Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Ya, I know it isn't Wednesday anymore, but I had to study and kick some lab final butt! ;)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Going All Out

Finally! A horse related weekend! I was able to fly home so I didn't have to be stuck moping around Pullman Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, my mom and I drove out to Reber Ranch to pick up some hay. We are finally on the last few bales of our local hay which was bought last summer. We have come across some more but we will run out before we are able to pick it up, so we were 'forced' to buy some from the feed store. I was also looking for some new barrel racing reins, but they didn't have what I was looking for. Bummer.

After we purchased the hay (and fly spray...) we headed over to the arenas where a 4H show was taking place. Most of the members from my 4H club, Wranglers and Riders, were showing, well, waiting to show. The english classes were just finishing up, so we had missed those classes. Next was jumping, which took too long to set up. We had to leave before the western started, but we at least got to hang out with some of the younger members in the warm-up arena. I helped lounge a junior member's mare, who was feeling a little too good in the wet, brisk morning air, and offer them a few encouraging words as they got up and rode around in the intimidating environment (senior 4H members, lol!).

When we got home we saddled up for a ride. We decided to ride the 'big loop' so I headed out towards the lake. We stopped by the creek and Mercy insisted we go in. Of course I had the camera, so no pictures, but it was fun to let her splash around and blow bubbles for a while. Then we headed up the service road which is on the side of a hill. Usually, I just allow Mercy to lope up it, or long trot if I feel she needs the extra work. This day I decided to let her go all out instead. I didn't give her any more cues than I usually do when asking her to move out other than saying 'Let's go' under my breath. I know I think all horses are fast, but OMG! She shot off like Star does when barrel racing. What a thrill to finally let her go and trust her abilities to stay up and ride straight ahead!

Once we slowed down we walked off into the woods to get to the train tracks. When we reached the tracks we had another opportunity to lope. I asked her into a ground covering, but easy lope. She wanted to go fast again, but once I shut her down one time that was it. I was even able to get her to slow down to a very nice slow, but solid lope until we broke to a trot once we saw some kids ahead. They turned around and we continued to follow them until they were out of sight once again.

We worked our way off the tracks, stopped for a bite of juicy, green, spring grass (well, they did, not my mom and I), and continued down the trail. I decided to see if Mercy would go to creek bank where Java, our boxer, usually stops for a drink. Mercy thought that was a good idea too until she saw more shrubbery that needed pruning around the creek shore.

Next time we take this trail I will need to make sure to take a picture of all of the bike 'decorations' strategically placed all about. It is quite amusing! The newest addition is a chandelier made of bike reflector which has been hung from the canopy of Douglas Firs. I'm quite impressed to be honest.

When we got back, we unsaddled the horses and let them clean up what our tractor couldn't reach...
...Or whatever Mercy decided was good....
...And turned them out at the neighbor's to romp around where Mercy quickly claimed Star's rolling place as her own......And showed us that she wasn't done running and goofing off for the day!On Sunday, we didn't ride because I had to leave back to school earlier than normal. My friend was driving back to Pullman that afternoon and offered me a ride, so I had to be ready to leave when ever she decided to call. Heading to the barn to turn the horses out next door for some better grass, their cute whinnies and pitiful stares reminded me of how grateful I am to be able to have horses, but especially these two. How could you resist them!? (btw-I don't know how that cone got there...)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Skywatch Friday No. 41

This photo was taken on my way home from school on the WSU campus. What a great way to finish my last physics lab ever! :)

See more beautiful pictures like this one from all across the world at Skywatch Friday!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Weekend Pictures

In preparation for participating in some Silent Sundays, Skywatch Fridays, and Wordless Wednesdays, I have been trying to get my camera figured out to maximize it's and my potential. Here is what I have from yesterday and today. I was going to try and get some action shots of my friend Jordan's Dalmatian, Krash. They participated in an AKC dog show this weekend in Lewiston and I headed down there with a friend to cheer them one. We got down there, but things didn't go as planned and Krash's day in the ring was short. This means no pics of him. Bummer.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Before I even went home after seeing Dakota, I stopped by Rite Aid in Covington to drop off my disposable camera to be developed. In one hour, of course. It was imperative that I show my dad the pictures of her that night.

