Happy Birthday, Lila!

 Posted by on 1 June 2013 at 10:00 am  Animals, Horses, Personal
Jun 012013

Yesterday, my fabulous horse Lila turned 10 years old! Alas, we “celebrated” by me falling off for the first time ever onto a very hard pressed gravel road. OUCH.

We were trotting along the road, going around a gentle curve when we encountered a deer. I saw it for a split second, then it leapt out of the brush. That’s when Lila saw it. The next thing I knew, I was half-way off, then hitting the very hard ground.

Basically, the movement of the deer frightened Lila, and she leapt sideways about 10 feet in fraction of a second. I was riding in a new saddle, and I just couldn’t hang on. (My trainer and I discovered that my regular saddle was pinching her, to the point of causing stifle problems.)

I was bruised and stiff and sore as I rose from the ground, but otherwise okay. Lila was good enough to just stand quietly, so that I could catch her and remount. Happily, I was fine to ride the rest of my ride. I worked out the stiffness and pain in my hips with lots of posting at the trot. The real pain began when I dismounted: my lower back and upper butt were not pleased. They’re still rather unhappy.

Despite that little mishap, I wouldn’t trade Lila for the world! She’s been a fabulous horse for me these past two and a half years: we’ve learned so much together… and we have so much to learn in future too!

My Farrier at Work

 Posted by on 13 April 2013 at 1:00 pm  Animals, Cool, Horses, Personal, Sports
Apr 132013

Back in November, I snapped a few pictures of my super-awesome farrier, Chad Tuttle, at work shaping Lila’s shoes. By such “hot shoeing,” the farrier gets a better fit than he would otherwise.

I vastly prefer to allow a horse to go barefoot if possible. The horse’s hoof still needs to be trimmed by the farrier every eight weeks, but that’s a much faster and much cheaper process than shoeing. Plus, if the unshod horse kicks man or beast, that might hurt, but it’s not likely to do any serious damage. When the shod horse kicks man or beast, that’s likely to require medical attention.

However, sometimes the horses do require shoes to protect their feet, despite those downsides. Last summer, Lila’s soles were sore. The moment that we put on shoes, she became a vastly better horse — far more forward and free in her movements than she’d ever been. I put shoes on Elsie then too because she’d worn her feet down and gotten quite sore. We just pulled Elsie’s shoes off last week: her feet had grown out, the ground is reasonably soft now, and I’m not riding her much. Still, if she wears her feet down too much, she’ll be back in shoes when the farrier returns at the end of May!

Horsey and Non-Horsey, Living Together

 Posted by on 15 January 2013 at 12:00 pm  Animals, Funny, Horses
Jan 152013

This article — The Boat He’ll Never Have: Funny Things The Non-Horsey Say — has a pretty hysterical collection of stuff that non-horse people say to horse people. My inner paleo loves this one:

I was in the middle of one of my horsey filibusters, and my boyfriend felt like trying to add to the one-sided conversation. He put on a semi-snooty voice and in all seriousness said, “We’ll be entering in the amateur hunter-gatherer division.”

He paused, frowned and realized that wasn’t quite right. He’ll catch on soon enough.

But this anecdote was the best, by far:

We were expecting a semen delivery but had to go out, so I left a note for FedEx on the front door. As we were getting into the car, my husband read the note and raised an eyebrow. “Are you really going to leave that note?” he asked me.

“Yes,” I responded, wondering what the problem was. We got in the car, drove off, and every once in a while he exploded laughing.

Here’s what I’d written: “Dear FedEx Man, If I am not here, please leave semen on doorstep.”

It took me some time to figure out why my husband kept laughing.

“What I found out later was that the FedEx driver took my note back to the depot, and it was stuck up on the bulletin board!” Rogers added.

It takes a special kind of person to realize that such a note isn’t quite appropriate… it takes a farm gal!

Awesome Snow Horses

 Posted by on 3 January 2013 at 12:00 pm  Animals, Art, Cool, Horses
Jan 032013

Here’s what I found about it: “Workers shape a snow sculpture prior to the annual Vasaloppet China Ski Festival at Jingyuetan Park in Changchun, Jilin province, on December 25. According to local media, the festival will kick off on January 2, 2013.”

Happy New Year!

Lila and Me, on the Flat

 Posted by on 8 December 2012 at 10:00 am  Animals, Horses, Personal, Sports
Dec 082012

I don’t know whether y’all will be bored to tears by this video, but just in case not, I thought I’d post it. It’s a 15-minute video of clips from my last riding lesson. It’s not particularly exciting, since I’m working entirely on the flat (as opposed to over fences) although I am riding without stirrups in the small canter circles at the end.

Much to my delight, Lila is finally going “uphill” in a nicely collected canter, which gives me so much more control. Those tight circles at the canter at the end of the video would have been impossible for us a month ago. Still, I need to work more on straightening out my hips and shoulders — and leaning my upper body back.

Because she was taking video on my FlipCam, my instructor wasn’t able to see me as well as usual. So she’s giving me less direction than she usually does. Hence, my great need for a helmet camera for her to wear!

Here’s the one that I bought: Contour ROAM2 Waterproof Video Camera. If it ever snows here, I’ll use it for skiing and snowboarding too. I also got this set of outdoor mounts and a larger card.

So… maybe I’ll have some good video of me jumping soon!

Horses, Then and Now

 Posted by on 5 December 2012 at 2:00 pm  Animals, Funny, Horses
Dec 052012

You would think that horses would be grateful for this change. Instead, they’re all like, “Hell no! I’m not getting in that cramped tin can on wheels just so that you can take me somewhere scary to work!”

Ungrateful wretches, they are!

Nov 152012

This video of behind-the-scenes training and filming of the Clydesdales for Busweiser commercials gives me oh-so-many ideas of tricks to teach Lila this winter!

Synchronized Horses

 Posted by on 24 October 2012 at 2:00 pm  Animals, Cool, Horses, Sports
Oct 242012

I wasn’t convinced that this performance was all that… until they began jumping through rings of fire about halfway through. Then, it gets even better: I can’t imagine taking off my saddle while cantering!


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