Friday, December 18, 2015

In which Winter is here, so we're all back in the arena again

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

Sidesaddle?  Nope:  warmups! it's time for the Usual Suspects to re-convene in the arena for more sessions of Dressage for Endurance Riders!

I credit a ton of our success on the endurance trail last summer to the hours of lessons we took last winter.  Fiddle and I were stronger and better balanced starting the 2015 season than we've ever been...and most importantly, our communication skills were vastly improved.

Mel is right:  dressage = couples therapy.

But who can bear to spend beautiful summer days in the arena?  Not me.  It's much easier to take lessons when the sky is falling in buckets.  So, that's what we do.

Dory is the Queen.  All hail!

Hana is coming back after a bunch of time off.

Du is so happy to be back on her pony!

Individual instruction

Patty and Flower are both "mostly" healed from various boo-boos.

Flower has been in training, and Patty needs to learn where the "new buttons"
have been installed!

Monica is riding somebody new.

Mia is in training.  Monica gets to help with that.

And the Dragon and I are putting everything back together again.

Learning how to use my newly-bionic leg to give a decent cue

Our first session in the arena was mostly focused on assessment:  who needs to work on what.

Trotting on down the line

Just challenging enough to be fun

Just fun enough to be challenging!

This is only the beginning.

And it is Good.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

In which Santa Jim is quite busy, and I fix a little problem

Santa Jim has been busy lately.

Santa's dogs get their own photo session

The studio work at Everett Santa  has been steady, and the days in the red suit are getting longer and busier.  And that's a good thing.

This young couple asked for Santa's help in making An Important Announcement.

Helen Tyrell is 83 years old, and this picture shows her very first visit to Santa.

But something was bugging me about the early photos from the season.

A nice family photo with Santa...except....

Can you see it?  Just over Santa's right shoulder?

Photo collage stolen from Everett Santa's Facebook page
That Spiderman doll was bugging me.

Maybe it's the shade of red.  Or the aggressive stance, making it look like Spidey is whispering bad ideas into Santa's ears.  Or the eyes.  Maybe those weird, demonic eyes?

Whatever.  It caught my eye in a bad way every time I saw the Photo of the Day appear in my feed.

So, when it was time to take the Floofs in for their annual Portrait with Santa, while the photographer was distracted with something in the other room

My traditional post with formal photographers:  shooting from behind the camera.

I took action.

Foxie Loxie's antlers nicely neutralized the problem,
and the tiniest dog was happy to be rid of them.

Much better now!

Roo, Foxie, and Luna with their very own Santa

Merry Floofidays, all y'all.

Monday, December 14, 2015

In which I get better-faster-stronger (but not much) and it's winter

The post-surgical rest and healing continues.  

I'm still attending physical therapy three times a week.  That's the key to recovery, y'all:  doing the PT, doing the PT as hard as I can, and not skipping out mentally or physically for a single minute.  It's challenging, and sometimes it hurts...but seriously, nothing hurts as much as not being able to live my life.  So, I do the PT.

In other news:
All those miles last season add up!

In the 2015 season, Fiddle earned (among other things) her first 1,000-mile medallion, and it arrived in the mail last week.  The medal comes on a twinkie little red-white-blue ribbon that is supposed to go over the head of the athlete as she stands proudly before the crowd...yeah, right.  The ribbon didn't even fit over her big ol' nose.  

I clipped the medal to her halter and took a picture, and then put the medal back on the ribbon so it can all go into a frame up at the house.  Fee would rather have a cookie and a nice long ride in the woods, any day.


Our rides aren't long or hard or fast yet, but that's okay.  It's winter.
We're supposed to be slowing down now anyhow!

I've been able to get her out a couple of times in the late afternoon this week.  The drawback to riding in late afternoon at this latitude is that there isn't much of it...late afternoon, that is.  The sun starts setting at 4pm, and by 4:45pm it is dead-dark.  That means we've been getting to the trailhead at dusk, and parking the trailer in the dark.  Another week, and daylight will start moving the other can't happen soon enough for me.

Here's another winter thing:
But....5/8th-cut or pea-shaped,Shoveled or barrowed or dumped or scraped.Gravel is a girl's best friend.
14 tons of gravel!  What a treasure!  Our darling Henry spent the day in the pouring rain, shoveling, barrowing and dumping the wonderful stuff all over the yard and driveway.  There's no such thing as too much gravel on a farm.  Especially in winter.

Winter is a time for visiting.

That's one of the reasons our friend Laurie from Evensong Paints came to visit (also, she was on the Wet Side to buy a saddle, and we were just a teeny detour from her route--a great excuse for cookies and tea, sez us!)

Laurie lives close to the ridecamp for the Milwaukee Rail Trail Ride, so we
get to see her there--it was a special treat to hang out with her when we
aren't exhausted and filthy!
We also kicked off the party season at Fish Creek Farm over the weekend, with the first of many potlucks.  The food is always so good...

...and the company is even better.

Part-way through the party, Patty put on her DVM hat and went out to check on a horse who had been kicked.  Patty has two standard responses to these situations.  

We moved the party to the barn.  As one does.
Either she says, "put your finger on it," meaning that the bleeding will stop (all bleeding stops eventually, but if Patty says to put a finger on it, it means she's not very worried).  Or she says, "call your large-animal vet," (which means it might be okay and it might be serious).  If Patty wants you to call another vet,  she wants you to err on the side of caution.

This time, Horus needed to be seen by another vet.  And look who the other vet is:

Dr. Laura DVM opened the barn door and we all hollered
"Surprise!"  She said, "There really is an injured horse here, right?"

It's too bad we had to have an injured horse to get Laura to the barn party...but we saved her some cookies to nosh after she stitched Horus' leg back together.  He missed the joint entirely, btw, and should be fine.


We also saved food for Santa Jim, who stays really busy this time of year.

Photo collage by Everett Santa

And finally, winter is time to hunker down in the Big Chair o'Writing to block out the new project.  

Foxie Loxie likes to help.

It's cold.  It's dark.

But, mostly, it's Good.