Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Hoping all is well with you and yours.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from us at Cedar View Paint Horses!

"Ahhh, warm ears" says Teddy:

"Get it off - Now" says Mater:

"Oh geez, this again" says Hank:

"Don't even think about bringing that hat over here" says Honky:

"Gives us the treeeeeeeats" says Luci and Austin:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I Sprang From The Bed To See What Was The Matter.

To say I'm a light sleeper is an understatement. I sleep well, but I'm definitely "in tune to my surroundings". Which leads me to this: at about 2:50 in the morning I am woken awoken awakened wokedup by a humming. Not the normal sump pump or water pump or refrigerator humming. Different noise. I can't just ignore it, and it is a Saturday, so I may as well get up and get some stuff done.

So it's 61 degrees in here. I figure it's the thermocouple acting up again, but I just serviced that last week and things have been running fine. I reset the thermostat and listen. I hear the boiler go thru its normal clicks and clacks, but it never fires and goes into standby. I go down to check the boiler and find the source of the hum. It's the relay and/or the circulating pump. The transformer is hot to the touch. And there's no water pressure on the gauge. So I kill the power to it, the humming stops, and the transformer cools. I've either got a shitty pump or a bad control module. Either one is not cheap. Not to mention a Saturday service call. And it's 18 outside. And it's not getting any warmer in here.

But on a good note, Sara got the tree decorated! Ho Ho Ho!

And that picture I stole from the web - the mom's freaky lazy eye sure makes her look nutso. Gives me the creeps. Look at it again. I know you will.

Monday, December 12, 2011

At Liberty

Sara brought in Chunky, the horse previously known as Mater, for some hands-on time. He's had the last eight weeks off after a very successful show season. Eight weeks of lounging by the pool (water tank) and feasting on five course meals (first and second crop hay, grain, oats, and flax). No schedules to keep, no cell phones to answer. Just much deserved time off.

So what did they do? Showmanship practice. Sans halter and lead.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Moon Over My Hammy, Sammy

Just before four a.m. my foggy brain said to me, "Why's the ligh shtill ohnnnn?"
I rubbed the tired crusties out of my eyes and tried to comprehend.
Bright. Glow. Window.
All fragmented, not in the form of a question, Alex.
Bright. Light. Ponies. Cold.

Ahh, it was coming to me. My internal alarm was buzzing, reminding me of the appointment that I scheduled with the horses just before I went to sleep last nite because Algore is an idiot and it's freekin cold out. Cold. Single-digits even. The fatties need eats to stay warm.

But who left the light on? More eye rubbing, forehead smoothing. (It's my ritual. Deal.) I sat up. Outside light. Bright.


I was fully awake now, admiring the brightness of it all. You could see the frost on the fence rails. The big boxelder's shadow was crisp on the ground like it was drawn with a new pencil. The sky was clear of clouds and full of stars.

I got dressed without turning on a light. I found the coffee pot and flicked it on. I could clearly see Big Red Ted standing by the gate, his big white face lowered to the tank. I woke the doggies in the dark and let them outside. I found my coat and hat and gloves and boots in the light coming through the window. One last glance at the thermometer told me it was 8 degrees. Nice.

It was one of those mornings where you could read a book in the moonlight. Bright. Crisp. Sharp. Like a really good black and white picture. The outline of the barn was stark against the star filled sky. The ridges on the steel were accentuated by the moonlight, their perfect columns of shadow all lined up against the building.

Ted was still by the gate, watching me watch him. Something in the shadows by the tank moved, then moved again. The shape hopped up onto the insulated water tank housing. Maverick. He's a strange one, that Maverick. Greets me almost every morning from that water tank. I'd like to think he's keeping an eye on things, but I know to never rely on a cat.

I gave him a pat, then stepped up onto the tank to get a peek over the fence. Mater stuck his sleepy face out from under the darkness of the lean-to, his big blaze easily visible in the light. Farther down the row I heard Hank's deep "Ruh-ruh-ruh" preceding his blaze coming out of the dark.

