Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Grumpy Old Men

Last weekend, we visited Reddums and Cash at their lovely retirement place up west of Ft. Worth. They had been groomed and bathed to the nines - I swear I could have taken them to a show! Claudia and her crew at Paint Creek Farm take such amazing care of them, I couldn't possibly do better.

Mostly we just fed them carrots and took pictures, because what else do you do with a couple of retired horses?

I demand carrots.

I also demand carrots.

You may notice that there's a fence separating the two of them. At night, they're out together in a big pasture. But Red is on a diet, so during the day, he's up in a dry lot paddock (he gets a flake of alfalfa at lunch) with shade. Because he's the oldest, and he's special, Cash gets to be "roaming" - which means that he gets to move around the grassy parts in between all the paddocks and eat as much grass as he wants. And he gets like THREE flakes of alfalfa. 

Dad must also feed us.

Moar carrots. MOAR.

Cash looks absolutely amazing for being 27.

Ignore the look on my face (I'm eating a carrot) and focus on Red's prehensile nose. HEY. HEY LADY WITH THE CARROTS. 

Photobombed by a Schpotted Poniee.

Sometimes it's hard to get a picture when you're being mugged for carrots.

Lack of ears does not make you cuter, Reddums.

Hugs from the best schpotted poniee ever.

All gone!

I don't know how long we'll have either of them, but it sure is nice to know that they are getting the best care possible and living life in the lap of luxury. Thanks to everyone at Paint Creek Farm for taking such good care of our boys!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Picture Perfect Paddington

There was a fantastic photographer from the jousting event at the Ohio State fair, and she has kindly allowed use of her images. There are SO MANY amazing shots to choose from - I managed to pare it down a bit, but this post is super pic-heavy*. All photos are used with permission from Allison's Images. THANK YOU so much for the absolutely wonderful pics, Allison!

* Sorry, but I swear every pic of Paddy was perfect! At one point during the weekend she asked me if he ever took a bad picture, to which I responded that no, no he does not. Because Paddy just LOVES the camera

Armoring up (look part of me is actually in a picture!!!!)

Paddy LOVES jousting... this is his "let's get this show going!" pose.

I'm probably deluding myself, but maybe he can do a baby piaffe?

Paddy displays the perfect forelock part (and the perfect launch down the lane)

Contact.

Double breaking pass

Paddy demonstrates his standard "carousel pony" pose in the middle of a breaking pass

It's like he poses every time or something

No seriously. Every.

Damn.

Time.

There was also the patented "hoverhaffie" moments.

Knights congratulating each other on another great set of passes.

Paddy saved his best poses for his adoring fans.

Tired Haffie, Tired Husband.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Top 10 most awesome things about jousting at the Ohio State Fair

This weekend, we did an epic road trip to Columbus, Ohio, for an invitational joust at the Ohio State Fair. Despite the 21 hour one-way drive, we had a really fantastic time! The joust was great, the people were great, and the horses were amazing. We can't wait to do it again next year, and here's why...

#10: Shit happens, but it actually wasn't that bad

Somewhere in Oklahoma, we had a trailer tire delaminate while I was doing about 70. Let me just say it SUCKS to have a trailer tire blow out. But we were on a road with a wide shoulder, we'd topped off all the tires (including the spare!) before we'd left, and I'd double checked to make sure we had our "trailer aid" for jacking up a trailer (it's the yellow thing in the picture below). We managed to change the tire in about 15 minutes, then found a place about 40 minutes down the road that provided a whole new set of tires for us in under an hour. I mean, what are the chances of having a blowout on a weekday during business hours!?! We were back on the road quickly, all things considered.

Changing the tire on the side of the road somewhere in Oklahoma.

Paddy supervises the mechanic who replaced all the tires.

Side note: as we were driving through some town in Oklahoma, the gimmick that the car dealerships were using was "Free tornado shelter with every purchase!" Uhh... that's no so confidence-inspiring, especially with a big black cloud looming on the horizon!

Then, when we overnighted at a friend's, Brego failed to notice that there was a fence dividing two pastures. He tried to stop his headlong gallop, couldn't, then tried to jump the fence and only made it partway. He was completely fine except for one big scrape... on his right side, right where the girth goes. In other words, he was out for riding of any kind. But, as I pointed out to hubby, we'd brought TWO horses. Paddy was the "alternate" jousting horse for the weekend!

#9: Having people cheer for you is pretty damn awesome

Most jousts that we've attended have had fairly small audiences, but not this one. The arena we were in seated 7,000 spectators, and there were at least two jousts where the place was half full. It's pretty damn amazing to hear 3,500 people cheering for you (well, your husband anyway) when he gallops around the arena!!!

Also, there were minions. Paddy wanted one of his own.

Just a few members of Paddington's fan club

#8: The facilities were top-notch

Brand-new Preifert 12x12 stalls... tons of shavings... tack stall... close-in parking... beautiful stadium arena with perfect footing dragged 2x/day... what more could one ask for?

 
Brego says he would like extra carrots. Also some turnout. SO picky...

Oh and naturally we brought Lucia (the espresso machine) with us to the hotel. I had my chai and hubby had his latte. Never let it be said that we don't travel in style (or at least, with adequate caffeine)!

No, we do not have a problem. Stop judging already.

