Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pop Culture and the Weirdo's One-Track Mind

It's Wednesday morning and I'm not really feeling like myself today.

Something is missing.

I feel a little..."Lost".

For those of you who did not follow the infuriatingly addictive phenomenon that was Lost, six years of torture came to an end with the finale this past Sunday. 

Well, sort of. 

True to it's nature Lost left us with numerous unanswered questions (I am still in the process of digesting exactly how I feel about the ending) and apparently there were a LOT of plot twists thrown in for no other purpose than to add to the confusion, and which the writers felt were not worthy of explanation.  I think I would be OK with this, except for the one nagging question that I simply cannot get out of my mind:

WTF was the purpose of, and what happened to, Kate's horse???

OK..that's two questions.

Seriously, my Geek-O-Meter soared to new heights when in Season 2 a mysterious dark horse showed up on that infernal island - a horse that seemed to have some sort of connection (and therefore importance?) to Kate and her story.   Each week I would wait breathlessly for the horse to reappear only to be disappointed time and time again.

In the interest of (ahem) research, I have been perusing various Lost sites in search of answers only to become increasingly more annoyed that so few Lost "fans" seem to care to spend time discussing the significance and whereabouts of said horse.  Other than the rather bland and obtuse observations in the link above, there is very little information out there.  Again - WTF?

Attempting to placate me as I was yelling at the computer Chef pointed out that the horse did only appear in one episode, to which I said, "So what?  A HORSE showed up on the island and I'm not supposed to care what happened to it???"

Eight years of marriage and sometimes I do still wonder how well he knows me.

Still, I did see that he has pre-ordered the complete Lost series on Amazon, so maybe he does know me pretty well after all :o)

Anyone want to guess which DVD will wear out first?

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Excerpt from an actual phone conversation yesterday with my non-horsey friend JJ.  Please note that JJ lives in the "big city" an hour away from my house, and that the restaurant in question is famous for its passion fruit mimosas.  Translation - "brunch" becomes an all day event. 

Also note that JJ is one of my oldest and dearest friends; given the fact that I have stood her up countless times in favor of my horse and she is STILL my friend, she is entitled to her lighthearted hostility.

JJ:  "What's up, lady?"
Me:  "Whole lot of nothing."
JJ:  "Let me guess, you're at the barn."
Me:  "Noooo..."
JJ: "Yes you are!"
Me:  "No.  I'm heading home from the barn..."
JJ: (laughing) "I knew it!"
Me:  "What's up with you?"
JJ:  "Nothing.  Hey...I've got a group together to do brunch at Bistro X tomorrow.  Wanna join?"
Me:  "Well, it's supposed to be pretty warm tomorrow.  I was going to give Legs a bath and take his winter blankets home to wash."
JJ: "You are such a loser!"


Loser with a horse, or "winner' (?) with a passion fruit mimosa hangover?

Love ya JJ, but I think I made the right choice.  Maybe next weekend.  If it rains...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Attention OTTB Owners!

Little help, please?

I'm embarking on a new side-project, and would like to interview some OTTB owners about their horses' careers after the track.  While I'm certainly interested in stories involving a second competitive career (show jumping, dressage, eventing, etc.) I would really like to hear about horses who have gone on to serve roles that most people would not traditionally associate with an ex-racer, such as:
  • Schoolmaster for beginner riders
  • Therapeutic riding horse
  • 4-H or Pony Clubber
  • Reining or Cutting
  • Trail or Endurance
  • Police/Mounted patrol/Search and Rescue
Basically, I'm looking for a variety.  So, if you or someone you know has an interesting OTTB story they would like to share, please shoot me an email:  Put OTTB in the subject line, and I will send you some details!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Poo Do You Think You Are?

I've been on full-time barn duty for the past week while V attended her niece's graduation.  Now that she's back I can safely say all went well - the boys behaved themselves, no illnesses, injuries or great escapes.  Dusty did lose his fly mask a couple of times, but it was a great excuse to hop on Legs bareback and go a-huntin'.  Not quite as exciting as chasing fox or coyote, but hey - lemons into lemonade!

V is always grateful that I am willing to take care of the boys so she can go out of town from time to time, but the truth is I really do enjoy it.  As opposed to the large operations I used to work at (the largest of which had 100+ horses), taking care of 3 and 1/4 equines is refreshingly easy.  I love the simple efficiency of her little set up, and the ease of the daily routine allows plenty of time for thoughtful contemplation.

Just as you can tell a lot about a person by the decor of her home, you can also tell a lot about a horse by the way he keeps his stall.  I admit I am often guilty of humanizing horses' characteristics and I am personally OK with this.  That being said, while doing stalls this week I have made the following characterizations.

Please do not be scared; this will be relatively painless.

