Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Horse Lessons- July

July was pretty exciting for horse lessons! It seems like Emma spent a lot of time working on her ground work, but man, she has learned a LOT.

While she loves to be in the saddle, she seems to enjoy learning more ways to keep Meggie in line. That Meggie can be such a stinker.

Another exciting thing with lessons this month is that Emma started her group lessons. The first class was pretty interesting but we'll get to that in a few. She now rides two days a week, Monday and Friday. She's loving it.

Anyway, here are the pictures from this month.

Horse Lessons 8Jul13 (1)
Learning tips on how to properly use her training stick. 

Horse Lessons 8Jul13 (4)
Using her newly learned techniques. 

Horse Lessons 8Jul13 (7)
The bits still a bit of a struggle, but Emma is getting better every try. 

10Jul13- This was Emma's first group lessons. There are four girls in the class, Emma, Addison (she's 13 and Jill's barn helper, she's been riding for about a year), and two new girls, 11 year old friends, this is their first time taking lessons.
It was HOT!!! Emma's face was bright red before she even started doing anything strenuous. The fact that Emma was crazy nervous didn't help. 
Group Horse Lessons 10Jul13 (3)
Bringing the tack over to the round pen. 

Group Horse Lessons 10Jul13 (5)
Emma giving some pointers to one of the new girls. 

Group Horse Lessons 10Jul13 (6)
Lunging Meggie.

This is where the lesson started getting interesting for Emma. I could see that she was fire engine red. She had already complained that her stomach hurt, but I figured it was nerves. After a trip to the porta-potty, she was back to work. As she was lunging Meggie, I noticed that she seemed to be dragging butt. I walked over to her to see what the problem was (figure it was the nerves still), except it wasn't. She could barely hold the training stick or the lead line. She looked at me and, with eyes barely open, mumbled, "I am SO tired!" So, I grabbed her pony, then had Emma sit on the ground while I tied Meggie up. I then scooped Emma up and brought her over to the car and we sat in the shade drinking some water. I still wasn't 100% sure it wasn't just nerves until I noticed she had water blisters along her neck. So, we doused her with some icy water, took off her helmet, and just chilled for most of the lesson. I even had her take her socks and boots off. One of the other moms had a big umbrella, so we sat under that near the round pen so we could at least watch. 

With about 15 minutes left in the lesson, Emma was feeling well enough to get back out there. Socks and books went on, helmet went on, water got sipped, and she headed out to finish the lesson. 

Group Horse Lessons 10Jul13 (13)
Cowgirl Up!

We learned a lot of non-horse stuff from this lesson. She now knows what it feels like to almost pass out. Both Jared and I told her to remember what that feels like so she knows how to handle it in the future. We also started bringing out a makeshift neckerchief that we could dip in cold water and tie around her neck. It has helped out a lot. Also, we keep the helmet off until she actually gets on Meggie. 

I also learned that I need to trust my child more when she tells me she doesn't feel well. 

22Jul13- I apparently missed an entire week of lessons. Oops. 

Horse Lessons 22July13 (2)
We had a friend visiting and she got to watch Emma's lesson. 

Horse Lessons 22July13 (5)
Tightening the cinch. Her muscles are getting strong enough that she almost gets the saddle tight enough with no help. 

Horse Lessons 22July13 (7)
This is a position that Emma practices, where she hunches over, then...

Horse Lessons 22July13 (8)
"Reverse Monkey"
She arches her back and is suppose to make her belt buckle (if she had one) touch the saddle horn.

Horse Lessons 22July13 (1)
Friends make things more fun!

Horse Lesson 26Jul13 (1)
Grampy watching Emma's lesson.

Horse Lesson 26Jul13 (2)
Boppa chatting to Gramma

29Jul13- Lots of ground work for this lesson. Emma learned some advanced techniques about maneuvering the lead rope and training stick during reversals (making the pony walk in the opposite direction during lunging). 
Horse Lessons 29Jul13 (1)

Horse Lessons 29Jul13 (3)
Showing Meggie who's boss. 

I took a great video of Emma putting her new techniques to use while lunging Emma, but it's pretty long, so I can't upload it here. 

