Thursday, September 29, 2016

Just a day in paradise

There is just something about fall that is so invigorating!  The spectacular sunshine, the crisp mornings that beg for a jacket and shoes, real shoes with no toes exposed, that gives a body renewed energy.  And somehow encourages a mind to come up with all sorts of projects and ideas for doing stuff.  Anything outdoors anyway.  Well, I take that back.  Even cooking holds more appeal this time of year.  I'm not alone when I say my appetite has increased, so has the horses.  You'd think we were having to fatten ourselves up for winter or that possible?  Because I sure feel like that's what we've been trying to do recently.  And only speaking for myself, that's not what needs to happen!

So this picture down here?  It has nothing to do with fall, looks more like late summer to me, with the sun-ripened wheat and wild flowers, but I just love it.  I know nothing about art.  What I do know, is what I like.  When I gaze upon a portrait or a painting, that piece has to give me pleasure.  I like to be whisked away in imagination, sort of like being transported to that very place, feeling what it would be like.  This painting does that for me.  I've forgotten the artist's name, so can't give credit.  Suffice it to say that I am not the painter, and I would definitely enjoy this piece in my home.  I think it's beautiful...a simpler time and place.

And these guys down here?  They definitely give me pleasure and I really like having them around.  I took these pictures the other morning before heading off to work.  All the horses are really starting to fuzz up.  I'm hoping for a colder, less wet winter than the last one.  If I could, that's what I'd order.

Kadie and Harley

See that bush on the left?  It's a wild rose and has briers and thorns that will rip you up.  However, even so, Ladde especially enjoys (carefully) eating those bright, orange rose hips that cover the bush this time of year.  They give him rosey breath!  I've heard that some people drink rose hip tea, and it's supposed to be full of vitamin C...maybe they're tasty and good for him.

Missy and Eagle
See how nothing is growing in our pasture?  Dry and grazed right down to the nubs.  We're getting dew in the mornings now, and before long the seasonal rains will return, and our pastures will green up very quickly and start growing again.  Let's just hope we don't get too much of a good thing.  See Ladde in the background?  Other than being quite fuzzy compared to the others, he's looking really good.  We've managed to keep his weight down and I'm so thankful how well his hooves look and his overall soundness is almost better than we could have hoped for.  It's been just about a year since the onset of his laminitis and those terrifying events associated with his Cushings disease, seizures, abscesses and all that pain, all those soakings, poulticing, packing and bandaging...prayers and hard work for his recovery.  We are so grateful and so relieved, and also hopeful we can continue to maintain his health for a good, long time to come.  We kinda like the big guy!

Eags, Ladde and Shad
My morning view from the car.  We're just starting to see fall color, and the falling of leaves from some of the trees.  If the rains hold off, we'll soon experience an explosion of color and that's my most favorite time to be outside, ride horses, go hiking, take pictures, have camp fires!  We're hoping to use the last of my vacation time the second week of October.  One last horse camping outing.  I can't wait!  We're heading to central Oregon and the nights are already dipping into the lower 30's and that's cold!  Freezing in fact...

I'm torn between taking Eagle and getting the chance at more experience with him on the trails, or taking Missy and just having fun.  *sigh*  Not that Eags isn't fun, but it would be less relaxing and carefree overall.  On one hand, it's a wonderful opportunity to ride my boy, rack up a few more sweaty saddle blankets, build memories and all that, but little Miss is just so easy to ride.  Other than moving out and me having to stop and wait for big ole Ladde to catch up occasionally, she just doesn't do anything wrong.  No butterflies, no worries, no stress...what's a gal to do?  My head tells me that to get there with my boy, we have to go through this.  But my other half tells me this could be my last chance in a good, long while to just get out there and ride.  Have fun!  What would you do?  Help !!

Either way, we're ready for one last adventure.  And we're soooo looking forward to it!  In other news, my hubby has been busy working on our patio project.  We need to pack the gravel, get a load of sand and spread that, then start laying the bricks.  Then we cover the bricks with some more sand, sweep into the spaces between and sprinkle this polymer stuff that helps hold everything in place.  Voila! Another project done.  Then, it's back to my squirreling list we go...

