Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hello? Anyone There?

Not that there's anybody still reading this blog, but....

I thought I'd post a (very overdue) update. Joey and I aren't doing so hot. :/ As of this minute I am confined to the couch on what is my first week of winter break from school. What a way to kick it off, after all I had planned -- with a terrible chest-cold. -.-
As a result of my busy schedule of the last few months (I have a real job now! and school. bleh.) Joey isn't feeling the love. He's been listless lately and not eating all of his food. He nickers when I come out to feed when I get the long-awaited chance; but that's all I have time for now, and I can tell it's taking its toll on him. It's really sad and makes me want to cry when I think about it.
Thus, I cannot bear to keep up with the blogs I used to love to read. At the same time that they give me my quick horse fix for when I can't hang with my boy, they only make the longing worse.
For some reason the other day, I threw an old Horse Illustrated magazine into my purse to skim through during my break at work a few days ago. It was when I was doing just that on my break when I realized why I had shoved all my horse books and such to the side: I long to jump again. I want to fly. I want again to work on training myself and horses to move fluidly around the ring together, striving to make it look effortless. I want it so badly to the point where it scares me sometimes. So I bury it, telling myself it was just a phase when I was 12...
So here I lie on the couch -- while my heart frolics in the front paddock with Joey, lifting his spirits as well as mine.
I thought I would watch my only horse training video -- the one with the trick riders and the barrel prospects. But I have torn my room apart looking for it. *sigh* So I blog, and whine to my fellow horse obssessors who may stumble across this pathetic post.
I bought two new Breyers today and they're gorgeous. I thought having a new horse to play with inside and drool over would help. Seems to only make things worse.
Houston, we have a problem. And after waiting with my parents for over 10 years for it to subside...I think it's time to accept it as more of a chronic condition.

Anybody wanna add their two-cents or advice for how to soothe the horse fever? I don't mind the chest-cold...but it's doubly hard when I have such an insatiable horse craving at the same time that I can't get off the couch.


Monday, August 12, 2013

What I've Been Up To and Gorgeous Horsey Photographs

Bad blogger! Baaaad blogger! >.<

Hello, once again, friends! So sorry for the delay. I've been. . .

. . .away at music camp. Man, what a blessing! I REALLY didn't want to go (went kicking and screaming, as it were); but God never fails to use those situations in my life to teach me some big stuff. I made some of the best friends ever and learned more than I expected there was to learn about being a vocalist (I now know the difference between sopranos and altos, and basses and tenors. :P ).

 My solo recital piece. :)
. . .finishing up preparations for college -- which starts next Monday (August 19). O.O In prep, I have received my very own laptop (touchscreen, too :P <--funny story. . .) as a graduation gift from Mom and Dad. Her name is Stella, and her favorite color is purple. ^.^
Me, Stella, LuLa, and demon-puppy-Lexi. :P
. . .playing a whole lota guitar. It's been way too hot this July/August to ride. *sad face* :( (of course, what summer isn't?) Poor Joey is sweating buckets of black sludge from 7:00 AM to 9 o'clock at night. I feel so terrible for him; especially because I'm such a weakling that I can't bear to go out and visit him very often.
That black log kinda off to the side is my other dog, Maggie. :P

Ok, one more quick thing before I sign off for now (and she did not ask me to do this ;) ):

My cousin, Erin Long, is just about as horse crazy as you can get. Which makes us the best of cousins (sometimes we wonder why we weren't born sisters?? o.0 ) Horses have been her hobby since we were leetle kids. (We kinda host a webpage together of anything and everything having to do with horses; still kinda new, but check it out: http://herdnerds.weebly.com/ ) She rides all the time; and we've both always been HUGE fans of Breyer horse models. But within recent years, she has been trying to make a name for herself in the artsy world of horses: she customizes Breyer models, sketches amazing equine artwork, and takes simply stunning photographs of everything and anything horsey (will give you a view into horse heaven down below)! In short: You NEED to check out her website. At least check it out, if not help her spread the word about her amazing talent. The best part is that all of the proceeds (outside of shipping and materials) go toward JustWorld International, a charity that aids children in third world countries through the equestrian world!
Here's the link to her studio site:  http://modestmarestudios.weebly.com/

And here's the link to her studio's facebook page; give her a like and stay that much more up-to-date on what she offers: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Modest-Mare-Studios/184302188413841?ref=hl

A lot of her photos are of her own horse Sid and his pasturemates.

I call it "Contentedness". :)
A photo she took of my Joey during our own personal photo shoot.
I've used it as a possible book cover idea. :D

One of her sketches.

Another sketch.