#7: State fairs are actually really cool

This is the first state fair I've been to as an adult, and it was really neat! There were dairy cows, beef cows, sheep, goats, little girls with their homemade pies, tractor exhibitions, displays on how wool is made... it was a pretty good glimpse into how the American heartland works. We very much enjoyed walking around and seeing everything!

I've heard of a wolf in sheep's clothing but these are sheep in... sheep clothing?

Brego's cousins, a Percheron draft team. For size comparison, they had no problems visiting over the stall walls. 

One of the carriages for the draft teams.

#6: Watching Brego meet a cow = priceless

We took Brego and Paddy out to give them a bit of a bath, but mostly failed because the folks showing cows were bathing their cows in the same wash rack used by horses. OK first, I've never seen anyone bathe a cow, and second, neither had Brego. He was FASCINATED. The lady with the cow closest to us was like "This is Walker!" and Walker the Cow was all "Hi!" and Brego the Horse was all "OMGWTFNO." It took a few minutes and a good bit of snorting and staring, but Brego eventually got brave enough to introduce himself.

!?!?!?!?

#5: Serving as mounted color guard was a huge honor

Actually, we were also able to participate in the swearing in of 17 new Army recruits, and we had some really amazing help from Army folks all weekend. It was an honor to be a (very small) part of it.


Hubby carrying a flag as part of the color guard. 

#4: Paddy cantering in to "Suicide Blonde" was unforgettable

Literally, unforgettable. Because we had that song stuck our heads for the entire 21-hour drive home.


I may need to do a freestyle to this.

#3: Meeting other bloggers is SO much fun!

Tracy from Fly On Over and her husband came out Saturday afternoon - sadly, they didn't get to see the jousting but we did get to have dinner with them. What a treat! Tracy is so lovely, AND she has great restaurant recommendations, which were much appreciated by the starving jousters. Hopefully next time I'll have a bit more time to hang out, and maybe I'll get to meet Miles.

On Sunday afternoon, Amy and her daughters arrived, along with Sarah from My Red Mare. They were in time for the jousting, and then we got to spend a bit of time hanging out. Unfortunately the jousting schedule was really tight, so there wasn't much time to visit, but we managed to get a picture of the three of us:



#2: Everyone was FANTASTIC

Sometimes you run into some pretty big egos in the horse world, but this event was AMAZING. Everyone was chivalrous, kind to the ground crew/squires, and overall excellent horsemen and women. It's not every day you get to spend the weekend with such a wonderful group of people!

Hubby and a good friend of ours, who happens to ride a JOUSTING MULE. Gotta admit, the ears are kinda cute!



Jouster lineup. Note tired (small) Haffie in the middle.

#1: Having the cutest horse there is pretty damn awesome

Ok, to be honest, there were a lot of REALLY nice, well-trained jousting horses there this weekend. However, IMO Paddy's the cutest. Whatever, I'm biased.

I also had the cutest knight, wearing a shirt that handily labels him as "knight". Convenient, no?

Because Haffie size comparisons always make me laugh...



Adorable!

We really had such a wonderful time this weekend, the long drive was totally worth it. We're hoping to get to do it again next year!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Anybody going to be at the Ohio State Fair on August 1st and 2nd?

Hubby got invited to a joust at the Ohio State Fair this coming weekend! We're hauling Paddy and Brego up for the big event and we'll be there August 1st and 2nd.

The jousting events will be held in the Taft Coliseum start at 10 am on Saturday and noon on Sunday. In between I plan to go to the Campfire Texting Challenge, the Gladiolas show, and the Giant Squash Carving competition. (No, I'm not making this up, check out the schedule.)

We'll be right between the rock wall and the Holsteins (not to be confused with Holsteiners)

Anyway, if anyone happens to be in the area and wants to come meet Paddy and Brego (or me and hubby, although we're much less exciting), and check out the jousting, please stop by!

You know you want to meet this face in person!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Chai is the nectar of the gods

If you've ever met me in person, you probably know that I have a very serious addiction to really like chai.

My chai stash. See how the top shelf is empty? My supply is getting low, only four boxes left... gotta restock soon!

Some people like coffee, like my dear darling poor misguided husband. But my palate is more refined... the perfect combination of sweetness and spice, blended with the delicious creaminess of frothed milk... pure perfection, AND it contains caffeine. What more could one possibly ask for?

Best way to start the morning. See the equal sign in the foam? Hubby made this one for me on the day Ireland's vote for same-sex equality passed. 

The only good part about hubby liking coffee and me liking chai is that we don't fight over who gets the last cup of anything. He can keep his coffee and that way I get ALL THE CHAI. We do, however, share Lucia, his Italian girlfriend. She's our in-house barista...

The perfect chai requires steam-frothed milk...

I generally have a cup first thing in the morning, and then bring a jar to work as well.

Don't judge... I used to bring an entire quart.

If I want another cup in the afternoon, I always have at least one bag in my purse. In case of emergencies and all.

You're judging, aren't you.

Sometimes my preference of beverage becomes a bit of a problem. In some foreign countries, coffee is the prime means of caffeine delivery. Therefore, it's important to carry one's own supply of chai.

Even the TSA officer is judging me.

And in case you're thinking that this is all a little over the top, I assure you that I can quit at any time. Just... not today, mmmmkay?