Sunday, January 31, 2010

My other Blog

I just thought I would let anyone who likes to garden know that I am documenting my adventures in making a straw bale garden in this blog:
A straw bale garden is just that. A garden that is made out of straw bales. You can learn more about them in my blog, which also has links to how to make a straw bale garden.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

9 pm

Moments ago I was snuggled in my warm bed. My dogs were curled up close under my well worn purple comforter. Touched by an Angel was playing on the tv and the angels had just appeared when I heard a loud bang outside. It is one of those sounds that a backyard horse owner doesn't want to hear.

Two days ago I went out to feed in the morning. It was cold and I had a bucket of chicken feed on one hand. Next to the barn my little sled was filled with hay and there standing next to a pile of hay, outside the paddock was little Ike. I sigh. The gate is broken. I call to Abby, who pokes her head out of the barn door. She is followed by two donkeys and two more minis. Luckily it was so chilly that none of the equines wanted to go very far. I doled out some of sweet feed to the horses and lured them back into the paddock.

Those are the moments that people who board don't have to deal with. They curl up in their warm beds and don't worry about their little horses safe in stalls. Those are the moments that we backyard horse owner's dread. Broken fences, low on feed and hay on cold nights, deicers that stop deicing, gates that are bent in half, the list goes on.

So I got out of my warm bed and pulled on my tall snow boots. I grabbed my dirty tan barn coat with three pairs of gloves in the pockets. Too lazy to zip up the knee length jacket, I wrapped my arms around myself as I tried to peer hard at the gate, which is now kept closed with a lead rope. The moon is out and shines down on the little barn, but it is still hard to see in the shadows.

It is not as cold as I thought it would be, and the outlines of little horse start to take shape. The shapes appear to be on the right side of the fence. As I get closer I can hear them munching on dinner. Dominique is there with Madison. I throw a little more hay over the fence and Rocky nickers from inside the barn. I toss more hay to him too.

From around the back of the barn a very large black animal looms. Abby walks up to the gate. I hold her head in my arms and pet her jowls. Resting my forehead against her star we just enjoy each other's company. I don't think I can quite put into words what those few quiet moments feels like. It makes getting out of a nice warm bed, very worth it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Really? Its Wednesday?

Well it is for very happy reasons that I have not blogged in almost a week. I have gained so much energy that I am actually doing things! Part of this is because of the vit. D, and part of it is because of the weight loss. I guess part is also just the out look I take on life now.

Well to some things up, I did lose 2 pounds last week, grand total is 15 lbs! I met my other goals too. So that made me feel so much better.

I have new goals:
1) lost 2 more pounds.
2) start How to Get Along with Difficult People. I am a people pleaser and I am trying to be more assertive. I find it hard to stand up for my rights and not let others control me. So hopefully I will get some tips.
3) ground drive Ike 4 times this week. It is cold out there darn it, but I am trying.
4) come up with some ideas to help poor Kinsey. She is a tormented soul.

Well I have been looking into what to do with Kinsey. I have made a very half heart attempt to sell her by putting up a Craig's List ad. I didn't even put on a picture so I bet that is not going to go any where. Someone would have to really be the right person.

I have been looking into ulcers. She fits the bill of a horse that would be prone to them. Stalled a lot, under stress, recently moved, and what not. Instead of having her scoped I am just going to go ahead a treat her. It ends up being much cheaper, and won't hurt her.

I am also lo0king into some more way out there alternatives. As I learn more about them I'll post. They include simple things and some really weird, but doesn't hurt the horse things. She is just a very distraught horse right now. Her eyes tell of a horse that really wants help. Her actions say, I'm not okay right now. In a month she is coming home and I hope a lot of healing can start then.

I went out to see her and play around on the ground with her the other day. After getting the ants out of her pants we had a long talk. She is stressed, confused, and leery of the arena now. I told her she was for sale, but only if the right person came along and I explained why. Am I wacked out? I don't know but I really think she did understand some and think she had things to tell me too.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Driving Lesson #1

I have a little miniature horse named Fike's Angel Fire. Sweet little guy, I call him Ike. I have had Ike for several years now and he is a great little man, but I have not been using him much. I drove him bit when I first got him, but he has sat for a few years now. Well as after getting so frustrated with my big horses I thought I would start driving the him again. Except I was never really taught how to drive properly, it is not just like riding only you sit behind.

