Saturday, May 30, 2009

March Gymkhana Part 2

We had yet another gymkhana today. The day started out really hot but the clouds came in and the wind picked up so it ended up being a really nice day.

Malachi and Lorna both won High Points in their divisions. This was Malachi's first high points! Sierra was a good girl today, not throwing any fits in the arena. She did throw a fit at the trailer when Amigo went off without her. She was so angry she pulled my purse out of the trailer, dumped everything on the dirt and stomped all over it. I'm not thrilled with that but at least she didn't aim for the judges in the arena.

We also took my new horse Missy. Lorna rode her in 5 schooling runs and she did great. You could tell that she was feeling better than the first time Lorna rode her when we picked her up, her ears were perked up and she happily trotted all over the place. She seemed to really enjoy being doing the events so Lorna wants to take her next month as well.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Busy Weekend

Our 3 day weekend consisted of exciting home related activities like going to the dump, butchering chickens, and getting wood for the winter. I think Paul needs to go to work just to relax!

Lorna was supposed to attend her first sleep over but it was canceled due to a major power outage at the end of last week. This opened up all kinds of possibilities for doing stuff around the house.

Hoof trimming was overdue so we started that, it's now a major undertaking with 5 horses. So major that we are finishing up the last 3 today, but that's more because I was lazy than anything else :)

We butchered 7 roosters on Saturday. They were getting to be too much for the hens so they had to go. Lorna was the one who did the most work, by the end it took her only about 20 minutes to skin and clean one after her dad chopped off the head.

The trash is done for another 6 weeks or so. It's not such a big job but I don't like to go to the dump during the week because I prefer to have Paul help with unloading the trash.

We spent over 4 hours at the horse trainer's place on Sunday. The kids worked a few of her horses and then we watched a breeding.

Yesterday we went into the forest for the first time this year to get a load of firewood. We found a great spot with lots of good downed trees. We are hoping no one else discovers our spot so we can go back for the rest on Sunday. While up there we discovered 2 letterboxes in a stump. We had fun reading the notebooks, one of the boxes came from New Hampshire!

I've decided to take the week off school since there was a holiday yesterday and Malachi's birthday is tomorrow (we always take the kids' birthdays off school). Maybe I'll be able to catch up on normal housework and sewing!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Vet observation

Lorna has now finished 3 days of observation at the vet. After her first day they called to ask if she could start coming twice a week, I guess she did a good job!

She is really enjoying the work so far. It's nothing glamorous or necessarily fun but she is getting to see a lot of new things. Lorna starts her days off with cleaning stalls for all the horses that are staying at the facility. She then does whatever jobs they have for her. Some days that means she gets to go out on ranch calls where she is the fetch and carry person for the vet. She has watched dentistry work, bandaging, immunizations, and pregnancy checks. Yesterday she was able to see the scope of a mare who is pregnant, the baby is only a few days old so she said it was just a little dot.

Before starting this Lorna was considering being a vet, at this point she is more excited about the possibility. She has a long way to go but I think this is the perfect way for her to determine if this is something she really wants to do. Her initial reservations were due to seeing her own horse die, but I think she's now realizing that isn't all a vet does. There is so much good and uplifting stuff that balances out the sad parts of the job. If nothing else I love being able to give her the opportunity to interact with others outside of our little homeschool!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

History Days

I'm going to take a quick break from bloging about horses to blog about something else. This weekend one of the small towns in our valley holds a "History Days" weekend. The town has a little museum and invites different organizations to either perform or do demonstrations.

Our Sweet Adeline's chapter is different than many others in that we sing all year round at various community events. Because we are such a small chorus we have the ability to fit almost anywhere. Most of these little performances will feature only a small portion of our chorus because people can't attend for various reasons or they aren't cleared to sing particular songs yet (we have to qualify on each song we sing at a performance).

Since I got into this to sing, I attend every performance possible! Lorna is in the process of switching to the baritone part, the most difficult of all the parts, so she switched off between that and lead (the part she sang before switching). So she slid from one side of the risers to the other depending on the part she was singing. I have to admit that I miss having her sing lead with me, we have lots of fun standing next to each other. But the benefit of her switching parts is that we may one day be able to sing in a quartet together. I'm told it's funny to watch us sing together because our mannerisms are so similar.

If you are wondering why one person is holding music, it's because one of the directors had to sing bass this weekend because we only had 1 bass available. Of course Lorna's outfit is never complete without her gymkhana belt buckle and her ostrich boots, she's a cowgirl even when we are singing!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


First, I just wanted to mention that we did eat the chicken I wrote about in my last post.

He was really tasty! Even though he was a bit on the small side he fed our whole family with a little rice and some carrots. We look forward to our next butchering attempt!

Now on to my insanity...

From the picture I'm sure you are thinking, "Another one!"

Yep, we picked up another horse today. She is a 7 year old Mustang (can you tell we absolutely love Mustangs?) that was sent to the trainer Lorna works with about a year ago. She had 30 days put on her and did great but has sat for the last year. Lorna rode her a little today to see how much she retained and she remembered everything! I even got up on her and walked her around the arena, she is exactly what I've been looking for in a horse. She walked a little and then stopped. I had to keep after her to keep her walking because she's pretty lazy. She needs to put on some weight and build up some muscle but Lorna's trainer thinks she will make an awesome trail horse for me.

