Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Ride #20

One of the most challenging parts of winter is being able to determine how warm your horse is and how much “warm up” they need before starting your serious work. Of course, by this point, our lateral work is part and parcel of our warm up, and not so much a focus of our training. On Monday night, it was 55 degrees when I left the house wearing only a vest over a thermal shirt. By the time I got to the barn it was 29 with a cold northern wind blowing. I guess I expected Ashke to be warm, but I think that he was a little stiff when we first started to work. I didn’t allow as much warm up in the lateral work as I normally do, which ended up making our double slalom feel stiff and difficult. After we had ridden through the double slalom with changes, I went back to the lateral trot work and keep him moving through the leg yield to half-pass series until I could feel his hind legs stretching up under him. 

Then we did the random circles in the arena with changes at various points in the circle. This was an exercise that we did at the trot when I first started riding with Amanda, and it works just as well in the canter with flying changes. He was so good and I wish I had gotten that on video. Then we worked on our collected to medium and back to collected canter. He really stretched into the medium canter and then didn’t want to come back to the collected from my seat. By the time we were done with that exercise, he was huffing so I got off and hand walked him while picking up poop, all the time whispering what a great horse he is and how very proud I am of him.

The double slalom.
Looked much better than it felt.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Knock Out Industries Bathroom Remodel

For perspective: The Before

Wall next to counter

The green paint was selected when T was young and matched the painting we had hung over the toilet.
There was water damage at the edge of the tub and we were unsure if it was leaking from the tub or from behind the wall (we had leaks there earlier0.
We opted to pull the tub and put in a shower.

The Reveal:

Shower pan with tiled walls.
Specialty shower head that has five spray options and I have it on good authority that it might be the best change in the bathroom.
Glass doors on the shower, no leaking water.

New tile floor and new toilet. 

Vanity with granite countertop (Thanks again, Todd!!).
Pony wall hiding the plumbing, with the toilet paper holder installed.

There’s still a little touch up to be done. The floor boards need to be siliconed, and a little touch up paint applied.

We had issues with the dry wall holding an anchor, when hanging the towel rack, so there are two patches in the dry wall I still need to texture, sand and paint. 
We got hooks for the hair dryer and hand towels. I love IKEA for that kind of stuff.

View from the shower. The light set matches very well and the lights are nice and bright.

One of the biggest changes we made to the room was removing the door and jamb, and installing a barn door.
It made a huge difference in being able to use the bathroom, and freed up a lot of useable space even when open.

Inside perspective.

Ride #18 & 19

Friday night we got a fuckton of snow, which made my commute home really sucky and a lot longer than normal. I didn’t try to go to the barn because snow and tired and too much. I had it on good faith that my poneh was warm and snuggly and had lipstick on his nose (courtesy of Flambé). There was almost 8 inches by Saturday morning, but we had planned to meet about noon to ride and by the time we got to the barn, the snow was melting quickly. The BO and Amanda’s husband and father spent Saturday morning replacing the propane heater in the barn, which required the tractor to host the propane heater into place on the center beam of the barn. I guess it went fairly easily with the tractor’s help. And it even lit itself when turned on Saturday night. Yay!!

Saturday was a ride in which both Flambé and myself worked with our horses to be a little less spooky under somewhat challenging conditions. The melting snow created a very noisy waterfall effect on the outside of the arena. For most of our ride it was so loud that we had to shout to be heard. By the end of our ride, the waterfall sound had disminished and one could hear themselves think again. It was colder on Saturday and Ashke took longer to warm up, plus I hadn’t ridden since our lesson on Weds night, so he took a little bit to relax and stretch. I don’t think I got him as warm as I could/should have before attempting our changes, but he was pretty solid anyway. He just got tired a bit quicker than he does when I have him warmed up. 

Our first attempt at the drums with flying changes.

Overall, I can’t complain. He listened and tried, and I think it would have been better had I gotten him a little warmer, or if it had just been warmer yesterday. We tried one more time, but it was a struggle. I need to figure out what I have to do differently to help with the right to left flying change. We are struggling with that. I’m really having a hard time in shifting my weight to that new hip. 

