From Endurance to Dressage
Today, I am heading to the vet, but thank goodness it's not for one of my horses. It's also not an emergency, but the horse is a senior citizen with some soundness issues. The friend doesn't have a trailer, and the vet she sees is out of town.
Not the best time to be doing that, but we have a plan. Lots of hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, and social distancing will be involved. She's the only one going into the vet office; I'll hang out in the truck. If you're going to be going anywhere right now, a medical facility where the focus is on minimizing exposure to germs is your best bet.
In the meantime, I wanted to share another household acquisition. A few weeks ago, I showed you the Dog Room. And yes, we really call it that. We also have a Cabin Room.
When we bought this house more than three years ago, even we were intimated by its size. There are five bedrooms, but only two of us. It was, and still is, way too much house, but we liked the location a lot, and that's the one thing that you can't change. Location. While the house is finally furnished, we're still working on the details. After finding a better dresser for the Dog Room, I started looking a lot closer at the bare wall in the Cabin Room.
The decor probably does look out of place and a little ... thematic? I get it, but there's a reason. A few months ago, we finally sold our cabin. This is the furniture that was up there. It looked very appropriate in our little A-frame of a mountain place. It seemed really silly to toss out perfectly nice furniture, and besides, we had a lot of fun up there. So, we decided to keep most of the bedroom furniture. That's why it's called the Cabin Room.
We had one big wall though that didn't have a thing on it. It hasn't bothered me too much because the whole house is a slow work in progress. For Valentine's day, I bought my husband a large wall canvas of a photo that he had taken of a train utilizing the Tehachapi Loop. If you have a minute, you should read about it. It's kind of famous in the train world. Anyway, we replaced a print that was sort of ho-hum with the canvas. Like I said, the house is a work in progress.
Since he liked that print so well, I started paying attention to what he was posting on Facebook. He's been having fun with his new iPhone's camera, so when I saw a series of pictures that I really liked, I ordered three more canvases using his photos. Last night, we hung them in the Cabin Room.
They're not super "cabin-y", but they're colorful and very personal. The one in the middle with Tobias is hilarious if you look at really closely. He has a huge grin on his face, and in the distance, you can see Yellow Dog madly trying to catch up.
I did tell my husband that the next canvas, or canvases, that I order, will have horses in them. Good thing this house has plenty of wall space.
Note: this all happened before bars and restaurants, movie theaters, and nonessential businesses were directed to close their doors. We're grateful that we were able to support our local small businesses one last time ...
Last week was pretty rough, and not because of the horses. This Corona Virus has really caused a lot of stress for most of us. As a teacher, I felt like my social responsibility had became nearly unbearable, but I think I'll talk about that another post. In any case, on Saturday, I needed to do something to clear my head and lift my spirits.
While I am at the barn, my husband typically goes hiking with the dogs. I think he was a bit surprised on Saturday when I asked if I could go with them, but he readily agreed. We loaded the dogs and headed to Kernville, a small mountain town just east of Bakersfield. Besides hiking, my husband wanted to pick up some Citra IPA from Kern River Brewing Company. It's sort of a big deal as they only release it once a year. Along the way, we stopped for a hike.
Yellow Dog lives for hikes. She thinks it is the best thing in the world. It's even better when all of her pack is there; that includes me. She runs and leaps like she's never been let outdoors before. You can't help but laugh as you watch her charging down the trail. It is no wonder that our four-legged buddies are used as therapy animals.
Tobias, our black lab isn't much of a charger. He prefers jogging down the trail, sniffing and investigating. Every once in a while he'll get his crazy on and blast across the countryside. Both my husband and I cringe as he does it though as his aim isn't always the best. Fortunately those wild outbursts only last a minute or so.
We didn't go too far, just long enough for everyone to start breathing hard. Since we were hiking along the Kern River, there was plenty of water for the dogs. My husband always packs water for them, but it's more fun for them when they can lay in the water and drink as they go.
When we got to Kernville, my husband asked if I wanted to go antiquing which is the oddest thing I've ever heard him say. My head snapped around, and I looked to make sure he hadn't been body snatched. He had a bit of a sheepish grin on his face, but he explained that he was hoping we might find a "new" dresser for one of our spare bedrooms. I thought it unlikely we'd find what I had in mind, but luck was with us. It wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, but the shape of it was too pretty to pass on. We bought it.
While the shop owner cleaned it up a bit and got it ready to load, we went and had lunch. Kern River Brewing Company is very pet-friendly, so it wasn't an issue to have the dogs with us for lunch. My husband bought his Citra IPA, and then we headed back over to the antique shop to load up the dresser. When we got home, I gave it a thorough cleaning and then decided to give it a light stain. I wish I had taken before pictures, but I was too far into the project before I thought to do that.
The stain I had on hand was nearly an exact match, so all I did was cover up the small dings and nicks that come with age. The purists out there will hate me for it I know, but it looks so much nicer spruced up a bit.
The dresser was an incredibly lucky find. It is solid wood with dovetail joints and quite sturdy. I had been searching for one that was distressed black or distressed vanilla, but finding gently used in the color you want isn't always easy. While I didn't get the color I wanted, I loved the shape of this one so much that we bought it anyway. If I ever do find the perfect piece, we have another spare bedroom where the dresser would fit nicely.
