Friday, February 29, 2008

Gorgeous, Just Gorgeous

It is a bee-youtiful day outside. The sun is shining, the wind isn't blowing, and the temperature is actually above requiring a long sleeved shirt.

I've spent this afternoon cleaning out my car to go to Denver tomorrow, since the floorboards and back seat were full of the assorted detritus of... well... life. Working on the road I practically lived in my car, so I got in the habit of just cleaning it out every couple of weeks to dispose of all of the assorted trash and collected items of clothing.

I've done a few quick sweeps lately, but not a real cleaning. This wasn't even a real cleaning, I just removed all of the trash and junk that builds up in my car. I'll go down to the car wash and vaccuum it out later, and if I'm still feeling motivated, I'll wash it. Poor dusty car.

But, in the middle of digging empty water bottles out from under the passenger seat I realized something amazing: I was sweating. In a T-shirt.

Spring is coming. It's not here yet, in my world it isn't officially spring until the first clover is spotted and/or the first shoots of new grass start appearing. Even trees budding is no sure sign in my area, where the trees are never really sure what season it is anyway, and often get buds frozen in January.

Tomorrow we're supposed to approach a record high, the forecast says high seventies. Of course, the temp is supposed to drop Sunday, with a chance of snow Sunday night. But the weather people say it will start warming up again Monday.

Like I said, it's not spring yet, but it's getting there, and in the meantime we've got a few beautiful days here and there to enjoy.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go bask in the sun.

Rated E

For Excellent by AD.

Unfortunately the rules include naming ten other bloggers that get the award without re-upping anyone.

I'm screwed on that part. I just don't have a big enough blogosphere to draw from, folks.

I guess I need to get out more?

When Stupidity Attacks

So, yesterday, we're smack in the middle of class, with JJ instructing (which is a completely different experience than Marlyn) working on counter-bends.

I'll step back a bit and explain. A counter bend is when you turn your horse in one direction with his head turned in the opposite direction. This may sound weird but when you're training for spins, or pivots, you want your horse to step across himself in the front. By turning his head to the outside of a turn you lift up the outside shoulder and he starts to step across a little naturally. This just shows him how you want his body to move.

The beginning of training for a counter bend is being able to turn your horse's head to the side while walking in a straight line. That's what we were working on. Monkey wasn't quite getting it, being on the fence and having me ask him to turn his head toward the fence (to keep him from turning and reinforce the idea of "keep walking forward") made him think I wanted a roll back for a while. I was keeping a strangle hold on my patience and just concentrating on keeping asking him, and praising him when he did the right thing.

All of a sudden, as I'm leaning forward to praise him (which, at the beginning of training for any new concept is not a simple stroke and pat, but one hand on either side of his neck and a vigorous rub, a "good boy, that's it!" and a double pat. This strategy leaves no doubt for him as to whether he's done the right thing. Maybe some people can get by with just releasing pressure, Monkey needs something a little more demonstrative.) Anyway, all of a sudden he jerks into a trot.

I look back, and there's a girl at the position which, previous to Monkey's sudden speed increase, would have been right behind me. Now, Monkey was walking slower than usual, because he was thinking, and because he needed to coordinate with the new idea. No big deal. Except that the horse behind us was a faster walker than Monkey at that point, and his rider, instead of stepping off the rail and going around, had allowed him to push right up on Monkey's butt. Thus, when she released his head, his nose was basically checking Monkey's prostate. Which Monkey might have taken exception to, but he didn't have time, because that horse just went right ahead and nipped Monkey to get him to move.

It worked, and if Monkey hadn't been feeling fairly level-headed at that point, I might have gotten flying lessons. I gotta say if someone bit me on the ass with no warning in a public place, I might do something a little more extreme than just jogging away.

Why is it, I wonder, that people can't seem to understand simple concepts like this? It's easy, folks. If your horse is faster than the horse ahead of you, go to the inside, go around, and then go back to the rail. Even break into a higher gait if the gait is not the major concern for the exercise. Yes, we were in the indoor which crams a lot of us into frankly too little space (come on, remodel! More on that in another post) but still, you can make it work. Don't let stupidity get other people hurt.

Don't get me wrong folks I'm not the only person that these things happen to, but when they happen to other people, I'm generally not looking in the right direction to catch the whole thing, to tell which person is really at fault and what all happened, so I try to keep an open mind.

Working with JJ is always a switch, when he wants to teach us something he uses one of his horses, and demonstrates. He also demonstrates what we look like when we do something wrong, hand positions, seat positions, and all. Which can get pretty entertaining.

I love Marilyn to death, but she doesn't ride with us while she's teaching unless she's got a horse to work with for a client, and sometimes not even then. Last semester she had a horse she rode a few times, called Jabar because he was freaking huge. The problem Marilyn sees is that she has problems keeping track of everyone enough without adding her own horse to the mix, so she has a sophomore work study student to demonstrate for her. Which doesn't always work out the way she'd like, because that student's horse is usually just as green as any of ours.

It's a switch to work with JJ, and I enjoy it just as much as working with Marilyn, but not everyone does. JJ has more experience with the class situation, and keeps an eye on everyone, and isn't shy about letting people know when they're doing something wrong. Marilyn doesn't always catch things that JJ does. Which makes the students that don't get corrected as much with Marilyn kind of cranky. Monkey and I rarely get corrected with Marilyn anymore, but JJ corrected us a few times, which I actually appreciated. It will make us even better.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Few Things

First off, ya'll remember the story I posted up here last? The one with all the pecker jokes? I'm revising that, filling in some blanks, polishing it up, and preparing for our Administrative Visitor in Creative Writing.