We didn’t complete the third circle, because I could feel him struggling with the exercise.
I will try it again on Thursday during my lesson.

Today was much better. It wasn’t raining in the arena (no waterfalls) and it was almost 50 inside. Most of Amanda’s students were there and it was a lot of fun riding together. Ashke warmed up really well and I could feel him stretching nicely through both hind legs. We had a lovely ride, even if he started a little tense and hyper alert, since Beau was in the arena, as was Kat. Getting him to stretch into his trot was the challenge of the day and keeping him relaxed when we started our canter work. 

He is so good and we are starting to figure it out.
I do want to talk to Amanda on what I can do to help shift my weight to the right hip when asking for the change, since I know I am creating this issue.

 We finished up with some canter half-pass and then tried some canter leg yield with poor results. He would much rather change his lead then hold the bend when moving in that direction. I asked Amanda why it was so hard and she explained that I need to use my thigh and not my lower leg when riding the leg yield. I need to keep the cues very clear. That is something I need to work on at the trot, so will start focusing on that when leg yielding in my rides. I was very pleased with the ride, overall. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Adding Purpose to Practice: Ride #17

I read a horse blog yesterday that reminded me of where Ashke and I were at a couple of years ago. I was convinced that he hated dressage. Hated being in the arena to work. Preferred the open trail and going for hours because horse. All of that said, I also recognized that I wanted to compete in Working Equitation and at least make progress in the sport, instead of feeling frustrated and unhappy with how I was riding. To that end, I found the perfect trainer and have put in sweat and some tears to make the two of us better. What I have discovered in that process, is that Ashke loves to do dressage.

I think he grew to love dressage as he got strong enough to carry himself correctly, as the muscle developed to allow him to do the work that we wanted to do. The muscle he has put on has changed how his body looks and even though he will never have the stature of a WB, you can see the column of muscle running up the top line of his neck, the bulk in his haunches and the heavy, solid muscle along his shoulder that allows him to lift in the front..As the muscle has been layered onto his body, the movements we can do effortlessly have increased and expanded. Just like Saiph in her power lifting, I have seen that muscle develops as a product of the discipline.

Last night, the arena was cold, Ashke hadn’t been ridden in four days (and only three times since his injections) and he was slow to warm up. He felt a touch off to me, but when I asked Amanda what she was seeing, she said that he looked a little stiff from the cold. So we warmed up with lots of trot serpentines, his body moving from one bend to the other under me.Once I could feel him stepping up under himself, we added some lateral work. Pretty soon his hair had lain down again, and he felt warm and relaxed. Amanda had finished her prior lesson, so we talked briefly and then started on our changes.

We worked on the serpentines through the walk, to make sure he was listening, then she had me doing a change on the straight away, making sure we were asking for the straightness before asking for another change. After we had attempted that with somewhat limited success, Amanda told me to do a ten meter circle after the change, get straight down the arena, then do the same pattern with a change in the opposite direction. I did that, which he struggled with forward in his first circle, but caught onto really quickly. Then I just started riding random half to three quarter circles all over the arena, throwing random changes without much direction. We stopped to take a walk break and for Amanda to tell Ashke how smart he was, when I suggested that maybe we could put out some cones to work the slalom and double slalom.

My thought was: Ashke knows what the pattern is in the WE obstacles and it would give me a focal point and him purpose to ride our changes through the double slalom. I’ve been thinking about adding cones since my last ride, and funnily so had Amanda. She grabbed the cones, put them out in a four by three set up and told me to ride the double slalom.

Ashke’s whole body lit up with excitement and purpose as he watched Amanda put out the cones. He knew what was coming. He was almost quivering. Much engaged.

We did it the first time with transitions through the walk and his downward transitions were amazing. Yes, he was anticipating just a bit, but it felt less like he was anxious and more along the lines of “we’ve got this and we can do it together”. After one run through with walk transitions, I handed my phone to Amanda.

Please remember that this was our first attempt at a double slalom with changes.

