Monday, July 28, 2014

I wish I could say I didn't see it coming...or that I am sad

A lot has happened in the last few days. It started Thursday when I went to take simon for his school shopping. We stopped for breakfast and while waiting on out food I checked my bank account to see how much I could spend without getting into trouble.

The answer was zero. 

Since I knew my next pay check was already spent on horse stuff and bills I decided to go ahead have that yard sale I've been planning. 

Friday morning was spent gathering items and posting on the local yard sale FB page in order to generate customers. 

When I got to work on Friday my boss was there, which was highly unusual, especially on a Friday.  The first thing he did was compliment my hair ( which was a frizzy mess) and then called me
To the conference room.   

Uh oh

Then I saw the HR guy and I knew what was next. I was laid off. It was done with all the usual " it's been great working with you"  " you didn't do anything wrong" " we really hate this" " if there is anything you need like a letter of reference" etc etc etc. 

As they went on and on I kind of faded off into my head. I had to keep telling myself "DO NOT jump for joy until you are gone- stop smiling- for cryin out loud at least try to act hurt" 

They gave me my final check, shook my hand and said, "We really hope you will try to get on at one of the other dealerships, you are really good at this and have a bright future ahead of you."

"Um...yeah, not likely.  If I never sell another truck part again it will be okay with me."  

Now don't get me wrong. This was not a bad job by any means. But after a very short period of time there I remembered exactly why I quit selling parts in the first place. It's a no win job.  It is impossible to be successful when the actual manufacturers of the trucks and parts, make it harder and harder to find the correct part numbers to sell to the customers...customers who are rarely happy.  Combine that with working a grave yard shift when most of my resources for information were closed....there was no way to get it right. 

Oddly enough just a few days before this I had, for the first time in months I found myself at the Craig's list jobs and saw an intriguing ad looking for someone with dog breed experience who also has office manager experience, to schedule mobile grooming appts.   This has the potential to be a work from home position.

Say What??????

So I sent an email introducing myself and gave a brief summary of my experience (grew up in dog show world- worked for professional handlers, office manager, customer service)  and then promised to send my resume' as soon as I got home. Well I never got around to it, since my resume' needed updated.

As I was packing up my stuff to leave my-no-longer-employment, my phone rang.  I did not answer it then because I was busy, but as soon as I got to the truck called the number back.  It was the HR Manager from the mobile grooming place.  He said, "I have not received your resume' yet, and was wondering if you have sent it. We are very intrigued by your experience and would like to start the interview process with you."

So yes, they have my updated resume' now!

Moving on, I went on with my yard sale.  I didn't sell any of my big items (the saddle line up being the majority of that- total of 3 Circle Y's, and 2 other saddles.  I could have sold at least 4 roping saddles and 2 barrel saddles had I had them.  So I know where I need to invest my money next.

The biggest thing I did with this sale was make connections, hand out fliers, and get my name out there.  I have several folks interested in bringing me saddles to work on.  Other people who will be back to see if I have any roping saddles, and 2 other people who know someone looking to board.  I also had two older ladies, who I recognized from when I worked at the Ranch Store, come to see what I had. They bought a headstall, and we ended up gabbing for an hour. As it turns out one of them is a retired Lab breeder who is friends with some of the folks my family started out showing dogs with. These are ladies that I went to dog shows with almost every weekend. So that was kind of cool.

It was a great weekend, and now we are moving into the week.

First thing I did this morning was get up at 5am and take The Princess for a ride.  We worked in the arena for a while, mostly just giving her time to limber up.  Boy howdy she was stiff.  Once she got moving she did much better, but it took her a bit.  She went over the pole a few times, the last time without even hardly any hesitation at all.

Then we went out down the road.  She hesitated at the gate track so we did that a few times and then just casually walked down the furthest stretch of road I live on.  A truck went past, she never even gave it a second glance.  However there just as we were headed down a tow truck with a big flat bed and flashing lights and a loud diesel engine turned on a street and parked in front of one of the houses. That made her nervous but we made it through it.

At first she said, "I can't do this"

But I said, "Yes you can, your a big girl. I promise to keep you safe."

