Saturday, October 27, 2012

Play Day...

This was my view this morning.  Perhaps I'm biased, but I think it's the best darn view going. 

I dropped by the barn for a last ride before heading off on a business trip.  As Sug had seen the inside of the indoor ring a lot this past week it seemed like a good time to take her out to one of the neighboring fields for some playtime.

I could tell as soon as we headed away from the barn that she agreed.  She tossed her head and trotted right off with her ears pricked, letting off the occasional snort.  Her trot was big and free and powerful, and she felt amazing.

You know how Hunter/Jumper guru George Morris often bemoans the fact that today's junior riders don't seem to have any experience riding outside a ring, or on anything other than perfectly manicured surfaces?  Holy cow, was I feeling the truth of that today!

Riding out over terrain is HARD!  It requires a completely different balance.  Honestly, I felt like I did the very first time I ever tried to post the trot - I was all over the place.  Sug must've thought she was carrying a very heavy sack of potatoes.  We trotted around that field for what must've been 15 minutes before I felt like I had some sense of balance.  Don't even ask me about our trot down the hill!  All I can say is that I had a tremendous amount of respect for eventers before today's excercise, and I have even more now.

So Sug trotted, and I worked on my balance in the two point, trying to allow my heels and knees to absorb the shock.  I let her move out into a canter, and she was clearly thrilled, tossing her head and squealing with equine joy.  I'm not afraid to say tell you I grabbed a little mane.  She is the Sainted Mare, but you can't be too careful, and I had a plane to catch.  She had a few "moments of joy" and threw in a couple exuberant hops, but true to form she didn't throw me anything I couldn't handle, bless her big ol' heart.

I'm so glad we had this play day. I had a great workout and learned a lot.  Sug had a chance to stretch her muscles and enjoy herself.  She was clearly energized by our excursion -- her walk on our way back was enormous and swing, and she let out repeated snorts of satisfaction. 

Talk about a win-win!  After our post-ride grooming session I put her back out in her field with Cookie and then left for the airport smelling like horse and happy as heck. 

Happy horse.  Happy horse-Mom. All good!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

No Longer a Luddite...

Today the new iPhone 5 my company got me arrived.

A friend of mine congratulated me on "no longer having the oldest blackberry ever."

Is it horrible of me to say that I am not particularly excited about the iPhone because of its ability to enhance my productivity at work?  I'm not even really sure if it will enhance my productivity at work.  I just can't see myself demonstrating my magazine's digital products on my phone. (God, I hope not! Can you picture my client and I pulling out our reading glasses to peer at my iPhone! HILARIOUS!)

I am excited, however.

I am excited about this:

Because it will allow me to take better pictures and video of this:

I'm pretty sure that wasn't the reason my company sent me this thing!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

O Happy Day!

My Heart Horse.
Some days are just great days. Period.  They don't have to be a "Special Day" or "Momentous Occasion" to be a good day.  In fact, don't you find that the simpler, non-occasion days are most often the best?

Why was today such a great day, you might ask? 

It was a gorgeous, mild, sunny fall day with beautiful fall hues abounding, and I got to spend my morning relaxing while watching my kids take a lesson.  The kids worked hard and clearly enjoyed themselves, and we then spent some quality time fussing over the girls and thanking them for their efforts. 

Po-Po and her Pit Crew

The Boy and his Mare.

I adore this pony
After our time at the barn we had lunch with a dear friend, ran some errands, then met another set of friends for a quick get together.  Both sets of kids played darts, pool and foosball hockey while the adults chatted and stuffed their faces. (Yes, if I'm involved, food is always involved.)

After a quick stop by Party City to get the kids' Halloween costumes we came back home and at that point I assumed the position I am in now -- flat on my back on the couch.  I'm indulging in a little more horse craziness, courtesy of the USEFNetwork and the Pennsylvania National Horse Show's  Prix de Penn National Grand Prix.

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday night.

To top it all off, look what I got in the mail today!!!  I'm going to finish my evening off by reading one before I go to bed, and am looking forward to reading another with my coffee tomorrow morning.



Monday, October 15, 2012

And In Today's Holy Crap News...

Wheeeee!  Off to see the world!
In September I posted about a Boston area woman who rescued a loose horse that was running along the commuter rail tracks.

