Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A change in perspective

...and just a few days can make a world of difference.  Don't you think?

While checking my blog for comments this morning, I ended up reading through my post.  Oh dear, I really had nothing good to say did I?  Very cranky.  Well, there have been a few changes.  Whew, thankful for that!  But still, pretty amazing how quickly circumstances, and perspective can change.

Movement is your friend.  That's an important concept.  If something isn't working, you have to get up and do something different.  Something!    I'm reminded how very much horsemanship mirrors our lives.  Good is good, regardless of the situation you find yourself in.  Horses - people - it all works the same way.

Anyway, moving along.  It's raining.  It's blissfully cool and I'm wearing jeans and my purpley-flowered tennis shoes.  I'm usually a sandals/flip-flops kind of gal, unless I'm messing with the horses and then hopefully, I have my boots on.  :)  That's another important thing to remember.  Protect thy toes!   Believe it or not, my point here is this:  it's cooler.  A lot cooler, we have overcast skies and clouds.  My heater came on in my car this morning and it feels good.  *collective sigh*

I rode Eags last night.  We didn't accomplish much other than it was a ride and it felt good just to sit on my horse again.  We did some flexing, kind of backing, moving his hindquarters and front step-overs, all that was okay, but... he was wearing his stubborn hat again.  He was rooting, strongly pulling his head down almost to the ground.  I was trying to create that "wall" Joe told be about, where my hands remain fixed on the saddle gullet, and just encourage forward until he tires of putting pressure on himself.  Hoping he'd find that soft spot and relax in that position without me trying to decide it for him, or make him.  My hands always tire before he does.  Good grief, why would he want to do that?  It has to hurt the corners of his mouth, I know it does.  I'm not doing it, but I eventually have to make a change and pull his head up because he gets so heavy on his front that he's likely to trip.  It's not a good feeling.  I think I know what needs to be done, I need to ask for a lot more speeding up when he does that, so he has to pick up his head, get his butt under himself and move.  But I need decent footing to do this safely.  I'm not comfortable with our uneven, weed growing riding areas.  Guess it's time to start hauling him either to an arena or catch a few more trail rides before our wet weather gets here.  He doesn't seem to do it out on the trail.  We need to do something different.  Change is good.

Jess and I are going to Flying M for a trail ride next Thursday.  She'll bring one of her horses and pick us up.  It will be a quickie because the days are so much shorter and it's dark pretty quickly after work now.  But we can do it.  I remember Ray telling us, "do a little bit often, instead of a lot once in a while".  Anything's better than nothing, right?  :)  So if we're lucky by the time we get there, saddle up and get moving, we might have an hour to ride and get home before it's too dark.  Makes it seem more like an adventure.  Later,  I'll trailer to a nearby arena for rides, hoping I can keep up the weekly riding as long as I can, hopefully fall and possibly into winter.  That would be a great plan for us.

*fingers crossed*

We've definitely decided to forego camping this weekend.  Instead, we'll be celebrating my hubby's birthday with Steve and Chris at Helvetia Tavern - they have the most amazing burgers!  My hubby will love it.  And of course, there will be cake.  You just have to have cake on your birthday!  It's his 67th and I can hardly believe that.  He was 32 when I met him, and I was 22...seems like such a long time ago.  I guess it was.   :)

Since I've gained about 10 pounds over the last several months, I've made a new (again) commitment to eating less fat, more fruits and vegetables, and dare I say it?  Less ice cream.  My weakness.  One of anyways.  And definitely moving more.  I've resumed my noon-time walks with the dogs.  I'd been slacking on that.  And...I ordered a set of Yoga cd's where I can start practicing at home.  I even got the most amazing music to play alongside my workout.  I noticed almost immediately when listening that I started relaxing and taking deeper breaths. When I get the cd I'll mention the name in case anyone wants to get a copy.  Supposed to be very helpful with promoting sleep as well.   I'm going to start setting my alarm clock for 15 minutes earlier starting tomorrow.  Then after 3 days, I'll set it back 15 minutes again, until my body is eased into waking up an hour earlier than my usual 7:00. This will be the hardest part for me.  I do love getting up when I want to get up.  And yes, it's a stretch for me to stay focused on anything that requires consistency, but I'm going to do my best.  

Nothing new on the vacation plans.  For now, I just feel better having a little plan of action in place. Like it or not, I'm one of those people who pictures every little thing in my head, and when life doesn't work out that way, I can get a serious blip on my radar...expectations can be dangerous.

Knowing something about yourself - whether you admit to liking it or not, makes it easier to decide how to proceed.  Movement.  Courage.  Motivation.  Whatever you call it, change is never easy.

Some days we put on our rose-colored glasses and view the world from inside our heads, and then sometimes we have to lay the glasses aside and do something, take a chance at becoming better. Step out in faith and try.  Knowing that we'll make mistakes, and that nothing is ever perfect, but make the effort.    Have some try.  Change your perspective and change your world.

"We have to live the dream, not just dream"

I've been spending far too much time inside my own head.

Thankful for the rain this morning, thankful that our horses, dogs, cat and us are all doing okay, thankful that I got to wear jeans this morning, thankful for my morning coffee and so much more...

thankful for my horse who is forcing me to want to be better.

Monday, August 29, 2016

A bubble off plum

I'm still feeling a bit out of sorts.  I'm tired, restless, and am experiencing a lot of discontent.  Just not quite right.  And I'm not quite sure what to attribute it to.  I have my moments where I feel good, normal, but they're fleeting.

I don't like it.  Just wish I knew how to get back to feeling like myself.  Give it more time I guess, not sure what else to do.

My best friend since childhood...Kelly - the one in the middle.  We grew up together, next-door neighbors and we spent a lot of time on our horses, going everywhere we could imagine.  Good times!  She has the kindest, most generous heart of anybody I've ever known.  I really do love her. We were at her son's wedding and it was finally cooling off a bit.  The gal on the left I'd just met that evening, and works with Kelly.  Nice lady too.  We'd been dancing our booties off - aren't weddings just the best?!!  I just love weddings.  Everyone is always so happy, there's dancing, laughter and CAKE!  What could be more fun?

We're finally cooling down some, and it's such a relief.  For the last couple of weeks or more, we've been in what feels like, an ongoing, never-ending heat wave - and I'm just so sick of it!  Today is the mid 80's and for the rest of this week, we're anticipating 70's and possibly even a rain shower or two. Oh, I hope so!  The air quality has improved some, but everything is coated with a layer of dust, our pastures are tinder dry, the trees are losing their leaves and we all feel lethargic.  I really am looking forward to wearing a pair of jeans and just being cool.  That sounds perfectly lovely to me.  I guess after 57 years of living here, I've finally become a true Pacific Northwesterner who simply cannot tolerate the heat.  Or maybe it's just too darned much of a good thing.  I'm pretty much ready to bid adieu to summer.  24 days and counting to blissful Autumn...

I haven't been riding at all in two weeks.   Between the heat and just feeling pretty much drained, I've done nothing but schmooze with my horses and hose them off with the garden hose.  They love that! Every horse in our pasture has packed on a few pounds because of the ample amounts of fresh fruit at their disposal.  We have apples, pears, plums, blackberries and grapes - and they eat them all.  Every single day they make their rounds, more than once.  I worry about Ladde especially, but he gets his meds every day and can't overeat hay because he and Missy are locked in the corral over night, thus eliminating the clean-up crew of their duty.  But that fruit is full of sugar and he sure doesn't need that!  Notice how there's never a shortage of worries?

Eagle's feet are slowly, but surely improving since the addition of soybean meal and hoof guard supplementation.  If it weren't so late in the riding season, I'd have a set of shoes put on him because he finally, has enough hoof wall to support them.  But, never sure of our Fall weather and the available time to go riding after work, I hesitate to spend the money on shoes.  We just have too many expenses coming up to be extravagant with spending right now.

My squirreling tendencies are nagging at me, and before long I'll start the process of storing necessities for the winter.  There's a couple cords of firewood needed, repairs to our pellet stove and pellets for it, along with 4 tons of bedding pellets for the horses.