"Breakfast is coming, Hank."

Teddy's nose brushed my gloved hand. I reached out and gave him a big scratch on the neck. He leaned into the scratch, his white eyelashes catching the light.

"Breakfast is coming."

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Results Are In

After having a fun day at the farm with with Kirby and Wyatt on Friday, Teddy had his big debut in the ring on Saturday. We trailered out to Heartland Stables for their "Beat the Blues" winter show series. It's a nice laid-back series of shows with no show clothes required, and it's a perfect environment to practice with your young horse. And that's our Teddy, a young horse, barely ready for the ring.

Teddy took it all in stride. I expected no less (did you see 5:27?). He just looked around at all the horses, from ponies to Saddlebreds. He took a great interest in the mirrors on the wall in the warm up arena. When Sara stood, he stood. When Sara walked, he walked. We couldn't have been happier with how he just absorbed everything.

His first class was showmanship. For a fun show, the pattern was kinda complex, and it had a pull turn, which is something they've never worked on. Sara and Ted went first, their back tag number being 404.

They nailed it.

I was making a mental checklist of the errors that the competition would make. Everyone had a flaw. I'd watch the judge scratch some notes down on her pad after every flaw. Teddy and Sara were standing on the far side of the arena watching the same thing I was. I hoped she was thinking the same thing I was: could Teddy really win his first class ever? The last horse came in the ring and performed a really nice pattern. Oh boy. Did the judge ever scribble down any notes? I wasn't sure.

The announcer got the judge's card, and put the mic up to his mouth.

"In first place, number 150."


"In second place, number 404."

Woohooo! Yay Teddy!!!

To even place in the ribbons was an accomplishment. To get a second was fantastic.

The rest of the day followed suit. Teddy just went in the ring and did what he knew without any fuss or worry. His first riding class was English walk/trot:

That ride earned them a 6th place out of eight horses. Not bad at all.

Next was English w/t equitation. I didn't video that one. 2nd outta ten.

Sara wasn't going to enter him in any canter classes at this show - he wasn't ready to hold that canter together just yet. At the last minute she changed her mind and signed them up for English Pleasure. They did really well:

That ride earned them a 3rd outta ten.

The next video is both Western walk/jog pleasure and Western walk/jog horsemanship:

Those rides earned a 3rd and a 2rd respectively. Both classes had ten riders.

In the short six weeks that he's been here he has never failed to surprise and please us. He's gonna be a good horse, that Teddums.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Big Red Ted

They called him Ami.


That wouldn't do. Ted. Teddy. Big Red Ted. Teddums. Teddy Bear. Much better.
Invitation To Invest is his name when formalities require it.

This is Sara's latest project, a 3 yr old Paint that's got as much personality as cute. Nice solid boy who's gonna turn out to be a good size. He doesn't know much yet, but he's catching on real quick. He's no dummy, and don't let that goofy face tell ya otherwise. He's got real nice ground manners, minds your space, and stands tied nice and quiet. He had 30 days training last spring, then sat all summer being a pasture puff.

We found him in that far away land known as Minnesota. Southern Minnesota, if I must be specific.

Land of 10,000 lakes and a lot of corn. A Lot of corn. I think all the lakes moved north.
Corn Field Open for a Minnesota Harvest

The trip was uneventful, aside from the construction and the 40 mph winds. Ever pull a big trailer through 11' wide lanes in a cross wind? Keeps ya on yer toes, it does. Those big concrete barriers look so much bigger when you're dragging a trailer.

Anyway, once you leave the scenic tree-covered hills and valleys of Wisconsin and cross the mighty Mississippi, a strange thing occurs: trees vanish.

I think the corn ate them.

Enough of my fear of wide open spaces.

