Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Today's lessons learned...

They say you should learn something new every day. I figured I'd save up a few days at once... Today's lessons learned:

Heat is a great excuse not to run.

Don't step in the deep mud wearing flip flops... The flip will load the shoe with mud and the flop will cover you head to toe with it.

It is totally acceptable to wash your clothes in the river. Even while you're wearing them :)

If the odds are good you're going to end up soaking wet, wear black. It'll be dry in no time!

When you lead a horse into deep water, be prepared to be soaked.

Have an extra set of clothes for when you end up soaking wet.

If you happen to lose your clear safety goggles in a rapidly flowing river, simply say goodbye. You're never going to see them again.

Weed eaters should NOT attempt to eat metal jump ties...

When the weed eater chokes, stop feeding it.

When unraveling metal jump ties from the weed eater, keep in mind that the metal is likely to be HOT.

It's best not to try to hammer anything into a rotten board.

It is *not* a particularly good idea to try to repair a broken fence without first turning off the electrical. The time you save is not worth the aggravation you gain.

When the humidx passes 40 degrees, it's fair game to go play in the river for an hour or so :)

L and I had a random conversation about frogs; tonight when I was doing turnout there were frogs everywhere. I think tomorrow we should have a discussion about winning the lottery.

When you're hiking a xc course that has sawgrass up past your knees, wear long pants. Doesn't matter how hot it is; trust me on this one.

All it takes to chill out the overly excited horse is to ride him five times in two days and increase the temperature 20 degrees. Note that the same technique does *not* work for the thoroughbred.

While I may wear up to four layers of clothing in the winter, I still somehow go through more clothes in the summer...

Hey - nobody ever said the lessons learned had to be important :)

Human Planet

Based on the trailer, I think I want to watch this...



Wow.

Quit my day job? Why would I want to do that?

So the other day I was on a writing site that had an article about "How to quit your day job" - the idea being, as most writers dream of, to write and be paid sufficient amounts for it. I've read a few of these. Never have I seen one with any actual practical advice. But what interested me this time as I read it was that I was not even remotely interested in trying it. For the first time ever "quit your day job and write" was not an appealing idea. It would seem that I've finally found the *right* day job :) One that I actually want to do. hahaha and you know, it seems so simple really - but how many people do you know who wouldn't give up their job in a heartbeat given the opportunity (say winning the lottery?) I would change my job slightly with said lottery earnings but I really don't think I'd give it up. And that's a very kewl realization. Kinda made my day actually.

#FridayFlash 55 - The Thunder Rolled

For those who're looking for a horsey post - check out the GRS blog for the story of our XC adventures on Monday :)

For everybody else, the time has come to attempt another flash. It's been... ummm a very long time since I've posted a flash. That whole starting a new business and working 70+ hours/week thing *g* This one did not go where I intended it too and I haven't decided yet if I like this version better or not :) What can I say? Sometimes characters just write their own stories. Let me know what you think!


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The Thunder Rolled

It was raining. The kind of rain where you shut off the tv to just listen to Nature play her song on the window pane. The kind of rain that makes you pity any man or beast caught out in it. The kind of rain that makes you want to go out and play in it to be a child once more.

And then the thunder rolled. It called to me. And I knew I had to be a part of it. 35 years old, a successful professional, and generally responsible adult, and I didn't even stop to question the urge to go play in the rain.

I stepped outside to a darkness so intense I couldn't even see the giant tree I knew was only a dozen feet from where I stood. Before I'd even managed two steps, I was soaked through with the kind of jolting cold that temporarily takes your breath away and then makes you feel hyper-alive for having survived it.

I walked farther into the yard - the lights from the house eerily blurred by the rain and not strong enough to cut the intense darkness and illuminate my path. The thunder, no longer inviting, roared a warning. A suggestion I return to the known. The safe. A suggestion I ignored.

My hand outstretched in front of me found the tree my grandmother had planted a lifetime ago. The thick canopy above seemed helpless to stop the onslaught of drops. The thunder crashed angrily, making me jump. I could feel it shaking inside me. Yet I felt the need to be out there - to be a part of it.