See, the school wants to see that the instructor is doing her job, and she decided the best way to do that is to have everyone give a reading. And, after a set of instructions that included "I will not tell you what you can and cannot say. Just remember the audience. If you're comfortable saying fuck in front of an administrator, then go for it," I decided that it was my duty to represent freedom of writing.

Besides, I've been wanting to revise that one since I wrote it.

Second, thank you all for your kind suggestions on saddle makers. I really appreciate the input!

However, guys, please understand, I can't go to Oregon, or California, for a saddle. I just can't. I don't have the money for the visit for the initial fitting, on top of the cost of the saddle itself, let alone enough to check the fit as the saddle is built. Since fit is one of my major concerns, I want to be able to check on that.

I have been watching tack sales and farm sales, too, but I run across the same problem. The vast majority of people just don't ride a saddle under fifteen and a half inches. Which means the sales are chock full of saddles that size and larger, but once again, not in the size I need. I have found some youth saddles, but that comes back to the working weight problem. I have examined options that don't cost an arm and a leg, folks, it just comes right back to the fact that short of a miracle, some other tiny person deciding to not ride anymore and giving up their custom saddle, I'm not gonna be that lucky.

Farmmom joked that I should run a Buy Farmgirl A New Saddle fund raiser. Frankly, good people, I'm considering it. I was looking at my synthetic yesterday and the poor thing is getting a little worn. It just wasn't built to do as much work as I've been putting it to. It's not falling apart yet, but it is showing some real signs of wear.

So, before I start asking ya'll for money, I'm asking your opinion. If I were to go ahead and set up a Paypal account and/or provide a mailing address, would you donate? And, whether you would or not, would you feel it was a good cause? Or sheer personal greed?

Please folks, I'm not asking for money yet, I just want to know the general feeling on such a donation drive. If it's mostly negative, I won't ask ya'll to give up your hard-earned cash.

If it's mostly positive though, I might be able to get the saddle a lot sooner than if I have to save little by little. Frankly, with the cash flow I have right now, it's looking like I'm going to graduate before I can afford it, with no income other than my student aid during the semester, and having to save a certain amount from any work I do in the summers to help with expenses during the school year.

So please, comment here, email me, let me know your opinion on the subject!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

These Circles.... Are ROUND!!!

It's magic. It's a miracle. It's the circle, done right.

Yesterday, Monkey was being a jerkoff right off the bat. I knew he would be, I didn't get him worked very well Sunday, and the wind was blowing like crazy.

I got on him before class to see how much of a jerkoff he was going to be. The answer was a big one.

So, we went to the round pen. I worked him pretty hard, to get all of the energy he was using to be a brat off so that he'd pay attention, and then we went back to the indoor arena in time to catch the beginning of class.

He behaved much better after that.

Since we'd reviewed the rules for National Reining Horse Association competitions yesterday morning in Eval, Marilyn decided to do some circles and stops. First we had circles, small circles at the lope to either direction with a simple lead change in between.

Monkey actually made round circles!! Without a huge fight! I was so proud. The only little snag we had was that he didn't want to get up into the lope on the second circle, and I had to whallop his sides.

By the time we did stops he had his second wind back again, we did a couple at the trot and a couple at the lope. Trotting... well, he kind of sucked. He hasn't learned to bring his back feet up underneath him on a stop from the trot. But he stopped fairly light, at least. The lope, he did pretty good on the first one, when I stopped him with both hands. The second one, I tried him one handed and he tried to peel off on me.

I'm trying to ride him neck-reined at least part of the time, for two reasons. I worked really hard to get him started on neck reining last semester and I've been neglecting it a bit this semester, and he's forgetting what he learned. And, because neck reining gives him looser reins, by definition, which will help soften his mouth up as he's not as heavy a contact all the time as with direct reining.

Mostly though, I'm just glad he decided to behave. Hopefully he got enough energy burned off yesterday that I won't have to work him before I ride today, but I've got more time between classes today, so I should be able to go out pretty early and get his stall stripped and re-bedded (I would have done it yesterday, but the shavings would have blown away before I could get them to the barn.) Then, if I'm still early, I can get him warmed up before class enough that I'll know if I need to round pen him or not.

I don't think he wants to make Mommy mad enough to get off again though. He never wins, I always make him do something properly before I get off, even to go to the round pen. But, he might be learning that being an utter brat when he knows better only gets him a lot more sweat than he would have had otherwise.

One can always hope, anyway.

Monday, February 25, 2008


So, I've been looking at saddles, because, let's face it, as much as I love my synthetic for long hours in the saddle with light work, it just isn't a working-weight saddle. Plus, like every saddle I've ever ridden, it is technically too big for me, at sixteen inches.

Since I've never had a saddle that actually fits me I've asked a few people what the proper size for my tiny butt would be, and I've been told a fourteen to fourteen and a half inch seat should fit me fairly well.

Off the rack there are precisely two styles of saddle that come in fourteen inches. Barrel racing saddles, and youth saddles.

Not exactly working weight either.