Stall bedding, firewood, pellet stove repairs, horse blanket cleaning, pantry stocking, freezer stocking...and before you know it, we'll be preparing for Christmas - oh my!!!

:)  I know.  Shut up!  Right ?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Keep the change and living with it

And accepting change.

My grandma used to say that, "the only constant in life is change".  Wow, the older I become the more fully I realize just how wonderfully wise my grandma was.  Makes me miss her all the more, and appreciate those women who were in my life once, and are no more.

Do I appreciate change?  Hell no!  Most of the time, certainly not - but when given the opportunity, the gift of time, to appreciate those changes - then yes, sometimes.  Mostly, even.  But it's bloody uncomfortable until it isn't.  And that my friend, takes time.

Adjust to fit the situation.  In case that sounds familiar to some of you, yes that's yet another one of Ray's common place sayings.  They rattle around in my head all the time.  He was so very wise. Considering horsemanship, the man was a genius.  He possessed a God-given gift; of that I am certain.  But when it comes right down to it, horsemanship mirrors life.  There really isn't much difference at all.  What works for one, works in the other.

So where am I going with this?  I'm never quite sure, but there is this.  Remember I'd mentioned that I was going to try yoga at home, by myself?  Well, I've been working at it and it's hard.  So much harder than I'd first imagined.  And no, I haven't missed the fact that I say this so often, about so many different things.  In my head, my incredible imagination conjures up almost everything with such grace - such ease.  And oh my gosh, how very different in reality these things turn out to be! What is the deal?  For just once in my life I'd like to envision something and have it turn out to be even remotely close to the way I see it in my mind.

But grace is something my Creator did not endow me with.  (physically anyway)   Not much at all.  *sigh*

So, alone in my living room I toil.  I can do some of the postures alright, maybe kind of close, but most of them require strength, balance and flexibility.  Also surprisingly, several of them are not difficult at all, just takes an amazing amount of strength to hold the poses.  I'm sort of enjoying the process.  I'm willing to try and I'm hopeful that with time and perseverance, I will improve.  All I can do is my best, and trying is something I choose to celebrate.

Because I've figured something out.  Even to try takes a measure of courage.  To put yourself out there, risk the chance of failure, possibly even humiliation, takes guts.  And God did give me guts and a healthy dose of tenacity.  I'm not a quitter.  I am way too stubborn to stop without giving it a fight. Who knows?  Maybe I will suck at yoga, that's a very likely scenario.  But I don't care.  I do not seek perfection, nor do I seek glory.  I just want to get better.  I want to become better - at everything I decide to try.

So for now, in the privacy of my home with my dogs quietly watching from their comfy spot on the couch, I do what I can.  I choose not to ridicule myself for what I cannot do, but instead to cheerfully celebrate that I can do some.  I'm trying really hard to be kinder to myself, change my self-talk so that it more closely resembles how I would speak to someone else who's trying something new.  Not sure why that's so hard.

And maybe tomorrow, I'll be a little bit better than I am today.

I recently read that change brings with it, enthusiasm.  After the initial feeling of discomfort and newness wears off, if we embrace the change, we find ourselves feeling empowered, viewing our world through a fresh set of eyes and having renewed energy.  All of those things sound wonderful to me.  Think about how stagnant everything would seem, if nothing ever changed.  Our daily lives were always the same, comfortable, routine and absolutely as we expected it?  Think I'd get quite bored actually.  And boredom to me, is death.  I simply cannot tolerate not knowing what to do with myself. And I'm not speaking about our daily tasks.  We all likely have way more of those than we're capable of keeping up with.  I know that I do anyway.  I'm talking about what makes you feel alive, refreshed, engaged!

Like I said, I've really no idea where I'm going with all of this.  I just know that change seems to be in the air.  And I need to get both mentally and physically more active to stay healthy. I always enjoy the change of seasons, and Fall especially seems like "starting anew" for some reason. Maybe it's that life moves more indoors, shorter daylight hours, colder weather that brings about different types of activities, but it's change that's sometimes difficult to adjust to; at least for me.

