Friday, November 30, 2012

Childhood idols...

I saw this photo of Roy Rogers and his horse, Trigger, being honored with a star at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Facebook today and it brought me back to my childhood.  I used to ADORE Trigger, and can remember when Roy and "Trigger" came to my town to appear at the local Roy Rogers Restaurant. The horse was actually one of the "other Triggers" used for personal appearances to give the famous stallion a break, but I didn't know that at the time, nor do I think I would have cared.

I can remember sitting on my Daddy's shoulders to get a better look and being completely awestruck by the famous cowboy and his glistening gold companion.  The absolute wet-your-pants exciting best part of the night was when I was able to get an autographed copy (GASP!!) of my favorite Roy and Trigger poster, one that showed a rearing Trigger and a waving Roy with a rural Western background. 

That beloved poster hung above my desk for years, and I have vivid memories of staring at it and daydreaming while I was supposed to be doing my homework.  My Mom took it down when it got old and faded and torn around the edges, and let me tell you, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth on my end when that happened!

The genesis of many young daydreams.

Who were your childhood horse-related heroes, and what do you remember most about them?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ahhhhhh...Reveling in Thankfulness

As I write this the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is coming to a close.  As weekends go, it was one of the good ones.  Originally, I had devised all kinds of virtuous plans. I was going to clean my closet, do some Christmas shopping (online, as I cannot ABIDE malls), and get some work out of the way (maybe those expense reports that I've been putting off).

Turns out that I didn't manage to do any of that, and you know what?  I don't feel one bit guilty.  Not even a smidge.

I did spend lots of time with my family.  My aunt, uncle and cousin from Florida came North, as did my aunt and uncle from North Carolina.  It was wonderful to re-connect with them and to create new memories together.  It was also good fun to see some of the family elders a wee bit overserved- hehe. (Although, Aunt Kathy, I am gonna do my best to forget our little conversation! There are some things a niece just does not need to know! LOL!) 

Turkey Day at Casa Crazy.
I did spend a lot of time with friends.  One friend, who has been elevated to family status, was able to be with us for Thanksgiving and that was wonderful.  My family dragged her right into the craziness, which made me proud.  We were also able to spend time with friends we don't get to see very often anymore.  Don't you love when you get together with a friend after some time apart and and you are reminded why you became friends in the first place?

I did spend a lot of time with the girls, without feeling rushed, which is almost miraculous these days. The kids and I had a couple of lessons, we hacked, and one semi-frigid day the kids, Libby, and I even managed to go on a trail ride.  It was, in the words of Winnie-the-Pooh, a very blustery day, and Madame Mare shook her sassy head and threatened to toss her heels every time the wind blew a strong gust. Wheeee!

Princess Po-Po gets a massage from my buddy Carolyn. 
Umm, me next, please?!
So, good intentions be damned.  This fine weekend, sloth won out over industriousness and I, for one, am thankful.

Thanks for reading, and I hope your weekend was wonderful as well!

Monday, November 19, 2012

My Old Bay Mare...

Pre-tumble popcorn sharing.  
No gray hair.
Gives me gray hair.

Seriously.  That's the line that played over and over in my head last Friday night into Saturday morning.

Our lesson started out well.  She was forward and feeling good, none of that "it's cold and my old bones are creaky" stuff that sometimes happens on cold days.  We flatted for a bit, working on getting her straight and on the outside rein, and not letting her collapse against the wall.  Not too stressful, right?

Then we progressed to jumping, doing a little figure eight exercise over two small verticals so i could stay calm and think of nothing but relaxing into a rhythm.  Relaxing is hard for me; I desperately need to complicate my life, or so it seems.  Rhythm is equally as challenging, which you would know if you've ever seen me dance. 

Anywho, things were going fairly well until we came off the vertical going away from home and my trainer told me to start thinking about preparing to transition to the walk. I don't know if Sug hear walk and had a brain fart and forgot to move her legs, or if she just tripped, but all of a sudden there was no more horse in front of me! 

