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, April 28, 2013

Best Nickname EVER!

I thought I would let you guys know... I have a new alias. I can now be known as (drum roll please):

Ginny Weasley. Or Ginny Potter, if you got that far in the books. (and my husband even looks a bit like Harry!)

I recently dyed my hair more red than the usual hint of red nature gave me. Some clients I work with declared that I look like a Weasley- specifically, Ginny Weasley. They looked at me for a moment, unsure if they had just insulted me or not.  I think my grin and sincere, "Awesome! Thanks!" relieved their worries a bit, which then prompted a spirited Harry Potter discussion.  So to celebrate my favorite new nickname, here are some fun Harry Potter things!

It's a cake! 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

How About Some Sunshine?

Alright, after the last two sad posts, I could use a little pick-me-up.  Other than doing shots of Sour Apple Pucker, listening to rock music and making banana muffins, rotelle casserole and peanut butter chunk cookies. Not that I did that last night or anything. (Totally made me feel better, by the way.)

So! Here are some things that make me oh, so happy.

Okay, this is Jensen Ackles in an out take from Supernatural. Which, if you aren't already watching, GET ON THAT.  It's on Netflix.  Jensen is gorgeous, it's a good song, and if you don't appreciate the two, you should check your pulse.

In keeping with the Supernatural theme, here's a wonderful quote from a man I quite adore, Bobby Singer. Who wouldn't love being able to crap margaritas? It's a public service, really.

 You may be getting a hint that I am a bit of a nerd.  My last DnD character may have been a Dragonborn. Plus 10 EXP if you can tell me what that is, and 5 gold for being awesome.

 I want this in my house.  I may just purchase some sticker letters and make them myself...
Joss Whedon, creator of amazing television such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. If you haven't seen them, add that to your list we already started. You're welcome.

The Worst Text

"Will you let me know if you hear from Sam? There were some explosions at the Boston marathon."

My heart clawed at my throat, giving me a thick, choking sensation.  Tears pressed at the back of my eyes as I valiantly tried not to panic.

What the hell? Unfortunately, I live in a post 9/11 world and I knew in my gut that someone had intentionally done something to hurt the runners, the cheering crowds, whomever happened to be close enough to their destruction.

"What?! will do, please do the same for me!"

I started thinking, rapidly trying to calculate Sam's chances of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  She was in the third wave of runners, right?  That means she should be okay, if they set the bomb off at the end of the race but when the first wave was finishing.  Unless it wasn't at the finish line, and it was set off in the middle of the race sometime.

"You ok? please call or text asap if you can."

I darted downstairs and waited impatiently for my computer to start up.  Sam had talked about being able to track her progress in the race online.  I would find out what happened at the marathon and when, then go to her blog to find her race number and figure things out from there.  I mumbled under my breath a lot, drumming my fingers on the keyboard while I gained internet connection.

And then...

"I'm fine I finished before all the chaos."

Big breath out.  I stopped desperately scanning Boston marathon reports and closed the browser.  I didn't want to hear about the people who hadn't been as lucky as me, whose texts were going unanswered. I forwarded Sam's response to our friend who alerted me to the disaster in the first place.

"Thank God."

That night, a television character I was very attached to died on the show, and I wept silent tears for almost half an hour.The next day, driving home from the barn I broke down and cried again, thinking about how easily Sam could have run 10 minutes slower, or her friend at the marathon could have been 2 minutes slower.

I am so, so glad the worst text I got that day was, "Will you let me know if you hear from Sam? There were some explosions at the Boston marathon," and not empty silence.

I saw this on a Facebook, and Cam Saliciano said it, but I agree wholeheartedly:

