Punks Kid Rock is the registered name of my American Quarter horse gelding, Rocky. This blog chronicles our adventures together,
as well as stories from my horse past and, occasionally, a tidbit from my non horse life.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Talking to Horses

Remember those Equestrian Question blogs I was doing a while ago? I just remembered I stopped doing them at #14, and since I'm floundering for blog topic today I decided to get back in the saddle with number 15, "If you could talk to any horse alive or dead, who would it be?"

I debated Secretariat for a while. As arguably the greatest racehorse of all time, it would be amazing to even be in his presence.  However, I don't have much to say, and after the first few minutes of being honored to be speaking with him, I feel like the gift would be wasted. Plus, I don't want to hear if bad things happened to him, I'm sure they did but I don't want to know about it.

I want to talk to my first horse, Honey.

She died February 8th, 2009 and she was the first love of my life. I want to tell her that I'm sorry for not getting a second opinion sooner, I'm sorry for not leaving her home like she wanted that last semester and that I selfishly wanted her at school with me.

I want to tell her thank you for being such a great horse, baby sitting me when I was 13 and teaching me how to be a leader as I got older. I wish I knew then what I know now, but that's life and unfortunately we can't go back no matter how much we wish we could.

Most of all I want to give her a hug, smell her neck and tell her I love her. I want to make sure she's happy in horse heaven and not to feel bad when I feel sad. I want to tell her I miss her but that I hope she has her pick of apples and oranges (yes, she loved oranges) up there.

She really was beautiful. Strong willed, opinionated but sweet and intelligent. She had a confidence in her stride that said she knew what she was about, and a softness in her eyes that made you feel like she saw your soul, and you were free.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Hey All,
I have to get ready for work soon but I wanted to put up a quick post so I don't get so terribly out of the habit of writing again.

I am working two part time jobs right now, which means I am almost done with a 13 day stretch of no days off. I was hoping to get tonight off, but alas, I was called in. Trying to keep my shit together so I can be professional and awesome at work, even though I felt a bit like crying when I found out I needed to go in tonight.

I have been working with Rocky on listening to my legs better, and it has been going well! The first two days I couldn't hold the reins in my hands without cuing him, so I left them draped over the saddle horn until I needed to pick one up to correct him. Today he did very well, doing circles wherever I wanted him to across the arena.  Yay!

Rocky was wonderful tonight, actually. He did all of the obstacles I pointed him at without fuss or spook, including a ditch filled with plastic bottles and the ever terrifying tarp on the ground. I praised him for his good behavior and took him on a nice trail ride which made him sweaty.  As a reward he got to graze for a while with his cooler on, happy boy!

Well, that's about all I have time for today, I hope you all are doing well!
I want to be here right now, with a yummy drink in a pineapple with an umbrella.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Ranch

Driving out to look at the Place of More Affordable Boarding, the landscape was lovely. Here in northern Minnesota, the trees are all turning colors with the fall chill and lending a bright atmosphere to the forest. I admired several horse farms as we passed them and had hopes that the POMAB would be just as nice. Upon arrival I noticed the arena, which was basically a fenced in patch of ground.

Willing to be forgiving, I gave a mental shrug and thought that we could handle the uneven ground of an untended arena.  Next there was a herd of minis in their dirt pen, crowded around a round bale. Cute little buggers, they made me smile and hope for the best. We pulled up near the barn were there was a row of spots to tie your horse. They were a little far from the barn and out in the open, but nothing unmanageable.

Man came out to greet us, I don't remember his name so I will just call him Man.  He was an aged cowboy, complete with weather beaten face and heavy turquoise ring. He shook our hands and walked us into the barn, stating, "Well, I don't know what you want to see, but this is it." The barn seemed tidy enough, nothing jumped out at me as a red flag.  Walking to the back, we could look out the back doors at the large pastures of horses eating on round bales and walking around.

Man pointed out one of his shelters, which had blown over in the wind recently.  He hadn't put it back up yet.  That was cause for some concern, I mean, why wouldn't you anchor your shelters down so they don't blow over and, I don't know, crush someone's horse? Strike one.

I asked about the trails on his property, having loved the look of them from his website. He sat back on his heels and explained that those photos were from a State Park they occasionally travel to, but he does have one small trail on his property. Otherwise, "People like to ride down the the bar. It's a good ride, maybe an hour and a half to get there. They've got frozen pizzas that aren't too bad and people will grab a beer while they're there." Okay, I could get on board with riding to get some lunch. However, the rest of the riding there was road riding.  In winter that means we would be stuck at the ranch without many options. Strike two.

