About Exechorseluver

A writer and horse lover (animal lover) at heart. With a few year's exception, I have mostly worked outside the animal field. I am pretty good at what I do. But at the end of day, I want to be with the horses, cuddle with the dogs and sit quietly as the sun goes down with a cat on my lap. Spending time with my family and especially my grandchildren is number one for me. My little farm gives me a perfect life.

Ready to Relay?

Jordyn with the red cap before starting backstroke.

Some of you may have seen that my granddaughter, Jordyn, at age nine, tried out for swimteam and made it.  I was a swimmer for most of my youth, swimming on summer and winter teams in the Chicagoland area.  I was actually shocked when Jo made the team.  She could swim but wow, to get in and compete against kids who had been doing this for a few years already, is hard.

First meet, Jordyn did not have a quality dive or a good turn but she got in and won a second place and some other ribbons.  Excellent start.  Her coach clearly believes in her and pushed into the relay space (filling in for an absent swimmer) at this last meet.  Oh, goodness, barely a dive and now has to wait for the other swimmer to touch and dive off into the pool to swim the relay race.  She was worried sick and having a panic attack but she listened to her coach and focused on what to do.  Guess what, the relay won first place!!

Jordyn ended up with three firsts (swimming freestyle in two relays and 50 yard free) and a second place for the day! I can’t help but think where she will be when that dive becomes routine and those turns are flip turns.  Wow, this lean, tall girl is going to be (or has become) a swimmer!

I love Seth Godin on any day but this blog about relays was certainly appropriate for me (and Jordyn).  I hope you enjoy it too!

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2017/06/mental-load-and-the-worry-cache.html

Mental load and the worry cache by Seth Godin

It’s well known that the team that wins an Olympic relay isn’t the fastest at running or swimming—it’s the team that handles the handoffs the best.

The same thing is true of your job. The tasks could be done by many people, but someone who is great at your job embraces the mental effort necessary to do task switching, to read between the lines, to keep many balls going at the same time. Strategy and tactics both.

Sometimes, we think that these are the things that get in the way of our work. In fact, they are the work.

Writing a sentence is easy. Deciding what to write in the next sentence is hard.

Making decisions is exhausting. It involves perception and analysis and most of all, taking responsibility. Pretending to lead and manage is a trivial task, because there’s no, “what if?”

It turns out that the mental load of management is primarily around experiencing failure.

Actual failure, sure, but mostly potential failure. Imagining failure in advance. All the current things that could go wrong. And more important, the things you’re not doing that will be obvious oversights later. Our brains work overtime to cycle through these, to learn to see around corners, to have the guts to delegate without doing the work ourselves (even though that creates more imagined points of failure). Scan, touch, consider, analyze, repeat.

The other thing that’s a huge load: Worry. Unlike all the things I’ve already mentioned, worry isn’t actually part of your job. Worry (expressed through non-productive pessimistic cycles over things out of your control) is antithetical to the work you’ve agreed to do.

Clear your cache of worry.

It’ll free up your processor to focus on the useful stuff.

Genetics

One very pregnant Silhouette!

With the birth of our next baby horse weeks away, I have spent a lot of time reflecting upon the genetics involving the father and mother.  Of course, I hope that I have chosen the right combination to produce an outstanding jumper that also has a trainable mind and hungry heart.  (Try finding those terms defined in a breeder’s literature about their stallion.)

Genetics mix differently with each baby.  Are all your children the same?  Mine are surely not.  Even horses with full siblings may not look, act or move like their brother or sister.

My kids are separated out by age.   Amber, my oldest is six years older than her sister, Ally, and 12 years older than her sister, Lauren.  They all have distinct personalities and likes and dislikes.   In some ways, Amber and Lauren look more alike and have similar likes and dislikes than their sister Ally.  Genetics, it is all weird.

