Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ride Time

We have had a few weeks of soggy weather and it's been hard to work in ride time in between all the rain drops. There were a few dry days, but our arena looked more like a swimming pool than a place to ride. I finally was able to work in a ride with Pilgrim the other day. He is much more forward and responsive, and I am doing much better with my seat and hands. I'm more confidant how to keep him straight and am really starting to get a better feel overall. He still is struggling with the contact and I can't wait to get the trainer out to do another ride on him as well. He is starting to reach into it, but eventually talks himself out of it and balks. Honestly though I'm not only happy with his progress but am thrilled with mine. I also think some of his issue in his last ride was the arena was still a bit soggy and deep in spots....which he hates. Those seemed to be the spots where he had the biggest issues in. I will say I was impressed that the guys were working on building the new club house/tack shop next to the arena (lots of banging, hammering, etc...) and Pilgrim never flinched an eyelash. Although when the ride was over and I untacked him, he decided to wander over and supervise! No pics of our ride unfortunately but here are a few of me torturing him before the parade!
Santa's Little Helper
Not Happy
Tolerating me =)
Poor fella....but he's cute!
Such a good sport he is!

Christmas Parade

This year our Show Team participated in the Clinton Christmas Parade again. Last year we kind of just threw a float together last minute. This year, we did more planning. The theme of the parade was Candy Cane Christmas. With so many members this year we did two floats and did one with an english theme and another in a western. The weather really cooperated and it was a beautiful night to have it....everyone had a blast!

So Pretty at night
Dwight helped with the barrels

At the farm I organized the some of the troops
Everyone worked hard at getting the floats together
Even the parents got in the holiday spirit
Arms loaded down!

Western Float
English Float

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Invitation

My husband sent this to me today after 5 hours of menu planning, grocery list making, and shopping. It is especially funny as I typically don't host Thanksgiving, I leave the cooking for an army to my mom and we host Christmas. We had decided to host Thanksgiving when we found out we could do it at McCloud Mountain Restaurant (a beautiful resort and restaurant at the top of Powell Mountain and overlooks the entire valley....and they have great food). They were taking reservations for a family style Thanksgiving for only $17 a person! Thanksgiving done....or so I thought. After checking with family making sure no one would be offended by going out for Thanksgiving I told Chuck to make our reservations. He forgot, and by the time he remembered (this weekend) we were told they were booked. After 3 hours of scrambled menu planning, grocery list making and figuring out when I would get the house clean they called back, they could completely rearrange their dining room and squeeze us 7pm. Not one to ever let 3 hours of work go to waste....I'm cooking. Wish me luck, and I believe I may be sending this out!

Dear Family & Friends,

I know that you were eager to accept our family's invitation to

Thanksgiving dinner when you found out that the famous Martha

Stewart would be joining us. However, due to scheduling conflicts

beyond her control, Ms. Stewart finds that she is unable to grace

our table this year. With that in mind, there will be a few minor

changes regarding the meal and decor, as outlined below. Please

be aware of them, and adjust your appetite and dress appropriately.

Thank you.
1) Our driveway will not be lined with homemade, paper bag luminaries. After
several trial runs and two visits from the fire department, it was decided
that, no matter how cleverly done, rows of flaming lunch sacks do not have
the desired welcoming effect.

2) Once inside, please note that the entry space will not be decorated with
swags of Indian corn and fall foliage. Instead, we included our dog in
decorating by having him track in colorful autumn leaves from the back yard.
The mud was his idea.

3) The dining table will not be covered with expensive linens, fancy china,
or crystal goblets. If possible, we will use dishes that match and everyone
will get a fork. Since this is Thanksgiving, we will refrain from using the
paper SpongeBob dinner plates, the leftover Halloween napkins, and our
plastic cup collection.

4) Our centerpiece will not be a tower of fresh fruit and flowers. Instead
we will be proudly displaying a hedgehog-like decoration hand-crafted from
the finest construction paper and pine cones. The artist assures me it is a
turkey, albeit one without wings, legs, or a beak.