He got all of the changes, although you could see him offer the walk transition after the first turn, then went “oh?! We get to do this with changes?” The delight that poured off my horse in that moment could be felt through his whole body. 

As you can see in our third turn, I have to be super effective in my weight shift and getting myself out of his way.

Not only is he trying so hard to give me the changes (one was a little early and resulted in our breaking to a trot) but he is also trying to work the obstacle the way he has been trained.

Can you see how proud he was of himself? He humbles me.

We went back to working on the trot. Leg yields and half pass between the cones.

There is so much power and potential in being able to move his body in any direction with any bend at any point in the arena. We aren’t there yet, but I can see in the far distance the ability to ride with minimally visual cues, where he flows from one movement to another as if by magic and isn’t that what the core of dressage really is? To prep the horse and rider to move in whatever movement they are asked as if tugged by invisible strings?

We worked the single slalom, with a skip on one of the cones (decided prior to riding through), to see how he did with that pattern. 
He was amazing enough that Amanda told me we could try it without skipping the middle cone.

We finished our lesson with the single slalom with simple changes.
He listened and waited. You can see him offer a change at the last turn, but he didn’t do it on his own.

This demonstrated to me, beyond anything else, that dressage really needs to be the beginning, the middle and the end of anything you are trying with your horse. That we can then apply the lessons, the support, the training, Amanda’s belief in us, my commitment, and his try into this discipline that I love. 

This horse! He left me in tears at the end of the night.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Counter Top

First off, a HUGE shout out to Sharla and Todd for all of their help in finding the perfect piece of granite. I was beginning to despair when one of our equine family members stepped up to lend a helping hand. All I can say is that it looks even better than I had hoped.

This is the color of the granite we choose and it could not have been a better color.
There is just enough pattern in it to give it life, without arguing with the walls of the shower.

And the color of the vanity matches so well. It definitely makes the walls look grayer with it in.
And the pewter grout in the floor matches the vanity and the counter top.

Can I just say I was having kittens? 

Monday, February 18, 2019

Sun Day Frolic

After standing in the barn for three and a half hours getting feet done, I was too cold to ride.
His feet look pretty amazing, although he didn’t want to stand still, partly I think from the cold, even though he was blanketed.
Next time, we will go to the show barn and pull the truck inside. It’s so much warmer.

He kinda dusted Kat, who was so ready to be done that she wasn’t galloping any more.
Ashke didn’t want to come in, but acquiesced when he saw Kat leaving.
His floating trot is amazing and its been a while since he was let out to play.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Sequence of Events

Affection takes all forms. For Ashke, he does a myriad of actions: rubbing his face on my chest, shoulder or back; pushing me with his head; nipping at my pant leg or trying to bite my shoe. All of it is a request for attention. Sometimes he can be very obnoxious, especially now that he’s discovered I will scratch his withers for him. Ashke is a very mouthy horse. That said, he is also very careful to not touch my skin. He’s only really caught skin twice in seven years. The first time was the first day he was home and caught my forearm. The second was when he had smashed his face and snapped at me and caught my bicep. Neither was more than a pinch, although the first one hurt quite a bit.

Saturday after riding I was standing talking to some friends and Flambé caught this sequence on her camera:

I don’t know which one of us looks sillier

The sequence was caught with a burst photo option

Just has the smallest bit of material between his teeth.

Still has a hold of me. It’s kind of like holding hands. 

Ride #16

It was decent although he was still very pumped for some parts of the ride. We did all of the things we’ve been working on and then we ended with this:

He was trying too hard. Our first set was awesome, but then he was being predictive.

He looks so pretty when he’s arched

Pining for the mare to come back.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Ride #15: Bouncy

Recipe for Bounce:

Take one fit horse who is used to being ridden five times a week.
Add, hock injections
Mix in a cold front with 10” inches of snow
Fold in temps in the 60’s
Sprinkle with a new set up in the arena where the jumps are stacked against the wall instead of smack dab in the middle
Dust lightly with the sounds of sliding ice and dripping water
Add a pinch of chicken scratch against the metal siding
Stir briskly and let stand in a stall for 10 days

The lesson was focused on keeping him focused and moving forward, since his tendency was to go up and down like a carousel horse. We worked on the lateral stuff and some canter. I got a couple of changes, but then we stopped. I was not being as effective in my aides as I should have been, mostly from being under the weather and not feeling great. Plus, his feet are long. We are on a six week cycle, but the last four days or so are tough and if I’m not riding well we end up tripping a lot.

