Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hello? Anyone out there?

A bad trend has been happening on this blog the past two weeks or so.

Page views are down. Comments are down. Interesting things are down. They're all tied together, and it's no fucking good. I understand it's the holidays which puts all of us in three different categories:

1. Those with social lives that are too busy to keep up on their own blogs, let alone someone else's.

2. Those without social lives who fall into a holiday depression. They crawl into deep, dark caves and give the finger to shadows that they have named after their former best friends, whom they will go back to being best friends with after winter when their best friends are no longer dancing around with glittery garland and mistletoe because they've fallen into category number one.

3. The stalwart blogger that continues to push on, blogging daily, commenting daily, taking a break to play on Facebook, only to come back to see if someone else is trudging through the holiday blogging lull to bring about pony pictures and general hilarity.

I find myself dabbling in all three categories. I was decked out in garland and bows and ribbons yesterday while taking down Christmas decorations. It was all fun and good despite the cold weather....until I got to the lights.

Gosh, I hate lights.

i thought i was going really minimalist this year with decorations.

The problem was that I wove the lights around the rail on the front porch which means I had to unweave them between the tiny slats. Yeah. By "unweave" I mean I yanked them out, cursing loudly the entire time, and threw them across the porch one foot at a time until I had a giant pile of snarled, broken lights. And then I threw them ALL AWAY.

Fuck you, Christmas.

But that's not what this blog is about. It's about ponies, and there's nothing more you guys love reading about than a Bobby Magee story that goes wrong. Am I right, or am I right?

Well, I did ride on Sunday. I put him in his Micklem for the first time in forever. Like, two months? Totes forevers. I put the running martingale on, too, for emergency back up. However, despite being a bit resistant to start out, and being a touch heavy throughout, he was actually pretty good. There was none of his trademark flailing which I guess is a bit of a let down blog-wise.

snowflakes in the indoor.

He had Monday off while I battled holiday cheer and tried not to pull the Christmas tree down on top of my head, but I was back out this morning for another ride in the Micklem.

He was much quicker to adjust and relax today. He even started stretching down a bit while on a loose rein during warm up. Stretching was something I really had a hard time asking for in the hackamore. It's always been a weak point for Bobby, but he does "get it" better with a bit.

After warm up, where the canter work was shortened to only two laps of the arena to the left due to his hips, I asked him to come up to the bit more. He was again resistant--not in a bad way, just in a normal stiff horse way--so after a few minutes of getting nowhere, I put him on a circle and did some remedial pressure-release to the left.

the hounds watching patiently.

Without fail that unlocks him, and when I straightened him back out and asked for the trot, he let out a big sigh, rounded up his back and neck, and was as light as a prancing dressage fairy horse made of downy feathers in my hands. I could have trotted him forever like that. There was literally not one thing I would have changed.

I only worked him for another five minutes afterwards though. My rides still haven't ventured past twenty minutes including warm up. Only five more days until the chiro is here!

So while everyone is getting wasted tonight, any ideas for a Wordless Wednesday picture theme? I've had gif block since the last two. Bobby's life as a Disney princess? What happens to Bobby when I sell him to the Amish, as told by Breaking Bad? Let me know.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saturday Snaps*

note the classy as hell half-clipped coat.
don't worry--my blades came back today.
no grass? no worries. just eat twigs.
the ground was frozen solid, but no worries.
looking cheeky as i approach to take his half-eaten stick.

*Because nothing else is going on while we wait for the chiropractor. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Left Hanging

I swear I was going to do a pre-Christmas post that was all, "Got to ride my horse first thing Christmas Eve, he was super, can't wait to get back and ride him again, Merry Christmas to everyone, too bad your horse isn't as bitchin' as mine, someone please buy me a dressage saddle."

But clearly that did not happen.

I did get out and ride my horse first thing Christmas Eve. He was not super. He was spectacularly awful, and there was much head flinging and rocking horse cantering to be found. I only rode for about twenty minutes and not much of it was productive. We were able to end on a "good" note, in that I wasn't threatening to beat him about the face and neck while mounted, but it wasn't great work. He got his sheet swapped out for his blanket and was run through his carrot peppermint stretches before being abandoned with his hay--and his Uncle Jimmy's Hanging Ball that he has only half devoured and still insists on smearing over every inch of his body.

