Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas & Wishing Everyone a Happy New Year!

Many thanks to my mother for taking this photo, to my father for popping up and down in the flowers to get that expression on Seven's face, and to the farmer who let me ride in between the rows of sunflowers to get this shot! Seven did not damage a single flower, but they sure did tickle him a lot!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Benefit Trail Obstacle Race Day

Seven and I left for another Trail Obstacle Race Day with our friend Christina and her horse Oakley. This event had gone from being just a fun day to a benefit, raise-all-the-money-you-can day!

About a month ago, Brock Griffith had an injury while training a horse and had to have surgery on his neck. His wife Leisha Griffith was able to step in and train the horses while he was laid up. But then Bad Luck stuck again! Leisha was stepped on by her horse in an accident, leaving her with a compound fracture in her lower leg. She had to have emergency surgery on it and will need two or three more. I have not known Brock and Leisha for long, but I have been so impressed with what great people they are, and also great horsemen!

Tons of people came to watch and to compete, so we had 33 adults and 6 kids in the Trail Race. There was also an auction of donated items, bakery items for sale, and a Christmas money tree too! There was a lot going on, and it was great fun. Everyone one was so nice, and it was fun to walk around and meet so many new and nice people!

Seven and I signed up for the race, and we went first! Oh boy, talk about some pressure! Seven crossed the water willingly and jumped the banks with lots of forward motion, but it seemed to me he needed a little more steering than normal. Then he pushed the ball very well, came down to the logs, and went through the cowboy curtain quickly.
When we came to the three jumps. He started out at a trot and took the first one well, he landed and picked up a nice canter, so I said to myself, OK lets roll with this.
Well with each jump he built up some speed, and when we landed he took off! I picked up the reins and "nobody was home!" so I relaxed and let him run a few more strides and then got him stopped. Boy was I embarrassed!
I got him turned around and he worked the Mail Box, Big Tire, and Teeter Totter bridge well!

I was not too pleased with our run and assumed we would not even be placing, but everyone said it looked really good. Well, I learned I am way too critical of my mule! We ended up in second place and won a nice fleece blanket!

Christina, Reed, Mary, Lareen, and lots of other friends all went and had a good time, too. Christina had so much fun that she wants to come back for the next one!

My new friend, Mary Miller Jordan, was also there with her Project Mustang Magic Carpet Ride. She has only had her for about 60 days, but she did a great job going through the course. Mary and her other Mustang Lindsay's Faith were 2011 Winners of the America's Favorite Trail Horse Competition which was seen by millions! She is very talented working with these mustangs and she will be taking Magic to a mustang competition coming up in January in Texas!

The great news was that $3,700 was raised in one day! Along with lots of other things that the Griffith's needed being brought for them! We'll all send prayers that Brock heals quickly and Leisha's surgeries go well!

The winner of Best Christmas Present of 2011 Award!

My Friend Bev Duval had this wonderful plate painted for me for Christmas! It was painted from the great photo I have of Reuben! I was so happy when I opened it and loved it so much that I cried! Her friend Trisha is so talented, and Bev is so smart to know just what I would like! It even has texture to it where the leaves are on the ground and on the trunk of the tree!
Thanks so much for the loving and thoughtful gift, Bev!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Worth His Weight In Gold???

So last night, after another uneventful workout, Lawson Walston said that my mule Seven was worth his weight in gold! I agree, so I thought it would be fun to look it up.
Gold is measured in Troy Ounces, which is 12 Troy Ounces per Troy Pound. Seven weighs 1250 pounds, converted to Troy ounces equals 15,000 Troy Ounces.
So with Gold selling today at $1,664 per Troy Ounce, Seven is worth $249,960,000 (at least today)
Lawson Commented:
Seven and Shannon have been such a confidence builder for a nervous, I want to send Lawson into the fence, type of thoroughbred. Nice looking horse but a strong fear motivated horse. Thanks

Monday, December 5, 2011

Corgi's in the Middleburg Christmas Parade

For years, a group of Corgis and their owners have shown up and marched in the Virginia Christmas Parade in Middleburg, Virginia. Everyone dresses up their dogs and wears a sign around their neck with their dog's name on it! For years I have wanted to come up and join in on the fun with Mom and Dylan!

