Wednesday, November 30, 2011

(M)(N) ovember ends...

Unfortunately our wonderful challenge month has come to an end. Fortunately, so has Movember and my husband is now clean-shaven!! For those unaware of that challenge its where men don't shave their moustaches (and some women! Lol!) for the whole month. Its to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer and mens health.
But anyway, when it rains it pours here and now we have so much mud and flooding! The picture is taken in the spot I rode Linus with the cows just 3 days ago. That spot has drainage at both ends!! Yikes!!
My Harold button arrived yesterday but I did not have anyone around to take a pic. So today I decided for the sake of having one to post that I would take a pic of the button on the bareback pad!
Linus was full of p&v today. Not hard to tell his favourite weather is on the way!! The poor young "Sir" was so dirty today and that is so rare! True testament to the last 2 days of weather! Its like he thinks he's above being dirty. Allie on the other hand is impossible to keep clean! She enjoys rolling in the mud. Linus only rolls on the hay (thanks boy!) Maybe that's why he was frisky today! He was feeling good after I cleaned him up!
We started out with his head up and prancing. Wasn't long though and he knew I wasn't giving in and was soon walking with his head at my shoulder. I love this fella!
So, November has been a wonderful challenge. Linus and I got to do many new things and many great refreshers. We've reached the next level in our partnership and that feels good!!
A massive, but very entertaining, rivalry was started early on but soon that gave way to us all coming together go show our support and concern for Harold. We were honoured to ride for Harold and it was pretty special that everyone did so much that didn't even involve points! Hooray! I think Harold was well entertained!
I've also learned so much about Dana, my fantastic partner for the month! Points and prizes are nice but I have a new lifelong friend and we have so much in common! I've actually gotten to know several people much better and think this team challenge was a fantastic idea!!
Kudos to all the teams and best of luck to those turning in points....well except for the Maine Gaines team of course!! Lol! (Kidding ladies)
Donna & Linus

Harold, God Bless You

Dear Harold,
When I worked Lyle today I had a deep feeling that YOU WERE WITH Me on the ride. Honest. I rode about 3 in the afternoon. Were you thinking about Lyle and I at that time or maybe a little before? I felt you with me and I felt you giving me courage and heart. I give you my sincere thanks for your presence and your kindness.
Lyle and I are not going to win in the RAC. But Lyle and I won on a more important level. Following Mr. Philippe Karl's teaching in his book "The Twisted Truths of Dressage" I was able to completely prevent Lyle from curling into rollker. That is I was able to prevent him from over bending and from over flexing behind the vertical. Because of that I had control. And Lyle and I did our first trail ride!
Dear Reader, you can see in the pictures how I kept Lyle from over bending. If you want to understand exactly HOW that was done, read Mr. Karl's book. Lyle and I were in conflict during most of the ride. Of course there are other problems to "redeem," such as his running away and his leaning on the bit. But because Lyle can no longer use rollker against me, he will have the opportunity to learn that I can be trusted to care for him under saddle and that I will always be benevolent towards him in ALL situations.

End of the month !

Here we are already at the last day of the big contest month...  I better post some of our groundwork news from last week.

Mostly video -- and also pre-snow landscape.

we played with the tarp some with both girls. This was not too challenging as we play with tarps often here on the farm.

Sweet Bee has never been schooled in turning on the forehand and turning on the haunches...  I was looking forward to this task -- since it's something she needs to know anyway. I started out using a tire as a physical barrier, for both me and Sweets.  Keeps me and her focused on where the feet in question are supposed to remain. This exercise also helps get the gears engaged for side passing ..

After we are done practicing in the tire - Sweets knows just what I am asking for out of the tire and also under saddle.  Once you engage the gears in the rear engine...  side passing should come easily. Keeping the rear legs in the tire is a lot more difficult for a horse- and requires a well oiled engine .. which Sweets does not have after spending so much time giving lessons in the indoor with a slow walk and trot all day long. 

We were not completely sure about the barrel task -- but I am thinking this is what Denise was looking for.

This particular week was ground work week -- we also practiced the self loading (borrowed a 2 horse trailer for this challenge), completed our longe work - with a nice steady walk, trot, canter transition with voice commands. All worthy assignments that will pay off down the road with our horses listening and respecting. 