The chiro won't be able to get out until January 6th which is forever. In the meantime, we'll be doing lots of long and low trot work, minimal canter work, and lots of walking up the boring conditioning hill. So much for kick starting December with a fresh, sound horse. That will have to wait for next month.



On a GIANT plus side, guess what I did manage to do Tuesday morning.

Oh, that's right. Ride my barefoot horse on the frozen gravel driveway and have him be completely sound.

His hips might not be on the same planet as the rest of his body at the moment, but hot damn, at least I'm not worrying about his little tootsies right now! Here are pictures from his last trim on Monday:








I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas after all! And, you know, that your horse isn't as bitchin' as mine. Because I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Random Awesome Picture

Bobby is backwards.

Horses, especially clipped horses, are supposed to feel more fresh when the weather gets colder. Bobby, however, waited until the weather crept into the mid-sixties to turn into a raging dick monster.

He wasn't awful on Saturday. At least, he wasn't as awful as he could have been. He had to deal with horses coming in and out of the arena, a barking dog, people walking in and out of the arena, and--the absolute worse--people pulling in and out of the barn driveway. Those that have followed this blog for any length of time know that this is unacceptable and the most offensive thing in Bobby's world.

He tried his very hardest to be a hot, tense mess, but I tried my very hardest to just trot forward. I made him do about ten million leg yields at every spot possible in the arena while going forward, forward, forward and he eventually settled into an uphill, bendy, soft-for-Bobby rhythm.

Sunday he had off.

my christmas present to myself.
bobby at gvrdc in june.

Today, he was a total nut bag. He took forever to warm up and then took offense to everything I asked him. I decided to play around with the parts of Training B and then put it together and do a run through.

Sweet Baby Jesus.

He was a disaster. We started out okay, but then from the free walk, to medium walk, to trot, I pretty much got nothing but an up and down rocking horse because he could not bring himself to go forward. All he wanted to do was "canter"--aka bolt forward and swap leads before spazzing that he had swapped leads and was no longer balanced. When I said no to cantering, he decided to do his favorite back up tactic. When that got shot down, he reverted to spinning around and taking off in the other direction.

Nothing new to see here, folks!

To be fair, his really needs his hips adjusted. I'm waiting for the chiro to get back to me to schedule an appointment. I also just clipped his face and I think the curb chain on his hackamore is irritating him a bit without six inches of fur to pad it. I'm going to look for a leather curb chain or some fleece to pad it with and see if that helps. Also, he's a sensitive princess and the movements in Training B come quickly, so it's the prefect excuse to get flustered.

On a positive note, he was a powering beast of awesomeness trotting up the conditioning hill after our ride.

The weather is supposed to drop back down to the thirties this week, so hopefully he'll chill back out on the flat. It's hard to build a lovely top line when all he wants to do is go cray-cray.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

2014 Goals

Alright. Let's set some fucking achievable goals this year. I don't want to come back at this time in 2014 and get another big, fat F- on achievements.

Performance Goals:

1. Diversify! I had the most fun this year dabbling outside of the eventing world. Best of all, it doesn't involve hours long road trips to get anywhere. I want to go to at least one gymkhana, and I want to get Bobby more confirmed with driving.

2. Dressage it. We missed one dressage show this year due to lack of entries and another due to lameness. Not going to happen again. I'll make the goal First Level, but I'd like to be pretty confirmed in schooling the Second Level movements so.....maybe show that as well?

3. The Big T. We are moving up to Training this season. I am so over dicking around between BN and N. I'm feeling confident in Bobby's ability, and his soundness. Most of all, I feel like we're going into this winter with forward fucking momentum. We're going to jump a lot. The dressage is already there. Bring it.

Personal Goals:

1. Monthly Goals. Lamest monthly goal ever, but I really like the blogs that set out their monthly goals. Plus, damn do I love lists. I think this is going to be key to getting us to Training--a step-by-step process instead a wild scramble at the last second. Starting January, look for a monthly goal post.