I've completely skipped canning or any kind of food storage this year. Totally unlike me, but I've done nothing.  My garden is a disaster.  I've picked a few, very tiny and tough-skinned tomatoes and still have not a single cherry tomato that's ripe.  Must be that Walmart potting mix!  I have no idea what else to blame, but it's a sorry excuse for a vegetable garden.  We had good strawberries and have had numerous cucumbers, but no peppers either.  Even my flowers this year look like I've been feeling.  Hmmm...pitiful, really.

We're still in the dark about what's to happen with my sister's brain tumor.  She has an appointment with the specialist the end of September...sure hope time is not of the essence.  My little great-niece came through the appendectomy successfully and is home once again.  And today, my nephew who is 50 years old, is having a stint put in his heart.  My niece, who is 2-1/2 years younger than me has so much arthritis in her back that she can hardly walk.  I am absolutely not going to ask - what next?  I just don't want to know.  I feel fortunate, by comparison.  My health remains relatively good.  I'm rarely sick, all my labs are within normal, or almost normal which means my meds are doing their job, and my kidneys are functioning at 46%, which sucks, but is unchanged for the last couple of years.  Like I said, by comparison with my family, I'm a workhorse.  I'm strong and fairly active, and intend to keep it that way.  Genetics play a very large part in our lives, but we're responsible for what we eat and how much we move.  I intend to continue an active lifestyle, but would like to add even more.  I'd really like to try a Yoga class for increasing flexibility and balance.  And anything to help me lose some more weight would be wonderful!  I just enjoy my food way too much to ever be that willowy, long-legged woman in my dreams.  But so far, my body hasn't failed me, and overall has served me just fine.  I shall not complain where instead should be grateful!  :)

So, August is very quickly waning and another season is just around the corner.  I've got a week of vacation time left that I'm very much looking forward to.  We're starting to think of where we'd like to spend that precious little chunk of time, but nothing settled yet.  Next weekend on the 3rd is my hubby's birthday.  We've made tentative plans for going out to dinner with Steve and Chris, bro and sis in-law.  We always enjoy time spent with them.  We're also talking about a beach weekend trip with them before long, and I especially would love that.

A horse camping weekend trip with our riding club is scheduled for Labor Day weekend, but we're seriously considering gracefully bowing out of that one because of having to travel through Portland with the horses to get to the chosen location and it's the last big hurrah of the summer, and there's just too much traffic on the roads to suit my preference.  I so enjoy spending time with our club friends, but just don't have the energy to put it all together right now.  We will probably regret it, but it just feels right to stay home and relax instead.  Whatever we decide, the extra day off will be a blessing.

Hope all is well in your lives, and you're remembering to count your blessings every day...

Until next time dear friends,
be well.

One last photo of our "alleged" taco thief...what do you think?  Guilty?  or Not guilty?    And the horror of all horrors, not only was this the first ever act of common thievery by Ruby; but it was also on National Dog Day!

Nobody's perfect...

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

troubled winds

Just my thoughts and some observations this morning.

It's getting hot here.  Bloody hot!  As in, potentially reaching into the lower 100's hot.  Oh dear - and we have a wedding to attend Saturday evening at 5.  Heat of the day, make-up melting, sweating bullets kind of heat.  I hate heat.  Makes me soooo cranky!

And lately I've been feeling very cranky.  I haven't quite been able to put my finger on why, but there ya go!  Doesn't matter who you are either.  I'm an equal opportunity kind of beeech, yessireee!  I don't mean to be.  Don't like it at all, but tired, drooping face, beyond my control moodiness.  Dog daze?

Yesterday, had my sweet momma been living, would have been her 93rd birthday.  Oh, I can hardly believe she's been gone 10 years.  And it just really bothers me that I'm having some difficulty deciding if she would have been 93 or was it 92?  I hate forgetting!   And oh, how I miss her.  Just to sit down with her, talk about whatever's going on, laugh and maybe even bicker a little, eat tomatoes - anything!  I just miss hearing her voice and miss that special feeling of love from's just never the same from anybody else.  I don't know.  If you still have your mom, maybe you don't know what I mean, but I just wish...

