Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sorry to Break it to You Guys But...

I have the best horse ever. And there is no denying it.

He had the last two days off from Mom-time (three days off from any work). I was tired from work but wanted to ride. First, however, I let him loose in the arena since its been raining and we all know that means Milo stays in his stall (such a little baby, lol). He didnt have much steam to let out but a few pathetic leaps and a roll. So I tossed the bareback pad back onto him and slipped his bridle on.

We set off at a trot and Milo was going! His back was lifted and he had some awesome power in each stride. We did a few circles, I reminded him to turn from his hind not dragging with his shoulder, and then I loped him off. Tried a second time for a cleaner departure, and it was, and loped a few laps around the arena and a couple circles. There was hardly any correction needed from me even in the corners - he stayed straight, lifted and moved from the hip. It was so nice! I sat deep and sighed wooahhh and to my pleasant surprise, Milo scooted his little (haha) booty into the dirt and I heard the distinct skid of a slide. He righted himself and I dropped back onto his neck, hugs, praises, and kisses abound. I looked down and saw this:

If you look carefully in the dirt you can see the skids from his hooves to the end of the photo frame

:) I was so pleased. I couldnt decide if I should get off or not. On the one hand, I wanted to give him a great big reward for his efforst and I knew he wanted back to his hay net. On the other hand, I knew he did so well because he is really eager to work (loves it) and I havent been supplying that need as well as I should. To keep riding and lesser the reward impact of this great first time in the night stop, or keep riding, hoping that that is the real reward that Milo is looking for. I opted to put him away for the night. Carrots, kisses, and more hugs along the way.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Great Trail Ride

It was crisp yet beautiful out, and perfect for a trail ride. I loaded up Angie with me and got Milo ready. We headed out. 

I have said time and again how useful the trail can be for training, and it's psychological effects on both Milo and I. I have been trying to get out as often as I can because it really just keeps things fresh. There is nothing in particular I am "working on" with Milo when I've been riding. Simply just maintaining what we have until I decide what road(s) I want to go down to further training. That's not so say I dont believe we have anything to work on - we do - its just I havent decided who or where I am going to go to work on those things. So in the meantime, I'm doing what I can and having a quiet winter. 

Anyway, we headed out and I figured I would just use the ride for exercising purposes and to of course, have a little air and quiet. 

We started out with a nice trot down the "entrance trail" (where the goat followed us, if you remember) and warm him up before getting to my favorite spot for a long lope. When we did get into the lope there, I focused on keeping my body quiet and in position, and worked on my "hum" cue to slow down Milo's lope. He really does well on the trail just the two of us; I can lope him on a loose rein and have no worry of him speeding up or running through the bit - like he  does when we are out with another horse. So I took this time to emphasize going at my pace whatever gait I like. He was listening well and we loped along a while simply enjoying the peace of loping quietly outside together. 

Things felt so well I decided to throw in a few lead changes. Oh. My. Goodness!!! I am not even joking these were the best lead changes we have ever had to date. It's hard to say why, but simply they were just do effortless and so simple and it was easy to feel how correct they were coming from the hind end first. I was blown away. It was so cool - Milo was round and loping quietly and I just shifted my weight and legs and without skipping a beat, ears still alert and happily loping along, Milo just swapped his legs easy peasy just like you see horses do out in the field playing. It was incredible. 

Needless to say, the rest of the ride was awesome too, but that was the real sparkle of the day. Sure made me happy we went out and although we didnt "work on" anything, it was very, very rewarding. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Kinda Bummed...

The last year or so I have been following information on Versatility Ranch Horses and competition. I have watched the AQHA world show for the event and just been exploring what is involved - and I have really wanted to get involved! Its a multi-event competition from ranch riding, ranch trail, ranch reining, ranch cutting, and ranch halter. It looks like a ton of fun with just about everything I want to do in it! And with it being "ranch horse" it encourages ranch-style horses. You know, those that move well, arent low and slow, and actually can work in a multi-facet competition (all FUN stuff too).

So, I found out that the ONLY Ranch Versatility (at least, in this multi-facet competition) available in Washington is only in its 2nd year of organization this coming year. There is no club for the state yet but they are trying to get a 3 day clinic and show organized as an annual event. I had missed last years but was asked to be put on the list for this years.