On Friday, Mom's dog Dylan got sick, and she had to take him in for a surgery to remove his spleen and a tumor on Saturday. So poor Dylan had to miss the parade this year! Mom and I visited him Saturday morning before his surgery, and we waited to hear how things would go.
We got to Middleburg, and it was overrun with people as expected. We found the drop-off place, and Mom stood with Levi while I found a place to park. As I arrived back to the drop-off place, more and more Corgis were arriving! What fun to be in such a big group! Levi was running around and meeting all the dogs he could. He found several that were willing to play with him, too. We even found another Corgi who had one blue eye, too, just like Levi!

My friend Amy got there with her dog, Tony "two toes" and it was so nice to see her and visit for awhile. Mom walked down ahead of the parade to get a good spot for photos and soon it was our turn to go. Levi did really well, he was not afraid of anything, not even the loud bands and crazy floats. We walked along the side of the people and tons of kids reached down to pet Levi! One time he got a butterscotch in his mouth and I had to stop and get that away from him!

The parade was soon over and so began the long hike back to the cars! Amy has a baby carriage for Tony -- because of his bum foot, he can't walk that far on concrete, so she had to push him!

Mom and I got in a line to get out of town but the line never moved! We sat and sat and finally had to just turn around and go out another way. I really surprised myself and remembered all the old back roads to get through Middleburg and even took us past the farm where I lived one summer with my horse trainer!

We also got great news later that day that Dylan's surgery had gone well and he was recovering well!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Helping out at the Race Track

Lawson called me and asked if I could come on Saturday to help out with a few of his horses in training. One young horse is ready to start training for speed but had not been in the company of others on the track. Cara and her horse Ribs came, and Kassandra rode the barns pony horse.

We got out on the track and Lawson had us move around, in front, behind, and beside him. He also moved the horse near to and away from us. It was important that our horses not make aggressive faces at the new horse nor turn our rear end at him. This could cause the horse's first experience to go badly and cause him to be unsure about being bold in a group of running horses, which is not good for a racehorse. The horse did great! Never acted troubled by the other horses and mule on the track with him! Mission Accomplished!

Seven very tired and also, because of the warm weather, soaked in sweat. I caught him several times wanting to lie down!

Then Lawson said he had one more that he wanted to ask me to try with Seven to work with.
Uh oh! What does that mean?

He explained the one of his customers had bought a well-bred racehorse but it was started under saddle incorrectly and gets very scared. Oh, by the way, it likes to stop, pull back, and then flip over! First we started in the round pen with me just ponying the gray around. That was going well, so Lawson got on. Things got a little hairy, and the horse tried to push Seven around as it got scared. But Seven just listened to me and pushed back. He never put on an ugly face or got mad at the horse, which is what the poor scared guy needed.

Soon, we were doing so well Lawson suggested that we go out onto the track! We took our time and tried to pretend we were about to go on a trail ride. Seven stayed relaxed and then so did the Grey horse. We went the whole way around and then another half way before turning around to come out. Lawson later told me all the problems the horse has had from being started so badly.
I got off and Seven got a much deserved roll in the stable dust and then a bath with warm water!
He sure earned a Gold Star today!

Levi and the Leaves

During leaf clean up at the St. Clair Red Mule Farm, Levi got involved! He attacked the leaf blower like crazy the whole time and chased the rakes, too! I got a big pile of leaves put together and then threw his big green ball into it! To my surprise, he jumped right in and disappeared for awhile! He loved it!

A RED MULE FARM Thanksgiving!

