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)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Valentines Day

February 14, 2010

I wrote my husband a poem for Valentine’s Day.

Actually, I read a poem, then I rewrote it, making it apply to our lives. Regardless, I wrote it from the heart, saying:

Tom, here is a poem I found, then I rewrote it to let you know what you mean to me!

Year Round Valentine
I love you all through February,
Not just on Valentine’s Day;
I cherish you when flowers of spring
Appear in the midst of May.
I adore you in the summer,
When the air is filled with heat;
Without you in my life each day,
I wouldn’t be complete.
I treasure you in fall,
When leaves are turning gold;
I loved you when you were younger;
I’ll love you when you’re old.
I prize you in the winter,
When colder days are here;
I love you, love you all the time,
Every minute of the year.
So I’ll give to you this Valentine,
But I want to let you know,
It’s not just today, but always,
That I will love you so.

All through the month of February, even when the snow flies.
Not just the one day we express our love, but every day,
You are deeply loved through all the seasons,
The first buds of spring, the heat of the summer sun, the crisp coolness of fall, and definitely the snowy days of winter when you do morning chores for me.
Starting with the first day of spring and our anniversary,
On our birthdays and throughout the summer,
All the special holidays.
During horse rides, swim time and bar-b-ques
With you in my life, my life is complete,
And I feel loved.
I love you as hot summer days turns to shorter fall days,
And during the crisp mornings and the changing leaves.
I have loved you for over 30 years
And through the birth of children and now grandchildren.
Through cold wintery days
And warm vacation times,
I love you every minute of every day.
This valentine is to tell you
That you have my heart and my soul
Today and every day,
Because I will always love you.

And after Tom read it, and gave me the appropriate hug and kiss, he promptly posted it on the frig front!

We haven’t had anything on the front of the frig since cute elementary artwork of the kids! I thought that was cute of him to do!

Then… Tom gave me a card and a little rose bush.

The roses were so small and delicate, and fragrant. Tom knows that I LOVE flowers, ALL the time. It does NOT have to be a special occasion to have him bring me flowers! I finally got some rose bushes planted that actually bloomed this past summer, and I had fresh roses on the kitchen counter! I love it! And he picked a special card, and underlined all the parts that meant a lot to him, about me, or about our lives.

He always does that to his cards, and I love that, too!

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone, even though it was 5 days ago. But every day can be a special day to tell someone that you love them, or to do something special for them!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

February Fury!

February Fury means snow, wind and delays! And more snow! We were in south central Pennsylvania when the snow storm hit. Visiting family for 6 days with our daughter, Sara, Jake, and granddaughter Makenzie, we thought the trip would be uneventful except for visiting with family.

We thought the trip would be fun, and maybe a little chaotic. With visiting with 2 sets of family, we traveled 3 hours when arriving, another 3 hours to get to the next grandmother’s house, and 2 hours to the airport. What we didn’t know was that snow was expected as soon as we landed and would be part of our travel plans the whole trip, which extended into 3 more days, with travel delays at the airports.

We arrived at the Pittsburgh airport last Thursday. Snow was forecasted to start later that day. Since we are at the edge of the Appalachian Mountains, I knew we wanted to get through those hills and home to DuBois. After meeting a college friend for a quick lunch, we headed north for an hour, then east. An hour later, we were getting off the exit and heading towards the very small village of Sabula in Sandy Township. It’s been a long time since I saw the signs for villages and townships, but that is what makes up the countryside of Pennsylvania.

Passing by Sabula Lake brought back childhood memories of swimming and ice skating. Turning left off the road, we drove ½ mile up the hill to my childhood farm. Now sold, my parents still own a small corner where they live. There were snow covered fields. They hadn’t lacked for snow either this winter. We drove down the road that led to their driveway, past where my Grandma Ruth used to live. Another memory surfaced of sledding on the road, and only standing in the ditch when cars went by. What were we thinking?

We arrived home, and woke to a sunny day on Friday. The snow hadn’t reached us, and hadn’t started! (But it was on its way!) We drove to Cook’s Forest, to show Sara and Jake some of the scenery. By Friday evening, flurries started and by 11 pm, we had 4” of snow. The 1st round of the fury had started. We had 9” of snow by Saturday morning. Luckily, the roads cleared easily, and we had our family potluck.

By 2 pm, we were on our way to State College, and later on to Middletown.

The highways to State College were clear and the roads around State College were snow covered. They had received 12-15” of snow, but we were still able to tour Penn State, stopping at the Meats Lab where Tom worked while he was in college. We stopped at the Penn State Book Store so Sara and Jake could look for PSU sweatshirts and souvenirs.

As we headed southeast towards Middletown, the roads cleared again. We arrived after dark, but once again we didn’t run into snow covered roads until town. We were lucky, as the area had an accumulation of 12-18” of snow, and further south had up to 2’. Church was cancelled for Sunday morning, but our planned Open House with family and friends was still on. By noon, main roads were cleared, and we enjoyed seeing Tom’s aunts, uncles, cousins and family friends. Monday morning was sunny, and we visited with 2 family members who weren’t feeling well enough to be out the day before. Tom was also able to visit with Uncle Jake and Aunt Helen with Sara and Jake, but Makenzie was tired and I stayed at Tom’s mom’s place to get her ready for bed.