Her front legs just sort of collapsed and she went face first into the dirt.  Despite a valiant effort at neck riding and a desperate attempt to swing my leg over and dismount, I wound up face down in the dirt beside her.  OOOOF!  After I rolled out of the way I turned to see Sug struggle to a standing position, which was good until I realized she was only standing on three legs.  She was holding the fourth, her left front, up off the ground in front of her.  My heart stopped and I started to tear up, immediately certain she'd broken her leg.

By that time my trainer had arrived at her side and was examining her.  At that point Sug felt she could bear some weight on the leg, and then she took a few delicate walk steps.  She must have realized she was better off than she'd originally thought, as her walk become stronger and she started licking and nudging me as if to say, "It's alright. Nothing to see here, just a slight misstep.  Up you go and let's carry on, shall we?"

My trainer did have me trot Sug out, which she did nicely, so I popped back on her and trotted around a bit.  Sug seemed completely unfazed by the fall, but I just kept waiting for her to stumble again and realize she had really hurt something. (Paranoid, much?)  Everything seemed normal, so we popped a teensy tiny baby vertical to let her end on a confident note. (Seriously, who did my trainer think she was kidding with that?? Sug has plenty of confidence.  We know that little baby fence was for the benefit of Sug's galactically neurotic mother.)

Our next lesson was the next morning, and yes, I worried all night thinking that she'd be holding a swollen left limb off the ground when I arrived.  I thought fracture, suspensory, check ligament, you name it.  By about 2AM I'd resolved myself to spending the entire winter to hand walking her.  She was out in her field when I arrived, happily munching away.  Her leg looked fine, and when I finally got on her, it turns out that the leg actually was fine.  No stiffness, no nothing.  All good.

Phew!  HUUUUUGE sigh of relief, knock wood, and all that stuff. 

Only casualty was my hair.  I happened to glance in the rear view mirror and despite the fact that I'd just gone to the salon, I saw a few grays.  I know who those puppies belong to!

Sug has gray hairs too! 
Think I gave her those?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Santa Baby...

Aaaaack!  Once again it is that time of year again, the time when bloodpressure skyrockets because I've realized that despite any number of good intentions I've not yet put a dent in my Christmas shopping.  Drat.

Thankfully there is the Internet, and any number of companies willing to help a sister out by sending gift ideas to my laptop via email or Facebook.  Bless their hearts!

Here's a snapshot of what came over the screen the other day, and all I can say is ME LIKEY!

From our friends at Cheval Fashions we have several DI-VIIIIIIIIIINNNNE new shirts.  You may remember Cheval Fashions if you've been playing in the AWIP sandbox for a while.  Last winter I did a review on some of their shirts that I adored, and the adult version of the "name belt" that I absolutely needed to have.  I got that belt, I LOVE it, and I do not mind telling you I get quite a few comments on it.  So what if most of them are men wondering why I wear a belt that says Sugar. (Yeah, maybe I shoulda thought that one through and gone with her registered name, Obottie.  Live and learn. Sigh.)

Anyway, here's a look at what the folks from Cheval Fashions were showing at the Royal this year and posting on their Facebook page:

For the pony princesses we have this little darling...

The girl second from right is Sophie, the daughter of Cheval Fashions' owner.
She looks a lot like my Sophie!  I think this means my Sophie needs this shirt!!

Then there's this precious polo for Mom...(it also comes with a burberry-looking plaid as well).

Then there's this eyelet-collared beauty...The color under the eyelet matches the lining on my jacket, so clearly I need this one as well.

And to round things all off, here's this year's winner in the "Momma needs a new belt" category...The Side Zip Belt!

Here's the little blurby thingie from the Cheval Fashions website:

"These belts not only do up in front like usual, but they also have a snap at the hip so they open on the side for side-zip breeches.