This year for Thanksgiving we were treated by a visit from my Aunt Cherie and Uncle Ken from California! Ken arrived on Monday night. I asked him if he would be interested in riding Sadie Mae on a trail ride and to my surprise he said he would love to! On Tuesday I got home from work early and we took a 2 1/2 hour ride! Ken even rode Sadie up and down the sides of the dirt hill that seems to scare most people! At one point I asked him if he was ready to go back or wanted to ride some more. He said, "Oh I can ride for as long as you want to!" I laughed and told him I would ride for 8 or 9 more hours if I could and I did not think he would want to do that. He agreed, so we took a trip around a few more fields before heading in! The weather was very pretty and no bugs, either! Both mules were really good and the only trouble Sadie gave Ken was her usual, "Time for a SNACK" move!

Later that evening, Ken helped me with some of the leaves in the yard, there were a lot of them too! We took several tarp loads of leaves out to the burn pile! Then while I used the leave blower he cleaned the gutters! Awesome! I thanked him and told him he was earning his Thanksgiving dinner! The next day is was very cold and super windy! Guess what, all the leaves that I had blown to the front were now back all over the yard! Oh well!

On Wednesday, Cherie and my parents came down from Virginia. We settled in and later that evening went to Chili's for dinner! Thursday, we visited and took lots of photos! I started cooking about 11 AM! I had some turkey breasts and a shoulder of mutton for dinner! Ken helped by making a great salad and some of the most wonderful mashed potatoes! It was such a nice day that I suggested that we eat outside under the oak tree! It took a few minutes for everyone to get used to the idea, but soon everyone was on board! I set up the picnic table with an extra chair and a mule tablecloth. I put it right in the middle of all the leaves, too! I set up an extra table to put all the extra dishes on.

Soon the food was all ready! Everyone took one trip out with hands full and we had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner outside! I heard more than one person say,"I don't think I have ever had Thanksgiving dinner outside before!" The sky was so blue with not a single cloud and only one fly came to dinner. Hardly a car drove by and no dogs even barked during dinner! Definitely one to remember!

After dinner, I got the mules out again. Cherie rode Sadie around, and we even herded - or at least tried to herd - the sheep around! Ken rode again, too!
We were sad to drop them off at the airport Friday morning. They were headed to New York to meet their daughter for her birthday!

On Friday, Mom, Dad, and I went to the North Carolina Museum of Art to see a showing of Rembrandt. The paintings were amazing but I was not happy with the show because they let in so many people that is was hot and hard to get up to see the paintings!

But all in all, a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Bye Bye Tracker!!! Welcome Annabelle!!!

Well the time came to replace my daily driver. I hated it because my Chevy Tracker has been a great vehicle! 10 years old and 207,000 of safe and dependable driving. It was very handy and I was able to pack so much stuff in it!
So the test driving and research began! It came down to me being like Goldy Locks. This one's to small, this one's too BIG, but finally, this one is JUST RIGHT!
The Winner was the Nissan JUKE! Most if the time I get the response of, "What's a JUKE?"
It is little smaller than the Tracker but with a wider stance and all kinds of fun features, Blue Tooth, Moon Roof, etc. I got a bright Silver color with a rear spoiler too! Since Juke is so hard to say, I gave this vehicle a name, Annebelle seems to fit! Many Thanks to my parents who gave me money toward a good down payment!! I held my ground on price and then the dealer beat that the low interest rate, I got in advance for the financing!
I just love how it drives and it gets great gas mileage too! I just hope it is as dependable as the Tracker was!! Keep your fingers crossed!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Two short videos!

My Farrier and Friend Kevin showed us just how dirty my donkey Navarre is!

