Friday, October 30, 2009

What I Want (Grown-Up Edition)

Not all that long ago I would have seen a trailer like this, wiped the drool from my mouth and said something along the lines of:

"When I win the lottery...." or

"Someday...." or

"Man, I'd love to have something like that!"

When I worked as a show barn manager down in Texas on a huge, lovely, expensive place with everything a person could want in it (including a heated show barn with automatic waterers and an attached, covered arena) the girl I worked with played the lottery often and she'd ask me what I'd buy if I won the jackpot (which I play once, maybe twice a year is all).

She always said she'd buy a huge ranch, or an island, her own airport, a mansion and things like that, hire people to cook and clean for her, etc.

I always said I wanted a little old farmhouse with 20 or so acres, a small little truck and trailer that was safe and useable, and a little car to toodle around in. Of course a barn and a covered place to ride would be nice, but I'd never want anything as big and fancy as where I worked--it took 4 full-time people to take care of everything!

She was a lot younger than I am and not all that long ago I would have said I wanted a place like the one I was at, with all the amenities. Funny how when we are young we look at those grand things and assume that they would make us happy, but life teaches us about the things that truly make us happy.

Experiences make me happy. Being with my friends and family make me happy. My animals make me happy. I think I'd be able to have lots of fun experiences with my friends and family and animals with this:

It's a 2-horse slant gooseneck. They only want $5500 or so for it. If I had my act together right now, had my car and truck paid off, this would be a cinch to get!

It doesn't have living quarters or anything, but I need to keep my 1/2 ton so it would haul this perfectly as is, and I'd still have a place to sleep when traveling....

It's brand new, and the boards even run the right way!

What's the "right" way you ask? Well, my dad has this weird belief that he passed along to me, that if something were to happen and a board give out in the trailer then if they're running this way it's a lot safer for the horse to be able to shift it's weight and not fall though, like if they were running from side to side. I know that makes no sense--if a board gives out it's awful all-round, so the best one can do is make sure their floor stays clean and dry and check it before each haul, but still, now, I can't buy a trailer with the floor going from side to side. It has to be back to back.

Weird, I know....

Isn't it pretty, though?! This is on my goals list. I'm taking a risk in moving, but thankfully the way things have progressed it seems meant to be. My work is keeping me on as a consultant for a while, so the scariest part, being unemployed, I don't have to worry about. My dream is to get a job similar to the one I had--challenging, but flexible, yet be able to live out closer to my family and friends (thank you again Dar!!!).

Perhaps one day soon I will find my little farmhouse on my little acreage and be able to get a nice little trailer like this one :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More About Eddie

In the comments of my last post Sydney asked a very good question--one that made me realize that while I've told Eddie's story so many times that I assume people are sick of hearing it, but on the other hand, I've never really done him any justice on this blog, so all our new friends have no idea who Eddie is and WHY he's such a big deal (at least to those of us who love him :)

Just a little background: Eddie was bred and raised by a guy here in Missouri who used to stand several champion stallions. He's one of those people in the industry that aren't in it for their love of horses. He's out to win, for the "glory" of it and to make a buck. Unfortunately terrible and tragic tales are common place when dealing with people like this. The horses he has are disposable to him and unfortunately Eddie became one of the disposable ones when he broke his leg, even though he won a major futurity for him.

I edited out his breeder from this picture, but plenty of people know who he is without me even mentioning a name, so it doesn't matter. Karma rocks and that's all I have to say about that.

When I got Eddie he was in very poor shape. He was 2 years old, had never had his injuries even looked at, had long, jagged feet, was skin and bones, had rainrot and was anemic from over 50 ticks on his body. I got the vet and farrier out right away and my vet gave me a referral to K-State to have his leg looked at.

I took off from work and drove him to Manhattan where they took Eddie for the day and assessed him. They were concerned about his condition but theirs were the first of many compliments I would receive on his excellent temperament.

I vividly remember driving home that evening with Eddie in the trailer, heartbroken over the surgeon's words echoing in my ears: "severe trauma and subsequent neglect," "closed growth plates," and "not a candidate for surgery." I was told if I had gotten Eddie 6 months earlier his leg could have been surgically altered to grow straighter but now it was too late. They estimated his quality of life would diminish significantly around 5 years of age and he'd have to be put down.