Teddy's riding is coming along nicely. He's not going to have a trot like Mater or Oliver, but while his fronts may not be the sweepiest, his hind end lopes real nice and deep. Wunna those "oooh, looky that" lopes. He'll move much better once he builds up some toning and just figures it out. Here's a video from his first day home. I think you'll see why we bought him. Speshully at 5:27.

Did I mention he's quiet?

And here he is after three weeks.

He's far from being finished, but maybe you can see the improvement. Enough improvement that Sara decided it was time for his first show. That was yesterday. And here is where I'll leave you hanging.....

Monday, November 21, 2011

Follow Along If You Will

We've got a lot of "catching" up to do.

Remember this little guy? The lil' red-n-white horse that made me the best husband in the world? It's been some time since I've mentioned him. Lil' Kirby grew up and became quite the awesome horse. Quiet, cute and loveable. Fun to work with and never one to put up much of a fuss.

Sara got him going under saddle in the spring of his third year. She spent hours working with him to learn all the basics, then they spent more time working on getting him finished for the show ring. They did well at the local open shows, always placing in the ribbons. You may remember this memorable moment that they had at a show.

Later that summer Kirby got to tote Sara's mother around at the annual "Girlz Weekend", a three day camping trip in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Sara's mom hadn't been on a horse in 25 years, and Kirby did his best to take care of her.

They experienced ATV's and river crossings and Kirby did his job without any unexpected happenings. All that walking maked him awfully tired though.

There's no explanation on the halter. That's just Kirburt.

During this time we had a mom and daughter combo that would stop by occasionally. We'd all be standing around visiting and Sara would tell the girl to go grab Kirby and saddle him up. She never hesitated, and Kirby couldn't have been better for her.

Before we knew it, that young lady was coming around more and more often. Sara had her hands full with taking Mater to the APHA shows, so she welcomed the time that this girl wanted to spend with Kirby. You can see where this is going: they offered to buy Kirby. That big lug that was once a lil' red-n-white anniversary present was sold to a young lady who adored him.

Since Kirby was trained for the show ring, they stepped right up to the challenge and got him ready for the shows.

As you can see, they've done well. That lil' red-n-white horse has made us proud, and that young girl is growing into a good horse hand.

Keep up the good work Kirbs!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Get Over It

Life is hard.

Go Pack Go!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Meet Rusty, Beater Truck

A man needs a truck. Once you have a truck, you'll wonder how you ever didn't have a truck. Once you are without a truck, you feel like you're missing something important. Like not wearing pants at the dinner table.

With Sara off to horse shows most weekends, the good truck was also gone to horse shows. I had "truck stuff" to do, like going to the dump (pardon me, recycle center), getting grain, going to the lumber yard. It's hard to strap big lengths of lumber to the top of my daily driver, the super-cool 1994 Mercury Tracer Trio wagon. And 150 lbs of grain made the wagon's ass sag. So, a decision was made and I was to find a beater truck.

Ironically, we found Rusty on the way to the lumber yard while riding in the good truck. One of those rare weekends when there wasn't a show and I was allowed to take the good truck for a spin. Rusty was sitting along the road with a for sale sign in the window. Low miles for it's age, a 300 c.i., 4.9L straight-six (the good'n), and a five speed manual transmission. Zactly what the doctor ordered. And good tires - bonus! The interior is in nice shape. The outside, not so much. It's seen it's fair share of heavily-salted winter roads, but a little rust wasn't gonna deter me. And the price was right.

It didn't come without it's fair share of quirks. Aside from the rust, there's the color. The color is a mix of many shades of brown: dirt brown, rust brown, grime brown. It's a '91 model, and my best guess is that it was last washed in '92, then left to dry downwind of a dusty field. The wiper control knob has been replaced with a 3" C-clamp. Necessity, the mother of invention. The driver's window goes down really well, but up requires persuasion. It has semi-cool air conditioning. It smells like old leaves and refrigerator-coil dust. But the heater works and the radio works and the dimmer switch is on the floor. Name your last vehicle with the dimmer switch on the floor! And we can't ignore the front-bumper-mounted spare tire. A Yooper trademark, for sure. That (along with the C-clamp) sold it.

