It Was The Best Of Times…

… and then there are times when you almost run over your husband.

I went out to ride last night, and I could tell right from the moment Mike clipped Willow onto the crossties that we were going to struggle. Normally when we bring her in to tack her up in the evening, she all but falls asleep on the crossties. She’ll stand there and drool until I put her bridle on, then do her normal head up in the air because she really hates it when the bit touches her teeth then shove her head straight down to the floor in an effort to be ‘helpful’. Not tonight. Tonight she had ants in her pants. She would dance sideways, scoot forward, wiggle backwards, and swish her tail around and around in a circle. I’m glad that I’m skilled at saddling a moving target, because it was the re-emergence of the Willow of months before.

She’s just excited to get to work, I told myself as I zipped up my boots. I will channel this energy into a positive work, I promised as she almost took a chunk out of Mike’s uniform while I was tightening her girth. She’s going to be so forward, it’ll be great, I said as I buckled my helmet (and tightened the chin strap a little extra).

I’m so screwed, was my final thought as I had my leg swung half way over her back and she lept forward, promptly tripped on a clup of grass, fell on her face, then attempted to hot foot it back to the barn. I got her stopped, dismounted, and tried that again. She stood, then when I asked her to move off, she promptly tripped on the same clump of grass and fell on her face. *sigh* We regained ourselves and off she went to the barn. I got her turned around and she promptly halted. I asked her to go forward. *tail swish* I insisted. *ears pinnned* I demand. Her head snakes around and she takes another chunk of leather out of my boots.

Yup. Screwed.

We finally got moving into the arena (after a brief steering blooper and a detour through the manure pile) and onto our circle. Her ears were going about a million different directions. I remember telling Becky, I don’t have her head at all. I pushed her forward and attempted to flex her jaw a bit left, asking her bend around my leg. No way, man, was her response. I gotta keep an eye on that guy in the camo. He could be a monster!! (never mind the fact that he brought her in and helped tack her up.)

We did a few drunken circles, and I decided to do a break check before we started trotting. Our breaks have improved ten fold. She stops. She doesn’t argue. I asked her for a halt. Nothing. We just kept walking. I insisted on a halt. Nothing. Not even slowing down. I demanded and she finally (after much head tossing and tail swishing) stopped. Then stood, totally relaxed. *eyeroll*

Trot work time! I asked and she stepped right into it, no problems. We did a circle (she was still keeping a close eye on that camoflauged maybe-monster) and Becky asked us to change direction. By trotting the length of the arena. We got down the first long side and Willow stops dead. There is a barrel down there. It’s lived there all year and she grazes right next to it. It. Could. Kill. Her. She snort snort snorts, I boot her forward and we pick our trot back up. She bolts does a lovely lengthening down the opposite side then stops dead to snort at Mike some more. We tiptoe past him and ask her to trot again. She picks it up no problem and we do a few circles asking her to flex in the jaw. Not happening.

We go across the diagonal and change direction. She trots through the scary end of the ring no problem. Totally chill. ($(%*#(@()$?!?!?!) Then Willow spies her little friend, Rio, hanging out watching. (The ring is surrounded on three sides by pasture.) We detour off into the grass, almost get electrocuted on the fence, then stop dead.

I joke that our quarter has run out. I cluck and ask her to walk forward. Nothin’. I squeeze. Nope. I kick. Nada. I pony club kick and beg a little bit. Ha. I dissolve into giggles, while telling Becky, It’s like I’m riding a 17 hand pony, I feel like I’m back in pony club! She is laughing pretty hard as well. We regain our composure and she walks over to provide some encouragement from the rear.

Willow LEAPS forward. I’m still giggling while asking her to whoa, and easy. Pfft. Our breaks broke. Becky is encouraging me to go with it, so I try to sit quietly and steer her in a circle as she power trots away. I don’t have power steering, but at least we aren’t heading into the wild blue yonder. We fly around in a circle and all I can see in front of us is camoflauge.