Her latest project (and my personal favorite so far): somewhat before. . .

. . .and somewhat after :P

You should really go check out her website. She has some really neat-o in-barn pictures that I simply adore (she's currently loading them onto her site, I do believe; if they're not there, I know they are already posted on Modest Mare Studio's facebook page).
I hope you have a wonderful day!



Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Liebster Award -- from Briana!

Ok, I have been nominated for this same award twice in the last month. I guess I was just too lazy to claim it the first time. :P So, after much thought and pondering, I have decided to accept the award both times (it’ll be fun!).
But I’m gonna tweak it: After every blog or blogger that I name, I’m gonna give a short bio about them or their blog; since the whole point of this award seems to be getting know lesser-known bloggers. J

HOW TO ACCEPT THE AWARD: The Liebster Blog Award is a way to recognize blogs who have less than 200 followers.  Liebster is a German word that means beloved and valued.  Here are the rules for accepting the award:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link back to their blog.
  2. List 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  4. Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate.
  5. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or fewer followers to nominate and include links to their blogs.
  6. Go to each blogger's page and let them know you have nominated them.
I was given my first Liebster Blog Award by Briana at Equestrian Diaries. Equestrian Diaries logs the adventures of a young college student who is studying to work in elementary education while maintaining a huge passion for horses. It’s a really fun blog – especially now that she’s entered the world of horse-ownership through the buying of River, a gorgeous grandson of Seattle Slew! So go on over and check it out; leave an encouraging word or some advice you have from your experience with horses. I know Briana would appreciate it all! 

11    random facts about me:

1.     Bratty teenagers quickly turn me into the Incredible Hulk.
2.     I will dream and philosophize all day if you let me (and if you do let me, you will not be able to snap me out of my trance for literally hours; my sister timed me once).
3.     I have lived in 7 houses and moved 9 times since I was born (and we’re about to make numbers 8 and 10, respectively!)
4.     I am working on building my collection of books of photography (books of photography, not about photography). I could lay out on the floor and flip through them all day. They never fail to send me to a world of wonderment and inspiration.
5.     Right now, I am buying/reading all the most recent memoirs and biographies about people and their horses so that I can better understand what’s selling and tweak my book to make it more appealing (sometimes I refer to it as cheating ;) ).
6.     I am very protective of my bed. Having six siblings (and sharing a room with another teenage girl) I generally have to share just about everything. I view my bed as my own personal space that I am not called upon to share (that often). I can get uptight if somebody sits on it without being invited.
7.     My tastes in everything are pretty broad; I couldn’t tell you about my favorite genre (of anything), color, flower, scent, etc.
8.     I love hats, and I collect them (even though I can pull off only a few styles).
9.     My “scent” (ya know, perfume and lotion and stuff) *is coconut-anything. (Mom recently got me some cherry blossom, and I am finding that I do really like that one, too.)
10.  I either imagine the majority of love songs are between a person and their horse, or I rewrite them to fit that way (I have whole movies in my head with complete soundtracks).
11.  Believe it or not (you probably won’t, it’s so ironic): The only Monopoly game I have never won is Horse-opoly. (All the other ones I win pretty consistently.)