Later on Monday, Chicago was beginning to get the snow storm. The fury had started! By Tuesday morning, Chicago was closed down and all flights going through Chicago were cancelled. The snow hadn’t started in Pennsylvania, but Tom and my flight was cancelled until Wednesday morning. Sara, Jake and Makenzie were flying through Denver, and after an hour delay at the Baltimore airport, they were on their direct flight home.

By 3 pm, airports were reporting delays and cancellations at many major airports. Flurries started in the early evening, and by 10 pm, we had 4-5” of the fluffy wet snow laying on the cars and road. By morning, it was much more snow laying on the cars!

Tom and I had one cancellation after another. By Tuesday evening, our first change was cancelled until later Wed. We woke Wed to over another foot of snow, and another flight cancellation until Thursday. Wednesday was a blistery cold, windy day and by Thursday morning, flights were cancelled until Friday.

The February fury Snow Storm wrecked havoc up the entire eastern coast. Many major cities, Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York, as well as cities in Delaware and Massachusetts and New York, saw up to 2 feet of snow. Many cities saw record snowfalls for the month of February, as well as for the winter.

And the winter isn’t over yet. Another snow store, forecasted to bring another 6-12”, is to start next Monday in the East. This is one time I’m glad I live in the Midwest. Except for a dusting of snow, we have only had a total of 3-4” of snow since the day after we left, Nebraska hasn’t seen any snow since last Friday.

There was snow on the ground in 49 states on Friday. Hawaii was the holdout, thanks to an unusual combination of weather patterns that dusted the U.S., including Dallas, Atlanta, Georgia, and Florida, where hurricanes are more common than snowflakes. More than two-thirds of the nation's land mass had snow on the ground yesterday morning, and then it snowed ever so slightly in Florida. 49 states out of 50. Isn’t that amazing. And it could have been 50 out of 50 states, as there is usually snow on the top of Hawaii’s highest volcano, but not this year. Go figure!

But then, I wonder how long it will take for the snow that we have to melt? But I doubt it is going to take as long as the snow back East!

And I wonder about March Madness???

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Trip Home to PA with Makenzie!

We came home last week to visit parents/grandparents in Pennsylvania. My daughter, Sara, wanted to come home to PA with her husband, Jake, and 1 year old daughter, Makenzie. Great Grandma “G Ma”, Tom’s Mom, has not seen Makenzie. Jake has not seen the western part of the state where I grew up. I love the Appalachian mountains.

Last Thursday morning, Sara, Jake and Makenzie flew from Denver. Tom and I left from Omaha. We were lucky enough to meet up in Chicago! We haven’t seen Makenzie for almost 6 weeks and I was anxious to hold her. Tom and I arrived first and we were at their gate when they got off the plane. How much fun is that to see them walk through the gate, and I was snapping pictures!

We found our gate for our flight to Pittsburgh. Sara said I could watch Makenzie. I think they just needed a break. That girl can sure cruise around, looking at everything and everyone!

Makenzie sat on my lap for the 1 ½ flight. She sat between Pop and I to eat a snack. She stood and looked between the seats to talk to the people behind us. As the plane started moving to the runway, she was excited and talked non-stop, watching intently out the window.

Once we arrived at the Pittsburgh airport, and retrieved our luggage, we found the rental car company. When the sales person saw the 5 of us, including 1 baby, and saw the amount of luggage that we had, including a car seat, she said we wouldn’t fit into a Fusion! With the car seat, umbrella stroller, our 3 pieces of luggage, Sara’s 2 “huge” luggage bags, there would be no more to sit. So we upgraded to a minivan, which had front end drive. That was a lucky thing, as we would eventually need it.

We met a college friend of mine for lunch. I hadn’t seen Barb for at least 20 years, so it was fun to reminisce for an hour. Then we piled back into the van to drive through Coraopolis, a small town where Tom and I lived for 2 years. The roads are steep, the front yard is steeper. But after many years of not seeing Sara’s first home, the home and back yard seemed smaller than I remembered.

The forecast was for snow for western Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh was to start getting snow later Thursday afternoon. We wanted to be in and out of the area before the weather turned worse in those hills. We drove across the Sewickley bridge and headed north to Interstate 80. An hour north and 1 ½ hour east, we got off the exit at my home town of DuBois.

My parents had a great time visiting with Makenzie. And she in turn, loved playing with their Bichon, Cassie.

Great Grandma and Great Grandpa surprised her with a little foam chair that turned into a lounge bed. She loved it!

She would lay on it and drink her sippy cup.

She would run to it and flop down.

We would make it into a chair and she would turn around, back up, and sit down!

I played peek a boo around the edge of their sofa, and she would run to her little bed and lay down. What fun!

My sister, Val, and her husband, Ed, visited Thursday night, Friday, we drove towards Clarion to drive through Cooks Forest. We wanted to see a museum that showed items from the area. We did not take into account that we were in the hills, in February, and on back roads. Surprise, but there isn’t much open in February in Cooks Forest!