After we worked on the canter work, Amanda had me doing an exercise where I picked up my bend, rode a ten meter circle, changed the bend and rode shoulder in across the arena, to another ten meter circle, and repeat. I could not get Ashke to move forward. I ended up asking for a dressage whip, which he shied violently away from when Amanda handed it to me, but it did make him move forward a bit more briskly. We tried it at the trot and I touched him once with the whip and suddenly we had a lot of go. He struggles to give me shoulder in if we aren’t on the rail. This was a great exercise to really emphasize that we can dressage all over the arena. 

That was about it for the lesson. When I walked Ashke into the barn and pulled his bridle, I always turn to hang it up, which is usually his opportunity to rub his face on my back. Tonight, ice slid off the roof at just that moment and suddenly he was across the aisle. He decided that was his opportunity to take a walk about down the barn aisle, until he reached his stall. I took him back and unsaddled. Gave him carrots and grain. 

Monday, February 11, 2019

Math, The Universe and Everything

When Tristan was in kindergarten, when you asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, his answer was always a scientist. He had dreams of grandeur involving fast cars and magical devices he would create that would make time travel possible, or space travel possible or things blow up in a messy fashion. There was no limit to the things he could do with science, because at its core is math and he had been raised to believe math is easy.

It started when he was eighteen months old. We were visiting a friend who is an educator and she said that math is made more difficult for kids because they are told over and over that math is hard. They internalize that fact and so when they start math in pre-school and kindergarten, they expect to struggle and since parents were also raised on the idea that math is hard, they expect their kids to struggle. It’s a self-fulfilling cycle. My friend started teaching Tristan that math was easy at eighteen months.

J: “Tristan, are you ready for a math problem?”
T: “Yes.”
J: “Ok, listen carefully, there is a parking lot with a 100 cars in it.” Tristan nods. “4o of them are blue, and twenty of them are yellow. The rest are red. Are you ready for your math question?”
T: “Yes.”
J: “What is your name?”
T: “Tristan!”
J: “Good job, See? Math is easy.”

We continued that process for years, right up until he started in first grade, and then the ground work we had laid came to fruition. Math was easy. I really loved the math process at the school he was attending. They had a page of math that they did every day. They completed the front page in class and the back page at home. The page had a counting and tallying problem, a graphing problem, an addition problem (which progressed in difficulty as they went up in grade), a word problem, a geometry problem and a money problem. One of every kind of math he might experience. They were easy for him. He excelled at math in first grade.

Crazy Horse Monument, Black Hills, SD

Can I tell you that the most influential person in your child’s life, after their parents, are their teachers. We ran into our first roadblock in second grade and although I have no proof, I believe Tristan’s issues stemmed from the fact that he had two moms. He was in a second grade class that operated in a very fucked up manner, excuse my French. The teacher had the kids arranged in five rows of five students. Every day she would call up a row to drop off their math homework, sometimes two rows. She never picked Tristan’s row. She would rotate the students every week and go through the same process. By the time I was fed up with the amount of homework he had in his backpack, Tristan had sixty pages of math he was supposed to be keeping organized and zeros on all the assignments. He got pretty tired of me asking if he had been called to turn in his work. By the time I figured out what she was doing, it took us over an hour after school to organize and turn in all of the paperwork. She said it must have been an oversight on her part that he was never called up. It had been more than two months. Shortly after that, he was sitting in our bed working on his homework and suddenly said to himself “you are so stupid.” I was flabbergasted because we knew he had never heard those kind of words from us. I was in the principle’s office the next morning and he was pulled from the class.

The eyes on this child.