My 11 questions from Briana were:
  1. When and why did you start riding? I first climbed on the back of a horse when I was between the ages of 8 and 10. I was taking English riding lessons while we lived in Florida. I don’t really remember the reason why except that that was when my horsenality exploded and was born after seeing “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimmaron.” I was just so in awe of these magnificent creatures. But the first time I rode a horse and really understood that I was riding was when I took lessons at a jumper barn for two years in California when I was 13.
  2. Have you ever taken any time away from riding? Why? Well, I had to stop riding after we moved from California because there was nowhere to ride here. But that was inevitable. If you’re asking have I ever deliberately taken time away from riding to do something else, then sure. I don’t ride on days when Joey lets me know that our relationship could use some cookies and hang out time instead (like when I’m at camp all summer). And I don’t ride on days when I feel really, really bad (but it normally takes a few up-chucks for me to get there).
  3. If you couldn’t ride, what would you do with your horse(s)? If I suddenly woke up this morning and learned that I would never ride again, Joey would stay with me. I would probably try to scout out somebody willing and special that I trusted to ride and work with him. But if he had to spend the rest of his days being a lawn ornament, then so be it; I highly doubt he would have any qualms about that. And besides, he’d get plenty of visitors when he becomes famous through our books. ;)
  4. Where have you lived during your life? Perfect! Since I told you how many times I’ve moved, and all. :P I was born in Washington (state), and then we moved to England. Since then, I’ve lived in Mississippi, Florida, and California. But we’re about to make our next move to Ohio!
  5. If you could travel to any place in the universe, where would you go? I do catch the whole “universe” bit here. But honestly, I’m content to view space from Google. I’m not quite that adventurous. One place I do so desperately want to see, though, is Africa! :D
  6. What horse (real or fictitious) has had a big influence on your horsey career? As much as I would like to say Jeanette Sassoon’s Valiant, the first horse that comes consistently to mind is the Black Stallion. As silly as it may sound, right after Joey went blind I didn’t know what I was going to do with him, or how I was going to handle him or even behave around him. But soon after the ordeal, I was watching the Black Stallion movie. And for some reason, Alec’s awesome beach ride on the Black reminded me that my horse was still a horse and still possessed all his former potential. Watching that amazing scene (and rewinding it a few times) gave me hope, and let me dream that Joey and I could still have that kind of a friendship. I am now less apt to shut down or give up on dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem. <3
  7. What is one big thing on your “bucket list”? To have some of my writings published and read; whether it’s the fictional or nonfictional.
  8. What are two goals you would like to achieve with your horse? (Jumping is still one buried deep in my heart.) To ride bareback and bridleless as effortlessly as Gandolph on Shadowfax; and trailering him out successfully to ride on a public trail.
  9. What is your horse’s favorite thing to do with you? I’m not really sure. I think it would be a draw between riding (he loves it when I climb aboard! ^.^ ) and just hanging out with a pile of hay (when I have to leave, he looks up sorrowfully over his shoulder and watches me until I’m back in the house; makes me feel so loved <3).
  10. Do you play a musical instrument? If not, what is one you’d like to play? I’ve been playing the piano since I was 10, yet I’ve only had a grand total of two years’ worth of lessons. I bought a pink guitar off of the interwebs in January of last year, got on YouTube, and have been jamming ever since. And most recently I have been spending a little time learning to play the Ukulele and the Mandolin. I will go ahead and name two instruments that I’ve always wanted to play, though: the violin and the banjo. It’s a draw between the two. J
  11. What is the most “spur of the moment” thing you have ever done? If we’re talking most crazy spur of the moment decision, then buying the horse I did not want tops it all, I’m pretty sure. Other than that, I’m not sure.

My 11 Questions for my Nominees:

1.     Who’s your favorite cartoon character and why?
2.     What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done (on horseback, if you have a horse)?
3.     What is the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn in life thus far?
4.     If you could have any super power, what would it be?
5.     What’s your favorite voice-accent?
6.     What’s your favorite scented candle?
7.     What was the last dream that you remember?
8.     What three songs would be on your life’s soundtrack? (They don’t have to be lyrical, either.)
9.     Choose: A rumbling summer storm, or a cozy fire by the hearth?
10.  Which question above was the most fun to answer?

I present the Liebster Blog Award to *drum roll, please* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .:
  1. Mare and Missy at Simply Horse Crazy! These girls are two peas in a pod. I’ve always been an admirer of Mare’s choice of design on their blog, as well – always so tastefully put together. If you enjoy colorful pictures and consistent posting of everyday life with a horse at a boarding stable, then you should definitely check these crazy girls out!
  2.  Karley and Henry at All In! Karley’s posts are consistent and full of information on training with Henry – it’s been so educational following her blog! Even on days when they’re not in the arena, Karley shares pictures of her beautiful chestnut goober-horse, and those are always so entertaining. ;)
  3.  Gingham and her three beautiful equine children at Pia & Prairie’s Parade! This is another blog that I thoroughly enjoy all the time. With Gingham’s great sense of humor, it’s entertaining as well as educational. I learn so much from her posts about training and showing! She recently added an older Trakhaner gelding to her brood. His name is Gus, and he seems to be really enjoying his new life with his new sisters. Check them out! You won’t regret it.
  4. Amy and the gang at A Work In Progress! Honestly, this has got to be one of the most fun blogs I have ever read! My mom is constantly telling me that that is exactly what I'm going to be like when I grow up. xD Whether she's taking her sainted mare Sugar out for a spin, creating memories with her kids, or critiquing Brenda Breyer in a model horse show, Amy's bound to have you chuckling by the end of her entry.
  5. Sarah at The Laird Family blog! This is one of the non-horsey blogs I follow, but I love it just the same. Sarah is a great friend of mine with a wonderful sense of humor and love for the Lord and her family. She's always posting fun tidbits from their humorously southern life! She's fairly new to the blogosphere, so drop on over and give her an encouraging word. You won't be sorry you made friends. :) 

I don't know that many blogs (and even then, it seems to be Liebster Award Week as most of the blogs I've been wanting to nominate get nominated by someone else by the time I get around to working on this post. -.- )
So I will nominate half of 11 here, and then do the other half in my next award.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little more about me. Now I'm off to snag my nominees before somebody else does.