That evening, my brother, Ray, and grandson came to visit. Makenzie had a lot of fun playing with her 3rd cousin. I believe that is what they are, as Makenzie’s mom, Sara, is a first cousin to Ray’s son, Ray, and the little boy is his.

Saturday morning, we woke up to about 9” of snow. We had planned a family potluck from 10-1, but we thought we should cancel it. Grandma, Grandpa and I started calling people. Then within an hour, with some discussion between Sara and Tom, it was back on from 11-2. We called people back! Arriving at the fire hall about 10, we started sitting out the food, paper plates, and silverware. We made coffee and filled a cooler with bottled water. And we waited for relatives to arrive.

Front Row: Grandma and Brenda
Back Row: Grandpa, Uncle Bryan, Uncle John, and Uncle Ray

Sara, Jake and Makenzie met Grandma’s sister, Aunt Ann, and 2 of her daughters. They also met Grandma’s half-brother and half-sister, who I haven’t seen in 20 years. My three brothers and their wives were there, as well as 4 of my nieces and nephews, Ray, John, Joanna, and Lisa, and their kids. Grandpa’s brother had passed away about 5 years ago. Two of my cousins were able to come, and some of their children. I had fun introducing my granddaughter, Makenzie, to many of my relatives.

Later that day, we traveled to Tom’s mom in Middletown, PA, near Harrisburg. We drove through State College, and visiting with 2 of our college professors. We toured the meats lab where Tom worked for 3 years.

Across the road was the Penn State stadium and a statue of Joe Paterno!

We just had to take pictures.

We went to the Penn State book store, and headed to Tom’s mom’s house, about 2 hours away.

We had clear roads all the way to Middletown. But they had so much snow the evening before and during Saturday morning, that many of the side streets were full of snow.
Great-Grandma Messick, "G-Ma", met Makenzie for the first time:

Sara with Makenzie, Tom and Tom's Mom "G-Ma.

Church was cancelled for Sunday morning, but our family gathering that was planned from 3-4 was still on. We met many of Tom’s Aunts and Uncles, as well as some cousins.

Tom’s cousin Cathy and sister-in-law, Judy, helped his mom to organize and set up for the party. We had a nice cake and snacks for everyone.

Monday, we went to Kuppy's for breakfast. Makenzie had her first Dried Beef Gravy.

This is typical PA Dutch Cuisine, as well as Scrapple, Sweet Bologna, and Pot Pie (which we didn't have).

We went to visit Aunt Florence and one of Tom’s cousin, Fern, who had broken and leg and was in rehab. We went to the PSU store in Middletown. Tom took Sara and Jake to see Uncle Jake and Aunt Helen. Makenzie was tired and stayed at Grandma’s with me.

We were to fly home on Tuesday. Monday evening, snow was accumulating in Chicago, and the airport was calling for delays. By Tuesday morning, Chicago was closed down. Being that we had a change in planes in Chicago, our flight was cancelled.

Sara, Jake and Makenzie were able to fly direct from Baltimore to Denver, and arrived home about an hour later than planned. I will blog tomorrow about the February Fury here in Pennsylvania and what that meant for us!

But for now, I had to say good bye to Makenzie. Bye, Sweetheart. I love you. Thanks for playing with me and making me laugh!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

6 MORE Weeks of Winter

We don’t want to hear this, not this winter when it seems like winter has been a year long. We don't want to hear this, not ever. But here it is, the terrible phrase, “6 more weeks of winter“. Only because Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow.

German tradition holds that if a hibernating animal sees its shadow on Feb. 2, which is the Christian holiday of Candlemas, then winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow is seen, legend says spring will come early.

Phil has emerged to see his shadow in Pennsylvania, meaning winter will last another six weeks. We haven’t seen much sun all winter. How did my home state of Pennsylvania get so lucky on this special day? But as a kid growing up in Pennsylvania, I don’t remember dreary winter days. I remember lots of days of sledding, building snowmen, and snowball fights. I remember the glare of the sun on the snow. Sorry, America, I guess you shouldn’t have chosen PA to determine how long winter would be.

The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club annually announces Phil's forecast at dawn on Gobbler's Knob, about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. Hundreds of onlookers watched as Phil was brought out. Temperatures were in the teens. Why would any rodent want to come out on such a cold day?

I grew up within an hour of Punxsutawney. The Punxsy High School teams were a major rival of my high school. I never thought that Groundhog Day was a special occasion. And it amazes me every year that it is a national event! I just shake my head. And all because of a rodent that wrecks havoc in our hay fields and gullies!

Since 1887 Phil has predicted more winter weather by seeing his shadow nearly 100 times. There are no records for nine years.

Does this mean that we really don’t need Punxy Phil? We might as well say that there is always 6 more weeks of winter after Feb 2?

On a good note, Spring is coming. As soon as this 6 week period is over, Spring will be just a few days away. So, for every day we spend in this extra 6 weeks of winter, spring is 1 day closer.


Messick Quarter Horses

Check out my website at:

Lessons, Training and Horse Sales
E-mail me at

Messick Tack & Feed

Messick Tack & Feed
website will be up soon! Click on logo to see current specials!