Friday, December 18, 2015

A Look Ahead at 2016 for Breyer horses...

Aside from how expensive it's going to be for me with joining all 3 of the extra clubs (Vintage, Premier and the new Stablemate) for 2016, there's starting to be "leaks" for what new models are coming down the pike for us rabid collectors and there's many of them I want to have. Fortunately, however, I don't want ALL of the ones we've seen so far and so I will be focusing on the ones I do want.

We will go with the non-horse model. A very cute little donkey on the Brighty mold called Hickory Hills Wall Street

I don't have anything on this mold yet so he will be my first. I don't know if he's going to be limited or not, but my dealer has started a "Call List" of people to contact when he comes in and I'm on the list. They expected to get him within a couple of weeks, before Christmas, but so far I haven't heard anything. Wall Street is a portrait mold of a registered Mini Donkey owned by Hickory Hill Donkey Farm
photo by hickory hill donkey farm
Next up is the beautiful 2012 Olympic Gold Medal winner in Dressage, Valegro
photo by kay115 
Breyer really nailed the pose with this one as you can see...
photo by
The next horse I am looking forward to is on the Adios mold and is called Cherry Creek Fonzie Merit and is apparently a portrait horse of one that lives in Canada. Not real sure of the breed because they're calling it a Canada Horse
photo by paperhorse photography
Apparently 2016 is going to be the Year of the Portrait Horse because I saved the best for last...

The 2014 Horse of the Year winner and main mount for Olympian Beezie Madden...Cortes C
photo by Noelle Floyd
I am beyond excited about this one. I'm such a huge fan of Beezie's and have been for a number of years. I love to see the passion for her craft on her face, whether she's just done a fantastic job in the Stadium Jumping arena or going out on a trail ride near her farm in New York. 

I don't know when any of the models will be out, other than Valegro is supposed to be released to US buyers in January. He's currently available in the UK, which makes sense since he's their Olympic Champion. I'll need to find more room on my shelves, that's for sure. Maybe move my bed out of my room and just put up tons of shelves and sleep on the floor. Hahahaha.

In other is my unit's Christmas party. I'm not there. I decided not to participate this year. They're doing a White Elephant gift exchange and I just don't enjoy that atmosphere so I'm doing my own thing. Oh well. I think I'm the only one not there other than the people who're off today. No big deal. I don't make it a habit of skipping unit functions. Also, they're having a dessert pot luck and I know I'd have a hard time not partaking.

Speaking of which...I mentioned in my last blog post about the drastic changes to the Weight Watchers Program. I said I would commit to doing it for one week, but that lasted all of one day. As I had predicted, it was too restrictive and felt more like a diet. I figured out the points for a typical Saturday breakfast and lunch for me and ended up with only 6 points for dinner. I know the new plan is encouraging more healthy eating, but by increasing the points of so many foods because the formula for determining the points has changed, it eliminates the ability to have anything other than fruits, veggies and lean proteins. I might as well join Jenny Craig or NutriSystem and eat their cardboard food. Other people might be able to cut way back on most everything they enjoy, but I can't. I know from experience that if I'm deprived of things I'm going to end up bingeing on them and that's not good. So, I'm still going to follow the program and I'm still going to attend meetings. I have my older points calculator and several helpful websites so I have no doubt I can continue to follow the Points Plus Program that has enabled me to lose 16.6 pounds so far.

Well, I think that's it for now. I hope everyone is doing well. We've had some really low temperatures. Lower than even Chicago and New York. Everywhere I look I see blankets and sheets covering plants because we've had freeze warnings most every morning this week. It's supposed to warm up a bit this weekend, but then go back down next week. Yay!

Until next time!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The sound every horse lover knows...

You know the one. That unmistakable sound of horse hooves on concrete or asphalt or other hard surface. No matter what else is going on around you, as soon as you hear that sound, you start looking around for the horse making it, right? Surely I'm not the only one...who else wants to admit to it? I have two stories to relate to you on this subject.

A few years ago, when my parents still lived in Payson, some of their neighbors had horses. Not on their street, but in the neighborhood. One weekend, my brother and I were visiting with them. My dad was putting some hours in at work so it was just the three of us hanging out at the kitchen table. The TV was on and we were talking, but suddenly I heard something. Could it be? Going to the front porch I saw a couple of teenagers walking down the street, leading a palomino-colored horse. I'm he only one who heard it. Hahahaha. After watching them pass by, I went back inside, happy.

The second time occurred just this morning. As I was leaving my WW meeting I heard that sound again and started looking around the parking lot. Then I spotted "him" at the far end of the lot. The charter-type school in the same lot was having some sort of holiday thing for the families of their students and had brought in a bunch of snow, a train and a horse-drawn wagon. I think I've ridden in a horse-drawn wagon once. In Old Town Scottsdale back in the 80s, I think it was. Kind of cool. Nothing like riding a horse, though. Hahaha. Anyway, I, of course, had to take a picture...