And yes, I've been feeling emotional lately too.  With all that's been going on, I'm kind of feeling crazy, like I'm running around in circles, too busy and accomplishing little.  Everything feels a little weird lately.  Lots of stuff happening.  My little great-niece was admitted to the children's hospital in Portland yesterday complaining of stomach pain.  18 hours later her appendix burst and last evening she went into surgery.  At 2-1/2 years old a major surgery with an expected long recovery time due to the high toxins in her blood.  Her grandpa said she was the color of a yellow post-it.  Scary!  I wonder why it took all day long and not figuring out it was appendicitis before it burst?  Really?

And the horses are irritable too - must be the heat and the dust, and the lime floating all through the air.  At times in the last several days the air quality around our home has been deplorable.  Farmers!!  Grrrr...I know, I know - they have a job to do and all that, but still.  Our home, our cars, everything is coated in a layer of dirt and lime.  When my eyes burn and run, I feel the sting in my nose as well, and I taste the lime - it's a bit much.  They should have to have limitations on the timing, or have to wet down the dirt first, I don't know.  I do know it's a health hazard.  The horses eyes are watering, I've heard several of them coughing lately and I'm just so tired of it.  Tired...we all are I think.  I'm starting to really look forward to Fall.  Blessed Autumn with the cooler temps, the dampness of the dew and the feeling of moisture in the air.  Sweaters and jeans.  *sigh*

My lesson last night with Eagle.  Pretty much sucked.  Maybe I exaggerate, but it just didn't feel good.  To either of us.  I'm increasingly getting this bad feeling in the pit of my stomach that our riding/training (hate that word) educational sessions are getting off track.  The willfulness, the resistance that I'm feeling coming from my horse does not feel good to me.  It doesn't feel good to him either or he wouldn't be so argumentative!  Jessica, bless her heart - has helped me a lot!  A lot.  I just don't agree with much of her training techniques where my horse is concerned.  I have no doubt that she accomplishes much.  However...I know there are much better ways.  Problem is, she's just not educated in those better ways.  And therefore, we are nearing an impasse.  I'm thinking for the time we have left this riding season I need to come up with a better plan - for all our sakes.  Therefore, I'm hoping to focus on doing some trail riding with Jess.  Continue with the confidence building and sweaty blankets kind of therapy.  Get with my horse and get moving outside the ring where we can enjoy the scenery, cross some creeks and just have some fun.  That's my prescription for the time being.  The lessons will present themselves.  Of that, I am sure.  We won't even realize that we're gaining valuable experience but it will just happen.  My horse is bored stiff.  He hates it!  And I value him too much to "make" him do anything.  It just isn't my way.  So, I am going to try and find someone different who can help me work with my horse on the more technical stuff and ring riding. And keep the focus and time spent with Jessica to helping me improve my skills and confidence level.  I feel better already just deciding on a new plan.  Now for the search.

Ladde, who was positively a brat last night for his shoeing session - is doing great.  His feet, his weight, visibly, everything is great.  I want to do another blood panel to test his numbers late summer, early fall because for whatever reason, the numbers always tend to rise this time of year.  If we're still on track, then I know we're doing the best we can.  So there's that.  Plus, the big brute needs a job. He absolutely needs to be ridden far more than what is happening.  I just don't have the time to devote to Eagle and ride another horse often enough to make a difference given the time frame I have to work within.  It just isn't happening.  Know thy limitations...

See, I told you I've been crabby.  I am sorry.  If I could step outside my "edgar suit", believe me, I would!  :)  What a refreshing break that would be.

Name that movie!

Hoping everything just mellows out already - and until next time, be well my friends.  Be well!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Monday morning musings...

Mid August seems to be slowing things down a bit for me.  I was going to say physically, but I think mentally too..  Dog daze?  Maybe.