I couldn't have had a better day hiking, shopping, and having lunch with my husband. My horses are definitely an important part of my life, but spending time with my husband is what soothes my soul when the world is falling down around us. Be safe and look after your own loved ones.
Things have been impossibly hectic, yet when when I take a moment to ponder what to write, I realize nothing is going on. Which is not the truth or else I'd have spent the past week binging on Netflix. I didn't, ergo, plenty is going on.
#1 Speedy's Blanket
Speedy has worn a blanket more days and nights in this past month than in all the 12 years I've owned him put together. Since moving to his new field, there's no shed or roof to stand under when it rains. There are plenty of trees, which are awesome for our 9 months of summer, but naked trees don't offer much protection from the rain. None of the other horses seem to mind, especially Izzy. There are mornings when steam is pouring off of him. Even in the 50s he stands there damp and sweaty.
Speedy's a bit of a hot house flower this past year or so. We think it has something to do with his Cushing's Disease. Although, with his thick coat, you'd think he'd handle the cold better. Nope. So, on the nights when it's goin to rain, he wears a blanket. I don't know if he sleeps better, but I sure do. I did find it interesting that on Saturday night, when he went without a blanket, he didn't lay down to sleep. It was cold, but very dry and calm. The night before, which was warmer but wet, he was blanketed and laid out flat as a pancake. I could tell by the mud that covered his face, neck, belly, and thigh.
We only average around 6 inches of rain a year so he doesn't need to be blanketed very often, but we're having a wetter than usual winter. I don't worry about Izzy (yet), but I have found that I am much happier when Speedy is blanketed.
#2 Another Abscess ...
Before you panic, it's not Speedy's or even Izzy's foot this time. Thank goodness. Instead, it's the TB mare who lives at the ranch (she's standing next to Speedy in the photo above). Hers popped up literally as she was being groomed. One minute she was fine, the next, she walked off lame. Ten minutes after that she stood in a pen pointing her toe like a bird dog. The vet came out and tried to work on her, but she was in so much pain, he had to sedate her. He poulticed her hoof and directed the ranch owner to give it 48 hours and then see where she was.
By Sunday, she was much sounder and bearing weight. Since I am now the resident abscess expert, I pulled the old poultice off and got to work with my hoof testers and trusty knife. It looked as though the abscess had migrated from the bar to near the toe. I dug out some sole, particularly along the whiteline, and then repacked it with a Numotizine poultice. We'll have another look at it tomorrow, and then the farrier is scheduled to come on Wednesday. Since she was already much happier on Sunday, it looks like she'll heal quickly.
#3 San Fransisco
We went to San Fransisco a week or so ago, but I never got around to sharing. We did all of the things that were on our list, but then we managed to squeeze in a few extra things, one of which was the Legion of Honor, a fine arts museum. The collection includes some fabulous pieces by artists you would actually recognize.
While those works were quite fascinating, two others caught my eye because they were equine related. The first was the sculpture pictured above. I can't remember who the sculptor is, but what I liked was the draped rein. Yes, the horse's mouth is gaping, but his ears are pricked, and he looks to be in self-carriage.
Another piece that caught my eye was this painting. What's not to love? He's bridle-less for one thing, he has a mane and tail to die for, and he looks as though his canter pirouette is right there, waiting to be asked for.
#4 The Double Bridle
Speedy's not much of a talker, but since he hasn't chimed in, I'll speak for both of us when I say, LOVE IT! Don't get me wrong, we're still struggling with the half passes, damn those things, but I am finding that we are communicating better than ever. The double has given me a whole new feel. I can get him softer so much quicker, and I am finding it MUCH easier to push him from behind up to my hand.
With just a snaffle, adding leg often just had the effect of driving him onto his forehand. Now, I can ask him to come through from behind while LIFTING. It also helped that Chemaine did the "follow me with the whip" lesson. That helped both of us understand that he could drop his croup without launching forward. And finally ...
This is a horse blog and not a fashion or design blog which means you're not here for design tips. That's good because I don't have any. On the other hand, I can tell you a lot about garage doors. We've replaced at least four of them over the past 25 years.
Not too long ago, my garage door opener malfunctioned, lifting the door just high enough so that when looking out my rearview mirror, it appeared as though it had gone up as usual. It hadn't, and when I backed up, it scraped the roof of my car, ripping off my antenna and causing quite a lot of damage to my roof which had to be repaired and then repainted.
Much to my husband's relief, the garage door seemed okay. Last month it finally fell off the cable though and became inoperable. There must have been more damage than we originally thought. Fast forward to last week. After waiting for nearly two months for the door to be built and delivered, we finally have a brand new door that looks 10 bazillion times better than the old one. We've hated that peach door since we moved in, so maybe I hit it on purpose.
I did not hit it on purpose, but if I had known how much better a new door was going to look, I would have. This door was fun to pick out because I got to select not just the window design, but the color and the hardware (which you can't really see, but it includes the handles and the "hinges"). My design tip would be to spend the extra money on a custom door. It looks so much better.