Yea. We came aboutthisclose to running my poor husband over like the time I accidently flattened that chipmunk family with the truck. Didn’t even feel the bump. And Mike, like the chipmunks, didn’t even see it coming. He was bent over the arm of his chair, putting his soda back on the ground. We sail past him with about a half inch to spare, and I finally get the train hauled to a stop after another circle (in reality I did nothing. Mike moved again and she stopped dead to snort at him). I’m laughing to the point of tears. Becky is still giggling. Mike is totally oblivious to the fact that he almost died.

We walked another circle, did some stopping and we decided that maybe it was time to call it a day. She was standing, totally relaxed and drooling while Becky and I chatted. I scritched her star, like I always do at the end of a ride, and dismounted.

You accomplish something every ride and we did do a little drunken baby figure 8. We also didn’t kill my husband, which I think is a success. She also proved to me that, even if she loses her mind, she’ll relax back (even if it’s just working on softening her jaw at the walk) to work.

It’s all about rolling with the punches, knowing when to quit, and having a good sense of humor.

🙂

Having kick ass, matching game faces helps too…

 

 

It’s Huntin’ Season!

Before I get rolling on this post, I just wanted to share a few pictures of Willow’s work yesterday. She was a doll, as always, and her work to the right was surprisingly better than that to the left. We have a little bit of a forward issue, but she’s quickly learning that my leg means go. Her trot, while I haven’t coaxed it to 1/3 of it’s potential, is amazing, and when she really gets tracking you’ve got about 12 years of hang time. She’s going to be so nice, and when I think once we really get rolling, moving up the levels is going to be a cakewalk for her.

Modeling her new tendon boots, that fit like a glove. I got the full size, and they fit her super long cannons no problem!

{As an aside, her sheet also fit really well, but it’s hunting season, so she’ll be going out in purple for a while longer. :)}

If you live in a rural area, like Willow does, you should take the proper precautions to keep your horse safe during hunting season. You would always like to think that people are smarter than to mistake a horse for a deer, turkey, bear, whatever is in season, but many aren’t. Here are some tips to keep your four legged friends safe!

  • Properly post your land with “No hunting” and/or “Safety Zone” signs. If land is posted with these signs, not only does it not allow hunting on your land, but the “Safety Zone” signs also alert hunters that there is a house/livestock in the area.

{Source- traditioncreek.com}

  • I love that Willow lives outdoors. Her pasture is boarded with a tree line, that hunters have been spotted coming out of. Because of that, she and all her pasture mates wear bright colored sheets. Blaze orange is perferable, but any kind of ‘non-natural’ color works. Willow wears purple. I recommend neon-anything. Reflective tape can also come in handy, for dusk/dawn/nighttime. Even though it’s illegal in many places to hunt at night, people do it. Putting strips of reflective tape on either side of your blankets as well as your halters can protect aganist those out spotlight hunting. (Spotlighting a deer makes it freeze which makes it an easier shot… also illegal.)

{Source- classicsaddlery.com}

  • Fall is the perfect time for a trail ride. I recommend that all riders wear orange or green safety vests. Horses can wear orange halters under their bridles, orange ear nets, tail wraps, polos, saddle pads, and/or bells. There is a myrad of safety gear out there to choose from, and as long as you go for the brighest non-natural color possible, you’re that much safer. Keep up a steady stream of chatter (I enjoy singing… Willow doesn’t enjoy my singing as much as I do) with your riding buddy. If you’re riding out alone, always carry your cell phone and play some tunes, or again with the bells. Horses tromping through the underbrush can sound (to the idiots that shoot first and look later) like deer, but deer don’t wear bells or sing Lady Ga Ga.

{Source- Netposse.com}

  • If you see hunters on your land, go chat with them. Be friendly, but remember names and faces. Let them know that there are horses on your land and remind them that it isn’t okay for them to be hunting in the area. Acting a little kooky helps too, as word travels fast about those types. Slip into your favorite slippers and robe, and go running out to meet them. 😉
  • Don’t forget about your canine friends as well! If you have a wanderer (like Dixie), invest in an orange collar or jacket for them. A bell on their collar can be a good idea as well.

