Seasons Greetings 2016

Happy Holidays

Poem by

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the stable,
the hay in the loft was stacked from floor to gable,
the aisle way was swept and AM grain measured,
as prompt feeding in the morning for the four-leggeds is treasured.

The horses all dozed peacefully in their stalls,
while in their dreams they ran with new Jolly Balls,
Even the barn cats had curled up to sleep,
And the barn mice scurried to find crumb without even a peep.

When out in the drive there arose such a roar,
that several drowsy heads popped over their stall doors,
The diesel pickup truck slowed down and came to a stop,
When what should happen, but the door opened with a pop.

A small girl hopped down onto the ground
And her boots started moving–clearly barn bound
All bundled up in a scarf, coat and mittens,
She paused to leave some toy mice for the big barn kittens.

The heads started bobbing, and eyes shone bright,
because the girl’s special visit was such a delight,
stopping at each door with a carrot in hand,
the girl gave each horse one treat as planned.

When all of the sudden came a soft nicker,
and the girl gasped and hurried all the quicker,
She moved towards the stall at the end of the row
Where a small pair of ears were pricked & eyes were aglow.

The girl’s face broke into a smile
and her best friend, her pony snuffed her face all the while,
She dug out a special apple from her coat
and another nicker broke out from the pony’s throat.

He took the special treat, crunching and munching
While the girl looked on with a shiver, fingers in her mittens bunching
She pulled off the mittens, sticking one hand inside her pony’s rug,
And wrapped her other arm round his neck to give him a hug.

The pony stopped crunching and bowed his head,
to hug the girl back, to make up for words that couldn’t be said,
For he was her pony, and she was his girl,
and they had a bond like none other in the world.

The girl and the pony together were froze,
until the girl gave her pony a kiss on the nose,
To the girl, her pony was the most wondrous sight,
and she whispered to him, Merry Christmas to you and have a good night!

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Eatsmart Precision bathroom scale

Bathroom scale = no more denial.

A bathroom scale is a good tool to help stay honest about weight. My bathroom scale broke many months ago. While focusing on other health issues I had been ignoring dieting, but I had been keeping my weight steady. Without a digital reminder of my increasing weight gain, my denial grew along with my waistline.

The first requirement for weight loss is recognition that a change needs to happen. A recent photo of my plump self standing beside some skinnier friends jarred me to action. Ignoring the mirror is easier than ignoring a photograph. “Is that really how I look?” My weight had NOT remained steady. I made a commitment to a new weight loss plan. So… as a first step I did some research and purchased a new weight scale.

Basic digital weight scale

The EatSmart Precision Bathroom digital scale (Model ESBS-01) has over 20,000 reviews on Amazon and is rated nearly 5 stars. The scale is listed as the “Best selling scale on Amazon 7 years running.” There are numerous positive independent reviews on blog sites.

The scale is basic with no fancy frills. Included are 4 AAA batteries that power the scale. Also included is a measuring tape to help track weight loss, which is a nice addition. The scale is approved up to 400 pounds, so no fear of breaking the tempered glass platform. Stepping on the scale weighs automatically to 0.2 pound accuracy. The large lighted numbers are easily read without wearing my glasses. The scale can also be set to show weight in kilograms.

EatSmart Precision bathroom scale

Setting weight loss goals

Stepping on the scale was another jarring moment to shake me from any complacency about my current weight. I gained more than 10 pounds since last weighed myself on the old bathroom scale. It is impossible to ignore a number.

I am heavier than my past highest weight in 2002 when I lost 40 pounds using Weight Watchers on-line.  Though heavier, I am stronger and more aerobically fit and more flexible than in 2002. Losing weight may be more difficult than 14 years ago, but I know what needs to be done. My first goal is to lose 10 pounds. With my new weight scale, then I will know when I reach my weight goals.

Next task is to make a weight loss food plan that incorporates my personal health needs.

Links to product information and some reviews:

EatSmart Products website

ESBS-01 manual (PDF) On-line manual

On Amazon as sold April 2016

Review – Youtube video by Shopping Dad May 2014

Blog review  by Honest and Truly April 2013

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Let’s start over…

Doubtful anyone noticed that over an entire year has passed without posting on my website / blog. Let’s start over. During this hiatus from my blog I have made progress on some of my goals, but have had other set-backs.

My balance has improved with much practice standing on one leg waiting in line to check out at grocery stores and while filling up my horse water holding a hose. There are always times standing around where it is possible to quietly practice without anyone noticing.

My flexibility in some muscles is better, but other muscles have tightened. I am nearly able to sit in a full Hero’s Pose, but even after nearly 2 years am still unable to completely place my bottom on the floor. When I started working on Hero’s Pose my butt was 5 inches off my heels. I am now only 2 inches from the floor.

