Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cowgirl Eventer

Weeeellll... Flint's first event didn't exactly go as planned. And when I say "didn't go as planned" I mean that he spent the whole time expressing his opinion that he was NOT ready to compete, so I scratched. Needless to say, Flint has been in a sort of "cowboy camp" since returning home.

He now ties (for long periods of time at the wash rack); he now lunges (in side reins over trot poles); he now goes through water (round/on the bit, and can even back through it); he now trail rides (in western tack and halter); he is learning to rope (shhh it's a secret).

Obviously he did not appreciate his life as a show horse in an extremely friendly training situation, so now I am just showing him how easy and fun it would have been had he decided to go to dressage warm up with the big boys. For as much heart that this horse shows once he's finally "broke" he will be something special...once he has decided he is ready to be broke is probably how I should have worded that. We are headed to Texas Rose Horse Trials Nov. 19-20 - but not to compete (I'm not throwing money away again); before he gets the privilege to "Enter at A" he must prove to me that he can leave his diaper bag at the stall and be led (yes, he didn't even lead at the last one...) and ridden around the show grounds.

The most frustrating thing about last weekend was the fact that I HAD done my homework - he's been to local shows, clinics and schoolings. I knew that taking him to an event was going to induce a little melting more so than the clinics and local shows I have been hauling him to, but I never would have guessed he would become completely unrideable. I am working on finding a vet nearby (nearby being the key word) who can scope him to rule out ulcers; beyond that he can rear and leap in the air (he has perfected this Lipizzaner-type move that will require me to go see a chiropractor when it is all said and done) all he wants - I've taken off the tall boots and put on the Justin's, I am officially eventer turned cowgirl when it comes to Flinter - his attitude will change!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Let's Get Controversial - Why I'm Pro-Slaughter

Most people are very surprised when they find out that I am pro horse slaughter. Now don't get me wrong, in a perfect world I love for there to be no horse slaughter, but we hardly live in a perfect world. In general I believe the mistake 99% of humans make when dealing with animals is humanizing them. We want to treat our dogs, cats and horses as if they are people - we give them names, we "connect" with them, we give them our emotions; when in fact we forget that they are not human at all...

Like it or not horse slaughter is a necessary "evil" in the horse industry. As it stands now - with slaughter being illegal - there is no base value for a horse. Back in the day - when slaughter houses were legally operational - every horse had a value based on the per pound price that day. Without a legal way to dispose of horses in a profitable manner the market is ridiculously flooded, therefore causing the value/price of every horse to drop. Horses that used to be worth $5,000 back when the slaughter houses were operational are now worth less than $1,o00.

Don't get me wrong - in my perfect world every horse has a purpose and a loving family that is able to care for and feed them properly until they are ready to be humanely euthanized and then buried in the family plot along grandma. Unfortunately the world in which we live is hardly perfect (I feel the need to keep reiterating this). It is easy to say that every horse has a use, but let's face it - it is not true. Whether out of laziness or financial issues we all know at least one person who has a horse 5 years or older that is not broke, most likely not castrated, and in most cases dangerous to the normal person. As pointed out by one of my friends on Facebook, horses like this are not able to be given away even to rescue programs. In a town not far from me people are actually turning these types of horses out on public land because people simply can't afford to feed them anymore. How nice would it be if they could take the horse to the sale barn and make $800 off of it to feed their family?
Should they have had the horse in the first place? Probably not, but they do and now they need to find something to do with it in this time of economic strain.
Why don't they humanely euthanize the horse? Because it becomes very pricey when you start talking about disposing of a 1,200 lb corpse.

The number one cause of the need for slaughterhouses? Overbreeding and breeding for the wrong reasons. For some reason people can't comprehend that breeding crap to crap just produces more crap. I know that sounds incredibly crud and my mother would probably give a dirty look for the language, but it is the truth. Take a look at the cattle industry - they breed to IMPROVE the genetics of their herd. They cull out what they don't like and choose their herd sires and heifers/cows based on what is genetically superior. Trust me, I don't pretend to understand cowboys (lol, now THAT's another blog post) but the are obviously better business people than 99% of people in the horse industry.

