Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Wonderful Whirlwind

This winter has been a whirlwind of traveling.  Last Thursday morning my husband and I woke at 3:30 am, boarded a plane to Seattle at 5:00 am, rented a car at 6:20, and drove into the city, to the base of the Space Needle for a radio interview that was supposed to start at 7:05 am.

It was a comedy of errors: we were lost, they were calling asking where he was, we pulled up, he ran in, and, out of breath, began his interview on ending the "war" on drugs.   (His book release has been pushed up to February 25th).

Despite all that, I thought the interview went great and he made his points well.  Neither of us are drug users or necessarily condone drug use, but legalizing and regulating, in our opinion, would cut down on a great deal of crime.  At the very least, we can all agree that what we're doing now isn't working.

Here's the interview, if you'd like to listen.  There were a few very interesting callers who joined the discussion as well.

The weather around here has had MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder).  Yesterday it was freezing and the melting snow from the previous day turned our corral into an ice skating rink.  We took the rake to it and broke up the ice to help them navigate.  Red, who is 31 years old, did awesome.  I thought about locking him up, but then I watched him, and he was fine, so I let him be. Today it's warming up again and might be in the upper 40's, and we're heading out of town for some family time.

Hope you're all having a wonderful day as well--wherever you are and whatever the temperatures!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy Month After Christmas!

Twas a month after Christmas (Robert Burns' birthday),
when all through the house,
 not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse (there's not a mouse alive around our house--too many cats).

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, (a little clatter, anyway)
I jumped from my chair to see what was the matter
Away to the antique windows, I flew in a flash,
Hid behind the shutters and peeped behind the sash.

The sun on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Gave a lustre to mid-day and seemed quite a show.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature horse, I could see crystal clear.

I see you, Jasmine.  Were you digging up the yard?

Who, me?  I was just rearranging your snow.

On Dasher, On Dancer, On Prancer and Vixen, On Comet, On Cupid, On Donder and Blitzen...
but do you recall, the most famous ranch dog of all?
Go Riagan!

Ahhh...a beautiful day, indeed. Sunshine, good food,

fat and happy horses,

Beautiful Mustangs,

sweet barn cats,

blue skies.

Happy Month After Christmas! 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Winter Buds

We didn't get 12"-24" yet, but we did finally get snow.  Our trip to Gig Harbor was canceled due to ice at Seatac.  They had a horrible ice storm over there--falling trees, power lines, the Tacoma Narrows bridge shut down, power outages...if our plane had made it over, we would have been stuck there, so it was a blessing we did not take off that morning.

It gave us time here with our horses--a SNOW DAY, or, actually, a SNOW WEEKEND.

I love these birds flying over Cowgirl's head.

And our wild pony.  We let her run free, but I'm probably going to lock her up since she was out eating my honeysuckle this morning.  She's scavenging under the snow for whatever is green and coming up with my perrenials. 

I was surprised at how green this rose is and how many small buds were on the poplar.  I think our mild winter was causing everything to burst forth early....or, just maybe, they know something we don't...

Perhaps, an early spring? 

****Some of your blogs are not allowing me to post comments.  Not sure why.  I'll keep looking into it from my end and post comments when it's fixed.   Sometimes there are just little bugs in the system.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Protect Palisades Park

Those who would steal our parks are out there everywhere--in every state, in every county, in every city.  If it has a nice view, there will be those who would like to make it into a tract of homes, the best views being reserved for those few who can afford it.  I am a big supporter of creating jobs, but I'm passionately against selling our parks in the name of progress. 

The park where I ride is under attack.  A new Spokane County Commissioner has identified it as needing to be sold off or incorporated into the city.  This is in a county that owns a Motor Raceway (Yes, our county bought a Raceway and bid against private interests!) and loses millions of dollars a year on it because of poor attendance, ramshackle conditions, and death.  Yet, a beautfiul city park where we can go to hike, bike, ride our horses and picnic--one that volunteers support almost entirely and costs the city nothing, is being targeted by some (I hope not all) on the commission.  Why?

Well, the commissioner attacking it is a developer.  Need we say more?

If you're reading this and you are from Spokane County and you care at all about leaving your children and grandchildren a little bit of land that isn't fenced off--where they can go and ride a horse or ride a bike off the road or hike, then please, please, please be a voice to speak for Palisades Park.

Our beautiful city is beautiful because of its parks.  Parent Magazine voted it in the top 10 places to raise kids because of its PARKS.  Why would the city cut off its nose to spite its face?