Then I took a deep breath, let all my air out, heard her let hers out and urged her forward.  She gave it a wide berth, and I gave her that, but she did it without trying to bolt, and she got lots of praises on the other side.

Then we went the rest of the way to the end, stepped out on the pavement where she spooked at the yellow lines.

"Really Mel?"

Once she realized that she could step on them and there was no difference then she walked all over them.

Then we turned around and headed home. Back past the scary truck.  Less of a wide berth this time and all the way home.  I was very proud of her.  She handled everything like a pro!

Now I am off to start getting some things squared away towards getting this new business venture of mine up and running!

Wish me luck, I'm gonna need it! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Oh Killian!

Last Sunday was the day for the gal to come and try out Killian.  It is sort of a free lease sort of thing, although neither she nor I are comfortable with just turning her loose with him just yet, so we opted for some riding together.   I met this young lady while working at the ranch store, in fact she was the one who trained me.  She is an old soul in a young body, if that makes any sense.  I have adored her from day one, so I was really excited to see her again.

I picked out a saddle for her (One of the many I have been snatching up to get my saddle shop started), A very nice Circle Y Equitation, which has had the stirrup leathers shortened.  This makes the saddle entirely too short for me, but I thought it might do her just right. As it turns out, it is still a bit short for her too, which means this one will go on the sale block for vertically challenged people.  However she rode in it anyway, to decide if it was right or not.

JBC is not a fan of arena riding, which works out since Killian isn't either.  So we opted to head out to the desert.  We got a later start than I would have liked and it was getting hot quick.  I was happy when I watched her mount up.  She was able to swing up on the big guy fairly easily with out having to drag herself up the saddle, causing it to slip.

Of course Killian was his usually steady Eddie self, as was Trax.   I had thought about taking Melody but wanted to be able to keep an eye on JBC, rather that constantly watch if my horse was going to spook.  So I chose to ride Trax......because he never loses his mind.  (the irony of that statement just hit me)  Actually Trax is a pretty steady trail mount and for all his quirks, he is the one I am most comfortable on.

Anyway, we hit the desert, did some trotting, she managed to find Killian's easy gait and we headed straight for the closest stock tank.  Stock tanks in the desert are rarely "tanks" and usually just a big hole that has filled up with water and stays that way.  I don't know if there are springs or what, because they do get low when there has not been any rain, but they rarely run completely dry.

I knew that the horses would want a drink, so we rode them up to the edge and let them drink their fill.  I was not surprised when Killian waded in.  He likes water.  I was completely shocked when Trax waded in up to his did Killian.

Then Trax started playing and pawing and I told him in no uncertain terms that he was not to roll on my saddle in the water.  No sooner did I say that but looked over to see Killian going down in the water. I told JBC to step off, which she did but in the process ended up losing the rein.   Then I was saddled with the task of trying to catch Killian before he made for home. This required doing a little "Flag work" a pond.  Sometimes I wish I had a camera crew following me 24/7, because I would have loved to have been able to see this.

Trax was up to the task physically, but not mentally and suddenly decided that there was something to be afraid of.  I guess he thought he'd just go ahead and bolt up the hill....into another tree.    I don't know if he felt my anxiety at losing the red horse, or if he figured that since Killian was loose he could be too.  Regardless, I forgot about Killian for a minute. shut down Trax's train of thought before it became a full on reality, and then hopped off my horse so that I could walk to Killian without chasing him off.  When I finally got the situation under control I looked back at JBC.  She was trying desperately to get her feet and her boots out of the 8" deep mud at the bottom of the tank.

When I think back to this particular situation I admit to being kind of impressed at myself for being able to think fast enough to keep my own horse from bolting, & getting the red horse caught. I did it all in a matter of seconds and did not even get my feet wet.  JBC, did not fair so well though.

She was a little shook up, not scared or hurt, just wasn't ready for all of that on her first ride.  I also think she thought I'd be mad because she almost lost the horse.  I would not have been mad, but I'd have felt bad for making her walk all the way back to the gate.  We darn sure were not going to try to ride double on the paint horse.  