Basically the radiographs showed the truth behind Eddie's ordeal. His right pastern had been completely shattered and left untreated when he was a yearling. As he grew, supporting 60% of his total body weight on his left front leg, the leg bowed. The broken pastern fused and is calcified. One day the bowed leg will give out on him. The surgeon told the students "this is exactly what NOT to do when a horse breaks its leg." It was really difficult for me to hold it together while the cold hard truth was explained to the class at the teaching hospital.

The only thing I could do after that was to get Eddie back into proper shape and try to get a few very nice mares to breed him to in the years he had left. In my eyes he deserved the best life I could give him and I wanted to pass along his excellent genes.

His sire is Ima Hustler Too, APHA Champion and full brother to Red's Hustler, sire of Huslers Ole Man.

His paternal grandsire was the incomparable Red Sonny Dee.

His paternal granddam is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated mares in all of APHA history, Cutie J Bar. She was an APHA Champion herself, and a PRODUCER of 3 APHA Champions. She was not only an amazing mare in her own right but was able to pass along her abilities, which is very rare in horse breeding. She was a crop-out and the reason we were able to get Eddie's AQHA papers (thanks to the help of Kristi Van Etten, final owner of Ima Hustler Too)

Eddie's dam is Fabulous Too. She qualified for AQHA World her yearling year.

She is a granddaughter of the legendary Jackie Bee. Funny story, I used to work with Duane Walker's granddaughter. She was training me when I worked at the Pratt Tribune. We were in McPherson (her office) and we went to lunch and started chatting and I said I had horses, well, she said she did, too, and we got to talking more about that. She said "well, you might not know the name but my grandfather owned Jackie Bee." I about fell out of my chair! I said HELL YES I know Jackie Bee! Just goes to show you never know who you're going to run into!

Eddie's other maternal grandsire is Luck Too but I've never been able to find a picture of him. He placed top 5 at AQHA World and from what I gathered didn't live long after that, but some of his daughters are actually superior western pleasure broodmares!

So, we got the best broodies we could afford, kept upgrading as much as we could and Eddie has some great babies out there now, just waiting for me to get my act together to show them.

My great friend Vicki Morgan took excellent care of Eddie for me for the summer down in Texas. I can't wait to have him home! I miss the big goober so very much. He's now been promoted in Kansas, Missouri, Arizona, Texas, and Oregon. He's appeared in the AQHA and APHA Journals and the Chronicle. He's come so far from that emaciated, anemic, shell of a horse that I brought home (and the other boarders raised a fit about worried that he'd make their horses sick).

Eddie might never be famous, but he's bigger than life simply because he has touched so many hearts and made so many friends. I thank God that I've been blessed to have him in my life and to have great people help me ensure that I keep the promise I made to Eddie the day that I got him, that he would never suffer again.

And by the way, Eddie is now 7 years, 7 months old :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I went to get another load of water this afternoon and while driving back in the rain I suddenly came to the realization that the reason I feel so closely connected with Paula is that we're exactly alike! We both:

(1) Tend to obscess over the stupidest stuff
(2) Aren't very pretty but we make up for it in devotion and heart
(3) Sunburn easily
(4) Could possibly be underestimated, if we ever get our acts together
(5) Fairly *cough* stubborn, but quite smart

So there you have it. Paula and I are more alike than I ever realized. I thought in celebration of this revelation, I'd post 25 random facts about me. If you have a blog, please post 20 random things about you, or email them to me--this is a give and take, folks :)

(1) I was born with black hair and when I was little it all fell out and I was bald for a while, until my very, very, very light blonde hair started coming in (see photo above).

(2) Speaking of the photo above, my great-grandma is pictured. Her REAL name was Ella Barbara Freida Schroeder Leck. Whew!

(3) My first memory of riding a horse was when I was 3 or 4 I was riding our Quarter Horse Sunny around a tree with mom leading me. She spooked and I ended up hanging from the saddle horn.

(4) Anytime I've ever tried to jump a horse I've always gone over the jump...but the horse never did.

(5) When I was in grade school I was obscessed with Egyptology. It's carried over into adulthood in the form of an Egyptian-themed guest bathroom.

