’s blogs. Sorry. :(

I think Dixie’s in good enough shape to do 2 LDs in mid-June, so I’ve been riding to have fun and to test out gear, not to get miles or increase fitness. Saturday I rode with all four Renegades, and today I rode with the new crupper. Here’s Saturday’s ride:

I think Dixie looks awesome right now! Great weight, great muscling – she’s totally ripped for a TWH. And look at all that amazing mane!
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I put all four boots on.
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I think maybe the pastern straps were too tight. When I took the boots off two hours later, she had some warm pink spots on her heel bulbs where it looked like the hair was worn, and I’m pretty sure it would’ve turned into rubs. Renegade people, any advice? Here’s the front and back pictures, if they help.

We rode up in the hills toward Antelope Valley, and I got this cool picture of the storm moving down on Reno.
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Cersei hung in there with us.
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Dixie met some burros. The word burro always makes me think of burrow owls, which makes me think of that Dead Milkmen song. (Warning! It’s offensive. And weird. And funny.) Anyway, Miss Hateful didn’t pin her ears or squeal or kick or bite the fence – she loved them, even though they didn’t live in a hole in the ground. It was totally adorable.
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After I pried Dixie away from the burrow owls I turned on the video camera and cantered on home. Warning! No matter how smooth you think the canter really is, it makes for a very seasick video. Still, it was totally cool that I could do such a thing.

Right as we got back in the neighborhood, it started snowing again. My husband edited this and subtitled it – thanks, sweetie!

Snowy Summer from Funder on Vimeo.

The day was actually really pleasant. It was cold when a cloud was blocking the sun, and pleasantly warm the rest of the time. Just weird Nevada summer snow. I’m not complaining :)

I’ll put up today’s ride tomorrow. And read some blogs!

Vendor reviews

Here’s a tale of two vendors for you. One I already loved and will definitely order from again, and one I used out of convenience and probably won’t use again.

My pretty princess pony has a very white nose, and it gets fiercely sunburned in the summer if she’s not stalled. The first summer I had Dixie, she was in horse heaven – a 40 acre pasture – and it just burned. Last year, in Ohio, she was in a stall and the BO would (sometimes) smear sunblock on her nose when she turned her out. This year, I am trying a long nose fly mask. I’d looked around for a while but just hadn’t gotten around to ordering one when I bought that damn trailer and joined USRider, and USRider gave me a $10 gift cert to Dover as part of my membership package. See? Procrastination pays off!

So the Sunday before last, May 9th, I ordered a long nose Cashel fly mask from Dover. The cheap $10 shipping and the $10 GC cancelled each other out, so I ended up paying $27.85 for a fly mask. The package didn’t even ship til Wednesday, May 12, and it shipped FedEx SmartPost. IME, SmartPost is a horrible way to ship and takes way longer than USPS mail.

One week later, on Sunday May 16th, I ordered the crupper and a pommel pack from Griffin’s Tack. I had to call to read Henry my CCV number from the back of the card, and he mumbled something about “Tuesday.” I thought he said “You should get it by Tuesday” but that couldn’t possibly be right – I mean, he’s only 50 miles from me, but still! Nothing orders, packs, ships, and arrives that fast. Anyway, I paid $12 for that shipping.

Tuesday the package from Henry Griffin arrived. Via US mail. Less than 48 hours after I ordered it. Today, Wednesday, the package from Dover arrived, via FedEx, all of ten frakkin days after I ordered.

I’m not sure whether I’m more disgusted with Dover/Fedex or happy with Griffin’s/USPS, but I know where I prefer to spend my money now.

I’ll review all the stuff properly once it gets applied to the model horse, but for now I think I’m happy with everything I bought. The fly mask looks comfortable? I guess? I don’t know much about these things, and smart money says Dixie destroys it. The crupper has stiff wire in the tail loop, for flexibility, and it’s ~C’s shade of blue. (Sorry C!) And the pommel bag looks like it should attach ok, the zippers look indestructible, the workmanship is fantastic, and it’s a fantastic royal purple.

Crupp’d

I rode my horse downhill at a pace with a crupper on and did not die! I didn’t even have to walk home. She gave one tiny hop when she felt it activate, then just gave me the “quizzical ear” – where the horse swivels one ear completely back at the human like “Are you sure about this?”

It was a really beautiful day to ride in Hungry Valley. Dixie and I never quite clicked, and the whole ride felt like a slog for both of us, but we got the miles (that I think) we needed. My whole face is sunburned, and my knees feel like bone is grating on bone, but I’m very happy anyway. Here’s the ride.

We rode out down Chickadee, into HV, and up to the (slowly drying up and turning green) stock tank. I knew she wouldn’t want the water, but I made her sniff it to acknowledge it, then we moved on up the valley. We went past the mini RC airport, where somebody was flying a super cute radio warplane. It sounded like a very angry hornet. We went a long way north, past the Indian community, to a manmade pond, then turned around. We went back to the stock tank, where I hopped off and snapped the crupper on.

I tugged at it and she didn’t buck, so I got on and we walked off. I asked for a trot and she didn’t buck, so I asked for a canter and she didn’t buck, so away we went! We headed up into the hills – had to navigate past some very polite ATV people – then finally crested a little rise and started downhill.

The saddle slipped a skosh forward. Nothing.

The saddle tried to slip forward again. The crupper held it in place. Dixie picked both rear feet up an inch off the ground at the same time, then kept pacing forward. She gave me the WTF ear and kept on rolling downhill like a pro. Hey ~C, I ordered my very own crupper from Henry tonight, so I’ll get yours back to you … soon? Maybe Friday?

Man, I love that horse. She spent all day being reluctant and annoying and throwing weird not-a-gaits at me, but strap some nylon under her tail and she’s all “whatever” about it. And headed out, we trotted on a gravel road like it weren’t no thang!

I have been dithering all day and I think I will send in my entry for the 2 days of 25s at Cooley Ranch. I bet she could do a 50, but I don’t think 2 days of 50s is a smart plan at all. I think my horse will be better off if I spend twice as much and enter her in two LDs. And if the entries are closed… it’s not meant to be. But I’m dropping the entry in the mail in the morning!