Thursday, July 28, 2016

As this day unfolds

I awoke feeling refreshed, if just a bit annoyed at Charlotte.  She and Miss Ruby awoke me an hour early this morning from my slumber with so much racket.  I knew something was wrong, thought it was probably a hot air balloon.  But instead I look out the window to see a young couple, momma with baby in her arms standing beside their car in the ditch by our driveway.  Hmmm.....

Thankfully no one was hurt, the car stopped short of hitting the telephone pole by a few inches.  Close enough right?  So standing in my nightie, hair a disaster and not really awake yet, I call out and see if the young gal wants to wait inside.  She kind of surprised me by replying, sure.  After quieting the dogs down, (company always excites them), I offer some coffee, but all she really wants is a place to change the baby.  Megan and Amanda, btw...totally adorable little girl, whom Charlotte is completely infatuated by!!  :)  She kept waggling everything she had to waggle and peering back at me, all smiles like - look mom!  Can we keep her!?  I loved it, started my morning out with a smile.

Hubby and another guy who stopped to help, pulled their car out with our truck and they're off and on their way again.  Hope they drive more carefully this time.  And now the hot air balloon shows up!!  Giving Charlotte yet, another reason to ramp it up and start barking for all she's worth.  :)  Kind of an exciting morning around our place.

Today is my Friday and my final day of working this month.  As July winds down and flows into August,  we're trying to relax and really get into the enjoyment of summer.  It's so short and time goes so fast, that some days are just meant to be enjoyed at a slowed down pace and be savored.  Trying to do just that.

We are gonna be hot today!  Mid 90's today and tomorrow, followed by weather of perfection over the weekend.  We are off for another camp out.  I am totally excited!!  This will be something I've dreamed of happening for about 5 years now.  Me and Eagle out in the mountains, riding the trails.  *sigh*  It feels like a long time coming...almost surreal, there's been trials and tribulations, lots of work, lots of do-overs, tears and fears and accomplishments.  A bond that's been created, a relationship based on mutual trust that wasn't easy.  For either of us.  Easier for Eags than it was for me.  But that's horses for you.  They are so much more forgiving than we are; they have that "living in the moment thing" perfectly mastered.  Me?  Not so much.  Whenever that moment of clarity happened in my brain I'm not sure, but it's been quite recent for me.  How can I keep asking my horse to trust me if I don't choose to trust him?  And it really is about choice.  In my own mind, I had to come to that place of decision.  Was I going to stay stuck in that fearful place?  Too afraid to do what I watched others do on my horse?  He is of sound mind and body, not a mean bone there.  Stubborn, yes - there is that, but nobody's perfect.  :)

Courage comes to mind - my chosen word to keep near and dear this year...ha! no pun intended.  I have faced so many fears and truly feel like I'm emerging out the other side of some long, dark place where I've been for way too long.  Sounds a little melodramatic, even to me - but I am enjoying this time of triumph.  Of being an overcomer.  I like how it feels.  It feels nice this mindful way of going.  I'll likely have my nerves, those butterflies in my stomach at first, but I will keep Joe's words of advice in my mind - "movement is your friend", and Jessica's advice of, "breathe, relax and look where you're going".  Another friend told me in a text this morning to, "listen to your horse and let him tell you what he needs and you'll both be fine"  :)  I like that!

So here goes!  I'm really looking forward to this.  I've been telling Eagle all about our little trip coming up.  He's a real good listener.  I just know he's gonna have as much fun as I am.  If you would, please wish us well, say a little prayer for me, if you please?  I have faith and will step up and do what my heart desires even if I am a teensy bit afraid.  I can do this - no, we can do this!

After that, who cares!?  (name that movie)  :)

Blessings all around dear friends, readers and fellow horsemen/women.  This is what living is all about.  Will try to take pictures of our adventures and share them with you when we get back.

Lorie @ Cingspots


Friday, July 22, 2016

Just some thoughts

It's Friday again.  The weeks sure do fly by, don't they?  Looking back it always surprises me just how fast the time goes.  Sure do wish things would slow down for this gal...I really do.

It's a cloudy, cool morning and it feels good to me.  There were a few raindrops on my moon roof but so far, that's it.  Slight chance of a few showers they say...dampen the dust.

last year.  trees are much bigger now

Yesterday was B and my 32nd wedding anniversary.  Talk about wow!  Where indeed, has the time gone?  It sure doesn't feel like that long ago we walked down the aisle and said those vows, made those promises to each other.  Sometimes we've done good, and then some days, not so great.  That's life.  That's a relationship.  The reality of living every single day.  Watching it unfold and responding to everything.  We can never, ever be anywhere even remotely close to perfect.  So...get over it!

He's still got my back though, still my best friend.  The "other" in my life that shadows mine.  Me. And I do that for him.  For better, for worse, we're a team.  Sometimes he's my best fightin' buddy. What can I say?  I can get passionate about stuff!  *shrug*  The good and the bad.  For both of us. Mostly it's good though, this marriage thing.  Can't say that I don't miss some things, but I'm sure he can say that too.  Life is perfect for no one, but it's good.  And I'm thankful for him. Where there is love, it's always a good thing.