In seventh grade, he had a math teacher that he did not mesh with. Part of the issue was her very strong accent, which he struggled to understand, and partly it was her attitude toward the students in her class. This generation understands respect and cooperation, but they will not tolerate being bullied, especially by people in positions of authority. This woman used derogatory language, passive aggressive approaches and dismissive, disrespectful attitude. Tristan had a real problem with her approach.  He was not the only one. There were a group of students that did not do well in her class, all of which were considered “advanced” math students, so that group was pulled out and put in a study hall where they did their math as a self-directed, self-taught math class. Basically, math was an independent study in seventh grade. They had each other to help, and the math program was an online study program, so I got access to the website and taught Tristan myself. It went okay, however, I was not cut out to really be a teacher and never had the desire to homeschool, plus math is not my strong suit. But we got him through with solid A’s, which landed him in the Honors class in eighth grade.

In eight grade it did not bode well when I told the teacher he had been in basically an independent study the prior year, and she responded by saying that was great since she was pretty hands off in her teaching style. This was an Honors Math class, which was a Freshman level Algebra class for HS credit, and it did not mesh well with him. He did okay until the final exam, but he really didn’t excel the way he had earlier in his math process. It think that due to his earlier experiences with math specifically, he was finding the self-taught path difficult to manage, especially as the math got harder. It was his first C in any class up to that point.

But then he met Ms Stewart. She was his geometry teacher and under her tutelage he excelled. He loved geometry and his confidence began to rebound. He knew math was easy and once again he was finding it so. She was an amazing woman and one of the main reasons he finished HS. Freshman year was awesome in the math department, and his desire to be a scientist soared. She taught exactly the way he learned and he seems to have a knack for geometry, remembering the formulas and intuitively understanding the math. Life was good again. 

Then, in his sophomore year, he took Algebra II Honors with a teacher who had a flipped classroom. This meant that the students were given a study guide they were supposed to follow, with test dates and homework assignments. They were to watch math videos at home and learn the math, then come into class to do the homework. The teacher than went from student to student and spent two or three minutes a class helping them with any problem they might have. It was an unmitigated cluster fuck of a classroom, with no shared classroom teaching experience, since Tristan was trying to stick to the schedule he had been given. He started going to Ms Stewart’s classroom at the end of school and getting her help to understand the math. He worked hard, but it never really sank in and he barely passed the class. His understanding and comprehension of Algebra was damaged, as was his self-confidence. 

The following year, he took the most difficult math class on the school schedule and excelled. Trig and Pre-Calc was a cinch, since he was back in Ms Stewarts class and he passed a much harder math class with high A’s. I tell you, a teacher can make or break a student. 

In his senior year of High School, he decided to become an Aerospace Systems Engineering Technology major and build rockets for Space X. Guess what that requires? You got it - Algebra. It is a Core Math class that all students have to pass. Guess who struggled with it his first semester?

College Algebra. Not for the faint of heart.

Let’s just say, it would have been better for all of us if he had withdrawn from class before the last drop date. We missed it by one day. At the point that he tried to drop, he had a 30% in the class and had zero hope of passing. We determined that there was no way at that point he could bring his grade up and so he stopped going to class. We reenrolled him in the same class this semester and I promised to help him figure out the math. One way or another. Have I mentioned that I struggled with Algebra for Business (a watered down version) when I was in school? I am determined to figure it out and drag him screaming through this class.

I have helped him review the math he has been taught so far. We have worked through most of Chapter One. It’s been hard finding the time to go over it because schedules have been really upside down, but so far he has scored a 90% and a 100% on his two quizzes. He had another quiz yesterday and so the night before we needed to review. He was working until almost eleven and I have to be up at 5:30. It didn’t work out to review on Friday (his other day off) because we were both fried and brain dead at the end of the trip to Vail. I went to sleep on the couch about 8 pm, woke up when he got home and helped him review for almost two hours. By that time we were both tired and making stupid mistakes with the math, so it was time to be done. I was not confident that we had reviewed enough for him to be solid in his understanding, but I have come to the conclusion that he KNOWS how to do the math. He knows. The biggest issue is that he does it in his head, or he skips steps, or sometimes he really is genuinely confused by a process, but once shown he has it down. I hoped for the best, knowing we really didn’t have time to do any more.

