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Friday, December 21, 2012

No more days of Christmas

I knew the madness had to stop when I jumped on Farley yesterday and the only song I could sing/hum to myself as we jigged, bolted, and jumped across the arena was "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me.......a partridge in a pear tree!".  The problem being that even with countless hours of watching a particular VHS tape with the song acted out by cardboard cutouts and actors, I still don't know the words and that makes the endless sound track of the days of Christmas even worse!!!!  If I have a prayer of knocking this song OUT of my brain by Xmas, I must stop ingraining it into my everyday life.


I believe I was on the third day of xmas and I couldn't figure out what had happened in threes that I could blog about.......three am squawking birdie?  Maybe.  If you go to bed at 1:30 am finishing up a TV show on amazon, then is 9am kinda like 3am? 

So anyways.  Let's just talk about what *I* want to talk about.

1. Farley
I rode Farley.  I fastened my seat belt, took my place among the carousel and picked the "3 years old and younger" setting and put in the quarter.  

Translation --> I saddled up in my Aussie saddle, rode in the arena, and kept it at the walk, ignoring the bad idea fairy (have you read Aarene's book yet) that told me that I should take advantage of the last break in the weather and do some trail riding on this cold windy day, or at least take a jaunt around the arena at something else than that 4 beat gait that doesn't really get us anywhere......the *other* 4 beat gait is ever so much more fun......I squashed the Bad Idea Fairy down with a reminder that.....I was so far *enjoying* my vacation and that my goals, as crazy as they sounded (New Years 3 night backpacking trip anyone?) did NOT involve broken bones, dirty helmets, or medical accessories!

Took me 20 minutes to get a good relaxed walk on the bit, long and low.  I slid off, patted her on the neck and myself on the back for a job well done, and sauntered off for other vacation activities. 

2. Vacation
I am officially 1/3 done with my vacation and let's review what I've done so far....and lest you are worried that I'm taking my vacation too seriously and not relaxing's what I want to "accomplish" in my 3 weeks off:

a. Ride Farley at least once (complete!).  Sounds rather simple but with the MISERABLE weather this break, not as easy as it sounds.  Hopefully I'll get more rides in, but probably only if the jet stream switches to a drier cycle in the beginning of January

b. Finish season 1 of Fringe (Yes! complete!)

c. Read the "Red Tent", a book that has been on my reading list for a decade and in the trunk of my car for 18 months.  (half way through.....)

d. Write an official review for "Endurance 101".

e. Get in at least one run (see notes about riding Farley.....)

f. Go backpacking (scheduled for the weekend before New Years if there's a break in the weather).

g. Explore my grad school options with a professor I particularly liked from the Repro block

h. Blog regularly (so far so good) and try not to be too boring.  This post is really border line, but 

i. Detail my car (half done).

j. Visit as many friends and family as I can, without guilt or stress.  Whether that's 1 or 20. 

I'm sure that it did not escape your notice that the above list is 10 points long even though I've chosen letters instead of numbers!

3. Hiking Trip
What do you think my biggest concern was about the New Years backpacking trip? 
-Rain? Nope.
-Cold? Nope.
-Tessie's muddy feet in my tent? Nope.

It was about my shoes. 

Hiking in the winter sucks when you haven't worn shoes for almost 2 years.  My runamocs and crocs are as close as I get.  In fact, when I wore a pair of hiking shoes to school one day, my feet hurt so bad the next day I could barely walk in the morning. 

My last couple of backpacking trips have been done in crocs or runamocs but with the mud and generally wetness, that isn't going to cut it on this trip. 

Let's throw into the mix that my feet tend to get really cold, AND on a three night trip I cannot possible pack enough socks to have dry feet the entire time, AND I'm not confident that my runamocs or worn out crocs (all my crocs are hand-me downs from other family members) have the tread to make it up some of the climbs, that are going to have clay mud on them in addition to sheets of ice (which I managed to fall on when I did this hike in 2010 and squirm around like a turtle on my back with my mother standing by doing NOTHING....:) and we have a real problem. 

So, I've taken my Xmas/Birthday money, done some research and settled on a pair of boots made by crocs that I'm pretty sure will work.  They darn well better because if they don't I will be doing something creative with duct tape and crocs. 

I'll get the shoes Monday, will wear them for a couple of tread desk sessions and know by that Friday whether I'll have to come up with something else.