We spent the evening in the barn with the horses.  All 6 of them - it was pedicure day.  Not me - I just wrote the check.  :)  Who says that humans are smarter than horses?  Not sure I can agree.  Think about those times you're sweatin' your buttons off loading hay in the barn when it's pushing 90 or even 100, like this year?  Yeah.  And the horses are watching all the goings-on from the shady area of the pasture.  :)  You know what I'm talkin' about.  There's plenty more examples but I won't go into that now.  Just be thankful you don't have to pay for a gym membership to get your exercise.  It was a pretty good way to celebrate 32 years of marriage.  We enjoyed it.  The smell of horse, of dirt, a cool summer's breeze and good conversation.  Afterwards we ordered burgers and french fries from the local eatery and watched a little tv.  The dogs begged and of course, it paid off.  It usually does...they've got us trained pretty well too.

Have you been watching any of the Republican National Convention?  Good and bad, of course - but Trump's running mate?  I like that guy.  He (to me) seemed genuine.  A good family guy whose (apparently) done a very good job of being the Indiana State Governor.  Regarding stuff like their budget, and building an excess above that budget, creating and so far, maintaining the creation of new jobs and several other areas I'm failing to remember right now.  He seems almost like the "quintessential American guy" right down to having a son that's a Marine, a daughter whose a writer and a third daughter who, if I remember right, is a student.  Wife's a teacher, they're a Christian family.  Sound values.  Anyway, I just hope and pray he really is genuine and as good as he seems. He comes across as humble, and I always appreciate that.  Humility is greatly under-appreciated and under-valued if you ask me, in this day and age.  It certainly does not indicate weakness.  Quite the contrary.  Anyway, say what you will.  This dyed-in-the wool Democrat, moderately conservative,   moderately liberal used to be quite independent voter-citizen woman (there's a mouthful!) will be voting for Donald Trump this coming election.  I seriously cannot believe I just said that, but it's the case.  And I mean it. To me, it's the only sound decision to be made and I believe the right choice we have. I'm willing to accept the risk, take a chance on a person who previously has irritated me immeasurably, been arrogant, spouted his mouth off, said things that only a childish bully might do or say, but given all that - I believe underneath the exterior, he's of sound mind and judgement, and believes in (and loves) our country. His resume proves he's not perfect, but is obviously a brilliant business man who could very likely rebuild our country's soundness.  That's who we need, someone who knows how to get things done, negotiate with people, do the work it takes and not be afraid to speak on behalf on our country's citizens.  Maybe I'm naive, but I believe that's a risk worth taking. Not be afraid to believe in our hope, believe it can change for the better if we decide to make it so. Not just accept more of a sure thing... I do not believe that of Hilary Clinton.  I think she's shallow, self-serving and has no respect or compassion for people in general, unless and of course, they can benefit her personally in some way.  That is what my gut says.   I absolutely will not, under any circumstance never, ever vote for Hilary Clinton.  I do not trust that woman, I abhor her ethics, would have fired her, or imprisoned her a long time ago, had I had the power, but I don't.  My only power is my vote.

There.  I've said my piece.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Do what your gut tells you to do, trust in your heart above all else.  But please...please, for the love of all we hold dear, do your research with your brain and take into account the history of events that we've all seen taken place.  Dig deeper than Fox News or Facebook.

This weekend is open and we have no plans, except for those little ideas rattling around in my head.  :)  But of course I have desires!!!  I'm thinking to talk my hubby into maybe heading to the beach, or maybe finding a good hiking trail somewhere and spend a little time outside.  Pack a picnic lunch perhaps, or splurge and have dinner out...the possibilities are endless - within our budget, of course. That narrows our possibilities quite a lot actually, but fun can be had.  Adventures await!  Life doesn't have to be expensive my friends!  Go out there and find something to do!  Make memories with the people you love!  The animals you love too!!!

Or maybe a trail ride would be nice...

May we all be blessed and make the most of our greatest gift.

Our time.  See ya,

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Looking ahead and a little behind

I've never really been keen on setting goals, working actively towards that goal and seeing it come to fruition.  I'm much more the "fly by the seat of my pants" sort.  Not sure why that is...

my hubby thinks I'm a dreamer.  That I spend a lot of time in my head, dreaming about the possibilities and imagining what things would be like.  I can't deny this.  Tis the truth.

That's not always the best way to handle life.  But, it is what it is.  With Eagle, (maybe for the first time) I prepaid for a clinic, made a commitment and actually followed through.  And you know what? That felt really good to this cloud-gazer, dreamer sorta gal.  Sure did!

It got me to thinking that maybe, if I set some tiny, little goals in the not so distant future - just maybe, I could make a habit of dangling the proverbial carrot in front of my nose and seeing more of my dreams become reality...ya think?  :)

So with that in mind, we have a camping trip coming up the last weekend of this month.  It is a beautiful campground that we've visited only once before.  It rained that weekend and exploring the trails was kept to a minimum, but there's lots of old abandoned logging roads that intersect with a couple of trail systems that just might be the ideal opportunity to take my boy out on our first, real trail ride excursions.  That's what I'm thinking!  Maybe it will work out, and maybe it won't, but I've got two weeks to ride my horse and see what happens.  Nothing in stone, but I will give it my best try. Besides the obvious, there's one other possible hitch that might spoil things.