So my only real option for a saddle that actually fits me is a custom. Which translates roughly as "go ahead and sell your eggs cause that's the only way you're gonna afford this."

But, being an optimist, I've been perusing websites for custom saddlemakers near enough to me for me to visit in person, first. Because I'm picky, and if I'm going to pay that much money for anything I'm going to see the quality of the goods in person before I commit to it.

I've only found one that I like what I see on the site well enough to consider it a real option, rather than a maybe.

We're talking right at three grand for a basic saddle, no tooling, no extras. Meanwhile I want at least corner basket weave and a border to strengthen the leather, strings, a padded seat, and rawhide covering on the cantle roll and a horn bead in rawhide.

Nothing extremely fancy, although if I'm laying out that much cash I might go the extra hundred bucks to get my initials brand-style on it.

So I'm looking at $3,500 to $4,000.

All because I've got a tiny butt and can't buy a working weight saddle off the rack.

On the other hand, if the quality is as good as it looks, that saddle will last me literally for the rest of my life. Heck, Farmdad's saddle belonged to his grandpa, who had it built custom in the 20's, and that one has been ridden in feedlots and banged around working, and has only had the fleece, the seat, and the leather on the swells replaced.

A truly high quality saddle will be in your will, and if I'm going to spend as much on a saddle as I did on my car, I want that quality.

So, the tax return is going in the special saddle account, and I'll be continuing to save my pennies.

Maybe I'll be able to afford it by the time I'm thirty.....

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Edit on the Last Post


The next time your hubby, or boyfriend, or babbydaddy or whatever the crap he is to you starts screaming in the hall and threatening to knock the door down I'm not going to wait for you to call the cops. I'm going to do it myself.

Some of us have shit to do later today. And it's three thirty in the fucking morning. Just feel lucky I didn't poke my little head out the door and encourage him to leave in my own manner, with a club.

Edit again:
Is my neighbor's babydaddy Sumdood???

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Friendly Note To The Neighbors.

Dear Neighbors:

I understand that you folks have a large family on a single income. I understand completely the pressures of taking care of a family on a limited amount of money. I even understand that kids will be kids and noisy sometimes.

However, it is not that expensive to buy lightbulbs, nor lamps. Lamps in your apartment would allow you to pop your son's cyst in the privacy of your own home. They would negate the need to open your door to see to change the baby's diaper when it is screaming like a banshee.

Also, it is not necessary to turn the rampaging horde of elephant-footed children out into the halls at nine o'clock at night to keep the rest of the building awake.

You see, I get up early. I know you know it because I've seen you glaring out your door on the mornings after your spawn have been thundering up and down the stairs until after midnight, because on those mornings, I don't take any particular care to be quiet when I leave in the morning. When your offspring don't keep me up, I won't wake you up.

Oh, and when you come begging for ten dollars so that you can get medicine for your daughter, having just gotten back from the ER, and I tell you I don't have any cash, don't look at me like I'm a racist just because I'm white and you're not. I could give a crap what color you or your kids are. If I'd had the money I'd have loaned it to you, because I'm a nice person like that. Unfortunately, because of your attitude, you've convinced me that you feel entitled to anything you want, which I see as a serious character flaw and not to be encouraged.

And by the way, the next time one of your kids knocks on my window I'm going to have to smack them upside their little head.

So, to summarize... I don't need to walk out my door to see you popping your son's cysts, hear your baby screaming her head off, or the thundering herd up and down the stairs, or have your children knocking on my window.



Well That Sucks.

I don't know what the deal was last night, but I woke up at eleven, and couldn't get back to sleep until after one. It's gonna be a loooong day.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot????

Folks, this is a public service announcement right here. Anyone who works with horses, or knows someone who does, needs to pay attention to this.

There is a man out there, advertising that he has the final solution to a bucking horse, a device that will stop the buck in its tracks, which is humane and an effective training tool.

He's full of shit.

I refuse to link to the site here, but I will tell you the name of the device. It is the Barnes No Buck Horse Trainer. Look it up if you like.

This device is an adjustable leather halter, with aircraft cable run through pulleys on the ends of the cheek pieces, up and around the ears of the horse. Once you have the halter on, you simply tie a rein to the conveniently looped ends of the cable, and hook it over your saddle horn.

I'm going to quote here the inventor himself on the effect of the device.

"It can't buck you - when he puts his head down it puts pressure on the nerves and paralyzes the horse. A horse can't buck very hard with its head up."

W. T. F.

Ok let's take this one step at a time for those of my readers who may not be familiar with one of the basic concepts of horse training for fun and profit.

The entire basis of training a prey animal is, at its heart, pressure, and release. The main response of an animal which has the instincts of those who are hunted is to move away from pressure. This may sound backwards on some things, but let me explain.

When you are teaching a horse to drive, that is, teaching him what you want when you direct him with the reins one way or another, you pull on the rein on the side you want him to go. By moving in that direction he is positioning his body and his head to ease that pressure, moving the point of contact away from the direction the pressure is coming from.

Same thing on round penning. You put "pressure" on the back half of the horse in the form of body language, a swinging rope, or a lunge whip making noise, and they move forward. Move your body to be in front of his shoulder and you've moved the pressure from the back to the front, and he slows or stops.

In this way we make doing what we want the horse to do the easy thing for it to do. Consistent application of pressure and release will get you from Point A to Point B in a consistent fashion, is easy for the horse to learn, and is a solid foundation on which to build a relationship of trust with your horsey friend.

