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, April 30, 2010

The End of the First Training Week

April 30, 2010

The week ended very well. The training horse is riding very well. He came in a little ansy and a little pushy, even though he is a big puppy dog. He stands quietly in the stall now. Shaggy settled into being into the arena by himself.

I started with the training horse. He does not need any free lunging now, as I use free lunging to get the horse accustomed to the arena and to establish myself as herd mare, the “boss”. Boss does not necessarily mean a bad connotation. Horses want a boss mare. They want someone to take care of them. They want someone to alert them to danger. And I am here to take care of the horses that are in my care. And I am here to put horses in their place when they don’t know what their place is OR they don’t realize that they have a place in MY hierarchy!

I am concerned that the training horse is still kicking out when he lopes off. I will talk to the owner about getting his back checked. I am an Equine Massage Therapist, but my disclaimer is that I can not diagnose. Only Veterinarians can diagnose and treat. As I checked the training horse’s back, he did not display any reaction to pressure on the muscles adjacent to his spine. I checked both of his hips, and he did display a slight discomfort or movement when I added pressure around the muscle on his left hip. As I free lunged him, I did notice a slight change in stride.

When I rode him, he rode fine. I did not ask him to lope off, but going to the right, I felt that he wanted to lope off. I’ll wait to see what the vet says.

Shaggy did not buck as he was free lunged with the saddle on. I left him in the arena longer with the saddle on, and he was much more settled when I rode him. He wanted to buddy up sooner. I did ground drive him, and he turned and responded and gave to the bit as well as he gave last year. He did not forget anything.

He rode better, without shaking his head as much. But he gave behind the vertical. I think since he was behind the vertical at the trot, even on a loose rein, he was evading the bit. I checked his teeth after I finished riding him and they were sharp. He will have his teeth floated next week.

I can’t wait to ride the training horse after his back has been checked and after Shaggy has had his teeth floated. They are starting to move really nice and are being responsive to my legs.

Next week’s rides will be awesome!

Come along on the ride with me!

Training Day 4

April 29, 2010

Training Day 4 seemed like a repeat of Training Day 3. With a few exceptions. The training horse should be bucking less or none during free lunging with the saddle on. And I rode Shaggy.

With the training horse still bucking as he goes off into a lope, the owner and I are thinking that his back is sore. When I ride him at a walk and at the foxtrot, I don’t feel any apparent soreness or gimp. I won’t lope him until he is not bucking when he goes into the lope. He kicks out with one hind leg, and that would just jar my body too much.

He is moving beautifully off my legs. The owner wants him to side pass, back, etc with ease. I do ride with small spurs, that give an extra push when you need it. This horse seems more sensitive than that though, and rarely needs that push with the spur. He is all over the place with his head, and I am working on keeping him straight through the bit. I also changed bits on him, and will post a picture over the weekend, of what I am using. The bit is a milder bit that what I think he is used to. This one is a short shank Myler, that curves around his tongue. It would have more tongue release and more room for his tongue to lay.

Both the training horse and Shaggy give to the bit. I wanted to start working with the long lines with Shaggy yesterday, as he needs more desensitizing to the ropes. But it was an 80 degree day and I didn’t want to sweat that much! Lol Today is much cooler, barely in the 60’s after the storm we had last night, so I will be ground driving both horses today.

I free lunged Shaggy with the saddle on, and he bucked more than I thought he would! He hasn’t had a saddle on since last fall, but he shouldn’t have been bucking. So as he lunged and then started bucking, just as with the training horse, I changed directions. Since he is out of shape, it wasn’t long before he was winded, and walked towards me. He seemed quiet, and after putting on my helmet, I stepped up into the stirrup and back down a few time. He seemed quiet so I stepped up on him and walked him around. I used the same bit as the training horse wore today. He tossed his head a couple of times, and after I dismounted, I checked his mouth. His teeth are a little sharp and I will get them floated next week. I walked and trotted Shaggy around. He has a nice big stride. We did serpentines and reverses, and started some of the same maneuvers that I was working with the training horse. Shaggy hasn’t forgotten anything from last fall and moves off my legs. He does enough head tossing that I will ground drive him until he is turning comfortable. I am hoping that the teeth floating will take care of that problem.