Ladde.  Grrrrrr!!  We loaded him in the trailer a couple of nights ago, with the idea to take him along to the arena for my lesson with Jessica.  Yes, I've gotten a wee bit spoiled and enjoy having actual footing when I ride.  Anyway, the big old turd pitched a bloody fit and created such a ruckus that Eagle didn't even want to get in the trailer behind the big, white brat.  Can't say that I blamed him either.  We ended up leaving Ladde at home and took Eagle and Missy for the lesson.  The lesson turned out really good, by the way.  :)  Color me happy!  Eagle accepts new situations and environments with such ease, it's amazing.  He only had a couple of tiny spooks when horses outside took to running or bucking or such.  But they were uneventful and honest, a bit of a jump and then face the source of the startle, then back to calm.  Good boy.  That, I can handle.  We worked on ideas that Joe gave me and I'm happy to report that Jess is on board.  I was a bit worried about that.  Lots and lots of upward and downward transitions, which for now means walk slow, walk quicker, trot, back to walk, half halt, up to get the picture.  And, also projecting my energy up and out at a visualized "point of reference", and when almost there, quickly change my focus to another location, get Eags moving directly at new destination and so on.  It's really helping with the issue of forward, or rather lack of forward that I've been struggling with.  It also greatly helps the wandering that Eags likes to do.  I'm to get him moving with legs only, no directing, and once he's moving well, point him in the direction I want to go and leave him alone.  If he roots, I'm to hang onto the gullet of my saddle and create a wall for him to bump into, but never to pull on him.  Let him find the brace and let him find the release.  Joe said repeatedly to me, "get with your horse", "stop fighting him so much", "he has a mind, let him make some decisions sometimes".  When he roots or wanders, instead of pulling on the reins, or "directing" so much, just create that wall with my hands and drive him forward.  It's working!  He gave me so much good advice, I tried to write them down and I think I remember most of it, but probably not.  Anyway, we have plenty to work on.  Okay, so I just got really distracted!  :) The challenge of Ladde and Eagle riding together must be worked on.  Otherwise, it's Missy and Eags that will go camping, and my hubby won't like that.  At all.  He loves riding his big guy.  *sigh* Nothing is ever easy, is it?  So.  Next goal set.  We'll see how it goes.  And...we don't even know yet, if Ladde and Eagle are going to fit in our trailer.  :)  That's potential for a whole 'nother canna worms!

Our riding around the filbert/hazel nut orchard has been seriously curtailed by the farmer. Apparently, all the dirt, debris, husks, nuts and all get swept up together and shipped to the plant for processing. And wouldn't you know?  They don't want the possibility of their crop being rejected due to horse poop in with the mix!  Seriously?  We used to raise filberts and never in a million years would I have come up with this.  So, I agreed to always stay on the very outside perimeter of the field  (to not leave hoof prints) and always pick up any piles of poo that my horse may drop, in order to have the privilege of riding around their field.  Good grief, the nuts are in shells, but whatever.  I totally understand, and then again, I just don't get it.   I could have come up with many, many complaints brought on by their endless pesticide spraying, tractors and other trucks and equipment utilizing our private driveway for access to their fields, dust they create, fencing they've torn out over the years....but I remained graceful and polite, acquiescing to his terms of use, because we just don't have any other place to ride where we live.  *sigh*  How I miss the good old days when everything and everybody wasn't so darned anal about every single little thing!!!  Anyhoo...

Harley hurt himself again last week.  We saw where it happened.  He ran into the pump house and sliced his left eye open on the tin.  We obviously found him right after it had happened because it was bright, red blood and a perfectly clean slice just above and across the eyelid.  Crap.  He also must have scrambled and gone down because he had scarfed the hair off in several spots on his neck, down his chest and one upper leg.  Poor guy!  Dear God, how I hate it when he gets hurt.  I can't even blame Missy for it this time because she and Ladde spend the nights in the corral, and we found him before the morning feed.  Somebody or something obviously spooked him, and these things will happen from time to time, but I just wish they wouldn't.   At the time I didn't think it required sutures, but in hindsight it should have been stitched.  Too late now.  I've just been keeping it as clean as possible, gave him banamine for a few days to keep the swelling down and use dermagel on the wound to keep it moist and provide a protective barrier against the flies and the dirt.  He's going a little bit crazy now because it's obviously itching like mad, so last night I gave him some detomidine, got him good and sleepy and did a thorough cleaning and debriding of the wound.  It looks really good this morning, but again, in hindsight, I should have tried to bandage it to keep it moist and clean.  *sigh*  Oh well, maybe I'll have to try the bandaging tonight.  Trouble is, the location isn't exactly conducive to bandaging, and Harley isn't exactly agreeable to anything being done to his eyes.  All I can do is try.

back in the day...