2. Barefoot Education. Dang, having a barefoot horse saves me money! I want to further my education on trimming so that I don't accidentally cripple my horse. Also, if Bobby can stay barefoot and sound for an entire season? Um, I should win an award. Someone look into that.

Aaaaand that's all I've got. Obviously "win all the ribbons" goes without saying. And things like "not die" or "don't get eliminated".

Friday, December 20, 2013

2013 Year in Review

I can't believe it's already that time again. I feel like Bobby and I have accomplished nothing yet!

Oh, wait.

We haven't.

Let's take a look at last year's goals:

Competition Goals: 

1. Complete a Training CT. Nope. Never came close. Never came close to feeling like we were close.

2. Get a medal of any color for Novice. Nope. We only did one recognized show this year, and I retired after the third fence on cross country.

3. Show First Level. Nope. Never made it to any dressage shows.

Personal/ Schooling Goals:

1. "I want to be a more confident, serene sort of rider in general. I'm so easily flustered when something goes wrong that I just throw up my hands and quit riding. I want to be able to go around a stadium course positively, thinking ahead to the next jump, riding forward, knowing my lines, being an active rider." Nope. Stadium was absolutely our worst phase this year, and I couldn't once get my shit together while showing.

2. "I want to be confident and thoughtful on xcountry, thinking more about how to ride each jump and what's coming up ahead instead of worrying about the ways things could go wrong." Mixed success. I did feel more confident on cross country this year. I didn't leave the start box feeling like I was going to die. I didn't look at the jumps and think, "This is way too big for us." Once I let Bobby cruise, we were both on auto pilot. However, letting myself let him cruise was difficult at times.

conquering banks.

We started off the year with a cross country schooling at Burgundy Hollow. I felt like I conquered my fear of down banks, but Bobby was severely opposed to the stop-start schooling process and managed to pull a front shoe right off the bat so he wasn't particularly cooperative about any other jumps.

However, our first show of the year was back at Burgundy and I always feel really confident when showing there, so despite not jumping all winter and a "meh" schooling a couple of weeks before, I went ahead an entered us at Novice. Bobby was distracted during dressage, as always, and I went off course right off the bat, but we redeemed ourselves in the canter work and tied for second. We survived the stadium with minimal bumbling and cruised right through cross country with no jumping faults. We ended up with third place overall, and I was feeling like we were ready to kick this season's ass.

warming up for stadium.

A week later, we headed over to BCHP for our second Novice. We started off with a boring if correct dressage test, but in such a close field, even our decent score could only put us in sixth place. It didn't matter as it all fell apart from there. We killed the stadium course--and not in a good way--to get eliminated. We still got to go cross country only to have Bobby's complete lack of "team work" shine through and pick up a stop two from home. I left feeling completely disgusted with my horse and myself.  I had no confidence in our jumping ability, and no confidence in the show we were already entered in.

dressaging at bchp

Our first and only recognized show of the year was at GVRDC, a venue we'd never been to before. Bobby lost his shit when he was nearly run into by the rider exiting the dressage ring in front of us, and he was a complete mess during our test. Our 37.4 was the second worst dressage score we've ever gotten, and every comment was about how tense he was. I was a nervous wreck heading into stadium, but thanks to some coaching from my BM, I managed to keep myself from crying or puking, and despite a couple of time penalties and two rails, we made it around. Bobby got distracted on the long walk over to cross country and never really tuned back in. I opted to retire him after the third fence on course to keep us from getting an E on our record.

there's no doubt he can jump. 

We took a month off from showing, doing a lot of trail riding and brain resting. I decided to venture back into the world of showing with a CT at BCHP, dropping down a level to BN. It was ungodly hot and I had a really hard time coping with the heat. Bobby's dressage was "meh", our score was "meh", and my attitude about the whole thing was "meh". I learned my stadium course in about two minutes flat by watching the rider in front of me go, and we went into the ring with zero jumping warm up to keep all the rails in their cups. We trotted some, we cantered some, but most importantly, we survived. We picked up a 7th in our only other finish of the year.

still with dressage length stirrups, about to pass out, but my horse is cute.