(6) I'm scared to death of guns, but I love shooting them.

(7) I have an uncanny knack for knowing which way north is, even in buildings, subways, etc. I've won bets.

(8) I've never had a stitch, cavity, or broken bone (knock on wood).

(9) The three worst days of my life were putting Layla down, dropping Spencer off at the airport to go to Basic Training, and the day we loaded up all our ponies (when I was 17) and I never saw them again.

(10) The three best days of my life were my college graduation (there's a story here I'll have to share sometime), winning the Chapter president award for an honor organization at our convention in Dallas, and competing in the versatility challenge in POA with my whole family helping me.

(11) I don't wear glasses or contacts.

(12) Despite my weight I have an athlete's resting heartrate and matching low blood pressure.

(13) I was the tallest person in my kindergarden class. I was supposed to be 6 foot tall but thankfully quit growing in time. I'm 5' 8" and that's tall enough!

(14) I know every word to Pretty Hate Machine.

(15) One of my favorite things in the world is laying down outside on a warm summer night and looking up at the stars.

(16) I'm not very good at remembering books that I read but I can recall movie lines from shows I haven't seen for years.

(17) I love genealogy, but it's frustrating that I can only gather basic facts--I'll never really know my ancestors.

(18) I've been craving sushi for over a year now. I'm near my breaking point.

(19) While I don't think I look like any celebrity, I always have people saying I look like one, and it's never the same one. I've been told I look like everyone from Picabo Street to Katherine Heigl. I've been told I act like Drew Barrymore or Tia Leone. My sincere apologies to all these ladies.

(20) Adam West once said I was cute (although I was a baby, so it doesn't really count)...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Chris!!!

Today was my little brother's birthday. He's 15 years old.

(future politician)

Man, how time flies! It doesn't seem that long ago that he was just learning to talk, or I'd go visit everyone in Colorado and he'd sit in the back seat of my car singing a new song his teacher taught him.

Four years ago Chris visited me when I lived out in central Kansas. First, we went to go see all the mares out in the pasture.

You mean I can touch this one? Right here?

Mercedes was napping, but she's a sweetheart so she stood perfectly still while my city-boy brother messed with her.

Sleep, sleep, beast. You are in my power and will listen only to me.....

Heartmelter alert! Chris, my baby brother, giving Mercedes a huge hug.


Chris decides to put his horse-hypnotist skills to work with Sugar.

You will fall into a deep sleep....

Even Sassy (Lady) behind him seemed under his power!

Now it was time to put his horse-hypnotist skills to work on Buns.

Sleep.....when you awake you will cluck like a chicken.

No cluck.

Well, maybe he needs to be in the same pen with her to hypnotize her?

Bunny, you must yield to my power!

And the force is with him.

Chris had never ridden a horse before so we saddle up Larry, my trusty lesson horse and all-round great mare. Paula was still nursing, only a couple of months old here. Ringo (Colton) was in her belly. Can you see him? :)

Chris held Larry for me while Layla and Paula looked on. He was keeping an eye on that sly Paula!

Now for the following, do NOT try this at home. We were very wrong in not sizing up stirrups and not putting Chris in cowboy boots and a helmet. But, despite this being a very good example in how NOT to give a first riding lesson, I had to share. Chris did so well and Larry was so incredibly dependable. It's just too nice of a story not to share....

Even Layla is in this one. God, I miss my girls, but this picture sure makes me smile. Such good times....

We started off walking on the lungeline, but it wasn't long into the ride when Chris decided he knew enough to ride off on his own.

Larry was the greatest kid's horse you could ever ask for. Chris was a natural horseman and Paula just followed right along!

Until Larry decided she'd just ease her way over towards where the other mares were standing. Sunny is there in the fly mask...

I'm yelling, "Chris, turn her around. If you don't make her do it she's going to do whatever she wants! Get those reins shortened! Outside leg, inside rein! Let go of that horn!"

Then I realized this was the very first time he had ever ridden a horse.

But they did it! Chris got his cues together and Larry figured out what this newbie was asking. What a team!

Good job everyone!!!

Whew, I survived!

Maybe he should go back to horse-hypnotizing?