I am watching my baby Sims continue to grow almost before my eyes.  At this point, there is little doubt that he will be close to 17 hands or so tall.  But, will he be adjustable down the lines and easy to train?   Will he have the heart to take on the really big fences without fear or hesitation?  And no matter what his genetics say, a lot of this depends on how he is introduced to work and training.  His trainer is almost as important as genetic make up.  Will I be able to give Sims and Betty Sue the access to the training to adequately augment their own abilities?  That is a hard one.  For all of us breeding that home grown “want-to-be champions”, we can get the genetics right (or pretty right) and derail ourselves with the training.

My daughter, Amber, has been in Kansas City this week.  The kids have come face to face with new cousins. Have they found kids just like themselves or totally unique individuals without similarities? When I learn of a new relative from my mom’s big family whom I have never met before I search their face for ways it looks like mine.  Do you all do that?

Genetics is spellbinding to me.  The key to so much and yet the mystery of so much as well.  If any of it were easy, the next Derby horse would be better than the last and we would still not be telling tales of Secretariat and Man ‘O War.  Or even about the heart of the $80 Champion, Snowman.  I actually love that science and mystery abound still, distinct from one another. Every kid, every horse can be a champion- there is always a chance.  When we try to breed the perfect horse, we know we will get less but we continue to hope for the best.

I can’t wait for this baby to be born, boy or girl, win or lose, mixing these strong Flexible Irish lines with the trainable, beautiful mover Silhouette German/Holsteiner lines, is a dream come true for me.

Thanks as always, for riding along.

Comfort in the night

0000brownie

I have asked myself many times, what is my earliest memory?   You have to be careful because sometimes it is not the memory itself but a picture which becomes familiar and we think we remember something we do not.  I am not sure what my earliest memory is, I have some from age three and four but I clearly remember getting the dog above (or one that looked a lot like him) for my fourth birthday.

I celebrated my fourth birthday in a hotel outside Chicago.  We were waiting for our house to be built and lived for awhile in the Park Ridge Inn.  Things were overwhelming then as we had just moved seven times in one year (and across the country like from Denver to Washington D.C. and Pittsburg to Chicago).  I grabbed onto this dog whom I quickly and intuitively named Brownie (I was sharp like that) and I did not let go of him until he was but a shell of a dog casing.

When all the world was crazy, Brownie was one thing that was the same.  He slept under the crux of my arm each night.  I cradled him in my arms.

One time in third grade when his ears were worn away to nothing, I decided to cut all the remaining hair off and glue yarn on instead.  Really stupid idea.  The old ears were velvety smooth, the new ears rough with glue and not at all satisfying to the Cindy that needed comfort.

I left Brownie behind somewhere between college and moving all over the US.  Since that time I have not had anything to keep me company on such a regular basis as that old stuffed dog. While clearly I have had lots of pets, none of them fit that spot between my arm and my side until now.

In the fall, I came home with two Siamese mix cats, Izzy and George.  Izzy, I say, is my soul mate as she always seems to know when I am sad or could use a friend.  Izzy, like Brownie before her, fits and sleeps in that space near my heart keeping me safe and content.

I don’t know what made me think of Brownie after all these years but maybe it was just having Izzy’s warm presence in these quiet, post-surgical days as I have spent some extra time in bed getting stronger.

I wish I could take a picture at night so you could see how perfect we fit one another but you will have to be content with the day version picture.  Oh, Izzy, how lucky I am to have found you. 


As always, thanks for riding along!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reality show?

On just another afternoon at the house, here in Southeast Texas, I was inside resting after another shortened day at work as I am recovering from surgery. 

Suddenly, I heard a horrible thumping noise directly outside my bedroom windows. I knew it was the air-conditioners. We have two units located directly in my backyard behind my room.

I rushed outside already dreading what I would find and hoping it was not a broken air conditioner unit. Replacing anything of that magnitude is not in my budget right now. As I came around the corner I heard a horrible hissing noise like the whole unit was shutting down.

I went back to the house and yelled for Lauren to see if she could come and look at the unit with me to see if there was anything that we could do. As I waited for her to come down I saw what had caused the unit to stop working. I was a little excited to show Lauren as I knew it would scare the crap out of her.
I could see what was at least a 5 foot water moccasin snake completely wrapped around the center of the fan blades in the air conditioner unit. Lauren, of course,  had my desired screaming affect when she first saw the snake dangling from the fan blades. But then reality set in on how we were going to try to fix this.