My stamina is reasonable. I am able to do the New Year Challenge from 2012 that Eckhart Yoga challenged, though must do it more slowly.

Twistur is growing out his hooves, but still shows evidence that there is some ongoing rings developing. We have made a lot of diet changes, but may need to do more. I rode them with halters on the local trails recently for short rides on each. Twistur wore his Cavallo hoof boots. Afterwards I noted several of my muscles that need strengthening, as well as areas that became stiff. Wish the horses could tell me which body parts were aching, as am sure their middle aged bodies also felt the ride after carrying me around. I didn’t feel as unstable riding, so my balance work has helped. I really want this to be the year where am getting out regularly riding on the trails again.

My web programming skills continue to improve, but want to make a lot more progress in my skill level. A new project is working to learn Spanish to a level so I can read newspapers and listen to the news with good comprehension, as well as carry on a basic conversation. I have found many helpful free resources for learning a language that wish had available years ago. The internet is a valuable resource, but need to search and find useful tools.

We’ll see how the blog develops, but want it to be a useful resource holder for information on topics of interest to me that maybe of interest to others as well.

Anyone stumbling across this blog, then I welcome you to join me on reaching your own goals.


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Just for Grins – Halloween

It’s Halloween. Let’s dress up in costume and eat some pumpkin.

Bailey, the Harlequin Great Dane dressed as a princess, and Saber, the pinto Miniature horse stallion dressed as a super hero, pose in costume for their portrait.

10yr old Miniature horse stallion, Saber and 9 1/2 yr old Harlequin Great Dane, Bailey had their portrait at the Petsmart at San Bernardino, California, then went out for some Trick or Treat.

Saber, the pinto Miniature horse stallion, carves a pumpkin with his teeth.

Last year Saber carved a pumpkin with his teeth for Halloween.

Videos by  who has a cute Cafepress site.

Halloween treats for horses

I’m not sure if my horses have ever seen a pumpkin. That has to change for this Halloween. Don’t throw away your Halloween carved pumpkins. They can be a great horse treat or toy. Roll a pumpkin out for your horse and see their reaction. Many zoos give pumpkins out to their animals for environmental stimulation.

To coax your horse to try a taste, slather a carved out pumpkin with molasses and stuff it with apple and carrot slices. If your horse is Insulin resistant use sugar-free syrup with timothy hay cubes inside.  Even if your horse doesn’t eat the pumpkin, working for enclosed treats makes a good mental stimulation. If they don’t like raw pumpkin, then try smashing up a baked / cooked whole pumpkin including seeds and give as a warm mash. Remember: Everything in moderation! What they don’t eat can be added into the compost pile.

As always read the blog Disclaimer.

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Filed under Food related, Horse health, Just for grins

Spring / summer update 2012

Fall has arrived

Missed a 2nd quarter summer update and we are into the 3rd quarter of 2012. Using my Spring update as a template, then how am I doing now?

A major goal in my health progress was improving my balance. I haven’t been practicing everyday anymore, though I should. Balancing on one leg could still use better shin and foot strength, but am able to do all the exercises with eyes open from my prior blog entries. I can balance with my eyes closed standing on both legs or if just lightly touch my second foot on the floor.

One thing I need to improve is sitting up straight, as I realize that I slump a bunch of the time when at my desk. I blame it on my chair, though that is a thin excuse.

Bitterweed flowers (yellow daisy weed)

Bitterweed flowers by jayjay.quail on Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I continue to work on my yoga  “Hero Pose“, which began working on in early January. When I had kneeled and sat back into the pose my right knee, shin and ankle were so stiff that my right buttock was 4 inches above my heels.  Working on this pose has definitely helped stretch and strengthen my weak right knee. In the Spring was able to kneel and sit back to rest both my left and right buttocks onto my heels. Now my buttocks can go below my heel, but are about 2 inches off the floor. This position is called “Thunderbolt Pose” or  Vajrasana (Vajra = thunderbolt, Asana = pose). Will be another few months until I will be able to do a proper Virasana pose (Hero Pose) with my buttocks on the floor between my legs.

It is hard to judge progress on my stamina and aerobic fitness. I have tried doing a “Sun Salutation” from the New Year Challenge tonight. I am able to do the various poses, so will begin adding this to my exercise regimen. Maybe by  January 1, 2013 will manage to finally do the 2012 challenge.

In order to build up my strength to mount will begin adding in step-ups onto a step-ladder, plus some additional stretches. My strength still varies sometimes hourly, but at my best would like to be able to hoist myself up without using a mounting block.