My Cousin Billy came for a visit! Seven was not sure about who the intruder in this pasture was!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Work Day & A Birthday Party

Worked a little too hard today in the yard. Started early and went too late! Pressure is on for our Thanksgiving Holiday. I have my Uncle flying in from California on Monday night. Got one more day to do the shopping, cleaning of house and organizing...... My Quota 2 High!!
I have been helping a friend with her show horse. She has brought him over three times and worked really hard! She has done a great job following though and working with her horse, so I don't mind helping her! Christina told me she would come over with Mark her husband and help me do some projects in exchange. Well they came over today for 3 1/2 hours! We got SO much done! Mark re-hung the mule head signs on the big barn with new ones, and an old road sign Holly gave me with a carriage horse. We took a marker and made the horses ears bigger and added a shaved looking mane!!
Then we hung three small signs on the front of the house that spell RMF but we hung the R backwards so that it matches my brand. Then Mark re-hung the large star on the front Oak tree, it had blown off in the hurricane from Sept.
Then the big project was, that he knocked out some shelving in one of the little covered barns and we cleaned it out so my new JUKE can fit in it! So excited about this! I can now leave early for work like I do and not have to worry about scrapping ice or frost off the windows! A Major pain at 6:30 in the Morning!
Before they got there I had had gardened and taken three wheelbarrows out to the fire pile. I also had driven 1/2 hour each way to pick up the Lamb meat that Tara and I had processed.

So then I took a quick shower and got the mules ready (Seven and Sadie) for my neighbor to bring his daughter (turning 12) and 8 other kids over for a Birthday Party ride.
Finally that Sadie Mae was doing something to earn her keep!
The Birthday party went well. I used Sadie and after getting her going with the kids I just turned her loose with the kids. I kept my hands on Seven and after a few times around with the kids he was cool with giving pony rides! One of the guests takes lessons and rides Hunter/Jumper at a local riding school. I let her ride Seven on her own and she did so well with him, she even got to canter a bit! One of the other girls tickled me so much, when I got Seven to jog for her, she just giggled and giggled!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Good Ride and a Good Shot?

Yesterday Seven and I traveled back to Denton to Brock and Leisha Griffith's place to compete in their 2nd Trail Obstacle Race. My Friend Reed came along with me and she brought her horse Fortune. We had a great time. They had a kids group along with the adults.
Right as I was getting ready to go on course some asked Leisha if this was the mule, Seven that I had brought last time. I told her yes it was and she laughed and turned to him and said "Sorry, it is Seven!"
Seven did the course very well! He jumped the banks, went through the cowboy curtain and was the only equine to get bonus point for putting all four feet on the platform at once! The most interesting obstacle this time was when you had to shoot a 22 rifle with a sight at a target about 30 feet away. Everyone dismounted to do this but had Brock hold their horse or tie it to a post. I decided to go for extra points and hold Seven myself. I don't think I have shot any kind of rifle in over 20 years so this was going to be interesting. I also have never used a sight.
As I dismounted all I could think of was breath slowly, slow down. I remembered watching the Winter Olympics several years ago, there were competitors who had to ski as fast as they could, then stop and target shoot. They had all these techniques for slowing their heart rate down and getting still. I wished at that point I knew some of their tricks! I stood up to take the shot, forgetting that Brock had said we could use the chair to sit in or hold the gun steady. I lined up my shot, said "Whoa" to Seven as I squeezed the trigger, Seven never moved! Then I had to jump back on my mule and finish the course! YAHOO!
Off we went down the hill of grass, Seven really got into it and I had to slow him up a bit! We then did the tire obstacle and tried for extra points by keeping his front feet on it and moving his hind end around the tire. Then it was on to the Teeter-Totter. No Problem. Reed caught a great photo Seven in a close up as we were riding in! He has a look of pride from doing a good job, and I think just a little smile!
We ended up in First Place! Won $80 in payback money!
The thrill of my day was when I asked Brock were I was on the target. He said I had the best shot of the day! Got 4 out of 5 in points on the target! Now I just can't get over that!
The lady who got second place told Brock that she was "Coming back next time to get that damn mule!"
I say bring it on Sister!!! ; }

Monday, November 7, 2011

St. Clair Red Mule & SHEEP Farm???

