January 30, 2013

One Book Has Ended

As of yesterday at 2:00pm I am no longer employed. Things were not good and in the long run, things are for the best. I was initially upset by everything that happened but by evening I was rather content with the happenings. A huge stress is already off my shoulders. I'm worried about covering horse / cat cost on top of bills and paying for gas to get to campus for classes but it will work in the end. Things happen for a reason.

So starting today I am applying for jobs. Looking for something with a slightly lighter load. 29 hours was way too much, while the money was nice, I couldn't find time for things that really needed to be done.

Also a good note - my wrist is feeling great. Best it's felt yet!

Until then....

The Things I Will Do With My Free Time
  • After class on Tuesday and Thursday's I will be going to the gym at the college for a solid hour before heading to the farm.
  • K and I have agreed to walk and eventually jog on the trails we ride the horses on when the weather permits.
  • Actually focus on classes and do homework. Yes, actually DO my homework!
  • Put Dakota into a 4 Days a week riding schedule. 
  • Put Echo into training boot-camp. I now have the time that I've wanted to put a solid 30 consistent days of training on her. She's doing great as it is but it's time to get to point of being ready to take the next step again :) I do expect a few off days from insane temperatures that will keep me from really working her, but I will find SOMETHING to do with her on those days for a mental break.
  • Clean, organize and sort my room and get rid of the unnecessary things I have.

January 29, 2013

Pictures From Weekend

So in yesterday's post I forgot to add the pictures I had taken Saturday of the ponies! So enjoy :D

Dakota likes to play king of the 'hill'.

No idea where the blue barrel came from!!! They were super interested in it though. It had to of blown into the field during all the windy winter weather.
Just noticed this view makes her eyes look really set into her head, looks weird!
Neither Echo or Dakota, but I like this picture of Glitch's frozen nose.

Last night I just cleaned stalls and took care of horses and called it a night. Worked my butt off on the homework I've been procrastinating on for over a week. If anyone knows of any job careers that encourage and embrace procrastination please let me know because I think I could be a CEO. At least that is what one of my previous professors says since he shares the same problem.

Note: For anyone interested in the FREE Equine Nutrition course from Coursera it is now open! You can still enroll if you haven't already!
Equine Nutrition

January 28, 2013

Crazy Michigan Weather!

I finally got out to the barn on Saturday. Feeling more myself and kicked the bug I had. My wrist is feeling significantly better, even leaving it unwrapped about 50% of the time and starting to use it a little (doctor told me to use it some since fracture isn't in a dangerous place).

S (who takes lessons on Dakota) came out with me both days over the weekend to help out. Saturday we did my stalls and played with Echo some. I managed to get video on my iPhone and since we had daylight the quality isn't completely awful. Just make sure you watch it on the highest quality setting. Note that Echo did in fact try killing a cat and found a second but couldn't get to it. Temperature dropped significantly in the 15 minutes I worked her. Poor S spent a good 25 minutes walking her out withe her cooler on.

Sunday we headed to barn a little earlier than normal since weather was suppose to get bad. We got all the stalls done since K wasn't around. Dakota wanted in so I gave him a flake of his hay and figured he'd be happy in his stall. No he went under the stall chain and stood at the gate wanting back out. All the horses were really really weird acting, probably sensing the weather changing. We waited until 5:30 to bring in horses so they didn't get too far off schedule. I organized some of my tack in the tack room to pass the time. Huge mistake. We went to let Echo's field in and it just started hailing out of nowhere (it had already been snowing). We got Dakota and Casper in from their field but the Thoroughbreds (Echo's group) refused to enter the barn because of the sounds. Since we just open the gate usually and they all come in and go right to their stalls, we had four horses just staring at us at the barn opening. They kept running back and forth acting rather ... special. I finally was able to block off Glitch and got him to bolt into the barn and get into his stall. I ran back out and managed to get Echo and lead her in. She was super freaked out but I just talked to her and she relaxed, licking and chewing on the way to her stall. The final 2 from her field finally followed after Echo was half way to her stall so I thankfully didn't have to go back out in the hail. By the time we had everyone settled, blanketed and not freaking over the sound, it had turned to a freezing rain. Then shortly after I got home we were blessed with thunderstorms. 

College was closed today so I got to sleep in. We'll see what The Mitten has in store for the horses and I in next 48 hours. Suppose to get up to 50F+ tomorrow after it just being 20F on Saturday...

January 26, 2013

Story of Josie

Today I'm taking my blog's attention away from Echo, Dakota and myself to put the spotlight on a fellow equestrian, Josie. Typing one handed while my right hand sits in a splint is a royal pain but I wanted to  share this sooner than later. Josie is a friend of mine that I met through out mutual love of the horse. Before I continue, I want to say Josie did not ask for myself or anyone to do this, I approached her for permission to share her story. Secondly some of you know this is out of character for me to share something like this. My Facebook, Twitter, etc is not flooded with 'shares' and 'likes' of a cat that needs to be adopted or a plea to get 1 million likes so X will happen. In fact, I'm guilty of deleting those post from my view so I do not repeatedly see them. Anyways...

Josie and her lovely horse Loki
Josie has Cystic Fibrosis. Despite being diagnosed at a young age, she has not let her disease slow her down. Josie started riding at the young age of 9 and got her first horse Honey when she was 11 from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Josie enjoyed the joys of horse ownership with Honey, competing mostly in Hunters with her. Late 2009, Honey was stricken with the neurological disease, EPM. During treatment, she started riding a rescue horse her trainer had. After loosing Honey to a battle with EPM in 2010 she got Loki, the chestnut gelding rescue she had been working with through Honey's illness, from her trainer. After her initial battles with him in training (rearing, refusing to canter, etc.), a she has shown and competed with him in Jumpers and even has explored a little eventing. 

Loki seemed to be just what she needed through her battle of Cystic Fibrosis. She has convinced him that carrying her oxygen concentrater in a saddle bag as she rides is a good idea! We all know how an oxygen concentrater is a highly dangerous horse eating object, so this is quite the feat (I'm sure Dakota would be convinced of this at least). Her future plans with Loki also include training him to drive.

Josie also has a love for theater as it is the main focus of her studies at Northwestern University in Chicago. However, she was hospitalized in the fall, her lung function levels dropped to 20% and in December was placed on the list for a lung transplant.

Josie was just released from the hospital January 17th. Instead of going home to rest, she has returned to Northwestern University, where she studies theater, in hopes being able to successfully finish this semester. Obviously while she is on the transplant list and has such low lung function, this also leaves Josie out of the saddle. 

Josie's mother recently cleared some things up on the transplant cost:

This is Josie's mother Nicolle, writing (note there are other admins on this page). I am so touched at the kindness of strangers and the amount of support we are receiving for Josie. I do want clear something up. The bulk of Josie's $750,000 transplant IS covered by our insurance. We are left with a balance that will need to be paid. Josie WILL get her transplant as soon as lungs become available. They will not hold her transplant because we do not have our part. We will have to pay whatever we owe over time until it is paid off. There will also be costs incurred related to transplant, post transplant and for the rest of her life that the insurance will not cover. We have been battling with our current insurance company over medications she needs for years that they do not want to pay for and I am sure we will continue to do so. We are grateful for all your help and support and it will all be used for Josie's transplant and recovery but please DO NOT feel that Josie will not get her transplant because we are "uninsured". We do have insurance, but as most of you know insurance does not cover everything. Please also take the time to register to be an organ donor at Gift of Hope. There are thousands of people waiting for organs who will never get them because there are not enough donors.
Also according to her mother, the average wait time for a lung transplant is six months. Because Josie is unusually small, she will most likely need lungs from a child--meaning the wait time could be even longer. 
Josie's official UNOS notification
A few days ago Josie had to be readmitted to the hospital during a routine check up. The day before being readmitted she was bed ridden with pain. She still is in the hospital as of today (Jan 26) but since there is no new infection in her lungs, hopefully she can be released again very soon!

About Her Disease & Transplants

So to all of my fellow horse friends, blog readers, followers, etc... I'm asking for your help. I know everyone has someone in their life that needs help, so what I'm asking is you simply share Josie's story. Not everyone can afford to donate but everyone can afford a few minutes of their time to either 1) Share this on their blog 2) Like AND share Josie's Transplant Facebook page or 3) Tell people word of mouth. Now... for those that can donate... even $1-$5 can made a difference in her transplant cost. $5 would be equivalent to a meal during her hospital stay before and after her transplant. $1 could cover the cost of a needle syringe. Also if you don't feel comfortable sharing Josie's story, feel free to take a few minutes to learn more about Cystic Fibrosis.

