Monday, February 20, 2012

The new place.

I'm sitting at my computer, using my phone as a hotspot (which is intermittent, I'm finding out), listening to the rain on the roof.

When I lived in Walton, I lived in a 14 x 60 trailer. It had a "real" shingle roof and wood siding (not a good thing where you get 100" of rain a year). My new place is a 14 x 70 trailer, which is all metal. It's interesting the difference in the snow, ice and rain sounds.

We're (the dogs and I) all toasty - the woodstove is burbling happily away.

I was warm last night in bed - my real bed is still in storage, so I'm sleeping on my "spare" bed - a queen, double-height air mattress. The first night I slept here, the single sleeping bag between the bottom sheet and the mattress wasn't enough to keep me warm (the air in the mattress is cold!). So I retrieved my 2nd sleeping bag, which did the trick. I was cozy and slept very well.

Moving a bit at a time has its merits and detractions. Until all my stuff is here, I won't feel completely settled. However, not having to push it right now (recovering from bronchitis) is a blessing.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I have found The One.

The possible equine partner mentioned in the last post has met with the approval of all the unbiased third parties.

So, meet Tang.
At the end of "our" lesson - Stonepony Dressage, Redmond, OR

She's 1/2 Belgian, 1/2 Quarterhorse. Her mother was a PMU mare (used to produce Premarin...). If you didn't know it (cuz I told you), you'd think she was a small Belgian - the quarterhorse is not apparent at all. Her full name is Tanqueray (there is a pony where she lives called Tonic...")

She's 10, and has a lot of experience as a trail horse, lessons for kids, but mainly has been ridden Western. She has really nice gaits, and with work, she'll show them more often!

The first time I rode her was a couple of weeks ago. She's staying at a friend of Correy's in Bend. Correy had told me she was 1/2 belgian, but I forgot. When we got there I was surprised, since for some reason I thought we were seeing a more "refined" horse. Tang hadn't been ridden, or out of her paddock for over 7 months. We show up, put a dressage saddle on her, and I climb on and go. I was impressed with her willingness, her steadiness and the way she felt under me. I must have had a "look" on my face - Correy asked me what I was feeling.

I said, "I feel safe."

That was huge. After Annie, and all the others, I found the one... The downside - her owner hadn't decided to sell her yet. So I kept looking, and Correy's friend kept working on the owner.

Finally, last Friday, I got a message with the owner's phone #, and what she'd decided to ask for her. I called, and asked if I could take her to my lesson to get her professionally evaluated. That was fine.

So today, I showed up with my trailer, and she wouldn't get in. We tried, and tried, but no go. So I parked my trailer in the pasture, hitched up the trailer she was used to and we tried again. With some effort, we were successful. It helps to allow at least an hour for these kinds of contingencies. I was wondering how I was going to get her back in, but figured with 3 people, we could do it.

I took her to my riding lesson, meeting another friend there (we were going to carpool, but didn't). When I got her out of the trailer, she looked around as if to say, "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore." But she calmly looked around, noted the horses in their pastures, and the riding lesson in progress. I got the saddle on, got the bridle arranged (mine doesn't fit, so had to use a loaner), and Nancy (my instructor) and Laree (my carpool bud) pronounced her Darling.

Turns out she has more training than is evident from the story of her life - she knows how to lounge (going around in circles on a long line). Nancy worked her both directions, got a nice trot, and a passable canter. Then I got on. She's going to take a lot of work to keep going, since it's hard work for her (and she hasn't had to do any for quite awhile)!! Since I'm recovering from asthmatic bronchitis, I have no wind. I can ride the walk just fine, but I'm only good for about 1/2 of the arena at the trot, and then I'm gasping!

After the lesson, I explained that I might need help getting her back into the trailer. Nancy supplied carrots, and after one false start, Tang got right in. She got another carrot before I got out of the trailer.

It's pretty ironic - for the last 7 weeks, I've been all over the state of Oregon looking at horses. Of the 12 that I considered (3 of which were not in Oregon), I've only ridden 3. I got kicked by one (didn't ride that one and crossed her off the list), and most of the other ones were unsuitable for one reason or another (usually body structure).  So where do I find the horse of my dreams?

45 miles away...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Where does the time go???

Here we are, half-way through February, and I haven't posted anything this year (up 'til now).

I'm embarrassed...

I have been distracted. I have had work to do, but that's not the biggest thing.

I've been looking for a horse. I sold Annie, after getting dumped in October, and again in early January, I realized that I can't handle a green horse. My riding confidence took a huge hit. I found a wonderful home for her in California, where her new owner is going to pack her into the mountains for a few months and then continue her saddle training. The pictures that she's sent me look like Annie is very happy (she has hay, she's happy!!).

I started taking lessons again. I found a wonderful instructor in Redmond, with school horses (who are worth at least twice their weight in gold!!). This has done wonders for my confidence. My instructor tells me that I'm a good rider, that my seat is there, my aids are there, I'm just rusty.

I have driven all over Oregon looking. Out of the 12 horses that I've looked at, I've ridden 4. Either the pictures weren't accurate, or the manners were too lacking (once I got kicked in the thigh), so only a few have been ridden. There is currently a very good prospect that I'm hoping to take to my lesson this week and get an opinion from a knowledgeable professional. If it works out, I'll introduce you.

I've also been looking for a place to rent. I have found one! It's outside of town about 12 miles, on just under 3 acres. It's an older mobile home, but it should do the trick! I can have the dogs, chickens, and... a horse. I have to put in some fencing, but that won't take long, and they'll take it off my rent.

Yesterday, Correy, Sue (another fiber fiend friend) went over to line shelves, etc., and clean. It hadn't been cleaned (or a guy did it...). Anyway 6 hours, a pizza and soft drinks later, we had it presentable. I called the landlord this morning and requested that they have the carpets professionally cleaned, after explaining what we had to clean the day before (it was really gross). They are getting them cleaned tomorrow - YAY! Then I can start moving in!!

So, in the spirit of having a cozy house to live in, I'll leave you with a picture of the inaugural fire: