Thursday, July 31, 2008

Of Horses and Sons....

The area that we live in, is inundated with horses and horse people. It seems that just about everyone either currently has a horse, or has owned a horse in the past. The funny thing about this though, is that they are predominantly women, and when I say "predominantly," I mean predominantly! Back when I used to show in 4-H, the ratio of girls to boys was literally about 300:4....and that is being generous. My sister, Beki, was lucky enough to snag herself one of those boys, and they are now married...although he is no longer a boy...he is ALMOST 30...teeheehee..gotcha' SAM!!!!!

Anyway, what I am trying to say, is that I never really grew up around boys at all--I have three sisters!--let alone any boys who liked horses, so it is a strange feeling indeed, that I get when my son says that there is nothing like the smell of a barn with horses in it, or that he likes to ride bareback better than riding in a saddle. What???? I never know what to say. "Uhhh...good Eric, all girls...I mean boys...should love the smell of a barn?" Don't get me wrong...I am thrilled that my son likes horses, it's just that it definitely takes some getting used to...on my part. He is thinking that he might want to join the Jr. Rodeo, and I am all for it, because I KNOW that there are cowboy mentors there!

Because I have been riding bareback so much lately, Eric said that he wanted to try it too. I think that Bo was glad to see the bareback pad come out again. Amber's new Western saddle weighs about 45#, and I always feel guilty placing it on Bo's back....only because I then place myself on his back, and that, combined with the weight of the saddle, is a lot!!!
To my surprise, Eric took to bareback riding like a cat takes to a plant takes to, I think that you get where I am going!!!
Hey...where did the helmet go???? Eric says he took it off at some point, and forgot to put it back on. Mmmmhhmmm.....sure you did!Next, we have Miss Katie, who was still practicing what she had learned from her lesson earlier. She traded her new paddock boots for her old tennis shoes though, because we bought
them a little large--so she can grow in to them!--and she said that they felt like they were going to fall off when her feet were not in the stirrups. Good grief, Katie!!! They are not THAT big!!!Waska looks like he is being very careful with his new, bossy, little, rider, doesn't he?
Then it was Amber's turn to ride Waska. He looks a little worried about that doesn't he? That's because Waska is quickly learning that kids are easy riders...that they don't ask for too much...unlike his main squeeze, Amber :)
"Oh comes the "Waska, set your head," and "Waska, pick up the right lead," and Waska, half-pass to the left...then right!" I wish that Katie was still on my back."
Despite all of his grumbling, Waska behaved pretty well for Amber. He is still learning how to collect himself and pull it all together stop having his front end and hind end doing two different things at once?
Ahhhh....much better Waska and Amber!!!
When Amber was done working Waska, I stole Bo from Eric and we worked on backing and side-passing an "L," opening and closing gates...without letting go, and on picking up the canter from a stand still. Amber says we have to practice for the next trail challenge, so I do not look like someone who does not know what they are doing. Excuse me??? That sounds like a dare to me :)
Hope that everyone has had a great week so far, and I will have lots more to post this weekend.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Esther and Grandma Come to Visit!

This is Esther, and she would be my little sister, if dogs could be sisters. Now that you are shaking your head, and saying, "This girl has lost it," I will just say that she is my mom and dad's crazy Aussie. She looks a little unhappy in this picture, because my mom had just left to pick up her car, and Esther does not like when she gets left behind.Luckily for Esther, my kids were bored, and they decided to play "dance" with her. She is really smart, and missed her calling as an agility should see her clear the six foot fence that surrounds my backyard!! If you hold a treat over her head and say "Esther, dance" she will, so Eric held a doggy treat up and said "Dance, Esther, dance," and she did. Amazing what dogs will do for food..horses too...and kids...and me... :)
Notice Jinx watching Esther's dancing feet. " I could do that if I wanted to," he thought nonchalantly.
...Or maybe not! Poor Jinxy has no athletic ability. That was taken from him by his previous owner, when he was brutally kicked so hard that it broke his femur in two. Then, he was never taken to the vet, and his femur healed in to an "X" shape. Poor boy! All he can do is sit and stare at the floor. Willing a piece of biscuit to fall to the ground. "Please, please, please! I will be a good boy...until tomorrow!"
Kids and dogs...sharing some love! Much to Esther's happiness, my mom returned and picked her up. Grandma took us shopping today, and bought the kids some much needed "horsey" and breeches. Maybe I should stay a starving student a little bit longer (lol)! Thanks a bunch mom/grandma!!! It was/is greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Another Award..or Two...or Three!!!!!

