Spirit Spam

Aug. 4th, 2011 01:04 pm
ar_wahan: (spirit)
I was putting on my paddock boots yesterday, preparing to groom Spirit, tack him up, and lead him down to the neighbor's ring for his weekly lesson, when Colleen, the trainer, pulled into my driveway and knocked on the door. We have had several lessons "washed out" due to thunderstorms, and she had just heard that one was forecast for 5 p.m., about 15 minutes into our lesson. To spare me from taking Spirit down there and having to turn around and come back, she was offering to do the lesson in the paddock (Kathy, who has the ring, was out of town and while I would still be able to use the ring, it was not as if the trainer had to be there for her).

The paddock is Spirit's "home," and we realized he might be a little less cooperative being asked to "work" there. Plus, the terrain is not as even as the ring, and Laddie is there to distract him! All of these things, however, could be learning experiences, so we gave it a whirl.

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ar_wahan: (the boys)
I went by the barn Tuesday and Wednesday to start "playing" with Spirit on the ground. Colleen showed me how to use the rope halter and very long lead rope to use positioning of a "guide hand" (holding the rope some distance from his halter) and a "driving hand" (holding the rope near the free end) to signal Spirit to back up, stop (she'd already taught me this very early on in his stay there), not come any closer when he tries to approach me, and circle me in one direction and then another. Also to "bump" the rope to get his attention. (Need to learn more about this last one.) This was in the indoor arena, with a group of little girls watching. The girls are "campers" who take riding lessons, learn other things on the ground themselves from Colleen (parts of a horse, different bits, etc.), and have the "pleasure" of helping clean the stable. (Sound a bit like Crimson Acres, Samurai?)

I felt a bit foolish on Tuesday, since it took me a while to "get" some of the positions of my body and hands, and to drop the rope in the drive hand and switch so the drive hand becomes the guide hand to turn him in the other direction. Too much like having to walk and chew gum at the same time! Spirit was sometimes confused, but it was because of me, not him.

Later that day I unloaded the pieces of the futon frame Samurai and I had miraculously managed to cram into my Prius in Boston (a post on the rest of our Cape Cod trip some other time). In carrying the largest pieces around from the driveway to the basement door in the back of the house, I did something to my shoulder. I didn't realize it then, but when I woke up Wednesday morning, YE-OWW! (My Pilates teacher later said I had an "impingement.") What this meant was that I could not raise my right arm (and, thereby, hand) very high without considerable pain, and a hand about eye level with Spirit's eye is where a lot of the guide hand work takes place. So I told Colleen I couldn't really do that on this day.

"You can just watch," she said.

"Good!" I said. "That way, I can take notes -- and photos."

And here they are -- groupies included )
ar_wahan: (the boys)
I have a lot to post, including more woo-woo stuff from our trip to Japan, but I will say this about my visit with Spirit today. I went down to work him on the ground with Colleen and it was pretty amazing. That's all for now. Spirit is smart and sweet and I already knew that (that's why I bought him, after all), but it was very nice to work with him and see it.

Aaaiiee!

Jan. 20th, 2010 09:23 pm
ar_wahan: (the boys)
Just watched a DVD of a film, "Coyote Summer," about an angsty teen girl who is forced to spend a summer on her aunt's ranch and helps a (very cute) Native American ranch hand train (from DVD liner notes) "a wild thoroughbred horse." The horse was never meant to be a mustang, but a domestic breed, and in this case, the horse was just supposedly untameable.

The horse shown through most of the film looked like a Freisian, so I thought the liner-note writers were making the common mistake of confusing "thoroughbred" with "purebred."

But no. Abut 3/4 of the way through the film, the horse lost his thick crest and massive "feathers" on his legs, and turned into a thoroughbred, or at least some sort of warmblood. Basically, they swiched horse actors.

And then the horse ends up barrel racing, because it can't do a futurity thoroughbred horse race because it is stolen. (Yes, spoiler there, but it's unlikely any of my flist would see this film anyway.) I'm not sure thoroughbreds would be very good at barrel racing, but maybe I'm wrong there.

[ETA: At one point, the characters chop off the Freisian's down-to-muzzle forelock to disguise him. A few scenes later, it's back to where it was. Fast hair growth, to be sure!]

Still, horse actor switching aside, it was an OK film. And if anyone remembers Bruce Weitz, who played "Animal" on "Hill Street Blues," it was fun to see him as the bad guy, with the same little sideways, smirking grin.
ar_wahan: (Default)
Well, blessed be, my cranky office monitor has been behaving itself! It didn't flake out on me at all on Saturday, when I spent much of a beautiful, sunny, warm day inside burning CDs to back up my files. Yes, I know, I should have done this long since. (A few years ago, I took my CPU in for a *tiny* problem, and Best Buy sent it off to HP, where instead of fixing the problem and returning the CPU to me, they trashed it and told me to get another one. So I lost all my work files.)

Anyway, as of Friday, it looked as if the Gateway that I got to replace it was the culprit, so I backed everything up on CDs, thinking I'd be hauling it to Best Buy (where it's under a service contract) and hoping history did not repeat itself.

Today, the monitor is still acting OK. Yes, yes, I *did* unplug and replug the cable between the CPU and the monitor -- did this on Thursday -- but the problem was still there Friday. Perhaps in *replugging* it back together Saturday, in order to back up the files, I made a better connection; or perhaps moving the CPU around giggled a loose video card inside back into place. Dunno. In any case, it's working now, and if it fails again, I can take the Gateway in and keep working on my older CPU, thanks to the CDs.