Who knew that doing is "natural" for the body would cause so many issues in today's modern life?  Shoes hurt my feet, sitting down drives me insane.  Makes me wonder about the unseen changes that happen internally to horses and other animals when we use and care for them in a way more similar to their origins which may or may not be part of traditional management?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

On the second day of Christmas.... true love gave to me!

4 broken bones, 3 cracked ribs, 2 bucking fits, and a new home for Faaaarrrrllleeeyyyyyy.

Just kidding. 

In a rare moment of lucidity I decided the better plan was to turn out and then lunge the horse I haven't ridden in 4 (6?) weeks and ride tomorrow.   So instead, I present to you, way more than 2 things to get that equestrian or horse lover for Xmas in your family. 

1.  Aarene's Endurance 101 book of course!!!!!!  I have an ecopy and I'm REALLY enjoying the read.  Beautiful pictures, equally fun to both read and browse.  And of course, a big fat purple "Bad Idea Fairy" that seems silly until you realize that one of it's relatives has sat on your own shoulder far longer than you care to admit. 

I know that a few days there were still a few print versions of the book left from the first printing, but they were going fast.  The ebook is also fabulously pretty and really well laid out, but there's something about having a cold hard copy in your hands! (or your friend's hands). 

Still need some convincing?  Google "Endurance 101 book aarene" and see all the book reviews that pop up on it!  I don't have one listed here as that is goal #2 of the winter break (the first which is to finish the entire first season of Fringe....) but honestly, why are you waiting for a poorly worded, unfortunate attempt at wit from me to make your decision?

Check out the book's webpage:  You don't want to miss pictures of Jim dressed up at Santa!!!!

2. Natural hoof medallions. ( Yes yes yes I know I've plugged this one before --> but truly I'm in love with the jewelry designs.  I'd a love a necklace or bracelet in the stainless steel design, a symbol of my true love when I'm not on the back of my endurance (or ride and tie!) horse. 

3.  Something from the artist Laurie Pace.  (  Art is personal and all that, but seriously, how this women paints horses is magical to me.  I'm not hugely drawn to art, and even less so to art that isn't strictly realistic, but somehow this women paints horses how I feel about them.  My favorite piece of art by her is "Moonlight over the River" which sadly doesn't have a print and at 5K I'll never own the original (which was sold to a private buyer), however there are a few prints that are quite nice, even if they don't capture me quite as much as "moonlight".

4. A hoof pick.  One can never have too many.  I have dozens.  Where was one when I needed it last night?  I have no idea.  I need a fold up one that fits on a key chain.  I know where my keys are.  Most of the time.  Ummm....make that 2 keychain hoof picks.  One for my keys and one for my spare set of keys....

5.  An online subscription to some sort of media thingy.  Us horse people need something to distract us when we can't/won't/refuse to obssess constantly over our equids in these all-too-short daylight days.  I'm quite fond of amazon prime since I prefer TV shows over movies --> shorter, which is nice for my shiny object syndrome.

6.  New trimming tools.  One of my clients took the time to show me exactly what she uses to trim her horses feet and of course, now me-wanty-new-power-tools!!!!!!!  The dremmel is fine......but if I had the money this is what my trim kit would consist of!

Ryobi right angle grinder P420
Ryobi lithium batteries P104 and charger
For grinder disc: Diablo or other brand 5" x 7/8 arbor 24 grit sanding disc
Norton disc backer for 5" discs. Measures 4 1/2.

May all of you have a very Merry Christmas, and I want to here what my horsey friends get!!!!!!  What gifts past or present (or hopefully future!) would you add here for that special horse person?

I published a list of gifts for the 2011 season sometime in January 2012, so if you are a desperate shopper-for-that-horse-person check that out, and any other ideas others might add here or on their own blogs :).

Vacation day 1

On the first day of Christmas (break) my true love gave to me....

Ok, so my true love wasn't even here for most of the day (left at three am) and the only thing he managed to give me prior to leaving was my second cold of the year... But it WAS my first day of Christmas break and after napping on the couch in front of the fire and playing withe Connor and Tess, it was 9 am and time to start my day. It was raining so Farley was saved for day 2 festivities.

I had Xmas Saturday night with my parents and had $$ to spend on myself. merry Christmas to me!

First off was to find a zippered fleece robe. Amazon failed me. LL Bean failed me. Sierra trading post failed me. Even google shopper failed, and it was only when I remembered that lands end that I found success.