He texted me from class right after the test.

Answer me 

(I was trying to work and he is impatient, to say the least) I asked him what was happening.

All of the questions on the quiz
From the same homework 
We did last night

Literally, three of the four questions were problems we had worked the night before. Exactly the same problems. He got three of the four questions right. The fourth threw him but I haven’t had a chance for him to show me how he solved it, so I don’t know how he did on that one. But the other three he aced. Sometimes the universe takes a hand. The questions we worked that were on the test were not assigned homework, but problems I had picked at random for him to practice on. He was so stoked, he was beside himself. It made the lack of sleep, the vertigo and the math all worth it.

I vow that by the end of this semester he will believe in his ability to do math again.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Little by Little

Little by little the bathroom is coming together. The tile looks very good in the room. It was a good match.

Tristan even said he likes it so much more than he would have liked the rock walls.

We picked a pewter grout and it works really well with both tile colors 
It’s a great match for the grey in the white tile and offsets the black tile, especially on the floor, really well.

Highly polished and still a bit dirty.

We got the wall painted behind the toilet, and the toilet put in.
Tristan is happy to have his own toilet again.

The contractor that is cutting the granite countertop said it should be ready by the end of this coming week. I’m hopeful that everything will be complete by Sunday. It will have a square sink and chrome faucet.

This would be the reason for the chrome faucet.
That is a rain shower combination shower head we installed.
It has five settings, one of which includes the rain option.

This took a lot longer than expected but it looks pretty awesome. 
We are waiting for the silicone to set and the handles to be installed. 

We still have the mirror to be removed, the dry wall fixed, paint, install floorboards, finish pony wall with dry wall and paint, add support rail for the counter, frame out the bedroom door and hang the new barn door. It’s getting there bit by bit. I probably won’t do an update again until the final reveal, but I guess it really depends on how long before the countertop and sink are put in. Once the shower is functional, Tristan will have the use of his bathroom again. So very close.


The ride that wasn’t.

I hate this time of year. I am struggling with some inner ear issues and the weather is not cooperating at all. I just have to take a deep breath and recognize that although I have things that are fun and exciting to do, giving him an extra day or two off is not going to mess up our progress. This time of winter is always hard. Always. It’s cold. It’s damp. Body parts hurt. It’s hard to find the motivation. I just need to take a deep breath and understand that this too will pass.

The water bucket contraption worked like a charm.
The doors were opened at 9 am and there wasn’t any ice at all in the bucket.

Warm mash for my homie.

He wants you to know he hates mash.
He gets it everywhere.

I am pounding the decongestant and taking it easy the rest of the day. I hope to be back in the saddle tomorrow.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Spookville: Ride 14

Do you know what you get when you take a horse in high level training, being ridden four or five days a week, put them on stall rest for a week, have temps drop into the sub categories, and dump 8 “ of snow? Spookville central.

I wasn’t able to ride on Friday, because I took Tristan to Vail to ski. It was a great ski day and he really wanted to try his new helmet. He was working Saturday and Sunday, and Jenn couldn’t take Friday off, so I did.

Mountains driving I-70 toward Vail, just as the sun comes up.

Mountains driving I-70 on our way home.

He was on the lift as they opened and got to the back bowls to ski. He was having a great time, but he had a horrible headache that he could only relieve by tipping his head forward and pushing his helmet back. We left early because it hurt so badly he had the equivalent of a migraine. When we got home, I took the liner out of the new one, swapped it for the liner in his chrome helmet, and when he tried it on he was so happy. The new liner made the helmet too tight but he will be able to ski in it now.

The blue things gave it just enough thickness that it made the helmet too small.