We looked originally to see if there was someway we could take the top off the unit and get to where the snake was tangled in the hardware of the fan.

We decided we had to get something long enough to reach in through the metal bars of the top of the air-conditioner unit and be able to untwist the snake from his roosting spot inside the air conditioner.

The only thing Lauren and I could find to untwist the snake with were some long kebab skewers that sat in our kitchen drawer. First being smart enough to turn off the electricity we went out to try to undo the snake from the gears. And what we thought was a very delicate procedure where we would take the snake and both of us would hold it and twist it around the center of the blade until we got it around to the other side where we would untwist the body of the snake from his tail. 
It appeared that he was twisted three times,  in and out, up-and-down, as he made his way around the inside of the air conditioner.  In a process that took us about 45 minutes, with Lauren screaming every time she put the skewer through the dead snake, we finally got the snake undone and he dropped to the bottom of the air conditioning unit.  

We went back in the house, push the power back on and waited to see if the air conditioning unit would come to life. It did. I huge sigh of relief came from both Lauren and myself as we thank God for a good luck.

I went back to my spot on my bed happily hearing the air conditioner running outside my window. I actually got a little bit of rest before the TV alerted me to an immediate tornado warning in Richmond, our hometown.

Then Lauren, the five dogs, five cats and I hung out in the interior hallway for the duration of this very frightening tornado that touched down very close to our home. We were all safe,  thank God again. 
I’m telling you, we need a reality show.

Thanks for riding along.

Happy birthday Sims!

Flagmount’s Semper Fi is one year old today.  He is happy, healthy, laid-back and big for a yearling.  The breeding we thought might produce a tall, quiet horse with an ability to jump is a year into life and we are pleased.

I wanted to offer up this flashback from one year ago as baby Sims (named for Sherre Sims, if you were blessed enough to know her) came into the world.

https://exechorseluver.com/2016/05/27/the-big-red-colt/

 

Happy birthday baby boy!

 

 

The WHOA Watch

Back in 1999, recently divorced, recently starting over in the horse business and with two horse crazy kids, I purchased what was a “nice” watch for then (okay, not super nice but nice by my standards).  It was called the WHOA watch and was sold at a saddle shop.24918

Certainly, that was enough to get my attention but it also came with a leather band, a stainless steel face, and was quite water proof.  Exactly, what I needed for my new life with horses, water hoses and water buckets.  I would not have to take it off every time I wanted to clean a bucket or bathe a horse.

It also had a little light up dial feature.  Perfect for me in the middle of the night when I wanted to know what time it was.

Well, I loved the WHOA watch, cleverly saying whoa instead of stop in a little stop sign in the center of the watch.  It was to be a saving grace for me as well.

I was working a thoroughbred for some friends and without much warning or notice got bucked off over the arena fence, landing indelicately in the stands.  I was hurt bad enough for an ambulance to come and me to spend several days in the hospital. But my WHOA watch had saved me from a bad injury as well.

As I had bounded over the fence, my wrist had caught on the wire fence, cutting deeply into the soft flesh.  It bled,  a lot.  In the ambulance, they wanted to throw away my watch which was covered in blood.  I insisted on keeping it.  It would be awhile until I examined my clothing and belongings from that day.

When I did, and I cleaned up the WHOA watch, I found the stainless steel face had a deep pit cut into the stainless and across the glass.  Had the wire cut through my wrist at the same depth and strength I would have had quite an issue with bleeding. As it was the WHOA watch let me get by with just a few stitches instead.

All this time, I casually looked for another WHOA watch.  I never could find one, but kept a search active on eBay.  Well, look at what I got (and for an amazing price-okay it is 20 years old -I call that a vintage find!). I am thrilled to have my watch back and hope I don’t need it’s super powers ever again.

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Thanks for riding along!