Friday, September 25, 2009

Smart buy 2.0: Taming of the pussy cat

This is Ossie.

Ossie, short for Osmosis, is a domestic long hair cat. And judging from the fur piles, she's a gray domestic long hair cat.

Ossie enjoys many things. Catnip, milk, chasing the occasional fly in the bay windows, swimming in a full bathtub of water and being just a-freaking-dorable are on the definite top list.

The problem with Ossie, aside occasionally using her cuteness for evil and occupying every empty box with her form, is that she's furry. Furry to the point of you pet and you look like you committed a personal sin kind of furry.

But despite brushing regularly, she still develops nasty weekly mats. Which I promptly had to cut out otherwise they would turn into large clumpy mats. She also clogged the bathtub a few times.

I was literally at my end, I was prepared to take a pair of clippers to her and give her the jungle clip. That is, until a last ditch tryout of a new brush and system for taming the long hair.

So, I plunked down forty bucks for the Furminator, and another twenty for a bottle for Cowboy Magic.

I've heard the claims that it will reduce shedding, furballs, hairy couches, speeds up shedding, healthier coat, does the hokey pokey and everything else under the sun.

Hefty investment that was partially underwritten by the boy's family who gave me a gift certificate to SmartPak for my 25th.

After it arrived I went to work on Ossie. No less than ten minutes later, I had a small pile of gray fur that was the size of a chinchilla on the coffee table. Twenty minutes later, alongside a very pissy cat, the pile was half her size. I rubbed her down with Cowboy Magic to help prevent more mats in case the product didn't deliver.

A week later, her coat looked less fluffy (in the good way), had more bloom and... zero mats where I brushed. She was also more active, and when you petted her, your hands were clean from the attempt.

This week's session concentrated on her tail and her hind legs, the worse of her areas. Again, ten minutes later, I had a Latino-rodent sized pile of fur and a pissy cat who was again doused in Cowboy Magic. 

Needless to say, come spring time, I'll be ordering a bigger brush for the ponies.The Furminator delivers.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I get around

I drove up to Pittsburgh last weekend to pick up the new truck with Vicky.

The drive was long, the drive home was even longer, but it was worth it. Will post photos soon- if you haven't noticed, the south east has been under water for the past couple of days. Taking photos is hard when you can't see much in front of you.

But the truck is sweet, and having transportation is even sweeter.

With the wheels, I've pretty much sated my thirst for doing errands and other regular things. I even had an eight week, what the hell did you do to yourself at PT the other day. Hell, getting coffee is a continual highlight. Friday, I get to hear Anthony Bourdain chat in Louisville and Saturday, I'm heading on out to Sport Horse Nationals to get a taste for what we'll be going for in two years. I still need to drop off blankets at the cleaners as well as my own show coat, shirts and other things.

End of the year wrap up stuff.

I've been playing catch up with the ponies who are still out with Vicky's herd. Not complaining, I've been doing plenty of conditioning over the hills there and watching baby be his lovely self.

Sinari is almost black liver chestnut with her incoming winter coat. The Glanzen really made the difference. She's not as fuzzy this time of the year either, I hope it bodes well for what kind of winter we have in store. She is dappled, fat and sassy. She is my most prized, and she knows it, but tolerates the colt. I've been slow to start her back to work, kind of savoring the easy going nature of the situation and bringing her mind and her body back all at once.

Sincere is having a ball with the mud, much to my unamused expression. You know how hard it is to keep whites clean? Let alone on a horse that enjoys his mud baths? Hard.

At the same time, I don't mind if he keeps up the easy going personality. In the world of horses, he really is one of those who is self-assured. He'd be the good-looking popular jock in the crowd whose mamma taught him to be nice to everyone. He enjoys his sugar cubes and treats.

To try the point, I did something that I probably shouldn't have, in an area that I probably shouldn't have. Because my arena time is limited, and because both mare and foal are still attached at the hip, I work out in the field, with the rest of the herd.

Normally these sessions are short, working on leading, some ground tying, yielding front quarters and hindquarters. This time he presented new opportunity. Already rolling in the mud, I entered the paddock, he stayed down, as he usually does and I began playing. I laid him in a recumbent position, handled him till he fell asleep. Then I flipped him on his back and started to handle his legs in different ways. I expected him to be more resistant, but he just took everything in stride never putting in a peep of protest.

I also have good news on the horizon as well, I'm officially starting up a business in three months and can't wait. It doesn't mean the end of Amazon, but it's a step forward.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Keep on Truckin' Part 6: Rollin' on 45s, Saga Ends.

I finally did it, I finally achieved truck status.

It's not exactly what I wanted, but it will do. A friend and myself are going to do the pickup on Saturday in... Pittsburgh. The truck is in New Jersey, and dear ole da and I are meeting half way at Steel City to exchange. I wish I could fly up, but

Not what I call the highlight of the weekend, but you know... transportation comes with the horses and I'm really tired of bumming rides.

