Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mud, Mud, Mud

Reflection in the Bog

It's 44 degrees and muddy, but the snow is melting. Right now, Beautiful's turn out is a lake--a swamp--a bog--a mess.

She's muddy, as you can see. Some of the mud has dried on to where it's hard to get it off with a curry brush.

My farrier came by today to do Red and Cowboy's feet. He stopped in to say "hi" to Beautiful since she'll be due for a trim the next time he comes around. He told me she looks like "horse" now. I take that as a compliment. I replied that I think she's going to be a very beautiful horse, indeed.

The good thing about having a lake in your turnout is that it does prepare your horse for water crossings. Or at least, I hope so.

Here she's feeling good and came running at me and reared up. I was on the other side of the fence and she was trying to get my attention away from Jasmine the pony.

Another thing of interest. I introduced her to Cowboy today through the fence and she turned her hind to him like she is in heat. Hmmmm...anyone have mares in heat right now? I suppose the change in weather could have triggered her.

Here is my 12 year old dog, Elsa. She's a sweetie. Just relaxing in the little bit of sun we had today.

If I have any favorite bird it is definitely Candian Geese. Today there were maybe 100 of them circling around our house because the neighbor's field has turned into a real pond. I ran to get my camera, but I was too late for the picture. I am, however, going to be ready the next time they come. That is a shot I really, really want.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Late Winter Happenings

I took this picture this morning. It was a Red-tail Hawk with a mouse in his beak. He looked huge from my window, but had good eyes and noticed me taking his picture. He took off.

Our visit to TEXAS:

The weather in Texas was sunny and 70 degrees. Our grand-daughter, Rebekah, had grown a lot since we were last there. She has red hair and blue eyes--a real beauty. And, she has that red-head personality, too.

I took this picture of their Jasmine in bloom--I have a pony named Jasmine.

41 years old--Piano Lessons!:

Yes, I'm 41 and it's back to practicing scales. I don't know what got into me, but I decided that I want to start doing the things I love--well. I'm tired of knowing a little bit about a lot of things but a lot about nothing.

So, here's a picture of my new best-friend--the piano scale book. I have homework, lessons, and all the things that go with being under a piano teacher's instruction again. (You read it right--piano teacher--I found who would take a 41 year-old student. I'm going to take as many as I can before she gets sick of me!)


I've missed Beautiful and all the other horses lately. Translation: Haven't seen much of them.

Television (It is winter--so we take our thrills where we can, right? And, there's only so much of the Stimulus Plan and the Stock Market blues you can take in a month):

I got home in time last night to watch the Academy Awards. Hugh Jackman....WOW! I think he did GREAT. As far as the best movies are concerned, I've only seen one that was nominated, but I've heard the Slumdog Millionaire was excellent!!! I'm going to see it this weekend. I also want to see Frost/Nixon and The Wrestler.

The one that I did see was the Curious Case of Benjamin Button--being an F. Scott Fitzgerald fan and loving the premise of the movie. However, I was disappointed in the execution. The cinematography and make-up effects were great and deserved an Oscar--but the story itself--in my opinion--didn't connect. Brad Pitt came off to me as more of a spectator--watching the movie himself--rather than acting. So, I wasn't disappointed at all that it didn't take home an academy award in the big areas.

And my last television comment that has nothing to do with Mustangs or horses at all is True Beauty, the show with the Lewiston, ID contestant, Billy--which is in its final weeks.

Believe it or not--our hometown boy, Billy, is in the top three and looking like he might win! I guess they "grow them" pretty good in Idaho after all.

If only they'd put them in a pen with a wild Mustang and really test their inner strength and beauty. They should have put a horse on that panel of judges!!

Congratulations, Coleman!

Last, but not least, is congrats to my youngest son, Coleman who made the Varsity Basketball team this year. This is a great accomplishment since he hasn't made the Varsity level team before.

And it just proves my theory which I'm always telling my kids for encouragement--if you stick to something--it will eventually come to you--whatever you choose. The people who do are the people who did. Some people are just late bloomers! Enjoy life--do what you love--the rest will fall in place.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Something to Train For--Mustang Days!

Picture above is Beautiful before feeding yesterday.

Beautiful aiming for Mustang Days! (But first, TRAILERING 101)

Okay, we have something to work toward--Mustang Days--June 27 and 28--right here in Spokane, WA. Andrea, at Mustang Saga, told us to mark our calendars, and she informed me that Beautiful (who will be 2) could enter the in-hand trail and halter class. (That is also the weekend we have family coming in town, but I hope I can do both!!)

