Monday, September 29, 2008

Tremble like a flower

I lOVE flowers! So I tried this test:

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

"You stand up for what you believe in, even if it gets in the way of what other people think. You are proud of yourself and your accomplishments and you enjoy letting people know that."

Tremble like a flower - song: Let's Dance (David Bowie) album: Let's Dance

Thursday, September 25, 2008

You must see the movie

For a long time my dream horse has been a Friesian.

From wikipedia: The Friesian (also Frisian) horse is a breed of horse from Friesland, a province of the Netherlands. Although the breed's conformation resembles that of a light draft horse, Friesians are graceful and nimble for their size. During the Middle Ages, it is believed that the ancestors of Friesian horses were in great demand as war horses throughout continental Europe. Through the Early Middle Ages and High Middle Ages, their size enabled them to carry a knight in armor. In the Late Middle Ages, heavier, draft type animals were needed. Though the breed nearly became extinct on more than one occasion, the modern day Friesian horse is growing in numbers and popularity, used both in harness and under saddle. Most recently, the breed is being introduced to the field of dressage.

The Friesian is most often recognized by its black coat color, though color alone is not their only distinguishing characteristic. Friesians also have a long, thick mane and tail, and "feathers"--long, silky hair on the lower legs, deliberately left untrimmed. The official breed rarely has white markings of any kind; most registries allow only a small star on the forehead for purebred registration. Though extremely rare, and not accepted for registration in most cases, Friesians are occasionally chestnut. The Friesian's average height is about 15.3 hands (63 inches or 1.60 m), although it may vary from 14.2 to 17 hands (between 58 in./1.5 m and 68 in./1.7 m) tall at the withers, and mares or geldings must be at least 15.2 hands (1.57 m) tall to qualify for a 'star-designation' pedigree.[1] The breed is known for a brisk, high-stepping trot. The Friesian is considered a willing, active, and energetic horse that is also gentle and docile. A Friesian tends to have great presence and to carry itself with elegance.

The breed has powerful overall conformation and good bone structure, with what is sometimes called a "Baroque" body type. Friesians have long, arched necks and well-chiseled, short-eared, "Spanish type" heads. Their sloping shoulders are quite powerful. They have compact, muscular bodies with strong sloping hindquarters and a low-set tail. Their limbs are comparatively short and strong. To be accepted as breeding stock in the FPS studbook, a stallion must pass a rigorous approval process.[2]

Today, there are two distinct conformation types. The baroque type has the more robust build of the classical Friesian. The modern, sport horse type is finer-boned. Conformation type is judged less important than correct movement, and both types are common, though the Modern type is currently more popular in the show ring than is the Baroque Friesian.

I have always wanted to own and ride one: large, black, high stepping, and proud. The first time I noticed these spirited steeds was in the movie LadyHawke, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Matthew Broderick, and Rutger Hauer. The Friesian has also been the horse of choice for Antonio Banderas in The Mask of Zorro and The Legend of Zorro. Friesians have been featured in Tall Tale, Les Visiteurs (Die Besucher), Black Knight (Ritter Jamal), Sleepy Hollow (Christopher Walken), Last Action Hero, Alexander the Great, 300, The Young Black Stallion (Prequel), Running Free, King Arthur (F. with white socks), Eragon, and Sense and Sensibility.

The Friesian is awesome, fiery yet gentle, with a grandly arched neck and long flowing mane, tail, and fetlock hair. He is spirited and powerful, yet easily managed. He is a gentle, but impressive, horse. I adore watching Friesians trot. These movies do an excellent job showcasing the Friesian as a riding horse of note.

So check out some of those movies or just watch these clips:

You must see the movie - song: The secret life of Arabia (David Bowie) album: Heroes

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Labyrinth fan video

While I was YouTubing (is that a word? if not, it should be) I came upon this little video made by a fan of David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly in Labyrinth to the music, Wicked Game.