Well, that's it! It's so awesome to see the improvements Emma makes with each lesson. So much fun. 

Hope you all had some fun this month! 

Bikers Invade

Course, that title would be way cooler if I had remembered to actually take a photo of the guys on their bikes.

Anyway, Grampy (my dad) and Boppa (Jared's dad) and Boppa's friend Jim were itching for a long motorcycle ride, so they decided to come visit us. Grampy came all the way from New Hampshire, Boppa and Jim from Iowa.

That's a lot of miles on a motorcycle, but the three guys had fun. We went out to eat with them on Thursday night when they arrived, then Emma and I got to spend all day Friday with them.

We toured the base.

Grampy and Boppa Vist July13 (3)
Watching a video at the base museum. 

Grampy and Boppa Vist July13 (16)
Grampy and Boppa chatting about model airplanes.

Grampy and Boppa Vist July13 (26)
Stopping at the Great Falls visitor center. 

Grampy and Boppa Vist July13 (27)
Checking out one of the falls along the Missouri River.

Horse Lesson 26Jul13 (1)
Grampy and Boppa got to watch Emma's group horse lessons. 

Horse Lesson 26Jul13 (2)
*Hi Gramma!*

After horse lessons, the guys grilled some burgers and hot dogs (we borrowed a neighbors grill), and we had a feast. 

On Saturday, the guys hit the road and headed for Glacier. They stopped by our place for a few minutes once they were back in town, we looked at the gorgeous pictures that had taken, then the guys headed for their hotel. They needed to make it an early night so they could hit the road Sunday morning to head back home. 

It was a quick visit, but we were so glad to be able to spend a bit of time with them. 

You guys are welcome to make the trip back anytime! 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Horse Lessons- June

Wow, have a I really not posted any horse lesson updates in almost 2 months!?!

Ok then, here we go.

It was HOT in June, with the exception of maybe one lesson.

June 10th

Horse Lessons 10Jun13 (3)

Horse Lessons 10Jun13 (4)
Lunging Meggie is a lot of work. 
I made her wear my light-weight long sleeve shirt so she didn't fry. 

Horse Lessons 10Jun13 (1)
Look at those PINK cheeks!

June 21st

Horse Lessons 21Jun13 (1)
What better way to spend a 1/2 birthday then riding?

Apparently I've been slacking on the photo taking. I only had 2 from this lesson. 

June 28th- Da had been home for a few days and so was off work and able to go to Emma's lesson. 

Horse Lessons 28Jun13- Da was there (1)
Emma explaining horse safety to Da. I think. Or she could just be petting Meggie. 

Horse Lessons 28Jun13- Da was there (2)
Jared wouldn't let me take his photo, so this is the only proof I have that he was there. 

Horse Lessons 28Jun13- Da was there (6)
Me holding Emma's pony (just a saying) while she gets some water. No, I have no chopped all my hair off again, it's just tucked into my hat to keep my neck cool.

Horse Lessons 28Jun13- Da was there (9)
Hiking up her pants to get her foot into the stir-up

Well, that's all the photos I have from Emma's June horse lessons. Overall, she is doing fantastic. Her knowledge and skills with both her ground work and riding are impressive (to me anyway). She can lug the saddle around like it's nothing, she keeps her cool when Meggie gives her grief (which is every lesson), and she is still loving it. That last one is the most important to all of us. 

I think from now on, I will just do monthly horse lesson updates. It may be a bit easier that way. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Looking for the Good

For some people, seeing the good in life comes easy. For others, seeing the good is difficult. And for still others, they spend a good chunk of their lives trying to move out of the second group and into the first group.

I would be that last group. I'm sure I spent some time in my younger life being able to see some good in life, but really? It was so much easier to just complain about what sucked, rather then trying to make it better.

I have no idea when it all started to change for me. I know the Air Force played a huge roll in the transition (thank you forever from the bottom of my heart Uncle Billy and Aunt Tammy), as did all of the people who have entered (and excited) my lives because of it. So I am thankful. And grateful. And all that other happy stuff.

Except that my daughter seems to have inherited my vision when it comes to seeing the good in things.