Twinville, over at the Laughing Orca Ranch, passed the "Awesome Site Award " on to me--still not sure why yet!!--and now, it's time for my acceptance speech:
"First I would like to thank my mom, for having me and encouraging my love of horses.
Second I would like to thank my second grade teacher...." Hahaha! I am just joking with you!

Thank YOU, Twinville!!! I love going to your blog too :)

Then, Nancy, over at Nancy's Nonsense, insisted that I visit her blog and snag myself two more awards!!!
Thank you, Nancy!!!!
They are....

AND...Now, as all of you know, I am supposed to nominate others for these awards, but I have noticed that several of you already have them. So, to "share the love" and pass these lovely awards on, I am going to say that ANYONE who comes to my blog, and does not already have one of these awards, please feel free to award yourself!!!!!
Thanks again to EVERYONE who likes to take a peek at my life...just so you know, craziness is NOT transmittable via the!!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Old Gray Mare..I Mean Gelding...

What is cuter than a little girl in pink, on an old gray Arab??? Wait... let me answer that for you..."nothing!"

Doesn't Bo Bo look happy to have a bossy little girl, who kicks his sides incessantly--I am sorry Bo, but her legs aren't quite long enough for a nice, gentle squeeze!!-- and yells at him, smiling and sitting pretty upon his back? He probably wishes that he were back at his old house, fighting the the other horses for food...ummmm... OK, maybe not :)All of the horses are happy to see us when we pull in to Amber's driveway, but Bo always looks REALLY happy, for you see, Bo is character, with lots of personality, and he likes to have me and the kidlets around for his own selfish purposes. That way he can eat lots of grass, get brushed--especially in his itchy spots!!-- be ridden by lightweight people who don't ask for much--when compared to me!!--chew his tongue, drink out of cups, and eat Cheetos! What more could any horse ask for???

On another note...Twinville has nominated me for another award, so I will have to mosey on over, and pick it up, a little later on!
Thanks to all of you who come over and read my guys are the greatest ;)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Good Golly Miss Molly!!

The beautiful, talented, and glamalicious duo, who are Meg and Train Wreck, both gave me the Arte Y Pico award!
Wow girls, I feel so undeserving!!!
The reason I feel so undeserving, is because I just write about my daily life, which is NOT that spectacular to me, and my photographs suck!!! They are getting better, I will give myself that, but.....gee thanks, girls!!!! You are both TOO sweet!!
The originator of the award has this to say about it (thanks Pony Girl's blog!!):

"This prize has arisen from the daily visits that I dedicate to many blogs which nourish me and enrich me with creativity. In them, I see dedication, creativity, care, comradeship, but mainly, ART, much art. I want to share this prize with all those bloggers that entertain me day to day and to share this prize with those who enrich me every day. Doubtlessly, there are many and it will be hard to pick just a few. The people I will name today deserve this prize, as do the very long serious list of bloggers I also enjoy to read. But I will name the first 10 and leave the rest of the work to all the bloggers that visit other's blogs and are nourished by them."

There are also rules that go along with this award, and I copied then from Train Wrecks they are:

1. You have to pick 5 blogs that you think deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language.
2. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.
4. The award-winner and the one who has given the prize must show the link of the “Arte y Pico” blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.

Some of the blogs that inspire me daily are:

20Meter Circle of Life...always something good about her Arabs and dressage!

Dressage Beginnings...more dressage and another Arab!!!

Heidi and me my cross country/eventing fix, and has some excellent pics too!

Trailboss...go here if you want that no nonsense, down home, warm feeling!

Less Is More...just started reading this blog and it is very interesting!

Congrats girls!!! You all deserve this more than I do :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Week In Review

Much to my hubby's dismay--and despite my crabbiness!!--we had a rather horse-filled, action-packed, and all around "busy" week. The kids went swimming with friends; we gave Avalon her first experience around horses; Katie had her first lesson; we tidied up the fence and bought a new charger/hot box to zap the horses; and finally, Amber and I got to go for a nice, long ride! Perfect end to a not-so-great week!