What is interesting about Cormak, the maker of the video, is she also has video of her "42 year old" horse, Tempa. Amazing!!

Go here and here for more video on her Arab cross gelding, Tempa. He looks (and acts) pretty good for 42!!

A Labyrinth fan video - David Bowie starred in the movie, Labyrinth

Saturday, September 20, 2008

All the cars

This is my driveway. Let me count the cars:

  1. 2003 Infiniti FX45, my pride and joy! Her name is Lola, cuz she's a "muscle car".

  2. 2000 Ford F150, a farm truck mostly, to carry trash, pull trailers, get wood and hay. Goes by the name of "Scott's truck".

  3. 1997 Saturn SL, my commuter car, 35+ mpg, nicknamed Ciss, for Chop Shop Special. Not really, but I just bought her from a dealer that fixes up old cars for resale by taking parts from others. Hopefully, she'll be a good one. I've only had her a week.

  4. 2000 Saturn SL, my son's commuter car. He calls her 1K-N, "the car of a thousand noises".

  5. 1999 Ford Ranger, my son's "fun" truck, "Rez", because it came from the Gallup area.

  6. 1994 Ford Explorer, aka "GDK or god#am car", re license plate initials. Actually, this has been an awesome car. I bought her new and she now has over 320,000 miles on the original engine. Unfortunately, a few weeks ago, the axle on the front tire broke so we're trying to decide whether to fix or junk.

???- Still need a car for my daughter. She has been driving my new, old Saturn since the Explorer broke.

All the cars - song: It's gonna be me (David Bowie) album: Young Americans- bonus tracks

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Under the moonlight, this serious moonlight

The moonrise tonight was stunning! It was a full red moon! My poor camera just doesn't do it justice.

So, I decided to ride Scout.

I set up four upright poles about 12 feet apart and rode him in circles, serpentines and weaving tightly in and out like the "pole bending" pattern. He did really well. I also jumped an old log that I have in the arena and he gave a couple of wild bucks after we landed. Whooeee! Then he settled down to business and we loped, jogged, and walked around in the dark. It was actually too dark to ride outside but there's nothing to bump into in the arena and I know that the horses can see quite well in the dark. I do have a dim light on one end of the arena. I have two other poles set up waiting for lights to be installed. I just need someone to climb the poles and stick on the lights and get them wired properly.

The "girls" were very interested in the poles I set up. Annie gave a few bucks herself and jogged over to them to stand in between them as if to say, "See, I can do it too." And when I moved two barrels over to the log as bookends they had to come check that out too.

It's already getting chilly out. I noticed all three horses are growing fuzz now. But, I'm not ready for winter yet.

Under the moonlight, this serious moonlight - song: Let's Dance (David Bowie) album: Let's Dance

Monday, September 15, 2008

It's not really work

Oh yeah???

Every summer I need to fill my barn with hay and my woodpile with wood. Well, this year I really fell behind. My barn was getting empty. On Saturday I was down to 11 bales and I use a bale a day feeding my three horses.

So, I figured that instead of 5 trips with the truck and trailer @ 75 bales a trip, I would buy a truckload and get the barn filled in one shot. This would also cut out the wear and tear on my poor truck. Besides, with the price of gas, it averages out to about the same cost as the delivery charges. For the last several weeks, because of all the rain, everyone I called told me they had rained-on hay or that they would have hay in "two weeks". I was starting to get worried. Finally, Friday night, I spoke with Paul and bought a truckload of hay: 200 bales of grass and 100 bales of alfalfa.

It was to be delivered Saturday afternoon. Then I got a call from Paul saying they had loaded 200 bales of the wrong hay and had to unload and reload it, so they would be coming by on Sunday morning instead. Well, around 12:30, I called Paul and this time he told me that the guys delivering the hay had turned a corner too sharply and dumped the load. They were reloading the hay as we spoke and would get to my place as soon as they could.