Yesterday, we got in a nice rain ride --  well.... it was more of a downpour into the ride and we got thoroughly soaked... but - Miss Susan - contrary to what you might believe -- fashion is NOT the priority....   POINTS are what it's all about :)  But of course if you can be fashionable while racking up the plus marks.. then it's a win/win !

AND -- guess what ?? we did manage to get in 3 NEW PLACES....  my number 3 son brought over a small handbook of Hiking trails in Vermont indexed by regions. After studying that - we were able to find a few places we actually have never been. One spot I admit - we had to travel on old ground for half of the way -- and the NEW place was only a 10 minute explore.  That was probably the toughest subject on the list of to-do's for us.

I won't pretend I didn't miss Keri this month --   but I had loads of fun bonding with Miss Sweets. I did get in a trot almost everyday with Keri too... just short trips to satisfy my Keri addiction.  Even after the RAC hiatus begins - we should all keep this type of month as a now and again personal goal... spending time with one special Curly checking in with our our skills in asking and receiving.

Betsy and Sweet Bee and  Zoe and Reverie in Vermont

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

No frizzies here just beautiful curls as Chester and I ride in the rain

Hello Curly friends, 

Yep, it's been a hard, dry summer and like Donna I have been doing a rain dance down here in the Lone Star State. I am convinced Mother Nature has a sense of humor 'cause every time a bit of rain comes our way it slides on by without a drop to wet our chapped lips. 

I'd about giving up when out of no where comes a sprinkle, then two. I would have never noticed it if I'd not been cleaning out stalls and heard the drops on the metal tin roof. I quickly put down my pick and went out to see Chester. Now, we have had a few false alarms before so Chester was thinking; "yeah right blondie, just about the time you get me tacked up it will stop raining". But, being the wonderful, amicable, Curly, gentleman that he is he said sure why not let's give it a try. 
Why it was wonderful...look at the photos of the sky. It was as if Mother Nature decided to bestow a wonderful gift to us. 
It was just me and Chester sharing this wonderous moment so the photos were taken by me....but I can tell you without a fact Chester's mane does not, well, I'm not so lucky{:>

Angie and her Chester Man in the Lone Star State

P.S. This was the first shower of rain, we have since ridden a few more times in the Donna, catch, I am sending the rain up your way{:>

Monday, November 28, 2011

Chester says; I aint afraid of nothing on two wheels

Hello all, 

Well my neighbors have suspected we were a strange bunch since we moved here with our curly horses and all our crazy stunts but the look on a new friend's face last Wednesday said it all. 

Backing up,  a few weeks ago I explained to my dear hubby that Chester and I were not able to fulfill one of our challenges for the November RAC competition; riding with a bicycle as we didn't have one. You see, Susan, my wonderful partner checked off  riding a bicycle with Didder early on and so did our over achieving Vermont cowgirls and D Dolls who ride in the snow like beautiful, graceful I knew the pressure was on 'cause we needed those points.  I was even beginning to think Susan would never speak to me again and seeing all those dang photos of her with a shotgun made me realize I'd better make it happen or else she'd talk Handsome Harold into helping her make their way to Texas and hang me from a tall Mesquite tree.

So, I emailed Denise and asked if an ATV or John Deere Gator would work (hoping to get credit with a vehicle more easily accessible in our neck of the woods and she nope;

"A bicycle is one of the most challenging things because it doesn't make noise..has lots of moving parts. Most horses that are not afraid of motorized things ARE afraid of bikes. So there really isn't anything to replace that. Do you have a neighbor kid that has one?"  

Bamm, a light blub went off in my, tiny blonde brain...ask everyone I meet if they had a bike we could borrow for a short ride.Whew, and you think Pooh Bear had it tough....

Well, on Wednesday my hubby comes driving up with a big smile on his face and behind him a dear, wonderful fella on a beautiful, shiny, restored red bicycle like one you'd see on Leave it Beaver back in the day. It seems my husband went door to door looking for folks with a bicycle so we could meet this obstacle of our challenge. He simply explained the situation and the sweet neighbor fella said; sure no problem.  So here we are, Chester and I and Mike on a bike.....
We did offer Mike a beer for all his help and he exclaimed he couldn't drink and ride... And, I'll be be fixing Hank, my hubby, his favorite meal - pasta - once he has worn off of the Turkey we had on Thursday.