For the last several years we've been toying with the idea of moving to a different type climate where there's more choices for outdoor activities year round and less rain, less mud.  Lower cost of living would be wonderful too, because with my hubby being mostly retired, it's getting harder and harder to make ends meet.  But like I mentioned earlier, change is hard.  Change involves risk, taking chances and it's scary for me.  If we found the right place, for the right price, where we could live comfortably and I could work a part time job; I'd move in a New York minute.  We have a few friends here, we have family that we rarely see and to move where we know no one, is worrisome.  But there are good people everywhere.  I'm not afraid of being alone, I already spend a fair amount of time by myself and I'm used to that.  But still...change is not comfortable.  *sigh*

I guess I'm really just sort of thinking aloud here.  Throwing my thoughts around, letting them go wide and far into the universe and seeing what happens.  Sometimes, just the vocalization of our thoughts can make them seem more achievable.  I don't know, but there you have it.  I have faith that where we are supposed to be, is right where we will land.  You just never know...

Today is the first day of Fall.  The dogs and I went walking in the park and the sun was shining brightly, but the grass was cool and moist.  Driving to work this morning, there was fog hanging in the low areas and the morning sun was filtered.  The air seems cleaner somehow.  It feels good! These are the days when dressing in layers is wise, because by the afternoon it's warmed up and still feels like a summer day.  Days that beckon of getting outside, moving around and doing something active. Hiking, horseback riding, bicycling, apple picking...burning that giant pile of tree clippings and old hay we've been storing all summer.  I'm ready to rip out what's left of my less than spectacular veggie garden already.  What a disappointment it was this year!  Barely a ripe tomato, no green peppers, several cucumbers and that's it.  Sure wasn't even worth the watering.  But this summer will be one for the record books for berries.  Berries of all kinds were amazing!  And I just realized that I didn't even bake one single Marion berry pie - oh my!  Well that's just depressing...

At least I accomplished my main goal of this summer.  I'd named it the "Year of Eagle" and by golly, we did it.  We went on a few trail rides, and made lots of progress and that was my main agenda.  I am so very happy about that.  And my chosen word of 2016 was one I've kept both near and dear to my heart...courage.  I've had to dig deep on several occasions, and we're still here.

That'll do.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A cool start to a beautiful day

So appropriate for me and Eagle.  Could also be said of life in general.  It's very easy for self-doubt to creep in, it's always lingering on the edges of our well-being, threatening to take hold and steal our joy.    Don't let it!  In many cases, easier said than done.  But just keep pushing onward.  

Occasionally we need to remind ourselves of our humble beginnings, look back and remember all those times when we were afraid, or just felt those all-too familiar butterflies in our tummies and despite the fear, the questioning of doubt, stepped up and did it anyway.  Remember that feeling of satisfaction,  of being an overcomer and the simple, unadulterated joy of success.  Aahhh, sweet success!

Remain humble, but savor those moments when we, seemingly despite the odds of our own self-doubt, did it.  We worked through our fears and accomplished something we've worked so hard for. That will give us courage for the next time when fear rears its' ugly head.  One step at a time, the longest journey begins...

We're heading to the inside arena this evening after work for another little ride.  It's getting so dark, so early now, that's about the only way we get to ride.  I'm easily bored in an arena, but even if I just do a little walk-trot in big and little circles, it's better than nothing.  My plan is to try and be focused on feeling my horse, and going with him with a sense of purpose and direction.  Always beautiful and smooth in my mind, not always the case in reality.  But with work, slowly and surely, we will progress.  Ray always said that "perfect practice makes perfect".  In our case, it's not perfection that we seek, but the joy in the doing.

Look at this amazing sunset last evening.  My hubby took this beautiful shot with my phone while we were driving to Lowe's for some supplies for our patio project.  That's the Coast Range and I could just envision what a magnificent sunset it was over the ocean last night.  Pretty spectacular evening! I am loving the crispness in the morning and evening air - feels like Fall has already arrived!