When they finally arrived with their semi rig and 40 foot trailer around 2:30 or so, I quickly realized that they weren't going to get very close to the barn. My barn has a high, wide doorway and my husband could back our long bed pickup and 8 foot trailer up and into the barn but there was no way any rig this big and long was going to make it in.

As a result, they unloaded the hay in the arena in two stacks. This meant my two sons and I had to bring it all into the barn ourselves. We used a wheelbarrow to carry a bale or two at a time and also my son's little pickup to take 20 - 25 bales at a time into the barn. Jeez- almost like going to get it ourselves, huh?

It took several hours but we finally got it all inside the barn. WHEW!!! At least I think we got 300 bales. Because the truck came with the stack jumbled and we loaded it into the barn in staggered rows, there is no possible way I can actually count them. I guess I'll just have to trust that they're all there. One thing's for sure- that hay has been around!

Oh, did I mention the poor hay guys also got a flat tire on one of their trailer tires? Good thing they had dual tires. Jeez, what a day!

Now, for the wood...

It's not really work - song: Modern Love (David Bowie) album: Let's Dance

I'm okay, you're so-so

What personality type am I?
I took an online test and I'm a B+. This is my description.

You Have A Type B+ Personality

You're a pro at going with the flow
You love to kick back and take in everything life has to offer
A total joy to be around, people crave your stability.

While you're totally laid back, you can have bouts of hyperactivity.
Get into a project you love, and you won't stop until it's done
You're passionate - just selective about your passions.

Try it What type of personality are you?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Like some cat from Japan

Most Japanese breeds of dogs are called inu which translates into the word "dog". They include the Akita inu, Tosa inu, Hokkaido inu, Kishu inu,Kai inu, and Shikoku inu. There is also the Shiba inu ("Shiba" means "brushwood" (kindling) in Japanese, and probably refers to the small size of the breed which is considered the smallest of the Japanese dog breeds. Then, what about the Japanese Chin? They are only 4 - 11 pounds in size, soaking wet. Well, they are not called inus because they are not like other dogs. They are even said to be half cat!

Japanese Chin history dates back to China and the Emperor Ming Ti in the first century AD. They are believed to have descended from the same ancestors as the Pug and the Tibetan Spaniels. Chin used to be called Japanese Spaniels. Their name may have come from the Japanese translation of "order to sit down" or "do tricks" or maybe even Makura Tsin=cushion, suggesing a pampered life sitting on a tassled cushion. They have been called "Lion Dogs", "Sun Dogs", or children of royalty. The Japanese Chin arrived in Japan in about the 10th century and were kept only by Japanese royals. They were greatly prized and carefully guarded. Tortuous deaths were given to those who attempted to steal them from the palaces. They were fed dainty foods: fish and rice, and were pampered, often carried about in silk baskets or hidden in kimono sleeves. They were given as ceremonial gifts to dignitaries and royalty. Commodore Perry brought a pair of them back to Europe as a royal gift to Queen Alexandria of England. Here's a photo of her with a couple of Chin (on the ground) and a Chow puppy.
Chin were developed for their beauty, intelligence and affection. They average 4 to 11 pounds and are built squarely with longer legs than the Pekingese. They have long, silky hair and their tails curl up over their backs. They are generally white with black patches, but can also be white with red or lemon patches. Although they have such long, fine hair, they stay extraordinarily clean. They give themselves baths by licking their front feet and wiping their own faces. They have many cat-like traits. They scoop food and other objects up with their paws. They are dainty high steppers and often climb heights. Buddha loves to lay on the backs and arms of chairs and in window sills.

Chin love snuggling. After all, their sole purpose in life is to be a companion to humans. Chin love to sit quietly at one's side although they have bouts of frantic activity, quick and active romps through the house, including the infamous "chin-spins", and then they happily settle down again.

