Monday, September 29, 2008

Another New Edition in 2008

On Friday night Ryan and I arrived home late after going to the Giants game in SF. I was drifting off into a deep slumber when I was jolted awake by Bee's neighing. Something had to change. I marched off to the barn the next morning for my lesson and started chatting to my friend, Nicole, while grooming our horses. I asked her about her goat she had generously offered up the week before. She was having trouble with him because he kept head butting the older sheep in her pasture. So the next morning, Ryan and I drove over to her ranch, horse trailer and all! I spent most of yesterday watching over the pasture, making sure Bee didn't trample him down like he did with the sheep. My midnight check calmed my nerves when I saw eight legs, all attached! Today when I came home to feed them lunch, I saw the two of them grazing side by side in the pasture. I'm so excited that Bee and Chuggy are friends at last and I expect to get through tonight without being jolted out of sleep by a whinny!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday afternoon trail ride

My daughter Katie and I took Bar and Lena out today for a great trail ride, though we had some interesting technical difficulties. Lena managed to tweak the pin that holds the trailer divider enough so it won't latch right and she ends up with an inch or two more room for her hind end. Argh. Since she didn't scramble as much in the trailer either direction (scrambling being a relatively new development for her), I'm wondering if she figured out how to ease her claustrophobia on her own.

Both horses were easy to load (despite lots of commotion from a horse show going on at the barn) and eager to get out for a ride. Once we got Lena in, Bar was so eager to go, I had to restrain him a little while Katie was securing the divider! (This was obviously before the bent pin.)

We went out to Shiloh, where it was pretty toasty, but kept them at a pretty mellow walk most of the time. Bar is doing much better with his downhill, really getting his hind end underneath to brace himself better and not rushing as much. He felt much more sure-footed and confident, which was pretty cool.

After we were done, Lena played in the water trough, splashing and blowing bubbles. Bar wanted to roll, but it was too rocky. Then he thought briefly about climbing into the water trough, but I discouraged him. Maybe we're getting close to being able to handle water crossings? Ha!

It is really good to be home for at least a little while, and really grand to be out on the trail with my daughter and our horses. Bar has come so far and is so willing to go along with us (at least most of the time), I can hardly believe it. Well, I can believe it, I'm just glad we stuck it out with him. He's totally been worth it. And look how handsome he is!

All in all, a fabulous Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Headed home

Steve and I are sitting at JFK Airport, patiently waiting for our flight to board. We drove down from Fishkill, NY--Steve's home when he first started at IBM many years ago--we wanted to be sure we got here in plenty of time. That means we were way early, but, hey, there's wireless here in the Jet Blue hotspot and I can check my email and write up a blog post. Not so terrible all things considered.

It was a good trip and I got a really great view of the East Coast--from NYC to Cape Cod and many points in between. I stuck my feet in the Atlantic Ocean and in Cape Cod Bay. I watched fall colored trees drift past my window as we cruised down through the Hudson Valley.

I didn't get near one horse, though I did see several "horse crossing" signs in Cape Cod. I guess I'll just have to save all my pent-up horse affection for my own two ponies. The last horse I got close to was attached to a carriage in Central Park and the carriage driver didn't seem inclined to allowing me to unhitch his money-earner and go gallivanting through the park. Oh, well.

I'm planning on spoiling Bar and Lena rotten as soon as I can possibly get rolling tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Horse spotting

I saw two horses tonight, pulling carriages in Hell's Kitchen, one on the way to dinner and one on the way back.

However, due to the fact that my co-workers don't necessarily understand (let alone share) my obsession, I did not dart through traffic to get a soft nose fix.

So I came back to the hotel, called Steve to say hello and get a horse update, sent an email to Cheri (from Slide Mountain, where Lena came from), and IM'd my daughter to tell her hi and that I was pretty sure she would bail me out for stealing a horse while I'm here. Maybe.

Then I went to Slide's site and found the picture of Lena on the page about their breeding program. Why? Because she's just so darn cute and her personality shines through in this picture. (That's her on the left, her brothers Toby and Jazz next to her on the right, and XRay in front.)

Like I said yesterday, New York is fun and exciting and I intend to enjoy my time here as much as possible. But... I do miss my home and my routine a lot. Though probably not enough to get arrested for horse stealing. Is it still a hanging offense? Hmm.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Away from home again

I feel a little like Waldo.

Where in the world is Jess? Only it's just where in the U.S. is Jess, and this week, it's New York City for our Web 2.0 Expo.

It's exciting, particularly since I've never been here (yes, I am almost 42--it took awhile), and also because Steve is meeting me here and we're going to do some exploring before we head back home. We're going to go see The Horse exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History and then meander around on the East Coast and see what happens.

On one hand, I'm glad to get the chance to be out here--both for work and for a short vacation. I'm really looking forward to the time with Steve, and this is a great opportunity for us to really be away.