Today I got an email for this coming year's competition and clinic held in May. I got really excited, asked for more information, and started scouring the internet for more info. I immediately dropped any other plans I may have in order to afford and attend this event. But, then I found the last piece of information I would need - the location.

Pomeroy, WA. A little town I had never heard of and needed to look up on Google. Its just south of Pullman, which is where Washington State University is held and notorious for being in the freaking middle of no-where, and is oh, six hours away. Practically on the Idaho border.

Big bummer. I sort of feel-ed out the Boyfriend to see what his thought might be on going to this (and of course I made it sound as awesome as possible, but that was easy cause this sounds soooper cool) and he said "um yeah, thats really far". Yeah....hes right. Even if I pooled all my horse shows and activities efforts for this summer together, it not only would still be an expensive trip (clinic cost, plus travel, plus lodging, plus stall fees, plus food, and anything else that would probably come up, like tuning the truck before the haul, and time off work, and the actual time it takes to get over there) it still just doesnt seem feasible.

I'm really kind of bummed and it sure doesnt seem like the Boyfriend wants to do that so naturally I dont want to make him. Plus its time off work he has to ensure and generally just the time required to go and its just for me to have fun, nothing really in it for him.

So yeah. Bummed. :(

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Some of You May Have Caught On...

Sharp observers may have noted in my last post two references to my ole "faithful" red pickup. It was really getting on in there and needed replacing - bad.

It really was a good truck and lasted a whole lot longer then I had originally intended. Purchased for 192K miles, I knew it wouldnt last forever, but loved it anyways. It never truly did me wrong, and you can say all the mean "FORD" acronyms you want, but for what it was, and its condition, it was a real workhorse and I as sad to face facts time and again that it just wasnt doing its job anymore.

The plan was to save some OT money from my new job for a few months, get a decent down payment, and buy a "new" truck. Although my heart lied with the "old school" body style of my old truck, the simple fact was that those older years (gas or diesel) just werent going to last very long either and in a few years time I would be in the same boat. But I didnt really fall for the 01 body styles of the F150s either. I was in a dilemma where price was only going to allow me to go "so new". I was also a little torn on another gas-pod or leaping for a diesel. Problem was, we already have two 7.3 diesel trucks in our driveway and it was really rather silly to get another. Not to mention the 7.3 motors ended in 03, again limiting how "new" we could purchase.

I looked at Jeeps, Explorers, SUVs, and even a Land Rover! Boyfriend tried convincing me to get a Hummer! But I knew I just wouldnt be happy with an SUV, and for the cost in fuel, why not get a truck if it would be nearly equivalent? There was no doubt I needed a larger 'rig. Living where I do requires 4x4 at some point in the year, and anyone that knows me knows that there's just no way I would be happy driving a car. It truly boiled down to my simple necessities as a horse owner and a truck was just it for me. I need the bed, the towing capacity, and the four wheels to get done what I need to get done.

Here was the dilemma still: I just didnt like the look of those 150s I could afford in my price range.

Enter Wonderful Boyfriend.

He signed on the loan to allow me to get a much nicer vehicle then I could have gotten with my credit. With this new piece, we could now look at other trucks. The fancy new ones I never even looked at for dreaming knowing that there was no way I could get one.

In fact, Boyfriend tried surprising me with one the week after he returned from his big Idaho hunting trip. The truck we had looked at online, however, was at the airport as some salesman drove it there (even though the dealership owners had been well informed that Boyfriend was coming that day, but I digress). It worked out well though as I got go to that weekend and drive it myself and drool over it.

So, without further adieu, here is the new truck!

The 'specs for all you truck knowers:
It's an 08 F150 LARIAT (yay!) with 5.4L gas motor, 4x4. It has dual exhaust in the rear from Roush Racing (baby has some rumble!), bed extender, tonneau bed cover, quite a few after-market features including rims and tires, window visors, and towing package (plus all the luxuries of the Lariat edition). I love it!

It was a real trooper it's first time in the snow (which, btw the snow is still around)
And safely got me to the most important place: the Barn
I love it!!
Anyway, I absolutely love this truck, if you couldnt tell. :)