They are courageous and fearless, or stupid!! (Kenji used to run over to the neighbor's house and bark at the two big dogs in their pen, standing with his two front feet on the chain link fence. Then one day, huge Zoe was free and grabbed him by the neck and shook him. My Mom's Standard Poodle, Pippin, intervened and saved Kenji's life.

Chin are sensitive to their owner's moods. They even cry real tears. When I pack for a trip, my Buddha will climb on top of the bag as if to say, "Take me too". Did you notice that the bag is sitting on an end table? They are very mischievious. Kenji's favorite trick was to quietly watch a game of Monopoly or Scrabble and then, after an hour or so, pounce into the middle of it, scattering pieces everywhere, as if to tell us, "Time's up, game's over!"

Sometimes, if I walk Buddha without a leash, he will wait for the opportunity to run off. He waits until the moment he is out of sight and then he will beeline it through the trees and open fields to the neighbor's house behind us. I'm always worried about coyotes and hawks grabbing him along the way. When I go get him, he hangs his head and tail down and follows me back home as if to say, "I'm sorry!" When I carry him, he will often paddle the air with his front feet as if he were swimming.

Chin are very good with other dog breeds. Nine pound Kiku loved to play with our Great Dane, Max, just as four and a half pound Buddha plays with Gunnar, my seventy pound German Shorthaired Pointer, nowadays. Here is a picture of myself as a teenager with Max, Kiku, and Chen. Kiku is the smaller one of the two. She was such a sweetheart! She used to say "Ow, ow, ow", when we cut her toenails.
It seems like I have always had a Chin or two along with other dog breeds. As a teenager, we had Kiku, Chen, and Takashi. Then I had Kenji until he died at eleven a few years ago. I believe the neighbor's cat got fed up with him and killed him. My current Chin, Buddha, is five years old and at only four and a half pounds, is the smallest Chin I've ever had. He has a faint black smudge on his white forehead which is said to be the kiss of Buddha, hence the name.

My family has nicknamed the breed, "mug-uglies". They have smashed-in faces similar to the other oriental dog breeds like the Pekingese or Pug, but they have a little more nose bridge. As a result, they never snore or snuffle although they do occasionally struggle for air like an asthmatic in what is called a reverse sneeze. To stop this "attack" one should cover the nose holes so they are forced to breathe through their mouth.

Until we got Buddha, my two cats would run from all dogs. Then they realized they are bigger than he is and have totally changed their attitude around the dogs. They no longer run unless they want to be chased. They strut and stroll and Terra even bullies Buddha. She often pushes him away from my lap although they sometimes lay side by side.

Chin are a rather uncommon breed and, except for my own, I have very rarely seen them. They say that rather than owning Chins, they own you. That is so true!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

in leather boots...

I took this quiz from LaughingOrcaRanch who got it from soneone else who...

You Are Cowboy Boots

This doesn't mean you're country, just funky.

You've got a ton of attitude and confidence.

You're unique, expressive, and even a little bit wacky.

You wear whatever you feel like – and you have your own sense of style.

You are straight shooting and honest. You tell people how it is.

Low maintenance and free wheeling, you're always up for an adventure.

You should live: Where you can at least get to wide open spaces

You should work: In a job that allows you to take change

Yes, I am rather basic and low maintenance in most things. I'm painfully critical and I don't care much about what anyone else thinks about me and how I dress. I was a wallflower in high school and one day I just decided to be ME! Now I'll talk to anyone about anything and sometimes I get the impression people think I'm kooky. I'm also the kind of person that likes a little bit of everything on my Subway sandwich. Definitely always up for an adventure!

Love me, fear me, do as I say, and I will be your slave

I have been helping Lisa at LaughingOrcaRanch with her horse, Baby Doll for the last several months. Horse training is one of the things I enjoy the most.