We’ll see how today goes!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Training Day 3

Training Day 3 went very well. The horses need lunge time with the saddle on, to become more accustomed to loping with the saddle and not kicking out. The horse is standing quiet now when we come into the arena. I groomed and saddled first, then I did my free lunging.

The training horse trotted and loped around, only kicking out a few times. Every time there was a kick out when the horse was loping, I stopped him and changed direction. He settle down and only attempted small kicks. Once I could lounge him in both directions without a kick out, I stopped.

He was very willing to stop! He had worked and was definately blowing. I had my "long" lunge line out, and I circled it above my head. I gradually worked closer to him until the rope, with the baggie attached, was circling over his head. I worked on both sides of him and he didn't move. I brought the line down and swung the baggie over him to lay on the ground on the other side of him. I pulled it up and over the saddle.

I played with the lounge line and baggie around his legs and under his belly. I brought it up in front of him and rubbed his face with the baggie. He is excellent with this desensitizing.

Ride time was better. We did serpentines and circles in the arena, changing directions. He still fights the bit a little so today I'll put a different bit in his mouth. I am staying at the trot until there is no buck in his lope on the lunge line.

The training horse moves easily off my legs. 2 tracking and sidepassing is coming very easily. He moves his hip easily and does turns on the forehand. Pivoting is harder for him as he doesn't move his shoulders easily. As I pivot him, I turned the pivot into the 2 track. This helps to pick up his shoulders. As I pivot to the left, I end the pivot by picking up the right rein and ask him to 2 track to the left. This picks up the right shoulder, which is what needs to move to pivot left. As I pivot to the right, I end the pivot by picking up the left rein and ask him to 2 track to the right. This picks up the left shoulder, which is what needs to move to pivot right.

Today I will also work with ground driving both of these geldings, the training horse and Shaggy. Shaggy will need to be desensitized to the ropes.

On another note, it felt really good to get the horses out and go on a trail ride! I feel that I am back. I couldn't wait to load the mares, Starlet and Chick, and meet Tom at Branched Oak Lake for the Wed night Platte River Riders, PRR, ride. My parents are still in town so we only rode for an hour. I love the paths there, as they have both wide trails, where horses can ride side by side, and narrow trails.

Another rider was with Tom and I, as she wanted a slower ride also. Starlet is so fat that we walked slower than the group and got left behind. That was fine, as we turned around after 1/2 hour to head back. At the spot that we turned around, we had to cross a large log in the path. Starlet stepped over it easily with her front legs. I was up in 2 point position to be off her back. I didn't feel anything but after she crossed the log, and took a step, I had a severe jolt in my lower back. Another step and the pain was still there. We stopped and I stretched out my back. Tom said she jumped or hopped over the log with her hind legs, and my body did a whip lash. I couldn't believe that I didn't feel that. After a few minutes, my back was a little tight, but I didn't have those twinges. The rest of the ride was quiet. We ended up heading back to the trailers by routes of smaller paths that zig zagged off the larger paths. We kicked out a deer in the under brush, but typically, we only saw the tail!

We loaded easily and headed home, with Tom driving the truck with the stick shift!
I didn't want to keep straining my back. At home, I only felt a little stiff, and put some heat on my back after my shower. I feel fine this morning, just a little stiff like after a hard day of moving hay.

Today is going to be a sunny 80 degree day. I'm meeting Amber with Caden at a consignment sale at the Event Center. Then home to work horses and mow grass before the storm comes tonight!

Hope to see you on a ride soon!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Training Day 2

Today starts desensitizing…to the water sprinkler in the arena! As the horses free lunged, I turned the sprinkler on. At first, the horse would run scare, flying across the arena. Of course, I had the sprinkler set to water the 1/3 of the arena closest to the gate. As the horse tried to run to the gate, the sprinkler would rotate around and shoot water towards the horse. Let’s just say that this was a great way to keep the horses away from the gate.

But the newness wore off, and one of the horses actually stood in the sprinkler’s way, getting misted on every rotation. When I saw that happening, I knew it was time to turn the sprinkler off and finish my round pen work.

I saddled the horse and bridled without any problems. This is a training horse and one issue was bridling. But I think I had done enough round pen work the last 2 days that I have gained the horse’s respect. He stood like a gentleman, taking the bit gently as I opened his mouth with my thumb in the corner of his mouth. I will work with the owner to quietly open the horse’s mouth and to help the horse take the bit.

I hook the reins over the saddle pommel and turned him loose in the arena to lunge. Another issue that this horse has is wanting to buck with the saddle on. So back to free lunging as I wanted to see if he still had the desire to buck. Within 1 lap of the arena, he put down his head and started to buck. I kissed, and made him turn direction. He tried to buck 2 or 3 more times, and each time I made him change directions.

He trotted, and gaited, and loped around the arena with bucking, and eventually stood in the middle of the arena. I had attached a baggie to the end of a broken line of a lunge line, and I attached this lunge line to another lunge line. I had about a 20’ line with a baggie on the end of it, and started swinging that baggie around.

At first the horse would run, not liking the sound of the baggie in the air. As the horse became accustomed to the sound and movement, he stood still, watching the baggie move side to side, up in the air and down on the arena sand. The training horse allowed me to swing the baggie over his head, from both directions. I could flap the bag over the side of the saddle, around his legs, and under his belly. I worked from both directions. He did an excellent job and didn’t spook or care that something was moving around him.

My 6 year old gelding, Shaggy, was a little more unsure of himself. He continued to lunge as I waved the bag around. He would stand still as I swung the baggie in a large circle above my head, but he would not move close to me. When I stood still with the bag, he would come up to me. I left the baggie lay quietly on the sand, but as I brought it up to his side, he would move. I will continue to work with the baggie until he allows me to touch him all over with it attached to a lunge line.

The training horse rode well. Since he wants to buck under saddle, and did so at the lope, I will keep him at the walk and trot until he is solid. He wants to shake his head and grab the bit, and even though his teeth have been floated, I think the bit bothers him. He gives and bends beautifully, but doesn’t seem to want to do so easily. Tomorrow, I will play with bits, and find a bit that he is comfortable with.

I worked some maneuvers with him, as the owner wants him side passing and pivoting. He moved easily, but with some resistance. He may not understand what is being asked. I was pleased that he would attempt to 2 tract and to side pass. I’ll need to work on moving his shoulders to get him to pivot easier. He turns well on the forehand and he backs easily. I feel that I just need to slow him down and have him perform the maneuvers correctly and he won’t be anxious and resist.

My gelding will be saddled and lunged tomorrow. He has been ridden the past 3 years, but only 30 or 60 days and very infrequently. After a few days lunging with the saddle, I should be riding him. Last year, he ground drove beautifully, giving easily to the bit as he made the turns. Tomorrow, I’ll ground drive both horses.

Tomorrow, I’ll also have to start pulling the other gelding out of the lot too. And Chick needs to be ridden. I haven’t ponied the horses much, so I am going to either ride Starlet and pony Chick or the opposite. Then when all of this gets to be an easy schedule, the young 2 year old, Duster, needs to come to a stall and learn to tie and have some patience. He is Starlet’s son and we know how bully she can be!

Come along on the ride with me!

Monday, April 26, 2010

First Day of Training

The first day of training always begins with free lunging. The horse is in the arena. Halter only. No Saddle. No lines, except for the one that I am holding. No other horses.

This is bonding time. The horse TO me. Some may say that this is to establish dominance. Up until this very moment, that is exactly what I would say. But now, it is something different. I am getting into the mind of the horse. Yes, partial dominance. But mostly it is about what horses do. They play. They run. They lay their ears back. They establish dominance. They establish guidelines of what horses can do do what things and what other horses can not do those exact things.

Now, it is my turn to establish those guidelines. The horse pays attention to what I want. We do what horses do in horse world, except I am there. I am the Boss Mare. I tell everyone what to do and when. I protect them. They respect me.

I love to free lunge. For me, it is the true moment of knowing exactly what the horse is thinking. I see the horse's personality of the moment. And I decide if that personality will stay or if it needs a little adjustment, or a lot!

During free lunging, I change the horse's direction. A lot. If the horse gives me any attitude, like kicking out, head shaking, defiance in any way, we change directions a lot! When the horse lunges quietly, licks his/her lips, turns and walks quietly to me, I rub between the eyes and we quit.

We walk quietly out of the arena until the next day. We end on a good note. The horse goes back to the hay.

The horse is happy. I am happy. That is what horses need to have manners and, eventually, to enjoy the ride.

