Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Drum roll please - and the Liebster goes to...

[Quick clarifications about the last post:

That big 'ol branch did not land on us - I used that phrase in the title to acknowledge Val's version of events. His speedy violent avoidance of the branch surely saved us him from the imminent danger.

I hopped on and rode right after the fall so Val wouldn't get the idea that ditching me leads to easy street. It was the last thing I wanted to do, though I was hoping it might keep things circulating, or from stiffening up. Or something. Wrong - it probably just made things worse.

It's been three weeks since the incident. Things are just now healed up enough in the area in question that I would even consider riding.]


Awards season has rolled around blogland again. I dig awards (and prizes). Pretty sure Val does too. We've been chosen for the Liebster award.

The Liebster Blog Award is a way to recognize blogs who have less than 200 followers.  Liebster is a German word that means beloved and valued.  Here are the rules for accepting the award:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link back to their blog.
  2. List 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  4. Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate.
  5. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or fewer followers to nominate and include links to their blogs.
  6. Go to each blogger's page and let them know you have nominated them. 
Artwork courtesy of honeysuckle faire
DIsclaimer!! Because I'm a little late to this party, I may modify the conditions somewhat. If you get nominated and don't feel like fooling with it - more power to you. Awards should be fun, not stress inducing. ;D

 1. Thanks ever so to Mona from Panic and the Pony. I relate to the honest posts about struggling to learn dressage with her partner Tessa. Very inspiring. Also thanks to Allison over at Adventures with Shyloh. First of all, who doesn't love a darling, smart-alecky, haflinger pony mare? Seriously, the pictures alone are enough, but Allison's dry sense of humor keeps me coming back. 

2. 11 random facts:
  • I can tell what time it is from the angle of the sun - within a few minutes, every time. Ask my Dad. (not useful on cloudy days)
  • There was a ten year period where I had no car or television. By choice. The no t.v. part made me smarter, but was probably canceled out by a number of head injuries due to bike wrecks.
  • I have skinny dipped in the ocean at night when there were phosphorescent critters in the water... super beautiful but also scary.
  • In another life I could see myself as a veterinarian... (think of the savings!)
  • There's a bit of an issue with procrastination.
  • I have champagne tastes and a PBR budget. *sniff* I can do a lot with a little, but hopefully things will be different one day. I likes me some County saddles...
  • Fifteen years ago I moved from Brooklyn to the far hinterlands. I ♥ BKLN, but the middle of nowhere has it's good points.
  • I was in a little band while living in Texas, called Fertile Crescent. I suppose we were hippies. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
  • My love of gardening came from many summers of child labor on my grandmother's farm. I fondly remember the delicious smell of tobacco hanging in the curing barns. And sweating my a$$ off weeding endless vegetable rows.
  • I've only ever driven standard transmissions. Now that I tow trailers regularly, I understand the virtues of an automatic.
  • I have found over a hundred four leaf clovers.. maybe closer to two hundred. I don't search for them. They just stick out to my eyes. I'm saving them pressed for a future project. Hoping the luck part is true.

3. Answer the eleven questions given to you (picking from both lists)

How did I get into horses / were there horses in my childhood?
My grandma had a rank pony stallion that I braved barbed wire to get next to. I was smitten. My grandma tanned my hide. I read every horse book known to man and begged for lessons until my parents broke down.

What's the weirdest lesson / clinic you've ever done on horseback?
The clinic was with Erik Herbermann. It took place two days after I bought Val, was a week long and seven hours away. I'd ridden him two or three times, never trailered a horse before, and was absolutely petrified. A great experience nonetheless.

Do you board or keep your horse at home?
I can see Val out of my bedroom window first thing in every morning. That's the best.

What nicknames do you have for your horse?
Mr. Man, Mr. Manteo, dude-man, buddy... (slightly embarrassed now)

What scares you most about riding / horses?
Not being able to work if I get hurt. Trying to perfect my hitting the dirt technique ;D

Describe your horse in three words...
my ♥ horse

Barefoot, boots or shoes?
Barefoot baby! 

What is your best skill round horses?
Wish I could say riding, but probably horse-keeping. My guy is very healthy and very happy.