{Source- examiner.com}

  • Finally, keep in mind that during hunting season, deer and various other fowl are a little more active than normal for various reasons (I’d be a little more active if a hairy dude with a gun was chasing me, too). Don’t be surprised if one jumps in front of you on the trail, and always be prepared for an accident. Leave a note at your starting point with where you plan to go and when you left. Always carry a fully charged cell phone. They even make portable chargers that are easy to carry and don’t require a plug in. A first aid kit is a must, and it should always contain a knife, something to use for bandaging (I love vet wrap), water, a map of the area, and something sugary (think hard candy). You can add what you like, but those are my must-haves for a 1-2 hour ride. Let somebody know where you are going, even if it’s a phone call to a friend. Always carry ID with you. I keep all my expired driver’s lisences, and slip one in my front pocket if I go out on the trail. I write an ICE number in the back in Sharpie. You can also purchase a bridle/saddle tag with your horses name and a phone number. I also write my name/digits on the underside of my saddle pads with Sharpie. If you have allergies or other medical concerns, carry a laminated card detailing that as well.
  • ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET!

Happy Trails!

Favorite Things- Baby Food!

Shannon is constantly changing, but over the past 7 (ish) months, we’ve found a few things that we really love. I wanted to share, so that any other parents, or expentant parents out there can enjoy them too! 🙂 Here are some of our favorite food related items. This is going to be a regular installment on the blog, and hopefully will be getting it’s own tab for convience. I’d like to do family, equine, and Shannon faves.

 

1) Plum Organics Pouches: These got rave reviews from another amazing Mommy friend of mine so we decided that we would give them a shot.

Shannon turned her nose up at all the Gerber babyfoods and all my homemade foods (anybody want 12 pounds of frozen, squished up avacado?). She isn’t a huge fan of the stage 1 pouches (they just have one flavor) but she’ll suck these mixed flavors down like it’s nobody business. We haven’t tried a mixture yet that she hasn’t loved. I love that they are USDA certified organic with a short ingredients label of all things that I can pronounce. The packages are BPA free. They are a little bit on the expensive side, at $1.55 a pouch, but it outweighs the $1.00/2 Gerber baby foods that have a long list of ingredients that I can’t pronounce. My only complaint with these, is that she can’t take them on the go. The food inside erupts out of the spout when you squeeze it, and can make a total mess if the baby is the one running the show. We normally sit her on our lap and hold the package while she sucks it down.

2) Brother’s All Natural Fruit Crisps: Shannon goes nuts for things like Puffs and Cheerios, but they were binding her up like you wouldn’t believe. My Mom suggested that we try freeze-dried fruit with her and it was a hit!

She gobbles these up like a pro. The pieces are big, so I break them up before she eats them. They dissolve super quickly, so the choking hazard is nil. The ingredient list is short, literally freeze dried strawberries and bananas (in this pouch). They also offer pears and apples that we could find at the grocery store. Compare these to the Gerber Graduates Puff, which again, has an ingredient list as long as my arm, full of things like Alpha Tocopheryl (?!). No thanks, I’ll take the real stuff. Once pouch lasts us about two days, and I keep them in a ziploc baggie after I open them, as you can’t reseal the package and they go stale and mushy really quickly. Again, they are pretty expensive, aobut $1.15 per package, but you get what you pay for, and while I’m okay scrimping on me, Mike and I both agree that that isn’t the case with Shannon.

3) Mussleman’s Applesauce: Shannon and I have oatmeal every morning for breakfast, and I mix this in hers. She snarfs it down as fast as I can get it in her mouth.

I’m always looking for sneaky ways to get fiber in her diet. I do not want to re-live the great non-poop that was a few weeks ago. These are a good way to do it. The ingredients are right on the lid, and again, short and sweet. This is also a great, sneaky way to slip her some Tylenol on the days her teeth are bothering her, or before she has to get shots. Another plus for these? They are made in America! They aren’t too expensive, about $2.00 for a 6 pack and Mike loves them too. 😉

4) Gerber 100% Pear Juice: Another recommendation from my Mom to keep things tick-tocking. Shannon gets 3-3.5 oz mixed with 2oz water in a bottle or sippy cup when she wakes up from her morning nap.