Dusty:  The Bachelor  It's no secret that most males seem to lack accuracy when aiming their stream at the porcelain god.  This deficiency does seem to be more prevalent in single males.  I have no scientific proof to back this up, but my theory is that the problem does decrease with marriage/co-habitation with the fairer sex (we are called that for a reason) due to said fairer sexes' constant bitching on the subject.  That, or they simply get better at cleaning up after themselves.  Dusty earns the title of "bachelor" because his stall is devoid of the "wet spot" - his entire stall is a wet spot.  I've never actually caught him doing it, but I would swear that he walks around as he urinates.

Zachary:  The Artist  You would think that a 9 hand mini-donkey would take full advantage of his 10' x 10' stall and spread things around, but he does not.  It's really pretty charming how he backs into one corner to drop his droppings.  Perhaps he has some sort of donkey feng shui thing going on.  What is only slightly less charming are the corresponding poop patterns on the wall behind his piles.  I can only hope that one day an image of Elvis will show up.

Skylar:  The Punk Rocker  Ever seen - or been a part of - a mosh pit at a concert?  I can only imagine that something similar happens in Skylar's stall nightly.  I have actually named his particular piece of real estate "The Mash Pit".  So thorough is he with the mashing of his poo/pee/hay/shavings that none retains any recognizable quality of its original form, but rather morphs into a new object all together - Poopeehayshave.  You may credit me with this discovery at your will.

Legs:  The Neat-Freak  A good human friend of mine (yes, I have them) falls into this category as well, to the point that she alphabetizes the items in her pantry.  I will admit that once or five times I have gone in there and moved one item just to see how long it would take her to notice and move it back (less than 5 minutes if she is cooking).  So consistent is Legs with his wet spot, that I regularly have to bring in sand and fill dirt to replenish the hole created from digging it out daily.  While he does lack Zachary's piling techniques, his poo piles are lined up perfectly along one wall  side by side, in order of completion. 

True story - several years ago the barn roof developed a leak directly above Legs' regular stall hay spot.  Fearing mold, I chose to move his hay 3 feet to the left until we could get the leak fixed.  Unfortunately, not only did I move the hay from the Designated Hay Spot, I chose to move it over a Designated Poo Spot.  When I brought Legs in that evening, he went immediately to where his hay should have been.  Although the hay was in plain view, he was decidedly confused.   He looked at me, looked at where the hay should have been, looked at me again, spotted the hay in a new spot, looked at me pleadingly one more time, then finally took a few tentative bites of hay-in-strange-location.  Needless to say, the offensive leak was fixed immediately.

Thus concludes today's admittedly inane observations.

Note:  As I finished writing this post, it was brought to my attention by the President of the HPAW Fan Club (Chef) that perhaps people would not be interested in reading the pee and poo habits of my horses, to which I said, "Have you read the title of this blog?". 

Friday, May 14, 2010

"E" is for Envy

A few weekends ago I, like a good daughter should, made the quick trip down the mountain to see Mom and Dad. The timing of the trip was necessary for a few reasons:
  • Mother's Day was coming up, but Mom had plans that weekend - her first big "away" ride since breaking her leg.  Hey, it's her holiday - if that's how she wants to spend it, more power to her!
  • Mom thought it would be fun to have a Derby party in conjunction with opening up their pool for the season. (Note to self: Next time Mom invites me to a "pool party", ask for clarification.  Unfortunately, her idea of a pool party was to have me spend 4 hours cleaning 9 months of sludge out of the pool.  Small price to pay  I guess...)
Seriously though, I do love going to their house.  Although I never actually lived in it (they moved there while I was in college) it still feels like home.  All my old stuff is still in "my" room - my bed, my desk, my dresser, my first saddle resting on my first rocking horse.  Breyers, championship coolers, rosettes.  You know, typical decor; I call it "eclectic stable".

You can tell a lot about a person by the decor of their house.  Take needle art for example.  You know, cross stitch, crochet, needlepoint stylishly framed and displayed.  I don't know if it's just a southern thing, but I have never met a respectable woman without at least one piece of needle art somewhere in her house.  My mother in law has a particularly nice one that says:

"Happiness is catching.
We get it from one another."

I like that. 

Mom of course has this gem:

"Slow calm work over low fences
will help you reach new heights in jumping."

Figures, huh?

And then there is Mom's best non-horsey friend, Miss Impeccable.  OK, that's not her real name but it sure does fit.  Miss Impeccable is just that - always dressed to the nines, never a hair out of place.  Manicured, pedicured, buffed and polished - I seriously doubt if she has ever been dirty in her life.  A four-time divorcee, she has this one in her kitchen:

"Eat, Drink, and Re-Marry!"

Cute, and very fitting.  Anyhoo, once again I have gone completely off my own topic.

