Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hitting the Trails - At Last

J and I have been conditioning Thumper and Jessica for the endurance ride next month.  So far we have only been able to ride around the farm and up and down the gravel road.  Today we finally made it to the trails. 
Thumper looked so fresh to start with.  I thought I would try Otoelene's  Toklat Cool Back pad for the ride instead of Hank's big heavy one that I had been using.  The cool back pad is a good deal lighter and the 2 times I've used it on Thumper I haven't noticed the saddle pressure points that I did with the other pad. (If there is a spot not sweating surrounded by sweat under the pad then there is too much pressure there.)
 This was my usual view, Jessica and J in the lead.  Thumper didn't seem to mind how far ahead they got as long as they weren't out of sight.
 This was one of my rare forays into the front.  J had stopped because there was a 5 foot long black snake across the trail.  The horses never even seemed to notice.
Then it was Jessica back in front turbo trotting for home.  A little over 8 miles in about 1 1/2 hours.  Thumper's pulse was right at 60 as soon as I got off but Jessica's was 80.  On the ride you are not finished until the horse's pulse is at 60.  J is afraid that he will be setting the pace and Thumper and I will just cruise in and beat him.  We'll see.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Back Up Horse

The State 4-H Horse Show is only 6 weeks away.  Pep is schedule to be the one that E takes but with her feet it is iffy from day to day.  Now Otoelene is having a little trouble too.  The farrier didn't get my message and when I finally got a hold of him Otoelene had already lost one shoe and I had to pull the other.  Now her feet are broken off and I don't know if he'll be able to get shoes on her tomorrow or not.   That leaves Hank, third and last on the list of  horses that E could take this year.  
E telling me, 'Don't put a picture of me on the blog."
 So yesterday she decided to work with him some.  Last year she ended up taking him to the State Show with only 3 days warning and not having ridden him any.
She didn't want to use the hunter saddle but at least she was riding him.  Pep is doing better, I think there's a good chance she'll make it to the show.   I think I'll try her with shoes again.  We haven't had any on her for 2 years.  It's hard to tell if she does better with or without.  I've just never seen a horse get so many abscesses.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Freezing Green Beans

I usually don't have an over abundance of garden produce, so I have never had to can anything from the garden.  This year, with all of the rain, has been different  Way too many beans but not really enough to can so I thought I might try freezing some.  E was good enough to pick, wash and string them for me.  
 Then it was just a matter of blanching,
 (a colander with tongs worked well for this)
Then quick into an ice bath. (boy, do I like my new ice maker freezer)
 then drain,
 package, vacuum pack (that's what the straw is for),
and freeze.  I hope they work out.  It is sooo much less work than canning.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Just Kit Sunday #17

Has it been a month since my last Kit Kat Sunday?

Sometime he hides so well it is hard to find him to take a picture.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Best Cheese Cake Ever

 E put her cooking talents and Kitchen Aid blender to good use today and made us a New York style cheese cake with strawberry topping.
 She only made half a recipe since there are only 3 of us here to eat it.
E took care to make a nice presentation.
It was delicious.  Here, have a piece.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Fresh Vegetables

The garden is starting to come in. 
 Today's green bean haul.
And there is no more room in the fridge for all of these cukes!  Guess I'll be taking some to work to give away.

Monday, July 22, 2013

3rd Annual Cowboy Challenge

Our club's Cowboy Challenge took place on Saturday evening.  The turnout was only fair.  There was another horse show on the other end of the county the same day.  I was ringmaster once again which gave me a good view of everything.  So, while I was out there in the middle of the ring I thought I might as well take some pictures.  
 The course started off with a pony express mail delivery.  Open the box, get the mail then race around the ring,
and put the mail back in the box.  (obstacle I constructed)
 Then across a bridge that was laying on top of a tarp. (bridge I constructed last year)
 Then through the "cowboy" noodles.  A lot of horses didn't care much for trying to walk though pool noodles.
 Then the rider had to get the pruners from one barrel and clip a branch off of the "tree".  Several horse had a little snack here and pruned on the tree themselves.
 We originally wanted to fill the tractor tire with dirt so the horse would step up onto it and do a 360.  But it was decided that it would be to difficult and we might not get the dirt packed well enough.  So we changed it to picking up a board and walking a 360 around the tire. (similar to an ACTHA obstacle)
 Side passing over a water line.
 ball and broom, 5 extra points if they made it into the barrel
 hay bale lunge,
 L back (nearly every horse bumped the poles, it was my job to measure and reset this one)
finally, put on a rain coat while mounted, then dismount and lead out of the ring.  Each obstacle had a time limit as well as an overall time limit.  This kept things moving at a pretty quick pace and made for an entertaining and exciting evening of horsemanship.  Maybe next year I can find one to go to with one of my horses to show if I don't have to help run it.  