She doesn’t gulp it all down quite the way that she hoovers her other foods, but she still gets pretty excited about it. I wasn’t big on giving her juice everyday because of the sugars, but it was either this or Karo syrup. Given my choices, I’ll take the pear juice. The ingredients list water, pear juice from concentrate, and absorbic acid (vit. c). It’s not expensive, about $1.10 for this container and we go through about a container every two weeks.

5) Cheerios: Tried and true, another Mom recommendation. She loves to eat them, but I use them for entertainment purposes since she hasn’t quite grasped the ‘let it go once it’s in your mouth’ concept.

Dixie is better than a dustbuster!

They dissolve quickly, have a hole in the middle, and are easy for her to grip and move around. She has the chewing concept down pat so I don’t worry much about her choking on the ones she actually manages to get in her mouth. I’m aware that we really need to invest in a real high chair. It’s our next big purchase for her, but we wanted to wait until she actually fit in one and could sit without fail. She normally eats her meals sitting on the floor or on our laps. Anyways. Two thumbs up for the Cheerios for an easy, mess free learning tool.

Ground up cheerios are also much, much easier to get out of the carpet (not like Dixie actually misses any that fall on the floor) when Shannon pulls the baggie out of her diaper bag, opens them, and proceeds to fling them around the dining room.

What are your favorite food items for your little ones?

Horze!

Hey! How are you?

I just wanted to bust out a quick post, gushing over a new company that I found via the Chronicle of the Horse forums.

www.horze.com is possibly the most amazing place, almost *gasp* even better than SmartPak. I think that the only thing that puts SmartPak in the lead, at this point, are their SmartPaks (Willow is on them and they are wonderfully convenient for everybody involved….including my checkbook) and their inventory. Their customer service is far above and beyond any that I have ever delt with, as well. I can’t say enough wonderful things about the company…

But.

Horze offers amazing quality, for amazing prices. I was able to take advantage of a 50% off sale and got free shipping (both ways), but even if I hadn’t snagged my items on sale they still would have been a steal. I’ll be ordering more next pay period. ;).  I was able to purchase a new rain sheet and tendon boots for Willow and a lovely pair of breeches for me. I paid a little over $80. (!!!!!) I ordered on a Friday afternoon, and the box was on my doorstep before noon today.

Shannon and I happily cut the box open (I ran the scissors, she cheered me on) and while she rolled around in the paper filling that was on top, I delighted in my purchases!

The tendon boots:  http://www.horze.com/Horze-Tendon-Boots/19415,en_US,pd.html?dwvar_19415_color=DDB&start=9&cgid=Boots-wraps

I ordered them in (what the site lists as) ODB, which is a dark, dark blue. They are a shade darker than on the site. They were $24.95 NOT on sale, I got them for $12.47. These boots blew me away. I was expecting quality similar to those cheap-o velcro brush boots you can get for $10 at State Line or Dover, but these are amazing. The quality is right in line with that of the $100+ boots that Eskadron makes. I plan on purchasing another pair to have on standby, but maybe in a more fun color since they offer so many different options.

The rain sheet: http://www.horze.com/Horze-Price-Z-Rain-Rug/24021,en_US,pd.html?dwvar_24021_color=BR&start=20&cgid=Blankets

I haven’t had a chance to try this on the Princess yet, but I can tell the quality is right up there. The stitching is well done, the weight is just right, and the color is pleasing with the black/blue trim. I ordered it in an 81″. The sheet that she is currently wearing is a 78″ and a bit on the mini-skirt side. Another plus to this sheet is that it has leg straps. I HATE sheets with no elastic leg jobbies (that’s a technical term right there!) since without them, blankets tend to shift more. I will take obligatory pictures in it tomorrow after our ride, and comment more on the fit. It was originally $86.94 and I got it for $43.47. **UPDATE: I tried this on Willow last night, and it fit perfectly. I didn’t get pictures because it was dark, but I LOVE it. It drops down well, unlike many of the expensive blankets that are too short for her. She’s 17.1h. The color is flattering as well!**

The breeches: http://www.horze.com/Horze-Active-Check-women%27s-Knee-Patch-breeches/36452,en_US,pd.html?dwvar_36452_color=CDBR%2fLLG&start=4&cgid=Kneepatch