Please follow this link and sign our petition.

Opposition to Including Palisades Park in Spokane County's Urban Growth Area

There are many reasons why we stand against adding Palisades Park to Spokane County's Urban Growth Area:

1.) While we support bringing businesses and jobs to the West Plains in the industrialized sections of the County, the West Plains are drastically underserved by green space. Palisades Park is at the heart of this area and provides recreation and natural beauty for many of the County’s residents.

2.) Much of the land in the park is in conservation and, as such, protected into perpetuity.

3.) There is already an abundance of land for sale surrounding the park that is held privately and sits unsold.

4.) The cost of bringing city services into this area, should it be annexed by the city, would be exorbitant due to the fact that is sits on basalt rock.

5.) The projected 20 year population growth does not warrant adding more land to what already exists.

6.) Many of the county's runners, bikers, equestrians, and outdoor enthusiasts are supporters and users of this park and volunteer their time to its upkeep and preservation.

7.) As taxpayers, we have long-supported the conservation futures levy, and respect the fact that once purchased, this land is held in perpetuity. Much of the Palisades area that is being considered for urban growth expansion is publicly held, is a benefit to all citizens, and serves as irreplaceable habitat and wildlife corridor between the Latah Creek area and Riverside State Park. We taxpayers have invested over $529,000 involving four separate purchases to make this happen.

8.) Palisades Park serves students at every level, as a focus of serious botany and wildlife study opportunities.

This is only the beginning of what will be our passionate and concerted effort to preserve and protect Palisades Park for this generation and the next. We urge you to consider your legacy as civic leaders serving Spokane County and, rather than destroying what generations have built and volunteered to maintain, become a part of making Palisades Park a county treasure.
We, the undersigned, oppose adding Palisades Park to Spokane County's Urban Growth Area.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

T-Touch for Everything?

I just received my copy of The Ultimate Horse Behavior and Training Book: Enlightened and Revolutionary Solutions for the 21st Century by Linda Tellington-Jones.  It's a much more in-depth use of T-Touch than the older version of the book I have.  I also received the DVD where Tellington-Jones shows you how to apply the touch. 

The book is so much more than I hoped for.  There's a large section on problems: pulling back when tied (Beautiful), rearing, crowding your space, etc, and then the corresponding humane techniques for dealing with them.  Her emphasis is on the WHOLE horse--body and mind--on the ground and in the saddle.

It makes so much sense to me.  First, if you don't have your horse's heart on the ground, how will you ever get it in the saddle.  And, what do horses do with each other to show they have given their hearts?  They groom--"t-touch"--each other.  Helping your horse relax by doing these basic body massages can only help the two of you when you get in the saddle and head out for a ride. 

I'm a person who has to SEE it to do it.  I had incorporated some of the T-Touch long ago, about nine years previous, because of Cowboy's high-headed nervousness, and it worked wonderfully even though I, apparently, wasn't doing it right.  My circles were much more haphazard, where they are clear in the DVD that they should start at 6 o'clock and move around a couple times and end on 12 o'clock.

I can't tell you how excited I am to incorporate it into all my horse's lives and in a much broader way.   I think it will help them, not just Cowboy.  In fact, I think it will help me, too.  Linda Tellington-Jones does say that the human benefits just as much as the horse from these exercises.  Think about it, you tune into your entire horse and slow down enough to "think" about them rather than just throwing on your saddle and getting a completely utilitarian experience.  That worked for me for a long time with Cowboy, but it doesn't anymore.  He has more needs--more aches and pains--and I need to slow down and listen to what his body is telling me and then take the time to help him relax and stretch. 

I'm taking the DVD and book with me on my trip this week, so I'll have a lot more to say about it in a few days. 

My thoughts right now after perusing the materials--it's all about the relationship with the horse--the whole relationship--otherwise, we might as well all ride motorcycles.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dreams for Yourself

Are you throwin' your dreams away?
Storm is comin', get out of the way.
We'll drink blavod, in a kitchen by the fire,
Waiting on our heart-kept desires.

And I would walk deep into the darkest woods
You can find me, I'm dreamin' here.

                        Paradise Mountain, Jenn Grant

Last week was the start of what will be a lot of travel to the other side of the state.  It was kind of a test-run for us, and a little hard for me to get used to leaving the home I love.  The fact is, I could easily be a hermit and stay right here forever.

