Saturday, July 28, 2012

Making A List...Peru Packing

I've started to think about packing for my trip to Peru and Machu Picchu this October. On Thursday, I went to see my doctor about vaccines. This is what CDC says I need:

- Routine vaccines
- Hepatitis A & B
- Tetanus
- Typhoid
- Yellow Fever

I had the routine vaccines as a child (polio, measles, mumps etc). So those are all set. I'm pretty sure I had a tetanus booster in 2006. My doctor and I both think I had Hepatitis A & B before I went to Costa Rica in 2000. The problem is, I wasn't her patient back then. Marcia (her Physician's assistant) went down to the basement to find my medical records to see if I really had those vaccines - no sense having them if I don't need them! Unfortunately, my medical records are buried somewhere in the basement, so someone is going to search them out.

I do need a Typhoid vaccine. Its in a pill form though, so my doctor called it into my pharmacy and I can get that out of the way anytime I want.

Yellow Fever. Ugh. My doctor didn't believe me that I needed this. When I told her it was on the CDC website, she went and looked. Sure enough, I need it because we will be rafting down the Apurimac River during mosquito season. My doctor can't administer the Yellow Fever vaccine (very few can). She told me once I found somewhere to get the vaccine, to schedule the date of the vaccine when I didn't have anything else planned. "You're going to be stiff and sick..."

In more exciting news, I ordered a new pair of hiking boots awhile back and need to break them in. Okay, I didn't have hiking boots to begin with. Since I don't do much hiking, I ordered the waterproof Ariat Terrain hikers that are popular with trail riders. After Peru, they will become riding boots. The other day I ordered a Thermarest sleep mat from Eastern Mountain Sports. That should be very useful on overnight trail rides too (and a much better option than the run of the mill sleep mat I use now).

Next on the list: travel insurance that includes emergency evacuation. The outfitters won't let me travel with them until I have it.

I'm also still on the fence between a really large duffel bag for a suitcase and a multi-day backpack. Since I will also be taking a day-pack to hike with, and won't have much use for the multi-day pack beyond Peru, I'm leaning towards the really large duffel with multiple compartments.

Whichever way you look at, making the packing list and accumulating the things you need is a fun process!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tough Choices

With my new work schedule, and the schedule for the 25-mile competitive trail rides I enjoy competing in, it was time to make some tough choices.

I work until 5 pm on weekdays now, and since I started the job fairly recently (May), I don't feel comfortable asking for time off yet. Plus, I need two weeks off in October for the trip to Peru with First Descents, so I need to save any time off I have as well!

The trail rides in the Northeast region are all scheduled on Saturdays. That means driving up Friday morning/early afternoon, vetting in on Friday afternoon and then riding 25-miles first thing Saturday morning. For Crooked River in May, my friends took my horse and vetted him in, and I drove up after work. I arrived at 10 pm and was in the saddle at 7 am, and then driving home at 4 pm. It was a whirlwind trip. I'm tired just thinking about it, and tired has been a general theme for me lately, as I try to cram a lot of life into less free time.

So I made the excruciatingly difficult decision not to take John to any more CTR's this year. On paper, or perhaps reading this, it probably looks like a no-brainer. But making the decision was like contemplating cutting my right arm off (I'm right handed). It shouldn't have been a hard decision, and in the grand scheme of things that can go wrong, not competing again this year isn't high on the list. But I had a terrible time deciding that it was definitely in my best interest, and given the lameness incident at Crooked River, probably in John's best interest not to compete again this year.

To make sure I couldn't change my mind, I had John's shoes pulled when the farrier was out last week. He doesn't need shoes unless I'm doing high amounts of mileage with him (horses with good feet are a wonderful thing to have!) He put shoes on Secret instead, she doesn't have great feet, so this should really help her, and I can take her to a couple more dressage shows (probably).

John will go on some pleasure trail rides, and hack around the farm. He doesn't seem nearly as upset about this decision as I was.

And, I've found some pleasure rides that I've been wanting to do, but couldn't because we were at or resting/recovering for a CTR when they were held in the past.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Massachusetts Horse!

I was late posting the link to the June/July issue. Now the August/September issue is online too!

This issue is a lot of fun. I wrote the feature Haflingers: Dashing Driving Horses. Check out the issue here.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Mountain Khakis

Back in April, I entered a contest on Liz Stout's blog, by commenting on her post. I won! And she mailed me a $50 gift certificate to Mountain Khakis, the sponsor of the contest.

I recently ordered a pair of their Alpine Utility Pants and love them. Thanks Liz and MK!!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Secret at CMHS

It only took me a week (or longer) to remember that I can zoom in on pictures on my is the edited version of the picture of Secret at Connecticut Morgan Horse Show! Thanks Megan Thompson for taking her picture :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

John at Crooked River

This picture was taken by Clowater Art at Crooked River and is my favorite shot that Wanda got that day.

Monday, July 2, 2012


One of the interesting things about trail riding, is the wildlife that you run into along the way. I'm not always sure that my horses agree with me that the wildlife is interesting. Then again, sometimes I don't agree with myself.

Two weeks ago, I was riding Secret in the evening (around 6 pm, but still broad daylight because of daylight savings time).

We were riding on the farm road between the hay fields on top of the hill, when we ran into a baby skunk, nosing around in the grass on the side of the farm road.

I did not stop to take a picture, I found this one on google.

When the little guy noticed us, he turned his back on us and lifted his tail. I was horrified, I don't know how to get skunk smell out, and don't want to learn. I quietly urged Secret forward. About 300 feet further up the road, we ran into his little brother. I saw this one a little sooner and urged her way around him, to avoid another scene with a lifted tail.

Phew. I thought we would have a peaceful walk the rest of the way home, when we turned into the next hayfield, towards home. The field had been mowed and the hay was in wind rows. Three hay wagons were parked out there waiting to bale hay the next day. Two huge turkey vultures were sitting on the hay wagons. They creeped me out - have you ever seen the head of one of those things up close?

I found this picture on google too.

Luckily the rest of the trail ride passed without incident and we had a peaceful walk home. I hope the next time we run into wildlife, its Bambi, or a killdeer bird trying to protect her nest.