Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
Click on Logo (Original artwork by Lanie Frick for Messick Quarter Horses. Not permitted to be copied)

Monday, December 29, 2008

My Letter to my First Grandson

Caden Thomas
Caden Thomas was born Friday, December 26, 2008 at 9:28 pm. 7 pounds, 9 ounces, 19 3/4” long. Chin dimple like his daddy. Eyes like his mommy. Perfect fingers and toes. And some hair. I think you look like your daddy. I can’t wait to get your baby pictures out and compare you to your Daddy’s baby book pictures.

Grandma and “Pop”, as your Grandpa wants to be called, got “the call” at about 10 am Friday morning. We had spent Christmas in Colorado with your Aunt Sara, Uncle Jake, and 2 week old cousin, Makenzie. Your Uncle Micah was also out with us. Your mommy had to have a planned C-section since you were butt down! We left Aunt Sara’s about 8 am that morning. I kept checking my watch until your Daddy called us with the news! He said all was well, your mommy was doing good, and that your daddy even cut the cord! We knew you were going to be a boy. Your name was going to be a surprise for the day you were born. Your mommy has always liked the name, Caden, since she started working at Preschools the year she graduated from high school. Your middle name, Thomas, is your Daddy‘s middle name. Your daddy was named after his daddy, your grandpa Tom, “Pop“. You are also named after your Mommy, as that is her maiden name, Amber Thomas. That is unique!
We drove north 30 minutes to I-80, then the highway all the way home from Pine Bluff, WY to Lincoln, NE. About 11am, we stopped at Cabelas at Sidney, NE. Pop likes to look at what guns are there and if there are any specials. I always like to see what winter clothing sales they have. I didn’t find much, but Pop bought 2 scopes.

From Sidney, it is 5 hours to Lincoln. We arrived about 4:30 at the hospital. The maternity ward was on the 6th floor. Your room was right next to the nurse’s station. When we walked in, you were resting comfortably in your Mommy’s arms. Your mommy and daddy were resting, as they had had visitors earlier in the day. We held you and you slept soundly. Your daddy changed your diapers that day, as your mommy couldn’t get out of bed yet.

You were only 7 hours old when I saw you for the first time, nestled in your mommy’s arms. Oh, you were so little. You had a perfectly round face, pretty eyes, a chin dimple, and a little hair! And your little fingers. Nice and long. Piano fingers. When I held you, your finger held my finger. You weren’t awake too much that evening while we were there, as you had a big day! We didn’t stay long as it was already evening and your mommy was tired.

The next day, Pop and I visited. Pop went with your Daddy to exchange the battery for the SUV. While they were gone, you slept the whole time! While you slept for about 2 hours, I held you close. You slept so deeply and quietly that afternoon. So content. Your mommy and I visited quietly, waiting for Pop and Daddy to come back. Even though that was when we should have laid you down, I loved holding you then. I held you close and watched your face. What a pretty baby! I want to share my love for horses with my first grandson, and with all my grandchildren. Pop didn’t get to hold you much that day. When he and your Daddy got back to the room, you woke up and started to fuss. You wanted your mommy!

Pop and I visited with your Mommy and Daddy a little each day that you were in the hospital. Friday late afternoon, Saturday early afternoon, and Sunday evening. I loved holding and cuddling with you. Pop didn’t get to hold you too much those first 3 times we visited, but I made sure that we got pictures of you and him. You are Pop’s first grandson!

Today is Monday, only 3 days since you were born. Your mommy and Daddy are bringing you home from the hospital. We will have our Christmas with you and your mommy and Daddy on Thursday, New Years Day. Pop had a surprise for all of you. Your Pop had bought you, and your little cousin, a little red Santa outfit! Pop also bought you some stocking stuffers and hung a horsey stocking, just for you! Pop also wrote you a letter, and gave you 3 small gifts. A small toy horse, a small John Deere tractor, and a small pony. A small horse because I will teach you how to ride. A small tractor since your Pop will teach you how to drive. And a small pony because we want to buy you and your little cousin a pony!

