Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Walk

Three weeks ago I decided to start walking each day.  It started with a short walk in the morning before my coffee. 

My coffee time is a sacred time for me.  I like to sit quietly and for a better word, meditate on the day to come.  I've done this for years.  It's become such an important part of me that if I don't get that time I find myself disjointed for the rest of the day.  My husband jokingly calls it my "Folgers Moment".

I didn't make a big deal out of this little walk.  I told myself it was just a "walk".  However, I felt I needed to get some exercise that raised my heart rate.  I used to climb stairs when I worked, but since I retired last year I haven't really done much to work on my heart rate and I think it's important to invest in it. 

I was lucky to retire at an age younger than most.  If I don't do something to keep my body in shape (besides riding) then I worry my health will suffer and I'd really like to be around for a long time.  Thus, I thought a nice little walk would be just the thing for me, accompanied (as always) by my Chocolate Lab, Hank.

So for the last three weeks off we go each morning rain or shine to take our walk before coffee.  I started with walking up and down the hill pictured above three times each day for the first week.  I increased it to six times each day on the second week. 

Hank would get confused.  He thought we were going inside every time I came back up the hill towards the house (he gets a dog treat each morning).  Hank would head to the door in anticipation only to find me heading the opposite direction, back down the hill.  He'd race to catch up with me and after the second lap, walk next to me.  I think he wants to make sure he doesn't miss his daily treat.

Last week (week 2) I found it interesting that my leg muscles were stronger when I rode.  It's true I've been riding a lot but it was more than just the leg muscles.  My balance is better, my form is better.  During my lesson my trainer noted the same.  I feel better when I ride.

This week I've upped the ante.  After all, it is week three and how many times can one walk up and down a short hill without someone looking out across the fields and thinking the poor women has lost her mind?  So this week I've started walking down to the end of our road, starting with three laps.

Yes, it is only a walk.  But I can say that I've found enjoyment in doing it.  I like looking out across our fields and noticing different things along my way, I like how I feel and that I'm doing something good for my health that also positively impacts my riding.  And of course there's my sidekick Hank, my good buddy, walking there next to my side!  :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Back In The Saddle

After being home for the last month from college for winter break, our daughter headed back to school yesterday to start her second semester of her Junior year.  She left with a packed car full of clean laundry and groceries, many that came out of my kitchen/freezer.

I've been absence in updating my blog and I've been even more absence in riding my horse, Poco.  I can only say that I've truly loved being a Mom for the past month to my only child.  There is such a joy in doing that.  Sigh...but now she's gone, back into her world at school and it is time for me to get back to riding and what I need/want to do for 2011.

I hadn't ridden Poco for a few weeks so yesterday was my first lesson in awhile.  During my off-time my friend rode Poco.  I'm grateful for her riding him but it's time for me get back on. 

I'm returning to lessons.  Last summer Poco and I had a great time getting to know each other when we just rode around.  Now it's time to put our knowledge and trust of each other to use.

I started my first lesson yesterday.  I will now take them weekly and practice what I learned in-between.  Yesterday we worked on half-halting.

The horse I rode last year (New Year's Resolution to not live in my past life riding Champ), was well trained.  It was easy to half-halt my past horse.  It is not easy to half-halt sweet Poco.  But that is the beauty of riding - always learning.  So working with Poco to learn how to half-halt is enjoyable for me.

By the end of our lesson yesterday he was figuring it out.  It made me feel good when Rachel, my Trainer, remarked that I had soft hands and a natural ability to "feel".  She had commented on this in the past and it always makes one feel good to know you are doing something right!  ...It was a good ride.

Back in the saddle again today to practice what we worked on yesterday.  Also backing up, something Poco didn't do well when I first bought him.  Happy to say he is now perfect in backing.  I left with that happy feeling that we'd accomplished something.  I'm stiff tonight but it feels good, reminds me of being up on my horse.

Rachel has asked me to join her and a few gals at the barn at a two-day sorting clinic in February, right around the corner.  I have wanted to move cows for soooooooooo long, since I was 5 years old and watched cowboy movies!  I really want to go, but with Poco's bad eyes he isn't a candidate for tracking cows.  Rachel will see if there is a horse onsite that I can borrow.  Sorting was one of my 2010 goals and I've carried it into 2011.

Yes, I have other goals for 2011 also, but I really just wanted to get this Post up on my Blog so you knew what I'd been up to.  Also, thank you Carol and Ms Martyr for your awards.  As soon as I can figure out how to link I will pull them down.  Thank you for thinking of me! 

50+  :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Remembering Warmer Days

I'm sick and tired of this Siberia world we're currently living in. 

Hubby left for the cabin at dawn yesterday to shovel the roof.  Four feet of snow on a corrugated tin roof, which runs the wrong direction so the snow won't slide.  Called me last night and said it -3 INSIDE when he got there and now a balmy 10 degrees outside.  Our old Coleman oil stove, which I inherited from my Granparents, has quit working.  Hubby was climbing in under the electric blanket and hoping the wall heaters would keep the pipes from freezing.

"Down" here I'm feeding Belgians and breaking ice multiple times a day.  For some reason it was hard to get our house warm last night.  I think the days of continued unusual cold nights are taking their toll on our heating system.  I've been firing up the wood stove at night but last night that didn't seem to make much difference.

I got to thinking about the warmer days and thought I'd share some of them with you.  Maybe THEY can warm us all up!

Ahhhh, much warmer now!  :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

First Day

The first day of 2011 dawned as the last other six have - clear and cold with temps in the low teens. 

We've had this weird snow since Monday night when we had an even weirder thunder and lightning storm.  People around here are referring to the snow as "dipping dots".  I've never had dipping dots but hear it's some type of ice cream.

As the week has progressed the snow has melted where sun has hit but it's still present in shady areas.  The result is you can be on dry pavement one moment and on ice the next.

Today is was a good day to take down the outside Christmas lights.  Putting on my heavy jacket and what I refer to as my goom-bah hat, gloves and warm boots, I called for Hank our dog.  Off we went to get the little red wagon, used twenty years ago to pull a little girl who is now home from college and making a pie in my kitchen.

As we've done every year, we run our lights as far as we can along the now vacant Summer Pasture fence line which is in front of our house.  We use nails to run the lights along the top board of the fence.  So taking lights down today included pulling all the nails off of the fence.  I started to the left of our house:

And finished here:

Initially the neighbor's buffalo that live on the other side of our drive (to the right of the above picture), came over to investigate what I was doing but soon got bored and wandered away.  They lost part of their tree in the huge windstorm we had a few weeks ago.

Our Belgian Draft Horses seem to like this weather.  Here's Bear, our elderly draft horse standing in the sunshine.  Gus is standing in the background underneath the trees, itching his back:

Someone recently asked me if I'd ever ridden the Belgians:
I still smile at that ride.  Bear and I just kinda plodded along.  As long as I started turning us ten steps before we were supposed to turn, we did just fine!

I ended up today here inside my office in the barn where I now work part time since I retired a year ago...Today!  My window looks out at our paddock and sometimes when I'm working, I'll look up to see a Belgian staring at me.

And of course, my best friend was by my side.  Here he is popping his head out from under my desk.  Note the heater on the right.  He parks himself next to it and is now sound asleep on my feet under the desk.  We're once again in the 20's outside and its only 5:36 PM.

Today a perfect First Day of a New Year!  :)