Angie and Chester in Texas - 

Our day at work

Our day at work went well today...first we started with a little "free lunging" then we settled down into lunge work. Many people do not completely understand the benefits of a well schooled lunge horse...but there is SO much you can teach your horse from the ground, and it all makes saddle work all the more enjoyable.

*Tekara is showing her "youth" the only part of lunging she is solid in, is the walk/halt/walk...once she speeds up, her mind wanders and the "halt" is not, we start at the beginning and work from there. She has the concept now, of the pattern of lunging, but she does not yet have the concept of voice, this is where we start.
*Tekara works well in tack, she seems happy with the ring snaffle with a "bean" center I am using, and her saddle ( my $200 ebay dressage saddle ) actually fits her really well! it has never fit any of my horses real well, perhaps it was waiting for it actually does fit her well. There are so many things this young filly is already solid in, tying, standing for grooming, loading in the trailer, giving her feet, and many more things, she leads like a DREAM, right like she is supposed too, and I enjoy every moment spent with this gal, and bringing her along slow and correct.
Footnote....we are doing quite well on the fresh game training. She is accepting the presence of a fresh hide near by while she eats and stand for grooming and saddling. Each day I expect a bit more out of her, and I suspect soon I will hoist up the hide and let her pack it around a bit.

Cowgirl Pictures, Minnesota Style

Better watch out cause us Northern girls know how to ride'em, rope'em and now shoot'em! So Thanksgiving Day was just beautiful and finally I had a photographer at home! So before the turkey dinner I set out on a mission to get these photos done. I had a fun time with them and was only able to choose a few or I would hog up the whole blog with them :) I love it when Marley starts to get his winter coat, I love that crushed velvet look to him, and the feel of it. Took Marley out back to our pond in the pasture for the best backgrounds for fall. I need to share this little bit about doing the pictures. So we live right along a major state hwy and where we chose to do the pictures was right along the hwy and for a few pictures I was aiming right at the hwy. I could just see the looks on some of the peoples faces as they drove past, I could just imagine what they where thinking! I was able to get one picture with Larry (on the other side of the fence) along with my trusty cow dog, Dixie. So along with the photos we where able to incorperate a few challenges too. I have never shot a gun, riffle, anything with amo in it in my life. So for giggles while I rode, my husband went to the house and got some bullets and set up a barrel with cans on it it and after we put Marley away gave me some shooting lessons. One thing I have learned is that looking through a scope, isn't that easy, and you can't breath while trying to aim. It took me several shots but I did hit a can and it went flying! Harold, I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them :)

Marley & Dana along with the rest of our Wild and Wooly Gang :)

One Day at a Time

Last weeks weather was so nice that even the stomach flu couldn't keep me from mustering up the strength from getting out and spending time with my horses. So being at home sick left me time to get outside when I could during the warmer hours of the day to hop on and tackle some obstacles :) First Marley and I did the leading across the tarp, I just laid it out in the horse pen and put some rocks on it to hold it down and the other 2 horses had to come and check it out and play as well. Next I hopped up bareback, cause I didn't have the physical strength yet to muster up the western saddle. This is also only the second time riding bareback and I am really starting to enjoy it! I had my son help me drag out the bridge. Larry was kind of funny, in the picture this was all the closer he would get to it. Looks like I have some work to do with him as well :) Then we worked on more neck reining (this way I could hold on to some mane too!) We even did alittle bit of slow trotting until I couldn't handle it anymore. By the end my legs where really sore and could tell I could do some more bareback riding for strength :) As you can see now from the pictures that all the snow we had the week before is now all gone again. Harold I hope you enjoyed your bareback ride :)

