Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sophie and the Great Snowy Day Snot Incident...

Looks all cute and innocent,
doesn't she?
One good thing about having a 40 minute commute to the barn is the quality time I get to spend with my kids.  I'm racking my brain to find something else positive to say about the commute, but that's all I can come up with.  Oh well, points for trying, I guess.

So today we left for the barn and our riding lessons despite the fact that 2-4" of snow was forecasted.  No big deal, right?  Naaaaahhh!  We have 4-wheel drive. What's 2-4 measly inches?  I mean, if it we'd been talking about feet, well, that would have been another story.  THAT would have been impressive. Yeah, I know, not my brightest moment, hindsight being 20/20 and all.

Let's just say we got almost halfway to the barn and we'd already seen several accidents.  The kids and I had a quick discussion and decided that although we really wanted to see the horses and ride, it was probably not worth dying over, so we turned around.  By this point visibility had deteriorated and snow had accumulated on the road and things were getting a bit dicey.  Not really bad, just bad enough that I was sitting bolt upright, gripping the wheel and squinting anxiously at the road before me.  I needed to pay attention, and asked the kids to be quiet so I could concentrate on not going off the road.

You know the saying that says "Nature abhors a vacuum?" Well, Sophie feels the same way about silence, and she was hell-bent and determined to fill the void of our silent truck with sound.  Didn't matter what kind of sound, she just needed to make noise.  Did I mention that she has a cold?  Yep, she does.  Sophie discovered that some of the best sounds she could make were ones that took advantage of her, ummm, congested state.

Snoooooooooorrrrrtttttttt!  Huuuunngaaaaaah!  Snnnooort!   Hnnnnnghhh! Hnnnnnghhh!

"Soph, stop it."  

Snnnooort! Hnnnnnghhh! Hnnnnnghhh!

"Knock it off, Soph. Mom needs to concentrate."  

Snoooooooooorrrrrtttttttt!  Huuuunngaaaaaah!  Snnnooort!   giggle giggle  

Now just as I was about to lose my cool and drop the f-bomb (I know, bad Mommy!!!!), the snorts stopped.  I smiled, reveling in the peaceful silence.     Have I ever mentioned what a drama llama my daughter is?  No?  Let me give you an idea.  The same child that will play an entire soccer game or rugby match one-legged with blood spurting out an artery will come shrieking into my room in the morning, convinced that the mark on her skin left by a crease in her sheet is a harbinger of some horrible wasting disease.    

The silence in our car was soon cut by the noise of a violent thrashing, accompanied by other  panicked sounds:    

Unnngh, Unnnnngahhhh, Unghhh,  Aaahhhhheeeeeeeeeeee!   

"Soph, what's happening?!" I was trying to pull over while Noah tried to assess the situation.    

"Mom, I'm choking on snot!  I can't breathe! I need a hospital!"    

"Duh, Sophie, if you can talk, you can breathe," says the big brother, in a tone dripping with scorn.     

"Oh, yeah, I guess you're right," says the girl spawn with an unrepentant giggle.    

"Okay, troops," I said, "Stand down.  Crisis averted." 

Seems all of her antics had caused the uh, snot, to get caught in her throat for a moment.  Luckily I kept my head through all the shenanigans and we stayed on the road, eventually arriving home safely.  I gave Sophie some cold medicine, poured myself a medicinal glass of wine and sat down to watch the snow fall while the kids played outside.  Yeah, this car-bonding with the kids is a great thing, I suppose.    

Here's how the she-devil entertained herself after we got home from our aborted barn trip...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas!

Dear Friends,

I can call you a friend, yes?  I mean, we've never met (except for you, Marissa!) but I feel we've spent some real quality time together and established a bond of sorts, right?

Anyway, I hope you are all tucked in with the family and friends who make you the happiest, and if not, that you've at least got enough adult beverages in stock to assist in fortifying your holiday sense of humor!

I'd like to wish those of you who celebrate a Merry Christmas, and while I'm at it, a Happy, Safe, and Healthy New Year to you all!

All the best to you!

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Very Sweet Moment...

Noah and his pal James
It's probably an understatement to say been a rough few months for many folks, this last bit of 2012.  Our lives are more hectic than they've ever been, and sometimes it feels like the harder we try to get ahead, the faster we fall behind.  It often seems like every time I turn around there seems to be another horror in the news, or another sad happening in the lives of my family and friends.  So it's the precious little moments I try to treasure, and hold in my heart for the times when I am feeling overwhelmed and sad.  One of those moments happened last night while we were at the barn. 

To understand the reason it was precious, I'll need to give you some back story.  Several years and two barns ago, we were lucky enough to befriend a wonderful woman and her gorgeous Paint gelding.  She was very kind to my kids, and gave of her time generously.  Noah, in particular, enjoyed her company and would listen intently as she shared her knowledge of horses.  One time I remember clearly was when she was grooming her her gelding. Each time she approached him with a new tool, she'd show it to him, and tell him what she was planning to do with it.  She'd then let the horse sniff the tool before she began using it.  Noah took it all in.

Last night I thought of her when Noah was grooming James, a new horse he's been riding. James sometimes prefers that we are a bit cautious when getting near his head. Noah approached James with the comb to do James' forelock, and James pulled his head back before Noah got close. Noah held out the comb to James, letting the horse sniff it, explaining in a soft voice what the comb was and what he planned to do with it. He then combed his own hair, saying, "This is what I am going to do to your hair, James."  James watched Noah intently, then dropped his head and quietly let my son comb his forelock.