After catching my breath, we schooled cross country afterwards. Bobby jumped everything I asked him to, and despite the heat cutting the schooling short and keeping us from doing anything too exciting, it was a good finish to the day.

room to spare.

A little over a week later, we headed over to the Benton Rodeo with our barn to do the fun show there. Bobby was a complete and total super star, hanging out among a giant crowd of milling horses, ponying his nutty black friend around, and entering the chute and arena in the dark at 10:30pm without ever putting a foot wrong. His giant body made for awkward turns and slow times, but you could tell how much he enjoyed it, and I had a blast.

plus who wouldn't revel in the chance to wear this much orange?

After BCHP, I tentatively aimed for another CT closer to home, but soundness issues with Bobby's feet--something that had been plaguing us throughout the summer--cut that plan short. In the meantime, I picked a new hobby to introduce Bobby to: driving! A week after introducing Bobby to a harness for the first time in his life, I climbed into the cart by myself and drove off on our maiden voyage. Is there anything this horse can't do?

one step closer to an amish cart horse.
don't think i won't continue to hold that threat over your head, bobby.

Well, there was--staying sound. A trail ride resulted in yet another pulled shoe for Bobby and I came limping back with a broken foot. I decided that since I was going to be out of commission for at least a month, and our show season was officially over, there was no better time to see if Bobby could go barefoot. I chronicled that process here and here.

vacation plumped him right up.

We finally got back into steady work around October, only to be knocked out again by a mysterious lameness that turned out to be an abscess. I started riding Bobby exclusively in a hackamore and found a warm up routine that he approved of. In response, Bobby has really been settling into his dressage work. He's going more correctly, and he's more willing to try to answer the question without throwing major tantrums.

work it.
While our show season was a complete bust, and our work at home kept getting cut short due to one thing or another, I think Bobby and I really grew up this year, even if it has only been in the last month or two.

I think breaking my foot and intentionally crippling my horse (pulling his shoes was so mean, but so needed, and so worth it) was the best thing to happen to us this year. The extended time off hit the "reset" button in my brain, and armed with a whole lot more knowledge than when I first started riding this horse, I got back on him with no expectations of how he was before.

The reward was that I've figured out a warm up that makes him go correctly in his flat work, and that flat work is accelerating rapidly. I've figured out how I need to ride him to get him around a stadium course. We're able to jump in the indoor, a mere three winters after Bobby arrived at this barn. And although we haven't been out on cross country in a long time, between the dressage work and the stadium work, it shouldn't be a problem.

dressaging at gvrdc.

Hopefully we can continue on into next year in the same state of mind. It's a lot fucking nicer working with your 1,200 pound partner-in-crime instead of wanting to run him into a tree and hope an angry grizzly bear devours him while he tries to untangle himself from the branches.

I mean, noooo. I've never thought about that before....

It's a Christmas Miracle!

Jumping in the indoor, that is.

I first tortured my horse will the two dullest set of clipper blades you've ever met, managing to get his face, chest, one side of his neck, and half of the other side done before they collectively told me to fuck off and get them to the sharpening lady before they were going to work again. Such divas.

It didn't help that I kept running into patches of molasses on Bobby's neck from his hanging ball. Apparently someone thinks that the candy can be ingested directly into his throat that way? I mean, what even goes on inside this horse's head sometimes?! Maybe he was leaving it there for his friends to lick/bite off of him later?  It did look like he'd taken a few bites out of it at least. All the better to moisten it up and smear across his body, I guess. He is a special sort of special.

But anyway. I digress.

As always.

would you doubt this horse's intelligence?
(that was a trick question, by the way.)

I set up a 2' vertical at X, parallel with B and E for a warm up jump and a jump to switch leads over. I also put up a 2'6" oxer on the quarter line between E and H so that the approach was shorter tracking left, and obviously longer coming in from the right.

Warmed up, jumped the vertical at an angle a few times both ways, and then came around from the left to the oxer. The first couple of jumps were a hair long, but neither one of us got frazzled and just kept on keeping on. Oh, by the way...


I need to start tagging or labeling my posts or whatever so I can link back to all our ridiculous rides. Hmm, what were the labels for indoor jumping again? Oh, right. "Nearly died." "Hate my fucking life." "My horse jumps like a crippled elephant." "Never again."