These are signals that are readily understood by the horse because it fits in with their mentality. Yours too. Think about it, if someone pokes you, you move away.

Now, let's consider once again this so-called miracle device. The steel cable runs up and around the ears, with a connecting... something... spreading the effect across the poll. A definite pressure point and one that every trainer calls upon at some point or other, in my experience usually in the form of using the halter to pull a horse's head down for the bridle, or using draw reins to correct a horse's headset.

But the point of this device is not to get the horse to lower his head. No, friends, that would make entirely too much sense. The point of this amalgamation of bad ideas is to keep the horse's head up. When the horse lowers his head, the "rein" attached to this torture device pulls on the steel cable, which puts pressure on the poll and around the ears, pushing the horse's head down. Lowering the head in response to the downward pressure only increases that pressure, which, duh, becomes painful.

Eventually, the confused equine learns that pressure at the poll means "put your head up!" Which would undoubtedly effect future training efforts in the area of bridling etiquette, and leading at halter. After all, who doesn't want to refine their horse's leading until he'll walk quietly beside you without you ever having to touch the lead?

And, dear friends, this is all without ever mentioning the fact that a horse who truly wants to buck and be cranky will learn that the only thing stopping him is that device. Which means, the instant you saddle up without it, you're getting piled, and piled hard.

And the charlatan passing this... thing.... off as an effective and humane training tool has the gall to not only offer to buy any horse that can buck him off wearing it (his brother has a string of rodeo broncs, ya know,) but to charge over two hundred dollars for it.

Sure, it might work, but I have to wonder how many horses who are simply confused, nervous, or lacking in confidence in the human race (well with this sorry specimen running around can we really blame them?) are going to be tortured because of one man's stupidity.

If this dude was any closer, I'd have to take a road trip, just so I could slap him upside his damn fool head.

I'll leave you with a quote from his promotional video....

"This is perfect for children, older people, and wimmin and such."

And my response to that quote......

"Fuck you buddy, learn to ride."


I think I have a magnet in me. It attracts me to the most contrary, odd horses possible.

For instance, the other day, Red was discovered dripping sweat, from his belly, the underside of his neck, and his flank. Everywhere else was dry. He was breathing shallowly and quickly. He was not coliced. He had no reaction to feeling his legs, no swelling, no pain on the surface anywhere we could find.

Marilyn didn't know what it was. JJ didn't know what it was. It was finally decided to treat it like gas pains for lack of a better solution. Ten cc's of banamine later, he was fine.

Today, E asked me to bring around Etta for him when I got to the barn. We've been discussing how she needed her feet trimmed, so I figure, since I've got some time, I'll go ahead and clean her feet to make sure she hasn't developed an aversion to having them handled over the months they haven't been touched. She was an angel about the front feet. The back feet weren't as good, but she wasn't kicking at me, she was just taking them away from me, and I didn't want to fight with her on it. So, I picked up her front feet again, and when she stood nicely for that, I gave her a handful of grain as a treat.

After that, I decided Monkey's feet needed looked at, so I went into his stall and picked up his foot. And he started leaning on me. So I elbowed him to stand him back up. At which point he freaked out. I haven't been able to pick up his feet without him leaning, ever. And he gets upset when you elbow him. Pushing him with your shoulder does nothing, he just leans harder.

So, the three year old filly that hasn't had her feet handled in nearly a year stands quietly and calmly while a huge crust of crud is picked out. She's in an outside pen so she gets mud and crap in them, it wears out when she's in the sand of the arena or walking over the gravel in the parking lot, usually, so it's no big deal, but it was a good check.

Meanwhile the five year old gelding who has his rider attempt to handle his feet every day, in some way, to get him to chill out about the whole process, is still freaked about it.

Bass-Ackwards freaking horses.

Meanwhile the only thing I can do about Monkey is take a day and tie his feet up one at a time in the round pen, where he can freak out until he figures out it's not killing him, and stands his happy ass up. I may ask JJ to help me with that this weekend. I've never had to tie a horse's feet up before, so I kind of want someone who knows what they're doing around to assist.

Since Monkey needs his feet trimmed again soon, I need to get that done, so that maybe they won't have to tranq him again.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

My Sink Smells Like Lemon Drops!!

So, I was at the store today, getting some drain cleaner and a few other things that I needed, and as I came down the cleaners aisle I spotted these.

Let me tell you folks I was a bit hesitant when I read the instructions and it said you could refresh the scent by running the disposal for a couple of seconds.

But, astonishingly, it's true!!! The smell goes away a bit when you run water through it, and it sounds like you dropped a marble in there when you first put it down the disposal, but it gives that garbage hole a citrusy-fresh scent!

Any of you who have disposals, you'll want to try these. Apparently they come in a lavender scent too, if you don't like citrus.

Meanwhile, I've got a sink that smells like candy... which makes me happy, for some strange reason.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Alternate title: Why People Shouldn't Have Horses They Can't Control.

We played games in class today, trotting games. Now, I'll grant that Monkey had his moments, and he spooked at one point and scared the whole damn team, but I had him under a certain amount of control at all times.

Even when he was at his most cantankerous last semester I had a modicum of control.

One girl in class who shall remain nameless but who is not one of the ones that I particularly like on a personal level brought a little Appaloosa mare to ride this semester. Fine, I don't like Appys but I don't have to ride it either.