Lets help get Josie back to the place she loves most!
Thank you for reading, donating or sharing Josie's story. 
-From Allison Dakota & Echo

January 25, 2013

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things: Grain

It's my firm belief that the quality of what you put into your horse determines what you get out of him. No not in the form of what you have to shovel outta stalls daily, I mean performance. Once cannot expect optimal performance if you never evaluate your horses nutrition requirements. Being the obsessed person I am over reading nutrient labels on anything that goes into my horse, this will be a list of grains that pass my OCD and mean I would personally feed them to my horses or any horse in my care. I have not tried all of these myself, but all have been used by a trusted person I know and I've studied up on all of them...

  • In my opinion this is the best 'Economy' line of grain you can find. I say economy lightly because if I had a Southern States anywhere near me, I'd be feeding it.
  • Controlled Carbohydrate Technology.
  • Organic minerals.
  • Vitamin E, Selenium and Biotin.
  • Encourages a forage first diet.
  • Tries to educate horse owners on nutrition.
  • Good variety of feeds for different needs.
Nutrition Pyramid Used by ADM
  • Over 100 years of production.
  • Fixed formulas
  • Wide variety of products.
  • Own supplement and treat line.

  • Equine care products.
  • Supplement line.
  • Starch and carbohydrate awareness.
  • Signature, Specialty, Ultra, etc feeds for best fit for your horse.
  • Consistency and quality.
  • Highly palatable to the horses.
  • Own supplement line.
  • Corn free choices.
  • Minerals supplements.
  • If you can get it, it's amazing.
  • Super fresh.
  • Horses love the taste.
  • Saved best for last... my favorite!
  • Knowledgeable representatives.
  • Scholarship programs for young riders.
  • Revolutionary formulations, Premium Ingredients and EquiMix® Technology.

January 24, 2013

The Definition of Blah

Blah: 1) something that means nothing. 2) a word commonly used to describe an emotional state in which the person feels a sense of having no hope; usually a state of depression. 3) its a word used in an after sentence, when no one is talking, or when a person has nothing else to say. 4) a word when you don't know what a person is talking about. 5) when you have nothing to say, and its hard to say what you feel. 6) a word that describes an unknown situation or unknown feeling. 7) extremely bored. - Urban Dictionary

Yes I realize it has been a week since I've posted anything and no I haven't forgotten about you blog world.

It's been a weird week for me, not feeling myself. Not sick, but stressed and frustrated, and both are getting to me more than usual. Migraines and wrist pain haven't helped and as Urban Dictionary failed to define... blah. I love and hate Urban Dictionary at the same time. It's good for a good laugh now and then or to look up some ridiculous word you hear someone much younger than you use. Then it fails to really describe what you want it to, basically what I took from it's blah definition is blah = nothing.

I haven't been to the horses since Sunday. Between being in pain and a mini snowpocalypse hitting my corner of Michigan with Lake Effect snow for 4ish days in a row, I've had no motivation to get to the barn.

Our deck Wednesday night.
Over the weekend when I was at the barn I did manage to snap a few pictures of the horses. Still terrible lighting but at least they weren't iPhone pictures... progress right? Sunday since I had to feed everyone and well... doing so one handed was out of the question, the girl I usually give lessons to on Dakota came out and helped me. When we were done around the barn she helped groom Echo and saddled her up for me while I managed to bridle mareface (my new nickname for Echo) one handed.

I hate dusty arenas....
She w/t/c around the arena, not giving a care in the world about the gadgets on her body. She seemed a little stiff toward the end which I thought was odd but she had no obvious swelling or heat anywhere and her legs passed my attempt at a flex test. I'm pretty sure it was just due to the fact it was flipping cold.

Dakota joined her after her romp.

Anyway... she ended on a good note, and I thank S a ton for her help Sunday night. 

January 18, 2013

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things: Equipment

Lead Ropes & Halters
Whips & Crops
Lunging Equipment

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things: Stable

Stall Supplies
Insect Control
Feed Room
Travel & Trailering
Tack Room


It's Official...

My wrist is fractured...

Sat in doctors office for two hours to confirm what I feared. My wrist is immobilized in a splint and I got a lovely prescription of pain medications. I go back next week, sooner if anything changes, to see how its progressing to see if the splint is satisfactory or if a cast is needed.

So now I get to find ways to spend time with Dakota and Echo 1 handed. This weekend I may try my hand at homemade horse treats and sort some more tack, do homework and perhaps clean....

Blog series post didn't publish proper so most will be posted today!

January 16, 2013

Wrist Are Overrated

I think my arm is getting worse. Doctor tomorrow at 3:30. Will keep everyone posted on how that goes.