I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry.  Such a simple moment, but yet so fraught with memory and meaning.  Noah and I owe a debt of thanks to this friend who showed us a small way to gain a horse's trust, for showing us a way to have a moment like this with one of these miraculous animals.  I don't know if she had any idea what a gift she gave my son, or how proud it makes Noah feel when a horse shows trust in him.

I just wanted to take time during this crazy holiday season to share a beautiful moment with you, and to thank you all for the beautiful moments and memories you've all shared with me.

Be well, friends.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Bit Off Track...

Whoopsies! Damn cats.

Sorry for not blogging in a bit, my friends.  Things gone a bit sideways around here recently, not unlike this Christmas tree.  This is a picture of this morning's excitement, courtesy of the cats, Mo and Dreidel.

Thanks, Boys!

I swear to you, I will get the next installment of the Bernie clinic up before Easter.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Weekend With Bernie- Part One

I'm in the blue; Bernie is holding Ms. Antsy Pants.
photo by Bow Brickhill Stables.
If you've been with AWIP for a while, you know what a "learning junkie" I am.  I overdose on DVDs,  clinics, my magazines/books and equestrian TV/video subscriptions.  One of my favorite learning tools for more than a year now has been Bernie Traurig's One of my equestrian highlights from early 2012 was the opportunity to audit one of Bernie's clinics at Mary Babick's Knightsbridge Farm in Atlantic Highlands (Day One and Day Two reports).  So when I learned  Bow Brickhill Stables in Milford, NJ, was holding a clinic with Bernie, you can bet I jumped at the chance to ride in it.

My blogging buddy Marissa and her boy Tucker (of Tucker the Wunderkind fame) joined me as clinic participants.  More importantly, they were our ride over to Bow Brickhill! (Sadly, I am trailer-less.)  This is an ideal situation as 1) Marissa and I have a total blast together, 2) Tucker has a HUUUUUGE crush on Sugar and 3) Tucker (the poor besotted creature) lets Sugar eat all his hay, which makes Madame Mare very happy.

We had a brief panic attack two weeks before the clinic when Sug presented with fatigue and lameness, but a quick call to our vets, B.W. Furlong & Associates soon put things right.  Dr. Furlong thought Sugar most likely had Lyme's disease so we put her on a course of Doxycycline and lo and behold, a few days later she was in fine form again.  Phew! 

Prior to the clinic the Sainted Mare was primped and foofed, and all my tack, jumping boots, saddle pads, wraps, polos, breeches, and pretty much damn near everything I owned was cleaned and laundered within an inch of its life.  The Friday night before the clinic I set out my wardrobe for both days - breeches, sweaters, UnderArmour, belts, my comfiest sports bra and undies (very important!) and my lucky socks.  I set my alarm clock and I made my husband set his, which he was none-too-happy about.  Turns out all that alarm setting was unnecessary, as I didn't sleep a wink and was up long before the alarm could go off.  Ummm, nervous much??

The kids finally meet Tucker!

Marissa and Tucker picked us up at our barn and Tucker was clearly thrilled to see his girl again. I loaded Sug on the trailer and Tucker made googly eyes at her while she proceeded to tear into his haybag without so much as a "Hi, how have you been?"  We loaded my stuff and headed off in high spirits - two girls and their horses in search of a good time. The high spirits lasted for about 10 minutes until we got to the end of the road and I realized I'd forgotten my boots!  Cue emergency turnaround in local elementary school followed by sheepish return to barn, panicked search for tall boots, and eventual return to the road almost half an hour behind schedule.  A pox on you, Mr. Murphy, and your bloody law.

We got to Bow Brickhill, unloaded and tacked up in a lather.  Thankfully we made it to the ring on time to get kitted out with our wireless headpieces. I'd never ridden with these before, and found them to be a right nuisance.  No doubt it was my inability to adjust them properly, but they kept bobbling about and distracting me, especially as I was jumping, but when they stayed in they did make it easy to hear what Bernie was asking us to do.  Bernie started with introductions and a tack check, making sure our tack was appropriate and correctly adjusted.  He noted that Sug wore a figure eight noseband and asked why (Answer: Because she can get strong over fences and open her mouth) and that she wore a full cheek Dr. Bristol snaffle (for extra control while turning).  He noted what everyone else wore and then sent us out on the rail to warm up.

This is getting long and, quite frankly, I need to speak with Marissa before I go into more detail.  Seems that I was so busy trying to do what Bernie asked us to do that I don't actually remember any of it or why we were doing it in the first place!  Aaack, senior moment!  More to come at some point.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Weekend With Bernie - The Prelude

Are you crazy?  It's COLD out!
Big excitement going on around here.  This weekend Sugar and I are supposed to attend a clinic with renowned equestrian Bernie Traurig!  We're hitching a ride over with our good friend Marissa and her boy Tucker, which will double the fun all around. Fun for me as I get to hang out with Marissa, which I don't get to do often enough. Fun for Tucker as he can flirt with Sug for two whole days, and fun for Sug as she has somehow bewitched Tucker into giving her the entire contents of his hay bag.

At one point last week I was thinking we'd have to miss it, as Sug was very ouchy and lethargic, but the vet came out and we started her on a course of Doxy and so far things look good, fingers and toes crossed, although CRAP, why did I let those words come out of my mouth!  No whammies no whammies no whammies no whammies!

She's got a hot date, and as you know when a gal has a hot date she has to foof herself  up a bit, right?

Sug showered...

Mom! No soap in the eyes, please!

And she shaved (all the way up, too, the little hussy!)

Nekkid (and possessed?) mare.
 Looking forward to sharing more about the clinic in the coming days.  Wish us luck! 

Did I mention I am nervous as heck??