Well, today's Wall Street Journal (what, you thought I only read the Chronicle of the Horse??) includes an item about a couple who rescued a loose horse who was traveling on the New York State Thruway east of Syracuse on Sunday.

Amanda and Michael Pietrak were returning home from their vacation, a cruise, when they spotted the horse. Michael cut the equine explorer off with his car while Amanda jumped out and grabbed it by the neck.  They were assisted by another motorist, Denise Marcum, a wholesale florist from Vermont who just happened to be a horse trainer.  Holy coincidence, Batman!

With two of NY State's finest troopers as an escort, the trio walked the escaped equine to the next exit, where its grateful owner met them.

What gives?  Bizarre coincidence, or are the horses of the northeastern states looking for greener pastures?  Maybe he hadn't heard that the Syracuse Invitational Sporthorse Tournment had been cancelled? (Alright, that was lame. Time for another latte.)

Makes you wanna run out and check your fence lines and gates, though, doesn't it?  Yikes!

No! No! No Meltdowns Allowed!

The Child and the Po-Po during
a more peaceful moment this week.
This was what I wanted to say out loud, but I couldn't do that, so I said it (very loudly) on the inside.

What prompted this, you ask?  It was Sunday night, the end of a very long week or the start of another very long week, depending on how you look at it, and my youngest was in full-on drama llama mode. The reason?  She had to get her weekly schoolwork signed, and she'd gotten a D+ on a quiz.  Yep, on the scale of 1 to saaaaaaaay, Syria, it doesn't even register, right?  But she was fast passing upset and moving swiftly to hysterical, with gulps and hiccups and everything.

Now, I'm normally pretty strict about grades and all, but this was the first time she'd ever gotten below a B so I just didn't see the need to go all DEFCON 1just yet. Plus, as I said, it was a long week.  You know how it goes, every night had either soccer or riding and the weekend was just as jam-packed.  I was brain-dead, and couldn't jump start the old grey matter quickly enough.

The Child today, showing some mad soccer skilz.

So inside I was screaming  "No! No! No Meltdowns Allowed! Mommy just drove you all over Manhattan most of its boroughs to get you to and from soccer! Stop the crying, I beg of you!" and outside I was saying something more like, "Well, let's look at what went wrong and see what we can do" and pseudo-soothing crap like that.  Yeah, what I was offering up was weak, but it was all I was capable of and thank the sweet baby Savior it pacified her.

Crisis averted.  For now, at least. 

Now Mommy needs a brownie. STAT.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y! Hey!

Remember that song by the Bay City Rollers?

Here's a reminder for you:

Anyways, it's Saturday night, and what am I doing?  Laying in bed watching the livestream of the Pennsylvania National Horse Show on the USEFNetwork.


Yep.  That's how I roll.  Exciting, no?

I'm pretty happy with it. Thanks USEFNetwork - this is the next best thing to being there.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It's That TIme of Year Again - Halloween and Horses!

I saw this on Facebook today and can only say I wish I had this person's creativity and artisitic ability.  This totally kicks butt!  Maybe one of the jumper riders in the Washington International Horse Show Gambler's Choice costume class will take inspiration from this rider -- how badass would you be coming in to a Grand Prix dressed like this??

Possibly the coolest equestrian Halloween costume ever!

Sadly, I'm a little less artistic/creative, as evidenced by Sug's first (and last) Halloween costume:

Sug dressed as a "Tough Girl." Or something.  I'm not quite sure what.

You'd think I would have learned after my only other attempt at making a Halloween costume.  This is the costume I made for my son's second Halloween.  For some reason I had it in my head that good mothers made their kid's Halloween costumes.  Now I know that's not true.  Now I know that creative mothers make their kid's costumes, the rest of us buy them.

He's supposed to be a tree.  That's a bird's nest on his head.  I think the tan thing on his chest was supposed to be a hole with a squirrel in it. Not 100% sure.  Amazing where your brain goes when you get a hot glue gun in your hands.  I'm pretty sure my husband threatened to divorce me if I ever made another Halloween costume for Noah.  By the way, if you happen to meet my son, DO NOT mention that I shared this with you.   
Noah as a "Tree." 
Again, execution does not match vision.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

She's Gone Off The Deep End Rant...

So today I had to get an EMG, which stands for Electromyography, which tests your nerves' ability to transmit signals to your muscles.  Think of it this way: A technician attaches a couple of electrodes to you and then takes an instrument that is essentially a baby Taser and then proceeds to (repeatedly) shock you.  Sounds like fun, right? 