This photo is another before and after shot. One minute we have Eric and Sienna, taking a moment to bond with a pose...
...and the next minute we have Bo, with Eric's swim trucks lying at his feet. Hmmmm...what do you supposed happened to Eric, Bo? Notice the innocence that is oozing from Bo's big, brown, eyes :)
"I didn't see nuthin'! I swear it on my hay!"Anyway, we found Eric. He was in the tack room of the trailer, changing from his swim trunks to his Wranglers, when Bo reached in and grabbed them. Uhh huh...Bo is always looking for his next meal. You better watch out, Eric!
Avalon--a sorta cousin!--is visiting from California, and had never been near a horse. We had to amend that didn't we??? She was very patient about waiting for me to have an opportunity to take her up to Amber's, and I think that she had a great time when I finally did. She took to the cart easily enough, and also rode Bo, who pulled all of his "I am a smart, old, horse, and can tell that you know nothing," tricks on her. Way to go Avalon!
Miss Katie had her first lesson on a darling pony named Elmer. She is going to learn English riding first, and then she can do whatever she wants...I am hoping jumping or dressage :) See here I go...another parent living through my kid...just joking (lol)!!!
I call this one " How many kids does it take to halter a pony?" Both of my kids have a difficult time with Sienna's halter. I think that it is because it is soooo small. See Amber's dog Duke? He has demonic, yellow eyes. Duke is what happened when a neighbors Catahoula Hound got in with my friends Australian Shepherd. He is a good boy...most of the time!
As you can see, at Amber's house, we lock Eric in the paddock with Sienna. Haha...not really!!
Eric and I were on fence duty, and had to walk around the perimeter to remove anything that was touching the hot wire. Sienna just wanted to tag along. She was hoping that Eric would discover something to eat in all of those flowers.There's Miss Smiley Face again! Yes, even when she is picking up manure, she smiles. Waska is also helpful around the farm. He was out eating grass, when he realized that someone should supervise Amber and Eric, while they were picking up manure.
"Oh look, you missed a piece,"he said. Amber and Eric just walked away. Sorry Waska, people don't always listen to me either! At the end of all of our hard work, we decided to saddle up the ponies and let the kids ride for a while, then it was our turn :)
Katie, being very in tune with Bo--not really, it just sounds good!!--offered him what water was left in my cup, and Bo, being an old show horse, knew exactly what to do!
"Why thank you, Katie! I was so very thirsty."
Hope you all have a great Saturday! I will post again that a threat or a promise??

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Do You Ever Have Days...

Do you ever have days--or weeks!--when you feel like this???? I cannot seem to get back on track after being gone for a week. I think that my mind and body are rebelling against the COLD, GRAY, days that we have had since we returned from the sunny East side :(
My allergies are killing me too--it doesn't help that I just started allergy treatments either!!--and I feel tired and cranky ALL of the time lately....grrrrrrrr!!!

As you can see, Waska felt the same way yesterday. "Watch out crabby girl, here I come!"Ahhhh...nothing like a handsome horse to put a smile on my frowning face :) We have been pretty busy the past two days, and I have some good pics to post...when I fell like it...hahaha...just joking! For real though, I will think happy thoughts and compose later. Hope that none of you are as crabby as me (lol)!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tagged...About Me!

The ever talented and oh so lucky, Linda (aka "Rancher Woman),"over at the 7MSN Ranch blog, dared me...I mean tagged reveal six things that other people may not know about me.

Hmmmm...let me think about this....OK, I am ready!

1) I never really reveal my name or anything about myself, name is Melanie, and I am 33--soon to be 34!!--years old, and have been married to my husband, Kevin, for 12 years. And you thought that YOU were young when you got married Linda (lol)!

2) As a child, I wanted to be a veterinarian, and I started to work for one when I was 12. I continued to work for this particular vet for 10 years, but somewhere along the way, I realized that I did NOT want to be a vet, so I jumped over to human health care and became a nurse. I became pregnant with my first child just as I was about to step into a bachelors in nursing program, so I decided to wait until I was done with having kidlets, before I went back to school.