I am not ashamed to admit that I dropped trou right in my dining room to try these on. I ordered them in the ODB/KPI color and they are much darker than shown on the site, with the vertical plaid being more pink than I saw in the picture. I like them MORE! One thing that I don’t like is the way full seat breeches make me feel, and these have the look of full seats, without the feel. Bonus! The material is amazing. It stretches, but doesn’t feel as though it will get overly stretched out with repeated wear. They’ll stand up to a good amount of usage. They are on the thick side, but they don’t feel too hot. I ordered them in a 24/36 and they fit snugly under my belly button, but are very long (as in, down past my ankle). I’m 5’3″ with (apparently) short little legs, so this isn’t an uncommon problem for me. They aren’t very flattering in the badonkadonk region, but they’re breeches, so that doesn’t worry me too much. I think that I’m going to send them back (whoot free return shipping!) and order the next size up, so I have a little bit more comfort in the waist even though that means the leg will be even longer. The waistband is very thick and not as ‘giving’ as the rest and they are 95% cotton, so will do some shrinking in the wash. They were $56.95 but I purchased them for $28.47.

Observe:

I’ll be able to comment more on the return process (and customer service) when I’ve got the next size up pair in hand. I may return these for a refund, and add a new pair onto my next order (sorry honey!). We’ll see what’s easiest. **UPDATE: While the return process is easy peasy, and the customer service reps are amazing, I decided to keep my breeches. I’ve clocked two rides in them and they are super comfy.**

I’ll share my comments on everything that I order, regardless of where it’s purchased from.

I’m off to spend some quality time with Nancy (the Kindle) and this handsome guy…

Have a good night, y’all!

Sunday, Funday!

Now that schools are back in session, we’ve seen the re-emergence of Mike’s lovely processing Saturdays. It means more girl time around here! 😉 unfortunately this Saturday our landlord was here to fix a leak in our ceiling. My Mom was awesome enough to take Shannon, so that she wasn’t underfoot at all. We also don’t know if there is any mold in the ceiling, and I don’t want to take a chance with her.

Isn’t it lovely? I informed Mike it’s just like we’re living in Little House on the Prairie! Notice the water-catching pot under the hole? Its for when we shower. 🙂

After they left (and we thought the leak was fixed….sadly, no) I snuck back down to my parent’s, where Shannon was having a great time. Big thanks to my Mom for having her! 🙂

Sunday we had Mike all to ourselves and we were looking forward to a family day. We set out to the Shelburne Museum after Shannon’s morning nap and had a fantastic time! We didn’t get there until about 230, and I would highly recommend that you get there when it opens (noon) if you want to take full advantage of all it has to offer.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Museum, it’s set up like an early 1800’s (with some buildings dating back to the 1700’s) town. Many of the buildings house artifacts like guns, paintings, etc. and some are dedicated to more modern day things (they have a house full of toys  robots.) Some of the buildings are set up as they were in the times that they were built, like the sawmill, a cabin, the first two stories of the governor’s mansion, and the Ticonderoga (read: big boat). Both Mike and I love that sort of thing, and we’re good at doing Museum’s together.

We utilized the backpack that Mike’s mom gifted us with, and again, it was a hit. Some of the volunteers in the buildings got a bit snappish about it, as they were afraid that we were going to turn around and whack something. Only one woman was actually mean about it, the rest were very nice. I can understand why they were concerned, as there are a lot of old, brittle, and expensive things in there.

The other plus side, for us, about the Museum is that Active Duty Military (and spouses!) get in free, as do children under 5. You just have to make sure that you have your ID’s ready to show. It saved us over $40 just in admission. Sweet!

I could write pages upon pages of the things that we saw, but let me just share a few highlights…

A 40 horse hitch, hand carved by Roy Arnold in the early 1920’s. Arnold was from St. Johnsbury and it took him 25 years and 5 assistants to carve the entire parade that accompanied this hitch. It was designed to take after a 2 mile long parade with the scale being 1 inch to 1 foot. After driving Belgains for a semester, then a following summer, I can appreciate the skill this must have taken. There was a picture to accompany the model, and the description stated that the hitch took 2 outriders to keep it in control (that’s it!?) and the lines weighed over 70 pounds. Serious skillz, y’all!