Spouse said yesterday that M., the wife of S. (a UU couple, lesbians; he knows M. because she is serving on our town's personnel committee, and she and Spouse are working with police on their contract) is interested in learning how to fly fish. I asked S. today if perchance she liked to ride horses. She does! So we may work with Spirit and Pixel in the paddock some time in the future if M. and Spouse go fishing.

I came home all fired up to clean the house, which is a pit. I'd like to have M. and S. over here for dinner, but can't while it looks like this. I did clean the upstairs bathroom a little, and did laundry, but not much else.

Today was/is cloudy and rainy. The benefit from the TENS treatment I had on Thursday has apparently worn off, and my tailbone area was hurting again this morning. Someone at church asked if I was OK, because she was seeing something on my face across the closing circle that we do at the end of the service. I told her my back hurt. She nodded, being in chronic pain (far more than mine) herself.

I don't know if that is why -- that pain --> tiredness, but right now, at not even 7 p.m., I am very weary and just want to go to bed. I haven't even gone out to feed the horses yet! I sneezed a moment ago, too. Allergies? Coming down with something? Again, I dunno. I ache all over, not just in my lower back.

So, I'm going to surprise and delight the horses by feeding them a little early tonight, so I can get dinner in the oven without having to think about much else.

Take care, everyone, if I'm not back on LJ tonight.
ar_wahan: (Default)
The vet was scheduled to come at 1 p.m. to give our horses, Pixel and Spirit, their annual shots (I had to delay this because of the unexpected high cost of having to have him put Little Boy down in July due to severe colic... between that and college tuition, I just couldn't swing another vet bill until now. And in truth, I can't really even do that very comfortably this week, but once that check being cut for me today arrives, it'll be fine).

Anyway, I have an assignment to finish, library volunteering to do, then a rehearsal from 7 - 9 p.m. followed by counting ballots at the polls. So adding the vet visit into the mix was causing me a bit of anxiety.

He just called to say he's been asked to come attend another colic case in Ludlow, which is some distance from here, and would I mind waiting until next week?

Well, of course not! Even if I wasn't awfully busy, I'd want him to try to save a horse with colic!

Anyway, I seized a little time to put up the photos of our ancient ballot box (see previous post). The Town Clerk said a lot of people were taking photos of it today!

OK, back to work ...
ar_wahan: (Default)
The bill from the vet arrived today.

Veterinary expenses incurred while tending to Little Boy in his final hours in this lifetime: $730.40.

Burial (by local excavator, bill arrived yesterday): $150.00*

What I paid for Little Boy in 1992: $450.00

Having Little Boy be part of our lives all those years ...


Priceless.


Run free, my dear boy.


* Less than anticipated, actually, given the time and care the guy took.


P.S. Yesterday I raked over the area where he is buried in our back yard and scattered grass seed around and tried rather unsuccessfully to rake it into the soil. I didn't water because, silly as it sounds, I was wiped out. Today a gentle rain came, not a hard and driving one, and I am grateful for that.
ar_wahan: (Default)
You now no longer have arthritis, or cataracts, and once more have young teeth to happily graze on grass forever green on the other side.

Photobucket

We love you.
ar_wahan: (Default)
I was amused today to come home with very similar products for a horse and a human (each getting long in the tooth).

ar_wahan: (Default)
After our extended cold weather this spring, Pixel (left) and Little Boy are soaking up the sun. The white stuff on the ground near Pixel is winter hair that Samurai shed off her. Little Boy's been "shed out," too, but you can tell he still has a lot of his winter coat to lose!

ar_wahan: (Default)
I was planning not to have to work this week, Samurai being out of school and all; I was going to do the two assignments due January 2 last week. But Fate intervened.

When we built our barn in 1988, various land use issues (building code setback requirements, wetlands issues, etc.) pretty much limited where I could clear my paddock and site the barn. As it turned out, what seemed initially to be a flat piece of land was not -- and all the surface runoff ran straight down to where we built the barn. The result has been a muddy mess where the horses try to enter the barn. I had one excavator out here in the early 1990s to try to fix it by creating a drainage trench, gravel-filled, to pull the runoff away from the barn, but it eventually stopped working.

This fall was the worst I've ever seen. It was like pea soup on the paddock side of the barn entrance. I couldn't stand watching Little Boy, in particular (who has arthritis) try to make his way though the mud. A neighbor who used to work for a landscaping contractor told me his former firm could handle the problem. I thought this odd, since I always thought of them as pretty terraced walls and nice shrubbery, but he said no, they'd handled drainage issues when he was with them, including one at a dairy farm that had exactly my problem. (That made me feel better, at least -- I was not alone!)

So I called said company, and a really nice guy named Steve came out and said yeah, there were ways around this. Part of the reason my earlier attempt at fixing it had failed is that the excavator had not protected the gravel with landscape fabric -- nor had he used a perforated pipe in the trench -- so over the years, the "fines" (fine sediment) had clogged the gravel trench. They could fix it, but it would have to wait until March or so.

OK, I thought. Once the ground freezes and snow fills up the uneven footing in the muck, it will all "flatten" out temporarily.

Well, on 12/19 I got a call. The mild weather we've been having meant the firm was finishing up its other jobs early. Could the crew come on Thursday?

Yikes!

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