Charlotte rolled in stink last night.  Oh my Word!!!!!!  As if things weren't busy enough.  First I catch her with a very dead mouse in her mouth - the chase ensued.  I ran and darted and tried yelling her into submission; but alas, I gave up and the mouse went down the hatch.  Eeeuuwwww!  As if that weren't gross enough, next up she finds something - God knows I probably don't even want to know what exactly it was, or just how very dead it was, but she decides it's a wonderful idea to roll in the thing.  Why do dogs do this?  The stench cannot even be described.  Suffice it to say that it was bad.  Bad enough that she did not even get to walk through the house.  We went around the back and with a garden hose, we rinsed and rinsed and rinsed - before either one of us were willing to apply shampoo and lather the stink off.  *sheesh*  That was not on my agenda for the evening!  But she's clean and sweet-smelling.  For now.  I even sprayed doggy deodorizer on her - now she smells like a baby's butt.  :)  That's what she gets.  Apparently I'm slightly vindictive...

Remember all those lovely flower pots and containers I planted while on stacation?  Yeah well, now I have watering that's required sometimes daily, or at least every other day depending on the heat.  Like I've said before, at times I'm pretty sure that I am my own worst enemy.  Just how busy do I think is busy enough???  Our little veggie garden is looking pretty good so far though, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and yes, more flowers.  It's the second year for my little strawberry patch and we got enough for several batches of berries for fresh eating.  We still have strawberry jam in the freezer from last year, so we just ate em.  My hubby picked a big old bunch of Marionberries the other day and we made syrup.  Oh my, it turned out delicious!!!  We had pancakes one morning last weekend and the flavor was out of this world, good!  Berries are my friend.  We also have tons of wild blackberries all over the property, especially along the long driveway, which we are pleased about and want to keep growing.  They make a wonderful dust abatement that's eco-friendly and they serve as an amazingly good natural fence-line.  Betcha momma cow and her little hellion, Bubba can't go through that fence!  Ha!

Image result for beautiful flower pots images

Summer is in full swing and I hope every one of us - including all of you - takes the time to savor the season and enjoy, go on an adventure, ride your horse, go camping, the beach - something! - life's just too darn short not to have a little fun!!!  Our 32nd wedding anniversary is coming up on the 21st of this month and I'd sure love to spend the weekend at the beach, go out for a romantic dinner, and have wild sex on the seashore.  Kidding!  Sand in all the wrong places is not fun!  :)

Hope you are all well and living life to the fullest.
Blessings, Lorie & the gang at C-ingspots.

Missy and me


Friday, July 8, 2016

Good for the body and the soul

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Vacations and horses.

And not necessarily in that order...

Well, in such a short period of time, my vacation and our long-awaited clinic with Joe Wolter, have come and gone.  *sigh*

How quickly time goes.

My little chunk of time away from work and responsibilities passed all too quickly.  But like the title of this post states, so much good comes from a little time to oneself.  And our clinic was all that, and a whole lot more.

Me and this horse here?  We did great!  In fact, we did awesome!!

I cannot put into words, nor express my complete satisfaction and pride in this wonderful horse!  He just accepts whatever I come up with to throw his way.  *sigh*  Have I mentioned lately just how much in love with this horse I am!?

Well I am.  Completely.

This is Joe Wolter...horseman.  "The real deal".  He worked with, and studied under Ray Hunt and Tom Dorrance for many years, back in the day.  They worked and lived the life of ranching, side by side.  And like he says, "he just soaked up as much as was possible".  And it shows.  My hat's off to this kind man and gifted horseman.  If I get the chance in the future to ride with this man again - I will do it.  I learned more in a single day from him than I have in the past many years.  Ever since the days of riding the Ray Hunt or Tom Dorrance clinics.  How I've missed those wonderful learning opportunities!

Suffice it to say that the clinic was an amazing experience for me and my horse.  I am so encouraged and so thankful that we got to go.

I'll try to summarize without going into too much detail.

I've watched over the past 3 decades as the popularity of clinics has become "big business".  I must say that sometimes it seems as if clinics have become an iconic fad.  Thankfully there are some good horsemen out there, but there are just a few great ones.

I think that Joe Wolter is as true as they come.  He is all about the horse.  He helps people to understand, and he helps people show the horse, so he can understand just what it is that we are asking of them.  That is not easy.  People often expect horses to be subservient.  They want to take choice out of the equation and "make" the horse do their will.  This just makes life miserable for most horses and for some people.  When you get in a conflict with a 1000 plus pound animal who's full of self-preservation, that almost always spells trouble.

Joe learns and grows right along with the horse.  He's a lifelong student of the horse.  His vast experience, with the great horsemen, Tom and Bill Dorrance, and Ray Hunt was acquired while riding and ranching with these men.  He learned from living it.  What works, and what doesn't work.

During our lunch break my husband asked Joe if he'd been riding his whole life?  Joe replied, "not yet".  This is a great example of what he offers, an ever expanding education of the horse.  No egos, no boasting, just loving the learning process, and loving the horse.

There really is no way to convey the wealth of information that comes from Joe Wolter.  It's easier to say what it isn't, than what it is.  It isn't hype, it isn't common, it isn't egocentric.  It's a way of looking at how the horse feels about things, and knowing what we can do to help the horse to understand. This empathetic understanding builds something that is lasting.  This bond is forever, not just for the day.  That's something the human and the horse can build upon.  Mutual understanding and trust. Unity and partnership.  Equals.