My first horse was Alfie. He was a palomino POA. When we bought him, he was used for gymkhana (horse show featuring game events). Although he was only 13.3 hands, he ran barrels and poles with the big boys, the quarter horses. He didn't know how to take up the correct lead or set his head properly until I trained him to go "pleasure". He was ridden in a tom thumb bit and used to stop with his head up and mouth open before I retrained him. At one gymkhana, my brother rode him in the senior gaming events and I rode him in the junior gaming events and all the pleasure and equitation classes and we took the high point trophy home. It was so fun! I especially loved the keyhole race. This is where they draw a chalk outline of a keyhole (think lightbulb) at the far end of the arena. You race up to it, turn around in it without going over the lines, and race back. The fastest time wins. Alfie could do a rollback without even knowing what one was.

Another "reining" game is pole bending. There are six poles set up in a line with about 20 feet between them. You race the horse up to the end of the line, weave in and out of the poles towards the starting gate, turn around at the other end, weave back through them, and then race back to the finish line. Alfie could do flying changes every stride or so without even know what he was doing. Alfie was a perfect beginner's horse. You could do anything with him. He would fall asleep between races and then run his heart out. The stable I was boarding at had a group of crazy teenagers. We used to race trains and have water balloon fights on horseback!

I trained Shannon, our green broke western trained five year old thoroughbred mare to go hunter and jump a little. My hero, at the time, was an enlish riding college student who was rehabbing an ex racehorse. She helped me work through Shannon's out of control cantering problems by riding the mare in a canter and a hand gallup, circling, and going both directions, nonstop, for about an hour. I have never seen a horse so worked over. Poor Shannon was dripping with sweat and shaking afterwards. But it changed her. Always after that she had the smoothest, softest canter and the proper leads. She "crossed the line" that day. I loved that mare! I cannot remember the girl's name but I always thank her in my heart for that turning point day.

I "broke" my first horse at fifteen, Sandee. I bought her as a yearling and started riding her when she was two. Well, I was small and didn't really know any better. She was a sweetie, like a dog, really. I even taught her to kneel. I think she may have bucked a few times but nothing much. I used to always "pony" her with my gelding, Alfie, on the trails when she was little, so she was completely bomb proofed by the time I started riding her.

When we had to move across the United States, we had to sell the three horses. In my new home in Utah, I immediately went horse hunting. After looking at a few prospects: a drill team horse that was worn out, a lame horse, a registered 2 year old paint gelding, and other duds, I chose the Paint. However, he was unridden. So, I trained my next horse, Denver Dude, from the ground up. I was sixteen. He was challenging but I enjoyed it. Unfortunately, we moved again so I had to sell him too.

Years later I bought Barry, a four year old green broke Arabian gelding. I've always read that sorrels are hot and he certainly was. Everyone thought he was a stud colt. I soon found out that I was pregnant too, but I rode and trained him until two weeks before my delivery date. My fabulous OB doctor always said to continue doing whatever was comfortable while pregnant. Of course, he didn't realize I was breaking an Arab at the time.

I have bought many other young, unbroke horses and trained them to different levels. I have also acquired older horses that needed to be retrained. I prefer the young unmarked ones because you never know the older one's history and what will set them off. My sweet Nadia was very soured when I bought her. The people had bought her for their grandkids and they gave up riding her. She got hugely fat in knee deep pasture. I spent quite some time working with her. She spooked and threw my then nine year old daughter. She ran away with me. Then she settled down to business, "crossed the line", and has been a gem ever since. She will prance and dance occasionally but she IS worth her weight in gold now!

I acquired a rescue horse several years back. Time for a Lady was Secretariat's grandaughter. She had been raced but she didn't inherit the family speed so she was quickly retired from racing. She was ridden western afterwards and then eventually ignored. When I acquired her she was several hundred pounds underweight. I had to build her up before I even considered riding her. Knowing the history she had, I was very intimidated when I began riding her. She was like a freight train and leaned on the bit, often exploding into bucking fits. I could feel them coming on but I couldn't stop them from happening. I decided to ride her in a "halfbreed" bit. It is a ringed snaffle with a built in rawhide nosepiece for extra control. I put a fleece cover on the noseband and gave it a try.