Come along on the ride with me!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Training Begins

This previous last month was a very long month. I am ready to get back to riding and training. Actually I should have started riding 3 weeks ago, but with moving store inventory, painting my barn office and the lounge, getting the lounge ready to be a storage room, and emptying the trucks and horse trailer of the store inventory, before I knew it, 2 weeks went by!

And during this time, since I renovated our living room a month earlier, I was finishing some painting and trimming in the house. I do not like trimming! One week for painting. One week for emptying the horse trailer and moving some office items from the house to the barn, and one week for organizing my messy home. Throw Easter weekend in there, and parents coming for a visit, and before I know it, 4 weeks have past! Geez, where does all my free time go? I figured once I wasn’t going to the store every day, I would have LOTS of time to ride my horses, right? Right! Not happening!

But this past week, I did get a ride in. Then, with my energy back, and my desire back, I was down with the flu for 2 days. Can you believe it? Sore stomach, achy legs, upset stomach. Yuck! Luckily, the 3rd time, I just felt a little queasy, and the first training horse came in.

Now, with the house “almost” organized, (will it ever get done?), I can spend at least ½ the day in the barn. I plan on giving an hour each day to planting flowers and a garden.

And I’ll need to spend at least an hour each day in my barn office. And I should also spend some time on re-evaluating my horse business: building up clientele, working on clinic schedules, answering emails. But I regress. Back to horses…

Spending time in the barn! I just want to go to the barn and stay there! I want to clean my tack. I want to get dirty, do chores, come in and shower, have no schedule and have no where to go. That is what I am going to do the first day my parents leave. But I need to spend time with my parents for the next few days, as they are aging and mum isn’t doing well.

I need to free lunge about 4 horses that first day, without rushing them to bond with me. I love free lunging. I want them to see me as the herd mare, Boss Mare. That’s me. I want their respect. I want them to freely give that to me. I will wait for each horse to do that. Then I know we can be buddies. But they need to be a buddy with manners. Free Lunging and bonding starts that manner business.

Then I free lunge with the saddle. No play time. We don’t get to buck and kick out. We learn to respect the saddle. And we bond with the saddle on. That makes me happy too!

Day 3, maybe sooner, depending on the horse, ride time starts for the riding horses. For the non-riding horses, we start to ground drive. And desensitize to ropes. And learn to turn. And learn to stop. And maybe learn to back. No wonder those young horses go ballistic sometimes. But I’m here to stop those young horses before they go ballistic. Let’s keep everyone safe. Especially the horse’s mind.

And the riding horses. Let’s get into their minds too, and keep them safe.

Come along on the ride with me.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ride Time

I had a nice ride today. After almost 6 months since my last ride, I actually
had a good time riding Starlet in the field. It's taken a lot of time to get
here, but it feels good. I didn't even tear up this time when I rode. I'm
glad. I want to get back to having a good time when I ride. I have missed

The other thing that feels good is that I just put out an email earlier today to
all my last year's lesson people. I am ready to start lessons, and schedule my
summer morning lessons. The house, barn and horse trailer are all back to
normal since moving the store inventory home. What a big job! This has been a
very busy 3 weeks, with a trip to CO thrown in there too. Parents are here this
week from PA, so it's hard to stay in the barn for more than a couple of hours
with them visiting. But tomorrow, I'm going to ride Chick and pony Startlet -
those mares are so fat! They both need worked each day!

Then I start again with Shaggy. He walks up to me to be petted all the time. It's time I give him the time and attention that he deserves.

Anyways, just wanted you to know I'm back to riding, so if you have any
lesson/training/trail riding needs, or just want to go on a day ride, I have

I will get a Centered Riding Introductory day scheduled soon, I hope. I would like to teach the exercises, first to the riders while they are off the horses. Once the riders have an understanding of the exercises on the ground, then I’ll have the riders on their horses. Food is always an incentive. Maybe I’ll have a free ride time, except for the cost of the arena, have a potluck meal, then do a couple of hours of the exercises. I hope to build up some interest for Centered Riding.

I’m so glad to finally feel like riding and to have taken a ride. Starlet better watch out - she is going to lose some weight. Shaggy should be fun to finish, as he is ready to move on!

Come along on the ride with me!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cleaning Up

This past Saturday, we cleared and burned brush, and played with Caden.

The horses watch while we cleared the tree area of fallen brush, and friends loaded some manure.

I gave Caden a drink.

