Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Weekend Memories

Since I couldn't get back to the west side of Washington state this past weekend, I thought I would show you all what I did the previous weekend, my long three-day weekend! Since hay prices keep going up and up everywhere you look while the quality of said hay is getting worse and worse, my parents and I (with help from Grandma!) loaded and stacked over 250 bales of excellent quality local hay on the side of the shop this past July. It was A LOT of work made even more difficult by the record high temps. that particular week. This was our first year/attempt at stacking and storing what we hoped would be enough hay to last through spring. Since this winter has been more unseasonably cold and snowy than years' past, we have gone through the majority of the hay already. Really, that's not too bad considering we weighed each meal out (both Star and Mercy gain weight on air, so this was a necessary step) summer through fall then pretty much switched to free choice. On Saturday, my dad decided that we needed to move the remainder of the hay into the barn. Now, remember that our barn has an incredibly small feed/tack room. I didn't think we could get it all in their, but oh well, we have the tack in the house to prevent it from mildew/molding, so we should be able to fit most of it in, right?

I think we did a pretty darn good job! We have the eighty-some-odd bales stacked seven high- it's going to be soooo much fun pulling those down! NOT! We did loose quite a few bales, though, probably about a months worth total. One tarp was weighted down too heavily and ended up holding in moisture. I think we burned five bales total and gave about 25 bales to a friend who was willing to sort through the OK ones to feed to their cow. Btw, as you can see in the photo above, that laundry basket is what we use to weigh the hay on the scale, attached to the blue bailing twine hanging from the door beam. Also semi-visible is our trash can, LMF "grain" can, and white board, so we never forget a farrier visit and to track any sick pony's medical needs.

The next freakin' freezing morning gave us an awesome steam show, once it 'tried' to warm up:

Once we got going for the day, my mom and I decided to go for another trail ride. We hadn't been on the trails we call the 'track,' which was once an old working train trussel, in quite a while, so that's where we headed. Before we got Mercy, we would take Star there and let her run as fast as she could until she stopped. What a thrill that is! Unfortunately, Mercy doesn't 'go fast' yet, so we kept it at a walk the whole time. Someday soon I hope to trailer Star out by herself and hit the Cedar River/Pipeline trail system so we can fly again, but until then, we get to enjoy the scenery!

Those logs wayyyyy up ahead were growling, snarling, horse-eating monsters don't you know?!

The ride was pretty uneventful, so much so that I honestly can't remember anything crazy that happened. And don't get me wrong! I thoroughly enjoy less trail drama, but when you live by/on a trail system that is highly populated by bikes and hikes, most with unleashed, untrained dogs that have never seen a horse in their lives, there is bound to be a few incidents. When we got back, we turned the horses out and fed them a snack while we picked their paddocks. Mercy was just looking too cute:

I love the peaceful and content look in her eyes, it's so satisfying. And, on a fogless day, you would be able to make out Lake Sawyer behind her and through the trees, oh well! The next time I post should be the next installment in my 'getting mercy' series, but it might have to wait until the weekend. (btw~ YES! January is almost over! :D )

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Lovely Snow

Well, the weather man was proved wrong yet again. It wasn't supposed to snow until late Sunday, and it wasn't supposed to stick, at all. I swear, the Palouse has its own mind about what it is going to do for the day. It certainly never takes the weather people's opinion into account. Here is what I woke up to this morning and of course it's snowing harder and faster now. Since I am stuck in Pullman this weekend anyway, I guess I will just sit back and enjoy the snow's graceful, silent beauty.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Beginning: The out of the blue emails

I was not looking to get another horse yet. I knew that once I graduated from WSU that my parents were going to help me get a horse to call my own. At this time, my family did (and still does!) own a palomino appaloosa mare, Starlett. She taught me so much about caring and riding horses and lifelong lessons such as leadership, accountability, and responsibility, but she was not my own. Since boarding is expensive and we did not own a home with land until well into my and her teen years, my family has always had to share her. Starlett and I have accomplished so much in life and I have no doubt she will continue to inspire me, but I wanted my own horse that I could train from the start. One that was unspoiled by others hands. One that was only influenced by me.
I was the girl who even through her teen years would ask for a horse every Christmas. It only got worse once we moved into our new home which was on a little less than two acres with private trails out back. During the first year or so we lived there, we finished the pole barn out back (which use to house the previous owners boat and RV) so that it included two large stalls attached to a large paddock and a very small hay/tack room. After fencing off the 'usable' horse pastures (which is really, in reality, only an acre, if that....I will post more on our set-up later), we were finally able to bring Star home.

Then on December 19, 2006, out of the blue and absolutely, completely unexpected, I got separate emails from two of my close friends mentioning that they knew of a horse that needed to find a new home. It wasn't a desperate plea to re-home a horse, but if the right home came along, the owner thought it was best for the horse to be used to its potential. The photo that was attached to the email showed the little, 3.5 year old bay appaloosa mare, Dakota.

At first, I thought nothing of it. My dad would never say yes, especially since it was so close to Christmas. Plus, I had started to receive so many of these 'free' or 'cheap' horse emails, not to mention all of the ads I looked at daily on Dream Horse and in the Little Nickel. There was no way I could even approach my dad about it. I let it go for a day or so, but kept coming back to the emails and picture. I have always had a soft spot for Appaloosas. Starlett is a (spotless) Appaloosa and I like everything about her (except for her -now fixed- trailering issues and horribly tiny, crumbly, halter-type Quarter Horse feet). She is so brave, dependable, gives so much try every time I introduce something new, but most of all she has a personality I still can't quite describe except to call it 'Appy-tude.' Of course it helped that the photo showed a hint of a blanket on her bum. Having owned Star for so many years and having to tell people that she is not a Quarter Horse, but a registered Appaloosa gets old. Spots would solve every confusion I had ever came across.