But we're getting it!! We are finally looking like we have jumped a jump before in our lives while cooped up inside. Christmas Fucking Miracle, compadres.

We kept the ride very short due to the copious amounts of snow sliding off the roof of the arena. And by sliding, I mean massive avalanches. Bobby is not a spooky horse, but even he was like, "What the shit is going on out there?!?!" It made for a very distracted, tense dude, but I worked around it by either trotting a circle or cantering an extra circle before approaching the jump, and he was a total gem (for him) the entire time.

Best of all, instead of coming to the jump, freaking the fuck out because I know we're about to bite it, clenching with my knees and snatching at the reins, and then obviously biting it, I was able to maintain normalcy. No freaking out. No knee clenching--instead bracing against my heel and shoving my leg forward so it didn't go swinging back to Robert's rump. And I was a master releaser.

In a word, we were BALLERS. (Alright, that might count as three words, but whatever. And "ballers" is a word, Blogger. Suck it.)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bobby's Secret Santa

Robert received his Secret Santa gift last night, and I was excited to show him what he got this morning.

so good.

I had no idea what to ask for, and I see everyone else had way more original ideas than I did, but I figured you couldn't go wrong with horse treats. Molly from One Bud Wiser indulged us with an Uncle Jimmy's Hanging Ball. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

bobby says thank you, too!

Bobby has never grasped the concept of a Lik-It, but these babies are giant balls of pure sugary, caloric deliciousness, and he was mugging me as soon as I walked into his stall. It took Red about two hours to completely demolish his when I got them for him, even though the box says they should last from a week to a month, so hopefully Bobby shows a little more composure.

I took Bobby and Memphis down to the arena to see if the two of them together could perhaps be enticed by the jolly ball. Bobby completely ignored it again and wandered to the far end of the arena with Memphis right behind him. Memph did give it a good stare, but was quickly distracted by a marathon roll-fest with Bobby.

friends do everything together.

They had a good romp when I kicked it to them, and Memphis kept looking over at it like he considered giving it a sniff, but he chose to stay by Bobby. I finally put his halter back on and led him over to it. He sniffed it, mouthed it a little bit, and then tried to hide behind me when I moved it. He has too good of manners to ever invade my personal space, but he would give me the most concerned look and circle around to stand by my shoulder.

"not so sure this is a good idea."

I finally gave up on these two for now, but Sarah will hopefully be able to get out on Saturday and we can try again.

I got Bobby tacked up and did an abbreviated warm up with him since he'd already spent a fair amount of time romping around on his own. He was an absolute wild child at the canter, and he kept building and building while ignoring my half halts until he finally dropped all pretenses of steering or braking and I ran him head-first into the wall to get him to stop.

like this, but with a saddle on. 

After that little "episode", he settled down and went to work. I focused a lot on getting his poll up and his trot bigger at the same time to ensure he's putting that tush to work. It was an effort, but we're both out of shape, so it was a good effort for where we're at.

I had him pick up the canter and it was so dreamy I just floated around thinking, "I would jump an entire course in this canter." I didn't feel like getting off to set up jumps--and who does a full course two days back anyway?--but I dragged over one of those big orange traffic barrels and plopped it at X making it lay parallel to B and E.

We started off doing a 20m circle over it to the left, switched directions and did the same thing to the right, then figure eight-ed a few times. We ended with taking it at an angle, turning in at H and K. He jumped it like a pro the entire time--no run-outs, no refusals.

I decided to end with some counter canter which elicited another bout of "I'M ANTICIPATING EVERYTHING, AND IT'S NOT EVEN YOUR AIDES I'M ANTICIPATING, BUT THE END OF THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Which is just uncalled for.

Got that sorted out, ended on some stretchy trot instead, and made our hike up the hill in the snow.

watched over by dollar.

Aoife's Christmas Contest!

Today is going to be a double post day because I want to make sure this contest gets seen.

Aoife over at Pampered Ponies is hosting an awesome contest where the prize is one of Niamh's amazing paper cuts. I already have one of Red, and it's amazing, but I think it's past time Bobby got one of his own.