I’ll need to shop at the baby consignment store. I’ll need to find some cowboy outfits! The best outfits are made of blue jean material . I’ll know I’ll be able to buy blue jean and bib overalls! I’ll have to find some baby clothes with horses on them!

When you have a doctor appointment, I’ll pray all is well and that you are growing fine. We pray that you will be a healthy baby, sleep well, and be content.

I will be able to see you as you grow from a newborn to a toddler. I will be able to hold you and cuddle with you. I won’t be able to do that with your cousin all the time, and that makes me sad. I’ll have to cuddle you twice as much to make up for that! I decided to write this letter to you. I feel better now, knowing that I will get to see you often.
I will call your mommy every now and then and check on you. I hope I can visit you often, see you at ball games, and have you come for picnics and float in our pool. Pop and I can show you the horses, dogs, cats, and any kittens and puppies that we may have.

I love you so much, Grandma

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter Chores

I got in about 6 from doing chores. Without the wind tonight, I actually was too warm, dressed in a hoody, insulated coveralls, thermal gloves, and insulated boots. I put that "big hat" thing on that goes down over your face, forgot the name. I had to pull the hood away from my face. I changed my gloves for cotton ones.

But...I was dragging hoses, blanketed an older horse that I am boarding, threw hay to the steer and to my stud, Duke, and I carried a bale of alfalfa to the 3 weanlings and my older horse, Red. I figured they deserved extra nutrition! I grained the big lot with 2 big buckets of grain. I was huffing. There isn't much snow, but a crunchy layer to walk through! Then I drained the 2 water hoses and carried them back up to the top barn. Who needs a gym when you have this type of workout? I didn’t mind chores tonight, except that with dark coming so fast in the evenings, I finished chores in the dark. Only 1 more day until the official start of winter, then daylight will start to go the other way! Even though we have the winter months of January and February to go through, the days will get longer! More daylight means more time for chores, and, just maybe, horsey time!

I never blanket my outside horses. They develop thick coats. If they get a layer of snow on them, the snow actually acts like a blanket and insulates them, keeping their body heat between them and the layer of snow. I rarely see any of my horses shaking. About the only time I see them shake is if it is a cold rain. My horses are on round bales, though, and always seem to be eating! Eating hay is what keeps them warm.

The next few days and nights are going to be downright fright! Forecast is very cold! Tonight, Saturday, is to be -6, with 15-20 mph winds out of the northwest, even reaching up to around 30 mph. That makes our wind chill tonight at a - 22 to -32 below zero. Brrr.

Sunday is even colder than today! Hard to believe! High of 2°, with 15 to 25 mph wind, wind chill about the same as during the night, but at least there may be sun! Sunday night is forecasted at -10°. Wind is to almost stop during the night! Monday’s high is slightly higher at 13°! Sun coming out in the morning. Monday night is quite a bit warmer at 9! Then a reprieve on Tuesday at 26! Heat wave!

I'm glad I had meatballs in spaghetti sauce in a crock pot, because a meatball sub was great after I came in! I was hungry! Now, I’m going to take a hot shower, and make myself cozy on the couch. I’m going to snuggle under a fleecy blanket, drinking another mug of Irish Crème instant cappuccino, and read a book! Wrapping Christmas gifts can wait until tomorrow!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thinking ahead of what topics to discuss...

I've been thinking tonight about what topics to talk about after the holidays. Winter is just starting, and harsh cold air will be here for awhile. With ice, sleet, and snow coming tonight, spring seems a long time away. But spring will be here before we know it and I want to plan for spring time.

I want to set goals. I want to share my training methods. I want to condition my CTR horse. I have 2 young horses to continue with, a coming 5 and a coming 6 year old. One is green broke, one is only halter broke. Both are quiet geldings, tie well, been haltered and handled for years. Now, it is time to be serious about getting them trained. They are well bred horses with good conformation. Even though the market is down, I was not going to give up on these two. They deserve my time and attention. They deserve to be trained with good solid basics.

As I work with the horses, I will blog about my training techniques. I will share how I work with each horse each day. I will blog the ups and downs, achievements and disappointments. I will share how I am doing things and what I will need to do different. Each horse is different each day, and each horse is different from day to day. I will discuss what is working and what is not. I will discuss how the horse responds and grows in the training program.