5) We will be dining somewhat later than planned. However, our daughter will
entertain you while you wait. I'm sure she will be happy to share every
choice comment her mother made regarding Thanksgiving, pilgrims, stuffing
choices, the turkey hotline, and, especially, her husband. Please remember
that most of these comments were made at 7:00AM upon discovering that said
husband had only remembered to pull the turkey from the freezer at 6:00 AM,
and that the thing was still hard enough to cut diamonds.

6) As an accompaniment to our daughter's recital of these events, I will
play a recording of Native American tribal drumming. Curiously, the tribal
drumming sounds a great deal like a frozen turkey in a clothes dryer, but
that only enhances the holiday appropriateness. If our daughter should
mention that we don't own a recording of Native American tribal drumming,
ignore her. She's only eight. What does she know?

7) A dainty silver bell will not be rung to announce the start of our
feast.. We have chosen to keep our traditional method of assembling when
the smoke alarm goes off.

8) There will be no formal seating arrangement. When the smoke alarm sounds,
please gather around the table and sit where you like. In the spirit of
harmony, we will ask all the children to sit at a separate table. In a
separate room. Next door. And I would like to take this opportunity to
remind our younger diners that "passing the rolls" is neither a football
play nor an excuse to bean your cousin in the head with bread.

9) The turkey will not be carved at the table. I know you have seen the
Norman Rockwell image of one person carving a turkey in front of a crowd of
appreciative onlookers. Such a scene may occur somewhere in America, but it
won't be happening at our dinner table. For safety reasons, the turkey will
be carved in the kitchen at a private ceremony. I stress "private", meaning
do not, under any circumstances, enter the kitchen to laugh at me. Do not
send small, unsuspecting children, or older, helpful grandparents into the
kitchen to check on my progress. I have a very large, very sharp knife. The
turkey is unarmed. It stands to reason that I will eventually win the
battle. When I do, we will eat.

10) For the duration of the meal, we will refer to the gravy by its
lesser-known name: Kraft Cheese Sauce. If a young diner questions you
regarding the origins or makeup of the Kraft Cheese Sauce, smile kindly and
say that you know the answer, but it's a secret that can't be revealed to
them until they are 18.

11) Instead of offering a choice among 12 different scrumptious desserts, we
will be serving the traditional pumpkin pie, garnished with whipped cream
and dog tongue marks. You still have a choice: take it or leave it.

That concludes our list of alterations. Again, I apologize that Martha will
not be joining us this year. Come to think of it, she probably won't come
next year either.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Fun Photos

After crying my way through the last post, I'm going to end on a more happy note. While going through files of photos for pictures from Fall Festival and Halloween, I found some pictures I took of Faith riding Chip dressage and some fall pics I took of her around the house as well as some fall photos from around the farm that Chuck took.

Update 5: A Huge Hole in my Heart

Right before I left for the ARHA show, my dog Trooper got sick. He was vomiting Thursday night after several days of not being himself and just not feeling well. He has a sensitive stomach so we don't get super stressed if he vomits, but later that night he was also shaking and shivering. By the time we got up Friday morning he was weak through his rear end and falling over. Chuck rushed him to the vet and after some blood work and tests it was chalked up to an inner ear infection and we were sent home stocked full of antibiotics and medication. Chuck was suppose to go with me to the show, but we decided he would stay home with Trooper and keep an eye on him instead of sending the dogs to my moms to puppy sit.