I leaned against the tree, looking away from my home to the darkness that seemed unyielding. Huge drops continued to sharply pelt my skin; yet somehow it was revitalizing. I felt alive. Refreshed. I considered briefly what my coworkers would think if they saw me here, and knew they'd be stunned. And then I considered what my friends would think, and knew they'd simply smile and roll their eyes -- never entirely understanding, but always accepting. And the thought made me smile.

The next crash of thunder was joined in a heartbeat by a vividly powerful bolt of lightning, close enough that I could feel the electricity shiver in my veins. And in the moment of clarity before I was blinded by the light, I could've sworn I'd seen a man standing in the street in the rain. I felt like our eyes locked and I *knew* him. Knew him as well and as deeply as I knew myself. But it was impossible. I wasn't even sure I'd seen anything, much less a recognizable person.

The rain continued pounding out its message on the leaves above my head. The darkness seemed even thicker after the flash of light. And the sound of his voice, directly beside me, more terrifying than anything I've ever experienced.

"Don't you know enough to go in out of the rain?" he asked in a low voice that seemed to roll as the once inviting thunder had.

My response was delayed while I waited for my heart to restart. I couldn't see his features in the darkness, and his voice was not familiar, but somehow I still felt I knew him. And that I shouldn't be afraid.

"Nothing extraordinary ever came of doing the expected." I told him. The thunder rumbled, moving away from us. I felt his gaze on me and wondered how he could see better than I.

"So you're an extraordinary woman then?" I could hear the smile in his voice, but couldn't quite tell if it was sincere.

"And you sir, I'm quite certain, an extraordinary man." I answered, trying instinctively to match his tone and feeling slightly lost, as though I were the only person in a group who didn't get the joke.

"Indeed," he said formally. The rain was fading. The canopy above becoming more successful at catching the drops before they hit us. But the nagging feeling that I knew him grew stronger.

"You're right," he told me. Before I could question him he elaborated, "you do know me. You just don't remember. But it's almost time. You're almost ready."

"Ready for what?" I couldn't stop myself from asking, although I regretted it the instant the words were out of my mouth.

"Ready for the extraordinary," he replied seriously. "There's more to you than you acknowledge. The power calls to you. And tonight you answered. Consider what that means."

And before I could even begin to digest that sentence and deem it all garbage, he was gone. As quickly and silently as he'd arrived, he disappeared. And with him, the storm.

The air held a crisp freshness that hinted of energy and the lights from the house now shone clearly well past my tree. I looked around but could see nobody. I returned to my house feeling both foolish and intensely intrigued, for you see I felt instinctively as though he was right. There was power there. And all that was left was for me to figure out how to use it.

One Word

New (to me) fun writing site: oneword.com

It's the open comment bubble and the quickly scrolling counter that does it. I think the counter was about 1/4 of the way across before I decided I even wanted to play. They give you a word. You have 60 seconds to write. The word was "Canteen". This is what I wrote:

---

The canteen glowed eerily. I eyed what was supposed to be a healthy drink warily. What had they put in in this time? My boyfriend assured me it was good for me, but could I trust him? With eyes closed and heart in throat, I lifted the canteen and drank.

---

hahaha worse than nano for turning out iffy writing, but somewhat amusing at the same time :)

Best Marriage Proposal Ever

Found this vid when looking for GRS videos... Very little to do w/ horses so a horrible failure as far as that goes, but fairly wonderful for what it is. So thought I'd share :)



I just wish we could've seen her reaction!


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hmmmm ok back story as comes with the vid when it's not embedded:

"I have known my fiance Tracey Wade for over 14 years and wanted to propose to her in a very unique way. Tracey thought we were just going to the movies on a Sunday afternoon. Little did she know, I had rented the entire theater and filled it with 160 of our friends and family. I made it seem as though we were showing up a little late to the movie and went in to the theater after the lights had gone down and the movie trailers were already playing. This was done to keep her from recognizing anyone in the theater. What I had done was make an entire movie trailer that had actors portraying both Tracey and I at different times in our lives, both present day and in the future. After a few trailers played including one for Lord of the Rings the one I had made started. Tracey thought it was just another trailer for a movie soon to be released. Tracey was just perplexed as to how many different things had similarities to our relationship, she kept nudging me throughout the trailer. Tracey had no idea this was a marriage proposal until the last three seconds of the trailer."