PS: Since I copy/pasted this from a Word document, the colors are a bit funky. I apologize if it's throwing you off as much as it does me.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Babe, the Mustang Racehorse

Somebody I met at camp last week asked me for some advice/suggestions on how to get his new mustang mare to go forward without going 0 to 60 in 2.3 seconds. I thought I'd (b)log what I told him here in case anybody's ever interested, but mostly just so I could have some place to file it away. :)

"I don't know how you've been raised to think about horses or what theories you may have developed about how best to train and work with them. This is my opinion after all that I've seen and learned about horses, from horses so far. The biggest thing that I can tell you is that when I listened only to the human voices and advice, Joey and I were much more confused and frustrated. But when I would actually take the time to listen to the horse and open up my mind to what it could possibly be thinking about the situation, things became so much clearer and progress and success is usually inevitable. Like I said: this is my opinion; you can take it or leave it.

"It sounds like your mare could have people problems worse than her owners having horse problems.
I don't know how she handles on the ground. If she's wonderful and just lets you do anything and everything with her, then we won't have to start from square one. But if she's a little standoffish or wary of you then I would suggest that you spend as much time as possible just hanging out with her, letting her know that you're not the bad guy. I've found that horses are really just like everything else in life in that you get out of them what you put into them whether it's time, effort, or affection. I don't know if you'll be willing to spend time just hanging out with her, but I'm telling you what I've learned is that it helps a whole lot. We've got to take into consideration where she's been so far in her life. If it's been rough for her, either due to stupid people or her own nature, then you've got to set a different standard. You've got to help her realize that she can trust people, and she can trust you. I believe that gaining that trust is the first step to getting her to ride smoothly for you.

"Next I would say that you need to be able to bet your life on her brakes before you start working with the speed (even trying to downsize it). If the only speed she knows right now is full-speed, then logically you're gonna need some reliable brakes so you both don't get hurt like before. Since the only forward motion she seems to know is run, then let's try backing up. You can stop from back up, so let's give it a go. I just recently taught Joey how to back because he hated it and normally would only do it if I was super rough and loud with my cues; and even then, he was angry with me while doing it. I knew that wasn't right, so I tried to think how I could get him to be more supple and consistent. Guess what worked? I had to get supple and consistent in my cues. Horses can feel the slightest movement or touch. So we went back to the beginning, to the softest cue: I shifted my weight backwards in the saddle. At first, it was an obvious shift, just to let him know we'd changed our tune; but now I just have to think about shifting back, and he gets it. So I shift; then almost immediately on top of that cue, I pick up the reins ever so slightly (not pulling them back, just picking them up); and then almost immediately on top of that cue, I gently bump my legs in a steady rhythm against his sides while saying "back" or "back up" in the same voice. Everything has to be the same every time I do it; you'd be mighty surprised at how observant horses can be to detail. And I'll let you know that I'm somebody who is hard-wired to try the quick-fix system. But it is true what they say: practice makes perfect. And the more Joey and I work on backing, the better we are at literally backing up, or even just slowing down from a faster, forward gait. It really does pay to be soft and consistent. I've tried the harder, "more dominant" methods out there. But I've found that this works the best; and Joey and I are both having a ton of fun by the end of a ride that may have started out less than perfect.