Hand carved merry-go-round horses. I thought that it was a little creepy that they had real horse hair tails. The amount of work that went into carving them blew me away, however. The Museum had about 20 of them, but sadly, none resembled Willow. I checked very carefully.

From there, I begged Mike to let me ride the merry-go-round they had on the grounds, under the guise that Shannon really needed it so that her youth would be fulfilled. He’s a party pooper, and moved us along. The next exhibit that we saw was all boy! Guns and dead stuff!

Mike was in man heaven! The exhibit was pretty neat though, as all the guns had been made in Vermont. They had over 150, dating from the 1800’s and forward. There were some pretty impressive looking ones, some tiny ones, and one that looked like it would very easily break your shoulder. They had a ‘punt’ gun, that men used to attach to the front of their duck hunting boats. It was about 6 ft long, as big around as me, and held about 2 pounds of bird shot.

From the guns, we moved onto the dead things. Even I will admit the size of most of them were pretty impressive.

Mike is 5’10…

The whole building was furnished to resemble an old school hunting lodge. The woman who funded the cabin, did it because she loved animals, and wanted the public to have the opportunity to see some of these monsters up close. They also had a small layout of taxidermy odds and ends, and it was neat to see what went into it. Its more than just fluff!

After we finished up there, we were off to the small cafe that was on the grounds. I had the best pulled pork sandwich I think I’ve ever eaten in my life. The prices were high, but not out of this world. We paid a little over $20 for two of us to eat. Shannon, however, still eats for free. 😉

She did get to enjoy bites of bread off the top (non-seasoned) part of my sandwich, which she hoovered. She also goes nuts for water out of a water bottle. She thinks she’s a grown up or something. Kids.

After lunch, we crawled all over the Ticonderoga, which is a big old steam powered ferry, built by the Lake Champlain Transport Company in the early 1900’s. You could get overnight passage for as little as $1.50, $3.00 for the honeymoon suite, if you were a big spender! We didn’t get many pictures, because there were just so many interesting things to digest, however, enjoy this horrible attempt at a family picture, which really just ended up making Mike and I look like total goobers.

We stay classy.

We then migrated to the General Store/Apothecary, where I had to take a picture of this wonderful little signage.

So many things popped into my head, none of them really okay for this blog. There was no plaque to explain the meaning behind it, so I just giggled and took a picture.

We then wandered through a few houses, including one that was stenciled from top to bottom, one that was used as a boarding house, the sawmill, and one that was set up like a typical 1700’s settler’s cabin. It had two rooms, the main living area with a hearth and table, and another room off that with the beds. It really must have been chilly, but then again the entire family slept in the same bed.

Another building was designated to just duck decoys. The house had been set up so it was mirror image on either side. The governor’s two daughters (who were both married) lived there on either side.  We didn’t stick around very long in the house full of toys robots, because the life sized Dearth Vader thing scared the bejesus out of me, and the volunteer that was working there was a bit stabby.

I didn’t snap pictures, because we were elbows deep in the experience, and Shannon decided that she had had enough with the backpack, so we carried her the rest of the way.

We finished our tour with the Governor’s Mansion, which was set up as a tribute to the Museum’s founder, Electra Havemeyer Webb. The first two floors each had rooms modeled after her New York City apartment, and displayed impressionist art. I was very much astounded at the fox hunting influence that the two dens took after. I also loved this picture, which was in a parlor.

I’m extremely pro-breastfeeding, and seeing this picture on display was lovely.

The bottom level of the mansion, was dedicated to her brother, who was a Navy pilot. There was a plaque that logged all his missions, and it stated that he had over 300,000 miles logged, many in combat zones. To go along with it, there were many cowboy statues. There was nothing to make the connection between the two, but I appreciated them nonetheless.

After that, it was time to go. Shannon took a moment to sample the foliage, and we packed our very sleepy baby into the car.