However, if she cannot maintain a modicum of control, she should be on a different horse.

For instance, if the class happens to be doing relay races, and the hand off is a high five, yes you have to get close enough to the other horse to high five.

There is absolutely no reason, however, to allow your horse to broadside the other horse at a fast trot.

No. Fucking. Control.

I might be a teensy bit bitter about this point right now, because there's currently a bruise the size of Maine developing on my shin, and I will now have to spend time teaching my horse not to fear other horses coming up to his left side. You know, considering that she hit us with enough force to literally knock him to the right two steps before he caught his balance, it's a fairly reasonable apprehension on his part. But now I have to correct it.

Also, considering that the horse she's riding is neurotic, psychotic, or both, I might have given her a little bit of leeway on the subject if she hadn't managed to snarl at me while she was supposedly apologizing.

No matter what kind of crap Monkey, or any horse I have ever ridden has gotten up to, I have never allowed them to ram another horse.

Let me repeat that. Never in my life have I had a horse so out of control that I couldn't control it at least enough to keep it from slamming into another horse. And this is considering that I've been on board runaways, bucking bronc imitators, and one completely psychotic little gray quarter horse welsh pony cross mare that would literally go over backwards on me.

Never. Not once have I ever been paying little enough attention to my surroundings or my horse that I have allowed it to slam into another horse. I don't give a shit if you do miss the high five and have to come back around, it's just a stupid game and guess what?

No one gets hurt that way.


Yeah, Yeah, I Know

I'm fully aware that I reposted the Character Scene. There was a reason for it.

See, Farmmom has been sick as a dog. She finally went to the doctor Monday and they did a bunch of tests, and found out that she has pneumonia and her oxygen levels are low (well no shit sherlock she can't breathe.)

Anyway, she's been going insane being cooped up and not able to do anything, and she needed a pick me up. So I posted one for her. I also sent her a rose and a hedgehog.

Not a live one, she'd kill me if I sent her any more critters. Especially if it couldn't go outside to do its business and she had to clean up after it. It was stuffed, and purple.

Anyway, she's on antibiotics and a fancy inhaler now that makes her high as a kite, but breaks up the crud in her lungs so she can breathe easier. She ought to be on the road to recovery, now.

The assignment this week is a one page short story, and a flash fiction story. The flash fiction has to fit on an index card. So, once I write them, I'll post them for you.

On the subject of Jane.. well, I'm sorry guys but Chapter Three got scrapped. It just wasn't working, so I had to start over.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"I Love It!"

Say the critics. Ok, one critic, but she's my teacher, so I'm willing to take her word for it. Here's my character scene from my Creative Writing class..... (warning, extremely punny)


It was a dark and stormy night.

Why is it always a dark and stormy night, you ask? Because it has better ambiance for my story than a bright sunny morning. Deal with it.

I didn’t know why I was sitting in this all night diner, playing with a coffee cup across from a private Dick. But, here I was, and if he called me doll baby one more time I was going to have to kill him just to make it stop.

“Listen, Doll, I know what you’re up to. I just don’t know why.”

“If I had a clue what you were talking about, I might be scared.”

“Eddie Farmer, John Smith, Steven Munster.”

“Never heard of ‘em. What’s a big strong man like you doing asking a working girl like me about all those men?”

“They all turned up dead, Doll baby.”


“So, they turned up dead in your beat. Your competition told me they all picked you up the night they died.”

“And? I get a lot of dates.” This guy was really starting to get on my nerves. “It’s what I do.” I’d been a working girl for five years, walking the park and picking up lonely men to turn a quick buck.

“Well, I just have to wonder if it’s coincidence. You’re a hard-as-nails prostitute, and they were all found with their johnsons bitten off. It seems to me, that’s a clue.”

Well, I’m the living dead. A girl’s gotta eat.

I swear, you bite a few little pricks, and they’re all over you…..

Busy Busy Busy

Sparky managed to jump off of Red's back in a manner that left the saddle hanging sideways and Sparky a gimp, this weekend. So I rode the little sucker yesterday, and we worked on precision. He was leaning on my legs so hard that they went all wobbly when I got off, like I hadn't ridden in months. Hopefully Sparky will be back to riding the mini horse today, and I can get back on Monkey, with a new appreciation of just how much better he's gotten.

Other than that it's just classes, I have a test in Ag Financing tomorrow, and one in Repro Monday. With the assignment due today we're done with individual portions of writing in Creative Writing, and we'll start on genres this week.

Hopefully my disbursement will be one of the first processed, and I can get the money I need to do things like eat, and have nifty things like internet and phone and TV.

Friday, February 15, 2008


Apparently, I've been providing great amusement for all with my over-energized horse.

See, he's been being a brat lately. Not like "Mom I'm going to buck and snort and try to kill you" brat, but more like "Mom, I don't really feel like behaving completely, so I'm going to throw one crow hop at you while we're loping. It's ok though, I won't miss a stride." or "Mom, I feel like spooking at thin air, so hang on because we're going to make an abrupt right turn right there, and you know, I think I'll throw in a spin to show off how pretty I've gotten at them."

No, really. One jump at the lope, he never missed a stride. And the spinning, well, that's getting annoying. That and sidepassing are becoming his behaviors of choice when he doesn't want to do what I tell him to do. Although he is getting really good at the spin to the right, and I got a compliment from Marilyn for sitting in the middle of him during one of those episodes the other day.

