Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Running Recap 2017

I don't know how it got to February and I still haven't done a running recap for last year.  It was a good year, in spite of an injury in October that almost shut down my running.  I ran more than ever before, for a total of 1850 miles.

I also did a running streak.  This is where you don't take any days off.  So you must run every single day, for at least one mile.  I had two days that I found this exceptionally challenging.  The first was in January, when I was sick with a fever and sore throat, and had to run on the treadmill at 5:30 am.  That was rough.  The second was in November, on the day following the CR24 (in which I covered 33 miles) when my IT band was really hurting from injury and the rest of my body was very sore.  That was a rough mile too.  But I stuck with it.  This was the first time I ever attempted a running streak.

So it was a good year.  My favorite run was the 9 miler I did in the desert in Arizona, around 4:30 am last summer.  It was amazing!

I don't have any recent pictures of me running.  So here's a picture of Pierce hanging from the ceiling.  Because that totally makes sense, right?


Wishing you all a Happy Valentines Day! 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Francie's DNA Results

I have often mused over Francie's background over the past four and a half years.  Recently I discovered that I could send off her DNA to Texas A+M, where they have a horse breed registry.  So I shipped off some hair samples and waited with great curiosity.  Here's a recent picture if you want a reminder.

When the results came back I was surprised!  The primary breed that came back was Holsteiner, which is a type of warmblood (a draft breed mixed with a more athletic breed, often thoroughbred). Holsteiners are known to be good jumpers.  I could really see the Holsteiner in her head, and they are often bay in color with minimal white markings, so this isn't what surprised me.

The secondary breed that came back was Caspian.  This is a breed native to Iran, and I wasn't familiar with them, so this was very surprising.  Indeed, they are rare in the United States.  They are small horses, but known to be good jumpers.

The third breed that came back was Arabian.  Francie doesn't look Arabian to me at all.  But sometimes she gets a wild hair and does stick her tail straight in the air like an Arab while running in the pasture.

It was exciting to find out a little more about Francie's background.  I'm still as baffled as ever about where her origin may be, but I'm happy to know a little more about her breeding.  DNA is so interesting, don't you think? 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Snow Hike

We got a few inches of snow, and the boys talked Paul and I into hiking up the mountain.  The snow was blowing all over.  At the top, we found three black dogs.  Not ours, and wearing collars without names.  They were friendly and well-fed though.
 
 
I bought snow shoes with my Christmas money this year.  They strap onto my snow boots.  The are long and grip the ground.  Excellent for going up steep mountains in snow.  I didn't slide once.
 

As I write this, I'm getting a little tired of winter.  I'm looking forward to garden season!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Welcome, Sima

I've been looking for a beginner horse for the boys since last summer.  Pierce really wants to learn to ride.  I got preapproved with a rescue for adoption, but they never got in the type of horse we needed.  Finally I placed an ad on an equestrian site for Virginia.  I got great response, but immediately fell for Sima, and formed a friendship with his owner.  We were chatting back and forth online for weeks.  I could tell how much she loved him.

He's been doing eventing (a combination of jumpers, cross country, and dressage) up in Northern Virginia, and became sour with all the jumping.  He is 18 and ready for a quieter lifestyle.  I reached out to my old riding friends from high school that are still in that area, and was able to make a connection through one that vouched for Sima, and reassured us that he would make a good horse for a beginner.  We were so happy the day he arrived.

He's affectionate.  He loves head rubs.  And he's so calm.  I gave him a couple of days to settle in and then took him for a test ride.  He was a perfect gentleman, with a big bouncy trot.  He's very responsive to the rider - the slightest shift in weight or turn of my head would change his direction.  He has one of the softest mouths of any horse I've ever ridden, and on a long rein at the walk was practically dragging his nose on the ground. 

The next day I looked at him and told him to take care of Pierce for me.  Then I stuck him up there.  He took a few turns on the lunge line, and then I let him loose.  Sima was happy to just walk calmly around the arena.  Pierce kept saying, "Mom, this is so fun!".  And the kid hasn't even trotted yet!

I'm enjoying riding Sima once in a while myself.  Although Francie gets jealous and throws temper tantrums in the pasture.  So I have to make sure I ride her too! 
He looks so much like my show horse in high school, Chico, in the above picture that I have to do a double take every time I see it.  It was so cold on this day that I had on three layers to stay warm.

We look forward to many more rides with Sima.  I'm excited for when Pierce learns to ride enough that maybe he can ride Sima and I can ride Francie and the two of us can head off on the trails around our place. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Christmas Break Recap

Christmas break was super cold this year!  We didn't venture far from home.  It was nice to have some down time.

Pierce has suddenly become relentless about learning how to ride.  Francie is not a beginner horse.  But I did let him walk her around on the lunge line one day.


Cort spent a great deal of time in frigid temps riding this spinning big wheel on my parents' driveway (ours is gravel). 

Reid asked for a biohazard suit for Christmas.  Santa delivered.  He needs to grow into it.  They just don't make biohazard suits in kid sizes.

Twice we met up with cousins for some rollerskating.  Rollerskating is a great activity during the cold winter months.  I enjoy getting out there, too. 
Overall, we had a nice break.  It was over in a blink, and now back to school through May. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Favorite Reads from 2017

Usually I do the top ten novels I read over the year, but this year I had a list of 12 top reads from the 167 books I read in 2017.  And I realized that there were four that stood out from the list.  So I've narrowed it down to my top four. 

By far, my favorite book of the year was The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey.  It's a great fiction read for winter, so go get yourself a copy now!

I also loved The Dressage Chronicles by Karen McGoldrick (I also read one of the sequels).  This is probably not going to go over well with readers unless they are horse enthusiasts, but I enjoyed it so much.

I actually read a book for the second time this year, which is unusual for me.  Last time I read it I was about twelve years old.  My grandfather recommended it to me.  House of a Thousand Lanterns by Victoria Holt.  It did not disappoint.  I was surprised by what a great read this was.

Finally, a nonfiction read.  The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel, about a hermit that lived in the Maine woods alone for over 20 years. 
 
Readers, do you have any books you want to recommend for me in 2018?

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

White Stuff

We got our first snow for this winter one Saturday a couple of weeks ago.  I put hay out for the horses in one of the shelters.  But Francie wasn't having it.  She preferred to play in the snow.  Of course she dragged poor Phoenix with her.  I suspect he'd rather stay in the shed and eat.


It was just a few of inches.  It kept us home for the day and Sunday we were back in business.  My kind of snow.