When you drive you don' t have your seat or your legs, two of the main aides you use when riding. It requires more more reliance on voice, rein , and a whip. Also when driving your horse really needs to be well behaved. As my trainer said today, "Riding a horse you can kill yourself, when driving you can take out 10 other people as well." Making the point that if a horse is loose with a cart behind him, he is dangerous to anyone in the area.

Our first lessons will be on how to get Ike ready to drive, then we will move on to actually driving. I am not using Ike for the lessons but will work on these skills until my next lesson. Today I got to work with Bill. If you look on R&S Rolling Ranch site under the For Sale area you will see Bill. Go look, I'll wait. . . .

Isn't he cute? ( my trainer really hates "cute" )

It was really a trip though, I can't say I learned a lot of new information. I learned about Roger and how he likes things done and why. Which is just as important. I know a lot of these skills, but how they are applied to driving is a new thing. For example, he was explaning the importance of the outside rein. Well that is one of the staples of dressage. . . "inside leg to outside rein". So it is more connecting dots and apply old skills in a new way.

I'll let you know more as I move along.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Positively Riding!

Today I would like to feature a website with a lot of good information and tools for a rider learning to overcome fear in riding. The site is called Positively Riding. It has many articles about a lot of tools I already have discussed: clicker training, daily affirmations, and goal setting. This site also has a place to meet and talk to other people with fear riding issues and learn from their experiences. These tools, plus many more, make this a great resource for anyone trying to get back in the saddle or further their progress in the saddle.

I think another step I am going to try is equestrian hypnotherapy. Basically this is a bit like doing visualization only someone else is talking to you telling your brain how to feel in situations. That might be a rather simplistic definition, but the technique has been used by many sports professionals to really be on their game. Not to mention for weight loss, pain management, and to stop smoking.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday Goals

Okay craptastic weekend aside, here is the scoop from past week.

1) Lose 2 lbs. by drinking h2o and tracking my WW points. a I actually lost 3 and got my 5% star for losing 5% of my start weight!
2) Finish That Winning Feeling Very close.
3) Try some different exercises this week. a I actually got Wii Active. I started the 30 day challenege.
4) See Kinsey and ride CJ. I want to ride Kinsey next month. . . mostly so she'll be a little more fit and I will be a little more thin! a I obviously saw Kinsey but I did not mention that I did ride CJ and actually trotted a few steps. I am actually not very comfortable in a western saddle, but it was good.

New Goals:
1) lose 2 more lbs.
2) Finish That Winning Feeling
3) Keep up with the 30 day challenge
4) I am not sure whatto put here this week.
Okay so I am calmed down a little. Eventually I will be able to ride a horse like Kinsey. I was just really bummed that now I don't have a horse to get my confidence back on again. And that I have two horses that I can't ride; and a few other issues. I mean besides CJ but I hate to use him too much, not that I work him hard.

I am going to be taking some driving lessons. A local halflinger breeder gives driving lessons. That should be fun, and I can start driving my little guy.

I also got sick, and feel like total crap.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Craptastic Day

Really. I am just bummed. I am so thankful to my friends who were able to help me to get through today and also that showed me that Kinsey, is not the horse I thought she was. She has issues. I knew that, but her issues are far more reaching that I had first thought. I am thankful I found about about them now, rather than later.

She is not an English horse. She is actually afraid of the English saddle, crappy trait for a dressage horse to have. Thankfully, for me, I was not on her when we discovered this. Someone came off~ not Kinsey's fault~ and she freaked out about the stirrups flopping. Well, okay, I mean that is something that you desensitize her to, along with plastic bags, paper feeds sacks, checks, anything made of paper or plastic actually, clippers, blankets, anyone moving around her head, anyone moving around her butt, anyone dismounting, anyone in her stall etc, get the picture? But what does all this say about her as a horse? She needs alot of support from her human. That would be fine if I didn't have my own issues.

I know you shouldn't ditch a horse just because she has training issues, but I already have one of those and Abby doesn't have the issues that Kinsey has. I was so hoping that Kinsey was going to be a rock that I could get my confidence back on. She is much better under western tack and I think she should go back to that. Besides these issues would have come out some where. She needs a supportive human to help her through her issues, which I could doif they were all on the ground but they are under saddle too. If I have to have a friend hold Steady Eddy CJ for me to get off, even though he won't move, what the hell am I supposed to do with a horse that flips out if you take too long dismounting.