Why would I sign up for something as silly as this, you might ask?  Because I have had rank, ugly, nasty, debilitating, eat-painkillers-like-they-are-M&Ms kind of back pain for eons now, and we are trying to figure out why.  The pain is in mostly in my lower back/Sacroiliac Joint region, so I affectionately call it Giant Pain In The Ass Syndrome for lack of a definitive diagnosis.

Anyway, being shocked repeatedly makes me a bit testy, so when the technician and the doctor commented, for the third time, how dangerous riding is, I went slightly foaming-at-the-mouth feral.

"No more dangerous than driving on the highways of New Jersey." said I.  (Seriously, if you know anything about Jersey you know I'm not making this stuff up.)

My doctor's office is the orthopedic practice for an NFL team, one of the premier US Tennis tournaments, as well as several colleges and elite prep schools.  They are used to seeing elite athletes.  They are less used to seeing non-elite, borderline psychotic athletes.  They cannot understand why I continue to pursue my riding, even through significant pain.  Riding is clearly not my meal ticket and I am way too old to hope it will get me a scholarship, so they can't comprehend why I persist in what they consider irrational behavior.

"Most of your patients won't wind up in the NFL or playing in the US Open or the MLS or NHL.  Do you tell them to stop playing football/tennis/soccer/hockey?"  I ask.  Of course they don't. 

"But riding is risky.  You're so high up. It's so unpredictable" say my doctor, who, by the way, has jumped out of planes and bungee jumped off bridges.  Call me crazy, but I consider THAT irrational behavior and it's a hell of a lot farther to fall than off a horse, thank you very much. 

The thing that gets me the most, is that in many cases, they don't understand the biomechanics of riding.  They'll talk about concussion and how when they rode on the beach on their honeymoon their back was sore for days.  Umm, understood, yes, there are concussive forces, but you on your honeymoon and me with years of training are too different things. (At least, I fervently hope so.) They GET the physics of soccer/football/swimming/baseball/lacrosse, but they don't get the physics of riding.  By the way, one of the doctors is a big mountain biker.  Hello!!!!  Concussive forces, anyone?  Risky, maybe?

Yes, riding is risky.  So is driving.  So is flying.  So is football/hockey/soccer and basically life in general.  Yes, the rate of traumatic injury per hour ( according to Riders4Helmets) is the same as for motocyclists. So we do the best we can to minimize the risk.

So, to my most esteemed medical team:  Thank you for your care and advice. No, riding will never be my meal ticket.  But it is what makes me happy and keeps me sane.  So don't ask me to stop.  I'll do my best to minimize the risk, and if you could figure out what's wrong with my back I'd be grateful.  And until you do figure out what's wrong, please keep writing those prescriptions for pain killers/muscle relaxants/Lidocaine patches. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Old Bay Mare...

Let me at 'em!
This was 2 years ago,
but this is what Sug felt like today.
Has still got it!!!  Sug and I had our first lesson in eons, and man, was it a blast.  I thought we'd have a lot more rust on our rockets, but from the moment I sat on her things felt in sync.

She marched out at the walk (she normally has a hip swinging amble.)  She powered around at the trot. (My trainer ACTUALLY said she was "in front of my leg." That's a new one.) I actually had to slow her down at the canter. (Again, not her usual S.O.P.).  Damn, I love the onset of chilly fall weather -- that's what I'm going to attribute this new found pep to.

Then we jumped for the first time in months.  I thought I was going to totally bomb all the distances.  I didn't.  I actually found a rhythm, stayed in it (for the most part) and the distances worked themselves out.  I was counting out loud like I was back in kindergarten (1-2-1-2-1-2) but so what, I'd go around Rolex counting out loud at the top of my lungs if it got me around the course.

We did tight figure eights, rollbacks, and actually jumped a couple of 3' fences, which I haven't done with any confidence in ages.  I can honestly say I did not even over think -- I just rode.  And had fun.  And the big bay mare had a blast.  She jumped like she was 10 instead of 16.  When we stopped she looked as if she could still go a few more rounds.  My fingers are crossed -- here's hoping age is just a number and today's burst of energy was not just an anomaly and my beautiful big girl has a lot more days like this in her.

Thanks, Sug. Momma had a lot of fun today.