We did our usual Sunday grocery shopping, and hit on a few things that Shannon really enjoyed. I’m going to save that post for later, though. 🙂

We had a great day, and loved our experiences at the Museum. I would recommend it to anybody who enjoys history. The volunteers at each place were friendly and knowledgable. They were happy to answer all of our questions, and give us the history of the building that we were in. They also fawned over Shannon at length, which racks up the brownie points in my book! I would recommend that you make a day of it, as Shelburne has many other things to offer (apple picking and the Morgan Horse Farm), but budget for an expensive one. Entry to the Museum is $20 for adults, $12 for children 5-18, free for the littlies under 5, and $18 for seniors. I think that it’s well worth it, if you are able to stay from 12-5. The Cafe on the grounds had wonderful food, with multiple heathy selections! Wear comfy shoes, and prepare for lots of walking. There is a shuttle that runs every 15 minutes, however, but we didn’t utilize it. I also wish I had brought a coat, since it was chilly. Many of the buildings aren’t heated (duh) and you spend a lot of time outside. For more information about the Museum, and the things that it has to offer, click on over to www.shelburnemuseum.org!

I’m off to take advantage of naptime, but taking a quick siesta myself! The plague has struck our house full force, and while Shannon has managed to dodge the bullet for now (thank goodness!), sleep was very much lacking last night! We have a business meeting at 230, and I would hate to look like death warmed over!

Carseats, Yo!

I’m going to preface this post with a short story.

My truck is haunted by the ghost of Elvis. I’m sure of this. I got in the other day and the radio was stuck in the Sirius XM Elvis station. It wouldn’t change no matter what I did. I turned the truck off, I pressed ALL the buttons. Still Elvis. Good thing I don’t mind him. It’s back to normal now, but whenever I get in I remember to say a quick ‘Hola!’ to the guy. I dont mind him fiddling with the radio, but I want to stay on friendly terms with him, so he doesn’t move on to important things. Like breaks or steering.

Its been a busy week for us girls around here. Mike is working a lot and Shannon has perfected this lovely skill…

I thought she was into everything before… I was so wrong. Because out little girl is growing so quickly, we’ve had to get her a new carseat. It’s a decision that both Mike and I agonized over for a pretty long time.

The safest thing for babies is to rear face them until they are 40lbs. Even though the law states one year AND (not OR) 20 lbs, after doing a lot of research and watching videos, we made our decision to rear-face her until 40. We needed a seat that would allow us to do that. We also needed a seat that would grow with her. Cost wasn’t a factor for us, because this is the #1 thing that we didn’t want to scrimp on.

We decided on this one : http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12789167&searchURL=false and we LOVE it. It allows us to rearface until 40, forward face until 65, and use as a booster until 100. The head pieces are adjustable, the recline is very easily adjustable, I really love how it snaps in and out of the LATCH clips which makes it a snap (haha!) to swap between rigs. The shoulder straps are very, very easy to adjust, and (even though it doesn’t really matter) I love the color. She sits up a little bit higher, which allows her to watch out the window, which has cut down on our tempertantrums by about half. 🙂

My only complaint is that Shannon seems to sweat in it a little bit more than she did her infant carrier, but it’s also much more padded of a seat.

Your carseat selection is pretty important, but HOW your little one is snapped in is extremly important as well. The following pictures(used with parental permission) are wonderful examples.

7.5 month old Jayce:

 3 year old Ethan:

The princess herself at 2 whole days old!

Clearly not thrilled about coming home from the hospital!

 

Why are these good examples?

  • The chest clips are at armpit level. Any lower than that, and in the event of a crash the clip is in danger of damaging internal organs. It’s called a chest clip for a reason.
  • Harness straps are snug. You should not be able to pinch any of the strap between your fingers, if you can it’s too loose.
  • All are wearing proper clothing. It’s easy in the summer time, but in the winter it can be tricky. Put your tyrant little darling in a thinner fleece layer, and put their winter jacket on backwards OVER the fastened straps. You can also use a blanket. Too many layers prohibit the straps from working correctly.
  • While Ethan is using protective padding, it is padding that is okay by the manufacturer and is thin enough that it doesn’t interfear with his strap snugness. Read in your manual about what you can and can’t use.
  • Remember to never buy a carseat used, or use one again after an accident. Carseats are to be considered ‘expired’ 6 years from the purchase date.

