Friday, January 28, 2011

In which a dental appointment is a Piratical Occasion

Fiddle and Hana know the drill...uh, literally.

"Auntie Sarah!" says Fee. Fiddle never remembers why she enjoys spending time with Auntie Sarah. The sedative probably has a lot to do with that.

It is one of my life's delights to take photos of my Gigantor when she is under the influence.

Open your mouth and say "flabbita flabbita flabbita."

Auntie Sarah is known professionally as "Dr. Sarah Metcalf, DVM." She is an equine dentist whose horse trailer is a rolling dental office, which she pulls around the Pacific Northwest, delivering pretty horsey smiles.

Hana's "party girl" metabolism resists sedation. She requires significantly more than Fiddle!
Finally: "I'm not as THINK as you DRUNK I am, Doc."A little dental floss to finish the process, Pretty Puss.
Fiddle needs to walk it off. We sing as we walk: "What shall we do with the drunken sailor?"

And while we're at it, we recruit another Pirate to the crew:
Welcome, Pirate Auntie Sarah!
(we've got to find her a more piratical-sounding name, don't we?)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

In which we see some unusual sights, and name the newest Pirate

Our Fishy Friends were impeded in their efforts to ride today by several things: Katie got a job, (hooray!) Dory's horse lost a shoe (boooooo!) and Patty and Sirie got run over by the Snot Fairy (ewwwww!)
But the newest addition to the Pirate Nation Endurance Riders team did join me! Connie's mare Khari supposedly has a lot of the same grouchy-bitchy issues that Fiddle has. Harumph. Fiddle says, when it comes to being a g-b, Khari is an amateur.

Falling asleep at the trailer....

At the top of our picture-taking hill.

We could see the Olympic Mountains from our vantage point, but the camera doesn't show them very well. We actually had some blue sky (!!!) as well.
Further along the trail, a big honkin' clearcut and Lake McMurray in the distance

(the lake is under the handle of Connie's crop)

See? Khari is falling asleep again!

I've seen this lovely sculpture before, but the last time I was here, the "monument" rocks weren't.

Yeah, I guess it's been a while!

Fiddle had some doubts about the sculpture.

but the view from the monument hill
is fabulous (can you see the mountains now? sorta?)

On the way back to the trailer, we got a tad bewildered.

Connie called a friend who knows these trails, described where we'd been and the landmarks around us, and pretty soon we were back on track!

This, however, has led to the Official Naming of the Newest Pirate. Ladies and gentlemen and Pirates, please welcome:


Here's where we were. If you biggify the image, you can see the part where we unintentionally added a few miles!

Life. If you're on a horse and it's not raining, it's good.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In which we go to the convention for business, parties and treasures

Time at last for the annual Gathering of the Clans, also known as the Pacific Northwest Endurance Rides conference: the convention of our regional endurance riders!
Business first: the meeting of the 2010 PNER Board is held Friday afternoon. This isn't a very fun event, it's mostly work. Next year we've promised to serve rum in order to boost attendance by board members and also to make the meeting more...interesting....

Jim serves on the Board as a Washington State rider rep, and he's also the head of the Education Committee, which is really important work and not very glamorous. The position requires a lot of time and energy all year.

In contrast, I serve as the organization secretary, and as the Junior Advisor. That means I only have to work 5 or 6 hours per year, and spend the rest of the time hanging out with kids. No wonder Jim likes to help me with my PNER obligations--they are mostly fun!

I do head the Scholorship Committee, which sometimes is a little more political than it should be, especially when parents get involved with the essays submitted by their kids. Sigh. I'm sure Elizabeth over at Standardbred Excellence knows how much fun that can be (NOT), since she teaches English in a public high school.

After the Board Meeting: awards!
The Friday evening awards are very casual (especially in contrast with the Saturday evening awards). Two of the kids ran into the hall in their bathing suits, because they'd been swimming in the hotel pool and didn't want to miss being called for their awards!