I've seemed to be busy, but when I think about it, I feel that I haven't been doing as much.  Weird huh?  Guess I've been kept busy doing chores and the stuff that has to get done, but not much time left over for pursuing personal interests.  I want to do lots of things, and there's either not enough energy, time or money.  Guess that's the way the cookie crumbles.  One of my dad's old sayings.  :)

I only rode Eagle once last week, and so far it's not looking real promising this week due to the expected heat.  There.  I'l blame the heat.  It zaps me and takes so much more effort to do anything!
I'm hopeful that it's not too hot Tuesday evening when I have a scheduled lesson with Jess.  I've grown  a bit weary of riding at home, without access to the orchard or any trails, or good footing - our choices are limited.  How I long for a nice, not too deep sand arena, heaven!  But we make due, and I need to ride my horse.  Last lesson was alright, we focused mainly on trotting with straightness.  Not great.  Eagle is so willful and he makes me work so hard.  Combine that with the heat and I feel like I make progress when he wins no battles.  Dang!  With footing I'd feel a lot more comfortable asking for more speed, so he's working harder physically, so I may trailer to an inside arena not too far from home.  We need variety and mental engagement.  He can be so very opinionated and without using too much rein, that's the best idea I can come up with.  Maybe if I can tire him out, he'll be a bit more willing to see things my way.   Or, I need to get more creative with my horse's education, so it's his choice to work harder, and not me.  I've been following Linda's journey with her horse, Leah...sounds like her mare and my boy have a lot in common...    *hope springs eternal*  :)

just us "girls"  ha!

Saturday was my sister's 75th birthday.  Wow - hard to believe that my sister is 75 years old.  We gathered at her home for burgers and birthday cake.  You have to eat cake on your birthday, right?  She was fortunate that she got to come home on her birthday.  You see, she's been in the hospital since early last Wednesday morning.  The day of my cousin Sue's memorial service.  We thought her unusual behavior was brought on by stress and the shock of losing our cousin.  We now believe she had a stroke the morning Sue died.  And then on the morning of the service, another one.  Long story, but she woke up feeling very wrong.  She describes it as the most horrible feeling of extreme dizziness, nausea and confusion.  I've noticed her disorientation lately and difficulty hearing and remembering things.  Thinking she'd told me something and me knowing that she hadn't.  Worrisome and irritating. Speaking only for myself, but I seem to have the least patience with the people in life that I love the most.  Is that because we spend so much more time with them, or is it just the intimacy, shared histories that we have?  Thoughts to ponder...I would very much like to change that about myself.  Anyway, my sister was taken to the ER and they've diagnosed a stroke.  MRI shows no residual damage to the brain.  She has no paralysis or slurred speech, but is weak and needs to use a walker for now.  They also found a tumor on her brain that is the cause of her loss of hearing, dizziness and nausea.   Two completely unrelated diagnoses.  We're not sure if it's surgical or if best to leave well enough alone, in which case she'd have to live the remainder of her life with the symptoms she's now showing.  Time and more looking into things will tell.  At her age, I'd think any kind of brain surgery might be too risky.  But doctors say overall, she is strong and healthy for a woman of her age.  That's good news.  I hope she's thankful to have the knowledge of what's going on and take this opportunity to learn more about what she can do to prolong her health and appreciate her life more for whatever time she has left.  It's a wake-up call for sure.  Amazes me again, just how quickly life can change.  Her doctor stressed that it was a benign tumor.  Based on his experience and the location.  I believe he can't be sure without a biopsy, and if surgery isn't a safe option, then what else would he tell her?  A second opinion with a brain surgeon has been scheduled sometime this week.  Hopefully this doctor will be able to give us some more information and hopefully, some good news.  She already feels better because the motion sickness meds she's taking have reduced the dizziness, which is likely causing the nausea.  One step at a time...

So, her birthday was good.  We were all relaxed and low-key, enjoyed the day and just spent some time with one another.  It was a hot, summer afternoon and overall, a good day.  I'm thankful we were all together to celebrate and smile.

How will you be spending your dog daze of summer???

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Seasons of life

Right now, I'm an Autumn.  And it's a pretty nice place to be.