Marley & Dana

Not a Cow in Sight

I just can't believe that Donna thinks that just because she and her Curly work cows, that makes her a Cowgirl. Honestly, isn't it ALL ABOUT THE CLOTHES AND ACCESSORIES? The priorities of some people!
I figured I couldn't beat a sequined pink cowboy hat, so I went for a more authentic look. You can see my awesome chaps, cowboy boots, black lariat, black saddle to go with the chaps, bling on Didder's bridle, cross earrings, Harold button and picture, and Harold's favorite color for the saddle blanket. I have all that cowgirl gear on...too bad I was wearing Indian underwear (you know, the kind that creep up on you). Oh, and don't forget the trusty cowdogs! The chaps are actually my biker chaps. Betcha didn't know I am also a biker chick and a cougar to boot. And here's a story about buying my chaps. My husband Dana and I were in the mall at Christmastime, and we were admiring the leather. He offered to buy me a pair of chaps for our anniversary (Dec 21st), so I went up to the sales associate, and she says, "What size?" I have no clue, so right in the aisle of the mall with about 100 people around she kneels in front of me, spreads both her hands around one of my upper thighs and yells out, "EXTRA LARGE! I DON'T KNOW IF WE HAVE ANY OF THOSE IN STOCK." Honest to God, true story.
Here are some outtakes. My trusty cowpony has decided there's been enough fooling around and it's time to head out while I am aiming my gun. Whoa, Boy, don't you know this is a photo shoot?!! Get your priorities in order!
Look at him here. He's just waiting while I gather all my accessories. He has the patience of Job.Just look at that sweet face!
What's this I see, off to the right? Could it be our next discipline?
And last but not least, I felt so bad when I saw this picture of little Aaralyn, so excited but waiting obediently in anticipation - because it was SATURDAY morning when this photo shoot took place - the very last day of rifle hunting season - and afterwards I put all the dogs in their kennels, donned bright red and orange and headed up the road. They did get to go with me Sunday, though. Oh, and I must say a big thank you to my photographer this day, my daughter Nicole. My family has been totally supportive of me in this Cowgirl adventure, even my non-horsie husband Dana. They all have been looking at everyone's pictures and wanting to know Harold's reaction to all this. Can't wait to see RAC-Dana's pictures!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

More Adventures with Harold Along

Harold, you would not believe the adventures you had with us today! We started out early in the day with a distinct western flair just for you. My neighbor and new riding buddy Deanna joined us for some Western dress up. Note our fancy leather chaps, bandana, western tack and even a Harold Button! (hmmm....another long and lean friend...I really need to start choosing my friends more wisely based upon chunkier body types to make me look better). Slight wardrobe changes and we hit the trail with the Lab gang tagging along. It was a lovely ride, great company, and my Curly was on his best behavior.
Our second ride of the day involved a complete and total wardrobe change into all English tack. My friend Ulla whisked us away in her trailer to participate in a drill team practice! Of course Harold was still along in button form. My *Ah-D-Das was mightily excited to be in a new place with a bunch of new horses. During warm up, I let him walk once around the ring to take everything in, and then we did a once around trot (on the bit, pretty tense and surging, with the "whoop-whoop" sound emanating from his belly regions). However, once we started in on the drills, Didder rose to the occasion and made me proud! He caught on to the idea of riding side by side as a pair with Ulla's Morgan Gabby rather quickly. We performed 20 meter circles, cuts, diagonals, and thread the needle - all at a trot. Directions were shouted at us by Mauricio, an Italian with a very strong accent. So, not only did I not understand what he was saying, but I didn't understand what he was saying, if you catch my drift. What a blast! My pony was AWESOME! He was not intimidated by the other horses at all and tried his best to do what I was asking. On thread the needle, he squeezed in between Regal and Royal without turning a hair!
Afterwards, we went on a group trail ride and I finally had the opportunity to take some pictures.
So, Harold, how did you like joining us on the English drill team adventure? Oh, I almost forgot, guess who SELF-LOADED into the trailer for the way home??!!! Ya-hoo, Didder!!! I love my boy!

Harold's Canadian Cowgirl - featuring...Cows!!

Yeehaw Harold!!! Wow, did we ever have a blast today!! I told my Dad yesterday what we were up to in order to put a smile on Harold's face and we talked about how the cows might handle being worked a bit. I wasn't too sure if he would want me to try...our cows are pretty quiet and are more likely to chase Linus than let Linus chase them! I wanted to pose for a pic while scratching our bull on board Linus but I forgot all about it when I was having so much fun! (The very reason I make lists for everything!)
Unfortunately Dad was running some errands when we got to the farm so he didn't get to see us work and play but I showed him the pictures and we had just finished when he got back so we let the horses graze on the lawn afterwards. Linus was incredible being away from Allie too. I've been working at that and with a job to do he didn't even think about her not being with us. 

