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!