I did end up getting my feet went eventually, but of my own accord.  I led both horses back in the water so they could finish their drinks.   Plus it was like 500 degrees out and the water felt pretty good.  I splashed both ponies to cool them off and then we mounted up and headed for home.  We laughed all the way home at our silly ponies.

No trail ride would be complete without the ear shot

And of course Killian- taking his sweet time. 

All in all it was a fun ride, and she says she will be back hopefully every week.  I think that the next time we take them to water when it is that hot, I will throw a couple of halters and long leads in to a saddle bag so that we can halter and unsaddle them and that way if they want to go in and play in the water they can do so without the hindrance of a rider and without ruining my saddles.  Someday I want to take Killian swimming.  He is a great bareback horse and I'll bet he is a great swimmer.

I'm really glad that the impromptu mud bath didn't scare her off.  She seemed to really like Killian, and seemed excited to have the chance to come and ride for free when ever she wants.  That is much better than paying to go on trail rides, which is what she has been doing just to get in some horse time.

Since then it has been sooooo hot and I have not been able to get any riding done.  The princess is being neglected, as is Miss Sassy.  But hopefully this weekend I'll get some more saddle time in.

In the mean time I have been trying to get work done on my saddle stock.  I am up to 3 Circle Y's for sale, 1 Colorado Saddlery saddle, and the cutting saddle is almost done too.   Then I have 2 more that are coming in on consignment.  One is a custom made saddle which was hand made up in Prescott.  It is very nice saddle but has been sitting for too long and needs some serious conditioning. The other one is an Aussie saddle.  I'm kind of excited to get this one in.  I have always wanted to try one out.   I haven't been able to sell much yet, although I have a gal interested in the CS. We just have not been able to connect for her to try it out yet.  This is the wrong time of year to be selling anyway.  I'll wait for fall and then really start pushing them.

I need to get a little AC or swamp cooler for my little work shed so that I can work on stuff in there during the days before work.  I don't think I'll ever get rich doing this but perhaps eventually can start taking on some refurb jobs for people who don't have time to clean and condition their own saddles.   I've got a pretty good system down, am working on getting a shaping stand built, but am still searching for that perfect product for the final leather treatment.  I like the Skidmores I used the first time.  I have 3 other products I am trying out right now.  Eventually I may do a post on comparisons.

Well, hope everyone is staying cool and getting some good equine time in.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Guess What I Found in My Back Yard

I have horses.

I walked out into my yard and sure as ______  there they were.

I hate to say that I had almost forgotten. It seemed like it had been weeks since I had even seen them.

While that is not actually the case, I did throw some food once in a while, but even TC did that most of the time for me.  It makes me feel like a terrible horse mom, however, none of the four legged abandonees (I know that is not really a work) seemed to mind too much.

I have had so little contact with the Equine populous at my house, I haven't even attempted a blog post.  There was no point.

I did however finally squeeze a ride in Sunday evening after a huge 5 minute storm hit our place and took out the shade for my tack room and our best tree for shade in the dog yard.  Its fine, we can rebuild....without FEMA.

I rode The Princess and I am starting to notice something.  I was hoping when I got her that I would be able to focus more on my riding skills and less on keeping my mount in line.  It really does seem to be the case too.  I am starting to feel more solid in the saddle, less like a bag of potato's.

I have got to get someone to come and help me with the lead change cue though.  I am totally blowing it every single time.

One thing we did this time though was leave the arena.

As in out the gate.....

And out the main gate....

And then down the road and back several times.

She handled it pretty well as long as nothing touched her feet.   Then she looked much like that picture we have all seen on FB with the horse jumping straight up above the water screaming, "Something touched my foot!"

She spends a lot of time doing the looky loo, but that's okay. She even held it together when a car passed us.  However I did turn her to face it so she could see it coming.

We had some discussions about walking between some fence posts. She is still so freaky about crossing over things.  We went in and out of the main gate so she could cross the gate track several times.

I have a video as well, but have not been able to upload it to youtube without either adding music or removing the sound of my son, who was operating the camera and did such a wonderful job showing off his "I'm-a-jerk-and-can-cuss-like-a-truck-driver" skills.  So just suffice to say, she did it, and will be doing it again soon.