"After you can rely on Babe to back up at the slightest pressure (and stop from that backing up and stand still), then I would begin slow work on getting her to move forward without becoming a frantic racehorse. Keep in mind that this may take quite a while to work through and get right for her. It may really depend on how much time (and affection) you put into her.
"Like I said: Joey used to be very much like your mare. It was either we stood still or we galloped around the paddock; there was no happy-medium. And since she responds so well to heavy pressure, this is where you'll really have to pay attention because we want her to respond to light pressure. We want her to respond to light pressure, because the slap with the reins seems to make her frantic and take off (at least that's what it did to Joey: it made him get super tense). I have a dressage whip that helps me in this department. But just a long-handled anything could work (preferably with something ticklish on the end). Again, I would start from the beginning with the softest cue: a squeeze or bump with my calves just behind the cinch. He didn't respond, so a squeeze with my calves and then a slight tickling or teeny-tiny tap with the whip. That would usually get him to wake up and pay attention. Maybe he wouldn't move off just yet; so I squeeze again, tap a little harder with the whip, and now he may be ready to jump out of the starting gate like he used to, but here is where I do something different: instead of tensing up, ready for that jump, I stretch my spine up and my heels down into my stirrups in balance and I shorten my reins gently and softly massage the reins until he slows back down. Sometimes I have to sit deep in my saddle and roll with him while I massage the reins if he decides to be hard-mouthed. Bring him back down to a halt and start again. If you work at it enough and are soft and understanding every time you do it, eventually your mare won't tense up anymore which will then let her be able to go from fight-or-flight mode to thinking mode: "Hey, I wonder what he really wants me to do?" The key is rewarding every time you feel a try. Even in backing up or stopping, a try might be just a teensy shifting of weight. But you've got to be on the lookout for even the tiniest try, and reward it. You'll gain success and progress much faster if you keep your eyes open like that. And then build on the tries. To begin with, you might reward a slight shifting of weight in the correct general direction; but after that you can wait and reward her when she takes a step in the correct general direction after shifting her weight. You see what I'm getting at? And rewards can be anything from a pat on the neck, to a generous word of praise, to the complete release of pressure, or even a cookie. Joey responds much better and tries much harder if I notice even the slightest effort and give generous praise while we're out riding, even if it's for something that he should have already known how to do.
"Another key is to give your mare a chance to respond to your cues. After you squeeze with your legs, give her a second to try and figure out what it is that you want from her. More than likely at the beginning of training, she won't think for herself, because she's expecting you to just slap her and tell her what to do. But if you consistently give her even a millisecond of chance to think for herself and respond, she'll get it that much faster."

Thanks for reading. I'd love to hear your opinion on the matter, so leave a comment below.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Guitars and Horses -- Who Needs Anything More?

So, apparently reverse pschology doesn't work as well as I had hoped.

But here I am, back again to raise your hopes that I will be more consistent with my posting. Whatever.

Joey and I have been lazy so far this summer.
Through the first couple of weeks in June, I was pulling out old training articles from my saved Horse Illustrated and Horse & Rider magazines, and we were riding pretty consistently -- every morning before the sun was fully up (and the heat could get us down). I was rereading training techniques on things that Joey and I are less than perfect on like suppleness and response time (for him), and softer, yet firmer cues and more compassion and understanding (for me). Those rides were some of the best we've had yet! Five out of six mornings on most weeks we were perfectly syncronized, and it seemed that neither of us really had a care in the world, though we each gave it our best shot every time we tried to bend a better circle or refine a cue of some kind. It was great!
But reach the middle of June and it brings with it scores of horseflies the size of baby carrots, 100% humidity by 5:00 in the morning, and buckets of grimy sweat from just trying to tack up alone. I just can't bring myself to go out and cinch up that hot, bulky saddle onto my boy, no matter how much he may whinney and run to the gate, obviously wanting to go out and jog around on the trails as much as I do. I know he gets awfully bored in his own fenced acre; but go out to pet him, and your hand comes away with black, sludgy ink all over it. Poor boy. :(
So we've been going on handwalks when the air outside is bearable enough for me (I know, I really am a sissy), grazing along the trail and just enjoying the sweet companionship of being with each other. I love my sweet horse so dearly! Hard to look back and remember that it was everything less than love at first (and second and third. . .) sight for the two of us. We've come a long way on our many, many adventures together. <3

A short random video showing you my boy in "action". ;)

The only other thing that I've been up to is spending all of my spare time on my guitar (which is adding up to quite a few hours, lemme assure you). Have you seen her? Her name is LuLa, and to some she is obnoxiously pink. Ya can't miss her. ;)
 The cheapest pretty guitar I could find on Amazon, and with the exceptions of my clingy dog and my blind horse she is my baby. Only started playing last January, but with the help of YouTube, I (and I counted them) have learned and memorized 50+ songs. I was hoping to have reached 100 already, but in due time. (And given, the majority of those learned are Taylor Swift -- it doesn't get much more repetitive than that, folks.) I am proof that anybody -- ANYBODY -- can pick up and learn the guitar. I tried taking a year's worth of lessons once. Good money wasted is how I look at it now. I didn't learn a single thing that I use today; not even the names of the strings. I came away with sore fingers and a broken ego, declaring that I would never again pick up a guitar because it was stupid and not worth my time. For a long time after that I seethed inside at every guitar solo that came on the radio (and there sure are a lot of them).
But still, inside, there was a dream. . .
. . .To make a long (and oh, so hilarious) story short (so that I can save it for another day ;) ): I mistakenly bought a bright pink guitar off of Amazon for $50. She arrives, and it's love at first sight. Even though I knew absolutely nothing about guitars. I knew that she was pink, her name was LuLa, and she was now mine.
First song I learned? "Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson. The guy on YouTube said it wasn't for beginners. Guess I showed him.
So there ya go: I'm living proof. But not just for people who have that deep longing to play the guitar like a boss when their favorite song comes on the radio. No, if I've learned anything through this experience it's that I shouldn't be afraid to do anything that I dream of doing. Because honestly, I can do anything that God sees fit to bless. And that's the real adventure of life: finding out what those things are.