I couldn't stand it anymore. I had to at least try to get my hands on her to see what she was all about. I remember it was about a week before Christmas day and my dad was sitting in his usual chair reading the paper, while I was trying to stay calm sitting on the hearth in front of the fireplace. I started out how I always do, "Hey Dad......I have something to show you...." He seemed interested so I continued.

"So.... I know of this horse that is for sale in Enumclaw... She's cheap and she's a young appy..."

I remember feeling my spirit lift and my anxiety drift way when he just looked back at me and said, "OK....Tell me more."

I told him everything I knew about Dakota. She's young. She's close. She's spotted. She's available now for cheap. In the photo, her legs look straight. I think she would be a good gaming horse. My friend also boarded where she was located, so I could get first hand information about her.

Then he said the words I have always wanted to hear, "When are you going to see her?"

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!?! Did he really say that?!? Yup, he did. Of course I never thought he would say yes, so I hadn't contacted the owner. This was going to be the best adventure ever!
PS~ I have no idea what's up with the text color. Hopefully it will work itself out soon! :)

Mmmm... A Special Treat!

Thanks Latigo Liz for sharing this award with me!


1) You must add the logo to your blog or post.
2) Nominate at least 10 blogs which show Great Attitude and/or Gratitude. (And because these awards can get a bit much, I am amending the count from 10 down to 5.)
3) Link to your nominees within your post.
4) Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5) Share the love and link this post to the person from who you received your award.

Since I am so unaware of all of the wonderful blogs out there still, I am going to save these and hand them out someday in the future! Remember to be sweet.... I may find you! ;)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Fun!

Being able to watch everything that goes on below my apartment is sometimes quite entertaining when I have nothing better to do, like tonight since my flight was cancelled because of the dense fog that has settled right on top of Pullman. From my vantage point on the side of the 'hill,' I get to see the cops waiting for speeders and then watch as they catch 'the big one.' This evening, I saw the same officer pull over two different trucks.

Thank you sir, for doing what you have to to keep our roads safe. I see way too many accidents, like this one just before the second truck got pulled over this evening.

I didn't see it happen, but it wasn't good. The orange car in the middle of the picture was completely crushed on the other side and I never saw the driver exit the vehicle. I believe s/he left in the ambulance. The other car in this collision is in the ditch behind the police car on the far right. Neither vehicle was able to drive away afterwards. Unfortunately, I see this all the time because there are four major businesses who have their entrances all in the same 50 feet of road off of Stadium Way, the main WSU access road. People coming onto Stadium Way from Main Ave blast up the hill, not giving turning drivers the time they need to safely move out of the way. I would like to give a shout out to the ONLY vehicle who stopped after the accident, in the small SUV next to the orange Neon. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

And here are just a few pretty pictures from this morning after most of the freezing fog had lifted. If I hadn't needed to get going to work I would have gotten some AWESOME close ups of the ice structures, but that's the way things go! Enjoy!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Back in Pullman

Well, I made it back to school today after a very uneventful and laid back winter break. The record snows and rain in the Seattle area kept me inside and away from riding but three times during the three weeks I was home. My mom and I decided to try a snow ride on Jan. 3rd, which is actually pretty risky for us since our mare Starlett has some arthritis in her front legs that make her susceptible to falling and slipping quite easily, even when it's not cold out. Here is Starlett and my mom before heading out, as well as Mercy tracking some unidentified animal prints:
Miss Cedes, of course had to take it a step further and decided a dip in Lake Sawyer sounded like too much fun to pass up! Luckily, at the last minute she discovered the uneaten grass on the bank and decided that swimming in low 30* weather was not as good of a deal.
Then, on the 4th, we trailered over (I'll discuss this later, it is quite honestly a miracle that both horses now get in the trailer, together!) to a friends indoor arena. My mom rode Starlett for a while then let the a good friend ride her the rest of the time. Mercy and I worked mostly on bending and moving the hip and shoulders over in preparation for loping on the correct lead. Since the facility had some trail course obstacles available we tried the bridge. It was REALLY scary at first! Mercy decided that rushing one step over it and then diving off the side was the best way to finish this lesson. I disagreed. After working on slowing down both of our movements, she was successful! I think she was so proud of herself that she decided that standing on the bridge was more fun than just walking over it. What a pushover! :)
Our last ride was on Saturday. We just went for an exploratory ride, looking for storm damage on the trail to clear the next time I am home. We ran across a downed tree that was just too thick to cut with the mini saw we carry with us and had to turn around. Considering the record breaking storms we have had recently, I am surprised that was the only time we had to try another trail. We got a little loping in on our usual loping spots, but Mercy had quite a bit more energy than I wanted to deal with on our "relaxing ride," so we kept it at a walk the remained of the time. We had fun observing the ever changing forest, but it was wet and cold and I think we were all happy to get back home.
I am still planning on writing up a formal introduction, but it is going to take some time. So for now, I hope you enjoy these pictures I took outside of Colfax this afternoon as I was almost back to Pullman!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Jumping into the deep end!

I am finally venturing into the crazy and wonderful world of blogging! Because I want to write up a proper introduction when I have more time, I will leave you with this for now: