Blog .:. January 2010 6 Entries

I need a personal shopper

27 January 2010 Comments

Maybe it’s because I started in hunter land, but I really hate Dressage bridles. They’re so… big. And blocky. And padded. And cranked. And blingy. And full of buckles. And the padding is all contrasting colors. And they’re black. And…

Unfortunately, I suspect my budget is not going to give me the luxury of buying a brown dressage saddle quite yet, so I’m going to have to buy a black bridle. My hunter princess soul is dying a little bit.

So if you happen to know of anyone that sells, well, basically hunter bridles in black, please let me know. No bling. No mile-wide nosebands with yard-thick padding. If there must be padding, absolutely no contrasting colors. No crank nosebands. No bling! No buckles where hook and studs would suffice! (I’m looking at you, cheek pieces).

If I have to, I’ll pull out my old hunter bridle. The leather is dark enough that it might just pass for black.

And as long as you’re window shopping for me, if you happen to have any recommendations on galloping/brushing boots that you love to pieces, let me know. I don’t need anything high tech and pushing $100/set, but something that would keep the mare’s legs reasonably cool in the summer would be great. Every time I go look, I get distracted by open-front jumping boots and hind ankle boots.

Tagged: Fashion, Horses

I should have known better

25 January 2010 Comments

I am sitting on the couch with various parts of my body on ice and other parts on heating pads and others being smothered by Pook… although, to be honest, I think she’s just trying to steal the heating pad.

Today started out so well; it really did.

After a fantastic lesson yesterday that culminated in some incredible trot work at the end, I was on a high. I tacked up for today’s lesson and off we went. Wind blowing scary dry leaves across the arena roof? Horse and I dealt with it. Flying lawn chair attacking us? We survived. (I feel obligated to point out the lawn chair never actually came near us, although it did come towards us.) Pattern work to focus on becoming more consistent when stringing things together? It went well. There may be hope for the show ring yet. I wasn’t sure, since completing movements individually and taking a few minutes to set up for the next one (my preferred modus operendi) is generally frowned upon in the ring.

Horse was put away with many pats and I went home.

Where I looked under the bed, trying to find Onyx’s toy. It all went downhill from there.

Because there, under the bed, were three white mystery boxes. They are indirectly (and in one instance, directly) responsible for my current state.

When I moved down here from the far North, I didn’t have a lot of time to plan. Stuff got thrown in boxes. Specifically, stuff got thrown in these three boxes. They were never unpacked at the last apartment, and since I hadn’t needed whatever was in them for a year, when I moved to the new apartment I just shoved them under the bed.

I’ll just go through them, I thought. I have some clothes that need to go to Goodwill, and maybe I can clear these boxes out, too.

I bet there are people in the world who would decide to go through three boxes and just, you know, go through them.

I am not one of them.

Clothes that need to go to Goodwill, I thought again, looking at my armoir. I bet there’s more in there.

I attacked the armoir, dusting and cleaning and sorting clothes and trying to figure out why there is always a stray, mismatched pillowcase in every house, and no one ever talks about them. People talk about stray, mismatched socks all the time. Why the cult of secrecy around the pillowcase? Then I turned around to get to the boxes and saw my little tack trunk. I wonder what’s in that, I thought, not having seen where this was going yet. I pulled everything out, took inventory, cleaned a few things, put it all back, and remembered the other box of horse stuff in the closet. Maybe some of that stuff would be better stored in the tack trunk?

First I had to go through the camping gear, then I had to put away all my suitcases, which were breeding again and spawning little day packs, and then I got to the horse stuff. Clean, sort, shift some stuff to the little tack box, notice the bookshelves on the way over…

An hour and a half later, the book shelves were cleaned and organized and I turned, at last, to the three little white boxes. Which were under the bed.

A normal person would, of course, just pull them out from under the bed. A normal person would have done this hours ago. A normal person would probably have already had them sorted and put away again. I was three hours into “going through the boxes under the bed,” and I was only just now contemplating the boxes under the bed.

The bed, I thought. The mattress should be flipped around.

Oh yes. Yes, I did. I pulled the mattress/box spring off the frame, stood them up against the wall, and looked thoughtfully at the boxes under the bed. Or, to be precise, the boxes that had been under the bed and were now corralled by a sad-looking bed frame. Since I don’t have a head or footboard, and the bed frame was in the way, I leaned it up against the mattress and box spring.

And then, finally, I started sorting the mystery boxes. Which had nothing very interesting in them. Certainly not my cutting board. My cutting board disappeared in one of the moves, and I just bought a new one this weekend. I was sure the old one would show up during all this cleaning/sorting, if only to snub its scarred wooden nose at my new board. Apparently not.

However, thinking of the cutting board reminded me… and so it went, until eight hours had passed since I first looked under the bed at the boxes and thought I’ll just go through these.

Clouts to the ear, when stuff I leaned against the wall decided to lean the other way: one.

Number of times I tripped over stuff I put “over there, out of the way” (including one mystery box), banging up one limb or another: four.

Number of times I dropped something on my foot: two.

Boxes I moved that I probably shouldn’t have: one.

Dust rags gone through: six.

Having a clean and organized house: highly overrated, actually.

Tagged: Cats, Cats - Onyx, Cats - Pookie, Cleaning, Horses, Riding, Riding - Lessons

In which we progress slowly, without drama

20 January 2010 Comments

[This bout of shameless bragging brought to you by the letter A for Awesome]

No pain, no gain. That’s what they say.

They can tell it to my abs, which are currently so sore that even menstrual cramps sound pleasant. This is what happens when you try a new exercise and, while you’re doing it, think Hey, I can really feel this working! Awesome! More reps! More! More, I say!

More sense would have more useful.

Other things they say: when you lose a lot of weight, your balance and coordination can’t keep up with you. And so, for a while, you feel less capable and the weight loss actually seems counter productive.

I’ll vouch for that. I’m estimating that I’ve lost about twenty pounds since last September, and there are days when I can’t do even a modified Tree pose. That’s right. There are days when I try to stand on one leg and fail. And if I happen to be benchmarking on the Wii, it chirps “Your leg is a little unstable” and I contemplate electronic murder. Really? I have one arm stretched towards Kansas and the other windmilling towards Mexico and one leg flailing out to the Gulf of Mexico while I try not to fall down, and a computer program thinks I might be a little unstable?

And some days things are ok. Because I haven’t lost all that weight in a nice, steady, pound-a-week style the way they say you should. No, I prefer the panic cycle: lose weight, lose weight, celebrate my awesomeness, panic, sulk, lose weight, lose weight, celebrate my awesomeness…

On the upside, I’m able to readjust my balance periodically and there are days when I ride and realize my core is no longer a bowl of jello. It’s now a marshmallow. Days like this weekend, when we were doing some shoulder in and I realized I wasn’t fighting my body. Or when we started a canter exercise, and I realized I not only wasn’t fighting my body—I also had better control over it. Or when we work on stretching down and out and the horse’s head and neck disappear from in front of me and I don’t feel like I am going to fall right over his ears because my aids are becoming increasingly independent and stabilized.

It was a good weekend.

Then I tried some new ab exercises. That was stupid. I should rejoice in my marshmallow abs for a while and stop worrying about transforming them into… what comes after marshmallows, anyway?

Pain, that’s what. Must… remember… this weekend. This was a good weekend. I’m halfway to my ultimate goal. Inevitably, I’ll be spending time over the next few months looking like a mutant pinwheel while trying to stand on one leg, but balance and coordination will come back. And it feels pretty good when it does.

Tagged: Living & Eating Better, Riding, Riding - Dressage, Riding - Lessons

I am a cruel, cruel person

8 January 2010 Comments

With the freezing weather coming in, horses were not being turned out tonight so I figured I’d go hand walk Gabi.

I tossed her in cross ties, threw a cooler on her back, and out we went. After the walk, I tossed her in cross ties again, grabbed brushes out of my locker, tossed the cat out of the locker, gave Gabi a good grooming, tossed the cat out of the locker again, put the brushes and cooler in the locker, and brought Gabi back to her stall.

Since she had a pile of hay waiting, I left the door open while I put on her blanket. She looked at the hay, looked out the door, and started walking out of the stall. When I stopped her, she turned to look at me and flicked an ear. There’s hay in the aisle. I want it.

“There’s hay in the stall,” I pointed out.

The hay in the aisle could be better.

“It’s not.”

She nudged the door. You don’t know that for sure.

I buckled the last strap on the blanket and shut the door. She stared at me hopefully. So you’re getting that hay for me now?

I was on my way out of the barn when I remembered something. I opened up the locker, pulled the cat out from underneath the cooler, and locked it up again.

Then I came home and tossed my cat off my heating pad. She’s glaring at me from the other side of the couch.

I may be murdered in my sleep tonight—if not by my cat, then by the hit man Gabi and the barn cat are probably busy hiring right now.

Tagged: Cats, Horses, Horses - Gabi

Call out the National Guard!

5 January 2010 Comments

It’s going to be below freezing in Houston! For a day! Maybe two days! Maybe two and a half days! Maybe it’ll break the record 53-hour freeze!

There may be sleet!

Run! Run for your liiiiiiiiiives!

Actually, the last is not bad advice. Whatever you do, don’t drive. There is a reason every person I know who has lived in a Northern climate and cut their teeth driving in real winter conditions is already calling in sick Friday. We can drive on ice; that’s not the problem. It’s everyone else. They’re idiots. The first thing you learn when driving on ice? Don’t drive when the idiots are out.

And yes, you heard that right. The record fifty-three hour freeze. Ha! I knew I moved here for a reason! Fifty-three hours of twenty-degree weather? I once suffered through six weeks of sub-zero temps. Fifty-three hours! I could kiss this Arctic cold front!

Tagged: United States, United States - Texas, United States - Texas - Houston, Weather

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