I don't want to know his name. I don't want to see his face. I don't want to know his life's history, his back-story, who his family is, where he went to school, or what he liked to do in his spare time. I don't want to know what "cause", if any, he was fighting for. I don't want to know why he did it, or may have done it, or what possessed him to carry out his actions. I don't want to know. Because that's what he really wants. I'll be damned if I'm going to give him what he wants.
Put him on trial, but don't cover it. Tell me when you decide to jail him for three lifetimes - because that number matters. That's the number of lives he has to now pay for. That's all I want to know about him. Nothing else.
Instead, tell me about the first responders who ran towards the fray, within seconds, fearless. Tell me about the ones wearing the yellow volunteer jacket, or the neon police vest, or even the ones in the regular everyday t-shirt who became a helper. Tell me the story about the first responder who held gauze over a wound until they made it to the hospital. Tell me the story about the volunteer who held the hand of the injured spectator until they got into the ambulance. In six months, tell me the story of those who lost a limb, who beat the odds, pulled through countless surgeries, and are learning to walk again. Tell me the story about the love, the compassion, and the never-ending support of thousands, millions, of people who support the victims here. Tell me their stories. Tell me everything you can, because they are the ones that matter. Tell me of the good that they have done, are doing, and will continue to do, regardless of... No, not regardless of, in spite of. In spite of that someone who would do them harm. Because that's what freedom in this country means. It means coming together in the hardest of times, even in the face of unfathomable adversity, to make life better for all those around us.
Tell me the good stories. That's all I want to hear.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Littlest Things

...can make the biggest difference. I'm really sad tonight, I got some bad news I was hoping would turn out differently.

Rocky's sister Philly has ring bone in her right hind foot.  She's three years old and my Dad just bought her from the same breeder/trainer that I got Rocky from.  Apparently last winter Philly kicked out in the round pen, hitting her foot on the steel bar and injuring her pastern. Since then she has gained extraneous bone growth around her pastern and going over her fetlock.

The vet says it is only a matter of time until she gets arthritis, and will need to have her pain managed on a regular basis for the rest of her life.

My Mom has made the decision to send Philly back to the breeder/trainer, as supporting a horse who will never be able to be worked hard or who will eventually live in pain is not part of the plan. It's too much money for a damaged horse who is so young.

I'm sad because a three year old filly with so much potential will never be able to be used for more than light riding, and there are not a lot of homes for horses like that.

I'm sad because at some point, she will get arthritis and experience some level of pain on a daily basis.

I'm sad that someday, she will likely have to be put down because the pain will become unmanageable, and she will not be comfortable as even a pasture pet.

I'm sad because I have been so excited to work with her, to spend time with her and get to know Rocky's sister.  Now she is leaving for an uncertain fate.

I understand the decision to sell her back to her breeder and on a purely practical level agree with it.  I just can't get her soft eyes out of my head.

Also, This:

This song plays in my head all the time, especially, "This girl's in every song I sing, she's in every song I write."

And this feels like summer:
I want to roll my windows down and cruise, too.  Soon!

I'm Dreaming of some White Fences

Good day to all of you, and a wonderful day it is looking out my window! The sun is shining, the gobs of snow are melting, and all seems to be heading into a *real* spring. Fingers crossed, our last snow storm was last night!

This winter (and "spring") has made me yearn, both for warmer days and an indoor riding arena.  During my ride on Sunday, we were working on turning on the hindquarters while his fore feet were in a square of poles on the ground, and it started to sleet nasty wintry mix.  As I huddled in the barn glaring at the sky, I wished for an indoor arena where our work would have remained uninterrupted by inconveniences like the weather. 

If you are a horse person, at some point I can pretty much guarantee you have daydreamed about your perfect horse property.  At this point it's pretty obvious mine includes an indoor arena, but there is oh so much more I would snatch up if I could. So let's dream a bit together, shall we?

First, I want a barn with stall doors that slide like butter on a hot pan.  The flooring would be these amazing recycled rubber bricks, you can hose it off, sweep it, and it looks fabulous. Plus, it's just the right blend of firm and gentle support to stand on.  My tack room would be lightly heated and completely enclosed so no floating dust gets in.  I'd have a lounge room overlooking the indoor, with plush couches, a refrigerator, microwave, and an old fashioned Coke machine.  Then there would be a bathroom large enough to change in, with real running water and everything! (Right now our barn has a porta-potty. It works, but it does leave something to be desired.) 
I would have a wash stall with a drain in the middle and overhanging hose on a spring so when you let go, it bounces gently in place in the air without having to drag a dirty hose around on the ground.  Sounds lovely, right?

Okay, so, the barn would have a covered aisle leading to the arena, which would be both air conditioned and heated. The indoor would have mirrors along one side and seating on the other, with two large doors leading out each end. It would also have a built in hydration system to keep the dust down. 

Then I would have at least three large (5 plus acre) pastures and one sacrificial pasture for spring.  Then there would be the outdoor arena and 50 foot round pen.  Of course, the property would have mature oaks and maples throughout, as well as some pines and poplar trees.  Grass would be thick and green, with no need to supplement hay through the summer.  Each pasture would have a shelter with two open ends and a roof.  

What do you think, am I missing anything? Apart from the house (Southern style with wraparound covered porch, hardwood floors and a glossy open kitchen with granite counters and a center island....). 

A girl can always dream, right? What would your place look like?

Monday, April 22, 2013

All the Stuff


I have a confession to make: I have been avoiding blogging lately because I resent the next Equestrian Challenge questions. I don't really want to answer them, so I will do it quick, like ripping a band-aid off.  Then we can move on to other things.

My favorite color of horse: I don't have one.  Um, friendly? A friendly colored horse?

My most embarrassing moment: I am assuming they mean "with a horse" because these are supposed to be "equestrian" questions, but for the life of me I can't think of an embarrassing moment I've had with a horse. Generally I do those on my own, but horses make everything better. The moment that comes to mind is when I was wearing flip flops, sitting on a tack trunk next to my horse.  It was summer and I was waiting for something, so I had taken my boots off while I waited.  Honey ended up accidentally stomping on my bare pinkie toe while she was stomping flies.  She had edged closer to me to be friendly, and apparently got a bit too close.  My toe was fine, it hurt and bruised up but it wasn't broken.  A bit embarrassing because I knew you shouldn't wear flip flops around horses but I did it anyway.

Whew! Now that those are over, what else has been going on with me?  I got my haircut (finally!) and my eyebrows waxed, and I feel so much better about the general appearance of my head.  I also bought some hair dye in lovely copper red that I will apply on Wednesday.

Why wait until Wednesday? I'm glad you asked! I have an informational job interview on Tuesday morning that I am absolutely psyched for, and I don't want to risk the hair color turning out badly right before the interview.  For now, that is all I will say about it, I don't want to jinx anything!

Back to horse world, Rocky gave me a giant spring vet bill with all of his shots and getting his teeth floated, but he is healthy! His sister, Philly, may not be quite so healthy though. It was discovered that she has a raised ridge around her left hind foot that looks suspiciously like ringbone. The vet took x-rays of it and we should hopefully find out today what the prognosis looks like. Here's hoping it is something easily taken care of and not a life long issue- especially considering that she is only a 3 year old.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

It's Supposed to be Spring...

Here in the Midwestern United States, talking about the weather is everyone's go-to conversation starter.  The weather changes frequently and can be drastic.  For example, when I got to work today at noon, it was sunny and 38 degrees (which is a heckuva lot warmer than it has been).  Snow was melting, the sun felt warm on your face, and there was a blushing hope of the coming spring.  Now it's 5 o'clock and snow is pouring out of the sky, it feels like winter will never end and we will all just live in The Day After Tomorrow land.

I am so tired of shoveling, it's not even funny. It's the middle of April, which is supposed to be muddy and rainy, and instead we are getting huge dumps of snow. We got several inches of snow last Thursday through Friday, which accumulated in giant drifts because of the 40 mph wind.  Pleasant, right?  Saturday through about 5 pm today, it was sunny and warming up outside.  Now we are expected to get another 6 inches or so of snow tonight, with some rainy crap mixed in that will make roads very hazardous to travel.

Basically, this spring has not cooperated AT ALL.  I wish there was someone who could be fired for mixing up the season change so badly, but there isn't. That I know of- you find someone, let me know!

All of this has made it pretty much impossible to work with Rocky. In less than a month we are supposed to do our first ACTHA ride, but I haven't been able to work with him very much at all.  Things were starting to melt, so there was mud or ice floes everywhere.  Now it's been snowing again like crazy, so it makes driving dangerous or the trails generally impassable.

I did get some good work done on opening and closing the arena gate last time I was able get up to the barn.  After a few practices we were able to do it, not super gracefully but without smashing my knee and keeping my hand on the gate.  The trick I learned was to slow Rocky down and give him a pause between each new movement. His tendency was that once the gate was open, we go through it and away! Moving slowly around it and then stopping so I could shut it was not in his game plan.  Once we mastered taking it step by step, he was able to wrap his head around my request rather than rushing through everything.

Once I got frustrated because he seemed so impatient, so I loped him around the driest part of the arena for a minute.  When we returned to the gate we were both thinking more calmly and were able to get the job done. Still, I feel like we are not going to be well prepared for the ride in May. I'm wondering if they will end up needing to cancel it due to the weather, but I suspect they will do it anyway.