I managed to get up early Monday morning and ride Trax.  He was not at all happy about having to work before breakfast.  However, considering the lack of human contact he has had lately, he behaved just fine (once we spent some time in the round pen to give him a chance to "speak his mind").  I wanted to take him out and about as well, but his feet are sore from the crappy job the last trimmer did on him.  I might fire that girl, she clearly was not thinking about what our goals are with his feet when she worked on him last.  Of course she does work pretty cheap.  The girl is me, of course, and I didn't ruin him, but I did back up our forward progress.

He does fine in the arena or pasture or even in his pen, just any place rocky is hard for him.  I suppose I could put the boots on him and take him out.  Perhaps I will do that next time.

Our ride was good. Simple and easy, and he tried hard for me.  I have no complaints.

Today I didn't get up early but once I did get up, I cleaned my pens, and then decided to push through the heat and go. I compensated by riding in shorts and boots, and hosing my self off before we left. I stayed nice and cool the entire time.  This time I saddled up Killian, and booted Sassy and we headed down the road.   TC keeps pushing me to sell Killian, but when I ride him out and about like this, I know that I can't.  I have never had a steadier mount on the trail than this big red horse.

Sassy started out leading the way as always. She was moving just fine for most of the trip.  We didn't go too far, just down our road, up a few streets and then made a big loop around the neighborhood. We trotted slowly when we could and I was really happy with the way she was moving.  About half way through the ride she started limping on the LF again.  This time I just pushed her through it.  It was hard to do, but I think it was, in fact, the right thing to do.  If I kept her moving, at a walk, she favored it less with every step.  If we stopped and soaked up some shade to let a car go past, then she would favor it again. The more we moved, the less she limped. By time we got home she was almost normal again. When it was time to take off the boots she was putting all her weight on it on her own.

I switched her off of the purina low starch grain and put her, along with everyone else, on ADM Ultra Fiber.  Let me just say that I love love love this stuff.  It is affordable, Everyone's hoofs and manes and tails are growing like gangbusters, from the vitamins, and they love it.  They have been on it several months now and I have decided they will stay on it for the duration.  

I have so much grass in my pasture I decided to take advantage of it, and have quit even giving any hay at all.  I have a pair of horses out on pasture half the day, and then switch them out on the other half.  Sassy and Killian get the night shift, so there is less sugar in the grass, and then the spotted horses get the day shift.

The spotted horses are maintaining a nice weight, Melody especially.  Trax is a little heavy but not ungodly so.   If he were getting ridden more it would be perfect.  The Red horses are getting hay bellies...big ones.  However, the big crest of fat on Sassy's neck is gone.  So again, I think exercise would be the key for these two as well.  I do think there may be a grazing muzzle in Sassy's future, maybe Killian's too.

When the horses come in from pasture they get the their grain and a small amount of Bermuda blend pellets.

I'm still trying to decide if I like this arrangement.  The down side is that they go 12 hours with out any food.  But then they have a solid 12 hours of grazing on the other side of it.  I'm trying to determine if that is better or worse than being fed at 7 am, eating for an hour, and then waiting until 7 pm and eating for an hour.

If I give them hay in "slow feed" nets they have it gone in 2 hours- three tops.   The whole point of hay nets is to simulate grazing.  So when actual grazing is available it should be better for them.  Unless of course they are pigs who gorge themselves like those two red horses.

I'm guess I am still tweaking this schedule.  I will get it figured out eventually.   I also quit keeping them all separated.  I have pens big enough to hold a couple of horses easily.  The flies are pretty bad right now, regardless of what I try to do to kill them.  With this in mind I decided to put 2 horses per pen. It gives them the ability to swish flies together.  It seems to be working out perfect.

So I know I have been blogging much lately.  I think I went through a bout of depression, which makes it hard to do anything.  It seems like I am pulling out of now though, so hopefully I will back to riding and blogging regularly.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Ad....Revisited

Some of you may recall a joke a made at one time about how if I ever put up a for sale ad for Trax it would read something like:

For Sale, Beautiful Paint Gelding, 12 years old.   Tons of go, absolutely no stop, occasionally acts like a broke horse.