Twistur had sore feet from Spring grass, which we battled off and on through the summer trying to figure out how to manage him better. Exercise is a recommended component to improving his health. Just recently with Twistur wearing his hoof boots we have again been going on horse hikes. My hope is to continue to do more hikes, plus then transition to horse hike / ride combo outings. I had planned to do hikes / ride combo outings this summer, but we had too many problems crop up with human and horse issues.

Heat was again a factor for me this summer, but did my best to do as much as possible. I try to find ways to add in exercise every day, even if just some stretches. I am very much looking forward to cooler temperatures, but they are still a month away.

My weight hasn’t increased, but hasn’t really decreased either. I do get sore sometimes from various activities and maybe that is putting on some muscle, but perhaps that is just my age showing.

We are coming up to the Fall / Winter holidays again. This year I will not allow myself to dump on weight from over indulging, as I did last year. I thought there was no way my body could process all those cookies, but it did and I’m still carrying them around. Sigh! This holiday will hopefully be doing more horse outings and less eating as a way to cope with life stress. Losing my Mom last Fall was tough, so I didn’t worry too much about if I ate too many cookies.

Halloween cookies

Michael’s Cookie Jar on Flickr (Creative Commons License)

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Olympic Three Day Eventing Cross Country

If you are like me, then you are missing most of the Olympics. We can still enjoy this music video of Olympic Three Day Eventing Cross Country competition. I recommend, if your computer can handle it, maximizing the quality to HD and playing on full screen.

“A collection of horses and their riders who made it to the 2012 Olympics from recent competitions in the US. It includes a few internationals and the entire US and Canadian Three-Day Event teams. Crank it up!”

Ginny Howe and Cavort at the Sunken Lane during the cross-country phase of Badminton Horse Trials 2009.

Ginny Howe and Cavort at the Sunken Lane during the cross-country phase of Badminton Horse Trials 2009.
Photo by sffubs on Flickr (Creative Commons License)

FEI Eventing

2. Cross-Country Test The focus of the entire event is on the Cross-Country test, the objective of which is to test the ability of athletes and horses to adpat to different and variable conditions (weather, terrain, obstacles, footing etc…) and jumping ability of the horse, while at the same time demonstrating the rider’s knowledge of pace and the use of his horse. Exceeding the time allowed and refusals result in penalties. All penalties are added together and recorded for inclusion in the final classification. Fall of a horse and/or of a rider entails immediate elimination.

Video length: 13 minutes 33 seconds (can enjoy any small section)
Published on Jul 28, 2012 by 
Buzzterbrown is Lance. He films upper level eventing and jumper shows in USEA Area II with a Lumix GH1 camera. The camera can do lovely clear slo-mo. Lance has a great eye and steady hand for filming.

London 2012 Equestrian

Horses & riders in order of appearance in the video. They are amazing athletes. The horses really seem to be enjoying their runs.

The good horses love it! When you take them up to the lorry or dress them up [to go to an event], it’s like they’re off going to a party. – British equestrian, Mary King (interview)

Opposition Buzz + Nicola Wilson (WEG 2010)
Miners Frolic + Kristina Cook (WEG 2010)
Imperial Cavalier + Mary King (WEG 2010)

HP Leilani + Chris Burton (WEG 2010)
Rutherglen + Andrew Hoy (Rolex 2012)

Oncarlos + Tim Lipps (WEG 2010)

New Zealand:
Nereo + Andrew Nicholson (WEG 2010)
Clifton Promise + Jonathan Paget (WEG 2010)

Sam + Michael Jung (WEG 2010)
Butts Abraxxas + Ingrid Klimke (WEG 2010)

Hidalgo de L’ile + Nicolas Touzaint (Rolex 2009, WEG 2010)

Gazelle de la Brasserie + Karin Donckers (WEG 2010)

Mister Pooh + Niklas Lindback (WEG 2010)

Tom Bombadill Too + Ruy Fonseca (WEG 2010)

Canada: (5:40)
Riddle Master + Rebecca Howard (Rolex 2011, WEG 2010)
Gin & Juice + Hawley Bennet-Awad (The Fork 2012, WEG 2010)
Exponential + Jessica Phoenix (WEG 2010, Rolex 2011)
Kilrodan Abbott + Peter Barry (Rolex 2011, Rolex 2012)
Amistad + Michelle Mueller (Fairhill 2008)

USA: (9:18)
Twizzel + Will Coleman (Fairhill 2008, Redhills 2011, Rolex 2011, Rolex 2012) Mr. MedicottKaren O’Connor (The Fork 2012, Rolex 2012)
Ringwood Magister + Tiana Coudray (Rolex 2011)
Mystery Whisper + Phillip Dutton (The Fork 2012)
Otis Barbotiere + Boyd Martin ( Fairhill Spring 2011, Fairhill Spring 2012, Rolex 2012)

“The primary mission of the FEI is to advance the orderly growth of equestrian sport worldwide by promoting, regulating and administering humane and sportsmanlike international competition in the traditional equestrian disciplines” – FEI Mission Statement.