I am humbled and grateful that this fine man, gifted teacher and exceptional horseman comes by for a visit every so often.  Thank you is an understatement of the gratitude I feel.  So having said that, if and when Joe comes back, I will jump at the chance to learn from, and ride alongside him again.  I haven't felt this way since I had the privilege of learning from Ray Hunt.

And so in closing, I am so excited to continue this journey with my Eags.  He never fails to amaze me with the amount of heart and try that he has.  I truly am blessed and look forward to putting all the good advice into practice when I ride my horse.  I loved every single minute of this clinic and not even for a single moment, was I nervous or had one bit of doubt that we couldn't do anything.  Just amazes me how calm we both were and how great we did!  I've been doing the happy dance ever since...

Below is my hubby on our dear Ladde.  Doing fantastic and sound as a dollar.  Just could not be any more thankful.  :)

The whole herd enjoying breakfast while my hubby enjoys his morning coffee.

Me and Charlotte last weekend in Sisters, Oregon.  We spent a couple days there with my brother and sister in-law.  Wonderful days filled with perfectly gorgeous weather, fantastic BBQ in Camp Sherman on the beautiful Metolius River, and great live music for their 4th of July celebration.  Good company, good times.  Memories to cherish.  Oh, and of course the dogs had a blast.  Swimming, stick fetching and long walks by the river - does life get any better than that?  :)

I did a little shopping.  Had a pedicure, a manicure, got my hair cut and colored for summer and rode my horse.  A lot!  It was a perfectly wonderful sta-cation and my only complaint is that it's over far too quickly!  Oh and of course I spent time in the pool soaking up the sun, some light reading and even did some flower gardening.  My last day off before returning to work I enjoyed a nap, hubby and I went out for Chinese and then watched the fireworks going off everywhere from our pasture.  The horses weren't too concerned, there was plenty of hay and we were right there which seemed to calm them.

Life is good.

And I am thankful.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Affirmation, Hope & Courage

So many possibilities in that little word...a whole world of potential outcomes.  A feeling that I can do this.  That's a beautiful thing.

I read on Aurora's blog today that her husband and his mare are feeling this coming to fruition. They've worked hard, they're developing a solid partnership based on trust and trials.  Compassion, understanding, kindness, consistency and maybe most importantly, dreams.  The realization that if you dream and you really concentrate on taking the steps to make that dream a reality; you will see affirmation of your dreams.  That epiphany of "I really can do this" happens.  *nice*  Congratulations you two!

Speaking of affirmations, I had one last night too.  Maybe for the first time since I've been riding Eagle, I actually smiled and thought to myself, "maybe I really can do this".  There was nothing miraculous that happened.  But I had a good ride on my horse.  Another good ride.  But this time, something I can't fully describe happened.  I had this little feeling of gumption inside.  It felt good. My horse felt solid and reliable underneath me.  He argued a little bit with me, and I said, come on now, we got this.  And then he responded.  :)  I kept encouraging through my discomfort and he complied.  It sort of felt like he was saying, alright if you say so, I'll do it.  I felt as if maybe for the first time, I really was behaving like the leader, and that his trust was well-placed in me.  That felt really nice.  I've been feeling kind of pumped ever since.

Last night when I got home from work it was really windy.  Not what I'd hoped for.  But the weather otherwise was perfect for an evening ride.  So, I got Eagle out of the pasture, groomed and tacked him up and let him stand in his stall with a little bit of hay while I brought the other horses inside.  I figured I'd give them all a flake of hay and leave them in their stalls while Jess and I rode.  We'd made plans to ride around the orchard, do a little in the corral and then ride down and around the pasture as well.  In the 21 years we've lived here, I've never ridden any horses in their pasture.  I've always thought of that as "their space" - not really for anything other than whatever they choose to do there.  Anyway, it was Jessica's suggestion so I was game to try.  Anyway, I got a bale of hay out of the barn and a giant moth miller flew down my blouse.  I totally freaked, practically ripped my shirt and bra off before said moth miller flew out of my shirt.  I retrieved my sunglasses, straightened myself out and commenced to getting the hay.  I fed the horses their flakes, groomed Missy and got her saddle.  In the process of lifting the saddle on her back, I bent a fingernail backwards, said a few choice words and promptly dropped hubby's saddle in the gravel, resulting in a scolding to me from him, and then while placing the saddle on Missy's back, somehow I managed to left one of the ginormous stirrups fall back onto my elbow.  Oh man, I thought I'd broken a bone for sure.  It's still quite sore and bruised today.  At that point I looked heavenward and requested, "please Lord, don't let this be one of those nights?".  I was starting to question my intent of riding.  Not a good way to start.