Day before yesterday, I reached the end of my rope on it. So I went to the barn and borrowed a lunge whip, and we went to the round pen, and he got to run.

Well, apparently I looked a little angry. Here are some comments I got from the instructors yesterday:

"I could see the steam coming out of your ears from here!"

"You looked a little frustrated. And by a little frustrated I mean mad enough to spit nails."

"I saw you stomping off with your club."

My answer to the last one.... "I didn't beat the horse. I just reminded him who was in charge."

Of course, after a couple of false starts I didn't even need the whip until he started wearing down a bit. He listens pretty well in the round pen to voice commands and body language. Which frustrates the hell out of another girl in the class who has her horse trained to lunge outside the round pen, but has pretty much no control when she does.

Sure, her horse will go the direction she wants and lope, and she'll turn around when the girl wants... but she has no fine control. She can't slow the horse down, she can't trot or walk, and stopping is a matter of pulling on the line until the horse faces in to her. She was in the round pens yesterday when I was warming the brat up, and I caught her watching me as I worked him. The only times the tip of my whip came off the ground were when he would try to be lazy, or when I was turning him. We're still working on turning.

But, I can move him out at a walk, up to a trot, back to a walk, up to a lope, stop him and hold him in place on the fence, and then turn him, all while dragging the tip of the whip on the ground.
He won't lunge without the pen, but I've tried that exactly once. And, I can push him into a lope, and if he's on the wrong lead, I can bring him back into a trot and correct it, in the round pen.

Working Monkey across from that girl working her horse makes me feel better about the brat. He may not be the best conformed horse in the world, but he does learn quickly. It only took me about three days to get the basics of round pen work on him last semester, and we've been refining ever since.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I'm Working On It....

Yes, I am working on the next installment of Jane, I swear. Finding time has been a bit difficult, keeping a train of thought has been even more so. Hopefully weekends will start freeing up a bit and I'll have more time to sit down and keep a plot in my head for more than a few minutes.

As soon as it's worthy of Public Consumption, I'll post it. All I ask is that you bear with me!

Now, don't take that as "stop bugging me people!!" Actually, you guys asking occasionally reminds me when I do have time to sit down and pound out a few paragraphs, so it does get it to you a little faster.

Not much, but a little. I'll leave you with a quote on Patience in lieu of any real writing genius from me. Hey, it's late, stealing brilliance from others is the best I can do.

"I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end."-- Margaret Thatcher

Monday, February 11, 2008

In Lieu of Jane...

I give you what I've been working on for Creative Writing. I'm going to look at it again and try to individualize the dialogue a little more, but it's not the character that we developed in class so I don't have the depth to it that I probably should. This is more for the laugh factor because of some stuff that got mentioned in class, and because I had such a great pun once I thought of it... (This is not intended to be a story in itself, it is simply a scene, a snapshot of a story. What comes before this, and what comes after, well, that's up to your imagination.)

It was a dark and stormy night.

Why is it always a dark and stormy night, you ask? Because it has better ambiance for my story than a bright sunny morning. Deal with it.

I didn’t know why I was sitting in this all night diner, playing with a coffee cup across from a private Dick. But, here I was, and if he called me doll baby one more time I was going to have to kill him just to make it stop.

“Listen, Doll, I know what you’re up to. I just don’t know why.”

“If I had a clue what you were talking about, I might be scared.”

“Eddie Farmer, John Smith, Steven Munster.”

“Never heard of ‘em. What’s a big strong man like you doing asking a working girl like me about all those men?”

“They all turned up dead, Doll baby.”


“So, they turned up dead in your beat. Your competition told me they all picked you up the night they died.”

“And? I get a lot of dates.” This guy was really starting to get on my nerves. “It’s what I do.” I’d been a working girl for five years, walking the park and picking up lonely men to turn a quick buck.

“Well, I just have to wonder if it’s coincidence. You’re a hard-as-nails prostitute, and they were all found with their johnsons bitten off. It seems to me, that’s a clue.”

Well, I’m the living dead. A girl’s gotta eat.

I swear, you bite a few little pricks, and they’re all over you…..

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Boy Done Lost His Damn Mind!

This morning, I had Monkey in a round pen, mare on one side and gelding on the other. When he started kicking up his heels passing the other gelding I figured he was just feeling good. When I brought him out of the round pen though, he put his head up, arched his neck, put his tail up and just danced his way down the path... all the way to the barn.

The only thing I can figure is that Tara's mare is coming into heat and he figured he'd give it a shot. When I took him back, he acted sane again.

I don't know what he's thinking! He's not proud cut, or he would have given signs of it last semester, when the mares were definitely cycling, but he was sure showing off for someone today.

On the bright side he never pulled or tried to get away from me, just danced around and acted like an idiot, considering that he couldn't manage the act even if he did get in the pen with the mare.

*Headshake* Sometimes I wonder about males, of all species.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Injury Update

Well, my back is better, my neck, shoulder and head are better.

But I woke up yesterday morning with a little tweak in my ribs... nothing major just annoying, the same kind of tweaky "hmm, that hurts" kind of feeling I've gotten several times before when I've taken a tumble, it always goes away.

Well, it normally goes away. I figured I'd just bruised something, but by last night I was beginning to wonder if I'd popped a rib out of place. Sleep last night wasn't as plentiful as I wanted it to be.