For more tips visit this site: http://www.safekids.org/safety-basics/safety-resources-by-risk-area/car-seats-boosters-seat-belts-/car-seat-safety-tips.html

There are no excuses for slacking on your child’s safety. It’s our job as parents to educate ourselves about the things that will keep our children safe, and make decisions based on that education. There are oppurtunities all around us, we just have to take advatage of them, and as parents that should be a no brainer. Sadly, that’s not always the case, but I now understand why people take the time to try to educate my husband and I. 🙂

And always remember to buckle YOUR seatbelt. 😉

The Reveal!

If you haven’t caught up yet, just scroll right on down!

We’re picking a horse for a client. It’s not fool proof, but it will give you an idea of the thought process that goes into purchasing a horse. We used my huband Mike as a model for our client.

So, what horse did we chose for Mike?

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Horse C!

{$7,000, 10 year old paint gelding. Being used as an Extreme Cowboy trail horse, and wins often. Advertised as 100% bombproof. 14.3h and stocky build. Established cribber, but managed with a collar. Barefoot. Needs to be in semi-regular work to remain quiet. Sound with no prior medical history. Can be pushy on the ground with timid handler. Horse is located in Vermont.}

Even though the horse was at the top of his price range, it best suited what he wanted to do and provided him with enough of a challange that he won’t get bored. Many sellers also build a little bit of bargining room into their price point, and more often than not you may be able to talk them down a little bit. It never hurts to try. I don’t get my nose bent out of shape if a horse is advertised as a cribber, espcially if it’s a cribber that can be controlled with a collar. Even though the horse was the shortest of the three, Mike isn’t a huge guy and the stocky barrel will take up enough of his leg. A horse that is compact will have a better chance of staying sound with a bigger rider, than a horse that is built more streamlined.  This horse also is being used solely as a horse that is doing exactly what Mike wants. Keep in mind that just because a horse is forward and responsive, doesn’t mean that it is a wingnut. I prefer a horse with a ‘go’ button (as long as ‘go’ doesn’t mean blast off!).

So why not the other two?

Horse A

{$5,000, 15 year old bay QH gelding. Currently being used as a school horse at a popular children’s camp. 15h and stocky build. Horse is advertised as bomb proof and goes out on the trail often. Needs hock injections to stay sound as well as front shoes. Has a history of choking if not properly managed. Quiet on the ground. Horse is located in Maine.}

This is a horse that is looking to head into a semi-retired life of leisure, which he deserves. His body is starting to get tired after years of toting children around. While he would probably thrive in our situation, he doesn’t quiet have the oomph that Mike is looking for. His build and price are great.

Horse B

{$3,000, 6 year old chestnut Appendix mare. Being used as a barrel racer by teenage girl, but quiet on trails. 16h and average build. Advertised as a 4 out of 10 on the quiet scale but 100% bombproof. Needs no maintence, but wears 4 shoes. Can be hard to manage on the ground.  Horse is located in New York.}

This mare is a little bit on the bigger side with a leaner build than our other two stockhorse types. She could probably easily manage Mike’s frame. The hang up, to me, is that often barrel racers need a little bit of ‘let down’ time (similar to OTTB’s) before starting a more laid back career and can be very sensitive to leg. This mare would more than likely need a break, then some re-schooling before Mike was comfortable riding her. It also states that she can be hard to manage on the ground, which, while Mike can handle it, it’s not something that he would like to deal with on a daily basis. It also lends to her hotheadedness. You know what they say about chestnut mares…. ;).

Give us a comment or two below and let us know how you did!

I’d like to make this a monthly feature here on the blog and feature different horse/rider scenarios. If you’d like to be used as a client model, leave a comment or feel free to shoot me an e-mail {fasporthorses@gmail.com}. Be sure to include a brief description of what you’re looking for, your riding style, and experience and a little bit about you!

I think our next client is going to be this little girl! She’s getting brave and totally almost ready for her first pony!

 

Stay tuned for a family post tonight, all about carseats!