Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Introducing: High Cotton

I apologize for not posting all summer, but life has been a bit crazy. Horse showing, training and lessons - I'm sure most of you understanding. This October I purchased my first horse on my own - a cute grey 16hh Thoroughbred gelding named High Cotton (aka "Dallas"). He reminds me so much of Onyx (my high school horse) that I'm going to be rather reluctant to sell him. Dallas is showing a lot of promise as a hunter, but also has experience schooling cross country. If you have a minute check out his free jumping video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaQiVAaFDa8. As you can see, white boy can jump! :-)

Monday, May 17, 2010

My New Cowboy & House

Do not get me started on the phone company (I would like y'all to note I am being nice and not naming the specific company that has ticked me off for the past week). Last Tuesday they told me it would be no problem getting high speed internet out to my place on Friday. Thursday (after realizing I do not get great cell service at the house) I call to say I want to add a phone line and they tell me that nobody was coming out on Friday because my address wasn't "verifying"...I guess it is a good thing I called or I would have been out waiting all day Friday and nobody would have showed up (obviously they don't care that I have a life and had rearranged my schedule to be there). Friday they call to tell me I can't get high speed internet, just the phone line - and oh yeah there is an extra one-time $40.00 activation fee they forgot to tell me about. This morning they call to tell me they have changed my phone number - again. If they call me tomorrow I'm going to tell them exactly where they can stick there phone line...

Other than that (and the downpours of rain that have kept me from moving my mattress and desk - the last two things in the apartment) my move has been very smooth. My mom came and helped me last week after graduation - if it wasn't for her I'm sure everything would still be in boxes! I will try to get pictures of the inside up soon, I actually have them on my camera I just can't find the cord to get them on my computer because it is packed in a box somewhere! LoL!

One of the biggest joys of moving is getting my Cowboy! He is a 9 week old Black Lab/Chow mix who is absolutely perfect and has stolen my heart! Though he is still fairly timid (he was abandoned so there is no telling what he has had to put up with) I think in time he will actually grow to be quite the little (I use that term loosely) guard dog. His first horse show is this coming weekend - luckily it is a local NWAHJA show, let's hope he gets through it with no issue!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hunters and Jumpers and Equitation Oh My!

If you had told me five years, heck even 2 1/2 years ago, that I'd be going to "AA" Hunter/Jumper shows on a regular basis I would have laughed in your face. Well ladies and gentlemen, it's official, I have gone to the "dark side," where the braids are tiny and body clipping is a year round fashion trend (and did I mention there normally aren't thorn trees?). Do I miss the galloping and adrenaline rush of cross country? Yes. Do I miss the dressage? Hell no. :-p

This week I am moving out to Southdown Farms to settle in my little training business, Tripple Spring Training - like we all didn't see that one coming. Anyway, turns out I'm actually pretty good at this whole hunter/jumper/equitation stuff; if you ask my mom she will say she always thought I'd end up in the jumper ring...something about watching Onyx and I rock out in show jumping and then being terrified of ditches on cross country...oh well, I guess it is true: mom is always right! I'm not saying that I'm done with eventing, I will probably do an event now and then, but I'm graduating and will soon be financially responsible for myself. Scary. No, like really scary. And I'm getting paid to go to hunter/jumper shows instead of paying to go to events...it's this whole new concept that I'm starting to like: actually making money, imagine that!
The picture above is one of my students, Shelby, and her horse Ollie. Last weekend they placed in all of their over fences classes in the Children's Hunter division in Tulsa (field of 12), including a 1st and a 3rd. I could not have been more proud of her. The progress that these two have made since November is amazing!
So for now it is farewell to eventing and hello to the world of hunters and jumpers and equitation oh my! (And yes...I am slowly having to change my riding wardrobe and accessories over to the trends of this new world. Example: I no longer rock out in the skull cap helmet. But don't worry - I'm keeping the cross country vest!)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Lake Where I Grew Up

I spent last weekend with my parents at the lake house down in Mountain Pine. Last summer was the first summer I have gone since I can remember without stepping foot on the boat or a toe in Lake Ouachita. My dad and I went out on the boat and while I sat in the front of the boat in my shorts and sweatshirt, the classic rock station blaring, I realized that most of my life can be documented on the banks of Lake Ouachita.
Horses are a major part in my life, but it is a part of my life I have experienced on more of a solo basis. The lake marks places in life with my family and friends. There is the cove that I busted my eardrum when my uncle threw me off the tube. The shore where I went to Girl Scout camp most of my elementary summers and where my dad and I went to Indian Princess camp. The docks where we went for ice cream and slushies. And finally the rocks where my sister died.
The back of a horse is maybe where I learned and matured, but the waters of Lake Ouachita is where I grew up.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

2010 Thus Far...

I realized I haven't posted in awhile - mainly because nothing much has happened - so I decided to post a year-to-date review.

