Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Off to Minnesota!

Dave and I are flying to Minnesota this afternoon. I will hopefully post some pictures while we are there. I am really excited to see my family. I'm also looking forward to the hot weather! Maybe there will be a thunderstorm- I miss those since we rarely hear thunder around our house in Seattle.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I've Been Tagged!!

Melanie, from The Knutson Family blog, tagged me to share six things about myself that you may not know. I am excited that this is my first tag ever, so thanks, Melanie!!!

1. I am a Minnesota Wild hockey fan, a Minnesota Twins baseball fan, and a Seattle Seahawks football fan. However, unless you are there in person, I hate actually watching the games! It's so agonizing to watch, that I'd rather just know the score after the game is over. I hate the feeling of disappointment and wasting my time if my team loses. Guess I'm not the best fan in that way!

2. I have two sisters. Megan, on the left, is my younger sister. Erin, on the right, is my older sister. We are 24, 26, and 28 right now, though this is a picture from a few years ago. They are my two best friends and I miss them since we live so far apart!

3. When I was in middle and high school, I leased an Appendix Quarter Horse named Buddy. His show name was Ima Jaguar Too. We exclusively did dressage. When I first started riding him, he was scared of the white poles of the dressage arena, so getting to recognized training level shows was quite an accomplishment! My heart still aches a little when I think about him. He is still at the same stable, and I hope he is doing well. He was my first horse love!

4. I am 100% scared of frogs! I know this sounds like a silly irrational fear, and I agree. I just can't get over their sliminess and the way they jump at you. Yuck! I couldn't even put a real picture of one on here, it disgusted me too much! Give me spiders and snakes any day.

5. I am an engineer at Boeing. I work for the 737 program. We make the cute little planes, as I like to call them! It is thanks to my mom that I became an engineer. I always really liked and was good at math and science. She always told me I could do something in a technical field like engineering. It is definitely important for young girls who are good at math and science to be encouraged to follow what they like, even if it may not be "cool" for them to do so! We need more women engineers in the world!

6. Dave and I have a goal to visit all 50 state capitols. I also want to visit all 50 states, period, so this will help accomplish both goals! I have been to at least 30 states already, but we've only been to five of the capitol buildings so far: Minnesota (pictured above), Wisconsin, Iowa, Washington, and Oregon. I think it's cool to hear the history and see how different the buildings are. I'm not a big history buff, but I think it's amazing how varied our country is, and I want to see it all! So far, Minnesota was my favorite building. It's beautiful, but I think I might be biased since I grew up there!

I don't know who hasn't been tagged yet out of the blogs I read. Seems like everyone has done a post like this recently. So if you are reading this and have a blog of your own, I am tagging you! Let me know if anyone does a post because of me!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Happy One Year, Jack!

Today marks the one year anniversary of Jack becoming my horse! It is funny to think back to last summer when Dave and I did a whirlwind tour of looking at other horses. Jack was the first horse I looked at when we started to shop. Everyone told me not to buy the first horse I looked at. Obviously this is good advice. You don't want to just look at one horse and have nothing to compare it to. But my first ride on Jack was so good! We looked at him as we drove down to watch my friends at the Inavale Farm Horse Trials in Oregon. Dave took a bunch of pictures and videos of both me and his old owner, Meg, riding him to show my trainer, Anne. We showed everyone the footage when we got to the show. It was fortunate that the trainer that Meg rode with was at the show, too. Anne chatted with him to see what he thought about Jack and his prospects for the future. He said that Jack was a good boy who didn't stop, and that had the potential to move up from Novice level eventing, which is where he was at, but he wouldn't make it with Meg. They just weren't the right match. So, with that information and the videos, Anne told me to ask if we could all stop to see him again on the way home.

We arranged to meet Meg at her trainer's stable, Caber Farm. I had tried him at her house, but she didn't have many jumps or a lot of room to really try him out. Anne looked him over and then watched Meg ride him on the flat and over some jumps. Then I got on. It felt good to get on him. I put him through his paces, then we went over a few low jumps. Then Anne sets this jump, a pole over a barrel, it looked huge to me! She says it was only 2'9" but it looked at least 3' to me. That may not be big to some of you, but I hadn't been jumping for very long at that point, and this was only my second ride on Jack! Anne says, "Okay, just pop over this jump." Now when I say pop over a jump, I think a tiny cross rail! When Anne tells you to do something, you pretty much just have to not think and do it. So I picked up a canter, circled toward the jump, grabbed his martingale strap and went for it! He went right over, and we came around again with no problem again. It was great! I even got to take him out in the field and go over a log on their cross country course. I think after all that, I knew how much I liked him, but didn't want to like him too much since I hadn't seen anyone else.

So that next weekend, Dave and I drove all over and I tried three more horses. This of course was after contacting dozens of others, but not thinking any of them were worth the time to actually go see them. It's definitely good that I kept looking. There was one horse, Riley, that I thought I liked better than Jack. So I had Anne come up to see him. But the second ride did not feel as good to me, and Anne thought he looked a little off. He also didn't have the same sweet personality as Jack. He had been used as a school horse for awhile, and he just seemed a little reserved. Not that I blame him! Being a schoolie can be hard work! It was good that I had another horse that was a good contender. It made me really think about what I wanted and which horse was the best fit for me.

So we vet checked Jack with no problems, and decided he was the one! We had a trip to MN planned shortly after the vet check, so Meg brought him up the day after we got back. I was so excited! Jack is the first horse I have actually owned. I leased a horse, Buddy, back in middle and high school. But it's so great to have Jack all to myself! I love my horse!