Although Jim and I didn't compete enough this year to earn "rider awards", we both were honored by the Juniors. The kids give the adults who help them in the sport of endurance a small token each year. Super sponsors don't just sponsor kids in competition. They also haul horses, feed or clothe kids at vet checks, and speak kindly and encouragingly. You'd be amazed how often adults will ignore kids in camp...and these juniors remember every kindness.

(the pin says "SUPER SPONSOR").

The current Prez and administration also honored some of us as longtime volunteers:
Check out the embroidery:
Unfortunately, Jim's jacket got left off the list! Really sad, especially since he does so much work! :-( They re-ordered it this morning, and Paul announced the omission at the Sunday morning Board Meeting, so at least Jim got some public recognition for the unglamorous work he does!

Hanging with the Evil Twins: always fun.
And then, of course, there's the SHOPPING!I did not buy this headstall, because I love the sidepull bridle that I use for Fiddle...but I do think I'm going to ask the company to build me a similar browband that I can swap onto the bridle when it's time to Pirate Up in public!
I did buy this rump-rug, however, which was custom made for me by PNER member Sally Perry. It's similar to the rump rug I already had, made by Victoria White, except that it's much bigger. As she's gotten more fit, Fiddle's hindquarters have gotten HUGE, much larger than the back end of an Arab...and Victoria's rug left Fee's caboose hanging out in the cold. I still love the old rug, though, and I'm keeping it...but the new one is purple with skull and crossbones!

Sky had some stuff on her shopping list as well:
These are handmade gortex and polarfleece chaps, to keep the cold and rain off in the saddle. I'm jealous, but I stuck to my list and my budget. They certainly are awesome.

Mona and Marilyn are writing their names on raffle tickets. Raffle is really important at our convention: we like being able to contribute to the organization....and the prizes are great (I'll show pix at the end of this post, I promise).

PNER is a points and awards organization with the mission of educating riders and promoting endurance rides in our region. That's why our conventions always feature fabulous guest speakers. Donna Snyder-Smith is well-known in the endurance community and beyond for teaching riders how to use their bodies to assist their horses in athletic endeavors.
More meetings for me: our "recurring president" Paul Latiolais (Jim's evil twin) visited the Junior Luncheon meeting, ate a piece of pizza with us, and asked the kids for input about the organization website and what "junior stuff" should be on it.

I collect horse books throughout the year, just so I can give them away to kids at convention.I love giving kids stacks of books, can you tell?

And then, at last, it's time to dress for the banquet. Gail declined to wear a prom dress but the peacock-feather hair ornament was perfect for her outfit.
Sky also declined to dress for the prom, but I still think she cleans up real purdy.
Jim and I dressed in shiny and sparkles!
It's not always easy to find a prom dress that complements the tattoo, you know? But doesn't Jim look just splendid in his tux jacket and bow tie? swoooooon!

Wally and Carlene: KING AND QUEEN OF THE PROM!
(We joked that Carlene was late to the Sunday morning board meeting because it took that long to get back out of the dress.)
Gary found a ruffled shirt, but had to make cuff links out of raffle tickets.
Our Fishy Friends surely clean up nicely, don't they? I love Lori's elegant frock!

The Pink Flamingo team has its own sense of style. I like that.

But my former junior Tiffany
and her daughter ("the grand-junior")Ashley Ann
are clearly the most beautiful ladies on the dance floor!

Puzzle inspected the loot carefully when we got home....
He carefully examined the greeting cards that I bought as a gift for our next door neighbors (who fed the horses and hens while we were out of town).Here's a shot of the cards without Inspector Kitty: Pretty, huh? The artwork is by my friend Sky--if she sends me the link to her website, I'll post it here so y'all can shop for these cards yourself. They make excellent birthday cards or thank you gifts!

Remember I mentioned the raffle? Look at all the stuff we won: Yes, my friends, this stack includes three ride entries, a bunch of horse cookies, a large bag of Mare Magic, some water bottles, a step stool, and a brand-new Kerrits jacket!

This stack of raffle prizes
has been approved by Inspector Kitty.