a little work, a little walk

We took advantage of a break in the wet spring weather, and restocked some hay. We are back to using small bales. It was pretty comical loading them onto the big forks, but it worked. My brother-in-law came over just in time to see us "adjust" the load to the right size, by 'er dropping a few in the beginning. I was waiting for the bale on the right to land in the sh** pit, but thankfully it didn't. Had to laugh when I saw his face peeking through the cab window in this photo:

restocking hay

We also took Cierra for her first walk all the way up the path, along with Harmony. Things are greening up. It made me really miss Koda & Nemo, and our Fall trail rides on the farm... 

Cierra did extremely well, and so did Harmony. I am sure they'll be many more walks, with just the two of them. When we got back, I handed Cierra over to Brad for a bit more work in the arena. Here she is wondering what I am doing on the other side of the fence...

cierra peeking

...and getting one of many hugs, she's such a good girl...



Midwest Horse Fair 2011 in review

We spent all day Friday and Saturday at the horse fair last weekend. It was a mixed bag of not so good weather, in part likely the cause for what seemed like lower attendance compared to recent years, altho it was plenty busy.

My husband and I both agreed, the best part of fair this year was Richard Winters clinics. We soaked up "Fundamentals of Reining" and "Ride like a Horseman; Skills to Increase You & Your Horse's Comfort Zone". Richard is so practical, and adds good humor to his presentation's. He makes it about the horse. Local riders helped demo, and he did a fantastic job of working them into the clinic. Richard has an endearing way of highlighting other's/horse's and not himself, which was also obvious at last years Wind Rider Challenge finals. We had a family commitment on Sunday, and couldn't watch the finals this years.

We only caught one other clinic, Mike Majors "Training your Horse for Lead Changes & Spins"  it was pretty painful to watch. He obviously knows his stuff, but needs help on presentation. We felt sorry for the (same) local riders, who stood on the side lines for 98% of the time...Mike seems like a really nice guy and has a lot to offer, hopefully he'll figure out how to share it with others at a big venue.

We really enjoyed the Friday night Rodeo, as usual. Saturday's Grand Prix jumping not so much. We watched the first round, and left at half time. If they bring it back a third year in a row, we won't go. It wasn't well attended (only half full) compared to the rodeo & last year's Grand Prix.  It was really impressive to see it the first time, we truly enjoyed it - but for someone who isn't into jumping it was waaay too similar to sit through two years in a row, at the end of a long day. During half time Tommy Turvey did a shameful act of repeatedly wacking his horse reeeally hard in the shins for not bowing on command...he lost a lot of respect, and fans. What a jerk!! Bad call on his part, especially since he had such a great horse/dog act Friday night at the rodeo. If Midwest invites him back, they'll be sending the wrong message...

It was fun to see some horses I remember from the Mustang Challenge, including sweet Remington.

I am super happy to say Texas Thunder was back! Last year they had announced retirement, likely due to the economy. I never get tired of watching that absolutely amazing hitch, and Jason's Roman Riding is second to none. Not a big fan of Roman Riding perse, but Jason is just plain having fun - have you seen the grin on that man's face? Read what they did for a local kids group here.

Our trainer Patty from Iron Horse teamed up with Kathye's Equine (a new business, but longtime local expert saddle fitter/exhibitor) and shared a booth. I revamped Patty's website using her existing provider's web program, just in time for fair.

Of course it wouldn't be a complete Horse Fair without the shopping! I really didn't have anything on my wish list that I needed, but was told by our trainer to look for 2" blunt rowel spurs. I've never ridden in spurs, but will learn how to use them as an extension of my leg (gently, because I won't use them any other way). We had a ton of fun meeting Todd from Bowman Custom Spur, our farrier happened to be chatting with him when we stopped by while on our spur search. Interesting guy, who really cares about his craft. After years of searching for a decent non-bling rowel necklace, and finding nothing - including at this fair, Todd agreed to make one for me. Pretty excited! Not ready for custom spurs, but I'll take a mini-jewelry version. I had to look hard, and found these:


I wasn't looking for pretty, how long do you think they will stay shiny? Let me answer that, not long. To be honest I am not crazy about the whole spur thing, but if Koda & I are going to spin then I am going to need to learn to roll. First things first, here they are on me:


Last year at fair I got a good deal on a light brown scalloped belt, and have worn it every time I ride/work with horses for the past year. It has become comfortably soft, and doesn't look any worse for the wear. I could use a darker version "for good" if they had it, and they did. Funny how the buy list grows. I haven't changed out the buckle on either, maybe next year?


We visited several times with Nick from Reed Tack who was tooling at the show. Nice guy. We both bought spur straps from him, and will keep him in mind for other stuff. He is very knowledgeable, and we liked the quality. Here are my straps:


Brad got a couple hand-made lunge ropes from Brute Ropes. I was still searching for the elusive quality rowel necklace, and never did visit the booth. Brad is thrilled with these smooth well built ropes:


We also got a super deal, enough to make it worth hauling out to the truck, on a couple buckets of Nemo's Horseshoer's Secret. I think we did pretty good, and more importantly we learned & enjoyed the fair! I am already looking forward to Midwest Horse Fair 2012!!