What is the weirdest thing you've ever tried to feed your horse? Did he like it?
I was surprised that he liked iced (unsweetened) blackberry pomegranate green tea. The only thing he outright rejects is bute from a tube.

What other animals do you have?
Q the jack russell terrorist + three cats - Seven (possesses twenty four toes), Lucky Barnett (grumpy hunter extraordinaire and boss of the farm) and Alex (named after the hurricane he arrived with and was just about as welcome as).

What is your dream pony vacation? 
Either the Spanish Riding school in Vienna, or an Andalusian farm in Spain. Or both.

4. I'm passing along the same questions I answered above... call me a cheater.

5. This award is making the rounds so I've just picked a couple of blogs that hopefully haven't gotten multiple nominations yet... in no particular order:

Friday, June 14, 2013

In the Arena #147 - Back down to earth, or

'I probably shouldn't let him do that' was the thought that slowly (and too late) went through my mind while Val uncharacteristically reached up to snack on some grape vines cloaking a willow bough. A willow bough that had recently begun to hang down into our arena under its daily increasing weight. 'Damn - I shouldn't have put off cutting that branch down!" was the next thought.

In a heartbeat Val had snatched the vines. Then branch snapped, cracking like a gunshot over our heads. Not wanting to stay in the danger zone - besides the falling tree limb big around as my arm we were right next to my super hot electric fence - Val bolted. He was clear across the arena before either the branch or I had hit the ground, safety first being his motto.

In my defense, if I had been riding bareback instead of on my saddle, for the first time in many months, I'd have stuck with my pony. Or maybe if I had chosen to tighten my girth to the fifth hole as I always do, instead of mulling over whether the it might be squeezing Val's belly, causing his highness discomfort, and therefore leaving it one hole looser. Gravity always wins. Once the saddle slipped we went past the point of no return.

I didn't have the option of snatching his mouth because I was riding on the buckle, having a great post first lesson in forever warmup. And there were no worries about getting caught in the irons because I was managing my position, particular attention on not putting all my weight into them. So those parts were good.

Unfortunately I hurt myself pretty badly.

I landed on directly on my a$$. Smack dab in the middle of the left side to be exact. Too small of an area to cope with the all that force. I have never ever felt pain quite like that before, and I've broken numerous bones as well as smacked my head into pavement a few times. It was an excruciating combination of burning, stinging, stabbing and then numbness. At first I couldn't really move my leg. Bummer.

At this point I looked over at Val, who had the saddle hanging under his belly and was getting a little agitated. I calmed him down, pulled out my cell phone, and started assessing the situation. If I said I didn't start having a bit of a pity party, I'd be lying. Tears were shed. And there was cussing.

After dithering about whether I needed help for a few minutes, I stood up and tried to walk it off. Val was patiently waiting where he had stopped with an unsure look on his face. He stayed perfectly still as I re-saddled him. We headed back over to the fence, so I could remove the branch and vines to the other side, reassuring him that everything was cool now. He wasn't totally convinced, but really was an angel about the whole thing considering.

My pelvis felt super wonky, but I knew I had to get back on. I remounted, and we proceeded to have an excellent ride, other than pain and nausea, including a breakthrough on steering with my seat of all things.

So for those of you that have asked how my rides have been since the lesson - there you go. There's been one. It had it's ups and downs.

Nearest I can tell, what happened to my backside is that all my weight sent my pelvis trying to crash through the meaty part of my rear. I apparently burst a decent sized blood vessel, which immediately began to inflate an enormous hematoma, as well as create the mother of all bruises. At least I didn't hit my head (again), or try to catch myself and break my arm. Yay.

Picture taken that afternoon. Way bigger than my hand... the not colored middle part turned into the half orange. Yes, I really did post this picture. How could I not? ;D

What seems like thousands of  ibuprofren + arnica + ice + heat + massage + three weeks later, and the half a warm and very firm orange stuck to my butt is greatly reduced. (not a good look by the way)  My hips finally feel even and somewhat normal again. This weekend is going to be cool and breezy, perfect for riding. I think I'm ready...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


(may or may not reflect today's mood)

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