Most days it's no big deal, just a small comment here or there. But lately (and I fear more so as the teen years approach way too quickly), this inability to see the good seems to be taking longer to recover from.

Today was the last straw for me. I couldn't take it, and I was going to win today's battle!

Find the Good

After spending a long while working on a project in her room, Emma came out all mopey, angry, and full of attitude. When I asked her what was wrong, she went on about how her project didn't come out and how horrible it was. I told her I was sorry to hear that, but why didn't it work, etc, trying to see if I could help her make it better.

I can't remember exactly what happened (I was trying to study my business law stuff), but I asked her, "Can you think of anything good to say about your project?"

I'm thinking something along the lines of, "Well, it was fun while I was making it," or some such comment.

All I got was more attitude, more moping, more angry complaints. So I sent her to her room until she could think of something nice to say about her project.

No lie, she spent over 90 minutes in there. Every time she wandered out, I asked if she had anything good to say about her project. I usually got a huff and her back as she headed back to her room.

At one point she started to cry (forced fake tears mind you, they stopped as soon as she was out of ear shot).

Yes, this is Emma I'm talking about.

I started to wonder if she would ever make it out of her room. When she whined that she was hungry, I told her, "I will make you something to eat, and you will eat it in your room without complaint. Unless you've thought of something good to say and are ready to come out."

More huffing and this time a screech (though not loud enough to bother the neighbors) of, "I DON"T KNOW WHAT TO SAY!"

I suggested she write some ideas down.

A few minutes later I went in to have a sit down chat with her, but she asked me to come back as she was writing down an idea.

Then she walked out and handed me this.

It was prite gud for the frst tri.
(It was pretty good for the first try)
*clicking on the picture makes it bigger, I think*

That was all I wanted. Just for her to realize that, despite the fact that her project didn't come out how she had envisioned, she didn't need to waste over 90 minutes of her life being upset by it. 

And it was amazing how instantly her mood was better. Seriously crazy. Just by changing the way she was thinking about it (and being allowed out of her room didn't hurt). 

Then I decided to do an impromptu exercise. I had her look around our living room and pick 5 things, 2 of which she didn't really like. She picked out 5 things, I wrote them down, leaving space under each word. Once she picked her 5, we started at the top and I had her tell me something good about each item. Here is our list (in her words). 

1. Sofia Paper Girl: An old book was turned into a beautiful thing. 
2. Shell Casing: They use to protect us. 
3. Colored wires behind T.V.: They make our T.V. work.
The last two were tough. I had to help her work these two out a bit. 

4. Dust on the light (shade): E-"We love our light and use it?" M- "Well, we do use it, but it's still dusty. Why is the dust there, what don't we do?" E- "We don't dust. Why don't we dust?" M-"What do we do instead of dusting?" E- "Homeschooling?" M- "Well, yeah, but do we usually do a lot of other fun things instead of cleaning?" E- "Oh, so we spend our time doing horse lessons instead of dusting!"

5. Dirty Windows- This one was along the same lines as the dust thing (though the landlord is suppose to have the outside of the windows cleaned). We talked about it for a few minutes, then I asked her, as she was squinting at me because the sun was blinding her, "What would it be like in here if the windows were not dirty?" E- "Dirty windows mean the sunlight doesn't blind us!"

After that I picked two more for her to do, but I wanted 2 different answers for both. 
1. Stuck in a long line of traffic. 1a. People are out and about and some might be learning. 1b. (after some discussion), I get to listen to music. 
2. There are a lot of kids at the park (she hates this). 2a. People are getting exercise. 2b. I can meet new friends. 

I think that this will become a regular exercise in our house. Whenever is seems she (or any of us) loses sight of the good in things, we will make up a new list. 

Phew, this was a long one! Thanks for sticking around. Have a safe and happy holiday weekend (again)!

Walking 3Jul13 (1)

Learning Through Passions

One of my assignments for my Into to Computers class was to make a PowerPoint presentation. I decided to do one on how a passion can be used as a learning tool. I thought you all might enjoy watching it.

I've never posted a PowerPoint presentation, so if it doesn't work, have some patience, I will figure it out!

Have a great 4th of July Weekend!