Today I have decided to add something to that ad.

FOR SALE:  Gorgeous paint gelding, approx 13 years old.   Tons of go, not much stop, occasionally acts like the broke horse that he is.  He is the same horse whether you ride every day, or leave him sit for a month.  By the same, I mean unpredictable and wily.   Will consider trade for junk car, guns or small burro.

Of course I am joking.  I would not sell this horse any more than I would sell TC...or my kid (on his good days- there are other days when I would sell him for  nickle- lol)

He actually is not the same horse if you don't ride him.  He is very predictable providing your predict that he is going to be a little on the broncy side.

I was trying to get out there early to ride but it was after 8 am and already hotter than the hubs of hell, but we went for it anyway. I knew I was going to keep it short, but of course he cannot read my mind and was not happy that he was being saddle.  In fact, since my saddle was still missing cinch pieces due to being worked on, I threw it up on him, went to the tack shed to grab parts and came back out just in time to hear (not see) a big thud.

 My saddle was on the ground.

Really Trax???

Since I really do learn from having my head slammed into trees, I recognized what he was saying loud and clear.


So once he was saddled we went to the round pen.

I grabbed my stick, did my usual rub all over with it, and when it went under his belly he bucked in place three times.


"Yes Trax I hear you, but we are going to do just a little bit of work today."

20 min later he quit racing around the round pen.  I figured it was safe to get on.

It was.

Our ride was quiet and uneventful, just how I like em.

Okay well maybe not totally uneventful, but his attempts at being unruly were more funny than mean.

He only tried to bolt on me once, and even that was half-hearted.  He did bucked once when I accidentally jabbed him with a spur, but that was just a protest more than a "I'm gonna lose you" buck.  We did the best gate execution that I have ever seen him do.  Our lead changes were sloppy and practically non-existent, and the sweat was pouring off of both of us. When he finally gave me an actual attempt on the lead change I quit.  We did a little side passing and then called it a day.

He got a nice hose down and some fly spray and went back to his pen.  He enjoyed the water so much today I don't even think he rolled after his bath.

So no, the paint horse is not for sale.  Not now not ever, but he sure does crack me up some days.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Home Again

We are home from our vacation and I'm still trying to get over the effects of the Dramamine I am forced to take in order to fly anywhere.  

Tc on the other hand has gone righty back to work which is a good thing. The ponies figured out that the hotwire wasn't working while we were gone and took it upon themselves to now the grass around the trees outside of the pasture. While we always appreciate the help, we don't really appreciate when they "trim "  the trees too. 

Luckily the property is completely fenced and closed off now, so even if they get out they can't run away. 

I don't have a lot if exciting news about our vacation. We didn't do much just took it easy, and my main concern was getting to spend time with this little guy. 

We did have some great fun with him, but some of it was overshadowed by the "other grandma" who I do not care for so much and really don't understand.  

Her daughter, Nikolas' mom, is 20. She wants to get her drivers license and get a job. Her mother will not let her. She wants her to stay home all the time. 

I cannot fathom why any parent would set their own child up for failure like this.  Mommy dearest is not always going to be around to provide for her, and when that day comes Stefany is going to be in big trouble.  I can't imagine how being in control of my adult child would be more
Important than empowering her to be a strong independent woman. 

My son pays child support and has to fight to see his own son. Not because of Stef, but because her mom always finds away to stop it. Even when I came to town and asked if we could have a picnic at the park, her mom insisted that she come along to supervise. 

I admit to having a hard time keeping my mouth shut that day. 

Anyway I tried to focus on the boy and we played and had so much fun. We also went swimming and took granny/baby selfies. 

I saw my friend Jay and stopped out to see his ponies. 

The dark bay belongs to his exwife.  She seems to have abandoned him. A crying shame because he is a great horse. 

Anyway tomorrow I have to work but then the next 3 days I am going to devote as much time as possible to da ponies. 

Hope everyone has a safe and fun Foruth of July!