Sunday ramblings

Today is Sunday August 4. Spent the better part of the past 3 days contemplate my future. In the background is the Fox News broadcast “Life, Liberty & Levin”. I seldom watch the news on TV, but there wasn’t anything else worth watching. The platform is a question and answer session, which is better than many of the talking heads from both sides of the political spectrum. The subject is a discussion about the second Cold War with Niall Ferguson. It entails an economic war as opposed to a military conflict, but that the long view is that China will win because they take a long-term view and that our political system will rive change and we will loose site on the long term. Interesting conversation. I have long found that the interface between economics and history/politics interesting. If I had been smarter, perhaps I could have made a career in the field.

Daughter leaves for the US Pony Club National Championships central region. The competition is in Colorado this year, which is a 6 hour trip near Denver. Son and I will stay home to keep the stress down. I wish her luck in all of the events that she is competing in. Hopefully she will remain n the horse and finish. Both she and Ruby have been practicing hard the past several weeks. She will be competing in show jumping and eventing.

Friday I managed to visit with my financial guy to review my status on the path towards retirement. While I am on tract, I have a few areas to clean up. The discussion covered numerous areas beyond just focusing on 401k balances, debt, and what I plan to do after retirement. Of course, plans are always subject to change. Given the current political climate, I am concerned that much could change and destroy my plans and my future.

Then of course, we had another weekend of a lone gunmen and mass killings. I am pro gun and believe that guns don’t kill people, rather people kill people. That said, I have no problems with background checks, licenses and insurance much like one has for an automobile, keeping automatic guns out of the hands of people, and mental health. You need to keep guns out of the hands of some people. The issue then becomes how. You also need to acknowledge that if people want to harm others, they will. I get a check up annually as far as my mental health as required for my job and my employer. Sadly, I am afraid that the increases in gun killings recently has more to do with the declines in our society and it’s values, the fact that we continue to lesson the value of human life. This is in opposition to those who subscribe to a theory that the increase is associated with the number of guns available.

There is much hate these days, and it surfaces on social media often. Politically, we are divided as a nation and it shows in many areas. I will have more to say about these topics as we continue on the journey of this blog.

RoadTrip…day 2

The first full day in Flagstaff. We dropped daughter and mother off where the horse has been put up for the weekend. Son and I then embarked on a 90 minute detour north to check out one of the seven wonders of the natural world. The Grand Canyon.

When son walked up to the edge, he looked out and said “amazing “. He stood there in silence for a several minutes, admiring the natural beauty and sheer size of it. It was not what he expected.

We walked around the canyon rim for about an hour. Checked out two gift shops, and then hopped back in the car to return to Flagstaff. Today was the teaching portion of Coconino. It’s where the contestants get to pay to practice dressage, show jumping, and get the opportunity to walk the cross country course.

We got back in time for daughter to bath the horse. As you can see, daughter is telling stories to the other riders who are there washing their horses as well. I wonder what drives som many little girls to ride horses. There are literally a hundred plus competitors here. I only say maybe three male competitors.

After bathing Ruby, it was time to dry the horse and hope that she stays clean until tomorrow.

For daughter, it’s quiet time to get mentally prepared for the competition. After getting the horses tucked into their stalls for the evening, fed, and general getting ready, there was a stable social hour. I was admiring the truck and trailer rig that sponsor had. A heavy duty Ford 350 and a trailer that could hold four horses and a complete camper. Impressive. First class. Then for us it was back to the hotel, dinner and an early bed. Until tomorrow.

Road Trip

Instead of spending the 4th of July at a picnic, watching a parade, or going out to hear music and watch fireworks, I spent the day in the car. As a family, we drove to Flagstaff Arizona for a weekend horse competition for Daughter. My 4th of July hotdog was from a truck stop on I40 heading west. Ketchup but sadly, no onions. The Coconino Horse Trials are held every year about this time. The competition starts on Friday with classes and practice and the competition is Saturday and Sunday. We already know that it will be a long day because her cross country ride is not until 3:23 Sunday afternoon. Then pack up the horse and a 7 hour car ride. Stopping at Goose Downs to change trailers puts us into Los Alamos about 3 am.

For son and I, it is kinda like a family vacation. Of course I’d like to see her compete but my weekend will be spent entertaining him. And since this post is entitled Road Trip, I took a number of obligatory photos on the ride to catalogue this adventure.

Your author, as we pull out of Los Alamos at 7 am. First stop is to Goose Downs to trade trailers and get the other horse for the trip. Of course, we have to entertain son, so it is a must to have WiFi for the trip.

Pit stop at Goose Downs to unload Ruby while we transfer the gear to a larger trailer and load two horses for the long trip west.

Leaving Santa Fe on I25 after Goose Downs. Next stop will be outside Grants for gas along I40. Stops are short, long enough to get a bathroom break.

Eventually we cross into Arizona. I40 often parallels Route 66. So a little nostalgia runs through my mind. The best part of the trip is several hours into Arizona…

Sadly there is no time to stop and check out it the corner, but we played the song twice as we drove past.

Well I’m runnin’ down the road tryin’ to loosen my load
I’ve got seven women on my mind
Four that wanna own me two that wanna
stone me one says she’s a friend of mine
Take it easy
Take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy
Lighten up while you still can
Don’t even try to understand
Just find a place make your stand
Take it easy
Well I’m a standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona
Such a fine sight to see
It’s a girl my lord in a flatbed
Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me
Come on baby
Don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me
We may lose and we may win
Though we will never be here again
So open up I’m climbin’ in
Take it easy
Alright

Yes we sang the great Eagles song, these lyrics courtesy of Google. Both son and daughter just looked at their parents in wonder. It will take awhile, but they need to learn traditions, or at least great music.

Finally Flagstaff and the Coconino Fair Grounds for unpacking and settling Ruby in for the evening. She is on a working vacation.

For the family, it is the hotel, dinner at a brewery and then back to the hotel for bed.

Pony Club

If you spend time with horses, you eventually get introduced to the United States Pony Club. They aim to teach young and old riders the proper rules for taking care of a horse, as well as riding and eventing.

In preparation for my daughter’s next event, she has a mounted pony club meeting today. The have regional and location-specific clubs throughout the country. My daughter rides as a member of the Santa Fe Pony Club, which is one of the clubs in the Southwest Region.

So I dutifully took her to the place where they ride, which is south of Santa Fe. Santa Fe has several places in the area that offer riding and host events, including polo. Just past Lamy, on the way to Galisteo is Goose Downs Farm. This is the place where my daughter rides and trains often.

They offer training for dressage, show jumping and cross country for all ages. Indoor and outdoor. As you know, the weather in New Mexico is nice for most of the year. Today was sunny and low 70’s. I just love the blue sky. You can rent a horse or bring your own. Today my daughter road Wyatt, which is not her horse. We will transport Ruby down later in the week. I like to tell Ruby that she is going to the spa for the week.

Sadly, she was ill prepared for the mounted lesson today because she forgot her equipment, but practiced the dressage course for her ranking in preparation for next week.

Goose Downs has a riding event coming up next weekend (http://www.goosedownsfarm.com). You can board your horse there for a fee, and they even have a bunkhouse where you can stay if your coming from afar.

So while she practiced today, I helped groom the place in preparation for the dressage events this weekend. Thus I managed to get several miles in while pushing the mower.