Finally, I asked what was included in the price of board. Man stated, "I throw hay out." There was a pause while I waited for the list to continue. He amended, "and every once in a while I will glance out there to make sure your horse is still standing." Insert record scratching noise here. There are times when I can't get out to the barn for one reason or another for two weeks, and I want to make sure that someone is paying attention to his well being if I can't. Strike three.

For now, Rocky and I are staying put.  The ranch wasn't worth the price of not having the riding or the care that I want for my horse. If I lived just down the road or something, then sure, no problem, I could stop in on a daily basis to check on him. I like the care that Silver is giving him, and I will bite my tongue when she is being hypocritical or when her opinion is clearly the only one that matters. There are worse things than playing nice.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


As some of you may have noticed from previous posts of mine, there was been some tension up at my barn lately between myself and the barn owner. I feel like I can't do the right thing anymore and as though her opinion or perspective is the only one that matters. I do my best to admit when I'm wrong, but I hate being held accountable for stuff when the other person hasn't bothered to have a conversation with me about the whole story. I may still be wrong, but if I am allowed to explain myself I feel better about the whole bit.

These feelings have led me to casually seek out alternative boarding opportunities for Rocky. I found a place that is $35 cheaper a month than I am currently paying, and seems to have great trail riding. I am going to look at the place tomorrow, and I feel nervous/excited about it. I hope they have a good standard of care, but there are a few things I wouldn't mind losing to save some money every month.  If they don't blanket everyone in cold snaps, that's okay, I don't mind driving out to cover my boy. If they don't give grain once a day, I could probably let that go, too.  Grain is not a super important part of his diet, and not buying it would save me more money yet.

One thing that is really important to me is what type of hay they feed. I want a grass mix with no alfalfa if possible. With Rocky's HYPP, alfalfa could help trigger an episode and I don't want to chance that happening. Otherwise, a well maintained facility with safe fences, pasture shelters and a staff that pays attention would be great. Additionally, it seems like their riding trails intersect a river in a few places, which would be wonderful in the summer.

My current boarding barn may be getting an indoor arena this fall, and if they do, that is going to be a strong pull for me to stay. With the way winters can be around here, and especially the way this "spring" was (record snowfalls in APRIL), having an indoor would be awesome.

I am also worried about my mom's reaction, but I am trying to leave her feelings about me leaving our barn out of the equation. I feel like she is going to be upset that I am leaving because she enjoys riding with me, but will make it completely about my recent troubles with the BO. While that is part of it, I am also drawn to the possibility of more riding trails that are not limited during hunting season, have a river and to save the money.

So we'll see, I go to look at the other barn tomorrow evening and I'm pretty okay with things working out either way.

I love fall riding!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Dining Room!

Alright folks, time for a more upbeat post!

This March I bought my first home, and as the months have progressed I've done what I could to make the space ours. Recently the mirror in my dining room was bothering me. It was a 4' x 6' beveled edge mirror that took up most of the wall space. I wanted to get it framed to make it look better, until I thought about the cost involved in framing a mirror that size.

Instead, I purchased this mirror from Kohl's:
Enchante Quatrefoil Wall Mirror
I like the Celtic design
and I spray painted the frame white. The wall that it's on is dark blue, so the white frame pops nicely. Then I bought some attractive black picture frames, one 8x10 and then another with two 5x7 slots. Finally, armed with my camera, I went to the barn and did a photo shoot with Rocky.  Here are some of my favorites:
Handsome boy
He's looking all cute, hoping I'll let him catch me rather than making him run around the pasture some more.
And there were times he was really running, flying down the fenceline like nobody's business.

I took over 100 pictures of Rocky, trying to get the perfect shot. The first two pictures I tried to print in 8x10 size turned out to be a bit fuzzy when enlarged, so this is the picture that is now in my dining room:
I cropped the sides a bit when printing, and I like the way it turned out. After so much fuss getting Rocky's picture, taking pictures of my dogs to fill my other picture frame turned out to be much easier. It only took me maybe 5-10 minutes with each dog in my backyard to snap one I was happy to have in my dining room. Without further ado, here they are!
Bear, 2 years old
Gus, 9 months old
So there you have it, the beginning of my family wall in my dining room. I love my boys!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Panic at the Keyboard


I feel mentally awake but physically tired and I have a lot to say. I babbled to my husband but I don't feel like he gets what I'm feeling and pretty much just wants to sleep right now. So internets, it has come to this. Time to vomit my feelings in type and throw them out to cyberspace, even if no one ever reads it.