I've never participated in an in-hand trail class, so I need to know what to expect. Can anyone tell me? I'm just guessing here--walk through logs, back through logs, jump logs, walk over tarps, through water--gates--just a guess. How far off am I? (You notice I'm calling it a class and not a competition. I've never had a desire to "compete" with my horses in anything, but I went to Mustang Days last year, and I thought it was GREAT fun and exposure for the horses. I was very impessed with the group--many of whom are blogging buddies now).

I know one thing I'll have to work on as soon as I can get my trailer out--trailer loading!

If you've never had to train a horse to trailer, you'd be surprised at how difficult it can be. A young horse looks in that big dark hole and nothing in him/her says jump right in.

They may set one hoof on the floor of your trailer and strain their neck to see in--nibble at some hay--put their neck up again--think about scary things around them so they can spook and get out of having to think about going in at all. Or, sometimes they'll put in two hooves and get the trailer to shaking, then jump, promptly, off--but they usually follow you in---with a little coaxing from someone behind .

Once in the dark contraption, they immediately feel how unstable it is. The only thing holding them up from the pavement when you're driving 55 miles down the highway are boards underneath the mats. If you don't inspect those boards regularly, they could rot out and a horse could put their weight right through them and be toast! So yes, they're SMART to be scared of trailers.

But we teach them to put their fear aside and off we go--over bumps and highways--loud semis passing us by--trains overhead--then sudden stopping at lights with cars all around and people rolling down their windows to talk to them. All to be unloaded at some strange locale far, far away from the safety of their barn.

So, this is what is in store for Beautiful, ASAP. I should have done it long ago! Bad Mama!

Watch out! She bites!

This weekend Beautiful had a little lesson about biting. I noticed she'd been working up to a bite for some time now. In my experience, horses don't just come right out and bite your skin off--they start slowly, like they do with each other in the pasture. They nibble a little--then they push into your space, then they nibble a little harder--then they might pin their ears back and take a big chunk. It's all part of them testing who is leader.

I saw that look in Beautiful's eyes (or was it the ears) that warned me it was progressing past fun, but I kept avoiding the confrontation.

Well, Sunday Shiloh and I were out playing and cleaning the barn--and I thought it was time to let her make her mistake. So, I turned away, but left myself in harm's way, and sure enough she came in for a bite--but low and behold--it was a moving target--an elbow and her mouth colliding at just the right moment.

She backed up about four big steps and looked at me--I turned to her, like wow, what did you do to yourself. And, she came back up to me better mannered.

This is what I believe she's thinking: When I think of doing something BAD to that human, I always get hurt. The human must have special powers!!

But who knows, she may be thinking--Til next time!

Piano Update

I've been shopping for new piano music, and found this great collection by Norah Jones--one of my favorite artists. I like having a huge variety of music to play, but my favorite pieces are always my own--songs I've written since I was in college and learned--hey, I can write my own stuff!

I've kept music journals since I was about 18 or 19. It's fun to play the music I wrote through the years. It takes me right back to the feelings and thoughts I had when I wrote them. It's a powerful connection to the past.

My children would often mimic me and sit at the piano and make notes onto my journal, too. Here is one by my oldest son, Brook, who has written hundreds of his own songs by now.

And he wouldn't stop at making songs in journals--he also tried to improve the ones that were already written:

New Book:

I don't usually read mysteries. In fact, I never read mysteries. I am almost solely drawn to non-fiction memoir. However, a friend of mine--Tina from Hayburner Acres, has loaned me this one by Laura Crum--and it comes highly recommended. So, I'm going to live large and read this with my daughter, Shiloh! Thanks, Tina!

Valentine's Gift

My daughter is turning seventeen on Valentine's Day. She was the best Valentine's gift I ever received. We took her to a nice dinner last Sunday to have some special time with her. She looked so sophisticated that evening. I was amazed. She even towered over me, having to bend down to take this picture.

She has been my partner with horses and a dear friend as well as daughter. She is one of those rare people in life who really have deep love and compassion towards others. She sees people's flaws, but loves them anyway, and I've never seen her hold a grudge or harsh judgement against anyone.

So, every Valentine's Day is very special for me, as I get to celebrate the joy of knowing such a wonderful person--who I'm deeply blessed to have as my daughter.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friendship Award

Barbara, my mom, at Serenity Gate, gave me this award today and I want to pass it on.

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbon of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight more and include the cleverly written text into the body of your awards"

Andrea at Mustang Saga
Joanne at Whole Latte Life.
Lea at Lea and her Mustangs
Tina at Hayburner Acres
Leslie at Hoofbeats & Pawprints
Jessie at Two Appaloosas and a Mustang
Kara at Must Love Mustangs
Cheryl at Desert Horses

"A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though (s)he knows that you are slightly cracked." -- Bernard Meltzer.