We had friends over just before we left for our trip to Illinois and I was talking with N about Bobby. I have a ton of pictures of Red on the wall, and she asked if any of them were Bobby. Uhhh....no. Actually Bobby has zero pictures of him around the house because he's not the most photogenic of horses. However, I have faith that Niamh can make Bobby look, if not attractive, than at least like a Thoroughbred and not an inbred giraffe. One can always hope at least.

So the contest is for best Christmas photos of your horse. I'm going to pick this one from our Christmas shoot last weekend:

I'm still bummed you can't tell that his lights are lit up, but the effort counts, right? Plus, I get to give you this bonus picture with it:

He enjoyed his decorations so much that he kept dropping! So I did what any good horse girl would do and shoved a snow ball up his sheath.

Be sure to enter her contest!

bonus picture of Christmas Red licking the wall our first year together.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Welcome back ride.

Barring any more major weather disasters--and by "disasters" I mean "snow that takes me all fucking day to shovel out of the driveway, and then I'm too crippled to go anywhere afterwards"--Bobby is officially back in full work. His feet look great, he's got a chiro appointment finally coming up, and he's not currently sporting any mysterious lumps or bumps.

So in the spirit of bringing the the world's most awkward looking OTTB back to work after an extended vacation (He hasn't been in real, consistent work since the end of July!), here is his before shot:

one lug headed, gangly, under-muscled thoroughbred coming right up!

We've got a lot of catching up to do. As such, Sir Robert had his first ride back in almost two weeks.

Me: Alrighty, Robert. Now that we're both sufficiently warmed up, let's pick up a little contact.

Bobby: Yay, back to trotting!

Me: No, I want you to walk. Just add a little bend and get your head out of the clouds.

Bobby: Right-o. Head down, bend, and trot on.

Me: Wait, what? No. Just walking!

Bobby: Ohhh! You want me to canter. Got it.

Me: Bobby, stop it. Just fucking walk already.

Bobby: FINE.

i swear this is all that ever goes on in bobby's head.

Me: Okay, it's time to trot.

Bobby: Got it. Off we go.

Me: Hm....that's actually pretty good. Maybe bring your poll up more?

Bobby: Yep. I can do that.

Me: Uhh....okay, that's actually really good. Let's do a few leg yields.

Bobby: Yep. I can do that, too.

Me: Lengthen across the diagonal?

Bobby: Love lengthening!

Me: Who is this horse?! Why are you being so--


Me: Right, there's the horse I know.

it takes us forever to get out of the barn because
we have to stop and say hello to everyone.

Me: Are you ready for a canter?

Bobby: Fuck yeah, cantering!

Me: That didn't mean throw yourself into it and start flailing about. Try again.

Bobby: UGHHHHH. Why can't you just acknowledge that I know everything?

Me: Whatever, Bobby. Make a circle. Bobby. Bobby, helloooo. Where are you going?

Bobby: Look, sometimes I just don't want to do anything you ask me.

Me: Just make a fucking circle.

Bobby: FINE.

Me: And across the diagonal....um, straight would be ideal....or not. And walk two steps, and back to canter.

Bobby: You know, you really shouldn't ask me to do something and then right away ask me to do something else. Do you want me to walk or canter? WALK OR CANTER?

Me: Get over yourself. Why are your haunches not on the same track as the rest of your body?

Bobby: Because they hate you.

Me: Bring them over here.

Bobby: FINE.

Me: And turn down the center line. Hold the lead, hold the lead.....and HALT.

Bobby: Straight up gangster. Where the fuck is my peppermint for that?

We finished up our twenty minute (warm up included) ride with a hack up the hill. We may not have access to trails right now, but we don't need it with the hill and snow on the ground. Fatty Magee was huffing and puffing by the time we got to the top. I've got so much booty worked planned once his hips get cracked back into place, it's not even funny.

bay ponies for all!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The return of live posting! Is that a thing?

I am back from my annual week-long sojourn into the wild world of suburban Illinois. What does this mean to you? It means that I'll be going back to riding posts instead of recap posts or random list posts. But thanks, everyone, for sticking in there last week.