Kinsey has trust issues, which probably means that even if she does get over these issues with others, she is going to need to get over them again with me because she is not going to just trust me. I don't have the time or confidence to put in the training she needs. I realize it would make a great inspirational story if I just dump all kinds of money I don't have into getting her right and she would be a great horse. I am just too practical.

Secretly, or maybe not to secretly I was hoping to get my confidence back on Kinsey and then go back to riding Abby. I would probably have better luck going the other way around. Abby is a rock to mount and dismount. Has little spooks and is pretty predictable.

Part of me now just wants to throw in the towel and have my lovely little ponies. I mean, I know that her issues are an excuse, but I have seen and heard about too many people with fear issues deciding to just cowboy up and ride the horse they have only to get hurt because they really had no business being on that horse with all the issues they and their horse had. I can't afford a nice stead Fjord or dead broke horse so I guess right now the only option is to take a break until I can get out from under these horses that I can't ride and save my money for lessons or a nice steady eddy. Also to keep losing the weight and exercising so that I am strong enough to ride again.

This all just happened though. Maybe I should give it some time.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Worry is a misused use of imgaination.

Today's quote is from The Psychology of Winning by Dr. Dennis Witley. Of course, I read it quoted in Jane Savoie's book, That Winning Feeling! Program You Mind for Peak Performance.

I have talked a lot about visualization and positive self talk. I talk about this with my students, at my Weight Watchers meetings, and basically with anyone who will listen. I believe so firmly that the key to being successful and happy is to be positive. I have almost made it my life's mission.

Last night I was working with a teenage student on her study skills. She is a sweet girl, but a very typical teenager. Before she left, I asked her to say, "I am successful." She refused. I mean REFUSED. "That sounds creepy," was her response over and over again. No amount of prompting or bribing would get her to say, "I am successful." Even though it was just her and I at the table. She would not say it. Finally she said she would get her friend to say it to her. I feel so sad for her because she may have some incidental success, but will not be over all successful because she has not program her mind for that success. She is afraid of success actually.

My teenage friend views herself as a failure. She has misused her imagination. If she is successful, she ignores that. If she fails, that just adds fuel to her belief system. I don't know what she thinks about when she is alone, but I know it is not of her succeeding. I know she does think of something, because we all do. We all have thoughts running through our head, "what if" scenarios. It is up to us to actually use those day dreams to our advantage and not misuse them by visualizing failure.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Moday's Weekly Goals

Okay last week:
1) Lose 1 -2 lbs. a1 lb.
2) Along those lines, do the body test on Wii fit and exercise every day for at least 30 min. aMostly meet. I did a lot of extra hard work outside and I am including that.
3) Read That Winning Feeling by Jane Savoie for at least 20 min at night. Over all goal to finish book by the end of the month. aWell on my way to being done.
4) See Kinsey 3 times this week. I have a hard time getting out there because she is so far away, which make getting anything done with her difficult. Failed miserably. I didn't go see her at all this week. I was too damn cold! I also really had to stuff I had to do, like get hay for the horses here. Still this reminds me of a quote from Ellen DeGeneres:
I gotta work out. I keep saying it all the time. I keep saying I gotta start working out. It's been about two months since I've worked out. And I just don't have the time. Which odd. Because I have the time to go out to dinner. And uh..and watch tv. And get a bone density test. And uh.. try to figure out what my phone number spells in words.

So for this week.
1) Lose 2 lbs. by drinking h2o and tracking my WW points.
2) Finish That Winning Feeling
3) Try some different exercises this week.
4) See Kinsey and ride CJ. I want to ride Kinsey next month. . . mostly so she'll be a little more fit and I will be a little more thin!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Excuses, excuses!!

Ellen's quote from tomorrow [don' task that is just the way it worked out] got me thinking, she seems to always hit the nail on the head doesn't she? I know keep saying I want to lose weight, workout, write more, and so many other things and yet where does the time go? By the end of the day I can not figure out when I did all day. I mean I watched a little tv, ran to the store, fed the horses, played on the computer, etc. You get the picture. Sometime it really does seem like I have been busy, but sometimes that is all it was, being busy. Not really getting anything done, but doing a whole lot of it.