Here's another shot from last night, a bit earlier in the evening and looking north from our yard.  The colors aren't as pretty as in real life, but that feathery, grey-blue surrounded by those puffy thunderheads looked so beautiful.  That's pretty close to the blue in our bedroom.  There's a definite moistness in the air that only a week or so ago, wasn't there.  Makes me think a fire in the wood stove would feel especially nice, especially in the mornings.  It's cold in our house when I get out of bed now!  That's not something I enjoy.  Speaking of wood - we got all the wood nicely stacked outside our wood shed.  Troy called them slab ends because they're from trees he chopped and had fence boards made out of them.  These lengths are the leftovers, and range in length from 8 to 16 feet long. We ended up with two pick-up loads without using our racks, which is roughly a cord or slightly more.  We would still like to get a couple more cords to add to our winter supply.  This wood isn't seasoned, so won't be used this year.

We haven't figured out when we're taking our last few vacation days, but we're hoping to go horse camping in Central Oregon.  Plans could change, but that's what we're thinking.  All the horse camps around there will be closed already for the winter season, so we won't have access to corrals or bathrooms.  So, we're thinking of Jack Creek - it's not an actual campground, but it's right beside the creek.  We can take our own potty, and our own corrals, and use the creek to water the horses.  We'll plan on cold overnight temperatures, but the daytime should be just about perfect for riding.  Might be the first time a camp fire will feel really good too.  I'm really starting to look forward to going, and need to make all the arrangements so we can go before too long.  Our horses are really starting to wooly up already, and I'm starting to think maybe we're in for an early, or a colder than usual winter. We haven't had one in quite a long time.

Summer, only two more days and then fall, glorious fall!

Do you do anything special, or have any traditions for this time of year?

Friday, September 16, 2016

Beautiful morning

seaside cottage:
my dream view - courtesy of pinterest

While driving to work this morning, I noticed this bank of clouds that ran a horizontal line across the entire eastern horizon.  It was incredible!  I think clouds are so amazingly beautiful, and so varied in their presentation.  The sky was this soft, feathery blue and the edges of the white, puffy cloud bank was blurred like wispy cotton close I almost thought I could reach out and touch it.  So pretty!  The air was crisp and cool and the sunlight this time of year is so welcoming; not so harsh and bright like in summer.  Well, technically it's still summer, but this morning felt just like a crisp Fall morning to me!  Refreshing and clean.

I wore my boots!  They're just ankle boots, but still.  And a soft hoodie sweatshirt.  I love it...and for the first time in a long time - my heated seat!  Squeeeee!  How comforting is a warm bum and a hot cup of coffee on a brisk morning?  Delicious!  :)

We're chopping our first firewood of the season this weekend.  Our horseshoer Troy, is gifting us with some wood.  We just need to make the big pieces into smaller ones to fit into our little wood stove and load it in our truck and haul it home.  The weather is supposed to be much cooler and we're even expecting some showers, so what better time to work?  We're so grateful to him because he's probably saving us a couple hundred dollars.  Wood has gotten so very expensive and anytime we can save some money, I'm so happy about that.  He says it's a healthy cord, possibly a little more.  We are happy campers!

I haven't been able to ride Eagle since last weekend, even though the weather has been perfectly suited for it.  Just not enough daylight after I get home from work and get dinner going and chores taken care of to ride.  *sigh*  Sure wish we had an indoor riding arena with nice footing at our disposal...but I do have one nearby that I can trailer to.  Which is just what we'll be doing Tuesday evening.  Maybe, if we're not too tired from woodcutting, we might be able to squeeze in a little trail ride sometime over the next couple of days.  Hope so.