Friday, May 31, 2013

Consistent Posting? *snort* What was I Thinking??

Ok. So, when I say I'm back for more consistent posting. . .it never quite works out, does it?

*ahem* I am NOT back for more consistent posting. <--period for added effect (Let's see how reverse psychology works.)

My cousin apparently wants me to be a contributor on her new horse website HerdNerds. Check it out. And pay close attention to her side of things -- she is super experienced and super talented when it comes to the horse realm. My stuff: eh, not so much. I mean, seriously: my experience is riding my blind pony around in my backyard. O.O
With a few years of hunter and jumper training mixed in there somewhere. And riding a couple'a barrel horses a time or two. But that's ALL the hands-on experience I have. Everything else is via reading and reading and reading and some more reading -- oh, and research.

Since I last left you: I finished and graduated from highschool/gradeschool-- kind of an exciting time *_* ; participated in my piano teacher's year-end recital that she holds for all of her students -- I played "Dawn", from Pride and Prejudice for both of her recitals in the same afternoon; I've FINALLY completed registration for and will be officially attending my town's local community college in the fall (that only took how long and cost everyone how much effort? -.- )

And I'm being lazy and spending my first summer days reading all about horses and training and messin' around with JoJo. :) Oh, not to mention all the fun my sister and I are having with my new camcorder and Breyer Horses. ;)

WAAAAIIIT!!! I almost forgot to mention one of the most exciting things! "See No Evil" is in its third editing process; and it is already available for *purchase* through myself (I may have a teeny little secret. . . ;) ). Ok, ok, so it's not "officially" published -- but it's a start, right? And I'm hoping to try to get it out there on the table and at least figure out what the word "publishing" really, truly, exactly means by the end of the summer.

Last year my summer project was to crochet an afghan. This year it's to publish my book. A step up? I think so. But Joey and I are ready for it (I hope. . .) ;)


Monday, April 22, 2013

More Changes to the Blog and Votes for Photos!

Ok, so, I want to enter a horsey photo contest that ends in June. June the first, to be precise. And these are the two pictures that have gotten the most votes so far. The judges are looking for a clear, clean photo that has a good subject and doesn't show poor horsemanship; and the "theme"/objective of the contest is "your horse being a horse/doing what he loves best". They didn't mention grazing on their list of horsey things for some odd reason, but knowing Joey. . .it was a no-brainer. ;)

Picture #1
Picture # 2

Yay! It worked! (The silly blogger-thing wouldn't let me type here, only on the captions to the photos. I've been sitting here trying for a good 10 minutes. -.- )
And THANK YOU, SILLY BLOGGER-THINGY; now I am all out of time to actually type a legit blog post-entry-thing. -.-
So yeah; vote for your favorite picture above, (<-- comma. there) below in a comment -- Haha: "above below". :P
Probably better add a comma. . .
Registering for college has been unnecessarily hard. -.- Making my THIRD trip to the admin. office tomorrow, or Friday, or whenever I choose to go back. I'm done doing it on their time.
 . . .but then, I guess I would have to go more times, huh?
Oh, and more updates to Prints. I retyped Joey's page and added some different pictures. Check it out. See if you can spot all the changes. ;)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Blog Under Construction

. . .Well? Did you read the title? o.O

What do you think of the new blog look for Prints? I'm hoping to add a header picture and few to go on the sides and I may organize a bit. . .to be determined, I guess.

Dude! More followers! O.O That shocks me, honestly; haven't been on and all. . .

BUT THAT IS ABOUT TO CHANGE! (maybe. . ) lol I hope so, anyway. :P

Just wanted to let you all know that I have NOT fallen off the face of the earth. Geez, almost a whole two months has been and gone without me posting. I'm so. . .sorry. . .? I've been pretty busy (graduating in less than a month; yup, prepping for that'll take up some time).

So, don't give up on me. I WILL be back with pictures and posts and lots of good tidbits about what Joey and I (and all our freaky retarded cats) have been up to lately. ^.^

Until then, enjoy your Hoofprints-less life. ;)



Friday, February 22, 2013

No Access to Blogger And A Horse Journal Entry

I will not have access to blogger from Monday to Friday. Just sayin'. :)

Horse Journal 2-18-13

I haven't been writing much in here because Joey and I haven't been doing as much. I think weather is to blame, again.