On the other hand, I struggle with feeling like I've been away a lot this year, and it's wearing on me a little bit right now. Part of it is that I feel like I'm finally making some progress with Bar and my own issues, and part of it is just that my routine keeps getting disrupted as I jet across the country.

On the other hand, I rode more last week than I had been riding for awhile, so it may be a case of absence makes the heart grow fonder, too.

And all my co-workers will tell you that the horses are never too far away from top-of-mind for me. Why, yes, I can turn any conversation into one about horses. Ha!

New York is definitely a new experience for me, so I think I'll just try to sit back and absorb and enjoy as much of it as I possibly can.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bee's Settling In

Bee's finally settling in to his new home, and I'm settling in too! So far it's been great. I've been able to spend a lot more time with him - laying on his back while he's eating dinner, grooming, and just hangin out. I love tucking him in at night and giving him his midnight snack, an apple from one of our trees.
Pictured above is his cute stall that's inside his pasture. He loves his stall and I think it will offer great protection during the winter months.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Horse Entertainment

I admit it. I miss my horses.

I tried to get a horse fix tonight (and mostly succeeded) by doing something totally Las-Vegas-Tourist-y. I went to the Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur Hotel. I found out if I'd wanted to get into the stables, I should have gotten there before 1:00 so as not to interfere with the horses getting pretty for the show. Drat.

It was fun, and I would *love* to train Lena and Bar well enough to, oh, joust, deal with fireworks, have sword-fighting riders, etc. I admit we may have a long way to go, though.

At the very end, a couple of the riders and their horses stayed in the arena to talk to the guests, so I had a chance to touch soft horse noses and talk about riding with the actors.

I also helped convince a couple kids it was okay to get close to the horses so their parents could take pictures. Horse are big, and if I were a smaller human, it might take a little bit of coercion to convince me sitting next to a large horse I just saw racing around the arena was a good idea. Especially Diablo, a 14-year old Fresian who had the role of the bad guy's horse.

He's a big baby, though, and very affectionate with his rider--a nice guy (despite the dragon face paint) who has been riding Diablo for 5 years and told me he's the only one who rides that particular horse. They had quite a relationship which was cool to see. (No, didn't get the rider's name, just the horse's.) The nameless rider says Diablo makes everyone miss their horses.

The only downside about these horses is that they are so well-groomed that my hand didn't smell like horse after petting them. Oh, well. It was still a pleasure to watch such wonderfully trained (though still feisty and energetic) horses.

The rest of the show was a lot of fun, too. :)

Horse Emotions

I saw this article referenced in my friend Linda's newsletter and thought it was a really interesting observation.

I know that sometimes when one of the horses is in one of "those" moods--and even sometimes when they're not--changing the direction I approach an obstacle makes a difference.

The more I immerse myself in my horse world, the more I learn I don't know. But I kinda like it. :)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Free Willy is Coming Home!

Remember that trip to Germany that I posted about awhile back? Well we finally have something to prove for it, Free Willy! Out of all the horses Odie tried, Free Willy got the top marks! He passed his vet check and arrived at LAX yesterday and is waiting for Odie to pick up on Friday from the quarantine barn. His real name is Feronelli (sp?) and he is 6yrs old. He's very sweet, talented, and beautiful! So welcome to new your new home Free Willy!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Lena Update and Las Vegas

I'm back in Las Vegas again, only this time it's for Photoshop World instead of Paint Vegas.

Lena is doing fine, feeling feisty and acting her normal carrot-hungry self. I made sure I stopped by the barn this morning to tell them both good-bye and get one last horse fix before I left. And, yes, to listen to Lena's belly and check the manure pile in her pen. All is well by what I can tell from those two things--and her attitude, of course.

I can never decide for sure if leaving her alone is the best thing, but I'm pretty sure transmitting my own worries and fears in a loud emotional broadcast isn't going to help her heal.

On the Bar side of the paddock wall, he and I had a great ride yesterday in the indoor arena, playing with obstacles and (gasp!) cantering! Yes, I finally just did it and it felt pretty darn good. It was too hot to do a lot of work, and I didn't have a lot of time, but we had fun and I didn't hit the ground! Woo! He likes it when he knows he did a good job, and I like it that I'm working through my nervousness because he is so darn fun to ride when I'm not a big stress ball.

So to reward him, I chased him around with the camera this morning. Poor guy, he sure puts up with a lot from me--including my Farmer John coveralls. (They hold lots of carrots, though.)

Bee's Home!

I moved Bee home yesterday -
It's going okay - he's stressed that there isn't another horse in his pasture and he's obsessed with the horses across the street. But I actually feel comfortable leaving him while I'm at work because my Dad set up his weather station video camera to shoot the pasture he's in! So every few minutes I can see what's he's doing! Here he is