*insert a whole bunch more details about the making of and the significance of the clips then...*

SHE SAID YES!!

William Shatner Sings O'Canada

Your morning smile :) Watch all the way through the credits :)

Stupid *should* hurt

Man when the Gods rained stupid down on the Earth this week, I definitely forgot my umbrella. *sigh*

As you may be aware, I rather foolishly signed up to run 15k in August. Now that is enough time, I figured, to train. I wasn't being *entirely* unreasonable. So I went online a googled training plans. Most of them say run one minute, walk one minute - for a variety of different times. Ok no problem. Of course most of them also say run a 5k, then a 10k, and *then* contemplate a 15k... But we all know you can't trust everything you read on the Internet right? >;-P

So then I went back to Google and mapped out a couple routes from the farm. One that's exactly 15k and one that's about 7. Ummmm let me just mention here, for the record, 15k is a stupidly long distance to try and run. I know I can *walk* pretty much endlessly with no issue - but a 15k walk will take a *long* time and one thing I don't have all that much of is time. As Nicole mentioned "you know what's 15k away from me right now? Somewhere I can drive to." She has a point.

Alright so when I did the 5k, it took me about half an hour. This leads me to believe 15k should take about an hour and a half. And since I haven't run anywhere since the minute I crossed the 5k finish line, we'd double it. Now this is a problem in that I very rarely have 3h available in a day to do anything *sigh*. But I figure carve the time out once, then do a bunch of short runs to build up a whole lot more cardio and then try again. Yes, at this point I was figuring cardio would be the issue. That nasty little bugger Hindsight is sticking his tongue out at me and doing his nah-nah dance.

But I did have a day where I knew I only had one horse to ride AND that she really should have the day off. Which, with a bit of careful manipulation gave me the time I needed. I had an afternoon lesson I'd have to be back for, so I came, fed and turned out and then decided to try the run - stalls could wait till after. Anybody *else* see a flaw in this plan? Yeah well, didn't want to do stalls first and then not make it back in time so I figured this was the best of a bad situation (and let's be honest, any situation that involves me running is a bad one!)

So one minute on, one minute off. I can do that. No problem.

Ever been to Oakville? Oakville is where I trained for my 5k. Oakville is FLAT. The 5k I ran is advertised as being a "fast" race. Because it too is FLAT. But the farm? It's in Halton HILLS. A piece of advice - descriptors in town names are all too often the result of somebody with absolutely NO creativity naming the town. Basically in this area you are *always* going either up or down hill.

But still - one minute on, one minute off. Even with hills that shouldn't be too bad. So I gamely start out UP the hill at a reasonable (for me - or the average turtle - pace. And after a minute I am PUFFING. And somewhat embarrassed. I really didn't think I was *that* out of shape. But in less than 10 seconds breathing is exactly what it should be. hmmmmm. oh yeah - lesson learned for the day: holding your breath while running makes it significantly more challenging. I do NOT need more challenging.

So 30 seconds goes by and walking's really quite boring so I try to run another minute - this time going down hill. Sweet! Minute goes by in a heartbeat and I'm just getting started so I give it another 30 seconds and then some little part of my brain tells me that 15k is a LONG way. And the people who say one minute on, one minute off probably have a reason for it. And that reason probably has something to do with making it ALL the way around. Let me tell you something - when the voice in your head starts making intelligent comments, it's generally a good idea to listen.

The next walk minute was spent fiddling with my ipod. May as well use the time productively :) And on a side note - I definitely need to dl some new music! I don't think it's been updated since Denny's. Sheesh.