Have you given that much thought?  That our lives are very much like the seasons that we experience each year on this planet?  Our seasons are longer, but comparable nonetheless.

We're born as babies, grow into children, and from there into adulthood.  If we live long enough, we are then considered mature individuals, and if we're blessed, we at some point become aged - old folks.

My current season of Autumn, that of the mature woman, is that place where I am neither young nor old.  Honestly, I think this might be my favorite so far.  I'm still healthy and strong, I can do most things that I set my mind to do, and emotionally I'm more comfortable than I've ever been. Physically, I have more limitations than when I was younger.  I'm not as strong as I once was, nor do I have the stamina of my youth.  I do what I want, I just do it within a more relaxed pace.  I'm okay with that.  I no longer have anything to prove, nor do I have the desire to impress anyone else.

I have more peace.

I know who I am, what and who I believe in, know enough about life to put my priorities in place, and pretty much know how I want to spend my time.  It certainly doesn't mean that I've perfected this time thing - not at all.  But I do know what's important in life.  I understand the value of time, and what an incredible blessing it is.  I realize that the people and animals whom I love are far more important than what I do.  To have everything means nothing if there's no one special to share it with.

I've also learned the importance of living life with an attitude of thankfulness.  Nothing is ever guaranteed, and everything that is good is a blessing.  And if I'm honest with myself, I have so very much to be grateful for.  And I know just who to thank for all those blessings.  My life is good.  Life is perfect for no one, but we are told to be thankful even in times of trouble.  For in those times, we build character, we grow stronger and better, if we choose to view everything in that way.  Without times of difficulty, how would we compare all the goodness that comes our way?  Like spoiled children, we would soon view life as something that we are entitled to, and that's just not the way it works.

So I've learned to give thanks for all things that come my way, even if that means I at first become grieved, frustrated, disillusioned or even angry.  Life is a lesson - take it as it comes - and learn from everything and everyone.  Whether those lessons bring good or bad, we benefit from them both.  I believe that some day, when we can look back over the course of our lives, we will truly know how all things worked together for our good.

My cousin died last week.  For me, it's the second cousin whose died this year.  She was my sister's age and she's taking it especially hard.  Sort of like mortality slapping you in the face, I think. Tomorrow I'll be attending her memorial service.  We will cry and we will laugh at the memories that we've made.  For her time has finished, there is no more.  Funerals have a way of reminding me to cherish the time that I still have.  To value those people in my life, and make the most of every single day.  Time goes amazingly fast, and we're all getting the lesson here is, not to put off telling someone that you love them.  Eat the cake, count the stars, play like a child, take that vacation - whatever it is that gives you joy - do it.  You can spend all your time making money, eating only the right foods, and miss out on the chance to make some memories with those who you hold dear.  Tis true, there's not a single one of us who are getting out of this alive...

I love this song.  For me, it brings it all home.

"For everything there is a season,
   a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
   A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
   A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
   A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
   A time to embrace and a time to refrain.
A time to search and a time to give up.
   A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear up and a time to mend.
   A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
   A time for war and a time for peace."

That bit of scripture has always given me peace.  That I know life is all about variety, a season for everything imaginable.  And because of scripture, this too I have learned...

"I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.  That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil - this is the gift of God."

Be well my friends, do good and be happy.
Blessings, Lorie

p.s. buy the shoes!  :)

Friday, August 5, 2016

Making memories

Just found a few more shots of our weekend camping trip on the other camera.  These riding shots are from the "great ride".  Sure makes a difference when I'm completely at ease and comfortable, was having so much fun here.  

We don't have any grand plans coming up for this weekend, other than cleaning the camper, cleaning the house, cleaning the barn, cleaning the car...see where I'm going with this?

Charlotte has gone on a few rides with me at home, but I chose to leave her in camp this time.  I do plan on letting her come along once Eags and I are more accustomed to being out together though. I think she's going to make a pretty good little trail dog.  And in all the years I've been riding, I've never had a dog that goes along.  Never!  We'll see how it goes...meanwhile, she had lots of fun in camp and going on walks, playing in the creek, chasing chipmunks and such.  Puppies always find lots to do!