Here are the 7 Painted Desert Sheep that my friend Tara is loaning me! We are doing a test to see if, 1. I like having the sheep around and 2. how they do eating my pastures down! They are supposed to be little lawn mowers! These are what they call hair sheep so they don't need to be sheared and they can be processed for meat too. The males grow big twisted horns like the Big Horn Sheep they hunt out west. This is a relatively new breed of sheep. Most of them are all different colors, like paint horses and have wild markings! So that are neat looking too! Tara bought me two other sheep that I took to the slaughter house so both of our families can have lamb during Thanksgiving and Christmas! This group has two rams whom are brothers and then five ewes for them to breed. Guess I will be learning a lot about sheep, and quickly!

Trail Obstacle Race in Williamston

Molly came up for a visit and we headed to Williamston, NC for an Trail Obstacle Race. I had rained the day before and things were still very slippy but we got the truck and trailer in to the field to park and then promptly got it stuck! No worries, we will get it out later!
I tacked Seven up and when to go and walk the course with the host. It was a fun looking course but would have to be done with care as there was standing water every where. Not many people came and so Seven and I started everyone off! He did really well, dragging a log, carrying water buckets, pushing balls, trying to rope a practice cow head. We also got to move some cows from one side of a pen to the other. We loaded into and then back out of a horse trailer and then headed off to the second field to finish the race. We walked though a very large tractor tire, turned a 360 in a sand box and then headed for a deep water ditch to cross. I could tell Seven was wondering how deep it was going to be as we slid down into the muddy water!
Then we ran through some flags, over a bridge and through a cowboy curtain. The last thing to be done was to climb the tire mountain! I thought this was the coolest thing I have ridden over yet! See photos below! I think I need to build one of these at my house!
We met lots of new people and Seven and I ended up winning. They are trying to raise money to start the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of American Ranch Horse Association so I gave them by $27.50 of winnings back to the club. We did get some great door prizes too! Best part of the whole day is that I got to school him on some of the course and practice the jump several times!

CMA Halloween Uwarrie Ride

Everyone on the farm, but the Cat, came with us to Uwharrie with weekend. I arrived Friday night after driving through drizzling rain the whole way! Got Seven, Sadie and Navarre settled in their corral stalls. Then parked the trailer, hooked things up and then got Levi walked and fed right before the rains came in! It rained and rained all night, in heavy down pours. The mules and Navarre were very happy that I put their blankets on!
The next morning it rained until about 8AM. I fed the mules and walked the dog in the pouring rain. After it stopped we decided to head out about 10AM. Wendy arrived and helped me get Sadie tacked up and our lunches packed! Karen and Dave led the group on a great ride. They kept us off the high hills which would have been slippery and also away from the river that would have been really muddy! By afternoon the sky was clear blue and you almost did not need a jacket! At our second break I saw something weird in the woods, I called Teddy over and we brought it up to the group. It seemed to be have been made of Styrofoam and some how a plastic bag was in part of it. Weird, why would it be all the way out and whats is for???
Upon returning home I was so happy that I had started up my crock pot, because dinner was ready to eat as soon as we got the mules taken care of. Navarre spent the day with a new friend named Pete, a small driving Hinney owned by a friend of mine. He was happy to see Seven! That night was the group meeting and dessert time! We went ot bed early because when the sun set it really started to get cold out!
Sunday morning was cold but so pretty! Carolina blue sky, warming up fast! We tacked up and also decorated the mules for Halloween, since it was the next day! We had a lot of spray painted and glittered mules! Teddy and LuAnn painted Virgil to look like their old mule Charmin. Too funny! She has some white in her tail so it was easy!
Sadie wore a princess crown and had a wand, I also sprayed her with Pink hooves and big pink hearts all over her! Seven wore two large 7's on his rear end, he had blue hooves, blue mane and a giant spider on his britchen. Both mules also had spiders clipped into their trails! We had another great ride that took us down by Baden Lake for Lunch!