Last night and this morning just the tiniest fraction of an inch in the wrong direction (and the wrong direction seems to change depending on the time of day, angle of the sun, direction of wind and barometer reading...) and I'm going "Holy shit that hurts!" instead of "hmm."

I don't know what I did, the painful rib isn't floating around enough to be popped out of place, and it doesn't hurt enough to be cracked. It almost feels like the rib tried to pop out of place, bruised all the connecting tissues and stretched them like old underwear elastic, and then settled in to wait for me to get lively again. There's just the barest hint of what might be a bruise where the rib comes to the sternum. Or it might be the crappy lighting in my bathroom, hard to tell.

So, I didn't ride today, and probably won't tomorrow. We'll see how it feels, and all that. Instead I worked on grooming that I've neglected, getting Monkey's mane and tail back into shape so he doesn't look like so much of a hobo.

Of course, I braided his tail only to realize that I didn't have any bands. So I trekked to my car and dug in my backpack to get a hair tie. Luckily I still had a black elastic in there or Monkey might be sporting a purple scrunchie right now. But he looks better now, tomorrow I'll take the hand clippers out and do his bridle path, and some scissors to trim his tail and mane into something a little more even. His tail is growing out nicely, if it's not braided it brushes the ground, but it's not as full as I might like. I'll probably trim it back to his hocks to where it's fuller and let it grow out again, try to keep it from breaking off as bad. I'll probably trim the base of his tail, too, it's looking a little frizzy. If I'm going for beautification I might as well go whole hog and trim the fuzzball at the base of his tail, too.

As soon as it stays nice for a while, Monkey boy is getting a bath, too. He's all dusty in his undercoat. He probably won't enjoy it, but he'll get it anyway.

There's A Naked Black Man in My Apartment!!!

So, E came here after his feed crew, and asked if he could borrow my shower. No big deal.

Then he starts telling me about how the speaker for the revival tonight (that he's been planning since the beginning of last semester) is stuck in Denver, after two flight delays and missing his connection, because he can't get a rental car.

So, online to Hertz and reserve a car for the guy, call him and tell him and he's spotted a rental place right next to his hotel, so rather than take a cab back to the airport he's gonna try them first. No biggie, I can cancel the reservation online when we find out what the deal is.

Now, E is in the shower, but before he went he smarted off with "With all the rumors that are already floating around about me being over here, what would they think if they knew I was in your shower!"

His phone is sitting here, and I have orders to answer it if it rings. If it's one of the people from school, I'm going to be very nonchalant and tell them "Oh, he's in the shower right now, I'll tell him you called."

Of course, if he forgets anything here, I'm going to give it back to him very publicly "you left this at my place the other day, you forgot it in the shower."

(Because, of course, there are already rumors floating around, because of one girl who lives in the next building over in the apartment complex asking everyone "what's going on" between me and E because his truck is over here "all the time.")

He said he'd make sure to take his underwear with him when he left.


Thursday, February 7, 2008

Well, Now

I feel like an honest to god writer!

Today in class when the instructor decided to read a couple of descriptions that "stood out" from the bunch, the first one she picked to read was mine. She had a few suggestions on it, but wrote at the bottom, "Outstanding writing. Definitely worth revising."


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes....

That's what aches. Ok I'm exaggerating again.

Class went good today, we rode and Monkey did good, everything was kosher... about thirty minutes before the scheduled end of class Marilyn told us to lope them around some.

We were having fun, the only problem was Monkey was wanting to dive in on the right hand turns, so as we were coming around the end of the arena I was lifting my inside rein, to pick up his shoulder, and his head dropped and he broke in two on me.


I was not expecting that, there were no signs, nothing, just all of a sudden he dropped his head and I was airborne over his shoulder. I rolled about three times and came up on my knees going "well, that sucked."

That one is literal.

I thumped my head once, tweaked my back a little, and my right shoulder, nothing major. I just don't know why he did it.

It's probably something as simple as he wasn't ridden yesterday, and one of the other horses got too close to his butt for his liking, but we're going to do some work tomorrow.

In other news, I don't have feed crew for a while and I don't have class till eleven tomorrow. My puppy butt is sleeping in, in my nice bed with my nice electric blanket to heat out all the aches.

I'm afraid to take off my boots...

Because my toes might be black with frostbite. I've been at the barn for two solid hours, and when I left the house this morning it was four below, with a windchill of eleven below.

But we judged horses today for eval.

Everyone kept saying "ugly" on this one horse who really wasn't ugly, he was just rough. So Marilyn had me bring out Red.

JJ ordered everyone to find one good thing about Red, conformation wise. Marilyn said he had withers. JJ said he had a tail, and could get rid of the flies. No one else could come up with anything. I just started laughing at the expressions on people's faces.

JJ asked me what he had in him, I told him I had no clue, I bought him at an auction because of his personality on the ground, and he turned out to be a jerk in the saddle.

But, Red has been officially labeled as "Ugly", as if I needed the help to figure that out!

Monday, February 4, 2008

The "On" Switch

Even the best of horses tends to get a bit lazy once in a while. They don't want to listen, they don't want to move out, and they just turn off.

At that point, it's handy to know what your horse's "on" switch is. Whether it's a certain tone of voice, taking two trips around the arena at a dead run, or even a specific phrase, like "lets go!"