What other topics would you like me to discuss? Since I’m going back to the beginning of basics, I’ll start there. For me, the first day a horse comes in for training, he adjusts to my place. Some arena turnout to see the place on his time frame. He is in his stall to get used to the horses around him. He has hay in front of him at all time. He may stand tied for an hour to begin his patience training.

Day 2 is lunging. Free lunging. I work with the horse to bond with me. Some bond within minutes, some don’t bond fully, even after an hour of me establishing that I am leader. Lunging teaches manners, teaches a horse to change directions. Lunging shows me how the horse moves, how easy he turns, and most importantly, his attitude! That will be a day discussion in itself!

Any specific topic that you want to know about?

Come along on the ride with me!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Decorating for Christmas

What is it with all of us this year? I haven't done any decorating either, and I'm blah... Why don't we want to decorate? Here it is, a week before Christmas! I should have lights up, wreaths and garland up and around the windows. I usually don’t do the tree until the weekend before Christmas, but this year, it will only be up 5 days before Christmas. We are leaving late on the 22nd to see our daughter, Sara, and son-in-law, Jake, and new granddaughter, Makenzie in Colorado! So now I’ll only get to see the tree for 3 days before Christmas!

And baking? I would have cookie ingredients bought by now! I don’t even have the urge to bake! Why bake pies when you can buy 3 for $10 from the freezer section of the grocery store? And they do taste good! If I baked, everyone is usually too full for dessert, than I get to look at it for days! And I usually eat 2 pieces of pie a day until it’s gone! I know, I could freeze leftovers, but I have to blame the added pounds on something!

It's too cold and too dark to do much with horses except to feed them! Maybe that is it! We aren't out and moving around, which is exercising, especially when you feed and groom, so our energy level is blah! That's my story anyways!I know if the tree goes up and I would play Christmas music, I would get in the mood. I do have 2 small trees at the store though. I have no excuse not to do the Christmas houses...they are in the bottom shelves of the entertainment center. I just need to set them out! I think if we did some decorating we would all feel better. I know I'll feel better next Wed when I get to see my granddaughter!

I have bought gifts. I delivered some when we saw our daughter last week, just in case we don’t get out there if the weather turns nasty! But it will have to be a blizzard before I don’t go to see my new granddaughter for her first Christmas! I bought gifts for those that needed to be sent. I have most things for my husband, 2 sons, 1 daughter-in-law, and friends. I still need the “BIG” gifts for my husband and sons! Sara and Amber are getting baby swings for the babies. Actually, the babies are getting them, but that is what the moms wanted! Geez, have you seen what baby things cost today? Ok, on to big items. Ideas for sons are taken care of and hubby is “suppose” to be getting those presents this week. He better have it done by the weekend! Now, ALL I have to do is think of something for hubby. What do you get someone that doesn’t need, want, wear out anything! I am sooo easy to buy for, and my husband isn’t! He has it made, shopping for me, but every year he has to ask me what I want and he says he can’t find anything! Men. Get me something horsey, some nice jewelry, or go to Christopher Banks. I just love that store!

I have wrapped some gifts. I sent some today from the post office. It didn’t matter that I just carried the gifts in and asked for boxes that they would fit into. I did address the boxes right there. But I didn’t stand there and fill boxes and write out addresses when there was a line of people behind me waiting! I did step aside and let people behind me mail their packages. Ok, 2 packages sent, 1 to go. That box is heavy. I need to go to UPS.

I think I’ll do Christmas houses tonight, and get out the Christmas music CD’s. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll make Pecan Tarts this weekend. And Peanut Butter cookies with both chocolate kisses and with peanut butter cups. Love those! Ok, time to start humming Christmas songs.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Winter is Here!

Zero Tonight!

Yesterday was a sunny, warm, 50 degree day. Sweatshirt weather! Today, the winter overalls came out. The morning started in the high teens. The temp dropped throughout the day. The day became more overcast. Since it started getting dusk at 3:30, I decided to do chores early. Today is Sunday, and I can take advantage of doing chores earlier and getting back into the warmth before dark.