Of course this means our plans with Hottie are now up in the air. She's a great horse and we haven't given up the idea of keeping her. She isn't progressing as quickly as we would like but she is still moving forward. I really don't want to take her back to the sanctuary because she has come a long way and I've grown quite fond of her. For now we will continue to foster her and see what happens. Luckily we just found a great place to purchase hay in bulk so even with adding another horse we will be saving a tremendous amount of money. More than enough so I don't have to make any kind of decision right now!

Lorna starts volunteering at the vet tomorrow so hopefully I will have lots of good things to post about soon!

Monday, May 11, 2009

May Gymkhana

Saturday we had yet another show. I think I spend more time blogging about our horses than anything else. That could be because we spend so much time with them!

Lorna and Sierra won high points in their division again. They may not get the fastest times in each event but they are very consistent. It's a nice way to end the day for Lorna since she has to watch her brother consistently beat all her times because Sierra is still in training. Sierra only had one "toddler moment" when she decided to aim for the judges to try to run them over. This is her new thing whenever she is asked to lope to the left, she takes off to the right really quickly (even though her head is pointed in the opposite direction) and aims for whatever else is in the arena with her. Lorna has a few ideas to work on this week to see if she can redirect Sierra's attention before she starts her little tantrum.

Malachi and Amigo continue to do really well together. Amigo has lots of power behind him and Malachi hasn't even tapped into half of it. He says he's content to just have fun and not push for better times but they continue to improve their times anyway. In one event he bumped up to the AA division. This season they started out in the FC division and now they runs most events solidly in the A division. Their bump up to AA was quite a shock! The thing we try to stress with the kids is that they should strive for control and clean runs before speed. I'd much rather see them run things well than just fast. We've noticed that many of the faster riders in our club aren't controlled so they spend a lot of the time knocking things over.

Now for something not horse related...

We butchered our first chicken yesterday!

I won't share the pictures of Lorna skinning it or Malachi playing with the head because I don't want to shock you, but the whole process wasn't as bad as I expected. Maybe it's because we've said we were going to eat them from day one so I've always looked at them as food, but I wasn't as bothered by it as I thought I would be. We will be eating him either today or tomorrow and we will see if the meat tastes as good as everyone says! One thing I will do next time is butcher more than one at a time. We don't have a large freezer so we can't do them all at once, but we can fit a few of them in there at a time and it would be a lot less time consuming if we did this in batches.

Friday, May 08, 2009


You often hear people bemoan the lack of commitment in today's kids. I'm going to bemoan the lack of commitment by adults!

As I've posted before, Lorna and I joined our local Sweet Adeline's chorus. I have really enjoyed learning to sing barbershop and straight acapella music. It has been fun to share this with Lorna as well. The problem I have is that when I commit to something I give 110% and expect everyone else to do the same.

It took me 8 months before I figured out how many members were actually in our chorus. Now that would be no big deal if we were in one of those large choruses with over 100 members, but it turns out we have about 23 members. I don't have an inability to count to 23, the lack of regular attendance by many of the members made it difficult to figure out how many singers we actually have.

The last 4 rehearsals we have averaged between 12 and 14 singers, this number includes a couple of new people just trying us out. I understand that people get sick and have unexpected things arise, but it gets to the point that (in my opinion at least) it's ridiculous. How do you have a functioning chorus when over a third of the members don't show up regularly?

Lorna and I decided that we would just give up after last contest but when I explained our reasons for leaving we were asked to stay and wait out some upcoming changes. I was told by a few members that if didn't like the way things were progressing I should become more involved. So we did both things, I joined the team that makes decisions for the group and we stuck around. I have a better glimpse into what is going on behind the scenes and I've made some suggestions. Things aren't getting any better though and it all boils down to a lack of commitment by people who supposedly want to be part of this group. It's frustrating to myself and everyone else who show up every week, practice our music outside of rehearsal, and truly want to get better.

I still wonder whether I made the right decision to stay but since I made a commitment to be on the team I don't feel I have the luxury of quiting until my term is up. That's the thing about commitment, when you make one you have to follow through!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Sierra the Cowgirl?


I don't know if you can tell but in the above picture of Lorna on Hottie, Hottie has a bit in her mouth!

One of the perks of Lorna working with a trainer is that Lorna gets to take her horses down and get help working with them. Lorna not only gets help but she also learns a lot about fixing certain problems.

We had tried a number of things here at home but the trainer had a few tricks of her own. She ended up getting hay string off of a bale of hay, braided it together and got Hottie to accept it in her mouth. It wasn't easy the first time but she eventually got it in her mouth a few times. She left the string in the horse's mouth for about an hour while she and Lorna worked with Sierra who's new favorite thing is rearing. A little later the trainer went back, wrapped the bit in vet wrap to keep it from clanking on her teeth, and worked on getting the bit in. After just a few tries it worked! She again left Hottie in the bit and went off to work with a different horse.

I was afraid that we weren't going to be able to duplicate this at home but it wasn't a problem. One thing we found was that once we got past getting the bit in Hottie's mouth she hated having something put over her ears. We've been working on this whole process at home and she has finally stopped tossing her head around while we try to bridle her. She still needs to learn to keep her head dropped while we are putting everything on but she is progressing!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

yurtcraft: May Day--Give Away

yurtcraft: May Day--Give Away

I'm linking to this blog, not just because I really want to win the give away, but also to give a little advertisement for a fellow pad maker!