So you can wear them with front zip and side-zip breeches as well as jeans!

These belts not only do up in front like usual, but they also have a snap at the hip so they open on the side for side-zip breeches.

So you can wear them with front zip and side-zip breeches as well as jeans!"


Santa Baby, I've been a very good girl this year!  LOL!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sophie Weighs In...

Sassy and cute child on sassy and cute po-po.
I was back in the saddle this weekend after what seemed like eons out of it due to business trips.  Yesterday I felt like a sack of potatoes, and even though I only felt marginally better in the saddle today Sophie and I lessoned together and I had a great lesson.  My trainer and I focused mainly on rhythm and I FINALLY did what she and my horse were begging me to do and got my canter in the corner, maintained it, lowered my hands and SAT STILL to the fence. Blasting of heraldic trumpets, choruses of angels singing hosannas and lo and behold, it worked!! 

I was riding that high as we met our friend Libby for lunch.  Libby and I were so engrossed in our conversation I only half noticed how quiet Sophie was being. (Actually, who am I kidding? I totally loved it and was hoping fervently that it would continue).  When lunch ended Soph handed me my phone and I saw why she'd been so quiet.  She'd been busy writing something.

Today my daughter is being a good child. I love her soooooo much. She's the best daughter in the whole entire world. We had a lesson together and it was just simply amazing. My daughter Sophie rode very well too! I accomplished my task of staying on rhythm  step by step over a cross rail. Sugar,my horse, got a little fast and forward so we cantered over the cross rail to slow things down a bit. So anyway, the lesson was great the teaching was superb and my daughter had an amazing time so I was joyful for it.
The kid cracks me up.  No self esteem issues with that child!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

An Equestrian Finds A New Use For Her iPhone...

Recently I wrote about getting a new iPhone and my doubt that it would really add to my life that much more than my old Blackberry did. Well, helloooooooo, score one for the new iPhone!

You may recall the East coast was pummeled by a stroppy old cow of a storm called Sandy that laid a serious can of whoop-ass on us. Many folks in my state of New Jersey are still without power and under water a week later. My barn still doesn’t have any power other than a generator, and that runs the basics only.

So when I went to the barn the other day on my way out to the airport for another business trip (I could justify using the gas in these times of gas rations because I had to go somewhere anyway, so what if I arrive at the airport by way of the barn?) I discovered something amazing – it’s extremely difficult to pee in the dark. There’s no window in the bathroom, so when I say dark, think cave-like. You know how in that Beatles song they ask “What do you see when you turn out the lights?” and Ringo answers, “I can’t tell you but I know it’s mine!” Well, it was that kind of dark.

Peeing in the dark can also be dangerous. You’d think with a tuckus like mine I’d have a pretty good shot at landing square on the commode, but lo and behold, it was harder than I’d thought. There were a few dicey moments, but after some scuffling and creative vocabulary I managed to pull it off with only minor bruising.

It wasn't quite this bad, thankfully.

Then I couldn’t find the darn toilet paper. At this point I was losing my sense of humor and not in the mood for a little game of touchy feely along the wall, and then, wait for it, LIGHTBULB!!! I realized I had my iPhone. This puppy has a flashlight app somewhere, right??? Whoohoo! Thank the saints, angels, cherubim, and God’s holy beard trimmers, there was light at the end of this particular tunnel! A few quick icons were pressed and BAM! I had light, and more importantly, I had toilet paper.

Cool. This phone is going to be more useful than I’d thought. I’m keeping this thing by my bed when I travel, which is often. One can get a little lost in hotels when on those midnight potty runs.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Get Your Vote On!!

I saw this on Facebook, posted it on AWIP's page, then decided it needed to be a blog post.

Did you get out and vote yet?  I did, right after I had my first cup of coffee and could actually make sense of the ballot.  I figure that I don't have the right to bitch about anything unless I did my part to influence it.  Sounds reasonable, right?