An Amazing Rescue

Today was a good day. It was fairly nice out. I got a lot of weeding done that I had gotten behind on while my back was out. Then I got my car back. I think (knock on wood) after 2 weeks of sorting out the mysterious issues with the brakes that is could perhaps, finally, maybe be fixed!

Then I got to ride Paula. She hates sitting around not doing anything (she always starts pacing when she's bored) so we were both looking forward to getting back to work. The girl has a memory like a steel trap! She picked up right where we left off and we got even further today in our training. I hope we can do it again tomorrow. The battery was dead in my camera, so if the weather cooperates I'll get some video of her moving tomorrow.

In the meantime, I want to share the story of a horse I've been following out in California. This rescue is amazing--they have the right attitude in that they do rescue all types but they really concentrate their rehab efforts on horses that can be saved. The horses that are too far gone, have too many problems and a poor quality of life they humanely euthanize. The hold euthanasia and gelding clinics. If I ever started a rescue I would model it after these guys. They do GREAT work.

Here is the story of Phoenix, a horse that for all intensive purposes SHOULD be dead. How he was alive, in this condition, is anyone's guess. Gumption would be my guess!! Here is his story:

I never have and never will understand how people can allow animals to starve right in front of them. I've looked into the eyes of people who do this and it doesn't tell me anything. They always have excuses. They always minimalize the damage (aka, "Sorry she's a 'little' thin"). They never miss a meal themselves. This was not a sick horse. This was not a stressed or otherwise compromised horse. This was just an UNFED horse.

He sure is gorgeous now!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Oh Give Me a Home...

Actually, it's always been "home," no matter where I've lived. I've always been a jayhawker, a sunflower girl, and a prairie punk. I was born in Kansas, and God willing, I'll be buried in Kansas. Everything else in between is the adventure, oui?

So, starting at the end of November, I will be saying goodbye to the great divide and heading back to the sandhills of central Kansas.

It's been a difficult decision to make, but rest assured, Kansas City, I will be back to visit. You will always have a place in my heart and your barbeque will always have a place in my stomach.

(that didn't sound quite right)

I'm moving back home, because it's the right thing to do. Luckily, there is a bit of a boom in the area because of these things:

They fascinate me.

I won't be moving in with Dad, though. He's remodeling his house. This is his house:

It's been updated a bit since then, but trust me, it does still need a little remodeling. It's gutted right now. I can't wait until it's finished--it will be a gorgeous, lovely, big, beautiful house.

Then I hope when I get my own little ancient farmstead, he can take everything he's learned and help me remodel my own house. Isn't that what dads are for?

...hey, HE suggested it! :)

I'm actually staying with a good friend (which is a gigantic understatement--she is my savior, really) of mine for a little while. I don't think she knows what she's gotten herself into, taking in this crazy blonde chic and her crew of rascally misfits.

All I can say is thank God she hasn't realized it yet. I'm really looking forward to being "home."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Texas Times

I've been trying to organize some of my photos and I stumbled across these. I had quite a learning experience in Texas, and some of my fondest memories are of my horses and Layla now that they are all either living elsewhere or have crossed that rainbow bridge.

Rita and Penny would usually start the ado...

Then Eddie and Ringo would join in.

Eddie always has to do his stop, spin and pose.

Layla would always want to join in on the fun. She loved it when the horses ran.

Even good old Larry would join in the fun. Eddie would once again snort and pose for the camera. This was HIS herd and he wanted it to look like it!

Eventually everyone started to wear out. Ringo would always run beside the sorrel girls, although his momma was Larry. He liked to pose with the halter-bred mares.

Larry...she looked so wonderful down there.

In such good health. Hard to believe a few months after this picture was taken she left on lease and her and her baby were gone and her daughter was the only one I got back alive, severely emaciated.

It's amazing how fast one heartless person can destroy the things you love most. The only thing that gives me comfort is that Larry had a chance for a good life while I had her. She was always well fed and cared for when she was in my possession. For now that is the only comfort I have. I will always cherish those days we went riding out in the fields. She was such a fun horse to ride.

I also miss a horse that wasn't mine. This is Anakin. He was my favorite horse to fit. He was very sensitive and insisted that he get to know you before he'd automatically trust you, but once he "met" you he'd do anything in the world for you. Here was just when we started fitting.