Ruby is much more a kick back and take life easy sort of gal...  Her birthday is coming up on the 10th of this month.  My sweet girl is going to be 7 years old.  Goodness, how fast the time does go!

I had to laugh because it looks like my hubby has a fifth of something in his hands, but it's Torrelli's Vanilla Syrup.  We were enjoying Italian cream sodas and they were so refreshing!  So simple and so tasty...fill a large glass with ice, add a splash or two of half-n-half, a splash or two of vanilla syrup (or whatever flavor you prefer) and then fill the glass up with plain bubbling seltzer water.  So good!!

Eagle and Missy were both so quiet in their corrals, except when nickering for treats.  They learn very quickly that camping always means getting extra goodies.  At night they settled in, slept peacefully and we absolutely didn't even know they were there.  Quiet as church mice they were.

This is the best shot my hubby got of me and Eags on the trail.  I was so happy here, my horse was quiet and enjoying himself and I am so hopeful for many, many more rides on beautiful, scenic trails with my horse!!

Looking forward to making many more wonderful memories!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Up on the mountain

and down in the was a wonderful trip with our horses.  Overall, I'm so happy with our rides.  Me and my horse.  Yes, he really is starting to feel like my horse.  

From the first time I saw him, I fell hard.  Lurked on the internet for well over a year, kept tabs on him.  Called the rescue gal and talked about him, asked questions...wondered why, if everybody who met him loved him, then why didn't anyone ever take him.  ???   Then one weekend the rescue was having an adoption event in Central Oregon - several hours drive away from us.  I inquired if Eagle would be coming?  Kate said, "yes, I'll bring him for you, so you can meet".  Heart palpitations...  my hubby or likely nobody else either, believes me, but it's the truth - I went there with the intention of getting this horse out of my head.  You know, move on and realize there wasn't anything special about this horse in a plain bay wrapper.  We didn't need another horse!  Weren't even looking for one.  But it's all history now, you know that's not what happened.  I was smitten.  Totally in awe - just couldn't live without making this horse mine.  He felt like mine from that first moment we made eye contact.  Among a sea of bay horses, I recognized him the instant I saw him.  I was staring, likely mouth hanging open, and he turned that direct gaze now so familiar to me, directly at me; like what are you looking at?  With such intelligence.  Such feeling and depth in that gaze...aahh truly gone.

You know what I believe?

He was waiting for me - even then.  Call me crazy, whatever; but I believe that we were meant to be together.  I don't even begin to understand it.  I just know it.  He is proving to be my best teacher ever.  He takes no crap, he's very opinionated, has a very wide stubborn streak, knows exactly what he wants, and doesn't want to do.  Makes no bones about letting you know his a lot of little ways and has the most balanced sense of justice and fairness of any horse I've ever met.  And he does it all with kindness. He's all boy and that's not necessarily a good thing.  I think maybe I understand mares better.  I don't know...

But I'm learning that he is honest, this horse can be trusted.  If I'm there for him, all there mentally and physically, he's all in.  Whatever you say, we can do...confidence and relaxation is the ultimate key to the comfort of this horse.  Not different from most horses, but this one in spades.  Is this a Mustang trait?  Are they wired just a bit differently?  I have no idea, but I've never had one before so I have no comparison.  I just know he is more than any horse I've ever known.  Just more horse, in all ways.  Can't really explain it.

See this picture down here?  We were a little busy to take many pics, but of the ones we have, this one really means a lot to me.  This is me sitting in my chair being absolutely overwhelmed.  This is me realizing my dreams of the past 5 years with this beautiful horse are coming true - have just come true!  It was right after our Saturday morning ride, and it was just perfect. Seriously, just the sweetest ride I can remember, ever, I couldn't even wrap my mind around how amazing it had been.  I just had to sit, with my hands cradling my face, overcome with emotion. Never in my wildest dreams had I expected what he had given me that day.  He had given me his all.  Talk about a Sabbath blessing!  I felt so thankful and so humbled.  Words just can't explain how I felt right then.