Sunday Stills ~ Wildflowers and Flowers

I was a little worried about this challenge when we got blasted with an icy cold front, but these tough flowers survived. Here is a sample of what's blooming in my WI yard this week:






View Wildflowers and Flowers blooming in other areas.


Sunday Stills ~ favorite recipe or restaurant

This week is a food challenge, where we pick a favorite recipe or restaurant. Altho I enjoy meals out, home is my favorite place to eat. My husband grills, smokes, and now also does what I call "Cowboy Cooking" with cast iron pots heated over coals/fire.

Cooking stand, with tools

Lid stand (displayed on the coals, not used for cooking)

Dutch Oven Lid on stand

Dutch Oven Potatoes

Grilled Pork Chops
View other Sunday Stills: http://sundaystills.wordpress.com/


it's a good thing

Last weekend we had a glimpse of summer, it was beautiful and in the 80's. Midwest Horse Fair is this weekend, it's raining and cold, very windy and we have a chance of snow tomorrow. Not good weather for a Fair, but at a least most things are inside. It's always a guessing game in the spring.

I took these pictures last weekend, it's a good thing...



...Cierra is still fuzzy!


lean on me

Lean on me, when you're not strong...


...and I'll be your friend, I'll help you carry on...


...for it won't be long, till I'm gonna need, somebody to lean on...


 ...we all need somebody to lean on.


Sunday Stills ~ 4 points

Sunday Stills ~ 4 points is a pretty cool challenge. Find an interesting, or not so interesting, place and stand and take pics of the 4 points of the compass. North, South, East and West. The point of this challenge is that we have a tendency to only look in one direction when taking pics. for instance photographing a sunset you rarely look behind you to see the setting sun light up a barn or hillside or beside you to notice the shadows created by the trees or other objects.

I tried various locations, and all four directions - some of which fall under the not so interesting category. This "look around" challenge really made a person think! I'll definitely keep 4 points in mind when shooting with cast light. 

My 4 points are taken in a field, of crocus, and on a bridge. I stayed in one spot and rotated facing out for the field and bridge shots. I rotated my body around the crocus, facing into the 4 points.

Field wheelin', facing East

Field wheelin', facing West

Field wheelin', facing South

Field wheelin', facing North

Hillside Crocus, facing East

Hillside Crocus, facing West

Hillside Crocus, facing North

Hillside Crocus, facing South

Bridge, facing East

Bridge, facing West

Bridge, facing North

Bridge, facing South

View other 4 point shots: http://sundaystills.wordpress.com/

better late then never

A while back I received this stylish award from Juliette at honeysuckle faire , figure it's better posted late then never. If you haven't read Juliette's blog, check it out. She has three beautiful horses, that she artistically shares with us via her well written posts, photos and posters - it's one of my fav blogs. Thank you Juliette, for being so kind!

There are 4 duties to perform to receive this award:
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.

Seven things about me:
1) Loves being outdoors, for so many reasons.
2) Is interested in learning more about Western Dressage. Wishes it was more prevalent in this area, doesn't look like it's even being represented at Midwest Horse Fair this year...
3) Knows how to juggle, and used to be able to keep four items going/pass them pretty well. Once in a while, pulls out baton's and balls and gives three of them a whirl (drop, pick up, and repeat).
4) Is a magazine reader, Real Simple frequents the mailbox.
5) Favorite number is 5, which also happens to be the number of family members.
6) Works and plays on a Mac
7) Thinks waaay too much

Many already have the award/opt not to post, please consider yourself contacted & stylish. Blogs recently discovered, listed in no particular order...

...stylish blog's already discovered...

...and many other's...


Sunday Stills ~ your camera(s) and gear

I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy this weeks challenge "So we have seen the pics, now lets see the camera and gear that gets all those great pics. Bonus points if you have any classic old cameras, add those in for a bit of fun too." I don't own any cool classic cameras, or have much gear, how much fun can it be? I thought about driving into town to take pics of my dear Uncle's cameras. My sister brought them back from Spain after he passed on...but instead, I took pics of my own trio ~ and ended up having fun!

For years (and years) I shot with my Fugi FinePix S7000, it served me well...

Fugi Finepix S7000

...back in it's day (9 years ago?) it was a great camera. However with digital technology rapidly improving, I reeeally wanted an upgrade. I had the hardest time choosing between the many many ever changing options, and justifying the cost. Knowing that I also needed a pocket camera to take on trail rides, I bought a Canon Powershot SD4000 in the interim. That was an easy, affordable decision. It's a fun little camera (shown in the last picture). 3 months ago, around the time the Canon 60D came out, I thought at last I had found the camera that was right for me. On the day I went to buy it, I ended up passing on the 60D and a telephoto lens, to be able to get a better camera body instead...


....and I have to say, I have no regrets and absolutely LOVE my new Canon 7D!! This pic doesn't do it any justice, but here it is....

Canon 7D

....I won't be taking it on any trail rides anytime soon...

Trail Riding Cameras
I had a blast playing with the reflections!!
The Powershot has face detection, and focused off the viewfinder reflection
from the back of the camera - off the mirror.
This was taken with my 7D, my head is actually above all three cameras.

...that's what my Powershot, and upon occassion old Fugi, are for...mobile fun, with no worries!

Check out other Sunday Stills