Actually, that was probably more fun for you than rambling sideways riding posts where I hint at how fabulous my horse is while simultaneously mocking him and making him out to be a complete tool bag. Bobby doesn't mind. As long as Bobby gets cookies, he's okay with being portrayed as a miserable, sassy, pushy, teenage rebel with rare moments of cooperation that border on brilliance.

Mostly because that's really not that far off from the truth, the shit.

"excuse me, what? this is the face of a fucking WORLD BEATER."

The weather was miserable while I was gone--both in IL and back here in PA. We kept passing snow plows all the way through Indiana, and Hubby and I were foolishly like, "Silly snow plows! There's no snow anywhere to be found!" Then we got to the exit for Gary only to find that it had been blown to smithereens (which it really needed) and we had to follow a detour....a detour that randomly ended without actually detouring you anywhere.

No worries. We made it onto I-90 just as we entered Illinois and came face-to-face with a snow storm that lacked snow plows to keep up with it. It took us two hours to navigate the thirty miles between Chicago and Naperville. Fortunately, you wonderful midwesterners actually know how to drive in snow and we only passed one accident the entire way. It was just slow going. Really slow.

the hounds had a good time mauling my mom's dogs.

While I was in IL (Hubby was at a work thing at Purdue most of the week), the weather alternated between snowing and blowing, and it never got above 20* the entire time. I was all, "Good thing it never really snows where we live because shoveling snow sure does blow!"

We drove back through another snow storm in Indiana even though it was supposed to be gone by Sunday morning. We counted eight overturned semis along the side of the road while we drove through that state. Did you guys get ice the day before, or what? It was madness.

We finally made it home, turned on the 4WD, and blasted through the foot of snow in our driveway. FOR REAL?! It's not supposed to snow this much out here!! Since I had to do basic things the next day like, oh you know, buy groceries and dog food, I had to start shoveling. The Saturn does not handle a foot of snow like a pick up. Normally I wouldn't mind, but our driveway is shaped like a J and it goes on for.ev.er. on an incline. It was torture. My shoulders do not function today.

Regardless, I got it done, got the groceries, got the dog food, and snuck in a visit to the barn to show Bobby his Christmas present from my mom.

"it has a crinkly wrapper. is it cookies?"

"nope. definitely not cookies."

"but what is it?"

I've always wanted a mega Jolly Ball to play with. We found one on sale for $20 at the local farm store, and my mom was nice enough to gift it to us. It took a solid twenty minutes to blow up with the cheap plastic foot pump that came with it, and I was ready to kick it really hard at something by the time I got done. Bobby watched in interest as I blew it up in the aisle outside his stall, occasionally getting distracted by gnawing on his lead rope, some hay, and my gloves.

really?! that's not edible!
"you're right. you can have it back."

Once the ball was finally inflated, the three of us headed down to the indoor. The horses that were in snorted and cowered in their stalls as we left the barn as Bobby dutifully plodded behind me like, "Sorry, dudes. I can't be held responsible for the ball or the crazy bitch that owns me." He ignored the ball completely once we got into the indoor, choosing to roll and prance around for awhile first.

I finally called him over and made him acknowledge it. He looked at the ball, looked at me, and wandered off in the other direction.

"i really don't care."

He had a quick case of the sassies that I tried to incorporate the ball into, but that failed, too.

After multiple failed attempts to get him to play with it, I finally got on him. Ten days with no work with snow falling off the roof and the temperature hovering in the low-twenties, bareback in a halter and lead rope, my 8yo OTTB dutifully allowed me to kick the ball around the arena off his back, trotting around to keep up with it and letting it bounce off of his legs and stomach. I'm all for having such a level-headed horse, but it does get a little boring sometimes.


"i just...can't."

I left the ball there and posted on our barn's facebook page that anyone was welcome to play with it which sparked the idea of a soccer game. Hopefully that comes to fruition soon. Maybe seeing other horses play with it will encourage Bobby. I want fun Jolly Ball videos!

Of course, after leading you on about being home and riding again, we got another inch of snow overnight and it's snowing like crazy right now. So I'll be shoveling the driveway again, and hopefully I'll be able to get out tomorrow.

Also, holy shit this was a long post. My bad.

Sorry I'm not sorry.