Seasons of Troubles

(Me, Shiloh, Beth and grandkids with Sonny, my colt who coliced.)

I have a good friend from Lewiston who I met through horses--she's a trainer, and I always remember her warning me whenever I'd say something like--Wow, nothing's gone wrong with the horses for a long time! They're all healthy!

She'd ALWAYS shake her head and say, Don't say that.

She'd grown up on a ranch and started training horses for other people when she was 12. She still trains 6 days a week all through the year--rain, shine, snow, whatever. She's out there putting in her time. And, all of that time spent with horses has taught her that your luck can change at any moment--so she's a bit superstitious about tempting fate.

Sure enough, my luck did change in February of '07 when Cowboy broke his coffin bone. That injury ushered in 7 months of what seemed like hell in many aspects of my life. His injury was misdiagnosed and wouldn't get better, we moved to Spokane to a property that had nothing on it except a half built house. (We moved 5 horses, three goats, 3cats, 2 dogs and all that a family with that many animals accumulates through the years.)

We had to finish a basement, put up fence over 14 acres, build a barn, bring water and electricity out to it, plant trees, pave a driveway and on and on and on. And we did almost all of it by ourselves except building the barn structure--we cried Uncle on that one because we only had a month before the snow would fly.

During that time my oldest son was going through a tough time which he got to the other side of safely, but who during those months, left me wondering if I'd even have a son.

And then, to top it all off, that August, the colt I'd raised and trained from a weanling coliced and died. Here's a picture of him running in the pasture just a couple weeks before his colic--he's the Overo Paint.

I felt like Job wondering what he'd done wrong to deserve all his misfortune.

I found I had to let things go--I let Sonny go, I even let Cowboy go--I figured he may never be sound again--and I let my son go because he was a man and I had to respect his choices--no matter where those choices took him.

And then things changed--Cowboy got better, we finished all the major projects around the house, my kids and I made new friends in Spokane, I found a new horse, Cia (below) who seemingly fell from the sky and into my herd, I found Beautiful the next Spring, and my son started making different choices that have brought him 180 degrees the other direction.

I'm going to stop short of tempting fate by saying everything is going great--but so far so good. I have been blessed in many ways no matter which way things turn tomorrow.

I haven't forgotten about the equestrian artists I want to showcase from Whoa Horse Art Team. I appreciate what they're doing so much--unique horse art is so hard to find. I really want to support and encourage these horse loving ladies on their creative paths. They've added new artists just today--one painting in particular really caught me--"Wyoming Summer" by Lucy Calhoun, below.

I envy them their talent. As much as I love horses, I never have been able to draw or paint one. So, I'm just in awe of these artists.

Wyoming Summer--Lucy Calhoun--painting for sale on Etsy.

And don't forget the coffee tomorrow at Chaps--for all Cowgirls.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Jennifer MacNeill-Traylor: Equestrian Artist

Blogging is wonderful, if for no other reason, than you meet people from all over the world who you would never have known otherwise. And, I'm always impressed by the level of thought, compassion and creativity that is out there.

Recently I found a group of artists through Jennifer MacNeill-Traylor's website, Gypsy Mare Studios who tap into the wonder and grace of the horse.

This is what her bio says on her blog:
Lancaster County, PA, United States
Stay at home artist and mom selling my work on the internet since 1999. I have a passion for horses and holidays and enjoy creating art involving these subjects.

She has recently put together another blog to showcase hand-made equestrian art of her own and many other artists, Whoa Horse Art. They sell their artwork on Etsy, Ebay, Zazzle and Cafe Press. And, they're quite reasonably priced for the level of artistry, though I'll let their work speak for itself.

Here are some items by Jennifer MacNeill-Traylor--please go to her site to find out how to purchase her work--many of these items have previously sold--which is the great thing about unique art--if you see something you love, grab it while you can. (PS. She has art other than horses, too--but we won't hold that against her!:)

I love this one.

And for us Poe fans out there--wouldn't this be cool hanging in front of my (I mean our) house?

Here are some equestrian themed signs which exemplify her work though I believe they're already sold and gone. She has painted what appears to be hundreds--all unique. I love the personalities of these two little Trick-or-Treating babies.

And for Appy lovers....

You notice how her horses aren't just horses? Her paintings capture something of the wonder or magic of the universe and how it's reflected in the equine.

This necklace reminded me of my favorite Beautiful Mustang.