Ok, that didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped, but persistence did pay off and well, there was an entire day I front of me.....

Stopped to drop off the November board check since the original one had never cleared and thus me and the BM decided it was easier for me to just repay....only to find that I couldn't actually find it. So I wrote a THIRD check for the month of November and dropped it off.

Ok. Just another bump in the day of vacation day 1.

Time for some more Xmas presents. A hair cut, and a pair of earrings, and then off to the tack shop to put one of the three saddles I'm trying to sell on consignment (anyone want an Aussie saddle and girth and pad for $250 plus shipping? Yes the price has gone down! I'm taking offers :)).

Time to get home and get to the real celebrating,

- ate an entire pillsberry can of cinnamon rolls and managed to bake exactly half of them (don't ask me why I've stopped losing weight)

- watched untold amount of episodes of fringe on amazon (free with prime).

- even more Tess and Conner time

- a bowl of popcorn flavored with agave nectar and cinnamon and more fringe episodes.

- a nap

So far so good! This is EXACTLY what the first day of vacation should look like!

And then I looked out the window and saw that the pit bull was back.

Those of you on face book are aware of the dog drama - one part of which is, about a week a male uneutered out bull came on the property, at night, and attacked one of my dogs. We called the sheriff, but by the time he got there, the dog wasn't on the property any more.

And today the dog was back.

It's taking multiple deep breaths and perhaps a beer or two to get my vacation mood back.

Let's review shall we?

On the first day of Vacation my school break gave to me....a pit bull and Stress management for me!

I wonder what my true love brings to me on the second day of Christmas (vacation)? Peace happiness and joy? Saddle time, good news and an end to this cold? A housekeeping elf? Sold saddles? Seven days of dinners? We shall see!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas recommendations


The book "Endurance 101" by AareneX is one of the items that I will be strongly recommending on my "what to get the horsey person in your life" Xmas list --> and because I'm afraid that she's going to completely sell out before my final is over and I get my post up, I wanted to share this here in case you are interested.

I have the ebook version and I absolutely love it.  Beautiful pictures, funny, easy reading, AND a bad idea fairy, whom I'm pretty sure lives at my house and regularly gives me advice. 

Here's the Endurance 101 info if you want a PHYSICAL book.  The ebook is available as well.

Quantities are limited and operators are standing by!

Okay, there aren't actually operators standing around anywhere.

But it's true that a limited number of real-paper-and-real-ink copies of Endurance 101 are now available for delivery in time for the holidays. Readers told us that they wanted a print edition for themselves and to give to friends and family, and it's ready at last--and the readers who wrote to us get the first chance to order.

Do not delay:  we expect the first printing to sell out quickly, and the second run will NOT ship until January 2013!

Details and the buy-it-now links are here:

Laughing all the way,
Aarene Storms, author, Monica Bretherton, photographer, and all the friendly folks (plus the wheelchair dog) at Triangle Ranch Communications

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New things

So I know that it's been dark and lonely over here for my poor readers so in the interest of not having you'all go away, I've torn myself away from my studies long enough to compile a (probably 10 item) list of new things that are going on and general annoucements.

1.  Yes, the Christmas gifting list is coming.   I swear.  It's already half written.

2.  I've added a pet to the zoo.  Meet Connor - a green cheeked conure (fallow mutation).  It hurts me everytime that I describe him as a conure, since that is a made up classification for the pet industry and no relevance whatever, and regularly lumps birds together that aren't related (like Sun conures).  Connor is a birthday present from my boyfriend and is quite the little sweetie pie.  I feel like my "pet life" is complete - 1 horse, 1 dog, 1 bird, and a cat (technically Jonah is half my cat, but I always knew that since I decided to live with Matt, he wouldn't be living with me ever again permanently - so my remaining cat is Mickie).  Each animal interacts with me in a different way, and fulfills a different need.  It's quite neat.  Matt is a huge bird person so yes, it's my bird, but not in the way that Tess and Farley are "mine" - ie Connor is a joint project :).  You probably won't here too much about Connor here since this is a horse/endurance blog - but the news is new and exciting and thus I post :)

3. Winter break starts after my final on Friday!  This is the end of a very short 2 week block on dermatology and thus a lot of information was thrown at us in a short amount of time and I'm scrambling to assimilate everything into a framework that makes sense.  Which is why there is a blog vacation.