Then I followed my watch reasonably closely. Always the 1 min run, sometimes 30sec walk, sometimes 1 min. And when I was running I was somewhat singing along with the ipod. hahaha anybody who's had the misfortune to hear me sing along with the radio knows that this is a *very* bad thing, but other than one sheep who was sorely offended by it (that was pretty funny actually), there really wasn't anybody likely to be too concerned. And it works for riding so I figured it might be a good plan for running. That whole breathing and rhythm thing.

Alright so 1 minute on, 1 minute off. No problem. Cardio, at least for this particular challenge, is a non issue. I was quite pleasantly surprised about that. And every time I was walking I could hear my dr coach "power walk! You should be going somewhere! Double marks." Ok that last statement may not be so valid in running, but I'm pretty sure the other two hold. And while running, jump coach "drop your shoulders and keep your elbows in!" Apparently my bad habits are the same regardless of sport *sigh* Ah well, something to be said for consistency right? I wonder if they'd be amused to know they're coaching me in running too >;-P

So along I go, past the point that leads to the short route, and at about km 5 I could feel the start of the lactic acid building up in my quads. hmmmm. Not fatal at this point - they were just starting to get kind of heavy. And slight but not tragic shin splints. So to save the second I moved off to the unpaved shoulder and continued. Both issues I remember from doing the 5k. Both unpleasant but neither fatal. And really - every other minute is a walk break; it hardly even counts!

I keep going for what seems like forever, somewhat amused at the 80km traffic signs - ummm not such a problem now! And finally there's a stop sign in sight. Woohoo. That turn signals almost to the half way point. Sweet. Make the turn and it looks like a surprisingly short distance to the next turn... And then I realize no, it's just a jog in the road *sigh* Poor form.

And then suddenly about .5km shy the half way point my calves both ceased up as though I were wearing 6" heels. I could legitimately feel myself getting shorter. I can't AFFORD to get any shorter! Yikes. Ok so that one backed me off a sec. One minute on, one minute off. But clearly taking more of a toll than I'd anticipated. So the walk half of that interval was spent trying to stretch my calves out, rather unsuccessfully.

Now at this point I'm almost as far away from home as it's possible to be on this route. Everything from here on in is the way back. So what options do I have? I can call somebody to come rescue me. I can flirt with the farmer driving the tractor around and get him to rescue me. But both those options involve being rescued, which is not generally my thing. I can walk back - it'll take forever, but I'll get there. Or I can continue the one minute on, one minute off -- after all, everything hurts now, may as well suck it up.

So the inner voice was actively pushing for the "turn around and walk home" option, while the determined (read stubborn) side of me was arguing for go hard or go home - or in this case, both! A piece of advice, fwiw, from our obnoxious friend Hindsight again: if that little inner voice questions "do you think this is a good idea?" - consider listening to it; it usually knows more than you do.

I, of course, stuck with the determined voice (really, do I *ever* do anything the easy or normal way? What kind of blog would *that* make for? Probably not one you'd read - and we can't have that! :)

So one minute on, one minute off. I crossed the train tracks about 2 seconds before the lights started flashing. That would've bought me a good 1/2h break :) Prob just as well; I suspect if I'd had to hang out there for a half hour getting home would've been even harder.

On the plus side - respiration rate still a complete non issue; singing along w/ ipod still very out of tune; and generally making my way along one minute at a time. Which, btw, I still think is a very silly way of doing it -- shouldn't the intervals be in distance rather than time? Cause in a minute I could go nowhere or run my heart out but by this system it makes no difference. If it was .5km on, .5km off that'd be a much more accurate system would it not? It is, however, easier to judge when one has very few gadgets and no gps. hahaha

Anyways - the one minute off still seems longer than necessary but by this time the one minute on is *also* seeming to take forever. I started picking targets "I'll run to that lightpost and then check" -- and since in the country most targets are pretty far away; this worked reasonably well.