Recently I actually had a reason, I was tired all the time. I would get up and within half an hour I wanted to go back to sleep again. I would slug around and eventually make it up to do something physical, which would really wipe me out and I would want to sleep again. The whole day went on like that. I eventually went to the doctor.

I have a great Doctor, she is not a MD but an DO, or doctor of osteopathic medicine. An DO differs from a MD in a few ways, although equally trained the DO is more holistic. They evaluate the whole person both physically and emotionally. They don't just exam the body in parts but also look at the body as a whole. So when I went in for a physically I had fasting blood work done, plus a few other things. My blood work came back with great results for cholesterol, triglycerides, and all that other stuff.

Surprising though, I found out I have very low vit D levels. Where we should have levels around 50, mine were around 14. For me, my muscles were weak, and hurt when I exercised, but that happens when you are out of shape and starting to exercise, except for me it didn't go away. I was tired. So tired, especially after I broke my wrist and was not outside. But I was a little depressed, I mean I fell off my horse after I was trying to make such gains in getting back to riding.

I am so happy that I finally went to doctor and got and diagnosis. I am an nature girl. I am outside a lot, so the idea that I would have a vit d deficiency did not even enter my mind. I found out though that if you are over weight, have a BMI of 30 or more, the fat takes the vit. D and alters it. I also don't drink fortified milk, if I drink milk it is my own goat's milk.

Now, after taking a vit. D supplement for 2 weeks, I have energy. My muscles ache, but not in the same way and mostly because I am exercising. I can not believe that I went so long without seeking medical advice. I was having nightmares about horrible diseases and then going to the other extreme of thinking I was just lazy.

Excuses are bad, but sometimes it is important to see if there is a reason. By the way, I still need to go in for a follow up check up. I just assume my weight is the reason for the deficiency, but there could be other reasons too.

Oh if you want to know more about Vit D Def. check out WebMd. A lot of people are deficient and just don't know it. Most doctors suggest a vit D supplement as well as a multi vitamin.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

This is the rider I want to be again.

I found some old pictures from when I was a kid. These are of my friend from high school, Lora, and her horse, Nappy. I am on the sorrel, Rebel's Hope. I must have been a senior in high school and this was the Lake Geneva Holiday Parade.

What I remember about being a rider from that time was not that I was brave, Lora was always braver than I, but I was confident on my horse. I trusted Hope with my life and in turn she took care of me. She was not a really good parade horse but even still we did this and she was okay, a little hot. She did not bolt and take off though. I believe one reason was because I never thought that she would.

This is what I loved about riding. Sharing a good time with a friend. Lora and I rode together because we had a good time and we both loved our horses. We laughed and just had a good time. It was not about winning ribbons or out doing each other. We did care who rode better, or who had the better horse, or any of that stuff that it seems goes on between rider in barns all the time. We just loved our horses and having fun with them.

I want to be that rider again. The one that is confident on her horse. Happy to ride, no matter what we are doing. Just to have those moments of feeling at one with my horse and being willing to go off and try different things, just because it will be fun. To share those moments with a friend. Laugh and cry and know it is all okay because we have friends and our horses.

I mean look at those two kids. They are just happy to being riding their horses.

By the way Lora as a blog of her own on her horse and his life with navicular.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"Do or Do not, there is no try"

Master Jedi Yoda wisely told young Luke Skywalker that in Return of the Jedi of the Star Wars movies. I was young at the time. I did not get it. I had always believe that trying was a good thing. We should try. Right?

It is not for lack of trying that has kept me off my horses. I tried a lot. I tried ground work and tried getting ready for a ride. Heck, I even got on Abby and tried to ride her. I was trying my heart out. Same could be said for weight loss. I know all about different diets and why so many of them don't work. I understand the role that exercise plays in weight loss. In fact a lot of my goals in life go unmet, even though I try so hard. I didn't understand Yoda.

Then thanks again to Jane Savoie, I learned that I should not try. Just as Master Yoda says, I should do it. If you tell yourself that you will try, what you are really doing is giving yourself an excuse to fail. "Well I tried and I couldn't." "Well at least you tried." Perfect, I tried and I'm off the hook now. My conscience is free because I did my best. . . well at least I tried to do my best.

Luke: I can't believe it.
Yoda: That is why you fail.