4.  I haven't seen my horse for, like, FOREVER. I haven't ridden in an eternity.  I refuse to feel guilty about it.  She's in good hands at the boarding place, and once I get on winter break, I'll be able to go out and see her and ride.  I'm in vet school, and likely even as a vet, there will be periods of time that are busier than others and that I will be able to spend less time that I would like with friends and family, so as long as I'm making accomodations for the needs of my animals, than everything is still fine :).  For example, if clinics takes me away for a couple of days, I will need to make sure that Connor is socially taken care of during that time, my cat will be fine, my horse is fine, and as long as Matt and the other dogs are around, Tess is fine. 

5. I have decided that I am not overly found on human doctors and the human medical industry.  Not only can their patients talk and TELL them what they feel (and yet they still don't listen), I'm increasingly frustrated by the politics, bureaucracy, and insurance concerns that can prevent a diagnosis and treatment. 

6. I'm about 95% sure that Tess is unilaterally deaf.  It's very likely based on her coat color genetics and explains a lot of odd consistencies in how she reacts in various situations that are visual versus auditory and requires triangulation of sound over longer distances.  It doesn't matter in every day situations usually, but has impacts in our off leash training, and some of the other "performance" type things I want to do where very often it's a auditory signal without a visual component.  I could have her tested to make sure, which would cost ~$200 as a student here at the VMTH, which I may do at some point when I can afford to be curious, but for now I'll just keep it in the back of my mind when we are working together. 

7.  I've been posting pics and some shorter items on Tess's blog.  If you haven't been there in a while, go over and check it out.

8.  Jonah is still up for a 6 month foster.  I've gotten some inqueries, but no commitments.  A lot of it is the holidays --> people are travelling etc., so understandable.  Gotten a few questions on why I can keep my dog and not him.  He's 50% my cat, but essentially I gave him to my parents a year and a half ago.  Currently I'm fostering him for them until they find a new place in Redding --> however the originally reason I rehomed him with my parents still exists --> him and my boyfriend don't get along.... --> and the situation has escalated to the point where someone else needs to foster him until they can find a place, probably about 6 months. 

9. My brother and I have agreed to get up early on weekday mornings and have a cup of coffee before going to work/school and just visit for 30-60 minutes.  It's been great and a really special time.  Life is always changing and I really try to appreciate the small things at each stage.  I may wish that I was riding more right now, but there are other opportunities available that are more transient than my reduction of saddle time.

10.  I'm really having to stretch this to make my list reach 10 items!!!!!!!!  What else new is going on.......I have multiple saddles for sale, (belong to my Dad etc and selling them for him), including a leather/synthetic combination Big Horn saddle with a horn.  So if you are looking for a saddle as a gift this Christmas, let me know.  Currently looking to sell an Aussie, the Bighorn, and another leather older western saddle (***All the westerns have horns). 

Friday, December 7, 2012

I which I may have had too much caffeine

Oh Lordy it's that time of the year again.

Why have I now lost a total of 8 pounds instead of 12? (so says I as I stuff yet more cookies in my mouth...)

Ah yes - dark days, cookies and..........KITTIES


Ok. So maybe one thing isn't like the other in the above sentence (can you tell the shiny object syndrome is raising its squirrel like head here)

And in related news, can you tell what lecture I had this morning? (coat color in cats)

And also can you tell I have self medicated with caffeine (AND CINNAMON ROLLS THAT WERE MINATURE!!!) in order to focus on the test this morning AND combined that with a beer and fish and chips in a post-test celebration an hour ago!?

Oh yeah. Today is NOT the day to explain the wonderful histologically beauty of the hoof.

I fact, I'm pretty sure one of my study partners got a slightly more animated version of skin immunity than she bargained for when doing some subject review before the test.....

And in a completely off subject (oddly related since there IS a picture of a kitty in this post...) thought...anyone want to foster a Siberian forest bred cat for six months until my parents find a house? I'm pretty sure either the boyfriend or the cat are going to come to mortal blows in the next week or so unless I can remove one of them. Why do I mention breed like its important? Because there has to be a very special place in your heart in order to ummmm...APPRECIATE this particular breed of cat......

Christmas list coming soon! Want a preview of one of the must buy item? That would be Aarene's endurance 101 book naturally! An absolutely must have for you and ten of your friends. Check out her blog or do a Facebook search. More specifics coming.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tess gives her opinion - Lecture series

Heaven help me I feel another lecture series coming on.

Who wants to learn more about the horse hoof?

Tess gives her opinion


What are you working on?