I just came in from chores. The temp is now 6 degrees at 5 pm! With overalls, insulated boots, headband, and insulated gloves, I thought I would be warm enough. And for the most part, I was. But there was enough north wind to chill the face. IT won’t be long before I’ll be wearing a scarf and covering my face and mouth during chore time.

I knew tomorrow was to be even colder. Zero tonight, 10 for the high tomorrow. I filled water tanks for all the horses. I made sure that all the water tank heaters were plugged in. Fresh round bales were put into the feeders yesterday. I grained and checked gates, making sure that all gates were secure. I didn’t want any horses getting out in this weather! I fed the older horse, Duke, and the steer their hay, giving them extra so they will stay warm.

I shut the large doors on the arena barn. This will keep the cold wind out of the arena and stall area. I check the heaters in the bathroom and lounge, and turned the heaters up to handle the colder nights.

The dogs and cats are in the mare barn. I made sure that the large door was latched on both sides. Since there is a gap at the bottom of that door, I block the bottom with folded up grain bags to keep as much of the breeze out as I can. The dogs had plenty of straw to bury down into a deep bed. The cats keep warm by finding an opening in the stack of hay and curling up.

I’m curled up on the couch, watching a Christmas movie. I just had a hot supper of beef, potatoes and carrot stew. I love the taste of carrots cooked in beef broth. More vegetables were added to the leftover broth and meat. Beans, peas, carrots, corn, and potatoes. There will be a crock pot full of vegetable soup waiting for Tom and I for supper tomorrow night after chores!

My Letter to my First Granddaughter

Makenzie Ruth
Makenzie Ruth was born Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 6:55 pm. 6 pounds, 13 ounces, 20 ¼” long. Chin dimple like her mommy. Eyes like her daddy. Long fingers, to play piano like her mommy, and long toes. And lots of hair. Where did she get all that hair?

Grandpa “Pop” think she looks like Sara when she was a baby. Grandma saw Sara in her when we laid her down on the floor when she was 2 days old and looked at her sideways. Oh, that was Sara when she was a baby.
Grandma and Pop got “the call” at about 3:30 am Wednesday morning. I went back to bed for a few hours, but Pop went to lay on the couch. I rested until 6:30, but Pop said he couldn’t sleep and packed a few things into the truck. I think he was more nervous than all of us!

We were on the road by 10 or so, much later than I wanted to be. We brought out the truck and horse trailer since your mommy needed some hay for her horses. (Hay isn’t as expenses in Nebraska, but when gas prices were at a high close to $4.00 or over, I wondered!) The trip is 7 ½-8 hours long, depending on how many stops we need, for gas and the restroom! We arrived at Nunn, CO about 4:30, 5:30 our time.
We grabbed the camera and headed to the Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, arriving about 5:15. We found the maternity floor. We stopped by the nurse’s desk, but they said your mommy’s room was closed and visitors weren’t allowed. Due to privacy laws, the nurse couldn’t tell us anything, but she could tell them that we were there. I told her to tell your mommy and daddy that her Mom and Dad were there. We went to the waiting area and the nurse came out within 5 minutes. She told us that she was allowed to say that your mommy was pushing. We only waited about 45 minutes and your Daddy was there! He said he has a little girl that is about 10 minutes old! Your Daddy was so happy! He called your other Grandma to tell her! Pop and I had to wait about ½ hour before we could come see you.

You were less than an hour old when I saw you for the first time, nestled in your mommy’s arms. Oh, you were so little. You had a perfect face, gorgeous eyes, a chin dimple, and hair! And your little fingers. Nice and long. Piano fingers. Your Mommy played the piano, and the flute. When I held you, you wrapped your fingers around my finger. I held your fingers up to your mouth and you sucked on them. When you were awake, your eyes were so big and so open. You love being held close. When you were restless, you moved your tiny arms around. You wanted your hands near your face. A nurse told me that babies comfort themselves when their hands are up to their face. But when you were waking up or fussy, your arms would move and your hands would sometimes scratch your cheeks.