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Just for Grins – Biggest police horse

Priefert's Radar, Belgian gelding, who was tallest horse from 2006 - 2009

Priefert’s Radar is owned by Priefert Ranch Equipment

What if Radar was a police horse? He’d probably be the biggest police horse in the world.

In 2008 a Belgian gelding named “Priefert’s Radar” was the tallest horse. Radar was born in Iowa in 1998 and grew up to be listed in the Guiness World Record book from 2006 to 2009.

Radar’s even bigger than the horse in this week’s “Just for Grins” video.

Officer Lloyd Douglas,  Sgt. Howard Mason, and Sgt. Chal DeCecco use a ladder as a mounting block to ride this large Belgian horse named “Hercules” at the California State Fair in 2008.

Hercules the Police horse ridden by three officers at California State Fair 2008

Hercules the Police horse ridden by three officers at California State Fair 2008

Uploaded by  on Mar 10, 2010

Priefert's Radar, Belgian gelding - tallest horse in world 2006 - 2009

Photo by Drew Gardner

Radar’s photos aren’t on the Priefert website anymore, but I’d saved some off years ago using photos of Radar as my desktop wallpaper. Just like Hercules the Police Horse, you would need a 6 foot ladder as a mounting block for Radar.

At 6 feet 7 1/2 inches at top of withers he would just squeeze through an average door frame in height by ducking down his head. Horses are measured in a unit of measurement called a ”hand”, which is 4 inches. This made Radar measured as the tallest horse in 2008 at 19 hands 3 1/2 inches. He weighed in at 2,400 pounds.

“You don’t realize how big they are until you’re holding onto their halter.”  – Charles Woods (3)

Priefert’s Radar is owned by Priefert. Radar definitely earned his keep touring the country to promote Priefert products. He travelled up to 30,000 miles a year in an air-conditioned, customized horse trailer with a canine companion called Hoss and his handlers, Guilda and Charles Woods. Every 4 – 6 weeks Radar returned to Mount Pleasant, Texas, the home of Priefert, to take a break from travelling.

Radar could eat 40 pounds of hay, 18 pounds of grain, then wash that down with 20 gallons of water each day.

“He’s our PR horse. He’s been promoted from labor to management, and he’s paid all the grain and feed he wants. It’s just like feeding two or three horses in one feeding.” – Charles Woods  (1)

“Radar is really smooth to ride at the walk and slow trot, but the faster he goes, the rougher he gets. Riding him is definitely an experience.” – Guilda Woods (2)

Radar had to “go large or go home” and Priefert retired him when another horse took the World Record. Radar joined another Priefert owned former tallest horse, a black Percheron gelding named Goliath, in Mount Pleasant, Texas.

Radar, sorrel Belgian gelding: Limited Edition Breyer Model 2010

Radar was honored by Breyer Model horses in 2010 as a Limited Edition. As a horseless child I played with a the plastic Breyer horses instead of dolls, including a family of Palomino draft horses.

Priefert brought Radar out of retirement to attend BreyerFest at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.

Radar, sorrel Belgian gelding is former largest horse in the world at Breyerfest 2010.

Radar at Breyerfest 2010 – Photo by Appaloosa on Flickr
(Creative Commons License)

I’m glad that Priefert has such beautiful draft horses to promote their products. Priefert makes great horse panels. We have a set of  Priefert brown 10 foot utility panels with walk-thru gate as fencing for a paddock area for our two Icelandic horses. The panels are  sturdy well made safe and definitely ”worth-the-money” horse panels! I hope I can get to meet Radar someday. It would take 3 of our Icelandics to add up to the weight of Radar.

Priefert has a set of Percheron geldings called “Texas Thunder” that tours.

Priefert's Radar, Belgian gelding - tallest horse in world 2006 - 2009

Photo by Drew Gardner

(1) The Salt Lake Tribune “High horse? Radar’s the highest” by Arrin Newton Brunson published September 13, 2006

(2) Ag Weekly ‘World’s tallest horse tours Utah/Idaho’ by Susan Dudasik published July 27, 2007

(3) Rexburg Standard “The World’s Biggest Horse visits Rexburg” by Joseph Law published August 31, 2007

(4) Rural Heritage Horse Paddock

Priefert on Facebook

Priefert Utility Panel video

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Bonding with your horse

“Somewhere Only We Know” is universal feelings of the special moments bonding with your horse. Natalie and her 16.2h TB gelding were together for 2 years before she had to sell him. Indy is missed, but has a good home.