Caden is playing and running with Cassie while Great Grandpa and Grandma watch.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'm Getting Organized

The tack store is closed. The inventory has been moved home, and is somewhat organized. The barn office is almost totally organized. And that is a great feeling. 2 weeks ago, on March 31st, I didn't think I would ever see an end, let alone a beginning, to being organized, with both the tack and the barn a mess.

The first week after closing the store, I painted the barn office and the room that I would store the inventory. I touched up paint in the house. I cleaned up the house.

The second week, I unpacked the horse trailer, that had housed some of the product from the store. I set up my office, carrying more boxes from the house. The magazines and books are displayed on shelves.

I've taken some folders to the barn office that will make me go to the barn to get work done. I'm glad there is a room heater for winter time. For now, there is a ceiling fan, which is fine for spring weather. But hubby says he will install a window air conditioner for summer 100 degree days. I sure hope so!

More and more boxes are going to the barn office. 3 weeks ago, it was a storage room for tables and shelves. Today, it is painted and looks like an office. I have empty shelves, which is a nice feeling.

Now, I can start scheduling some lessons.

I also have to get back to riding. It's about time. I need to give myself a quick kick in the rear. Get moving!

But parents will be here tomorrow for 2 weeks, and instead of riding this week, I have gone double time on getting the house and barn ready. At least now a person can sit in the living room and dining room. I can actually put pictures on the walls.

Even though I said this week I would start riding, maybe next week???

For right now, I need customers come set in these chairs!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

More Thoughts about Finny

Yes, it's been 6 months since Finny has been gone. I need to finish what I started writing about last night. I just didn't get all my thoughts from the last 2 days down, as it was late and I was tired last night.

I spent all day outside yesterday. My 2 boarders and I wormed and vaccinated 10 horses in the morning. This year, we vaccinated for rabies as there have been 3 confirmed cases in our county in the last few months.

Then I spent the rest of the morning and most of the afternoon clearing and burning brush. I wanted to get organized in my barn office next week, and my husband and Jacob hung 3 cupboards for me. Jacob, Amber and Caden stayed, and friends came to have hamburgers on the grill. Afterwards, the 2 little ones rode their horse while big sister led them around.

I know that I'm still battling with all my inner thoughts of when Finny died. I know, deep down, that I cared for him as well as I could have. With hindsight, I know there were other things I could have done. But hindsight gives us knowledge, and I need to take that knowledge and move on.

I will quit beating myself up with the "what I didn't do" and the "what if's". I know now what I could have done different, and Finny still could have colicked. I could have been home and he could have colicked.

I guess the guilt is taking a long time to process. I'm not sure if the guilt will ever go away. Someone told me that I didn't fail him, that he and I did what I wanted him to do. Maybe then I'm more sad than feeling guilty, knowing that he was in pain. I know I made the right decision to stop his pain, and allow him to die peacefully, with me petting his neck. I hope, no, I know, that brought him some comfort.

So I'm still sad, and I know that will remain. As I talk to some friends that have lost favorite horses, they are still sad and get tears in their eyes, years later. Maybe I'm finally starting to heal, deep inside, as all the other emotions turned to sadness. I hope so, as I can deal with sadness. It was almost unbearable to deal with the guilt and anguish that I felt for a long time.

I can also start remembering Finny with fondness, as I always have this past 6 months, and not with the cloud of guilt over my head. With fondness, I can smile and remember our good times. As tears stream down my face now, this early Sunday morning, the emotions are coming out instead of staying bottled up inside my heart. The sadness can be replaced with acceptance of his death. I will always be sad, but now I can also start enjoying my memories of our rides, instead of always wanting to cry as I think of those rides.

Finny and I shared some awesome moments. We had wonderful rides. Finny took me a step further in understanding horses. We rode together as one. I left him lead and I matched my riding to his movement.

I will take what I learned from Finny, and give that to other horses. Now, I can start to have a part of Finny in each horse I ride.

Until we ride again....

Saturday, April 10, 2010

It's been 6 Months

Good bye, Finny. It has been 6 months since you have been gone. I miss you. But I have to move on if I want a life with horses. I will miss you always, as I will always feel that there was a lot that you could have taught me.

I have been sad, mostly because I felt that I have failed you. I should have cared for you better.

I will always miss what we never had. I will always be grateful for what you have taught me.