That was Friday. Today, when I got to the barn, it was 18 degrees and felt colder than that. Ashke’s water was frozen over and looked like it had been broken once already. Ashke may have had a small drink, but it didn’t look like he had drank very much. I decided that I would go grocery shopping first and headed out. I thought about the water issue. Ashke is in an end stall and his door doesn’t close tight, although I plan to address that tomorrow with a bungee, and the door at the end of the barn isn’t tight. I decided to get one big bucket and another slightly smaller bucket and sandwich them together with shavings between them. I figured that the air temp at that end of the barn is cold enough that the buckets are freezing from the walls in (I was correct.)

Three hours in his stall with zero ice. The other buckets left hanging had a skim of ice on them over the same time period.

Then it was time to ride. The temps had risen enough that I was able to ride without gloves. Rachel was out to ride Laz. Both Laz and Ashke were in the same boat. Ashke had hocks injected and Laz had his stifles. Because of the weather and my son’s need to ski, neither of the horses had been out in a week. The indoor was a cacophony of sliding ice, running water, dripping moisture and banging sounds. Both Laz and Ashke were a startle-spook-startle mess. 

Wary wary noisy

I got a bunch of good walking, some solid trot and a little bit of canter. We had four changes at the end of the ride, which were amazing. I was able to keep Ashke focused on me and I basically ignored the rest of his reactions, figuring it was great practice for a show and expected him to do his work even with the noise. At the end of our ride, Ashke drank down almost two inches of water out of what amounts to a small muck bucket. That made me really happy I got the water situated this way.

He got a hot mash and I helped Manuel lock the horses in before heading home. I’m meeting Flambe tomorrow at 11 to ride.

Friday, February 8, 2019


My professional life was pretty weirded out by the ex employee who called today and said that although I had forgotten who she was, she had not forgotten what WE did to HER, and that someday she would get retribution. Mind you, I’ve never met the woman, never spoke to her in person, and she worked for us less than two months in 2016. Come to find out, these type of calls from this woman are commonplace amongst the managers of our facility, and that she has gone so far as to tell one of our managers she was going to kill, cook and eat him. WTF is wrong with people? I kind of felt like I should be eating lamb chops while listening to her. (Yes, it has been reported to the authorities. Yes, we have security at the plant. I guess she is a wily thing that knows how to spoof numbers and isn’t considered a big enough threat to actually track her down.) Saiph suggested that bath salts could be involved, which would explain a lot.

I managed to pick up a screw in my tire and when I came out of work, the front left tire was totally flat. I have to say that the experience of changing a tire in snow and 8 degrees was one I could have done without. Thankfully, I have stuff in the car that I could use as a mat to kneel on. The new parking brake system in the Subaru may be my only complaint about the car. It didn’t set the first several times I tried, although I didn’t realize that until I went to pull the tire off, pulled the car off the jack and had it roll backwards. Thankfully the axle caught on the inside edge of the tire, which kept it from crunching on the ground and allowed me the space to get the jack back under the lift point and rejack the car up. That really sucked. I’m also thinking I may have bent the jack, when the car rolled. Does anyone know of a floor jack that folds up and fits in the small pocket where my car jack resides?

It didn’t help that we were on a hill and the snow was not very cooperative.

I have the tire on and the lug nuts tightened, just have to wrestle the jack back down.
The good news is that it only took about twenty minutes and I had waterproof gloves in the car.

Brand new tire with a screw.

I had to go to Costco to get it fixed, so I did our shopping at the same time. When I got home the dogs had ripped a hole in the sheets and eaten a tube of toothpaste. Fun times.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019


Tristan’s third Ruroc helmet.

With the Shockwave sound system inside

He can’t wait to test it on the slopes.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Beyond Co-Being

**I’m having a hard time putting into words what I am feeling in relation to Ashke. I’m trying to describe a unique and wonderful relationship that transcends almost every other relationship in my life, with mere English. I don’t have the right type of thesaurus.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my partnership with Ashke and where we are in our journey. I love the changes I see in his body from the work we are doing. He has a channel down his spine from the muscle built up on either side. That makes me giddy. But beyond the physical changes he is manifesting, I see things in his personality and work ethic that have grown and developed. Several years ago, I wrote a couple of blogs about co-being. is one of them. I really loved the idea of co-being with a horse and the adaptations a horse’s goes through to match with their partner-rider. However, I really think Ashke is approaching the status of Companion.