When I got home with the pictures, I threw them at him and started rambling on and on and on about the mare. He listened intently and shuffled through the pictures. Then he asked, "Do you think she's the one?" :) Immediately I said yes. But at that point I still remained reserved about the whole thing. I wanted my parents approval of her too. Even though she would technically be my horse, I wanted a horse that the whole family could enjoy.

After my report was complete, he said, "Can we go out there this weekend to see her?" How these questions even registered in my head is still uncertain. I was in a true life daydream, so I thought. I called up Ann to set up another time to come and see Dakota. Luckily Dakota's owner Gale was going to be out there that day too!

That Saturday, we all loaded up into our truck and headed out to Enumclaw. I felt extremely nauseous. I was hoping with everything I had that my last trip here hadn't been an illusion. I do tend to not see things as they really are sometimes. I was hoping this wasn't one of those times. We pulled up at met Gale in the barn. Dakota was in her stall munching on her hay, so we haltered her up and brought her out. I looked over her again while Gale told us more about her. Then she asked me what I else we would like to see. I told Gale I would like to show my mom how she moves so we took her out to the outdoor arena and let her go.

Just like the first time I saw her, she was lazy, lazy, lazy. I actually had to run after her myself flinging a lead rope around to get her to trot. Ughh... At least my mom was able to see her move a little. After I caught her up again it was time for decisions to be made. My dad asked me once again, "Is she the one?" I nodded my head. She was mine. :P

A price was discussed, basically enough to cover the next month's board since the barn owner would have an immediate vacancy without much notice. Then a date was set up to bring her home. She had an appointment to get her feet trimmed, so we wanted to wait for that to take place. And, being so close to Christmas, we decided to wait until the 27th, my mom's birthday coincidentally.

On the way home from Enumclaw, I couldn't help but think about all of the things we had to do to prepare for Dakota: move stuff out of the second stall, hang up a new hay feeder, bucket, salt lick, and grain holder, divide the paddocks in half (sorry Starlett), and think of a new name. I personally know at least three 'Dakotas,' so that wasn't going to do. So the name game began.

Sigh... Best. Christmas. Present. EVER!

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Single Blue Ribbon

I had butterflies in my stomach the moment I said yes to a friends invitation to a playday being put on by the Tahoma Chapter of the Backcountry Horsemen. Not only was it going to be Mercy and my first time doing any kind of competing that wasn't performance, I was also going to pick up my friend, Chrissy's horse, Luna. I have never loaded Mercy and then picked up a strange horse too. My Saturday morning my nerves were about all I could handle.
It was trying to drizzle, but for the most part it was just cloudy. We were going to be late because I had a hair appointment, oh well. My parents helped me out by hooking up the truck and trailer while I was gone. When I was out of the salon, I called up Chrissy so she could get her horse ready and ride down to the road I was going to pick her and Luna up from. Then I went to grab Mercy.

Oh boy... we had 'appy-tude' from the get go. She didn't want to stand still for grooming, didn't want to leave the front pasture, and walking up to the trailer she had that mischievous twinkle in her eyes. Well, sure enough she didn't want to load. It has been about a year since I have trailered her out alone, but really? I didn't expect that at all. I had my mom stop watching so Mercy didn't feel so pressured or threatened by a bystander. Sigh...

After a few 'kinda' tries I demanded she get in. She did, but didn't stay. After a few circles and half-hearted rears and freak outs, I got her in again. This time she moved all the way to the front like she usually does and I started to close the divider. She hit it, but moved forward off of the pressure. I probably should have lead her out and in a few times more, but we were really running late at that point and it's not like she hasn't done this before. Get over it! :)

Star was exercising herself in her paddock and screaming up a storm as we drove away. We finally reached Landsburg and I pulled over on the large gravel shoulder to load up Luna. More fun... she didn't want to load either. Mercy got a little nervous while Chrissy and her mom worked on getting Luna in, but once she was, both horses acted like they knew each other forever. Not a peep or kick the whole way out to the Double B. Nice.