I am looking forward to loping you in heaven,

Until then, my friend.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Store Closing

February 13, 2010
April 9, 2010

(I started this blog almost 2 months ago. Then I left it unfinished until now.)

I made the decision last fall to close the store. I didn’t make this decision in haste. I didn’t make it because all the kids were gone and I had no extra help, even though I do have help from the boys when I am in a bind, when I need help quickly. Actually, that would have been a reason to not close the store. If I have no extra help at the barn, then why not continue to sell feed and tack and all the other horsey items at the store? I didn’t make the decision because my trail riding horse, Finny, died, even though that is making me feel a little lost. I didn’t make it because Tom was working such long hours at work, and that is making me lonely at times. All of these reasons should be why I shouldn’t close the store.

I actually made the reason to close the store because I wanted to do more with horses, even though Tom works long hours and even though I don’t have the boys at home anymore to help me. Sara has been gone for almost 10 years since her college years started, except for a few summers. Jacob has been gone since he has been married almost 3 years ago. He did live at home for his last year of college and the year before he got married. Micah has been gone for a little over 3 years, since January of his Freshman year in college. He is now a Senior at UNL.

Don’t you ever feel that you’re not happy and you don’t know why? Sometimes, I don’t know what I want to do. I have a feeling of what I should do, so I need to move with that feeling. Sometimes, I’m feeling lost. The house is empty and the barn is empty. Sometimes I come home to emptiness and that makes me sad. I need something in my life, and I feel I’m on a search for that “something”.

I wanted to close the store to devote more time to horses. To really getting them trained. To dedicate more time to lessons. To study about horses and get into the mind of horses so that I can pass that knowledge on to my customers. And to develop a stronger bond and riding ability with my horses through Centered Riding.

The Tack Store was what I needed as the kids were leaving the house. I had something to keep me busy. And best of all, I was still doing something about horses. But now it’s time to move on.

Centered Riding is a Journey. Last summer, I felt complete. I felt that I found what completed me, both as a rider and as a woman. I felt “centered”. I felt at peace, and I felt a calmness surround me. I tried to concentrate on having that feeling engulf my whole life, especially when I was around my family.

Then Finny died and something inside me died. I’m still trying to dig myself out of that feeling. Maybe I never will. But if I want to have a life with horses, I need to get motivated. I knew that I couldn’t do that fully and still have the store. I was feeling lost, as I was a “woman without a horse”. Late last October, I made the decision to move on.

Closing the store brought some stress to my life. I knew I had to move on. I knew I had to get back outside. But closing the store was a lot of work. And the calmness that I gained through Centered Riding slowly left me through this past 6 months, and especially this last month. I completely lost my control on the last day of moving. That upset me very much. I felt that I was back to old ways, and I knew I wanted more out of life than to be upset over little things that happen along the way.

Everything from the store is in my house, in the horse trailer, and in the barn. I am slowly digging my way out of my lost feeling as I organize my mess. My barn office and lounge has a new coat of paint. My store office is being moved into my barn office. Some of the tack and product from the store will be organized in boxes in the lounge. As I move product out of the horse trailer and my basement, my house will slowly get organized again.

I am started to get my horse business revived. Lessons and training will start soon. But I haven’t started riding yet, and I need to make time for that. Last week was moving week, then we had Easter weekend. This week was cleaning and painting and starting to organize my mess. Next week is the week I’ll get back to riding. Starlet is waiting, and if any horse can motivate me, she can.

I feel some energy returning, as I’m getting up earlier the last 2 days. I haven’t set the alarm this week, as I knew my body needed rest. I’m starting to want to do something with the horses. I’m starting to want to schedule riding lessons. I’m starting to feel again.

My new logo is what is engraved on a Brighton’s Jewelry bracelet that I just recently purchased.

“Embrace the Journey”

Come along on the Ride - I promise I'll be riding soon!

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Yesterday, April 7th, was hubby, Tom's birthday. A friend teased him about getting info from AARP! Even though we have a few years before we can take "advantage" of the program, we think it's funny that we are getting info now. I guess they want us to get used to being old enough to be part of AARP!

Today, April 8th, is Jacob's 26th birthday! The middle child. Fast labor. I was only at the hospital a very short time! Left the house about noon, had him before 3! Now he is 26 with a baby of his own, 15 month Caden! I think they look a like!