About that time, Jess shows up and we get the horses ready and head out to the orchard.  Right from the beginning, I felt good on Missy.  Eagle looked relaxed and like he was ready and willing for a little ride.  *good deal*  We got down to the end of the orchard where we make our first turn and the neighbor's 3-legged dog ran out barking.  Eagle shied a little bit, no biggie.  We continue on and then, get this - a fawn came running toward us from their yard.  Totally adorable little baby deer!  Little guy makes a beeline right to Eagle, where he proceeds to meander in and around his legs.  Oh dear, little one, probably not a good idea.  Jess hops off to shoo the little guy away, but he's having none of it, choosing instead to skirt in and around Eagle's back feet.  We thought sure Eags might kick - but no, showing nothing but kindness and curiosity, he only drops his head and watches just like we did. Then the neighbor comes out, calls the little fella and he scampers back to their yard where we watch him frolic and play with their two dogs.  Hmm, who knew?  We just continue and from then on, Eagle and Missy are perfectly bright-eyed, alert but relaxed and enjoying their time immensely!  Despite the wind, the dog, the deer, the blowing plastic bag that crossed our path, they remain confident and relaxed.  On the second loop around the orchard, when we're just about back to our place, Eagle suddenly sees something new and different.  Hubby had filled the water trough and left the water running which had overflowed into and across our driveway making it dark and very different than just a while before.  I watch as Eagle's eyes dart back and forth, trying to process his escape.  Missy trudges forward, oblivious to it all.  Eagle takes it all in but is concerned nonetheless.  Jess tells him to not worry, it's just water, and of course points him straight to it.  Eagle does not want to touch the dark spot, so Missy steps through and across to the tall grass on the other side.  *of course*  Eagle takes it all in, and then tentatively steps up, lowers his nose to check it out and then marches in and stops.  It was so cute.  I'm watching his facial expressions and I swear he was saying to himself, "oh brother, I totally overreacted, it's only water!"  We stood there for a few minutes, relaxed and then switched horses.  My turn.

We did two half loops of the orchard, cutting through and shortening the ride to about half the total area we'd just done.  I felt very good, more relaxed out there than I've ever felt yet.  Jessica kept checking in with me, keeping her eye on me and offering words of encouragement - sit deep, relax your shoulders, look at the beautiful clouds, oh what a beautiful sunset, check him, take a couple of steps back now, good. was awesome.  :)  It wasn't technically perfect, plenty of room for improvement on the equitation part, but because I felt good and Eagle felt good, it was a beautiful ride.  He was quiet, responsive and the sunset really was spectacular.  *sigh*

We rode a little bit in the corral afterwards, where Eagle continued to be relaxed and forward.  Then we rode down to about the halfway point in our pasture.  Eagle was a bit argumentative at having to go down the pasture at all - after all, his hay was waiting for him back in the barn.  This is where my newly-found gumption came in.  :)  He tried stopping, he tried rooting his nose down, he tried backing up, anything but forward, which was away from the barn.  I kept looking up and out, asking for forward with my legs.  He did it.  Then he'd argue.  More asking, more forward.  More arguing. He did not win.  We made it to our mark, then took our sweet time heading back to the barn, did some haunch turns, pivots, small circles, backing, flexing and relaxing.  The ride back to the barn took a whole lot longer than the ride down the pasture did.  :)  Sweet success!!!  You know what I really love about this horse?  No matter how strongly he doesn't want to do something, he doesn't get stupid, he never feels like he's about to do anything other than go through his little bag of tricks and getting strong.  No hint at bunching up to buck, no thoughts of bolting, rearing or anything dangerous at all. He is so sensible.  He also has a stubborn streak, but it's short-lived when gumption comes into play.

This was our most successful ride yet.  And I'm beginning to love this journey more and more...this big, bay mustang is amazing, and I really do love him.  All that he is.  And you know what?  I am SO VERY GOOD at picking fantastic horses!!  *happy dance*

I know we'll have our ups and downs, I realize there will be good rides and bad rides up ahead.  But we'll get through them together, and we'll keep on this path.  This wonderful path of discovery.  This building of a solid partnership based on mutual trust.  I'm loving it.  I'm so, so thankful for Jessica's willingness to help me work through this.  I cannot thank her enough.  She is a Godsend, I'm pretty sure of that.

And so for today, I am filled with hope.  And I am beginning to feel courage...

*good stuff*

Until next time,
Lorie and Eags

Monday, June 20, 2016

Just remember to breathe

That's what I keep telling myself.  No matter what else, just keep breathing.  Deep, reassuring, cleansing breaths.  It helps with everything.  And so does your comments regarding my last post.  I would like to personally thank each and every one of you who left such kind, truthful, encouraging, heartfelt words of advice and understanding for me.  I am so very grateful for your thoughts, and even more happy that you took the time to leave them for me to read.  They really do matter, and they help me so much.  So, thanks.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.  I only hope that someday, somehow, I can be helpful and encourage you in some small way that will be meaningful when you need it.

I was feeling so discouraged.  Like no matter how hard I keep trying, I never will get to where I'd like to be.  But I also keep reminding myself that I haven't been riding Eagle for very long at all.  Maybe 15 or so rides last year and likely 20ish  rides so far this year - all since the first part of May.  We've made progress, and that I can't deny.


I keep telling myself that anything in life that's worth having, is worth working hard for.  Our relationship and our future riding together is worth all the effort, the sweat, the failures, the tears and the fears.  :)  But the more I ride; the more opportunities I will have to savor those sweet, little successes too.  And every time I do something that makes me uncomfortable, and at times even makes me downright scared, will be all the more reason to smile and enjoy that triumphant feeling that I can do this.  I am doing it!  So sweet!

Remember to pray.  I was recently reminded of this too.  And oh boy, I do not doubt the power of this. Above all else, I try to remember to pray.  To ask for courage, and then go forth in faith that I have and am, doing everything in my power to be safe.  To keep my horse safe.  And then maybe most importantly, thank God that I've been given the desire to want to do this, to have love for these amazing animals, and the fact that I get to do this.  How awesome is that?  There are so many people in this world who might never get the chance to do something like this.  To experience these amazing animals that have the power to bring so much joy, to feel freedom and rejoice in their power!  Maybe that sounds idealistic and like I live in a fantasy world or something.  But this is how I feel when I'm around them.   It's indescribable really.  You simply cannot explain this feeling to someone who isn't blessed with it.  And that's how I feel about that.

Sit deep.  Another big one.  When I get scared, I can feel myself start to curl into that fetal position.  I just hate that!  At least I'm picking up on it, and can then sit back, sit straight, look ahead, heels down and seat deep.  Important stuff.  I've been re-learning to relax my hips, let them swing freely with the movement of the horse, instead of sitting rigid and putting too much weight in the stirrups.  No wonder my back gets tight and my knees seem so stiff when I've been dismounting lately.  Never before have I had knee pain, but the last couple of rides out around the orchard, well let's just say I now have more compassion for my dear hubby's knees.  After a long day trail riding, my ankles tend to get stiff and the bottoms of my feet can get hot, but I guess that's to be expected.  I just let my legs hang loose without stirrups and I'm good to go again.  Looking forward to being able to free swing my feet riding down some wooded trail with Eags.  Oh yes! So yes, we're making progress.  Slower than I'd like, yes - but progress nonetheless.  Important to remember.

So the other night Jess and I rode in the orchard.  I was timid, but not overly afraid.  I felt good afterwards and it was a good ride.  I rode two or three times during the week with hubby nearby in the outside corral.  Some good rides, some not so great, but time in the saddle is never wasted.  Last lesson was Thursday evening.  We did a little warm-up in the round pen and then headed outside to the orchard.  Jess mentioned that Eags was doing well, didn't require nearly as much trotting up and down the hills to persuade him that getting all strong and going "hulk" on her wasn't such a good idea.  But he didn't look tired to me.  At all.  No foamy cheeks or anything; and he'd spooked at some birds fluttering in the dry grass by the creek.  I saw just how much effort it took for her to get him back in control.  *gulp*  When we'd made the final loop, I knew what was coming.  She asked if I was ready?  Nope, I shook my head.  I wasn't looking forward to riding him that night, at all.  Not sure if it was the spook I'd witnessed or just what the deal was, but I did not want to get on him.  Nope, not one little bit.  But I did.  Jessica made me.  She's mean like that.  *sigh*

We rode about half the way around the orchard twice, and I had moments where I felt okay.  But mostly I was just plain scared.  Down to my toes scared.  Deep in the pit of my stomach kind of scared.  I hated it.  Jess reminded me several times to breathe, to look up at the clouds, feel the breeze on my face and smile because I was riding a magnificent Mustang who was looking to me to be brave.  She told me to relax my hips and remember to be happy.  I did everything she asked and it all helped.  For tiny little bits of time, it all helped.  Not sure why that day everything seemed so wrong, but it just did.  I can't explain it.

When we came to the finish spot, we sat there and talked for a little while.  I relaxed somewhat, but mostly because I knew we were done.  I did not want to end the evening like that.  I asked if we could finish riding in the corral for a little while.  Sure we can!  What followed was one of the best rides on Eagle that we've ever had!  Was it my complete and total relaxation at being in a controlled environment?  I'm not sure.  But whatever it was, it was good.  Eagle walked out and forward with relaxation and a good, working stride and I was so happy.  I think he moved with such forward and no hesitation because I felt relaxed.  I do believe I am the reason he's so hesitant on so many occasions.  I've always wondered, but now I'm pretty much convinced.  So, we ended last week's lesson which started out as the worst ever to it becoming the best ever.  Whoohoo!!  I've ridden him twice since then.  Both with my hubby riding Ladde in the corral.  The first one was awesome!  The second one was not so great, but okay.  Twisted Ladde showed up and I didn't want him to influence Eags, so I switched to riding Missy and we rode around the orchard because Ladde was in need of a little mental and physical exertion.  *sigh*  Horses!  It was all good's experiences come from taking chances.  Experience comes from having lived through those choices, good and bad.

We're all still learning.

Another lesson with Jess tonight.  Will keep you posted...

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Life is like a potpourri

Blog post titles are hard for me.  I've pretty much given up on having just the right, catchy little title. Just requires too much mental effort, and I'm all about easy lately.'s title feels just about right.  *grin*

I had another ride on Eags last night.  Hmmm, what's the right word???  Oh yeah, I've got it!  Crap. Well, not entirely.  It was late.  It was cold.  Yes, cold.  Highs were in the mid 60's today, wind was blowing, showers on and off.  Talk about a potpourri - our weather has been all over the place. Anyway, I groomed, tacked him up, did a little ground work in the round pen and then we headed on out to the big ring.  I thought I had my big girl panties on, and I guess I can feel good that I'm brave enough to mount up without anybody else there, ride outside when it's windy in the big ring and not cry.  Progress right?  Eagle had my number though.  *sigh*  He wasn't exactly cooperative.  Big brat. Anyway, we walked around a little bit, did some backing, flexing and I sort of had him pivoting on the forehand, but boy did I have to work for every.  little. step.  Wish I just had the cahoonas to whack him squarely in the butt with the end of my lead and tell him to MOVE OUT ALREADY!  But I don't.  Not yet anyway.  So, I took satisfaction that I was able to do what I did.  Dear God, sometimes I'm such a big chicken shit.