Am feeling a little guilty as my choices for local positions were a bit eenie-meenie-miney-moe.  Does it make one a bad person if one knows more about politics on the national level than on a local level? 

Anyway, I hope you are having a good day, and that you are making your vote, whatever it is, count!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Surviving Sandy...

Sophie made me this.  Awwwww.
 Sorry I've been AWOL for a while.  Things have been a wee bit hectic around here.  It's my busy season at work, which means a lot of travel. Last Saturday I left my home in New Jersey to fly to Chicago  for a business trip.  While I was winging my way westward, a sh!tstorm of galactical proportions was bearing down on my home.

Hurricane/Post-Tropical Storm/Post-Tropical Cyclone/Superstorm (?!?!?!) Sandy pretty much pummeled New Jersey and surrounding states. She left tremendous devastation in her wake as I watched helplessly from Chicago, in fear for the health and safety of family, friends and four-leggeds.  When I was finally able to get through to my husband I learned he and a good number of our neighbors were at our house waiting out the storm and having what he called a "Hurricane Party."  The next day I called home to find out much of the neighborhood was at our house again, having a "No Power Party." The next day was the same, except it was a "Power On Party."

Don't get me wrong.  My husband was actually making sure everybody stayed fed, showered, in clean clothes and good spirits while everyone helped dig each other out.  We were one of the few homes that had power, as many of the lines were downed by fallen trees. We live in an old neighborhood, one lined with many old and magnificent trees, a good number of which are now chunks of firewood that my husband his buddies chainsawed into bits.

Tree-1, Schecter's Pool-0

My parents were in the process of selling the home I grew up in and moving to the beach home my grandparents had left them.  Their home in central New Jersey has been without power for almost a week, and their shore house, located on one of New Jersey's barrier islands, is currently several feet under water.  Many of the means of access to the island are gone (see Mantoloking Bridge) and the island is a war zone, with gas fires breaking out amongst the flooding. Officials say it may be a month before they allow non-emergency workers out to assess the situation. (To get an idea of the damage, check out these before and after pics taken by satellite). My parents are staying with us for the moment, which, despite the sad reasons behind the temporary living arrangement, is quite nice.  It's giving us some good bonding time with my folks, and I hope it's providing my parents some much needed support during a difficult time.

One of the many fallen trees at my parent's place

This is the end of my parent's road at the shore.
The ocean and the bay are now one and the same.

Throughout this time Sugar and Cookie have been safe and sound at their barn.  They are on high ground, so no flooding, and the trees are far enough away from their fields that there was no damage and they were able to be turned out.  The power has been out but thankfully there's a generator.  Bless her heart, my trainer has been in regular contact with me, which has alleviated much of the worry and helplessness I've been feeling.  What makes things difficult now that roads are passable is that we are experiencing unbelievable gas shortages, so I haven't been to the barn since my hurricane-delayed return home lateThursday night.  It's killing the kids and me not to go, but we can't justify the gas expenditure during this time of rationing and shortages.  We tell ourselves the girls are being well taken care of and that we're tremendously lucky and leave it at that.  I feel guilty even saying this, as I have power, and so many I know do not.

That's the amazing thing I've taken from this experience.  People are so amazing and resilient.  We can experience tremendous difficulty, and yet still be willing to extend a helping hand to others.  My family has been tremendously fortunate, sadly others haven't been.  We are lucky to be able to offer our home as a place for friends to eat a hot meal, take a shower, or do laundry.  Yet despite it all, I still see so acts of kindness. One of the restaurants I know of is not charging patrons who are displaced or without power. Can you believe that?  I'm trying to witness these acts, and remember them when I'm not feeling like Miss Sweetness and Light.

The inside of my "Welcome Home" card.
I guess maybe that's what they mean about silver linings?  If there can be one in this situation. In any case, my thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been less fortunate throughout this experience.