I'm 25 and in my life plan that I was thinking about 2 years ago and discussed with Justin (hubby) I would have been pregnant right now.  As in, we would have gotten pregnant in June or July so we could have a March baby so that after my 3 months of maternity leave it would have been June, when my mom doesn't have work for the summer (teacher) and could babysit.  Oh yeah, I plan this shit.

Instead at the end of June I quit the job I have for 3 years because it was giving me terrible anxiety and there is absolutely no way I wanted to be pregnant in a job where throwing teenagers who are kicking and screaming to the floor and holding them there happens on a daily basis.  I spent the summer working construction with my Dad, trying to get a job (any job, corporate or sales) with maurices. I had decided I wanted to work my way into being a buyer for maurices but for what I'm sure are multiple and varied reasons they repeatedly did not hire me.

I applied for many jobs, and finally Younkers hired me in a part time position. I get my first paycheck tomorrow for one week's work and I really hope it's decent. Because, oh yeah, we're pretty much broke right now too, and so we get to try to prioritize what we are going to be able to pay with this check.  Even when I had time earlier this week, I didn't go see Rocky because I wanted to save my gas so I could wait longer before buying more.

Justin is talking about getting a second job, which I hate because he already works full time and earns twice as much per hour as I do currently- minus the commission I get on sales but I don't know what that will look like in terms of actual money on a paycheck.  I would get a second job but this is only my second week at Younkers, working as a Lancome cosmetic consultant and so far I have had one day off since last Tuesday.

I also have pretty limited experience with cosmetics, and I have been trying hard to learn fast (my counter manager says she loves me and I'm a quick study) but I don't want to be there forever. My plan is to work in retail sales for a few months and then try again for an office career with maurices.  Something I can work an 8-5, Monday-Friday schedule with all the benefits of a corporate position.

So I can start having kids.  And make a good paycheck.  See how that went full circle?

I feel like I'm getting old and I'm terrified of what being pregnant will do to my body and I don't want to be old and exhausted running after toddlers and other people seem to survive it but oh my God it looks scary. But also awesome. And when I told Justin I felt like I was getting old he laughed and was all, "No you're not," and I said, "But it's different for men! You can have kids when you're 70. Not that I recommend it." and he was like, "You're fine." Which I know logically is true but it doesn't feel true in this moment. And then he just came down and apologized for not being understanding enough and was all worried that I was pissed at him. Which I explained several times that I'm not angry, just generally upset so I'm writing it out so he can sleep and then I can sleep.

Also, working at Lancome is making me really stare at my face and worry about wrinkles, which I have never really cared about before. Their products are also expensive (but seem worth it) and the other day I wore Mary Kay lip gloss and a customer asked what I was wearing and I brought her over to the lip glosses and desperately made up that the brownish one that looks closest to the one I had on was what I was wearing, and that's why they want you to wear only their products while you're working. It makes sense, I'd love to but I can't afford to buy the stuff.

We made our pre sale goal for our gift with purchase so I get to pick out an item, but I can't decide which thing would make the most sense for me to get.  Foundation? Eyeshadow? One of the more expensive creams?  And oh God, my counter manager is going to have to explain to me what all of the things she is going to be giving to me do. I get some free sample product because I'm a new hire... and I have never used most of the stuff in my life.  For example, toner. It tones your skin... um... and you put it on your face... ack.

I don't seem to be able to have much of a social life, either. I have messaged two of my "friends" a few times and they have both not gotten back to me. I know they're busy with other aspects of their lives but I feel like I really put myself out there (for me, anyway) when I said that I could really use some time with her, and she never responded.  I have one friend who will reliably be my friend.  Everyone else seems like they could care less most of the time. That one friend happens to be living in South Korea right now.

I was hoping I could get myself to cry here but so far no luck, just that nagging teary feeling. Sorry this post is probably really spastic and sad, I'll try to make my next one a lot lighter.

To end on a good note, I really like this song:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Too Many Mistakes

My dogs love to go trail riding with me. They get big grins on their faces and eagerly follow or lead me onto the trail. Here's a picture from last winter, of Bear ahead of Rocky and I on the trail.
Gus has gotten bigger, and has learned to stay out from under or behind horses.  Bear and Gus take great pleasure from prancing down the trail, sniffing out animals that have crossed the trail recently and running through the underbrush only to pop out on the trail again- great desensitization for Rocky. 

Unfortunately, my dogs are no longer allowed at the barn, through no fault of their own.  Nope, it's my fault that I can no longer take my dogs with me when I ride. 