As far as training the bow goes: Joey can bow his head to the ground between his front legs and lift his left leg at the same time, on cue.
Mosie still hasn't gotten the second video up for training the bow; but I saw she mentioned in one of her comments to somebody else that one of the next steps is to get Joey to extend his right leg. After thinking forever on how to make that step up (and wondering if I should even attempt it on "my own", meaning without any idea of what I was doing), I decided that we would go about it like we did the leg-lifts --- I mean, it's kinda the same thing only uncurling out.
So the last three sessions, besides reviewing what we already know and just plain messing around, I've been lifting Joey's right leg and slowly uncurling it to the front until it's resting, extended on the ground in front of him.
I even started saying an unconscious verbal cue right from the start: "Forward". I never thought about what verbal cue I was gonna use; it just happened, like most of my verbal cues, because I talk to my pets while working with them.
During the first leg-ex. session, because he had no idea what I had in mind, Joey's leg was quite stiff as I slowly uncurled it to extend as I lowered. Since then, in three sessions, we've done it the same way numerous times and I think he's starting to get the idea of what I'm looking for. He's not one who will generally try to figure it out on his own; he needs a lot of guidance during the first few lessons. But with most things, he's a pretty quick learner. And he usually remembers things well.
Sometimes, he still thinks I mean "back" when I say "left". And when we go into "forward", he thinks I'm looking for "left".

In other news, he bit me on purpose for the first time ever the other day --- just chomped down on my arm and left two large bruises. We were girthing up for a ride, and even though he didn't appear to be girth-sore when I checked, I still wonder if it was just a knew-jerk reaction to some sharp pain from the girth. Either way, I let him know that biting is not okay period by telling him to get away from me and leave me alone for a few moments. He stood, saddled, looking very sorry and dejected on the other side of the paddock while I checked my arm for severed skin underneath my sweatshirt. Then I went over and clipped the lead line back onto his halter and we continued on with our ride and breakfast as if nothing had ever happened. He hasn't bitten me since, though he watches me closely while fiddling with the girth.

As far as riding goes: for the last four days or so, we've been riding consistently. I haven't been pursuing that partner-connection as much (or rather, I just haven't been completely focus on it). We've just been riding for the fun and sake of riding.
I've noticed that his brakes hardly work at all from anything faster than a fluid trot. The only time I felt in full control while trotting and cantering was when I felt like I had the bit too high after I experimented by tightening/raising the bit in his headstall. It can be kind of a problem, and I'm not really sure how to fix it.

I also want to take note here that Joey has not been acting completely like himself lately. He picks at his hay and acts bored and grumpy --- or did until we started riding again. I think maybe it was because I couldn't get out to spend time with him because the weather was bad.

Back to present day.

I do have an update to post since this entry in my Horse Journal was written; but I am out of time for today (and have already done two posts today). Unfortunately, it will probably have to wait until the week after next. :/

Thanks for reading! I would love to hear your comments!


Mom's Birthday [Cake Incident]

Yesterday was Mom's birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!!! ^.^ )

*ahem* It was also grocery day: the day of the week that my mother goes out for a good couple of hours to have lunch with Dad and buy the week's forage. The perfect opportunity to make her a surprise birthday cake, eh? ;)

Before we get any further with this I will state right here that despite my efforts, the only things that I have actually been requested to make by my family are fruit smoothies and my oatmeal-raisin-chocolate chip cookies. Yeah; not such a hot mama in the kitchen. :P
But I was determined to bake Mom something special in honor of the day. (I never dreamed Dad would have the same idea. . .)

To give myself the most possible amount of time, I began my baking venture as soon as she walked out the door, which was around 11, or so (she got a lot of, "So, when are you leaving?" "Shouldn't you go soon if you're going to have lunch with Dad?" "You might want to give yourself quite a bit of time to get there. . .why? oh, just because. . ." lol!)
I had perused all of the dessert cookbooks on her shelf for easy recipes for cake icing; I was prepared to not go beyond my limits and just use one of those Betty Crocker cake mix boxes. But for some reason the one I wanted to use didn't have a recipe for icing on the side --- you'd think that they would make things easier than they are by doing that for people, but they don't.

Anyway, upon my futile search for chocolate cake icing, I found a recipe for chocolate fudge pudding-cake. Now, I've made one of these in the past at Mother's request --- but in the crock pot. It was a slow-cooker recipe then. And I certainly wasn't going to do that now. But the one I found in her many pages of random recipes printed off of the Internet was for a pudding-cake that was baked in the oven. And it was easy. And it was from a source I've used for a tasty brownie recipe before. And Mom apparently really likes pudding-cake. Bingo.