I've been thinking a lot about our little challenge we had last week while riding.  For a lack of a better description, I'll call it "refusal".  Really, I can't seem to describe it any more precise.  However...I have this "friend", acquaintance really, that insists I'm missing something of great IMPORTANCE that my horse is trying to tell me.  She wants to help me figure it out, find a better way to communicate, so my horse is understood, for my safety and his.  That it only feels like defiance, resistance, refusal, whatever you choose to call it, and I'm completely wrong.  Even though she hasn't witnessed it mind you.  But she knows the situation quite well, even has a ready made term for it - tilt-ta-whirl...she won't even tell me what she thinks it might be.  She wants me to come up so we can discuss it in person, over tea.  She wants to schedule me in between clients and enlighten me.  Oh my gosh, this gal really chaps my butt!  I've known her for many years, and it's always the same with her. She knows the situation, horse, whatever better than anyone else, and wants only to help out.  As my friend, as my horse's friend.  Trouble is, she charges $40 an hour for her services and she's kind of like a chiropractor...they want you to keep coming back for more and more "treatments" or in Mary's case, "sessions".  No thanks.

She sure knows how to get under my skin though...has me questioning my choices, my horsemanship, my assessment of the situation and insists that there's many people out there willing to help me "do more", instead of doing less - which of course, is the basis of my philosophy regarding
horsemanship in general.  Always try to get with your horse, and use the situation, doing less so the horse can step up, have your idea become his idea and so forth.   It's like planting a little seed of doubt, questioning if we did the wrong thing and was unfair and overly harsh with my horse.  Why do I let her bother me?  I only wish I knew.  My hubby tells me, "come on, this is Mary, you know how she is".  He's so right.  But still, that nagging little question remains...was I?  I guess the reason is simple enough.  I don't ever want to be unfair.  I want to always do right by my horse.  Be fair. Reasonable and just.

There are more opinions out there about horsemanship than there are grains of sand on the seashore!
I do however believe that when we communicate and share our ideas, our experiences, we all learn. If any of you have any thoughts you'd be willing to share, I would appreciate them. Above all, I'm trying to keep an open mind and continue to grow.

In my gut I know we didn't treat Eagle unfairly.  I wasn't asking him to do anything unreasonable. Just take a little ride...

I admit though.  There have been numerous times since that ride that I have asked myself - "what would Ray have said to do?", "what would Joe say?".  In my heart and soul, I actually do believe that there is a better response than how we reacted.  A better way.  A solution that wouldn't involve any force at all, a softer way to reach his mind.  Reach his feet.  I just don't know what it is.  And I need to figure it out for myself.  For us to move past this.

In my mind, when I'm riding Eags...we don't have any problems.  We're a unified team, just riding along, in unison.  Of one body and one spirit.  :)

I guess nobody ever said it was supposed to be easy...

Oh, and another reason this is such a beautiful morning for me?  My dad visited me in my dreams last night.  I don't claim to understand dreams, and especially some of the dreams my mind comes up with, but oh, what a precious gift!  It was nice waking up with a smile thinking of my dad, and just being with him, even if it was only a dream.

Blessings everyone!  I hope you enjoy this turning of the seasons as much as I do and as always, find abundant reasons to be thankful and feel joy.  Last weekend of summer - enjoy!!!


I like it!:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A good ride

It was indeed!  Jessica, my hubby and I headed to Flying M last weekend for our little trail ride. Jess's mare Rio, Ladde and Eagle gave us an enjoyable morning on the trails and the weather was beautiful!

Eagle rode in Jess's trailer with her mare and my hubby followed with Ladde.  This gave Eags another experience of leaving in a strange trailer and coming home in his usual ride.  We found out that Ladde and Eags will fit in our trailer!  That's a relief!  Not that my boy prefers riding in the back, but other than shoving me out of the trailer because he wanted to get out, it was all good.  And yes, he did get in trouble for that!  He can shove me around like a beach ball when he wants to, and we just can't have that.

As for the ride, we arrived and saddled up.  My nerves showed up as expected, but because of the big rock parking area we couldn't warm up as I'd normally do.  So...get on, get moving and try to just relax.  He felt good, so other than a little nerves, I was alright.  Early on we had a nice, steepish hill to climb which is always a good way to warm up the horses.  :)  Eags climbed the hill with only one bit of encouragement required and then managed the trails for a good distance with me smiling all the way.  He feels sure and strong when we're going down the trails - exactly what I want.