The last time I brought them with me, Silver's three dogs ran over to greet us at my car.  This happens pretty frequently so I got out as usual and let my dogs out of the backseat. Gus popped out, landing in the middle of Silver's dogs. Two of them were smiling and wagging their tails.  The third was her English Pointer, Chrusher. Chrusher's lips curled back in a snarl as Gus immediately cowered on the ground, peeing. I told Chrusher no and to go away. Gus crawled across the gravel, licking everyone's chins.  Chrusher continued to snarl, so I told Gus to stop and return to me, which he did. I told Silver's dogs to leave again, and after a few tense seconds Silver's dogs wandered off.  Bear laid down in the car and refused to come out. I debated getting in my car and leaving after only being at the barn for 10 seconds. The half hour drive each direction, plus gas money and the knowledge that I really wanted to see my horse outweighed the negative beginning to our day. 

I figured the snarling would be done for the day and we could go for a peaceful trail ride. 

I should have listened to my instincts and just gone home. 

I got Rocky into the barn and was getting him ready to ride. Gus was in the barn with me, Bear was still hiding out in the car, although I left the car door open for him to come out when he was ready. Chrusher came through the barn, and began to snarl at Gus again.  Gus groveled again, licking Chrusher's chin and wagging his tail hopefully. Chrusher started to add snap to his snarl, so I told him no and called Gus back to me. 

To be fair, Gus did try to return to Chrusher a few times to make friends. However, Chrusher's snapping teeth were not okay with me and he was clearly not listening to my direction to cease and desist. When I stood next to him and said no, but he continued, I smacked his shoulders and said no again. He immediately stopped curling his lips and slunk off. One of the other boarders had Chrush come lay by her and I finished out the rest of my ride without issue.

I had almost left when Silver asked me in passing who got smacked. I told her Chrush had for snarling at Gus.  She continued what she was doing without saying anything else and I went home. A few hours later I got this email:
Wanted to finish talking to you about this while you were at the barn but since I was being pulled in 2 different directions at the time I didnt have the chance. Basically dont ever raise your hand to one of my animals ever again, this is their home not yours, your dogs are visitors and if Gus was putting his nose where it didnt belong Chrush has every right to growl/snap at him. I have been very patient with the boys, they are more than welcome here but if they continue to not stay where they belong at the barn with you or cause problems with my dogs then you will be asked not to bring them anymore. I would never hit one of your animals and you hit Chrush hard enough for me to hear him cry all the way out into the arena, remember that because I wont forget it.
Oh boy. I was in shock for a while, then I curled up and cried. The part about "continue to not stay where they belong" is her rule of no dogs by her house. Gus had a bit of a learning curve as a puppy but he was much improving in staying at the barn- he's only 9 months old now. Anyway. She didn't bother to ask for clarification on what happened, but I guess Gus was causing the problems and I should have let Chrush bite him. What I really should have done was either A) Leave right away or B) Ask Silver to do something about her dog. Although, upon reading her email I think she would have told me to do something about Gus. Who was doing everything he could to be submissive.

As far as the Cry heard into the arena, I didn't hear it. Maybe he did, and I missed it. Either way, and after much processing, I don't regret it.  Yup, I hit her dog. I did not beat her dog or hit him more than once. I hit him with my bare hand on his shoulder for repeatedly being aggressive to my dog without listening to my orders to stop. In my book his behavior was unacceptable, but from her email it sounds like he was in the right. After a lot of thought, this was my reply:

I sincerely apologize and will not bring my dogs up anymore. I'm not sure what you heard as far as a cry goes, I believe you but I did not hear it myself- I thought I more tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention but clearly this was not the case. Again I apologize and I won't touch any of your animals again. I thought it would be okay to tap Chrush because I have seen you tap Mickey with your farrier rasp for less than what Chrush was doing. I can see that I very much overstepped my bounds and it will never happen again. I'm sorry.

Mickey is one of her other dogs, a Lab who is normally the aggressive one- he doesn't like puppies and she usually introduces him to new dogs with a lunge whip in her hand. Why a lunge whip, you ask? So she can hit him with it if he is too aggressive. Indeed, the farrier rasp reference I made in my apology is true- she tapped him on the head with the handle of her rasp when he was growling at Gus. After that Mickey learned that Gus was not to be tampered with and was generally okay with things.

In her email, she did not forbid my dogs to go to the barn. However, if she's okay with her dogs being that aggressive to mine, it doesn't seem worth it to me. The part about "I won't forget it" worried me, too. So now she is carrying a grudge against me? Well, there is not much I can do about it now other than stick to my word. I haven't touched any of her animals since, and my dogs stay home now.

I wish things had gone differently, and looking back I can see many forks in the road where there were opportunities for a different outcome. Life doesn't work that way, and we can only move forward from the choices we have made.