Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sometimes life gives you lemons...

So I tried to make some lemonade. Whooo (pucker up!!!!) that's some sour lemonade! Such was my recent experience trying to help an elderly woman and her 9 horses desperately needing rescue. Without going into too much detail (a very easy thing for me to do), many people inside and outside of the equestrian community pitched in to help her and the horses for months. Two mares went to rescues. One very sick mare died, and one stallion was gelded (yay!) and adopted into a fabulous, loving home. Three of the horses were adopted by a family. That situation is VERY questionable, but at least the horses are getting fed. By the way, I feel like putting the disclaimer out there that we didn't organize the adoption of the last 3 horses mentioned. The elderly woman chose that family. The remaining two stallions still belong to the elderly woman, and she's without resources to care for them. That's why my husband and I have been continually taking hay to her property. There were plans to let the younger stallion come live with us. However, now the woman won't let this guy go to a home where he'll be gelded ("fixed"). In her words, "She can't do that to him (sob, sob!!!)." Oh brother! As if gelding this sweet horse is just a horrible thing. No, what's horrible is his first 7 years of life--living in filth, no vet care, no maintenance, no love, no job, no fun, no other horses to play with, no shelter, not to mention he's not suitable to keep as a stallion. He's too short, has poor conformation, not trained or shown, not to mention he's totally inbred! Just because he's sweet and colored nicely does NOT make a suitable stallion, especially in a world where backyard breeders breed "junk" horses like rabbits. And people wonder why there is such a huge number of horses leaving the US and going to slaughter in Canada and Mexico. Go figure. Things that make you go, "Hmmm..." I guess that's all I have to say about that. Well, not really, but I don't want to bog you all down with my frustration.

The bottom line is that, despite the unpleasant end results, I'm thankful that God used me and others to help. I'm greatful to provide help, even temporarily, to those who need it (4-legged individuals as well as the 2-legged individuals). It just makes me sad when people start to take advantage, when the help is only received with conditional restraints, when the victim card is played more than any other card in the deck. Oh well, maybe what God has done will actually sink into this person someday. That's my greatest hope, with the exception of the horses finding loving, wonderful homes. One other thing, this experience has given me hope that there are still incredibly generous, caring people out there. Sometimes it's too easy to focus on the negative and forget that there are some pretty neat folks in this world. For the people who offered horse transportation, hay money, vaccination money, groceries for the old woman, free spots to temporarily board rescue horses, and PRAYER, you are each a blessing! Thank you!

Now what do I do without these Appys to help? Well, shoot...I might actually have time to ride my own horses now. Yeeehaw!

In the meantime, there are fish to save! Salmon and sturgeon to be specific. Remember, every drop of water contributes to fish habitat; therefore, try to conserve as much as you can. This planet IS our habitat. We (the collective "we" meaning all living creatures and the abiotic environment) are all connected. The fishes' (yes, that is correct spelling and use of the word 'fishes') fate is closely tied to our own.

Hug your horses and save the wild, native fish!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Central California or saddle fitting? I choose saddle fitting.

The coffee consumption is low and the lack of sleep is high. Watch out! LOL! Despite the odds against being able to write anything coherent, I thought I'd give it a try for the sake of...uh...entertainment I suppose.

Yesterday was a busy day. I spent the day in the glorious town of Turlock for an all-day meeting on a work project. Aromatic place, that Turlock. ;) Much was discussed, learned, and coordinated, so you could call it a successful day. One thing I heard was that there are MASSIVE protests scheduled in Fresno for today at the Federal Building. Protestors are speaking out on a few subjects, mostly revolving around water usage in this state. I even heard that there will even be some celebrities, one of which is supposedly Gene Simmons. What??? LOL! Why would the dude from KISS be protesting? Some things in life come so unexpectedly! Hee hee! In all seriousness, I hope that protestors will be open to listening what the facts are on what they are protesting. There is a lot of heated mis-information out there. And I hope, despite the recent threats of violence against people with jobs similar to my own, that my colleagues will be safe and mean people kept at bay. [Check out that people--I wrote a whole paragraph about finned creatures and you didn't even know it!]