We had to drop down on the gravel road for a short bit before catching the trail again, and this is where the trouble started.  Same thing that happened once before.  We're going along perfectly fine and then all of a sudden, Eagle abruptly turns around and heads back.  He's gone far enough and is done.  Just like that.  Can't have that, so I turn him around.  This isn't an easy feat because he is quite determined that going back is exactly what he wants to do, and it just doesn't matter what I want. He's decided.  So...argue we did, and after several attempts, back-ups, taking of the bit, throwing his shoulder in the direction he wants to go and using all his weight thrown in for good measure, I finally win this battle and he goes on down the road like a good horse.  For a little while...and then he ramps up his decision to go back and very firmly pulls out all his tricks and I start losing my bravado and become nervous about the whole situation.  Unless I'm willing to give him a resounding smack with my romal or really put my heels in him, I'm losing this time.  Can't have that.  And I just didn't feel confident enough in my ability to sit that big jump that I knew would be coming, so I got off and Jessica got on.  My very pregnant instructor with an iron will has no fear.  I said a little prayer for safety on her and little one's behalf.  Apparently she has velcro on her butt as well, because stick she did.  Eags made the mistake of trying the same thing with Jess.  Uh-oh...Eagle's bad.

He tried all his maneuvers to get his way and Jess just wasn't having it.  We sat patiently and watched while my horse tried all his best moves and eventually acquiesced.  But it wasn't easy.  Jess was working at him - like I've said, this horse is very strong-willed and just plain strong.  He doesn't try to buck, or rear or do anything but strengthen his resolve at refusal.  So, in the end it was several hard whacks on that shoulder he was throwing around that finally convinced him that he wasn't going to win the war.  He gets a whack, he reacts with a big sideways jump and repeat...I just sat there and watched.  The horse has my number and he knows it.  Gosh, I hate that!  It does help to observe his behavior though because more and more riding and having to face this, will (hopefully) give me the courage to get tough when I need and have to.  Just wish it didn't have to come to that, but apparently it does.  I've never, ever had a horse do this particular thing.  Outright refusal and a total battle of wills.  Kind of sucks, but I guess we have to get past this too.  Sure do hope this particular issue passes quickly...

Once Eagle decided it was in his best interest to move along, Jess rode him for a little ways.  He was a perfect gentleman and our enjoyable ride resumed.  I was riding Rio and we were getting along just fine.  We came to a creek crossing which was just about the halfway point in our ride.  Jess and I switched horses so I could finish the ride with my horse.  I can't say that I was a hundred percent relaxed, but I felt pretty good.  Eagle once again, felt very solid, sure and trustworthy.  We crossed the creek several more times on our way back and everything was just about perfect.  Ladde led the way heading back (typical) and it sure was good to follow that big, white butt all the way home.  So very thankful for his return to soundness.  Obviously, all of us were having a really nice time.  Eagle included.  (big brat!)  The weather was warming up, but under the canopy of the forest, it was just about perfect.  The leaves on some of the trees are already beginning to turn colors and fall, and the trails were just lovely.  *sigh*  My kind of ride - no mud, no insanely steep hills, beautiful weather, very little rocks to deal with, and a cool creek to ride along.  I can't wait to do it again!

With every ride, I can feel our bond growing.  Every new experience and wet saddle blanket builds a little more confidence in ourselves and in each other.  I've always been told that there are no perfect horses, and there are no perfect people.  We work with each other in the best way we can, and know how to.  That's all we can really do.  And all along the way, I grow more thankful for the big bay horse with the mind of his own.  Well...most of the time anyway.

I have no pictures to share of our ride.  I didn't even remember to bring my camera along, and I regret that, but I was a little busy.  Maybe next time.