After bringing it home, the proper thing to do was to change all it's juices and filters and douse the interior with Febreeze. The brown stuff and the green stuff came out clean, which led me to believe it's seen some maintenance, but the air filter made me question that thought. The bolts that hold the lid on the airbox were rusted right tight. Lotsa Blaster and some convincing finally got it open, only to find a heavily soiled air filter, a bunch of maple tree helicopters, and a family of moths. The air filter and it's accumulated collections weighed three pounds. That's alotta crud. New fluids and filters later, Rusty was ready to be put to work.

In the words of Canadia's most famous self-help guru, Red Green: "If ya can't be handsome, be handy". Rusty fits the bill. Aside from the normal run-around chores, he's been a great help on the farm. We used to move hay from the barn to the hay shed by hooking the trailer behind the tractor, pulling that into the barn, filling it full of hay, then hauling that over to the hay shed to be unloaded. Now Rusty does the job, and is much more nimble than backing that lousy trailer up to the hay shed. We've also been out collecting firewood and old concrete and other odd jobs around the place. I think he's gonna be a handy lil' truck to have around.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day 11-11-11

Not what normally comes to mind when one says war hero, but a hero she was.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hey There, Good Lookin'...

"What's a perty girl like you doin' in a place like this?"

"Stop it Mater, you're making me blush!"

That's Fergie, and Mater is git'n bitten by the smitten bug. He likes the tall girls, ya know.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Season Results

That Mater. He IS a super horse. This is on the back of the nice jacket that they, or should I say Sara, received. Mater got nothing. That's kinda sad, really. He did all the heavy lifting and stuff. Oh, I spose I'll go give him a carrot or two.

(pardon the quality)

And who is that beaming kid on the right? The one that earned Reserve Champion and third place?

You'll just have to come back to find that out.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

And The Winner Is...

Well, you'll just have to wait for the results to be announced at the banquet tonite. We are attending the year-end awards banquet for NEWPHA (North East Wisconsin Pleasure Horse Association) this evening, and I'm sure it's going to be a fun time.

I know, the suspense is dreadful.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hangin' It Up

No, not the blog. My Captain Slacker cape. Who knew this blogging stuff was gonna be hard.

We've got a lot of catching up to do. A Lot. That means you've got a lot of reading to do. Go get your slippers and a big beverage of your choice. I'll wait.

So Summer blew by in a blur. September came crashing in all cold and wet and depressing. I was preparing for another battle with Seasonal Depression, but October showed up all sunny and hot. I've been happy with October. Gooood October. But let's not forget that Old Man Winter is right around the corner. The Shit.

But I regress.

In a nutshell, I'll cover a few highlights that I'll get to in greater detail eventually when i get to it maybe (how's that for being noncommittal?). Here goes: We sold a horse, bought a horse, sold a horse, bought a horse. We sold a truck and bought a truck. Wifey won a whole bunch of stuff with Mater and a whole bunch of stuff with Oliver. I congratulated her by buying myself another truck. Gardens grew, gardens died. Little shed got painted, big shed got a new roof. Hank lost his Woman. Not the donkey, but the lady that leased him.

Whew. That's enough. Any more and I'll scare myself into putting my Captain Slacker cape back on.

I'll be back with details. I promise.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Just Ride

We went for a trail ride on Labor Day. Come ride along:

Monday, August 29, 2011

And They're Off!

We had been tossing around the idea of taking a trip, so we finally boarded the Senior Shuttle and took a day trip down to Arlington Park.

It's a beautiful facility just west of Chicago.

You can go down by the paddocks and watch the grooms ready the horses for the race.

I was really impressed with the concern for the horses and how they ensured that they were kept cool after each race. And they watered the hot rubber track between each race.

We did a little betting and a little less winning, but it was a great time and we're sure going to go back.