We're staying in Gig Harbor, WA--a beautiful town along the Puget Sound or, what the Native Americans call, Whulj, meaning "salt water".  The Puget Sound is many cities, large and small, along a system of interconnected waterways and basins: Seattle, Tacoma, Bremerton, and Olympia, being some of the largest of those.

Oddly enough, I am very connected to this area.  I was born in Tacoma, though I moved away by the time I was two.  In my elementary biographies I always spelled it "D-acoma."  My grandfather was stationed there when he was in the Navy.  My great-aunt lived almost her whole adult life there.  And, my great uncle was incarcerated in the federal prison at McNeil Island in 1938.  He was arrested in Arizona for running moonshine and released one year later in December of 1939 when it was legalized.  Many people who were arrested for federal crimes on the west coast ended up at McNeil Island.  It's closed now, but I'd love to take a ferry over for the day and tour it.

We're staying at a B&B in Gig Harbor that is nestled in the woods a short walk through the forest to the water.

**Here's where I walked....

and this is where the path ended.

We're there part of one day and leave the evening of the next and I spend a good portion of the days alone. Alone time does give you opportunity to reflect.  I think most of the first day I reflected on how much I wished I was home, but by the second day I had accepted it as a new adventure and started to explore. 

There's something to be said for quiet time...alone. 

What are your dreams for yourself? 

     You mean dreams for my kids?

No, for yourself.

     You mean dreams for my horses?

No, for yourself.

**Vacations get you thinking about things like "dreams".  What are yours?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012: Forming Habits & Incorporating TTouch



I think it helps to concentrate on developing habits, rather than only seeing the end result of your goals.  At some level you have to decide, this is what is best no matter what the outcome, and dedicate yourself to changing your lifestyle.

I'm dedicating January to the development of these habits (a habit being something I want to continue doing past 2012 and despite and beyond any "end results".):

Desired Habits:

1.       Have Cowboy diagnosed by a Chiropractor and begin his physical therapy.  Exercise and massage him lightly five days a week (T Touch) with an emphasis on relaxation.  (I got two rides on him last weekend and he felt very tense and bothered.  I'm thinking that his negative experiences last summer have made him more anxious, so my goal will to be work with him slowly and spend a lot of time during the tacking and grooming process just helping him relax through T Touch.)
2.       Continue Beautiful and Cia under saddle and get Beautiful comfortable tying.  Also, use the T Touch method with them each day to help them relax before "training".  I need to go to TTouch workshops and watch online videos to understand the process better, especially the groundwork.)
3.       Exercise Red and Shadow regularly since they're getting old.  Use the TTouch daily with them as well. 

I want to get fit and learn to relax and balance in the saddle so I'm not an obstacle for my horses to overcome, but rather a partner in making them stronger.

1.)    1 mile every day on the treadmill or outside when the weather's nice.  (Use arm weights on the treadmill because I've been losing arm strength the last couple of years.  Age, I guess.)
2.)    Stretches to relaxing music (I'll have to compile a special CD)  not rushed, not brainless, but thoughtful, drawn out stretching.  I want to take my time with myself AND with my horses.  It seems like, looking back, I've always been in a hurry. 
3.)  Learn to eat smaller portions more slowly.   
4.)    Avoid sugar—(I seem to have developed an intolerance except to dark chocolate.)
5.)    Take advantage of getting out during EVERY sunny day.  (Postpone all inside projects to the rainy, windy ones)
6.)    Continue water color. (More pictures of my horses!)
7.)  Submit my finished essays and start new ones.   
8.)    Be very clear and bold about expressing my love and appreciation of the people in my life, and care less about my own feelings and more about theirs.
9.)  Play more games with my kids in the evening.  (Sounds unusual, but my kids really do LOVE to play games and we don't do it enough.)

Some of these habits are going to be tough to form because my husband and I have to travel to Gig Harbor, WA for his work every week for the next four months, starting this Thursday.  That will only give me five days to work with the horses, which means I have to work with them EVERY day I'm home.  I'm going to set the goal at five days anyway because I think that's a minimum for what they need.   I've always been a fan of TTouch, but have never incorporated it into my daily routine with all my horses.  I'm starting to think it's very important with all of them and I may accomplish more with the TTouch than I do "working" them. 

2012 will be, "The Year of the TTOUCH," at our place, a year to slow down, relax, and abandon all "end goals" and rather, live in the moment together doing what we know is right.