3) I am currently back in school, but low and behold, I am NOT getting my bachelors in nursing, rather I am pursuing my bachelors in social work, psychology, and cultural anthropology. Who knew??? Now when I grow up, I think that I want to go to graduate school, and possibly become a therapist/counselor. We will just have to see :)

4) Want to know my secret desire? I would love, love, love, to go live in a different country, preferably a third world country, and help people. Help them plant their crops, help them with health care, help them with housing...weird, I know. Of course, helping goes both ways, and the knowledge that I could gain about another culture and their way of life, would be priceless. Think about all of the interesting people I would/could meet...maybe one day...when my kids are all grown up...

5) OK, here is some horsey stuff!
I have always ridden and loved horses, and I got my first pony when I was 11. I was a 4-H member for seven years, and not only showed horses, but competed in record book keeping, judging, and public speaking. I really like judging and always thought that it would be fun to get a judges card in some area of showing...maybe one day...when my kids are grown! I am a "well rounded" equestrienne, and have ridden just about every discipline except for saddle seat or park. I have just never had a horse that was able to do it, otherwise I probably would have. Oh...I have never roped either, much to my son's chagrin!

6) I have seriously, I do! Thankfully I see a wonderful psychologist who has helped me immensely using...ahem...behavior modification vs. having to take meds. Let me tell you one thing that I have learned from my social work and psych classes: MD's do NOT correctly diagnose many mental health disorders. I know this from working as a nurse for ten years as well. If you are having any issues and you have seen an MD who has said "Oh. You are just depressed. Take these pills and see me in 6 weeks," go to a licensed mental health counselor, therapist, or psychologist, and have THEM figure out what is wrong with you. Chances are it's NOT just depression! OK, I will get off of my soap box now!

I hope that I did not bore you to death! I could go WAY deeper, but I will stop now :)
I am tagging--you do not have to play along if you do not want to!!-- and some of you may have already been tagged by another person:
-20Meter Circle of Life

-JesterJigger @ Dressage Beginnings

-Heidi @ Heidi and Dave

-All Things Horses

-Pony Girl...although you ALWAYS share a lot about yourself!

-and anyone else who wants to play along!!!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

While the Cat Is Away...

...the mice will play!

I wanted to share that while I was gone on my mini-vacation, Amber and Trailblazer Martha went to a trail challenge that was set up on a cross country/eventing course, waaaay down South. They placed 2nd and 3rd overall in the championship class. Way to go girls!!! Now, they want moi to go with them and compete on Bo...hmmmm....let me think about it...OK!
Amber said that the course was three miles long, and you basically cantered, or galloped, between each station. There was a waterfall (pictured below) that they had to ride under, covered bridges and tunnels to ride through, water jumps (also pictured below), platforms that they had to side-pass and/or back on, logs to get the idea!
I am not sure why these pics uploaded so small, but Amber and Waska are going under the waterfall above, and just finished their "jump" into the water below.
Curly, Martha's horse, is a great little jumper, and he has no problem clearing anything that he and Martha have run into. Here the two of them are right after clearing the water jump. Isn't Curly handsome???
You will also notice that Martha wears a helmet during the race..good Martha...and that Amber does NOT wear a helmet...bad Amber!!! Anytime jumping is involved, you better have your heady head protected :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Water Plus Boat Equals Fun

While on vacation, we did a lot of fun things, like rent an eight-man party barge, water ski with friends, and lay around on sandy beaches. We decided to rent a party barge one afternoon, and we ran in to some friends of ours, who also happened to be at the lake last week. The "friends" are actually Katie's kindergarten teacher and her family, and we hung out with them a lot. They were great, and took us out on their boat for a whole day as well. They also taught Eric how to water ski, had lunch with us, fished with us, swam with us, went to the laser show with us...basically we had a good time with them!
Here is Mr. Coolio himself, enjoying his time on the party barge.
"Who you lookin' at?"Bud Bud as he was rising up out of the water.
Not only is Mrs. J an excellent kindergarten teacher, but she is also an excellent water skiing teacher as well! As you can see from the pics, there are a lot of "rocks" at Banks Lake. We stopped at some tiered ones, so the kids could jump off of them for a while. Mrs. J and myself also jumped, but you are NOT allowed to see pics of us in our swim suits (lol)!These particular rocks had platforms that were as high as 25-30 feet above the water, and as low as 3-5 feet, so the boys started lower and ended up higher. There were people jumping off of 50 plus foot rocks, but there was NO way that I was going to allow my kid to do that...or even myself!Miss Katie Kate did not like the water as much as me and Eric did. "It's too cold" was about all she had to say about the lake! She preferred to drive the party barge. Is that a sign of things to come? I hope not!
Not only did she like driving fast boats, but she also liked getting up on stage and karaoking with another little girl from our resort. I am definitely NOT letting her go anywhere on spring break when she is in college!!!
A big group of kids dug a huge section of sand out of the beach at the resort, filled it with water, and called it their hot tub. There was no way that I was getting in that thing! I am sure that it was full of all of the little kiddies pee...ick!!!!
The boys did a lot of fishing while we were at the lake, but Eric was the only one who caught anything. Here he is with his first Bass. "Well lookie what I got here! That there is a bonafide Bass fish!" OK, my son does NOT talk like that, but it would be funny if he did...tee hee hee!!
And of course, what would a family vacation be without a family photo...minus mom?
...and why, oh why, does my 6'4" husband, insist on kneeling down on the ground and taking pictures of me, while looking up?????? He always has a knack for making me look like a giant blimp in pictures! He is officially fired as picture taker, and no, my body is NOT that distorted looking in real life (lol)!!

All in all, we had an excellent time, and are sad to be back to the 75 degree, humid, allergy infested, part of our state!


Ahhhh...we had a GREAT vacation!!!! I honestly did not want to come back, which was really kind of weird, considering that we did not have a computer, TV, or telephone. Our cell phones didn't even work! I have always wondered if I could survive without modern technology, and I did a pretty good job of it. Of course, if we lived out where we vacationed, we would have all of those things, but it was nice to go without them for a little while (lol)! We vacationed at Banks Lake, which is a 28 mile long, man-made, reservoir-type, lake, that was created to be used for local farm irrigation. It had breathtaking views, and I quickly fell in love with the "desert" of Washington...even if it included rattlesnakes and ticks!Pretty, pretty, lake! Banks Lake is located about 10 minutes south of the Grand Coulee Dam, so of course, we had to make a couple of trips to see this amazing dam--it is the largest concrete structure in the world!!--and we even went to the laser, light, show, twice!
Every night, at 10:00 sharp, they release water from the dam, and have a narrated laser show. It is pretty amazing, and it tells you about the history of the area, and also about the history of the dam itself. All I can say is "Pretty darn cool!" Ahem... I was also shocked to discover that the Columbia River starts at the Grand Coulee Dam. I did not know this little piece of history, and thought that my hubby was kidding me when he told me that. He was not! The water that you see at the bottom of the dam is the actual starting point of a rather large, and impressive river, and I had NO CLUE!!! Shame on me!
At least my children now know this important piece of Washington state history! I must have been sleeping when they covered that back in high school...or maybe I was talking! I was ALWAYS talking!

Sunday, July 13, 2008


No, this is not an add for sunscreen and bug poison. It is just a picture that shows what my family and I will be wearing for the next week...that's's vacation time!!!!
I had a really funny story that I wanted to blog about before we left, but I guess it will have to wait...oh well..... I won't be taking my computer, and I hope that I won't go through blog withdrawal...tee hee hee!!!
See you all in about one week!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Cabalero Update

Sorry to bore you with Bo Bo pictures, but look at how good he now looks, when compared to two months ago. After two months of senior supplement, and lots of riding/exercise, he is now developing a hind end that can drive forward, a top line that supports his abdomen (bottom line) and a bottom line that supports his back (top line).
Amber and I were a little worried that he would never resemble the "old" Bo again, but it appears that he is coming along nicely. I need to scan some old pics of Bo and Amber showing, so you can see just how handsome old Bo Bo can look!
When Amber first got Bo back and we started riding him, it was rather embarrassing, because he looked like a typical, backyard, underweight, scrawny, Arab. Not anymore!
As my mom likes to say, "Cabalero is muy guapo!"
I always wondered why his original owner chose to call him "Bo." I know Cabalero sounds like "Cabolero," but Bo? I would have called him Cabalero or Cabbi, I think, but Bo it was, and Bo it is.
When my kids were little, they both called horses "Bo Bo's," even after Amber returned him to his owner. It was a name that stuck, and we still drive down the road and say, "Hey! Look at the pretty Bo Bo's!"