Last night K thankfully cleaned my stall in the midst of her own injury. After struggling through everything I groomed Echo who stayed very clean from the night before. I managed to tack her 1 handed and led her to the arena. Good note - she doesn't fuss over entering the arena anymore! (Knock on wood)

I let her w/t/c around the arena and set up two ground poles with a 2 stride distance between the poles. She didn't offer a buck or seem to give any care in the world to the saddle, so yay :)

Since I will be at the barn earlier tomorrow after my doc appointment - no need to go back to work after - I will try to get some pictures in better lighting.

January 15, 2013

Quick Update - 1/15

So my weekend didn't go nearly as well as planned. 

Saturday I had no motivation - fed the horses and left.

Sunday I fed all the horses since K was gone for the evening. By the time I was done feeding everyone I was exhausted and headed home. I figured a HOT bubble bath sounded amazing with being sore. Well after I had soaked in my bubble bath a good hour, I got up and proceeded to wipe out in the shower. Landing on my already sore arm, hitting my head and bruising everything possible.

Last night I was sore so I was a terrible horse owner and didn't clean stalls. K had plans last night so she didn't do hers either. Lucky for me mine were really not that messy so I don't feel TOO bad. I fed and groomed Echo - she was a bit annoyed since she was super super interested in her hay. I was going to put a saddle on her and lunge, but by the time I finished grooming I thought my hand was going to fall off - no way I was going to be able to saddle her.

I'm -hoping- K cleans my stalls today since she had a 1/2 day... If she sees this... GO CLEAN THEM!! <3 It's a warm 31 degrees today and hoping that means, frozen ground and no mud for Echo to get too dirty. If she's not a nightmare I'll saddle her tonight and lunge.

On another note... I didn't get paid right today so I had to cancel my farrier appointment for Dakota. In that process, I found out this woman farrier I've been using since August-ish is raising prices and she doesn't really listen the last 3 times she's trimmed Dakota barefoot about his angles. With that, I texted the guy I used 75% of the time last year who was SUPER slow at trimming, but did a great job with Dakota. And by slow - it took him 8 hours once int he summer for 10 horses and only Dakota had shoes! So he's coming Feb 1... until then I think I'll be riding Dakota but only at a walk - plenty to work on and I will lunge him trot and canter so he's still building muscle. 

January 12, 2013

Back On Track

So last night was a very productive evening! 

I got off work at 3:30ish and met up with my friend Erin and headed to pick out my new glasses. To my shock, they were ready only few hours later. While we waited we went out to dinner and did some much needed catching up. 

I got to the barn about 6:30... K had already cleaned stalls so I decided to bring in Echo to do a bit of ground work with her. She did WAY better than the night before. Much more responsive and willing to work. After a good 15 minutes of lunging both directions, K and I had the brilliant idea to work on lining her up to mounting block. Which lead to 'lets lean on her and see what she does' - leading farther to K deciding to put all of her weight on her back! I walked the two of them around the arena two laps and K slid off and we had a pony party - which Echo loves to hear how pretty and good she is. 

Finally we lined back up to the mounting block and K put her leg slightly over her back and slid all the way on, stayed for 5 seconds, got back off and we called it a night. After everything, I 'tied' Echo to groom her a little before riding. She actually, legitimately stood! She didn't wiggle, fidget and try to escape the evil tying.

I rode one of K's horses, Casper, my willing unicorn victim and the resident grey mustang. Wednesday when I rode Dakota, he was super super grumpy whenever I asked him to trot. He wouldn't move through his bad points into a smooth trot, just completely choppy. Well Thursday night when I let him run around arena since the field was a muddy nightmare I noticed he was moving ok but after inspecting him I noticed start of some hoof issues. His front right that has slight slight coffin bone rotation / other issues started to dish a little and I think it's cause for some of his issues. He gets sore barefoot and grows oddly. Luckily my farrier can come out Monday so we'll get him back in line to continue training with him.

Today = massive grooming session with both horses, lunge line work with Echo, let Dakota run a little on dry ground and get better updated pictures of Echo.

