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.


  1. Linda, the book you sent me Chosen By a Horse was awesome. I read it in one day! I have passed it on to a friend and then when she gives it back Sam wants to read it. Then it will be available to pass on to whomever! I hope you enjoy that book. I really like her series, not real intense. Haley really likes them! Thank you again for sending it to me!

  2. I loved it too, Tina--and I still have a copy for Lea--at Lea and her Mustangs--I either need to send it to her or meet her for coffee!!!

    Thanks for passing it on--a good book deserves to be enjoyed by as many people as possible.

    I'm really looking forward to starting the Crum book tonight with Shiloh!! Thanks for sending it, btw--it arrived yesterday. When I'm done reading it, I'll give it back to you so you can pass it on yet again.

  3. How pretty you and your daughter look!
    Loved seeing the scribbled on piano book too. I never mind when my daughter writes in my sketchbook.
    beautiful looks gorgeous too:)

  4. Jennifer--Your post about your daughter's scribbles are what made me tune into my son's the other day when I was playing through my journal. Believe it or not, I was so used to seeing those scribbles I didn't even notice them anymore. Now he's 19 years old!!! Can you believe it?? And, he's getting ready to record his first professional CD. It will be fun to see how your daughter progresses, creatively, with such an artistic mother!

  5. Okay, first, had to chuckle at Beautiful's attempt to be the leader. As if!

    And love Nora Jones, I'm sure the music will sound amazing on that piano. How wonderful to be able to write your own music. Do you continue to write now?

    And what a beautiful picture of you and your daughter. She sounds like such a gentle person, you two seem so close. Funny how she towers over you! My 2 daughters scold me often for their height - one is 5 feet, the other is 5 ft 3 in. I am 5 ft 7inches. They didn't get my height gene, that's for sure.

  6. That's funny, Joanne, about your daughters being shorter than you, as all of my children are now, officially, taller. I'm like a little old lady around them!!

    The answer to your question of whether or not I still write my own music--I do, but lately I've been going through the old songs and trying to recreate or finish the ones that weren't properly dealt with years ago. I'm amazed because, after all these years, I still hear them distinctly in my head--the way they should sound--and I'm finding errors in my original transcription--lazy omissions, etc.--I'm having to correct.

    Do you ever go through your old, old writings and try to redo them?

  7. Wow! You've shared a lot with us today! Love it!!! I always enjoy reading about you and your music! Guess I'll have to do that, too on my music blog: I really didn't quite know what to write there...
    ~~Cheryl Ann~~ P.S. You and your daughter are so cute together! My daughter and I went in for haircuts together and I posted about that! I'll have to get some pics of us together!

  8. Yeah, Cheryl, I'm sure there's a lot rattling in around in your head with all the music in your background! I'm supposed to be writing about my Mustang, but things are a little slow around here, so you're all getting a heavy dose of triva as well!!

    I'll go check out your pictures of you and your daughter!

  9. Yes, I think the editing process can be neverending. As long as I have the work in front of me, there's something to polish. Or if I set something aside for a period of time, even a year or more, then I'm in a different frame of mind, and different place, when I next pick it up, so I'll edit once more. The only thing that stops the editing is publication. I suspect the same might be true of writing music?

  10. It is similar with music--there's a general core theme to the piece which can be improved each time you sit down and play. Like writing, it sounds PERFECT the first time you play it, then you come back and go--hmmmmm...not perfect.

  11. Happy early b-day to your daughter! She is lovely, just like her mother! ;)
    Cute story about Beautiful's biting lesson! I had a pony that was an awful biter and it was a nightmare. I was only 13 at the time and didn't really know how to deal with it.
    I am looking forward to reading your work towards the in-hand trail class, I'm sure it will be a good experience for you and your Beauty!

  12. If you had a biter, than you know exactly what I mean. And, ponies can be bad about those little vices! Apparently, so can babies, like Beautiful. :)

    Yes, this in-hand trail class--I need to find out exactly what it is. I think they're going to have classes first to teach us. Beautiful has a long way to go to do anything like that--and I can't wait for things to dry up so we can get started!! I'm excited to work with her more this Spring!!

  13. Linda, found the grass pellets in the Nickels Worth under Hay & Feed. They have a website to check their ads - we got them in Rathdrum.


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