Miss Impeccable had just recently moved into a new house not far from Mom & Dad's, so on Sunday morning after the Derby she invited Mom and I over for a late breakfast and the obligatory new-house-tour.  I did of course anticipate a perfectly decorated and utterly impeccable dwelling.  What I did not anticipate was the insane jealously I would soon feel regarding one aspect of said dwelling.  I'm not a jealous person by nature so this took me completely by surprise - it's taken me over a week to get over myself enough to write this post!

Ever the proud hostess, the tour began immediately with the lovely high-ceilinged foyer, on into the formal dining and living rooms, to the more casual great room, master suite, then on upstairs to the office and guest bedroom.  We finished in the large kitchen complete with breakfast nook and French doors leading onto a bricked patio.  Miss Impeccable busied herself preparing her signature western omelettes, and we all spent a bit of time catching up.  It was then that I noticed a door slightly ajar leading off the kitchen.

"What's back there?"  I asked.

"Oh that.  That's just the mud room.  Go on, take a peak.  It's nothing special."

Mud room?  She has a mud room?  I opened the door and stepped into a large enclosure and was blinded by whiteness.  The walls were white.  The floors were white tile.  White curtains.  Hanging on a white coat rack was a perfectly white raincoat.  Arranged on low white shelves were some garden clogs (sans any speck of mud), a few pairs of sneakers, and a white pair of rain boots - also spotless.

Imagine a room whose sole intention is to be a place to discard muddy  and soiled clothing prior to entering the house, and here was one that was - well, impeccable.  I thought briefly about the pile of smelly jackets and mud caked boots that occupy one small corner of my kitchen. 

Just what the heck is this lady doing with a mud room??? 

OK.  Maybe I'm not quite over it yet.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Guerrilla Marketing - Weirdos Unite!

OK all...if you've been following my posts about Legs' story you'll know that my discoveries so far would not have been possible without the help of Lynn Reardon of LOPE (Lone Star Outreach to Place Ex-Racers). She is also the author of Beyond the Homestretch - a wonderful book about her experiences starting up a TB rescue, the horses she has met, and what she has learned about them and herself in the process.

I bought the book right after it was released in November of 2009 and fell in love with it. Normally, I am happy to "share" books with friends and family (Mom in particular), but this one I wanted to keep for myself. SO since portions of the proceeds benefit LOPE, I bought a second copy for Mom as a gift.

When I was at my parents this past weekend Mom and I stopped at her local Barnes & Nobel to pick up a few things. Perusing the pet section I came across a lone copy of BTH. I had a few other people in mind who would enjoy it and was prepared to buy this last copy when Mom snatched it out of my hand.

"Let me," she said, "you gave me a copy and now I will give you one to give away as well."

We argued for a few minutes, then took the book to the counter where we told the clerk that they really needed to order more. The clerk as it turns out was also the manager, and a horse person to boot! We encouraged her to order many more, and we would make sure they got sold.

This is how great ideas sometimes start. Lynn has been a big help to me, and I really want to return the favor.

You may have noticed a new gadget to the right of the blog posts - click the picture of the book and you will be connected to the Amazon page (Note: this is NOT a Google ad - just a link! ). I encourage the rest of my blogging buddies to add this gadget too. If you want to re-post this, all the better!

More ways to help:
1) Buy TWO copies, give one away. Then encourage the gift recipient to do the same.

2) Go to your local bookstore and make sure they have it in stock. Let them know about LOPE and encourage them to buy some additional copies(it helps to tell them you will be recommending it to friends!).

Spread the word!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Zen and the Art of Stall Cleaning

First, begin at the beginning. Stage one of your journey is preparation. Are you appropriately attired for the job? Will gloves be necessary? Ask your hands directly and the answer will be clear.

Take your time selecting your tools. There are no right or wrong choices. Breathe slowly; this will prepare you for the deeper stages.

As you enter the stall so not become overwhelmed by the size of your task. Recognize that this is the purpose of your journey. Keep your scoops light and quick - manure need not be forced into the wheelbarrow in big deposits.

Keep moving. Prepare to be flexible and let go of your expectations - surprises can lurk in every corner.

Relax into the rhythm of your movements. Stage one of your journey is nearly complete. On your way to the manure pile take time to reflect on where you have been so far.

Allow yourself to enjoy the view from the stall windows, the horses grazing peacefully in the pasture. These moments of peace are rare; they are temporary.

Begin your next stage by filling the once dirty wheelbarrow with fresh, clean shavings. Choose a stall to fill. It does not matter which one. This is your chance to fool with the order of your normal universe, to reverse previous perceptions.

As you finish spreading the shavings, allow your body and brain to slowly return to the real world. Notice which water buckets are in need of scrubbing. This will prepare you for re-entry.

When the last of the buckets is filled reflect on your experience. Did you accomplish what was needed? Were there unexpected rewards? Did the experience fill you up as the stalls were emptied?

Such is the journey.