January 11, 2013

Battle Zone

I think I can honestly say I'm going to enjoy this semester of classes. Shocking. My accounting class... my instructor is a little flaky and doesn't really teach. Luckily her handouts are good enough to self teach from. My statistics class well... I <3 <3 <3 statistics. If there was a way to incorporate statistics and horses together I'd be all over it as a career. I've already had the only 'known' job position for this at Equibase and well I'm not about to re-explore that as a job. Finally my sociology class is going to be interesting and actually intriguing - I mean after all my textbook does include zombies. Also two of my instructors / professors (what's really the difference in the title of instructor vs professor?) come into the office where I work on a regular basis and are great people outside of the classroom so I enjoy learning from them. Oh I guess I can't forget my two bogus classes of Intro to PowerPoint and Intro to Word... my two extra credits I needed to make me full time. I hope to get them done in the course of two weekends and not the eight weeks allotted for them, get them done and out of the way!

Thursday night before getting home early to watch my favorite TV of Big Bang Theory and Greys Anatomy I had a lunging session with miss Echo. Now it was kinda windy and rainy so I'm not sure if the weather contributed to her attitude or what but she was a complete nut. Leaping, bucking, rearing, twist and turning - she had a complete meltdown on and off the lunge line. The good points of the night were 1) She wasn't lame 2) We worked through our issues of her spaz out 3) She tied very well to be groomed and fussed over after, never tried to throw a s**t fit being tied!

I know... the lighting is terrible but you can get a little bit of a picture of how her body has changed.
This weekend I don't have a ton of plans other than getting a jump on homework and doing a lot of cuddling with the kitties and ponies. YES I'll actually take my camera to the barn and get non crappy dark iPhone pictures.

Adorable picture of Holly for heck of it!

January 10, 2013

Free Stall Cleaning = Win

Last night after getting out of work and checking my voice mail and text, and seeing many many many text and missed calls from K that were all along the lines of "How much do you love me?" I called her back... She wanted to go to her boyfriend's wrestling match that was over an hour away and her parents wouldn't take her. So... her deal was 2 weeks of stall cleaning and her grooming and tacking up my horse any time I wanted to ride for the coming month. Sure why not right? I got to farm and my stalls were done and we brought horses in and left. 

Of course there's no great way to get there which meant ALL back roads. We got to the high school right after her boyfriend finished wrestling. Fail. Oh well, we had a good time talking during the 2+ hours we spent in the car.

On tap tonight is lunge session with Echo and maybe Dakota.

January 8, 2013

Happy 12 Years Dakota!

Twelve years ago today I met my best friend, Dakota. Five days later he arrived to my boarding farm and we began our journey together.

It's been a long incredible journey together, through thick and thin & good and bad.

January 8, 2001
January 13, 2001 

February 2001 

January 7, 2013

Weekend Wrap Up - Jan 7

Saturday night Echo’s leg was wayyyyy better. I saw no need to sweat it and just let her go without. If I didn’t know she had been off before you wouldn’t have noticed.

I rode Dakota with K and Glitch Saturday evening. Mostly just ambled around (again) but I started making him carry his headset and bend, which he was most ungrateful for. I worked on tempo changes at the walk, which he’s really responsive about and good through the transitions. I worked on a little sitting trot and did a few tempo changes before moving into a working trot and working on bending and carrying headset at the trot. I got slightly frustrated with him because he’s suddenly either super lazy or super hyper and I can’t get him to focus on ‘work’ – I think after few weeks of consistent rides he’ll be better but until then he’s testing my nerves.

I gave Dakota last night (Sunday) off since he had been rode or a good blow out romp around the arena for 4 days in a row. Echo’s leg was even better – I had to work to find any swelling and found a tiny tiny spot at the bottom of her tendon.

I groomed her lightly and took her to the arena. She was walking 99% sound and she started trotting around on her own. Still a little off at the trot and was worse going left (with her right foreleg on the outside). She didn’t seem to be too bad off though because she took off in multiple cantering / bucking fits before I got her to stop. She also did a few lovely sliding stops into the arena wall because she didn’t pay attention to where she was going. The good thing about her antics was her leg wasn’t any worse after all of it.

Took her back to her stall and groomed a bit more and finally started the task of pulling her mane. It’s not super thick but it’s long. I obviously cut it some after she got here but it has more natural layers to it now so I’m going to try and stick to pulling. Lucky for me she hardly flinched and didn’t even bother eating hay while I did it. Nice change to have a horse that will tolerate pulling!!!

Today marks beginning of yet another semester of college. On tap this semester is Accounting Principles 2, Business Statistics, Sociology and my two BS classes of Intro to Word and PowerPoint. I only signed up for the Word and PowerPoint because I needed 2 credits to make me a full time student for the semester. Good part is I work or am in class every day at 8:00am and am on campus until 5:00pm so a very consistent schedule. Pony plans tonight are get to barn ASAP and get done ASAP. I want to actually sleep more than 5 hours tonight! 