Our clinic is just two weeks from tomorrow.  And I'll just bet that I'm the only rider there that has problems getting her horse to walk.  I am thankful that this clinic will be a small one.  I am thankful that the riders are all "middle-aged" women who are like-minded.  I am thankful that our clinician is kind.  And very laid-back.  Thankful that I get to go.  Thankful thankful why are tears steaming down my face while I'm typing this???  I know we all have our ups and our downs, but what is it about this horse that has me so intimidated?  Oh, how I wish I knew the answer to that!  What the heck is wrong with me?  I am not a beginner rider.  I am not un-knowledgeable, or whatever the correct word is here.  But I am so afraid that if I push my horse, he will do something that I will regret.  And yet - as I've watched others ride him again and again.  Pushing him to do what they want him to do, he does nothing but be accommodating, and give them his best.  His try.  He is soft-eyed and kind.  I just wish I could take a pill.  Or take a shot of some liquid courage that would get me past this crappy, scared feeling deep in my gut.  I've been asking and asking for this horse to trust me. Trust me, I won't hurt you.  Trust me, I will take care of you.  Trust me!!!  And you know what?  He has.  He has given me his complete trust.  I feel it.  I see it.  And yet...I struggle so with my trust of him.   God, I feel pathetic.  And weak.  And so much like a coward.   But I will not quit.  I'm way too stubborn for that.  I just need to get past this, have a few good rides, and I think I can move past this enormous stumbling block in my brain.  I hope.

Enough of that.  Last weekend was again, very busy.  I felt like I accomplished nothing.  We did make it to church Sabbath morning, and for that I am so glad.  Our pastor wasn't there and they played a video of this speaker named Louie Giglio.  "How Great Is Our God" was the title.  It was awesome!  Seriously awesome.  I highly recommend each and every one of you go to Amazon and purchase the CD.  I did.  I got a 4-in-one CD of four different sermons this guy has done.  Haven't had a chance to watch any yet, but seriously, just do it.  You won't be sorry.  Then we went out for breakfast, went home and changed our clothes and drove south a couple of hours and delivered my friend's saddle which I had borrowed to try out.  Saddle exchange didn't work out, her stirrups were so long that I could barely reach them, and the saddle rolled all over my horse's back.  But...I did absolutely love the way the seat felt and the free-swinging stirrups I think would be really nice.  I am sort of looking for another saddle.  I'd love to have a ranch-type saddle with a rough-out seat and wide, free-swinging stirrups.  Oh, and a close contact tree, the Wade style if you know what that is.  Anyway, I digress.  We stopped at a beautiful park alongside the Willamette river on the way home and let the dogs out to frolic and got a little exercise.  Then when in Corvallis, we decided to have dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory.  So good!  I ate too much, but it sure was tasty.  We were way late, almost midnight when we got back home, and the horses thought they were starving!  :)

Sunday morning I had a quick ride on Eagle, then showered and changed and drove to Willamette Park for a family outing for our newest nephew's first birthday party.  It was a beautiful day, and we had a nice time seeing Scotty and Teleea and baby, Emry.  He has the typical Lundgren family cheeks.  Looks like he's storing up for winter.  Totally cute, but the little turd cried whenever I tried to hold him.   *sigh*  By the time we got back home it was time to do the chores and I was pooped.  No energy left for any house cleaning, no laundry, nothing.  I went to bed fairly early, shocked and dismayed that the following day was Monday morning all over again.  I have been so very tired lately.  Not quite sure what's up with that.  Maybe it has to do with all the stuff that's been going on and not enough down time.  Whatever it is, I sure am looking forward to my week of vacation time coming up soon.  I have the whole week off beginning June 27th and will go back to work after the July 4th holiday.  Yay!!!  Hoping to enjoy some time at home that week, doing whatever that strikes my fancy, attend my clinic and get in a few rides on Eagle, and maybe a night or two away from home.  Already starting to sound a little more busy than what I'd originally planned.  It's quite possible, I just might be my own worst enemy.

Such is my life!  I'm not complaining, not too much anyway.  But I just have to say that I am looking forward to the day when I am a retired lady and my time will be my own.  Best to stop wishing my life away!  That's what my dear, sweet momma used to tell me.  The older I become, the more I'm realizing the wisdom that she shared with me.  Sure wish she were here for me to tell her that.  I'd hug her tightly and never let her go...

Just couldn't resist sharing this tidbit from the local news.  Wish I could have been there to see this!!  Ha!!  We really are living in the wild, wild west!!

In case you didn't see it, or missed it when Arlene shared it on her blog - the fellow on the ground with the rope around his ankles was trying to get away with somebody else's bike.  This cowboy saw what was going on, pulled his horse out of the trailer and lassooed the "would-be" thief.  You gotta love it!  Cowboy justice in 2016.  :)