The "Boys" at Thanksgiving,

Front Row: Jacob with Caden, Tom
Back Row: Jake, Micah

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Makenzie's Easter

Easter dress

Hunting for Easter baskets with Pop

Finding her basket

Seeing her spring dresses and chocolate bunny

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Visiting Makenzie

I’m visiting Makenzie in Colorado. And also visiting her mommy and daddy, too. But I have really missed playing with Makenzie. Our last visit together was early February, when we met Sara, Jake and Makenzie in Chicago, and flew on to PA to visit Makenzie’s Great Grandparents.

I picked up Tom from work and we left Lincoln at 3 in the afternoon on Thursday. We hit wind, rain, snow and 32 degree weather, and it felt like the trip was taking us longer than normal. It probably felt this way because I wanted to get there so bad! Sara said she would kept Makenzie up so we could see her when we got there. I just knew we were an hour late and Makenzie would be in bed! As we headed south from I-80, and had 45 minutes to go, I told Tom we were going to be later than we thought. He reminded me that our time in the Tahoe was an hour later than Colorado time, which I knew. But after 7 long, windy, very loud windy, hours, the brain didn’t function as fast. So, yes, Makenzie was still awake when we got there, since it was 9pm their time, and ready to play with Grandma and Pop, even though she should have been in bed for the night an hour earlier.

Wow, has Makenzie changed her looks in 2 months. Her face is much thinner, and she lost her baby look. She is so happy and talks a lot! Imagine that!

Sara worked on Friday, and Jake and Pop worked in the house while I got to watch Makenzie! Hard job.

After breakfast and her morning nap, we played and played and played!

We played with farm animals and farm people. We played with music toys. We played with puzzles. We hugged her baby doll.

Makenzie took her baby doll for a ride on her horsey.

After lunch and a short nap, we played some more. Tom and Jake went for some parts for a light in the kitchen and for some fencing. Makenzie and I played a little more, then she took another short nap.

She scratched pop's back.

We had supper, and since Makenzie only took 2 1-hour long naps, she was tired. She went to bed but started fussing an hour later. She threw up! Yuck! I gave her a bath while Sara and Jake cleaned her sheets. Poor little girl. Then during the night, she threw up again, but Sara didn’t find the mess until morning. Yucky! I gave her another bath!

Sara had to go to church to practice bells, Jake worked, and Tom went looking for an extra tire for one of our cars. Makenzie and I watched the dogs play outside and she ate some crackers. She was still tired, so she took a 3 hour nap. I just existed. I did a little computer work, but didn’t accomplish much more than that.

Sara came home and Makenzie woke up with a slight fever.

She just wanted to lay with her mommy for awhile. Then she got up to play and lounge on her chairs.

Sara fell asleep and Makenzie played with me. She sat on my lap and watched the dogs play outside. Today is very windy and too cold to even bundle up and walk outside for a few minutes.

Makenzie lounged on her bed, played some more, and we sat and watched the dogs some more.

Now she’s down for another nap. I hope she wakes up without a fever. We will be coloring Easter Eggs after dinner!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Snow on April Fools Day...

and it's no joke! This is crazy! Tom and I are on our way to see Makenzie, Sara and Jake in Colorado. We left eastern Nebraska at 3 pm and it was 86 degrees! We hit wind half way across the state. Temps starting falling and fast! It seemed like the temp dropped 10 degrees every 1/2 hour. Now, we are in eastern Wyoming, near Cheyenne, and ready to head south. We hit snow and 34 degrees! What is strange are the clouds in the distance. It's not quite 8 pm here, the sun is setting, and you can see a layer of light between the low clouds and the higher, thicker, snow clouds that are just lingering.

By next week, I hope to be back to riding, training, and giving lessons full time, or at least as much as I want to. Right now, I need a few days rest. What a job moving the inventory to home, cleaning up the store, and selling racks. I still have the 4 display cases (2 of which I used for checkout) that I have decided to sell.

I was exhausted last night! The house is a disaster and the barn has stuff everywhere. Next Monday, I start cleaning up my office and lounge space in the barn and moving my office there. Then the barn gets spruced up. My house needs some major organization, as clothes, books, and other boxes from the store are everywhere. I guess I should have stayed opened 1 more month, but I'll start getting things on my website and start selling on ebay! I'll try to get to some shows and events to sell some things there too.

