Thursday, April 28, 2016

In which we are given permission to GO! Slowly. Mostly walking.

I sent the trot-out videos to the vet yesterday, and last night she told me to increase the walking to 45 minutes, 
 plus 3-4 minutes of trot ON THE TRAILS!

Cue the angel choirs

Fiddle couldn't believe her luck when she saw me open the trailer door and come down to the pasture to get her.

Do not mock.  Dis ma Superhero Costume.

She loaded right up, of course.  She practically grabbed the truck keys out of my hand in her haste to leave the property.

Dis ma Udder Superhero Costume.

 And we headed out!

On the trail, tra-la, tra-la.

The forecasted sun did not shine, but who cares?

Birds and Bees and Rider and Me, Tiddly-pom

20 minutes walking.  3 minutes trotting.

Vroooom, vroom.

Out to the bridge.

Trip-trap. Trip-trap.  Trip-trap.  No trolls here, tra-la.

20 more minutes, walking back to the trailer.

My ears are happy, my feet are happy, my mum is happy...

41-and-a-half minutes.  4 minutes trotting, 2.76 miles total.
Just what the doctor ordered!

When we got back to the trailhead

It's Dory and Craig...and Freya!

Fiddle does not hate the new mare.

Life. Is. Good!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

In which there's a rehab update on the Dragon and things are better

Rehab from lameness is, ideally, not very interesting.

Interesting almost always implies things going horribly wrong.

This is boring, which is good.

So, speaking from an "ideal world" perspective, Fiddle is doing great.  In other words, it's pretty boring.

Finally, starting this week, we get to trot a little!

Today's map: about a mile and a half, in approx 25 minutes of walking,
and about 3 minutes of trotting under saddle, at home in the pasture.

But mostly, we walk.  Walking is good physical therapy, and gives us a little quiet time away from whatever else is happening on the Farm.  

"Nothing wrong with that!" sez me.

It isn't very interesting, though.

Today it was time to send an updated trot out video to the vet.  I figured y'all would want to see the's pretty visible (finally)!

First a traditional trot out-and-back.

Next, a side view.

You do remember which corner of this horse was broken, right?

(no fair peeking into past posts unless you're truly stumped)

We aren't done trudging yet.  But the trotting makes
everything better.

Between the rest/confinement, the handwalking, the new shoes, and a huge bucket of tincture of time, there is improvement.

I'll let y'all know what the vet sez, but I am happier and happier with what I see.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

In which there's an endurance ride, but there's also a lot of kindness

"Hey, if your horse is still lame for the April Daze Ride, do you wanna borrow mine?"

This photo illustrates so many kindnesses
photo by Cassidy Rae

Paul has been a friend since we all took the Trail Master course together back in 2006.

 We rode the 100-miler at Mt Adams together in 2007, and kept each other awake with stories and songs and all kinds of nonsense, and we try to hang out at rides whenever we can manage it.


I'd never ridden his horse before.

I've never really ridden a gaited horse before, actually.

And, although Fiddle is definitely healing (25 minutes of walk under saddle per day PLUS 3 minutes of trotting now!) the April Daze ride was not on her schedule.

So, okay!

Camping with a two dogs and a minivan is a lot less complicated
than camping with a horse!
The entire weekend was full of people doing kind things for each other.  Paul offering me a good horse like Pete was just the beginning.  

We showed up at camp on Thursday, and talked with ride management.  We needed to take a shakedown ride, and they needed some more ribbons placed on the blue trail.

Pete ( Lucero Reedo de Rioto) has 3230 endurance miles and 595 LD miles.
He and Paul are a Decade Team
And for me: Pete is ready to mark the blue trail.
Out on the trail, we saw coyotes, white tail deer and lots of birds, and we made sure the trail was thoroughly marked for the riders on Saturday.

Pete prefers the largo and the canter as his trail gaits.
You read that correctly:  I rode a cantering horse and didn't die!

Sunshine and rainclouds at the vet-in

Saturday morning, we took off down the trail together.

ready for ride day

More kindness in action: I left home without a hoodie, and was loaned a
nice warm green hooded sweatshirt by a rider who was a greenbean at
April Daze last year.  Thank you, Erin: it kept me warm all day!

More cantering

Pete and his buddy Frank allow Paul to photobomb
while they tank up on water

Back in camp, there is more kindness going on.