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Right Place, Right Time

My sprayer handle broke last week and I was at Southern States to get a new one.  The assistants were out front rearranging the bedding plants and asked if I wanted any at a good deal.  I said sure, for free, and they said yes.  Well who can pass up free.  
bonus Kit Kat picture
My garden is pretty full but I thought I could squeeze in these banana peppers and egg plants.  I got E some basil and oregano and I picked up several Mexican heather and lantana plants to go in my wheelbarrow planter.  What a lucky haul.

On the cowboy challenge front, Pep decided to be lame yesterday so I didn't take her to test out the course.  It was just as well, we didn't get done until 10 pm.   Pep  is getting very undependable, being lame (hoof abscesses) every time we want to use her for something.  E is suppose to be showing her at the State 4-H show in September.  I think she needs to be spending lots of  time with Otoelene, her back up horse, for the next month and a half.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday's Fences #89

I hated this gate. 
   It was full of wasps, the bottom rail was broken and the fence post was broken off so I would have to life the whole thing up to open it enough to get me and my horse through to ride on that part of the farm.
 We had some help awhile back to fix the problem.  But only one person can work a post hole digger at a time.
 Tamping in a nice solid gate post.
 V decided to take a break.
 As did Emma.
E and J got the fence reattached, then we hung a new gate.  Ugh, I forgot to take a picture of that.  But take my word for it,  it's a nice new green gate that actually swings.  Still can't open it from horse back though because J has too many chains closing it.  Oh well, can't have everything.
For more Friday's Fences Click HERE.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Obstacle Practice

Our Saddle Club is having a Cowboy Challenge (timed obstacle course) this coming Saturday.  We've decided on 10 obstacles and are going to set the course up on Friday night.  There was some disagreement on how much time to allot to some of the obstacles so they asked if I would bring a horse to test them out.  Which one to bring, decisions, decisions.   
 I decided to take Pep.  She has had the most trail class experience and with E at the beach for 2 weeks I don't think she would mind Pep getting a little extra training.  Today I worked on the tarp.  No secret there, there is always a tarp at one of these things.  This one didn't phase her in the least.  I then went to the outdoor arena where I have several poles to work on side passing, jumping, backing and turning in a tight place.  She did fine with everything.
Then I got to put her to some actual use.  J wanted these two heifers and calf moved to another field.  I think Pep enjoyed this job more that the pretend work we did.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Let the Conditioning Begin

It has been a little difficult trying to get motivated to start conditioning for the endurance ride this year.  Between all of the rain then our vacation, there just hasn't been much of an opportunity to work the horses much.  Plus, I usually ride Otoelene whenever I have the chance. But this weekend we have started conditioning in earnest.  
 J is working with Jessica again and I thought I would try Thumper.  Hank deserves a rest plus he is so rough I feel like I've been beaten up after a long ride.  Thumper is sooo much smoother.  Even though Jessica is 12 years old it is still a good idea to lunge her first.
 Today we did some hill work.  Lots of trotting up and down the hills.
 As you can see, we have plenty of hills.
I think J went half again as far as I did today.  Jessica really is the energizer bunny.  Thumper, on the other hand, was content to trot around at a pace just a little up from a western pleasure jog.  Can you tell I'm wearing my Da Brim helmet brim?  I absolutely love it.  J says it looks like I'm wearing a sombrero.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

What To Do With Ribbons

This year V will be staying with Grandma while she is at college instead of a dorm. (Thank you Mama, that's going to cut our college cost in half.)  Grandma ha been cleaning out my old room to make room for V and her stuff.  For some reason she thinks I need to take all of my stuff out of the dresser and bring it home. Well, the biggest part of what's in there are old horse show ribbons. 
 Lots and lots of horse show ribbons.  I'm pretty sure this isn't all of them but until she finds more boxes the rest get to stay there.
 She suggested that I hang them in the workshop.  My initial response was, "they'll get dirty."  Then I though, what do I care, they're 30 years old.
So I got out the extension ladder, some nails and string and did this.  I think it will be a conversation piece for anyone that comes to the barn and it did add some color to an otherwise unused space.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do when Mama finds another box.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Friday's Fences # 88 (Vacation Fences)

Here are a few fences we saw on vacation.  
 A nice rustic rail fence in the Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge,
 a split rail fence in Garden of the gods,
and a suspicious lack of fence on Pike's Peak.  Well, there in a little one down there in the corner but who would notice it with a view like that.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What's Blooming

The yard was very active while we were gone.  
 My Easter Lilies are almost done blooming.  They have a very sweet smell.
 I love the blue color of the balloon flower.  It's not a very big plant but the color is a stand out.
 I can't remember the common name for this purple flower, but it's regular name is Liatris.
 The cone flowers are in full bloom now.  They should bloom until frost.
 J's aunt and uncle brought us this different variety of cone flower.  It's a little redder with thinner pedals.
 This variety of allium is very cute.  It's called Drumstick.
And I know this isn't a flower but it's the first time that I've tried planing an elephant ear.  It makes a very nice patio plant.
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