I was going to go with my brown cowboy boots, but it was muddy and I actually do wear them on a regular basis with jeans! So, I dug out this flashier pair to try to give Betsy and her flashy red ones a run for their money!! : )  What do you think Betsy?? Oh and its jeans over the

Unfortunately Linus ducked his head down but this was my practice run at swinging the rope above his head. I even picked out a red, white and blue one so I could remain patriotic for my American friends : )   Linus passed this test with flying colours..

Here, we encounter our first cow. She is a coming 3 year old and was the only one in this part of the field, having not yet joined the others for sunbathing time. She paid for it and became our first test!! As you can see, I am swinging the rope while riding and we successfully drove her through this scrub bush. Linus wanted to follow through because he got such a charge out of it!!

I know the quality of this picture isn't great. It is overcast and my husband took it quickly before really having a chance to zoom in but I love it. Riding off to meet my herd!!

As you can see, the herd is very troubled by our presence!! Lucy didn't even bother to get up!! And yes, even though they are all black, I can name each and every one of them. I've been on hand to either watch or assist in the majority of them being born and then giving birth themselves. 

Our next victim was Wee-Mac Snowcone. Named so because she was born outside on a freezing cold day and was half frozen when I found her. I brought her up to the barn across my lap on the 4wheeler and warmed her up...she has been an awesome broodcow!! I'm not sure how impressed she was with us, but Linus loved it!

We managed to make a circle with her, so I think we did pretty good in controlling where we wanted her to go. Linus and I both really got into it. It was so much fun and I was laughing most of the time and telling him how awesome he is! I have never done anything like this before and it was so cool! At one point I was a bit overwhelmed to be doing something like this on a horse that I have brought up myself and we completely trusted each other. It was so rewarding!

C'mon Snowcone, we're cutting you away from the herd. Harold wants a cowgirl...he's getting a working one!

Here we come, back from our cattle cutting. Still fresh and ready for more!

We borrowed Dad's western saddle for the day. I know the stirrups are too short but I didn't want to adjust them. With my luck I wouldn't remember what length Dad had them. He is actually taller than me but my legs are longer than his! The saddle was a better fit than the western I just sold so at least I know I made the right choice. It took Linus a couple of minutes to adjust to it but once we got going, he was fine and comfortable. He makes it very clear to me when he isn't so that was good!

A big hug for my big, brave "western boy" as I called him today. I love his expression. He looks like he's enjoying my hug! He's got so much character that there is never a dull moment around him!

So, there you have it Harold. Cowboy hat, plaid shirt, kickass boots, patriotic lariat (hanging on the other side) and you can't see it but I swapped out my regular CASE IH belt buckle for a bronzed one of a western saddle just for you! 

You aren't seeing things. While letting the horses enjoy the remaining grass on the lawn, Linus decided to have a sip from the bird bath (don't tell my Mom he was standing in the flower bed!) I had walked over to stop him from crossing the back deck which he was about to do! Then he turned around and decided working cattle had earned him a drink! What a guy!
My Grandma and Great Aunt were visiting and I found out later that they had been watching from the kitchen window which is to the left and up about 6'. Oh well, they had a good laugh. 
Last year, I didn't tell them otherwise when they kept calling Linus a nice pony. Well, they were blown away by how big he has gotten and how he has filled out. They said he was absolutely gorgeous and I have to agree!!
I hope this video works. It wasn't playing too well on my computer and Linus was going over to my husband as if saying "Look at how much fun we are having!" It was such a hoot today. Linus listened like a pro to all of my cues and I think he really enjoyed such a change in pace! I think we will definitely be doing this again. The cows didn't get worked up (we've been accused of running an Angus Retirement Home) and we had a ball. 
I hope this gives you a good chuckle Harold. We decided to trade in the rifle for the rope and cows and I couldn't have had more fun doing it. My button has not yet arrived (tomorrow probably!!) but you were in my pocket and definitely there with us!
Donna & Linus
Lunenburg, On