Blessings all, and thank you for reading along.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Winding down to gear up

Just a couple of weeks left to our goodness how quickly the time goes by!  I know it isn't just me because I've heard plenty of people make that same comment.  We all seem to be in agreement too; just wish everything would slow down a little.  It's kind of scary when you look back over time and wonder...just where has that time gone?  Remember that Rolling Stones song?  "time waits for no one, and it won't wait for me".  So very true.

Speaking of summer...look at this feast.  This for me, is one of the ultimate summer meals.  My most favorite sandwich ever.  Bacon and tomato.  Garden fresh tomato only, of course!  And no lettuce.  I despise lettuce on my B&T sandwich!  And I prefer my bread soft - whole wheat, white or sourdough - I love them all, but not toasted.  No way.  As my husband would say whenever it's something involved that he really likes, "I'm a B&T sandwich purist!  :)  Meaning of course, that's the only way to eat them!  Fresh picked corn on the cob, fresh peaches and my garden cucumbers in rice vinegar, dill, salt and pepper.  Yummy!

With Fall just around the corner, my mind is full of plans for stocking up for the cooler weather months.  My favorite season of the year is also a busy time of year. Even so, there's so much to love about fall.  Cooler weather, brisk mornings and delectably cool nights perfect for snuggling under the blankets, sweaters, jeans, boots, neck scarves.  Color!  Beautiful, brightly colored leaves, the smell of wood smoke in the air, enjoying a cup of something warm to drink, best time of year for riding or hiking, and so many more reasons to love this time of year!    I absolutely love going camping in the fall and sitting around a camp fire!  Or spending time at the beach! Oh my gosh, I'm getting all sorts of lovely ideas in my head and am really looking forward to planning at least one or two more outings in the woods, camping, riding, getting firewood, bedding for the horses and more - let the squirreling begin!!!

Below is a picture of a couple of our client's Belgian draft horses at the state fair.  They were tired and anxious to go home.  Can't say that I blame them either!  They go home for a few days and then off again for about a month on their last show of the season.  Poor babies, I'll bet they're more than ready to be done with all this exhibition stuff!  The one on the left is, believe it or not, just a wee babe.  Just 4 years old and amazingly quiet and well-seasoned for his age.  Aren't they just beautiful?  And so kind. These draft breeds are typically laid back and so easy to be around.  Amazing really.

Jess and I had planned on going trail riding last evening, but opted to wait until tomorrow due to the shortened daylight hours.  This way we can relax and enjoy our ride without all the added pressure of getting back by dark.  Probably a good idea.  My hubby will be going with us.  He and Ladde.  I'm very anxious, and of course a little bit nervous about it as well.  I think we'll do fine, but my nerves are always right there below the surface.  Once I get on and get moving, I'm hopeful that Eagle will be attentive and calm, giving both of us an enjoyable ride.  Hope so!  There's lots of hills at the "M" and that's not something we've done much of yet.  I'm thinking if both of us are kept busy enough, managing the terrain and enjoying our surroundings, there won't be any reason for silliness or spookiness.  I just need to keep in mind that this isn't my first ballgame, trust myself and my abilities - and remember to breathe!!  I can do this, right!?

I'm really looking forward to the day when all this "newness" is behind us.  When I can saddle up, mount up and just ride.  No worries, no nerves, no fear!!  I just want to have fun!!

Anyway, that's it for now.  I'm so thankful this work week is coming to a close.  It was a short one, but in many ways has seemed long to me.  I'm always ready for the weekend when my time is more my own.  Our weather has warmed up again, and we're expecting middle to upper eighties for a week or more to come.  Summer's not quite ready to bow out gracefully.  And I guess that's the way it should be...go down, but go down kicking and screaming.

Blessings all,

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

News on the homefront

beautiful flowers my dear friend Kelly arranged for her son's wedding

Well, since we opted out of horse camping over the long weekend, we spent more time closer to home.  We accomplished absolutely nothing constructive around the house.  Other than laundry, couldn't get out of that I'm afraid.  Otherwise we seemed to be on the go, or slackers.  I don't like not being constructive, but sometimes I suppose you have to invest in downtime.