Once the work day was completed, the drive made back to the Sacramento office, and then the commute home, my husband and I went to the barn on a mission. The mission being SADDLE FITTING! You'd never think that something so seemingly simple (e.g. Don't you just throw a pad on the horse, throw the saddle on the pad, girth it up, & get on?) would be one of the most potentially frustrating, time consuming, and expensive pieces of equipment you'd every buy. Don't lose heart though. We had success...I think. :)

My husband had picked up a used roping saddle and a new reining saddle to try on our big, white, moose-of-an-Appy, named Lakota. Lakota is mostly Thoroughbred & with that lovely heritage came a lovely set of withers (that big "bump" between the intersection of the neck and back) and big shoulders. Oh goodie. Understand that modern western saddles are made for wide-load quarterhorses with "no" withers. The last thing you want is a saddle that rests on the withers/spine. One word: OUCH! The roping saddle fit his shoulders and back angle well, but the front hit those big ol' withers. Doh! We'll still try it on our 4yr old who's coming home from training this weekend. He doesn't have the issues Lakota does. The reining saddle seemed to fit Lakota very well too. I longed him with it on, and he did the BEST longing of his life. He had the BIGGEST, free, rhythmic, suspended, long trot going to the right that my mouth was agape. He wouldn't be able to do that if his back hurt. He loped, (yes, loped!) to the left and had a relaxed canter to the right. Wow! Worry boy is coming around! Like I told a good friend at the barn, "I should have put a western saddle on him sooner!" To make sure there were no pressure points, I took the saddle off, and Lakota showed a great sweat pattern. Now I just need to ride in the thing to verify that it's going to work.

So, this dressage rider is now going to have her cowboy husband to trail ride with soon. Life is good, and I'm continually blessed with more than I deserve. Now if I could only find a way to ride more and work less, then that would sweeten the deal even more. Fat chance, I know. One can wish though.

Monday, June 29, 2009

High heels...I'm wearing what?

Welcome to my first attempt at blogging! You may like it; you may not. It may be entertaining, elightening, and/or filled with mindless chatter (depending on the coffee consumption and lack of sleep).

So about them heels...

In an effort to try to be more professional and look my age (despite the purple hair) I bought a pair of nice, pointy toe, high heels a couple weeks ago. I tried to wear them once in the beginning and gave myself some lovely blisters on every surface that touched my feet. That was after walking a mile from the train to the office, so I thought I'd give it another go today. Yup, still a bad decision. I must be destined to wear socks and "man shoes," one of several pairs of hiking boots, or my running shoes. Hmm... If it goes against my morphology to wear such strange contraptions, why do it? To make my short legs appear longer. Hey, whatever helps! Hmm... That is contrary to the Tom-boy, wilderness-girl of my youth. Hmm... There must be a logical reason. Well, actually, I wear them to keep my pants from dragging on the ground. That's my feeble attempt at practicality.

If it repeatedly hurts for me to wear high heels, I wonder how my horses felt with heels left too high and supported on flat, steel shoes. Things that make you go, "Hmm..." some more.

Today's other occurrances and miscellaneous topics:

I made it to the train at 6:30am in Auburn, despite only getting 3.5 hours of sleep! Yeah! I can still do it, meaning, I can function on minimal amounts of sleep. Ahhh...maybe I'm not that old yet. The reason for the lack of sleep was because we went to the Drum Corps International (DCI) Competition at the UOP campus last night. Yes, this adds to my nerd status! Woohoo! The heat was sweltering, so it started late. My favorite for the night was the Santa Clara Vangards. They got robbed and came away with a second place. Subjective judging is not my friend.

Being that the title of my blog is Hooves and Fins I should probably write a little blurb about fish. I do tend to get a little passionate on behalf of the cute, finned creatures. My job revolves around them, much to my satisfaction. What's not to my satisfaction is how quickly they (meaning native species such as Chinook salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, and delta smelt) are disappearing. Some people are upset at the fish for their water rights being limited. But are these creatures really to blame? They're not the ones "managing" water systems and controling the spiggets, so to speak. There's so much to observe and learn from these creatures on how terribly humans can mess up a system that God already had running in perfect order. Hmm... Could there be a lesson in stewardship?