And then I saw the mountain. Remember the Halton HILLS idea. Well they lied. That was not a hill. At least not when you're basically at the point of physically lifting each leg and putting it in front. Lesson learned - run the route the *other* way around; it'll still have a giant uphill - but at least it'll be at the *start* of the route! hahaha So remember the whole one minute on, one minute off thing being pointless - how it should be judged in distance? This is why. Cause I definitely saw the mountain and set my pace and time so that my one minute off started the second I hit the mountain. And this is the *only* place I cheated. I freely admit there was no running up the mountain. The little voice won out *sigh* And we had a 2 min walk till I crested the top and ran down the other side again.

And then... I could see the stop sign. In my entire life I don't think I've ever been so happy to see a stop sign. Back on our street! The fact that it's still several kms to the farm is irrelevant; I was back on the right street. Woohoo! This stretch was a huge fight. It really hurt to move and the battle was between "walk home, make it there, but take forever" and "get there as soon as possible and don't give up when you're sooooo close." Wanna guess which one won?

All I can say is I'm really thankful I started out my run UP hill because that meant the very final minute of running was down hill.

I was hot and freezing at the same time (cold drizzly weather, exercise so hot, then stopping) and basically even contemplating taking a step hurt. A shower might've done wonders to cure all three issues but alas, I was at the farm. No shower option. So I cranked the heat, changed my clothes and ate some food. Fortunately the run took less time than I'd allowed (1h, 50min for the curious - and w/in the time allowed for the race too! I'm pretty stoked about that :) so I had a little while before I had to teach.

Brought the horses in for the lesson - more walking. Through mud. Not good. And had to even do an extra trip since Princess Sienna was objecting to being left alone *sigh* But I managed to teach (and the lesson even went really well - yeah for superstar students!) and do stalls - although I acknowledge they took me about 4x as long as they should've! And brought in all the horses. More walking. Through mud. Not good. Led them one at a time - took more trips but I figured I prob didn't have the strength or agility required for two at this point. Got to sit down for a bit to much some dinner and then out to teach again. And turn all the horses back out. More walking. Through mud. In the dark. Not good. And eventually go home.

The drive home was fine. Then I tried to get out of my car.

Mental note - if you decide to totally kill all your mobility muscles in one day, just keep moving. Cause once you stop you're done! *sigh*

Plus sides of the whole adventure though (they *are* there - you just have to stretch your imagination a bit to find them :) I DID it. Ok, technically that may be a minus, but I met the goal I didn't have to meet till August. Ideally I'd like to do it in August w/o injuring myself, but hey, it's a start. Paula's response made me laugh - she sent me a text saying "Alright you are banned from your own running schedule. I will email you the schedule you'll use from now on!" hahaha made me laugh. Except I found her schedule even harder than mine! But maybe there's room for compromise somewhere.

And now, I'm off to sleep. Perchance to dream. Of never running anywhere again. Till next time.

Why on Earth would you want to be in a shower of babies?

I was at a baby shower this weekend - those of you who know me will realize that liking neither showers nor babies, this is a true test of friendship. But I went and when they announced "games" I tried to hide. But fortunately they kept it to reasonable - one was words - coming up with potential baby names out of the parent's names, which kept me reasonably amused (I didn't officially play of course, but I provided a reasonable number of options to those who were :) and the other was to paint a "onesie" - which sadly I know what that is since all of my girlfriends seem to be having children. Sheesh. I painted mine with a skull and cross bones. hahaha is that bad? Maybe I won't get invited to any more showers now *g* Except that I expect the parents-to-be, who've been friends of mine since high school, will be fairly amused by it. Ah well, that's what makes for good friends right?

A different couple days

So this Friday/Saturday I spent manning a booth at the Mississauga Marathon (thanks tons to Landmark Sport Group for making that happen!). And it was sort of entertaining. I had a saddle out front of my booth (see below) and the double takes people consistently did upon seeing it were rather amusing.



I discovered I have a bit of a knack for drawing people in and creating random conversation; I was surprised by that as small talk has never really been my thing, and I can't really say I enjoyed it - but it was interesting. I got *really* good at figuring out who rides by how they looked at the display - even if they didn't want to seem interested, a horse-person's eyes will be light up at any unexpected horse-related item. It's an addiction, and those with it are fairly easy to spot. Like recognizes like I guess *g* By the end I was about 98% in my guesses (yes I was playing this game with myself - have to pass the hours somehow!)