Words like awesome, solid, steady, relaxed, safe, sensible, perfect, true...keep coming to mind.  He deserves every single one of those descriptive words and more.  Truly.

But, all our rides weren't like that.  I had my moments where I got kind of scared, felt like getting off, even did once because I couldn't make Eagle move.  We were just going along, okay but not totally at ease and I heard something in the forest up on the hill above us.  I know he heard it too, because he flicked an ear and just barely glanced upwards, but because he reacted so little, I didn't worry.  Within a minute, he stopped and abruptly tried to turn around.  Leaving the other 2 riders and horses, he just wanted to go back.  Nothing I did would make him go forward, instead he started backing up or kept trying to spin around.  I had to have my hubby ride back and plant his horse in front of me so I could get off.  I checked his bridle thinking something might be wrong, nothing.  He wouldn't even lead for me.  My friend (thankfully) had brought her halter along, and I pulled his bridle and put the halter on.  It was better, but still quite the struggle to get him to go on down the road.  I have no idea what that was about.  After a while, he stopped trying to go back and just led quietly.  So, after we got back to camp I switched bridles/bits and Alicia and I rode a little loop just to check things out and end on a brighter note.  He was perfectly fine.  Hmmmm...

You can see how I'm pitched forward that I wasn't totally at ease here.  We had 4 rides total.  Friday evening was about a 20 minute jaunt just to stretch our legs and see how we both felt and even though it was sweltering hot, I was thankful for Eagle's energy level was low.  So short and sweet, ride #1 was pretty good.  Then that blissful ride of Saturday morning that I hope I can always remember!

Last night after feeding the horses, I just sat there and watched them eat and tried to recall exactly what, if anything, I'd done differently that morning that I didn't do the other times.  (Ray used to ask us if something really good happened, "what did you do right b4 that good thing happened?") All I can come up with is my level of relaxation was good, we were on a single-track trail that had lots of ups and downs, which kept us both busy.  Busy watching where we were going, picking our speed and stepping over small logs or rocks.  We both had a job.  We weren't just plodding mindlessly down the trail...trying to relax.  

Looking back, I think I'd probably mentally left Eagle.  I wasn't doing anything to really ride him, just walking down that little road like that.  I had let my horse down.  I'd left him alone and he knew it.  I could be wrong, but I was preoccupied with trying to maintain my level of comfort, or focusing on being relaxed and just wasn't doing a good job of any of it right then.  My horse said, I'm out and just wanted to go back.  Make sense?  I wish I would have just taken a break, stopped and spent a few minutes reassuring him and then tried moving along again, after he felt good again.  At least if this kind of thing happens again, I have something to try.  Something that might make a difference.

Me and my friend Alicia riding her horse of 18 years now, Tess.  They're a good team, have hundreds of miles of trail riding experience, and about the best riding buddies anybody could ever hope for. Just having them along with us, gave me a measure of confidence that was appreciated.  I'm hopeful we can get together again this summer and ride another trail.  We had so much fun.

I really hate that helmet.  But I wore the blasted thing every single time.  Better to be safe right?  *sigh*

Missy as usual, was a very good girl.  She does quite well on the flat, but does suffer a bit from the ups and downs of the mountains.  She is always a fun little mare to ride, no worries, just prefers that amazing little jog of hers to walking most of the time.  Another calming influence and great riding partner.  Even so, my hubby dearly missed his riding buddy, Ladde; who we all know had a long and lonely weekend at home without his "woman".  When we got the horses back home, he wasted no time herding up his little gal and whisking her off to the far end of the pasture.  Last seen, they are still grazing nose to nose.  True love...  :)

So each ride got progressively a little bit longer and farther out, nothing bad happened, all returned safe and the weather was great.  Wonderful memories were made, saddle pads were sweaty, trails were good, skies were blue and the camp ground was fantastic. Seriously, whoever imagined water faucets at every single site?  This place is close to home and they have showers.  I want to come back here again!  The first thing I remember saying when we got in the truck to head for home was, "I can't wait to do it again!".

A very good sign.

Blessings all,