Why did I try? Because I didn't think I could succeed. I don't say I am going to try to drive to work. I know the way and I know how to drive a car. I don't have to try and drive to work, I just do it. A few weeks ago was a different story though, we got a lot of snow. The roads were bad. As I was leaving I was asked, "Are you going to work?" I replied, "I'm going to try." I did not know what the roads were going to be like or if I would succeed in getting to work or end up in a ditch.

All this goes back to positive thinking. If I try I am admitting I might fail but if I just do it, I am assuming I will succeed.
I am not going to try and see Kinsey this week. Nope. I am going to see her.
I am not going to try and trot on CJ this month. Nope. I am going to trot CJ this month.

Even saying, "I am going to trot CJ," my stomach gave a little lurch. I didn't feel anything when I said I would try. "I am going to trot CJ," is a much more powerful a statement. I don't have the out of saying, "Well I tried." It is assumed that if I say I am going to do it that I will. Even my brain realizes this and frankly the more I say and write, "I will trot CJ." The less my stomach lurches and the more confident I feel that I can.

"Try" has been put on my naughty word list from now on and we learned that Yoda really was wise.

May the force be with you.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Monday Morning Goals

Monday seems like a good as time as any to set goals for the week. I am so afraid to post goals that I won't meet them, but I'll be brave this week and see how it goes. If it goes well I'll post them on Mondays.

1) Lose 1 -2 lbs.
2) Along those lines, do the body test on Wii fit and exercise every day for at least 30 min.
3) Read That Winning Feeling by Jane Savoie for at least 20 min at night. Over all goal to finish book by the end of the month.
4) See Kinsey 3 times this week. I have a hard time getting out there because she is so far away, which make getting anything done with her difficult.

I think that a good number of goals for this week.

I am thinking of starting another blog for weight loss. It is all consuming of my mind right now as I am getting started and yet at the same time it is pivotal to being more comfortable on a horse.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Book Review: Chosen by a Horse

Anyone who is really a horse person, not just an equestrian, but a true horse lover, knows the powerful impact our horses can have in our lives. They, in that special way they have, heal us, give us freedom, and just touch us in a way that no other can. There is just something special about being able to work with, even be a friend with, a 1,000 lb animal that goes beyond words.

In this book, Susan speaks to us as horse lovers. She tells the story of Lay Me Down, an abused standardbred brood mare. Lay Me Down heals Susan in a way that only a horse could and she tells about the journey with this mare in a humorous and heartfelt way.

Not only do we learn about Lay Me Down, but the other horses Susan shares her life with and how they help her through out her life. Heart lifting and heart wrenching, this story really touched me. I was heal by a horse and I found a kindred spirit in Ms Richards.

I don't want to give the impression that this was a sugary sweet story though. It is real. Susan has real issues. She faces real problems and in the end it ends the way you think it would. Even still, it is a touching story.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Years

It's that time, isn't it? That time when we look back for a moment before we jump into making plans for the future year. I tend to just let December 31 flow into January 1 without much notice. No staying up until midnight and then sleeping until noon. Just a quiet reflection by myself.

After reading several blogs and what those people had accomplished in the last year I started to feel sorry for myself. what did I really do this past year? I did not write down plans for this year, mostly I was just hoping to make it through another year. Then I stopped and thought for a moment. I did have things I accomplished this year.

1) Start a weight loss program. I started Weight Watchers and I really find it one of the best ways to loss weight. Mostly because it is not a diet, but a new way to eat that takes in individual preferences into account.

2) Not only did I start, but I actually lost 10 lbs!

3) Start riding again. I actually did get on a horse in the past year. I came off and broke my wrist, but let's not dwell on the negative. I also found a horse that I really think I can ride and may have a buyer for Abby.

Okay there are other more personal goals I met, but those two are the ones that are most important here. Two goals is not that bad, especially for not having formally made any. Next year though I think it would be fun to look back and see what I have done.

Goals for 2010:
1) Start riding my own horse.

2) Ride my own horse walk/ trot/ canter.

3) Start working with Kinsey on Training level dressage work.

4) Take a few lessons from a dressage trainer.

5) Lose at least 4 lbs. a month. That is really low. I am actually hoping for 8lbs. 4 lbs a month and I will be half way through my weight loss by the end of the year, 8lbs and I will be done.

I am sure that I will add to that list, but it is a good start.