Did get to have some fairly interesting conversations with other horse people though, so that's always fun. And met a fair number who seemed interested in lessons, which'd be great. Also some interesting conversations with people who weren't interested in riding but were interested in the idea of cross training between riding and running (these conversations usually started with "why are you here?" hahaha). The first time I spun that I could feel the bs level rising to a point I was sure a light would go on over my head, but by the end I was even believing it *g*

People watching was somewhat entertaining. I was highly amused by the number of people who felt the need to snap a picture of my QR code despite clearly having less than no interest in riding or lessons. There were also a few passing through who I would say are highly unlikely to be participating in the event. Sort of made me wonder what they were doing there (picking up for somebody else?) and how they felt about it... Out of place? Unaware? Aware but confident enough not to care in the slightest? Then there were the people we saw like 8 times. Doing laps? Really? The place just isn't that big or enthralling... Once normal, twice even ok, but more than that?

And then there's me... hahaha so there was a booth not far from mine that had a great theater-style banner that seemed to be as out of place as mine was. So I wandered over at one point when my mum kindly came and covered my booth for me. A Midsummer Night's Run -- complete with various Shakespeare quotes. Ok kinda kewl - thought well maybe if they have a 5k I'll sign up and do that again. But I looked and no - only 15 or 30. A little excessive. Did love the t-shirts and the jackets though. Esp the jackets.

So the next morning I'm chatting with the girl manning the booth next to mine and she disappears for a minute and returns with one of the jackets. Even nicer on close up inspection. "They're free if you sign up today." Ummmm really? "Yeah, it's a really good race; it's fun and the route is really pretty." So, me being me, randomly decides 15k isn't *that* much more than 5. Sure I can do that by August (have I mentioned the last time I did 5 was almost 2 yrs ago and I haven't run more than 10 consecutive steps since then???). Cause really, I, who generally couldn't care less about clothing of any sort, wanted that jacket. So yeah, somehow I ended up signing up to run 15k in Aug. It'd better stop raining soon cause I'm definitely not dedicated enough to train in the rain! hahaha And even though there was a 1k WALK option that also would've gotten me a jacket, I couldn't possibly do things the easy way. Sheesh. Where the challenge in that?

BUT - on the plus side, I didn't sign up for a marathon and I didn't sign up for anything I'd have to leave the country for (both of those were together actually :) - at least I kept the unrealistic projects to the "potentially feasible" realm. This is progress over my usual random decisions (anybody remember "I think I'll go to school in Australia next term"? Or how bout "I'm moving to Vermont next week.") hahah So I'm off to google training schedules. Wish me luck!

An interesting way to see Scotland

Ok so I had an absolute blast the one and only time I was lucky enough to visit Scotland -- but my trip required significantly less skill than this one! I particularly like the "cyclists dismount" sign :) Enjoy.

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Really just posting to wish the most awesome mother ever, and coincidentally, my most dedicated reader *g*, a wonderful Mother's Day!!! Love you Mum :)

Completely unrelated to anything - a fairly well done video I came across:



So I was going through old photos for something and found a proof of Zel and I in 2007 jumping a chevron (if I recall correctly one of two on a bending line). Anyways it was a cute photo and a ton of good memories so I gave Andrew a shout - and sure enough he still has them! Yeah for awesome photographers with good records :)

Did you hear Superman has renounced his US Citizenship? Just found that sort of amusing so thought I'd share :)

Am absolutely loving the current weather! Lots of hacking. Lots of outdoors :) A few stories on the GRS blog for the interested *g*

Ok so that's probably enough babbling for the moment. Later :)

The rules

(yet again stealing from Graduate Riding School blog - who has time to write two???)

So my students are almost all aware of my rules of eventing, but today I found another list that I think should be considered.