When you were content, your slept. You slept so deeply and quietly. Even though that was when we should have laid you down, I loved holding you then. I held you close and watched your face. I talked to you, quietly, inside my head. I want us to have a special bond. Before you were born, I knew you would be a girl. I had hoped so, anyways. I want to share my love for horses with my first granddaughter, and with all my grandchildren.

Pop and I stayed and visiting with your Mommy and Daddy until Friday. They brought you home from the hospital and carried you into your home. Pop had a surprise for all of you. Your first Christmas tree was standing in front of the large west windows. Still undecorated since your Mommy had to go to the hospital before the decorations could get onto the tree. Your Pop had bought you, and your little cousin who would be born 2 weeks after you, a little red Santa outfit! Pop hung it on the tree for all to see when they walked in from the garage!

And hanging on the fireplace was your Mommy and Daddy’s stockings. Pop hung a horsey stocking, just for you! Pop also wrote you a letter, and gave you 3 small gifts. A small toy horse, a small John Deere tractor, and a small pony. A small horse because your mommy would teach you how to ride. A small tractor since your Daddy will teach you how to drive. And a small pony because I want to buy you a pony!

It was time to leave. I held and cuddled with you. Grandpa took a picture of us since I was laying on the couch with you. I told him that you were so relaxed, that I could have fallen asleep, holding you.
Today is only 4 days since you were born, 2 days since I left you to come home. Yesterday, after working the store, I went shopping at the baby consignment store. I bought 5 bags of baby clothes!!! I did buy some pink, even though I’m not a “pink” person. I was able to find purple and yellow outfits. The best outfits are made of blue jean material! Jumpers, bib overalls, and jackets. I can dress you like a little cowgirl!

I was feeling sad because I am not there with you and I wanted to write this letter. I feel better now since I feel closer to you. I think I am going to call your mommy and check on you.

I love you so much, Grandma

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Beagle Puppies!

2005 litter

Our third child, the 2nd son, Micah, wanted a puppy. He talked about all kinds of Breeds. He decided to raise Beagles. Micah was about 14 at the time. In 2000, I went with him to pick out his first female, a tri-color, 13” Beagle puppy. AJ came home with us. AJ Shortstuff, “AJ”. They sure are cute puppies!

Micah breed AJ when she was 2 to a blond and white Beagle male. He kept a tri-color female from that litter. AJ’s Blue Daisy, “Daisy”. She is a pretty female, a little less blocky than her mother.

Jake’s Little Warrier, “Ace“, was a male puppy that he bought from a different litter. When Ace turned 2, he sired 1 or 2 litters every year. The average puppy litter size was 5-6 puppies, even though some litters did only have 4 pups.

The dogs adore Micah. When they hear his voice, they start looking for him. His 3 adult Beagles go straight to him, even if there are other people around. They love his attention. Micah spent a lot of time with the dogs when they were puppies, and it shows by how much the love people! His dogs love the attention, and rubs, and snacks! Beagles are notorious for following their noses, and not coming when called. But when his dogs are outside, and Micah calls, they come to home. Sometimes, the 2 older dogs want to run or chase the cats, but eventually they will come when Micah calls them.

Tom always feed them 1 or 2 small bone snacks after he plays with them! The dogs know it too. They will go get their rubs from him, then they wait for their bones.

We just had another litter of the cutest puppies! Daisy is a proud mom. She is such a good mom. She doesn’t mind us picking up her pups or moving them around. Last night, I wanted to make sure that each pup was nursing well. I’m moving each pup and getting each one to take a nipple. Daisy lays back as if to nap. But then, I’m sure she was tired after just giving birth to 6 healthy, hungry babies!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Brain Dead!

My brain hurts! My eyes hurt! My whole head hurts! I could just lay down and sleep the rest of the day away! I would love to snuggle under a fleece blanket on the couch and sleep the afternoon away! But I'm not at home, there is no couch. My head is still brain dead! Where is the caffeine? What, no coffee left in the coffee pot? That is a crime. I'll need to make another pot. (No, I'm not addicted to caffeine. I just need my coffee. AND...I drink 1/2 and 1/2. 1/2 caffeine, 1/2 decaf. AND I drink it weak so I can drink more of it. Did I say that I love to drink coffee on cold days, and when I am tired, and after a good meal, and....