And now I want to vent about something that is mostly not horse related so if you're not interested, you can stop reading now. Hahahaha

The week before Thanksgiving I decided to start going to Weight Watchers meetings again. I had been trying to do it using the online program, but since I didn't know exactly how much I weighed, I could only guess and calculate my daily points based on that guess. Surprisingly, I was only off by three pounds and was using the correct Daily Points Target. But I decided to start attending meetings again. This is a rather personal thing to me. It's no surprise I am overweight and while I'm not embarrassed to say I'm going to meetings again, I am embarrassed by how much I've "let myself go". My weight is keeping me from doing the activity I love most and that's horseback riding and is a big motivator for me following the program. If I'd stuck with it the first time I'd started going, I'd probably be at goal now and riding as often as I could like I did ten years ago. It's been 16 years since I've been riding because somewhere along the way, I decided food was more important.

For the past four weeks I've been hearing about the new program they were going to roll out and today was the day for people who attend on Saturdays, which is when I go. I have always been a fan of the 7:30am meetings. I guess because I can get it over with and still have the rest of the day. Anyway, I had been doing well on the program so far. Even though it's been difficult at times to use up all of my daily points, for the most part things were goi well. My first week after re-joining, I had lost 12.2 pounds, which made me very happy. I'd never lost that much in a week before. The following week I slipped up a bit and ended up gaining 2.4 back, but today's weigh in saw a loss of last week's 2.2 plus an additional 4.2 for a weekly total of 6.6 and an overall loss of 16.4 pounds. I am very happy about my progress so far, but then they hit us with the new program today. I don't like it. Granted, I haven't tried it yet and I will commit to a week, but I don't have much hope for it going too well. For one thing, my Daily Points Target, which is now being called Smart Points, has gone up 10. I already have a hard enough time meeting the current DPT so now I have to try to get an additional 10 in? Oh, but that should be so easy. Why? Because the values of most foods have gone up as well. Before, a 12oz can of regular Coke was only 4 points, but now it's 9. Why? They've thrown sugar into the equation for how values are determined. Before, they used Fat, Fiber, Carbs and Protein to determine the values, but now it's those plus Saturated Fat, Sugars and Calories. They are pushing us to find healthier alternatives, which is fine since they've always done that, but now I feel it's more of a push and I don't like that. Something I've always liked about Weight Watchers is that you didn't have to follow a strict diet or guideline. You didn't have to buy pre-packaged foods. You could eat what everyone else was eating. If I can't eat that Reese's Peanut Butter cup because it'll now cost me 12 points, I feel like I'm being cheated. I may as well join Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem where you have to buy their food in order to lose weight. Like I said, though, I'm going to give it a week and if it works just as well then I'm going to keep doing it, but if I find I'm feeling cheated then I'll go back to the old plan. My meeting leader says there won't be any tools to support the old program, but that's okay. I still have my materials and the little calculator that works on that program and so all should be good. We shall see.

I don't know how long it'll take me to get down to a weight where I can go riding again. There's a rental stable in Phoenix that doesn't have a weight limit, but I'm still at a weight where I wouldn't even attempt to go to that place yet.

Well, that's it for now, I guess. Until next time...

Friday, December 11, 2015

An update on the Salt River Wild Horses...

It was a dismal day back in July 2015 when it was discovered the Tonto National Forest would start rounding up what they considered to be "unauthorized livestock" from forestry land and sell them at auction.  Horses that have lived in peace for generations were in danger of being chased by low-flying helicopters and sold to the highest bidder, including those who would buy them for slaughter.  It wasn't acceptable and it caused an uproar.  What the forest service considered domestic horses that had "escaped" from nearby ranches were neither that nor the animals that were destroying the environment.

For the past 5 months people have written letters, posted notices and staged protests in an effort to save these precious animals.  Celebrities were notified, politicians were informed and numerous groups were established on Facebook to help organize it all.  Initially the forest service balked at the whole thing.  They claimed they had no authority to manage these horses and were not interested in speaking with any of the groups to figure it out.  Not long after a protest at Butcher Jones, a young horse was hit by a car and killed.  "We told you that would happen."  More recently, a 12 year old mare was found dead by gunshot.  I "blame" much of the publicity they've gotten.  More people know where to find them.  We still don't know if she'd been injured and someone considered it the humane thing to do or if she'd been targeted to prove a point.  E-coli was found in the water at Butcher Jones. "The horses are the reason for the e-coli." some people were saying because they go bathroom in the water.  Actually, they don't.  They never considered it could be the children in diapers who play in the water or the other people who're too lazy to walk to the bathrooms.

The politicians were in recess when all of this was going down and it was said only an act of Congress could save the horses.  Many people were suspicious of the timing.  Myself included.  But fortunately people were able to get in touch with the right people and initially the round-up was going to postponed until Congress was back in session.  The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group filed a lawsuit and a petition to stop the round-up and the forest service responded by postponing it for 120 days.  Some people worried it was because they thought not as many people would be around to protect them in December, but what they didn't realize is that people who follow these horses are around all the time, including during the winter.

The 120 day postponement was rapidly approaching.  Next Friday, as a matter of fact.  What was going to happen to the horses?  Our answer came today...

And the official notice posted

They still aren't 100% safe and won't be until they receive official protected status, but this is a step in the right direction and I am grateful for it.