Can someone bring me back to this kind of weather? I miss the green!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Two for One!

The next Equestrian Challenge Question seems a bit silly, so I'll briefly answer it and then move on to the next question.  To start us off, how do my friends and family feel about my horse habit?  I think those of you who regularly read my blog could answer that for me, but here's your answer anyway: they are supportive. My husband occasionally wishes it cost a bit less (and let's be fair, so do I!) but everyone is in favor of me having a horse.

Let's move on.

The next question is for me to find a horse online that I would want to buy. Well, it took me about half an hour but I found one I would snatch up if I could! http://www.dreamhorse.com/show_horse.php?form_horse_id=1812277  He's a five year old Quarter horse gelding, buckskin, with trail riding and cutting experience.

He looks solidly built, pretty, athletic, and smart. He seems reasonably priced at $12,500.  After half an hour of looking at swan necked Quarter horses, horses who have clearly been run through the show mill so they lope like crabs, and Friesians who looked trained to grow hair, this guy seems awfully nice.

He's not everyone's ideal horse, but when looking at the $50,000 dressage horses or the $25,000 jumpers, I didn't really feel a "spark."  I feel like they'd be wasted with me, rather than with someone who participates in those disciplines and would drool over a horse with that type of training and ability.  Don't get me wrong, I'd gawk at them for a bit, but then I would want to put them out in a pasture with other horses or hop on them for a trail ride. Sure, some of those professionally trained pleasure horses might enjoy a spin out on the trail, but most would probably turn inside out and high tail it back to the barn.

So there he is, a horse I'd like to own given the opportunity.  I feel like I'd be able to use his abilities fairly, and I went with a "fancy" color just because I had to go for the gold somewhere!

Monday, April 8, 2013

My Back Hurts (and other various maladies)

Alright Folks, today we are getting back into our Equestrian Challenge Questions! Today's topic: Injuries Sustained From a Horse.  Starting us off, I have been hurt several times in the course of my equestrian life but only twice in a lasting way.  I've had my pinkie toe stomped on two different occasions, neither one breaking anything but causing some lovely bruising.

Recently, I banged my knee while working on opening and shutting a gate from horseback. I've done it before and received some bruising that I generally ignore.  This last time, though, I was in the car on my way home and lifted up the knee of my sweat pants. (Yes, I wore sweat pants riding. They're comfortable and warm, okay?) When I moved the fabric, part of it stuck to my knee before slowly peeling off.  When I got home, I discovered this:
I took this photo the day after I hurt my knee, when the cut had scabbed up a bit. Pretty bruises, huh?  Not a lasting injury but it's the only one I have photographic evidence of- which makes me wish AGAIN that I had kept the x-rays.

X-rays, you say? I took a tumble off my first horse, Honey, when I was around 16 years old.  We were cantering down a road, and by road I mean we were galloping down a racetrack, getting ready to pass another horse in the backstretch (in my head, at least) when Honey got other ideas. She decided that it was time to practice her reining skills, and did a lovely sliding stop.  She slid for about 6 feet (you could see the drag marks in the soft gravel on the side of the road), and that was without any reining training whatsoever! Or without being polite enough to cue me in to her plans.

I flew off over her right shoulder, performed a somersault, and landed on my back in front of her.  The air disappeared from my lungs and it took me what felt like forever to be able to move.  I slowly turned myself over, gasping for breath while trying to get back to my feet. Honey watched me for a minute, then took herself the last block or so home.

My back hurt. I was stubborn enough to get back on her once I had cried and limped my way home, to finish going home the right way instead of with a crash.  The next day I went in to get my lower back x-rayed to make sure I hadn't broken anything.  The x-ray was really neat looking, there was a sudden curve in my spine at my lower back because I couldn't lay flat on the table- it hurt too badly. I was lucky and hadn't broken or sprained anything, but the doctor outlined with his finger tips on my back the basketball sized bruise that was coming in.

To this day there are times when it hurts to lay down flat, but I can breathe through it and eventually am able to settle into it. Doing exercises that involve laying on the floor and putting weight on my back, like scissor kicks, are too uncomfortable for me to do.