I want to be outside now. I have 1 or 2 training horses coming in over the next week or so. I plan on getting riding lessons started next week too. I am interested in starting the adult group back up and giving more individual lessons.

I plan on putting on some introductory horsemanship clinics locally, either morning or day clinics. I may even try a Friday night ride time, as an introduction to Centered Riding exercises.

For training, whether it's a day, or week, or month, of training or riding, I plan on specializing in solid basics, trail maneuvers and desensitizing horses.

I would love to do some horsemanship clinics, for both kids and adults, with or without teaching the Centered Riding exercises. I would like to work with groups, 4-H clubs, or individuals who want to get a group together, for an hour or longer, of instruction time.

I left 86 degrees in Lincoln to come to CO to see Makenzie for Easter. Pop wants to hunt Easter baskets with her. We are in western NE and it's in the 30's now and spitting snow, no April Fools here!!! 35 now!!! Now in eastern Wyoming, it's 32! Brrrrr

After next Monday or Tuesday, first nice warm 70 degree day, I'm playing hooky and riding? anyone else?

Come along on the ride with me!

Last Day at the Store

I am exhausted. I've had a month of closing the tack store.

I have offered store specials that have brought many customers in to the store all month. I've packed up product to take to a vendor booth at the Nebraska Horse Expo. I've set up, worked the booth for 3 days, and packed back up. Back to the store to set product back out for final closing sales for the last 2 weeks of March.

Saturday was my last day for selling items at the store. Doors closed at 2 pm. Later Saturday afternoon, the remainder of the feed went home to feed to my horses and packing started.

We usually pack into our horse trailer, but since we left our batteries out all winter, they went dead. The trailer was plugged in for moving at Expo time, but wouldn't charge. We left it plugged in for the last 2 weeks, adding distilled water, and when we checked Saturday night, the trailer hydralics worked! One piece of good news! Now we can pack into the horse trailer on Sunday!

Sunday morning, clothes boxes were packed and loading into the horse trailer. One trailer load of racks and heavy boxes of clothes were brought home. While the guys unloaded the trailer and truck, Amber and I continued packing.

Monday, my friend Virginia helped. Amber and Caden came back to help. We finished packing clothes, jewelry, books. Virginia and I packed up all the shelves of fly sprays, grooming supplies, first aid, etc. I continued to work on everything else after they left for the afternoon. Monday after work, Jacob, Micah and Tom packed the horse trailer with all the boxes. They loaded extra shelving units into hoppers for metal recycling. Tom and I brought the trailer home and parked it. Unpacking it can wait for a week. We unloaded the Tahoe. I took a shower and had a glass of wine.

Tuesday, Virginia was back. We packed up office supplies and loaded book cases onto the truck. After Virginia left, I brought the truck home and unloaded it. I went back to the store to continue packing up the office. Everyone, except Micah who had a class, was back Tuesday night and packing continued. Amber finished packing up my office books and Jacob and Tom loaded them into the Tahoe. Tom and Jacob loaded my desk and a few other things onto the flat bed, and we brought it home and parked it into the barn. We unloaded the Tahoe. I took a shower and had 2 glasses of wine.

Yesterday, I brought 2 truck loads of office supplies home and unpacked them into the house. Last night, final clean up. Everyone came. Last minute stuff for 2 hours, loading the seats of the truck and Tahoe, and filling the back of the truck. The very last glass case that we were loading, had a small accident, and glass broke. At that minute, I was so exhausted and overwhelmed by the move, that all I could do was yell about it. Glass got cleaned up, doors were closed, and we left by 7:30! That felt great, as the last 2 nights, it was close to 9 before Tom and I left.

Tom and I unloaded the truck and Tahoe. I took a shower and had 3 glasses of wine! I finally slept better last night. I feel like a truck ran over me this morning though. Not from the wine, as the first glass was just boxed Zinfandel.

I am on my 3rd cup of coffee this morning. I sent an email out, apologizing to Jacob, Amber and Micah for yelling last night. Now, all they will remember is that I yelled at them and I feel like a heel. Their help was necessary and very much appreciated.

I have chores to do and water tanks to fill. I have to pack clothes and pack the Tahoe, as we are driving to Colorado today to see Sara, Jake and Makenzie for Easter.

Next week, unpacking starts and the barn office will get organized. For now, I am taking the next 4 days off.


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