Our current rules:

1. Keep horse between rider and ground.

2. Be happy.

3. Just keep kicking!

4. Take credit for flukes.
4a. Corollary – never discount the power of luck.

5. Jump First = Jump Alone.

6. It doesn’t have to look pretty.

7. Remember, you can ride as fast as your horse can run.
7a. Corollary – never ride faster than you can steer.

8. Stadium is simply dressage with speedbumps; therefore, learn your dressage.

9. YouTube videos should NOT be tried at home.

10. Think positively – Scary jumps are just there to eliminate the competition.


This new list has only 4 rules:

1. Leave together and come back together

2. Don't scare the spectators

3. No crying in Eventing (unless its with sheer joy in the moment)

4. Nobody cares on Monday


Now looking at the two lists together, I realize our current rules are for riding in general (with the possible exception of the last one), whereas the new list is all about competition. So I propose to my show team that we adopt their list as "show rules" hahaha thoughts???

List came from a blog I stumbled upon this am - "Confessions of an AA Event Rider and Convicted Over Thinker" I have, ummm a few students in this category :) hahaha give it a read - you'll have fun. And know that you are definitely not alone :)

In other notes - working on getting us both barn clothing and show team clothing. Coming soon!

oh the games we play...

(from GRS blog)

Jack Saurus was amusing me yesterday - I really wish I'd had a camera :)

So there are two background pieces to this story. The first is that about 2 wks ago, Jack had a meltdown when I walked past his stall carrying an empty feedbag. Not like I don't do this almost every day, but apparently now feedbags are very scary. So I opened the door holding it and he smooshed himself as far as he could into the corner of the stall, every nerve on high alert, shaking and genuinely terrified. Ummmm not so good. So I chilled him out and got him to realize the feedbag wouldn't hurt him. And the next day went into the stall with one again, and he was concerned but not panicked. And by the end I could run it all over him, wrinkle it around, and hide his food underneath it (he just shoved it out of the way - priorities people!)

The second thing is that thanks to this wonderful weather we've been having, Jack has cracked heels on one foot and so is not allowed outside. Jack who despises being inside and is thoroughly unhappy at being stuck in his stall - esp with the rest of the barn outside (I have been keeping a buddy in for him of course, but apparently one isn't enough :)

So through no fault of his own, and feeling fit and fine, Jack is grounded. He's inside, bored out of his little mind, and thoroughly annoyed at this whole process. And understandably so. The novelty of his ball has long since worn off. And yesterday I was trying to think of what else we can do to amuse Jack (I can only ride him for so long!). So I grabbed one of the feedbags (one of the ones where the string came off clean so nothing to accidentally eat :) and took one of his favourite treats (stud muffins). Showed him the treat, dropped the treat in the bag, and tossed the bag in the stall. (side note - for those who don't know, feedbags usually hold 25kg of grain -- they tend to be a bit over 2.5' tall and 1' wide (see http://www.agribrands.ca/Screens/Equine.aspx for a pic). Essentially the height of your household garbage bag but much skinnier and made of a waxy-thin-cardboard type material so they hold their shape reasonably well).

Now Jack WANTS that treat. And has clearly *no* fear of scary bags left as he promptly finds the top and sticks as much of his head as will fit in and shakes the bag around. hahaha omg I laughed and wished I had my camera :) But you see, our friend Jack is a fairly smart horse and figured out within a second or two that his head wouldn't reach the bottom. So he dropped the bag, turned it around and started kicking it with his front leg. Then went and carefully tipped his head in without lifting the bag to see if the treat had moved. Seriously. But sadly his plan had failed - evidently the treat was still out of reach. So he tried brute force - pawing a hole in the middle. Fail. He played with it a little while longer, generally beating up the bag and eventually lifted up the closed end with his teeth and let gravity help him out :) Treat earned. And when I went in to take the feedbag back he had one foot standing right on the middle of it holding it down. He was pretty proud of himself after that one.

So my little game, while not exactly traditional and probably a very bad idea *g* DID manage to keep our friend Jack amused for at least a few minutes (down side to smart horses!) AND got him entirely over his feedbag issues. Not half bad :)

Obama Roasts Trump

An entertaining start to the morning...