Monkey's "on" switch is quite simple. All I have to do is pick up the trailing end of my rein in my right hand.

The little fart didn't do bad today, but I wanted to work on pivots while everyone else did the class time thing, and he just wasn't wanting to do it. So I shortened my reins up, picked up the "on" switch, laid the reins over his neck and gave him leg pressure, and I'll be damned if he didn't spin around like a pro. To the right that is. He's still got issues to the left. But we side passed and pivoted and backed halfway down the arena, once he realized that yes, he really did have to do it. But that is his on switch, the signal that he recognizes that turns on the "yes mommy" portion of his brain instead of the Bart Simpson portion. He has fun when he turns on, too, he just has to try the brat side first.

It's not like I beat the horse, I can sit relaxed on his back and swing the end of that same rein around until it whoops and he doesn't twitch. That's just the signal that he understands that yes, he really does have to do what I'm asking for.

In other news, the goober was convinced that a piece of paper was going to eat him today. We were trotting on the rail and he spotted it, dropped his head to look at it, decided it was dangerous, and jumped it. Surprised me a bit, but I was ready for him the next time.

At the same time, while I was trying to get him to extend his trot a bit rather than get choppier, he decided to lope instead. A nice, rocking chair gait, only slightly faster than the horses who were actually doing the long trot. If I could get him to do that when I ask for the lope, I'll be the most comfortable rider in the class. Of course, when I tried for it later, he wouldn't give it to me.

Silly horse. We'll keep working on it.

Soon as I can make it back home....

I'm kidnapping Eldest Nephew. Then I'm hitting the Loaf and buying some scratch cards.

Farmmom won the halftime and third quarter pots last night. Too bad both teams had to be peckers and score after that, or she'd have won everything but the first quarter, and come up with an even larger chunk of change.

Otherwise, I was amused at the fact that they had to clear the field to finish the game with one second on the clock. What can I say it made me giggle that the officials had to poke and prod everyone off the field. And that the Patriots' coach had a quiet hissy fit and left for the locker room.

Sadly enough the thing that amused me the most was the way that Doug Williams clutched the Vince Lombardi trophy to himself, cuddling it against his cheek like a favorite teddy bear.

Is it just me, or did he give anyone else the impression that if he'd let go with one hand his thumb would have flown to his mouth?

What can I say, I'm easily amused.....

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Bowl Sunday

Ok, let's get this straight. I'm not a big football fan. I don't even watch the Broncos. I'm fully capable of tuning out a game if someone else is watching it. Football is just not my thing.

The Super Bowl, on the other hand, I do watch. For the commercials. Yes, I'm one of those.

This year, I actually have a wager on the game. My brother's work had a pool going, five dollars a square, but due to the heavy workload, they hadn't been able to fill it.

So, Mamaw bought her a square, and me a square, and the Farmparents each a square. I picked mine and Mamaw's, Eldest Nephew picked Farmmom and Farmdad's. If one of the Farmparents wins, I'm buying some scratch cards and kidnapping Eldest Nephew.

I don't even know what my bet is, since they decided to randomize the pool, and have everyone buy their squares before they assigned numbers. Bro will be pulling numbers out of the hat this morning, and assigning numbers. The way I understand it, the first and third quarter scores pay an eighth of the total pot, halftime score pays a quarter, and final score pays half the pot.

So, once I figure out what my wager actually is, I may have to pay attention to the game, as well as the commercials.

Meanwhile, the Black Cat didn't go to Oklahoma with Mamaw. There was a note on the table when I woke up chronicling his ginormous fit, and the phone call to Bill in Oklahoma in which the decision was made not to take the cat to Okieland.

The cat is currently curled up in a corner, perfectly happy to have been left at home, for once.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Just Call Me Miz Fixit

Mamaw has kept me pretty busy this weekend, but I've still had time to relax some.

First it was the screen on the window. The nails holding it (it used to have hangars but the frame has been re-built so many times it's barely recognizable) had come loose and needed replacing or adjustment. So I got that done, as soon as it warmed up enough to be outside for any length of time.

Then it was running a couple of errands. And reminding her how to print recipes off of Food Network's website in the format she likes.

I also put together the presentation for Eval Monday, and worked a bit on the Creative Writing piece due Tuesday. I'll do the Repro paper tomorrow night, it won't take me two hours to put together what I need for that one.

Then, when the Farmparents came over for dinner, we learned that Farmmom had made an unprovoked attack on a poor, defenseless chair. She hauled off and kicked the thing out of the blue, for no reason at all. In all probability she managed to give herself a broken toe, maybe two. So I taped them up for the night too.

I figure she'll have the tape pulled off by seven tomorrow morning. It's bound to be uncomfortable, I taped all of her small toes together because the only one that *wasn't* swollen was the pinky toe. My main goal was to keep them from flexing side to side while she was in bed tonight. We'll see how she feels in the morning.

Also, in coming attractions, Mamaw will be leaving for Oklahoma in the morning, and this time, she's taking Bill's cat. This cat has never traveled more than a couple of blocks, and she's heading out on an eleven hour drive with him. To arrive in a place that contains smells that he's never smelled before.

This is the same cat that gets pissed off and stressed out every time they leave and starts puking all over the house.

I'll be laughing my silly white butt off every time she calls.

I half expect her to wake me up in the morning to get him in the cat carrier.