When Sue Summers broke her leg a few months ago, she and her husband
advertised for a student to come live with them and ride their
world-class horses for a while.  Tessa (on the right) rode Easy to a top-ten
finish at the ride, and is having a wonderful time helping keep the
Summers' horses fit and happy.

The ride photographer's car was broken into and window busted out in
downtown Spokane the night before the event.  Three members of ride management
(including Santa Jim) figured out a good temporary fix for the window so
Cassidy could drive safely over the pass to home.

On the road home today, a post from an endurance rider popped up on Facebook:
her trailer was BROKEN and she needed help.  Within the hour, another rider
had dropped her own horse at home and headed back up the mountain pass to assist.

For a lot of people, the weekend could have been a real bummer...and for a lot of us, thanks to the kindness of others, it was pretty good.

I just wanna say "thanks."  

If you ever doubt the kindness of humans, come to an endurance ride.  Our people can show you how kindness happens.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

In which there is a big move and the coffee pot is quite dubious

My folks are moving.

My folks
 They've lived in one of the most beautiful places in the entire Swampland for more than 20 years, but it's time to go.

The condo isn't visible in this 2010 picture, which was taken in the "back yard"
Mom and Dad are excited about moving into town where they will be closer to friends and services.

But the coffee pot wasn't too sure about this move.

Despite a front-seat journey, the coffee pot
had many misgivings about the big change.

The coffee pot has always lived at the condo.  It couldn't think of any reason to leave.

Mom carried the coffee pot (with coffee still inside)
on her lap in the truck.

The kitchen at the old condo was bright and cheery, and the electricity was steady and reliable.

What's not to love?

The coffee pot was not impressed by the tasteful hallways or by the
friendly new neighbors.

Sure, the new kitchen is bigger than the old one.

The coffee pot couldn't help noticing that the coffee maker was
not being unpacked.

Sure, there are nice people here.

"Are these people tea drinkers?" wondered the coffee pot

Yes, the walk in closet offers plenty of room.

"But no electrical outlets!"  announced the coffee pot triumphantly.

And the rooms are new and shiny.

"Until the first time somebody spills coffee on this carpet,"
thought the coffeepot morosely.

The bathrooms are spacious, and accessible.

"This is no place for an appliance!"
shouted the coffee pot.

The little patio is just the right size for a couple of chairs, a table, a cup or two, and a coffee pot.

"Hmmm," said the coffee pot.

And gradually, the kitchen filled up with friends.

"I guess I could give it a try," conceded the coffee pot.

"Hi honey.  Are you new here, too?"

 I think they may all really like the new place just fine.

Family portrait:  L-to-R Dad, coffee pot, Mom

Sunday, April 17, 2016

In which we ride out on trails and the world is a (much) better place now

I have learned to value the time I spend working in an arena.


Kaleaf was so happy to head out on the trails!

I will always love blue sky and dirt trails best.

Duana helps me teach Kaleaf to put his ears forward on command for pix

I've been riding Fiddle for 2 weeks, at a walk, every night in the pasture.  It's better than nothing.  It's slightly better than the arena (although we are practicing our dressage-at-a-walk) because there is grass and a few trees to look at while we practice striding around soundly.

But when Duana and Patty invited me and Kaleaf to join them this morning

He's getting the hang of the ear thing.  We'll keep practicing, right?

of course, I said yes!

Four of my best friends in the whole world.

Kaleaf was Deeply Dubious about crossing the creek at the Bracken trail.  I'm sure he crossed plenty of water in the past, but our best guess says he hasn't been on trails for at least 3 years...and it was his first time out with me.

There was a bit of drama.

Nobody died.  Nobody bled.  There wasn't even any cussing, although I did laugh a bit at his histrionics.  

And then, we crossed the creek.  (Backwards)

Thinking pony is still contemplating that creek crossing

It was the best kind of day:

the kind where you get dirt stuck to the sunscreen,

 and then perspiration mixed with all that,

  and then more dirt stuck on top.

Back at the trailer

And then there's a very thorough shower

I'm clean, take a picture

 that feels so good at the end of the day.

La-la-la-la, not clean any more!

This dirt feels soooooooo good!

At home, after the ride, Jim helped me move dirt for the new Pumpkin Garden, and then I rode my horse in the pasture, at a walk, in the twilight.

Biggify the photo to see what I drew in the trailer dirt

The day was good.  The world is now better.