We quickly unloaded the horses, saddled up, registered, and entered the arena where maybe another 20 horses (and a mule) were halfway through one of the events, keyhole. We made our way to the end of the arena where we got up and were promptly moved to the actual end of the line. I really wasn't to sure about doing this event since I had not warmed up myself or Mercy, and it had been a challenging morning already. I wasn't sure what to think until it was too late and my name was called. Mercy was feeling good, a little too good, and was dancing around a bit, but we just walked circles until I got a nice walk, then we headed down the run. I asked her for a trot before she headed into it herself. We went through the four upright poles with no hesitation, performed a kinda good spin to the left, and headed back down the arena toward the finish line. Took another circle or two to get her to a walk once we finished, but man! What a great first run!

Didn't win in that event, but that's OK. Most of the other BCH members were going all out, or were letting their finished gaming horses go all out! The next event was barrels. While they were setting up the course a baby pigeon fell from the rafters. He was moved out of the way into the corner behind where Chrissy and I were waiting our turn. After half of the riders had gone, the bird waddled (hmm, do pigeons waddle?) out into the arena. Not wanting it or any horses who spook to get hurt, Mercy and I attempted to herd the pigeon back to its corner. Unfortunately, I think Mercy would have just stepped on it, or bit it, so I got off and herded it myself. Too bad, pigeon herding could have been the next great equine event! NOT!

When it was our turn at barrels we got right to it. I have practiced barrels at my friend's place whenever I trailer out to ride, but I don't 'let her go.' We work at the walk and trot until she gets the point of rating and pockets, then if she's lucky, I let her lope a go. I started out here at the trot by she was responding so well I let her move into the lope. Coming out of the third barrel she stumbled a little, but still got around and did a great job listening and feeling for me to stop her. Sorry the pics are so blurry. It's not operator error, I had it on the wrong setting. Sorry mom! :)The next event was 'Simon Says,' but Mercy thought it was 'Mercy Says.' We were walking along great, then we were trotting. First ones out too, sigh. It actually worked out fine because that meant I had the whole end of the arena to practice standing still and pivots.

The walk-trot relay was where Chrissy and I shined this day. There was a barrel at the end of the arena and the first horse had to walk over to it and around it without breaking gait. After crossing the finish line the second rider leaves at a trot, goes around the barrel, and trots home. Fastest time wins. Chrissy was my race buddy and volunteered to go first. Luna and Chrissy were off and (kinda) soon made it back to the finish line. I had Mercy in a trot long before she got back and crossed the line as soon as Luna's tail was past. She tried breaking into a lope a few times, popping up, but never completed the lope stride. I can get her moving pretty well and going home I past the horse in the other lane. We waited for the awards. I thought maybe 3rd or 2nd cause we did complete a clean run at a decent pace. When they said Chrissy and my name, we both must have looked almost horrified! There was no way we won! Really!?! Naw.... but here they came with the ribbons. Wow. A blue ribbon. A silly blue ribbon. I was ready for more!

TP race was next, another partner race. Unfortunately, Chrissy and I were already in trouble cause both of us were riding green horses and only mine *kinda* knew how to neck rein. We didn't run into trouble until they asked us to turn left. I told Chrissy to let me push her horse around cause I knew Mercy would turn for me. Well, we made it around and Chrissy decided to keep Luna turning. In order for me to catch up I had to trot, so we were out. Never broke the TP though!!!!

We participated in the baton race, but Luna had a little melt down so that was that. I think Chrissy did a great job handling her little mare and all ended well. The last event was team flags. So many teams had DQed, so all we had to do was complete the course. Luna went first and it took some time getting her positioned correctly to pick up the flags cause she just wanted to eat them, but after that was worked out Mercy and I were off. Now, I have never practiced flags with her, but I do use a flag around her in training, so I wasn't expecting a big deal. She just went past it like she didn't even know it was there. I reached over and picked it up, carrying it to the neck barrel. After dropping that one and grabbing the next flag we headed for home. I let her lope and she travel straight and true, so I got it in the barrel and flew across the finish line. At thins point most people had left the arena and were packing up. Before we left, we were informed that we had been awarded 3rd place, a white ribbon! Yup, that's right! Persistence and green horses do, in fact, mix!