Mix up all of the ingredients, heat up the oven, and [nervously] pop it in (I'm always nervous when I have to do anything in the kitchen because, as I have previously stated, I am no Julia Child.)
As a plus to the garden hedgehog statue that I got for Mom to sit in her herb garden this year, I decide that I will also help her out by keeping up the housework while she is away. And I mean, really keeping up the housework.

A few loads of laundry later, I open the oven to find. . . . . a messy, but decent chocolate pudding-cake. Okay, so it didn't turn out horrible as I had secretly expected. Heck, it might even be called pretty rich. I set the oven on "warm and hold" to keep it warm until Mom gets back home and then we can all marvel at how awesome my pudding-cakes are. The day will end lovely and I will feel like I actually did something special for once on Mom's birthday, something that she can appreciate. I sing my way through the dishes and back into the laundry room (not to mention being exceedingly patient with the littles as I put them down for a [much needed] nap). Nothing can go wrong.

And then Dad gets home. I'm out feeding the horse as it's pouring rain, telling my boy all about the wonderful surprise I have waiting for Mom. I can't wait!
I hear Dad's truck pulling up the drive, he stops, rolls down the window and calls out, "Hiya! You almost done? Can you come up and help me? I got some stuff to celebrate Mom's birthday." He continues up the drive as my heart starts to pound and eventually sinks as I think about how inevitable it is for him to buy a cake. I take plenty of time making my way back to the house and his truck, kicking myself for not thinking that of course Dad would buy Mom a cake on her birthday, trying to formulate a plan in my head of what I'm going to tell Dad. I can't possibly tell him that he's just set a full-blown thunderstorm on my lovely little parade. *sigh*

"What did you get?" I call above the beat of the rain as I near his open truck door. "Oh, just some flowers and a big, beautiful, chocolaty cake!" He says this last part with the look on his face that he gets when he thinks he's doing something very special for us and he knows that we're going to love it. Normally, he's right; but now my mind races with what to say.
He hands me the flowers and requests that I find a vase for them and arrange them. "Oh, Shelby's much better at that than I am," I quickly say, coming up with a plan. Shelby will take care of the flowers and I will hide the cake that is still warming in the oven. . .somehow.

We make it into the kitchen and I am amazed that he doesn't even seem to notice the oven that is on. Usually he would immediately ask me why in the world the oven is on, as if I had purposely turned it on with the motive of burning down the house. But he says nothing, as he turns around and goes back out the door! Now's my chance. I wait a second to make sure he's not coming back in right away, and then I frantically grab some potholders, switch off the oven, and rip my cake out of the oven. But --- what to do with it?? How do I get a hot cake out of sight?? Shelby comes in as I'm unconsciously opening a drawer. "I'll grab some hot pads to sit under it so that he has no reason to get mad at us if it's discovered," she says sensibly. Yes, hot pads, why didn't I think of that? My younger sister helps me hide the cake just as Dad walks back into the house.

I nonchalantly sway back into the laundry room to finish folding a load from the dryer as Dad and Shelby continue with the preparations for the dinner table. I think I'm covered with the cake incident. .  . .until I remember: There are six other people in this house who have been looking forward all day to eating my chocolate pudding-cake. They are surely bound to say something when Dad presents his flashy, chocolaty tower to them. But how to let them know of the situation discreetly? Then I've got it.
I call each child back to put away his/her clothes, whispering to each a quick explanation of why we will not be eating my cake. Everyone agrees not to say anything to Dad. We don't want to hurt anyone's feelings or cause a scene. And now that I think about it: if word got out to Dad about my cake, certainly pulling it out of a drawer in his presence is going to be rather embarrassing. Oh dear.
Now I'm thinking of how I can get the cake out of the drawer and into somewhere else that would not be so embarrassing to pull it out of should the need arise. (A drawer, really? Who's idea was that??)

It turns out, the best idea comes from Mom, herself. I slink upstairs with my own clothes and the telephone hidden beneath them. No, it's not safe to use the land line; what if Dad were to need the phone while I was on it and noticed that it was being used? Best use my cell.
So I call Mom and explain the whole thing. It sounds pretty silly when I actually try to explain it to someone else. Funny how it seems like such a catastrophe at the time.
She laughingly tells me to put it in the back of the refrigerator. Why didn't I think of that?

We end up eating Dad's cake that night, and the pudding-cake today after lunch while he's at work. I still don't think he knows. :P
Next time, I think I'll check with him before I surprise everyone with a cake.