Friday evening after work, we loaded Eagle and Missy into the trailer and went to our local county fairgrounds where the Mounted Sheriff's Posse were having their monthly ride night in the arena. They had all sorts of obstacles set up and there were quite a few riders doing all manner of things in the arena.  Since this was new for us, we saddled outside and walked the horses in where we could watch the happenings for a while before jumping into the mix.  My plan was to take it as it came.  I had no idea how Eagle would react to all that mental stimulus so I put no pressure on either of us to do anything.  I truthfully don't enjoy riding in larger groups with all manner of riders and "stuff" going on.  I've never really felt comfortable with that situation, but this season has been all about new experiences, and pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone, so here we were.

Surprisingly, we both handled most everything quite well.  Eagle was so very good, a bit wide-eyed at times and he didn't particularly care for noisy distractions going off behind him, but other than a few quick steps and a looky-loo, my boy was very brave.  I was so proud of him!  This is starting to become routine - me being proud of my horse.  :)

And honestly, I'm fairly pleased with myself too.  Knowing how nervous I can become, I am happy to report that other than a moment or two of quickly-passing concern, I was perfectly fine. We've still got a lot of room for improvement, but we're doing it and I couldn't really expect better.  If I rode every day, we'd certainly advance more quickly, but for me I've ridden a lot more often than is routine and overall I'm so happy.  Our bond continues to grow closer, and that trust we're building in each other is becoming more and more evident.  My horse is learning to listen to his rider, check in with me when he's concerned, and his confidence is becoming stronger with each little bit of experience. Like Ray used to tell me, "you have to go through it, to get past it".   that works for both of us.  We're on this journey together and it's so very enjoyable.  He's still a strong-willed horse and probably always will be, but his sense of justice and fairness runs true - if I respect that in him, he will respect me as his leader.  I must prove worthy or he will not listen to me.  He will take over if I'm not confident.  He's shown that in himself time and again.

The weather was so beautiful the entire weekend.  Perfectly comfortable and we'd even had a few showers here and there, so riding seemed to beckon.  We loaded Ladde and Missy in the trailer and headed to Flying M Ranch for a trail ride.  It's about a 30 minute drive from home and when we arrived, nobody was there, camping or riding, so we had the place to ourselves.  The trails were beautiful and the horses felt good.  We didn't go on a long ride because Ladde isn't in condition and neither is my hubby, but we enjoyed ourselves and so did our horses.  It was a wonderful way to spend my hubby's birthday, and that evening we had dinner with Steve and Chris.  An absolutely perfect day!  We still haven't worked out the details of hauling Lad and Eags together, so we took Missy; but this Thursday Jessica and I have plans to go riding at The "M" and I'll get my chance to ride Eagle on the trails then.  :)

my hubby's "Helvetia" burger for his birthday

Sunday morning we went out for breakfast and afterwards took the dogs to the park and had a walk with them.  They loved it, of course!  We'd decided to spend the remainder of our day at the State Fair and this was our way of easing our consciences where the dogs were concerned.  They were feeling a bit left out after we'd left them home most of the day Saturday.  They do know how to make us feel guilty!  But we all enjoyed our time at the park and they got to expend a bit of that excess energy they had going.  Even so, they weren't very pleased when we left them home again.  *sigh*   Life is never perfect...

The fair was quite enjoyable.  Again the weather was perfectly comfortable with no rain.  This was the first fair we'd attended all summer and for a change, it felt fresh and just a nice change of pace.

Much to my dismay (and joy) OPB was having a Downton Abbey marathon which proved to be my downfall on Monday.  I spent far too much of my time watching...and got very little accomplished.  At any time I could have made the decision to get up and go do something more active, constructive and likely even more enjoyable, but there I sat.  For some reason, it felt really good to sit there with my blanket and just relax for a change.  Ruby even snuggled with me for the longest time, and it's been a very long time since she's graced me with her presence...all hail the queen!  : )   I felt blessed indeed!

Charlotte suffers no shame over laziness

So that's our weekend in a nutshell.  Hope you spent yours in a way that gave you pleasure - however that may be!