It worked wonders! I felt that I had control over her and began the process of retraining her. After several months of arena work: turns, circles, and varying speeds, she finally crossed the line and I found her canter to be one of the smoothest I've ever ridden. I really enjoyed her but because of her history my daughter didn't want to ride her. I really didn't NEED another horse so I had to sell her.

I know I rambled on here but the point of this post is that horses CAN be such terrors and then turn into the best mounts in the world. They just need to cross the line. I don't know where the line is but I usually find it somewhere. This past summer Annie crossed the line. She is such a hyper Arab in the arena but on the trails she is a different horse. She is calm and interested and even when she is afraid she trusts in me.

Maybe that "line" is where the horse gives up and allows the rider to take COMPLETE control. There are still rough times afterwards but the worst is over and you can see it in their eyes. Their eyes soften up. They have allowed the rider to become the "alpha" and chosen to "follow" to the best of their ability. This is when you can feel a partnership with your horse. Sometimes there will be disagreements but you get the upper hand. They respect you. They love you and fear you and do as you say. You only have to be their slave!

So Lisa, since you are already Baby Doll's slave, the rest will fall into place too. Just be patient and never give up. Let's try that halfbreed bit. All my horses have soft mouths and I use it on Scout all the time. Besides, I can feel her changing already. She will cross the line and you will know it.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Forget that I'm Fifty

What a surprise I had this morning! I awoke at 5:05 and quickly got dressed and walked the dogs. Then my daughter and I drove to the other side of town (across the river) to Starbucks.

We watched a group of young men with cameras around their necks get coffee and then get into the limousine that was parked out front.

We got our coffee and then we drove up the road to a dirt lot where there were several trucks and trailers parked. One of the trucks belonged to my daughter's boyfriend, Matt, a newly licensed balloon pilot. How exciting! I was going for a balloon ride for my birthday!!!

Matt and Sheila proceeded to open the trailer and take out the basket, a great big heavy bag, and a huge portable fan.
First they hooked up all the parts of the basket and the propane tanks. I watched them closely to make sure that everything was hooked together tightly. ;) Then they opened the bag and stretched the envelope out to it's full length.

The envelope was filled up with air from the fan. Then the air was heated up from the burners being turned on in blasts and the basket was righted.

There were at least eight other balloons going up, all from the Rainbow Ryders Company. There were people from all around the world. One group even had several "Ozzies". We didn't see the Limo boys but they probably had been dropped off already, somewhere nearby.
Soon it was fully inflated and ready to rise, so Matt and I jumped in.

Unfortunately, Sheila couldn't go because there were only the three of us and someone needed to stay on the ground to drive the truck to the landing site. You just never know where you'll end up when you fly in a balloon!

And away we went! We cruised over the bosque (wooded area) to the Rio Grande River.

We hung around the river a bit and then rose up over the housing developments. After about an hour, we landed in a big dirt lot. The weather was perfect! We went up to about 7000 feet (started at 4900) and there was a very gentle breeze so we covered quite a bit of ground. Because we were a little ahead of the Rainbow Ryders group, I got some awesome photos.

Sheila was waiting for us at the landing site.

Then we had breakfast at Weck's. I had an adovada and egg breakfast burrito smothered in red and green chili with a side of hash browns. There was enough food on my plate for two hungry people! It was mmmmm good!

Part of the initiation with a first balloon ride is drinking champagne and getting pinned. I did have a previous ride many, many years ago during a Balloon Fiesta. I even got to ride in the first wave off the field on a weekend mass ascension day. That's an honor! But, it was a quick ride; they immediately landed and took up more passengers. On that day, I got a pin and champagne after the balloon landed and was packed away. So, this time we skipped that part.

It was an incredibly awesome morning!

Thanks Sheila and Matt!!

Forget that I'm Fifty - song: Crack Baby Crack, artist: David Bowie, album: Aladdin Sane