I can only hope that this week is less hectic than last week was. I need a break!
As it turns out, I wasn't feeling as well as I thought I was. On Monday night, I suffered a relapse and was forced to go back to the doctor (for the fourth time!!!!). That meant I was stuck at home for two more days. I am back at work today. I only hope that it's for real this time.
I got sick during my weeklong Thanksgiving break which was a big fat bummer. But on the other hand, I didn't have to use up as many paid sick days. In total, this little bug has forced me to miss 11 work days outside of the 2 I wasted while on vacation. When I got back to school the first time, the kids asked me what I had done for more than two weeks. My reply: thank goodness for the internet and a credit card.
Any other year I would have been hooked on the daily deals from places like the Riding Warehouse or Smartpack. I always give my husband a long Christmas wish list by about Thanksgiving. This year though, I realized that there just isn't anything I need right now. Of course, by about mid-January, long after the deals have expired, I will need everything under the sun.
The truth is, I just bought two of the most expensive tack purchases we can make: a new to me saddle and a pair of boots. Since I haven't made any discipline changes or acquired any new horses, my current tack is serving me well. So instead of giving my husband a horsey wish list, I asked if we could do some furniture shopping for Christmas. Once he green-lighted the table and chairs that I found, boredom got the best of me, and I added new bedding, a side table, and some new wall art.
I know this is impossible to visualize, so here is what it will look like.
Normally, we have a large buffet beneath the window in our bar area. When we put the Christmas tree up, we moved the buffet over by the dining table. Once we take down the tree, the table and chairs will go in that space. I am calling it my cocktail table as it is the perfect place to sit in the evenings with a drink. The view of the lake is really pretty from right there.
While still in good shape, the comforter in my bedroom had been there since some of you all were in high school. It needed updating ...
The same could be said of the bedding in my spare bedroom, so I ordered a new comforter and pillows for that room too. In fact, that room hadn't had much done to it at all. We call it the dog room because we have these really funny pictures of the dogs framed on the walls. I ordered two new pictures as well as a new bedside table.
Honestly, I can't afford to be sick for even one more day. Nesting is costly business. Either that, or someone needs to come over and cut my internet feed. In all honesty, I am looking forward to actually working for a living!
I'm not Joanna Gaines or anything, but I can get domestic when I need to. I cook, I occasionally bake, and I correspond regularly with the folks over at Joss and Main. I also might have 1-click buying power with Amazon, but in my defense, you can buy anything at Amazon ... and I do. Did I mention that I also have a Platinum Pier 1 card? Yeah, that thing's awesome.
In late August, I called a realtor. Seven days later, our house was sold with a 30-day escrow. We flew into full house hunter/panic mode. Fortunately, the stars aligned, and we were able to move into our new house in mid-October.
I knew it was going to take a while to adjust and get comfortable in the house, and I was right. It's been almost 4 months, and I am just now starting to feel comfortable walking around in the dark. I still forget where things are though, and I often confuse one room for another, but it's finally home.
The house isn't "done" yet, and probably never will be, but we've made progress. Since it's raining cats and dogs here, and I can't ride or do much with the horses, I feel like doing some nesting. So with that, here's a tour of my favorite room in the house - my reading room.
This room could be considered a formal living room as it is immediately off the front entryway, but we don't have need for a second living room. As soon as I saw the space, I called dibs. Right away I knew I wanted two big comfy chairs facing the fireplace with a small table in between for a glass of wine or a hot tea.
I've spent more than a couple of Sunday afternoons sipping wine with a book in hand as I warm my toes by the fire. The chairs are also quite conducive for napping.
Behind the chairs we placed a large cabinet that I've filled with funky and eclectic items - an over-sized apothecary jar, an old baseball, a cement "K," and photos of us enjoying life. There's still room for a few more items, but I'm waiting to find things that speak to me, especially for above the cabinet.
On the other side of the room, I stuck to more of a travel theme. The photos on the wall are ones we shot while traveling. There's one of Michelangelo's David, my husband rappelling in Belize, and a cityscape of Florence. The cabinet is filled with travel guides, foreign language phrase books, photo albums, and books that we've read but can't part with. The globe was in my mother-in-law's bedroom when she was a kid.
There's a bit more that I want to do in there, but it's finished enough for now. Since heavy rain is predicted for the next several days, I know where I'll be spending them. Enjoy your weekend.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are schooling and showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2020 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2020 Pending …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
2020 Completed …
10/26-27/19 SCEC (***)
6/20-21/20 SCEC (***)
6/29 Ulf Wadeborn (c)
7/11-12 SLO-CDS (***)
7/27 Breen-Gurley (c)
8/30 Breen-Gurley (c)
9/20 Caveletti Clinic (c)
10/11 A. Newcomb (c)
2020 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
3rd Level Qualifying Modified for 2020
2 Scores/1 Judge:
Score 1: 60.405% Atkins
Score 2: 62.432% Atkins
3rd Level Qualifying Modified for 2020
3 Scores/2 Judges:
Score 1: 60.405% Atkins
Score 2: 62.432% Atkins
Score 3: 61.750% Johnson
Stuff I Read