I should quickly tell you a bit more about Trooper. I've had him since he was a small puppy. He was given to me at the shelter about 6 years ago by a vet student who couldn't keep him. She didn't want him to go through the "system" so I told her I would take him home until I found a new home for him. I had no intention of keeping him, but he had the most expressive eyes, I ended up instantly falling in love with him. He had lots of issues, food aggressive, dog aggressive, and completely unsocialized. I worked with him everyday for several hours, handled him, trained him, took him everywhere I could. We soon got over everything and he was a happy social dog who loved everyone. He was extremely intelligent, protective of his family and watched over everyone of us. When my husband (before Chuck) passed away suddenly and tragically, Trooper was there. He was by my side the whole time and pulled me and the kids through a time when we couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. He was my constant companion and absolute best friend. After I met and married Chuck, he also instantly fell in love with Trooper and what a wonderful dog he was. We often joked that he had to live forever as we don't know how to live without him.

Chuck and I talked on and off all day Friday and Trooper was still not feeling well, but seemed to mildly improve. Saturday Chuck called my in a panic....he was seizuring. I had him rush him to the emergency vet. After several seizures and blood work and exams, I got the call late Saturday night that Trooper was in renal failure. I was stuck at a horse show 4 hours away and could not get back to him. I managed to hold myself together to get through until I could get back late Sunday night. The vets were able to keep him stable and comfortable until I could get there. Chuck and I snuggled with him and told him how much we loved him, how much he would be missed, and held him while letting him go. I couldn't hold it together anymore. It was 2am and I was exhausted and just lost my most precious friend. I broke down. Chuck and I stayed home all day Monday and we let the kids stay home from school. It was a tough time for the whole family. We all miss him dearly. Everyday is hard, he was a huge part of our lives.

Update 4: The Maclay

We took Faith up to see the Maclay Finals at the National Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park. I wanted her to see some of the top youth riders in the country doing Equitation, which is her focus. We all had a really good time and Faith asked a lot of really good questions. It was really nice to have this competition so close to home so we could enjoy it. I was also thrilled with the price, Faith got in free and Adult tickets were only $13. You couldn't beat that with a stick!
Chuck showing off his mad jumping skills at a display in the USPC kids area. 

Update 3: ARHA Show

This last weekend I left Friday with Lora Grace and her horse Skippers Lady Lark (AKA Larkin) to an American Ranch Horse Association Show about 4 hours away. We arrived at about 10pm and got Larkin bedded down in her stall after taking her for a quick spin in the arena. Lora Grace has never been to registered show, or a show this size, so I wanted her to get a feel for it right away. I knew no matter what it was going to be overwhelming for her.

Saturday we got up at 5am and left the hotel room and got her registered for classes. While her dad finished the paperwork, we saddled up and warmed up a little bit before the cutting classes started and the arena had only a handful of people in it.....good thing! Her first class was warm up class with 57 entries!!! The mare was a little fired up with that big of a class and not as consistent as she should have been. Her second class was Senior Ranch Riding with 36 entries, she bobbled a canter lead in front of the judge so we knew we didn't have a chance. She then had Youth Walk Trot where she placed 6 out of 12, then Horsemanship with 5 out of 14, and last was Youth Ranch Riding, with 24 entries and what I felt was her best ride of the day! She had a hard time dealing with so many people in each class and not understanding why she didn't always place. I had to really sit down with her to explain how this is what we were working towards and I didn't really expect her to place at all and this trip was more for her to just get used to it, see it, and experience it. It was suppose to be a learning experience. We took some time to sit and watch a lot of the other classes and she was able to see that everyone had a REALLY nice horse and everyone had a trainer. It wasn't like at the local and open shows and even a lot of the 4-H shows where she typically has the nicest horse and is one of the only ones doing everything right. Now she is in a crowd of really good horses, really good riders, and everyone is doing it's just who is doing it BETTER. She really was able to see what I meant that we have our foundation, now we just have to go after all the little things and perfect everything.

The next morning was Showmanship and Halter. Lora Grace placed in the top 5 in both classes and I was so proud! At the end of the day we had to drag her away from the reining classes and load up to head home. She wants to work towards doing more of these next year and I am really looking forward to it. Now if only I can convince my husband we need to cow horses so we can start doing team sorting! SO MUCH FUN!