People have been beyond excessively nice and kind to me (especially the boy). Last week, Vicky picked me up and I spent the entire day with her just going around. It felt awesome to get out of the house and break what has become Cabin Swine Flu.

I got to pet on my horses and see how they were doing. Hugging on Sinari (also got to ride- who was fantastic), I marveled how dark she was and how her winter coat was coming in quickly. Also reminded me to order my own set of ultra-large body clippers this year.

I noted how Sincere is now way bigger with his Marilyn Monroe/Rockette legs that just go on forever, that his foal coat is shedding out in clumps and how soon he'll be weaned from May. He reminded me to order blankets. But aside from the third (!) halter he's on (chewed the second), I did manage to get him his own brush box.

I guess when you don't see family for so long, you marvel at the changes.

But with truck comes the natural follow up of trailer. Which I'm hoping for in about a year to have the credit and down payment ready. I've already been in contact with a bunch of dealers to find a brand I would thoroughly enjoy, that would be lightweight, but strong enough and versatile to handle my and my horse's needs.  The one that truly fits that bill is Brenderup.

I've hauled with a lot of things in a lot of composites, Corn-Pro, Merhow, Sundowner, Jamco, Kiefer, Featherlite, Equi-Spirit, Hawk... but really unless it was a gooseneck, the bumper pulls never really shouted at me to run out and spend 13 on them. In fact, hauling with a few of them scared me about to death.

Until I hauled with a Brenderup a couple winters ago.

It was a friend's Baron two horse, and I was skeptical right down to body materials. Don't get me wrong, it was a clean, new-er trailer. Roomy with a practical layout. I hauled it with her F250, it was more truck than what was needed, but even fully loaded down with equipment, horses and various other things, it towed like there was nothing back there, above speed limit.

It was that, and not wrenching my back out at the ramp and having everything work in the bitter cold that was ultra comforting and impressive. I was still skeptical about the tack space (wee tiny), until I saw the models could be converted for space.

It's seriously the IKEA of trailers, and I'm fairly bound and determined to have one. Maybe by Rolex or WEG, they'll be able to make me a deal.

I know it puts a hamper on my plans for '10 (still have to beg and plead for a ride). But the year off could do us good, it would solidify the team, allow for some growing pains to sort out and more importantly, would be great not to be on a show-driven schedule.

I'm still open for debate on that, but for now, I have October and November to finish out and a few options to discuss with people.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cars no go

I've become a bored house frau without transport. I've taken up Martha Stewart arts and crafts and re-reading the entire Harry Potter series.

Due to the long spell of no riding, much of my to do list that I've put off for about a year, is being completed.

On the to do list, was the blog.

I became tired of my gray on black look, the strict CSS styling that wasn't adaptable and left too much negative space. In addition to the right handed-ness of the entire layout, it just became a bore. I threw out the original color and font scheme and gave it a more "leftist" look with expandable layout.

New additions have been added to the sidebar menus. Being a hard core You Tube addict, and general media hound, I love all things news. As much as it pains for me to say it, I think it's vitally important for the equestrian community to go beyond the out dated mode of print media. Especially as the world becomes more digitally connected.

I love getting magazines in the mail, I have for a very long time. I'm a subscriber to no less than three industry rags, and with membership to the various organizations I get another three in various formats. But, the problem is this: the news is about a month old, giving away to the meat of the magazine itself- the features to stand alone. Which is risky because some issues, it's a rerun.

News media outlets that are free and promote video usage, like Horse Girl TV, Horse Hero, Dressage Daily and Horse and Country, are starting to spread news on a viral basis and even provided a more diverse content that what magazines are limited to.

The news of Totilas and his shattering kur would have reached the US in about two months time, and, if stuck with VHS, would have came out a year later. With web, I watched it a day later. In the same breath, the recent US Young Horse Championships would be pushed into the October edition and we wouldn't see the winning rides at all if it weren't for Dressage Daily.

It's not to say that print based media hasn't tried, Prime Media (owners of Practical, Equisearch and Dressage Today), Bowtie Press and Chronicle of the Horse are being somewhat successful in their crossover tactics. But it's not totally free, nor are they really covering current information- leaving it to the print editions and giving the archived coverage for free months down the road. Don't blame them, they have to keep a people going to the print to keep their number in order.

So, to have these gems to help get new blood out, they should be patronized with hits and views. In the end, you'll benefit and see something new.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I'm waiting on a loan. Hence no regular transport to and from the farms. Sinari is enjoying extended vacation and Sincere being himself.

I'm getting impatient with the matter and my surrogate rides are as well.Hopefu

May has found herself a new home and will be moving, post-weaning to Michigan to be a pony for a friend. I already miss her, but as I've said before, my mares need to go on and be career mothers. Since she threw Sincere though, the breeder in me has been wanting to breed again, and in the contract she'll be embryo transferred at a later date as to the daddy... I don't know yet. Quaterback seems to be speaking volumes lately.