Here is a picture of Jack during my first trial ride on him at Meg's house. He was chubby and you can see how he has no topline muscles on his neck. He was also ridden in an elevator bit, which we got rid of right away. He goes like an angel on cross country in a plain snaffle!

This is Jack just a few weeks ago. His messy mane kind of hides his neck, but he's getting really nice muscles. He's also lost just the right amount of weight. His tail has also filled out a lot, I think due in part to the supplements he gets for his feet. I just had an amazing dressage lesson on him tonight. Anne and I were talking about how far he's come, and I'm dreaming of where we will be in another year!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cross Country Video

We just got a new computer that comes with a movie maker! This is my first attempt to edit video clips and add music. These videos were taken during the schooling session that I blogged about earlier. It was July 2 at Donida Farm. We had such a great time, and I think that shows in the video!

Trip to California and Oregon

My mom came to visit from Minnesota at the end of June. Dave came up with a cool trip route that took us along the Oregon coast, down to the Redwood Forest in California, and back up through Oregon by way of Crater Lake. In Oregon we stopped in several cute coastal towns and saw the amazing Oregon Dunes. You can never imagine as much sand as there is at the Dunes! Okay, so maybe the Sahara Desert has it beat, but it was a lot of sand.

Here is a picture of my mom and me looking absolutely tiny compared to this redwood tree. The middle of this tree was burned out, and we could look straight up the middle. The air in the forest was damp and chilly, but that is what the trees like best!

I thought this log would make a great cross country jump... for Advanced level eventing, maybe! It was enormous, and this one was small compared to some other logs we saw. Some were taller than us!

This was at Crater Lake. When we drove into Oregon from California, the temperature had climbed to 98 degrees (is anyone other than me thinking of Nick Lachey? haha) but by the time we got up to the lake, it had dropped to 65 degrees! Can you believe how much snow was still on the ground? Parts of the park were still closed because of snow on the road! Mom sees enough snow in Minnesota, but we still had to take our picture standing in it.

Dave took some beautiful pictures of the lake. This is Wizard Island, the result of volcanic eruptions underneath the lake's surface. Crater lake has the clearest water in the world, and it was such a gorgeous blue color!

I am truly terrified of heights, so this is my reaction to being close to the edge of this viewing area! Okay, I was kind of pretending, but it really dropped of straight down to the lake at nearly every viewpoint. I think it was at least 1,000 feet down to the lake's surface, so that would be a long way to fall!

It's nice to look at the pictures and enjoy the view without giant mosquitos biting me! We were eaten alive, even through our clothes! We had camped for two nights in a row at this point, so if it looks like we need showers, you are correct ;-)

The last thing we did on our trip was visit the Oregon state capitol building. It was such a nice trip, and we all had a great time! Dave and I have not traveled south of Philomath, OR since moving to Seattle. It was nice to have a good excuse to take a trip with my mom. It did, however, feel good to get home and see our doggies!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Where's Waldo?: Photo Quiz Answer 'Key'

HA - it's a trick question! Big surprise, eh? Below is a small portion of the larger photo - I'd been taking pictures of Waldo but had no idea he had snuck into this photo, even after seeing it a dozen times. So what's the answer? I don't know either. It was intended to be a landscape, but it sure looks like a portrait.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Zonked Out

Dave found Dylan sleeping on my crappy couch from college one day recently when he got home. I may have said this before, but one of the cutest things about Dylan's deafness is our ability to catch him sleeping. What is cuter than a sleeping puppy? Now, I can't say this looks particularly comfortable, but Dylan frequently sleeps in weird positions. See one of my original posts for some other examples.

Isn't all the blood rushing to his head? I love how his ears are flopping out. We always feel bad startling him awake, but his happiness to see us usually overrides the shock pretty quickly!

While I'm on the subject of my deaf Aussie, I found a website yesterday for a lethal white Aussie rescue that is located in Arizona. When we first got him, I never would have guessed there were enough dogs like Dylan to have a rescue dedicated to them. It's amazing how similar some of the dogs look like him! I'm glad that other people out there that know how wonderful these dogs are! Dylan is the best!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Schooling at Donida

On Wednesday July 2, we went to Donida Farm to practice on their cross country course. It was great to get out in the open to ride. Jack and I have been working a lot on stadium jumping, so we were ready for a change of pace. He was a very good boy, and I was less nervous than the last time I went schooling, so that felt great!

Here we are going over our first log. I'm trying to remember to keep my elbows in when I jump, but often have too many other things to think of ;-)

We did the drop into the water a whole bunch of times. It was fun to splash into the water off the bank. I have to remind myself next time to grab my breastplate strap to keep my hands down, but we had no problems at this obstacle. Jack's expression shows how much fun he's having!

Nice even knees over this coop. There were some bison in a field off to the right of this part of the course. Jack spooked at a log closer to the fence line before this jump. We just barely jumped the end of the log the first time! But after that he forgot about the 'aliens' and jumped it again very nicely.

Jack is very good over ditches. I think they are fun, too! Thankfully I have a horse that doesn't think of them as horse-eating traps like some do.

Okay, so I know I'm jumping ahead in this picture. However, this was the most fun obstacle of the day! We rode up a bank, off a drop, and then turned left to this rolltop. It was like a roller coaster! I let Jack open up and gallop after this fence because we were both so happy :-)

Here's the whole group. Alyssa on Josh, Anna on Gus, Kelvie on Kiwi, me and Jack, Alex on Cody, and our instructor, Anne, on Ole. I think schooling is even more fun than showing because you're out with your friends, and there's no pressure of competition. It was such a great afternoon!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Photo Quiz

Is this a landscape or a portrait?