January 5, 2013

Back in the Mitten

Well... the title says it all. I'm back in Michigan, where sadly, about 50 pairs of mittens are needed to keep from freezing. As my plane was landing I saw the snow covered ground and just cringed.

Thursday night after getting back I got on Dakota for a short ride. Nothing major, mostly ambled around the arena but it felt great just to be on my horse again. Also tested my new Christmas present / 3 step mounting block and was able to get on with 0 knee pain!!!! Major milestone!

So more on Echo's general lameness. First thing I did after they came in was go over her legs. When leading her in I could easily see her limping. I had a hoof pick in hand to start with the hoof to make sure there was no snow, ice or rocks impacted. I didn't even get to the hoof. As I put my hand on her leg I had a gut sinking feeling as I felt the inflammation from her knee down to her fetlock. Majority was along the flexor tendons but wrapped around to the front of the leg as well. After 2ish minutes of pure freaking, I pulled myself together and did a more thorough examination and got to work on a plan. No major bumps to indicate a popped splint, only minor minor heat which made me happy, the swelling on the front part of the leg was an odd irregular pattern and tiny hard bumps along the front of the leg. Since the heat was so minimal I decided to sweat the leg overnight. She was a super good patient and didn't pick up her leg when I was bandaging it, unlike another horse I know *ahem* Dakota *ahem* - I'm onto your antics. 

The ground is everything but rock hard. The day before I left (Dec 19?) we got a ton of rain, followed by massive snow the day I flew out. So basically the fields froze in it's muddy pattern causing a very unfun horse surface. I'm pretty much attributing her lameness to her doing something stupid in the field.

Anyways, the next morning her leg was significantly better, but kept her stalled anyway for precaution. Later in the evening her leg was looking even better! I put her in the arena while I cleaned her stall and I saw her trotting, cantering and bucking. Someone was feeling good. Plus after her antics, her leg did not become swollen again. I applied another sweat bandage for good measure and decided she could go back out in the morning.

Friday was a high of a whopping 30F (-1C). Which really isn't all that cold for a Michigan winter, but after 13 days in a 50 degree North Carolina, it's a bit of a shock. Ground is still solid and it's hovering around 32F which means it starts to thaw a tiny bit during the day and refreezes making a wonderful icy effect. Oh how I hatelove you Michigan.

Echo came in not even limping at the walk. Her leg still had a bit of filling in it, but compared to the first day I saw it, it's 90% improved. I lunged the crap out of Dakota... Correction, Dakota lunged the crap out of Dakota. Yay for self motivated horses who just run in the arena even when you're not there to make them. After he was done cantering and throwing a buck here and there I decided to let Echo in the arena with him so they would walk around a bit together.

I got some CRAPPY iPhone pictures of them together finally, but when I go out today I plan to take my actual camera and hope to snag a few pictures.

Dakota kept trying to come to me, and he stopped moving as soon as I put the lead rope on his neck. He's... special.

January 1, 2013

Happy 2013!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas (or similar holiday) and has a safe New Years tonight. I've stayed home and kept everything low key with being out of town. Happy Birthday to my wonderful Grandma and one of my good friends who were both born January 1st. 

I'll be on a plane and back to Dakota and Echo in less than 48 hours which is completely bittersweet for me. I'll miss my mom and family here but I'm so ready to be back with the cats and horses, sad I know. I should be getting back into Michigan early enough on Tuesday for me to get home, tackle the box my mom ordered from Schneiders of Christmas goodies while I was here for my present and take them to the barn. I got a 3 step mounting block to make my life easier and a bit safer. Ever since my ACL tear I've had a horrid time mounting and the higher I can get the better. I think a ride is in order Wednesday to 1) test it out and 2) I flat out want to ride Mr Dakota. I got a few other horsie things - braiding kit (lots of time to practice for show season) and some polos. Other than money I mostly got DVD's and few odd and end things, overall a very good Christmas!

In Echo news... It has snowed a significant amount while I've been gone. Ground froze oddly since it was pure mud prior. Which means lots of divots and hazardous ground for horse legs. Of course the first day of snowfall, Echo apparently twisted something in the field and is 'off'' in one of her front legs. Not sure the extent of it but it sounds pretty minor but it's the first thing I'll be doing upon my return to the frozen tundra.