We decided not to hang around and ride in the free arena just in case they wouldn't load. We loaded Luna up first since, supposedly, she has really only been trailered up front. Of course, it didn't take long and I loaded Mercy up like we had for the past year: point and load. Automatic. Since Mercy was in last, we dropped her off at my place first before heading to Landsburg to drop off Luna and Chrissy for their ride home.

All I have left to say (er, write...) is driving an empty trailer is a real treat! ;)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Enjoying the SUN!!!!

Wow! What a difference one day makes here on the Palouse. Yesterday it was sunny, but still cold and windy. Two days ago it snowed multiple inches over night.Today we got above 50*! YES! :) It felt like a vacation to somewhere tropical compared to what we kids have been dealing with the last couple of months.

So today I went out with some friends to watch the WSU Cougars Scrimmage. It was great to get into the football mood again. We saw a lot of players that we recognized from last year, plus a few newbies who were definitely holding their own and more. I must say, I think we have finally found a decent kicker-or two! Here are some pics from this morning:
The guy at the bottom of this pic looks very pleased with himself holding that down marker, lol...

I know they are hard to see, but there were these two kids running up and down the stadium stairs... I see football in their future if they like doing stairs that much! And, I kid you not when I say they went up and down every row twice around the stadium without stopping once! I wish we all had that much energy...
After the 'game' was over we headed over to the vet hospital to get free stuff. They were having a tour and had booths out, so we loaded up on free samples and goodies, mainly candy! YES! There was a lot of good informational displays and of course they had the live cow and horse painted on to show the skeleton and digestive tract of each. The canine police demo had just wrapped up when we left, so we headed over to Ferdinand's instead. BIG mistake. Actually, what the hell were we thinking? Ice cream on Mom's weekend. Ya, we got there and the line was wrapping around the building. No thanks... we live here everyday. We'll be hitting it again on Monday, with no lines or waiting....

Out of luck, we went over to the craft fair being held in Beasley Coliseum. Unfortunately, unless you like the soap slices, iron work, or jewelry, there wasn't much there. So we left quickly from that and on our way back we say this guy, climbing the side of one of the buildings:

He went up three stories before we decided to leave.

After getting back to our cars, we went our separate ways. I hit up Subway ($5 foot long!!!!) and have been doing laundry and dishes ever since. There are two magpies building a nest behind my apartment, so I fed them some of my stale bread, mostly to get them to shut up. But I do enjoy them, so I don't mind giving them a head start on their nestlings for the year. Anyway, tomorrow I will be starting, and hopefully finishing, a few papers. If I have some time, I will continue the 'how Mercy fell into our lives' story too. ;)

Thursday, April 2, 2009


This coming weekend is Mom's Weekend at WSU and usually I go home to be with my mom instead of staying here and listening to drunken fools yell all night long right outside my bedroom window. This year, however, flights out of both the Spokane and Pullman airports are overbooked. So, I will not be going home this weekend to watch the 4Hers game. Oh well, I'll be able to hit up the next show, hopefully.

It's probably the way it needs to be anyway since we got around 5 inches of snow last night and Snoqualmie Pass is currently closed in both directions because of the winter weather. This means that all of those desperate parents heading to WSU for a special weekend with their kids are going to buy any 'oversold' ticket they can in order to get here. Ya, driving's just not going to cut it this year....

Since I am not going to be able to report any new rides or training, or upload any 'new' pictures, I have decided to share a few photos I took while going from Pullman to Western Washington for spring break this year. I wasn't able to leave WSU until 4pm that Friday, which is when my vet anatomy lab was released. This actually made for an interesting lighting opportunity for pictures along the way. I know some of these are random, but I like them all for some reason. ;)

Just outside of Pullman and coming up on Colfax:
Going along on I-90 somewhere around the Moses Lake area:Drive-by of the Wild Horse Monument at Vantage (the Columbia River):
Just starting the climb up the other side of Vantage:
Finally making my way down into the Kittitas Valley and closer to the Cascades: