Saturday, October 31, 2009

My tongue unleashed!

Unlike Mel, I haven't been prewriting posts for this glorious moment. I've just been thinking about what I'd write when I was through with the pictures.

Come to think of it, I think I owe you one more day of pictures. Well, consider this an interlude.

After Champ died, everything horse related got SO HARD. Champ was supposed to live to be at least 30, and I was going to ride him (lightly, as needed) til he was maybe 28, so I had over 10 years to get Dixie to calm down and work with me. She was definitely my second string horse - I didn't know enough to work with her, and I wasn't a good enough rider to teach her anything, and she needed time to get used to normal humans asking normal things of her.

Then in March it all changed.

All of a sudden I had one nutty horse and hole in my heart, and I still really needed to ride. So I rode. I still liked Dixie - she still made me feel like the Queen of the World, like she did when I bought her - but every time I got on her I missed my Champ. All summer, riding was a chore - a thing I needed to do, for my sanity and to make her a better horse. I read and thought and analyzed what I was doing and how she was responding, and I cried as I drove out to see her. Less and less as time went on, but still.

Then we moved out here, and I didn't get to see her at all for six weeks, and it was horrible, not having a horse. Then she was here, but she was in quarantine, so she needed to be ridden lightly ever day, just so she could get out of her tiny paddock, so I rode. And she appreciated it. She was glad to see me and she gradually, almost imperceptibly, started reacting properly to my cues. And I gradually started to figure her out.

Dixie is a headstrong mare, and I am a somewhat timid rider, and we clash all the time. But I am getting better and better at realizing when she's being a bitch versus when she's scared to do what I ask. When she's scared, I let her stand still and think about things. When she's a bitch, I am a bigger bitch.

Sometimes we can steer around the individual sagebrush clumps with a leg and a neck rein. Sometimes she blows me off and crashes through them. Sometimes I keep my hands quiet, but alive, and ask her to pay attention to me. Sometimes it's like I'm drowning and the reins are my lifeline, and I haul on them in panic. But very gradually, over the last two months, it's been more of the former and less of the latter.

But more importantly, I am delighted to see my mare. And she's happy to see me - ears up, alert, sticks her nose in the halter, stands quietly while I groom and saddle her. We are, finally, a team. Sometimes we hate each other and grind to a halt, but after a few minutes of both of us practicing deep breathing, we come back together.

I found my joy again. I hope you have your joy, which is probably your horse. And if you've lost it, I hope you find it again soon.

Argle, last day in the life!

Google has been horribly slow for me for a couple days now - I don't mean annoyingly slow, I mean "wait ten minutes and it still hasn't loaded yet" slow. Blogger, of course, is a google service, so whatever's wrong with my gmail is also wrong with Blogger.

Also I haven't done anything different from the earlier part of the week - everything feels like "oh I posted this two days ago."

Anyway! Here's yesterday's photos. I took plenty, but more than half of them didn't come out. Stupid iPhone camera. I tried to take all my week's pics on it, and it was more convenient than the real camera, but the quality leaves a lot to be desired. I think I'll try to just carry the real camera more often, and try to take a good picture a day next week.

Palomino Valley and beyond
IMG_0147

S and Summer climbing the hill
IMG_0148

Blue view
IMG_0150

Oh hi!
IMG_0153

Moon, road, dog
IMG_0155

Sweaty horse
IMG_0156

Thursday, October 29, 2009

And now for something completely different!

How to make a birthday cake, by Funder.


First, stick the Frangelico in the freezer.



Line a pan with wax paper and grease and flour it.



Assemble your stuff (or prepare your mise in place, if you're not a redneck!)



Whip it all into a thick delicious batter.



Woah look at that, it's a cake!



Make some real classic buttercream frosting...



Whip in some melted (and cooled) chocolate!



Secret frosting-taming weapon.



Ta-da!



Oh shit, get the Frangelico out before it freezes and pour yourself a drink.



Not cake related: Rock out!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Week in the life, 3

Sorry, short post! It was a dull day.

Early morning.
Early morning

Fresh trim!
Fresh trim!

Headed home to Peavine Mountain
Peavine Mountain

Cersei has a TOY!
She has a TOY

Rustic potato galette.
(Pro tip: if something doesn't come out looking like the pictures in the recipe, call it "rustic." I don't have a mandoline so my potatoes aren't sliced perfectly!)
Rustic potato galette

Snow showers to the east.
Snowy afternoon

Mmmmm dinner!
Mmmm dinner

I'm getting a headache, so no more pictures tonight. Tomorrow - birthday relaxing!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Week in the life, 2

I studied for the bar all morning.
IMG_0120

Cersei dreamt of being a puppy.
IMG_0122

Then I got dressed and went out.
IMG_0123

Dixie was snuffling in the mud - very strange horse.
IMG_0125

Due for a trim - tomorrow!
IMG_0126

Then off to the gym - these tractor tires are for strongman training.
IMG_0127

Here's Reno's daily 5-minute traffic jam.
IMG_0129

My birthday package arrived from my parents!
IMG_0130

Started carving the chicken before I remembered to take a pic.
IMG_0131

Jabber likes to nap on the back of the couch.
IMG_0134

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Flabbergasted

I had this whole post half-written in my head, about how I had such a good ride yesterday and then observed the horses (I felt like Kate!) but then I came home and my sneaky husband had bought me a shiny new MacBook Pro laptop for my birthday.

My old MBP is 3.5 years old and is slowly dying. It had a hard life, and it has given its all - the screen bezel has a crack, the case is warped, the CD burner drive doesn't work anymore, the battery life is under an hour, and it gets hot enough to fry eggs. But it still WORKS, and I was totally not expecting a new laptop when my current one still fulfilled all my computing needs.

Graham's work actually has provided a MBP for him, because he's the only person in the department who remotely understands OSX so he gets to do their support calls. Yesterday he called and told me that his boss sent him off to buy one, and we talked about screen sizes and stuff, and I was kinda "why are we talking about this, this is dumb, oh well I like talking to my husband." Then I went to the local BCHA meeting, which ran long, and when I finally got home I was completely unsurprised to see a shiny white Mac box in the living room. When he told me it was actually MINE, I must've said "WHAT" five times. I was completely shocked.

I love it! The keys look weird but they're surprisingly easy to type on, and the LED screen looks amazing, and there's no mouse button at all (which is nice because my old mouse button was incredibly sticky), and the CD burner works, and it doesn't get hot at all, and the battery lasts forever, and Time Machine perfectly transferred all my stuff over. Seriously, Time Machine rocks - I plugged the backup drive into the new laptop, waited a while for the transfer, and then my desktop came up with all my icons, background, apps, everything just like it was.

I guess this means I should take it to Vegas in February for the bar, but I don't want to. I really want to keep it locked in a glass case!

Anyway, horses later. Happy early birthday to meeeeee!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Queen of the world!

Yesterday we rode over the mountain north of the ranch, down the Palomino Valley side, and back around. The view from the top of the mountain makes me feel like the queen of the world! It's a fantastic ride, but quite long - about 9 miles. I did it once before, right when Dixie got here, and I got SO sunburned and she was SO ouchy on the rocks. Yesterday was much better for both of us!

Headed up the mountain

We took Cersei, who is sacked out on the couch snoring right now. Almost all of the ride is on the road, but they're very low-traffic gravel roads, and I'm pretty confident that Cersei will heel to me and not dart off into traffic. We only saw two cars, at the very beginning of the ride. Cersei ran circles around us for the first mile or two, then realized we weren't turning around anytime soon and trotted beside Dixie for the rest of the trip. I brought water for her, and she didn't get too hot or tired - she never laid down when Dixie and I would stop and wait for Summer to catch up.

IMG_3672

The climb up and down the mountain is the roughest, terrain-wise. It's more of a jeep trail than a proper gravel road, and there's not much sand. Mainly rocks, from small boulders down to pebbles. Dixie was not crunching gravel per se, but she was MUCH more confident this time, and I didn't feel obligated to get off and walk her. I still think I'd like to get some boots in the spring, but I'm going to wait until her hooves look better. She's got a bit of flaring still, and they're not quite balanced laterally, and they're not quite as concave as I'd like to see. (Her next trim is in a week - she's still walking around with her first Nevada trim.)

I don't have any pictures of the really rocky stuff! This area was really hardpacked gravel, but Dixie went quite well over it.

A little tired

Once we were over the mountain, the "gravel" road turned into a sand road. Straight as an arrow and about as flat as anything in this state. We did a little gaiting. Dixie still wants to trot when trying to gait downhill, but that's really common. She had plenty of go til the last couple miles, when she just couldn't hold a rack or RW together and she'd trot every time she sped up. Oh well - we just walked. Her trot is huge and sproingy and not at all easy for me to sit.

Headed home

I took some confo shots when we got back. Dixie did Not Approve and pawed like mad to get me to untie her. That horse cracks me up!

Dixie condition shot 2

In this one she's not pawing, but she has her ears pinned at Sydney, the black and tan dog behind her.
Dixie condition shot 4

Here she is when I first got her. She looks exactly the same to me, except with more roan and much better feet. Oh well, I am terrible at horse conformation.
DixieRight.jpg