Unicorns and horses--I sometimes forget how connected these two are. It's like I put away unicorns like I put away other childhood fascinations. But why? I should have remembered how the two were linked in my imagination when I was young and stopped to ponder it. This picture does that for me--connects the two.

"Mule Baby" How cute is this? You can get many of her items at Cafe Press--applied to mugs, shirts, buttons, and JOURNALS!! Yay!

Here is one of her works in progress.

I was going to feature a few other Whoa Art Team artists today, but there was so much in Jennifer's portfolio, I really can't do justice to it--So, I'm going to stop here and do the others tomorrow. Please check out the rest of Jennifer's vast collection of art--it's available in so many varieties and price ranges--there is something for everyone.

Here are some samples of what will be coming up in the next couple of days from Linda at The Briar Rose Gate blog(AKA Artwolf at Etsy) who is featured on the blog Whoa Horse Art today and Karri at Three Spotted Dogs Blog.

It's good to know you never have to buy mass-produced again!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What's for Dinner?

This has been a relaxing--maybe even, lazy, day around the house. My husband stayed home sick, sick, sick, so I spent the day bringing him water and medicine and whatever he needed. He's got a really bad cold. So, you can imagine how surprised I was when he asked....

What's for dinner?

I thought, hmmmm...dinner--didn't think of that. I've had Tylenol and Benadryl on my mind all day--soup and water. But he was HUNGRY!

Off to the fridge I went and what do you know--I found all the ingredients I'd need for a BBQ Chicken Pizza. I had 2 crusts I'd just purchased, bbq sauce, boneless chicken breast, onions, mushrooms, cilantro,peppers and shredded cheese. Perfect! Here's a picture of it before it went into the oven....

Here's a picture of my latest fruit find--apple pears. Have you ever had one? They're best kept and served cold from the fridge. My husband enjoyed one of these today, too.

And last, dessert. Shiloh has been a baking fiend since she was a little girl and I've always kept the kitchen stocked with whatever she puts on a list for her projects: chocolate chips, frostings, sprinkles, flour, sugar, vanilla, etc. I've dedicated one section of the pantry to her baking supplies, keeping all the ingredients in tubs in her section. Her mixing bowls and measuring spoons are also in one area and easy to get to and pull out.

She pays us back by making lots and lots of baked treats: cakes, cookies, brownies and today, chocolate chip scones.

However, she doesn't really eat them--we do. So, she stays skinny and we all get FAT.

Here are the scones Shiloh made after school today.

Beautiful Orphan

Beautiful Orphan For Sale $500 Milton-Freewater

I saw this ad on Craigs List just now, and I fell in love with this "orphan". I have an orphan, my horse Cowboy, and they are unique. Here's what the ad says:
Born 09/10/08, mother was purchased unknowingly in foal from Yakima Indian Reservation, she was 15.3 hands and colored the same, know nothing of stallion. This pretty little filly is now ready for a foever home committed to her well being. Call 714-235-1910

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Beautiful Day with Beautiful

Here's Beautiful sunning herself in the mud. Thirty-four degrees and sunshine feels a lot like Spring. In fact, she's starting to shed off.

As you can see, she's no prima donna--she's a TRUE BEAUTY! (Go Billy from Lewiston, ID! But ditch the "murse".)

Here Beautiful has found a dry patch of dirt to lay on--she does this every day the sun is out! She's even pretty with a dirty face.

I went out and sat with her after I took these shots. I love sitting with horses when they're relaxing in the sun.

Beautiful loves to smell me--so almost every picture I have of she and I has something to do with sniffing each other. We call that kissing. I love her smell, but I can't imagine she likes mine. I think it's more curiosity. Here are some pics of the hay--the main source of food for them through winter. I use an alfalfa/grass mix, which keeps their sweet breath smelling of Spring all through the year.

I used to have four or five times this amount, but the supply has dwindled fast. I'm not sure how long this will last us. We may be looking for hay before the next cutting.

Here is their grain. I use whole oats. Beautiful didn't like grain, if you remember back to when I first brought her home. Now she LOVES it. I often surprise her with it, and I fed it to her through the really cold winter days. Now I'm cutting way back because the temps are increasing and they don't need as many calories.

This is the Allegra for the older horses. It smells so good-like tobacco and oats. I feed this to the older guys because it has good vitamins for their joints.

Beautiful is very curious, and I love that about her. Today while she was eating, I went over to take these pictures--I'm longing for the day I can get back on the trails--hopefully soon. Here are the bridles...

Here are the saddles....

And here is Beautiful watching my every move.