For those of you who don’t know what that means, read any of the Herald series of books by Mercedes Lackey. My favorite of her books is the Last Herald Mage series, which is the set of books where I found Ashke’s name. A Companion is the soul of a human inside a white horse. They can communicate with their chosen, at least in the Last Herald Mage the main character could talk with his mare. That is the closest description of what I feel I have with Ashke that I have found.

Flirting with Kat

Last night, he greeted me with a bellow when he saw me, which I guess is his standard greeting for anyone who walks through the door. He is in the perfect spot for him, since he is such a social animal. I apologized for having forgotten carrots and pulled him out of the stall. He looks fantastic and his left hock looks great, although his right one is still bothering him, a little swollen, but not hot. He pinned a little when Amanda checked it while I held him, but didn’t move beyond grumpy face. He was moving freely and wanting to explore all of the arena. We did one circle when he looked at me and told me he was cold. We went back in and I threw the blanket back on him. He didn’t need to be fighting the cold as well as the pain in his hock.

Handwalking is a chore for both of us and he is not really very happy right now. He likes feeling special and his partnership with me is really developing as we work on the flying changes. It feels to me as if he understands that we are working on harder stuff, and he likes the progression. He was a little upset that we weren’t riding tonight, and spent a lot of time shoving me around with his head. Not in a rude way, but more of a “mom, why am I in time out” way. He knows that he hurts, but he wants to try anyway. I had to be the adult and tell him we aren’t in a hurry.

I’ve heard that horses that progress in any sport develop self-esteem (at least those who are enjoying their work) from their advancement, and I think that is true of Ashke. He feels special and now he feels like he is working in conjunction with me, rather than in opposition. He just flat out feels happy. But he also feels super proud of himself. Proud of me. Proud of us together. 

Flambé and Kat

It’s a different experience, feeling like we are pursuing our training together. We have moved beyond the “me showing/telling/expecting him to do something” to a more collaborative partnership. He is seeking the knowledge, and trying to figure out what we are doing next. He is even beginning to quiet his “offer” which I see as a trust in my request, that he won’t be punished for not getting the answer correct or quickly enough. And that I have a reason for waiting for the change in bend or the change in lead. We are beginning to figure out how to dance with each other, where the slightest shift in pressure in your partner’s hand indicates a change in direction/movement/steps. We are seeking the quiet and the subtle, which is awesome to experience. I have been really impressed with his thinking through what I am asking, figuring it out in his down time, and coming back the next ride to increased sensitivity or understanding of what I am asking. I do the same thing, laying in bed right before sleep, riding whatever we are doing in my mind, trying to quiet my body to just the shape of the aides. I feel like we are working toward the same goal.

Pretty boy and slightly grumpy girl

So, two more nights and then we can start working on our stuff again. I think he was a bit sad and jelly of Rain tonight, since they usually lesson together and she was flying around showing off her changes left and right. We are going to put Rain in the run next to him this spring when the mares come in from pasture to have their babies in the big box stalls. I’m pretty sure Ashke will be beside himself to have littles in the barn. And he will enjoy having a horse in the run next to him.

Monday, February 4, 2019


Homie got hock injections in both hind legs, top and bottom joints, and is on hand walking, no riding until Friday rest.

Not that he knows how to be restful. Kind of the opposite, actually.

I went out to hand walk him for ten minutes, and ended up with a horse-kite. I know, surprise, right?

Attitude, much?
This was right before he reared and struck at me.
Is it so hard to just walk.

He was kind of a snorty mess.
In fact, Flambe asked me if they had taken everything when they gelded him.
Which made me laugh and share the story about the myofacial release and telling him he could still channel stallion energy.

He looks so awesome when he is puffed for a mare.
Kat was out in the indoor with him, when two other horses came to join us.
Ashke-thug came out.

He didn’t nip and got the message pretty quick that there was to be no shenanigans.
So, he rubbed my back with his face  and shoved me around with his nose.
It’s the little wins, right?