2010...well the picture on the left pretty much sums it up. We have had at least 4 snow/ice days so far this semester, the only thing getting me through it is to remember that Spring Break (FLORIDA!) is only a month away! Riding has been light since Coaster is 30 minutes north of me and roads conditions have been dicey. The only real horse drama so far this year is that a client's horse kicked the crap out of Coaster, scaring me to death because Ollie managed to catch him square in the hock. I had to wait a couple of days (thank you crappy weather!) to take him to the vet, but the x-rays were 100% clean (no arthritis or anything!) so it all turned out okay, except for the fact Coaster is still a tad sore. But hey, I would be too if I had a 1300 lb horse kick me!

Other than that I've just been trying to gain the motivation to get through my last semester of college. I've never been the most motivated student in the world, I've always thought the barn was waaaay more amusing, but this semester is proving to be harder. The thought of graduation scares me. I'm not sure what I want to do the for the rest of my life and I'm feeling the pressure that I'm certain most other seniors are feeling right about now. I'm having to look at the truth about if I can support myself (and my horse!) teaching lessons and training on a local level and what I need to do to achieve my personal goals.

No matter how worried or upset I get I have to keep in mind that it will all work out because at the end of the day I have what matters most: my friends and family who will stand behind me no matter what.

PS: I obviously made it through my favorite day of the year, Valentine's Day. The only casualty was in the battle on the dancefloor: Lauren vs. the cutest 4" pink heels you have ever seen...I'm still not sure if it was a draw or if the heels kicked my butt!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Five Horses

The Five Horses We Meet on Earth is from a book (Horses in the Yard) by Joanne Friedman.

The Five Horses We Meet in Life

1. The Intro Horse.
We each came into horses in our own way, but it was always with a horse leading us. This might have been a friend’s first pony, or perhaps it was a draft horse on a farm you once visited I
t might have been a real-life meeting, or an imaginary one. I was escorted to the party by The Black, Walter Farley’s star horse in The Black Stallion series…

Mine was the old gelding in the pasture behind my great-grandmother's house in Morrilton, AR. My dad took me out there and put me up on his back bareback in the pasture - all he did was creak around at a walk but I might as well had been galloping across the fields, I was in heaven.

2. The Experimental Horse
Once you had crossed the line between “Darn, they’re big!” and “Wow! Can I try that?” you found yourself face-to-face with the horse that would suffer through your early attempts at figuring out the whole horse experience … wherever this horse came from, he probably didn’t benefit from the encounter as much as you did…

I had two - the first horse I rode in lessons was Spunky. He was a 20 year old QH when I started riding him he took me through x-rails and short stirrup. By the way - he is still around, snug as bug wandering around Maumelle doing as he pleases - he loves retired life!

The second one was my first horse Jouster. He never stopped at a thing and never put up a fight just forged ahead and took care of me - even going super fast on cross country!! RIP 11/5/2000

3. The Connected Horse
The first horses we meet don’t really connect with us, nor do we with them. Those are experiences in survival and tests of endurance. The Connected Horse is the first horse you truly bond with. This is the horse that sounds a chord that lives so deep in you that you might never have heard it otherwise…

Onyx. He got me through the hardest time in my life. If it wasn't for that I horse I seriously wonder if I would have made it through my sister's death. He will always be my horse and I hope to get him back for retirement after his tenure at Randolph Macon college is finished.

4. The Challenger
Into each horseperson’s life, a little challenge must fall. You’ll have read that one final training book, bought yourself a clicker and heading rope, and there you’ll stand, arms crossed, assessing the situation as if you actually knew what the situation was. It might be difficult to believe, as you are flying down the aisleway on the losing end of a braided cotton line, but you actually need this horse in your life…

The Coaster for sure. I've been ready to sell this horse for a penny multiple times. He is so talented and mega-athletic but spends all of his thought process (which unfortunately he has a lot more than anybody would guess) on how to a.) not work and b.) make his rider/handler work harder than him. He has taught me so much and teaches me everytime I throw a leg over his back.

5. Your Deepest Heart
There will come a time when you will look at yourself with a cold, appraising eye, and you’ll have to be honest about your continued ability to deal with The Challenger and other difficult horses. At that point, you’ll seek out the horse that will be your soul mate forever… You’ll have bought him the most comfortable, best fitting equipment… Maybe you’ll still go to shows and ride – brilliantly or barely – in the Alzheimer’s class. Maybe you’ll just stay home. Whatever you do, one day you’ll realize that after all the money you spent on animal communicators and trainers, you only had to stop and listen and you would have clearly heard your horse’s thoughts and desires…

I will have him one day.