And this picture was taken when he was fit up for show. He was such a pretty boy (and I'm sure still is). Anakin is a very special boy. I hope he's living a very good life right now--he certainly deserves it!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Misty Morning

I actually snapped these early Sunday morning. For some reason Sophie said I HAD to get up at 7am. I told her we were sleeping in, but she kept doing her thing, which is laying across my stomach, fully stretched out and making strange noises.

She's an odd one.

So I got these pictures, thanks to Sophie, of the horses in the early morning frosted dew.

The three of them made quick work of that roundbale--it only lasted a week!

JJ has been admamate about getting some fresh grass before it all dies off and he's got his sister in on it.

He was so obsessed over the grass, in fact (and despite the fact that these two have a roundbale of brome all to themselves), that he was OUT all day long today eating in my yard!

I know he was out all day because he left lovely piles everywhere: in the driveway, in my front yard, in my side yard, in the backyard, by the gates, and in the hay shed.

Dakota was a good girl and stayed in. Thanks to JJ I'll now have to do early morning checks to make sure the fence is HOT HOT HOT all the way around!

What a goober :))

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Looking Back

The nice thing (about the only nice thing) about spending the day clearing out and organizing, throwing out all the junk one accumilates that they don't need and reorganizing the stuff one decides to keep, is that you find stuff you forgot you had. It puts a smile on your face and you remember some of the good times that needed a good dusting off in the archives of the mind.

I've already shared some of the pictures of our POA's we showed when I was a kid. I can't remember if I mentioned Pee-Wee.

His name was Wonders Equal. He was a son of the great Siri Wonder and my dad bought him as an unbroke stud colt who threw my little brother off during his test ride. We put some training on him, gelded him, and fit him up and got $2700 at the Pony of Americans International Sale. He went to a lady in Indiana who took inner city kids and gave them an opportunity to learn about horses and show them, so Pee-Wee went on to make a difference in kids' lives.

You can't ask for a better reselling situation than that....

Then our rig. This was our pride and joy when we really got into showing. Funny thing is I'd never want anything this big today (6-horse slant steel trailer), but we had a lot of fun times in this.

One of the not-so-fun times was when I was 16 and my dad had me drive this rig on the way to Kansas City. Please remember I came from a small town in western Kansas and had never hardly even BEEN to Kansas City, let alone drove through it and I was SIXTEEN so I hadn't been driving long anyway (if you don't count driving my dad's work truck through stock gates when I was old enough to reach the pedals). My dad didn't wake up in time and before I knew it I was in rush-hour traffic going through downtown Kansas City--eek!!!! We survived, though, and that gave me the experience to drive any rig now. Anything seems easy compared to that!

Then this guy here is a paint I showed for one of my first clients. The date on the back of this photo is 8/28/93. Her mare had kicked me and hurt me pretty badly (moving one of my ribs back and creating a lot of scar tissue I had problems with for years). This gelding was a lot sweeter but not much of a mover, so we didn't do very well, but it was fun to get my feet wet at some APHA shows. This photo was taken at an open show in Pratt or Kingman, I believe.

Then there was Nipper. When I was going to Juco in Hutchinson I got the opportunity to help out at an ApHC trainer's place. I wasn't paid, but I got to do some training on the side that I earned a little extra money doing.

This colt was a solid Appy that her daughter hadn't had any luck on. He was so funny because he bucked every time we loped! We had the vet check him out and we went over our tack numerous times. No matter what I did training wise, tack wise, vet wise he continued to do his little carousel-horse buck. It was harmless but wasn't appropriate in the show ring. I eventually chose to ignore it and ride it out of him, so we went ahead and prepared for the show, buck and all.

When we got to the ApHC show I warmed him up and he did a couple of little bucks but nothing too bad, so I went ahead and entered the class. He did PERFECTLY! He didn't buck one bit! We won our class, beating the trainer I was working for on her horse. We did well in all our classes and I later found out we had won the high-point junior horse for the entire show!

Of course after that her daughter wanted Nipper back. Not sure whatever happened there, but it was sure fun while it lasted.

Look at all this....all these stories off of 4 old photos. It's amazing what a person digs up when they go looking through their junk!