Why does my brain hurt? I am trying to figure out a shopping cart for my store website. It is so confusing. I am confused! I have pushed so many buttons today that it is making my head swirl watching my keyboard. My eyes are about ready to bug out! I get so far on the design, then something seems wrong, and I delete everything that I have worked on for the previous hour. What I design does not look like the pictures of what the pages are suppose to look like! grrrrr.

Maybe this is why people pay other people to have this headache! On the bright side, I have a little more knowledge about websites, shopping carts, Buy Now tabs, and Checkout. That is what I would like to do...check out for awhile! Wrapped in a fleece blanket! Ahhhh. Maybe my thoughts are on sleep since it seems like I was awake every hour last night! (I hate these middle age hormones, but that is another subject for a really bad day!) On the bright side of that, I don't think I'll be cold this winter!

You may think that I don't have a clue about websites, but I do. I know what I like when I see it! I know what websites I like the designs of. I figure this is saving me money, but it's definitely not saving me time.

The wind is blowing and it is cold out. The day started at 17 degrees. Brrr!! It has warmed up. Even though it is 33 out, there is also a 20-30 per hour wind. What would that make the wind chill? I want to be on the couch, curled up with Laura Crum's book "Cutter" that just came. I want to curl my hands around a cup of instant Irish Creme cappucino.

Where's the coffee? I think I'll go through a drive-thru coffee hut after work and get a TALL Irish Creme latte! For now, I better go start that 2nd pot of coffee. I still have over 2 hours of work.

I better warm up before I get home. I have to stop and pick up 2 tank water heaters. The ice was so thick this morning, that I could hardly chop through it! I am NOT going to break ice another morning!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cold Mornings!

The mornings are getting colder. I always seem to delay getting the winter heaters into the water tanks until after I have to break ice a few mornings. This year, I have been breaking ice for more than a few mornings. Some mornings, there is just a thin layer of ice. Some mornings, there is a heavy layer of ice. Some mornings, I can’t break the ice with the grain bucket, and I need to use a T- post to break the ice.

We have had lots of horses who think it's neat to play with the water heater and get it outside the water tank, pull them apart, and tramp on it! Those early years, I have found bits and pieces all over the lot. What do they do? Run with the pieces or fling them around? I always wonder if they get their mouths burned on the element when it first comes out of the water. The element does automatically turn off when it is out of water, but the heater is hot to the touch when it first comes out of the water. I suppose the wire cage around the element protects them while they trample it!

I have learned to put the extension cord of the water heaters through PVC pipe so that the horses can’t chew on the cord. To keep the water heaters IN the tanks, we wire the PVC pipe to the fence posts. It is wired right below the electric fence, and when they touch the fence a time or two to try to play with the pipe, they eventually get shocked. They have learned to leave the tank heater alone!

I finally got the water heaters into the tanks over this past weekend. I plugged in 2 water heaters and the electric fencer to 1 outlet. The heaters were only plugged in for 1 night before I blew a fuse! No extra fuses in the barn! Where are the fuses, and how do you open this darn fuse box? My hubby told me that he hid the fuses…why??? I’m back to breaking ice until I get my husband to show me where the special fuses are!

I’m back to breaking ice this morning. I find one extension cord in the steer lot! How did it get there? Luckily, the cord wasn’t frozen into the mud and I pulled it out of the lot. It seemed a lot longer now! I stretched it out toward the barn where I have TWO separate outlets. My extension cords were long enough to get TWO extension cords from 2 water tank heaters into the barn and plugged into 2 different outlets. Yeah, I have electric to 2 tank heaters. Now I hope that those 2 outlets are on 2 different circuits! I’ll find out tonight at chore time whether I have ice or water.

Now, I just need to get the fencer back on and electric to 2 more tanks. I need to find more extension cords to run to 2 more lots! I’m back to breaking ice until then. Do I have enough water heaters for 2 more tanks? I think I’m missing one. I need to replace the one that I picked out of the pen in bits and pieces last winter. Time to run to the farm store.


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