Sometimes I get a twinge that goes from my right hip through my lower back, but I'm pretty sure a fall off Rocky helped with that one. I think I posted about this one earlier, so I'll do a quick synopsis rather than getting into the nitty gritty of things.  He got scared on a trail ride, spun and bolted with me. I lost my right stirrup during his spin, and ended up sliding off him while he ran "for his life." I skidded across the grass, getting grass burns on my face and arm but, more painfully, I landed and slid on my right hip.

Directly after the accident it wasn't so bad, it was stiff and hurt but not that terribly.  The worst part was for a solid four days after I fell, I had a really hard time lifting my right leg.  Which sucked because my bedroom and the bathroom were upstairs, making me look like an old lady whenever I went up to bed or had to use the toilet.

That about sums up my riding injuries. So far I have been lucky and nothing has been broken, knock on wood.  How about for you?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Green + Green = Black and Blue

I don't know about you, but I love finding out that one of my animals has a connection to another.  In my last post, I talked about how Gus and Bear share the same birthday.  I was really excited to discover their common bond on their papers.  I was similarly enthused when I found out that Fox and I have the same birthday- again discovered by looking at his adoption forms after getting him home.

Rocky has a sister, which in the horse world is not all that common. Now, some people will say that if two horses share the same dam they can be considered siblings, but if they only share the same stud it's almost as though they aren't related at all.  I guess it's because stallions can have so many progeny that to consider them all related is too complicated?

At any rate, Rocky's sister is his full sister, bred from his same dam and stud. When I discussed Rocky's HYPP status a while ago, I brought up the fact that his sister is lucky enough to be N/N- not a carrier.  Rocky's HYPP standing aside, I really like Rocky's mind- his willingness to learn, friendly demeanor, and calm personality.  So when his sister, Philly, went up for sale I wanted her. I got to meet her when she was young- here she is at four months old:
The other horse in the picture is Amber, their dam.  The only problem with Philly being for sale is that I have no money to speak of to buy her. However, my Dad has been fiddling with the idea of buying a horse to ride with my mom and I. Additionally, it would be nice to have a "guest" horse, so we could take someone out riding with us once in a while.

My Dad bought her. There are many issues to be had with the whole arrangement, and I know that in many ways it was a stupid decision to buy her.  My Dad has almost no horse experience, to the point that he needs guidance to put a halter on properly. Philly will be three years old in May. Green + Green = Black and Blue, I know.

HOWEVER. My plan (after two nights of struggling to sleep worrying about things) is to teach my Dad how to be a competent horseman with Rocky and Tapper, my mom's horse. I will work with Philly, getting her ready for an inexperienced rider.  My Dad will learn basics with Rocky and I will teach Philly what she needs to know.  Then I will teach my Dad with Philly once they are both prepared to work together.

Essentially, I'm signed up to spend a LOT of time at the barn teaching everybody how to not kill each other, and possibly get some productive work in besides.  I'm a bit worried about the time crunch, especially as I want to prepare Rocky for the ACTHA ride in May.  I also hope my Dad is willing to buckle down and really listen to me, be open to learning rather than assuming he can figure it out as he goes.  He has already tried to tell me that he plans to study Clinton Anderson DVD's and just work on ground work for a while, so my services aren't really necessary.

I'm glad he's going to be looking at the DVD's, because he will get to see examples of what we are going to work on and Clinton does a wonderful job of explaining things so even the most inexperienced person will gain a helpful understanding of how to work with a horse. The step my Dad is missing is that, in short, he doesn't know what he doesn't know.  He doesn't realize how much feel and timing go into training, being able to correctly read your horse and react appropriately.

Patience will be the key word for this summer. I can't wait!
Philly last fall, two years old

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Newest Family Member!

I am pleased to announce that my family is growing!  Nope, I'm not pregnant, but thanks for asking.  Instead, I have expanded my furry family.
Meet Guster! Guster (Gus) is just over three months old.  The shelter we got him from says he is a Chow Chow/German Shepherd mix, but we will probably get him DNA tested to find out for sure.  When I read through his paperwork after getting him home, I discovered that he and Bear share the same birthday!
You can see how excited Gus is to have the same birthday as his big brother. Gus is named after the chubby mouse from Disney's Cinderella.  He earned "Gus" by being the roundest of his litter mates. However, because it was my husband's turn to name the new family member, he decided that Guster would be his full name. "Guster" comes from one of the main characters on Psych.  So far he is a wonderful addition and we are happy to have him.
Even Bear.