I tried making home made corn dogs this evening and it didn't go well. I should know better than to trust internet recipes involving lots of hot oil and the promise of being fast and easy. It really wasn't that bad except I wasted some jalepenos (trying to make jalepeno poppers) and three free-range, nitrite-free hotdogs. And of course a bunch of oil and corn meal. Sigh. I think there was way too much flour in the recipe and not enough of binding ingredients because the batter was kind of runny and when it started to cook it immediately broke apart and came off the hot dogs and jalepenos and floated around in the oil making weird little messy fried blobs of corn meal.
I'm going to try it again but make it a 3:1 ratio instead of 2:1 with the corn meal and flour and I"m adding an extra egg for a binding agent. So far I don't know enough about baking to make any changes beyond that. I may need to do a little more research before I try again and waste a bunch of food again. I never realized that cooking and baking included so much science. So does gardening. I've been researching composting again - this time composting manure for when we eventually live somewhere I can at least have one of my horses at home with me.
Well, as we speak my husband is taking photos of the carnage that was me trying to make corndogs. This was preceeded by him saying, "I know what I should do with it!" and me saying, "Heat it up and throw it on the neighbors we don't like?" Sigh. This is why I'm not one of the popular moms on the PTA*
Fourth day of working with Rex. Our leadline walks continue to go well. Our lunging continues to slowly improve. We will continue to just work on walking for awhile I think because any improvement he's made disappears in a crumbling pile of catastrophe when I ask him to change gaits. So, we're not quite there yet. But he's doing better on the lunge line at a walk. I was trying to come up with ideas as to why he pulls so much going to left and not much at all going to the right. I mentioned to Trainer K. maybe it's a balance thing and he's not very strong on that side of his body. Trainer K pointed out he's just walking so he doesn't need to balance much and I said, "Well, I just can't figure it out," to which she said, "Well, he's always led on the left and he pulls when he's led so it's just what he does. He's not led on the right." Which made sense. Although he hasn't been pulling at all when I've been leading him, although I can see where it could get set up to because he likes to lag behind me and I can see if I started pulling him to follow me it'd turn into a tug-o-war. Usually it just takes a little cluck and poke to the side and he'll wake up and walk next to me again. Anyway, I figure when I've been doing this stuff for forty years like Trainer K. the answers will seem a lot clearer. Until then I rely a lot on asking her advice probably way too often.
Rex had a driving bridle hanging on his door so I figured maybe we should work with a bit in to see how he did with that. I'd heard he's not good with a bit so I put the bridle on and put the halter over that so I wouldn't be pulling on his mouth. He took the bit just fine, but looked really uncomfortable so I took him across the barn to Trainer K who looked at it and said to take it out of his mouth because it was too harsh of a bit and he was too new to bits. So, his owner found a milder one and put it on his bridle and we're going to try to do some work with the headstall/bit on, but only hooking the lead and lunge line to the halter so as not to unnecessarily pull on his mouth. So far so good though. Whatever issues he'd been having in the past with the bit seem to have passed and he seems like he's in a good place now with it which is good. Mini bits are really unbelievably tiny. They look like bits for cat bridles or something.
I didn't work with Maiden the last couple days because her feet were sore after being trimmed so today I made sure to have time to ride her. Trainer K. and another boarder were already out lunging their horses and I thought for a moment, "I'll have to wait to lunge her, maybe I'll just ride her without lunging. It's only been two days since she's worked." Then I remembered Trainer K. once telling me she was going to inscribe on my tombstone "I just didn't have time to lunge my horse today." I'm awfully glad I didn't go with the no lunging thought because she ran more than I've ever seen her run before.
It started out when she was trotting out on the circle and we were right up against the far wall with the exterior door that looks out on the front pastures and the parking lot. Maiden has been wary of anyone who walks by those doors ever since 4th of July (she seems to have equated people walking by the doors with fireworks or something). But usually she just spooks a little and scoots off to the side. This time (and no one was walking by) she stopped dead in her tracks and wouldn't go past the door. I encouraged her to keep going and she bolted. When she does that on the lunge line I keep her going until she tires her out (the whole "You want to run? I'll give you running!" principle) So she'd tear around the circle and stop dead in her tracks in front of the door, frozen in terror until I encouraged her to go again, and then she'd run as fast as she could, then freeze in the same spot ... we did this over and over again until I was so dizzy I thought I was going to fall down, but she was trotting past the door without stopping and only looking outside with a wary expression. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what was going on so I just assumed she was in a freaky mood.
She did fine going the other direction and we didn't do as much work because by then I was so dizzy I couldn't do much more turning in circles with her on the lunge line (for those of you unfamiliar with lunging - the person stands and turns in one spot in the middle while the horse goes around in a circle and when the horse is really running you're basically spinning around in one spot holding on to a rope - after years of doing this I think it has actually improved my equilibrium a little bit. Also, if you lean over and change the altitude of your head after lunging a running horse - say to pick up the lunge whip that you accidentally dropped - the whole world will go topsy-turvy and you'll fall over. I learned that one the hard way.)
It wasn't until I got on to ride her and we went down to the far end of the arena where the exterior door is, and I was far enough up off the ground to see what she was seeing and there it was - right outside the door, sitting in the grass right next to the exterior arena wall was the big green-monster-exercise-ball that for some reason had ended up in our parking lot in the grass. That made me laugh out loud because then it totally made sense why she was acting like she had. After our ride I took her outside to eat some grass and check out the exercise ball in person and on that side of the wall with nothing between us she wasn't scared of it at all. While she was munching grass I even kicked it so it rolled over by her nose and all she did was snort as if to say "I'm not going to play now, Mom, I'm eating grass."
*Actually, I am fairly popular with the parent/PTA set, I just don't fit in - by my own choice - with the segment that worries about what they wear, what kind of car they drive and if they get a good seat at El Gaucho for lunch time drinks.