“He’s finally ‘let me in’. Although he’s always difficult to understand, I think I’ve finally come to trust him. Even if it’s taken this long… sometimes that’s how long it takes. If I could keep him, believe me I would…” – Natalie

I find Natalie’s videos quite poetic. The thoughts Natalie expresses in some of her videos and descriptions reminds me of the feelings that I had with my horses as a teenager. She speaks of nostalgia, as well as accepting loss and change. Life is definitely full of loss and change and memories.

My parents got me my first horses when I was just 13 years old. Those horses kept me busy and out of trouble as a teenager and young adult. I thank my parents for supporting my dream of having horses in my life. Both my parents are now gone and I’m having to accept that I will never see them again. This video touched my heart and brought up a lot of feelings and memories. Those days of youth with my horses and family were some of the best. I make new memories with my horses spending time each day bonding with them and find peace.

Video length: 1 minute 58 seconds
Music:  “Somewhere Only We Know” by the band Keane. They are are an English alternative rock band from Battle, East Sussex, formed in 1997.
Uploaded by  on Sep 10, 2010

(Note: This was originally intended to be published on 07/25/12 for my Wednesday music video, but seems I goofed getting it properly scheduled making a skipped week.)

“Somewhere Only We Know”

I walked across an empty land
I knew the pathway like the back of my hand
I felt the earth beneath my feet
Sat by the river and it made me complete
Oh simple thing where have you gone?
I’m getting old and I need something to rely on
So tell me when you’re gonna let me in
I’m getting tired and I need somewhere to begin

I came across a fallen tree
I felt the branches of it looking at me
Is this the place we used to love?
Is this the place that I’ve been dreaming of?

Oh simple thing where have you gone?
I’m getting old and I need something to rely on
So tell me when you’re gonna let me in
I’m getting tired and I need somewhere to begin

And if you have a minute why don’t we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything
So why don’t we go
Somewhere only we know?

Oh simple thing where have you gone?
I’m getting old and I need something to rely on
So tell me when you’re gonna let me in
I’m getting tired and I need somewhere to begin

And if you have a minute why don’t we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything
So why don’t we go
So why don’t we go

This could be the end of everything
So why don’t we go
Somewhere only we know?
Somewhere only we know

This could be the end of everything,
So why don’t we go,
Somewhere only we know,
Somewhere only we know,
Somewhere only we know.

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Just for Grins – Lazy horse rolling

Lewis has figured out a lazy horse way to roll on both sides. Have you ever seen a horse roll this way? Clever boy.

Video length:  38 seconds
Uploaded by  on Nov 26, 2007

Hope watching Lewis gave you a smile.

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Szilvásvárad Lipizzaner Stud Farm

Lipizzaner stallion in Szilvásvárad, Hungari

Hungarian National Lipizzaner Stud Farm Szilvásvárad

This is a video clip from “A Bükk fehér sziklái” (“The White Cliffs of Beech”) about the Hungarian National Lipizzaner Stud Farm at Szilvásvárad. The stud’s mission is to maintain the Hungarian Lippizaners.

Four hundred years of selective breeding have made the Lipizzan horse one of Europe’s oldest breeds. They were developed to be a strategic asset by the Habsburg nobility. The breed was created to be a sensible and strong war horse, as well as a royal coach horse, and is noted for a sturdy body, brilliant action and proud carriage. The breed has an intelligent and docile disposition.

Two hundred years ago there were blacks, browns, chestnuts, duns and even piebalds and skewbalds, but a white coat was preferred by the nobility. A grey is born black and has dark skin and eyes. Their coat color slowly changes to grey and then becomes pure white over a period of six to ten years. Most Lipizzaners today are grey with only a very few non-grey bay or black.

The breeding of Lipizzaner horses in Hungary began in the early 1800s. In 1953 the State Stud of Szilvásvárad was established in the Bükk mountains. This area is similar to Lipica where the breed originated.  The limestone soil of both areas gives the Lipizzaners sturdy bones, toughness and excellent feet.

There is beautiful cinematography of the Lipizzaners in the Bükk mountains. The director of photography is Pintér András.

Video length: 2 minutes 55 seconds
Music: Excerpt from “Bombay Theme” by AR Rahman
Uploaded by  on Dec 30, 2009

History of the Breed

Learn more about the Lipizzaner


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