It is very easy to get caught up in pictures and videos published by organizations such as PETA and HSUS, especially if you don't look at the horse industry as what it is - an industry. Not only does horse slaughter raise the value of all horses on the market (which helps the professionals selling horses) it also is another avenue to feeding people. With the direction the economy has turned we have quite a few hungry people in our own country, all of these unwanted horses that aren't being cared for properly could go to feed them.

I wish I had gone about this whole post in a more organized manner, but honestly I'm tired and I don't have the time so I apologize for the hastiness in which it was thrown together - it was one of those things I just needed to get off my chest I guess.

DISCLAIMER: Now I know that I am probably going to piss some people off with all of this, but I feel that everyone is entitled to their own opinions about anything (and Lord knows I'm opinionated!). You can agree with me, you can disagree with me and/or you can hate me, I don't care - I just want people to make their decisions/opinions based on education, not their feelings toward slanted photographs designed to target our human emotions.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Perfect Show Mom

I could not find a single picture of my mother at a horse show; do you know why? Because she was behind the cameras, video and still, at every single one of them. It is classic in the field of family vacations - mothers excluded from most of the pictures because they are the ones taking them all, but in my life it carried over to horse shows. I am extremely blessed in many ways, but the blessing I would like to focus on today is how supportive my family, especially my mom, has always been about my horses and showing.

I can't even begin to imagine the thousands of miles my mom drove dragging the trailer, or the number of yards she hand walked Onyx while I mucked his stall (after I got Coaster however we switched jobs - she wasn't quite comfortable with the 17.2 warmblood, no matter how well behaved he always was...). She met me at the ingate and the finish line of every ride with gatorade and water. Mom would be the first to tell you that she doesn't know much about horses, but I'm a firm believer that is the best attribute to a good show mom, and she was always willing to learn. She always knew when to say something or not and when to leave me be - usually after a less than stellar ride.

In the days of the local hunter/jumper shows she was the secretary at the shows as well as within the local organization and was very active in the Pony Club on an administrative level as well. I can only think of 2 shows in my high school eventing career that my mother did not attend - neither of which was due to lack of wanting to go. As I have gotten older I miss my mom at horse shows. I'm self sufficient at shows, I like to have a ground person for obvious reasons, but nobody can fill the shoes of my mom. She came to a my first show on Flint in June and even after several years hiatus from her show mom duties she still came with a camera, gatorade and water in hand, falling right back into the duty of perfect horse show mom, even when I'm 25 years old.

She is a master trailer driver through all kinds of wind, rain or hail; she reminded me that the only goal was to have fun and do my best; nobody can compare to her videographer skills (even when I fell off and broke my face the camera never waivered). My mother was the rock that I had at every horse show and I truly believe I'm as successful as I am because of her. My mother = the perfect show mom!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ditches and Banks and Water Oh My!

Today was Flint's first official off the farm cross country schooling. After a brief discussion about behaving himself pre-trailer loading we were off to Holly Hill Farm down in Benton, Louisiana early this morning. *side note* For all of you Arkansas eventers out there, you know the best part of going to Holly Hill is stopping at Burge's in Lewisville for a turkey salad sandwich and a fried pie - that way you feel so amazing when schooling...nothing like fried pie sitting heavy in your stomach! *end of side note* Flint behaved himself quite nicely once we got to Holly Hill. It is very easy for me to forget how slow of a warm up he needs at a new place - usually a good 15-20 minute walk to make sure all the buttons are working before we trot and canter.

What I love about this horse is that he is brave - this horse lives to jump. From the first starter-novice jump to the last novice jump we cleared he was extremely honest. We schooled ditches and banks for the first time and he was a complete rockstar - I couldn't have asked for more, he always knew where his feet were 100% of the time. The only slight hiccup was the water, which I've known is an issue. Once he gets his feet in the water he is okay, will trot through it willingly, it is just getting him to take that first step in...I may have to get creative at the event in October on not getting a refusal. He has come a very long way from rearing and spinning when asked to go into water though, so I'm not complaining - the key to Flint is to not pressure him into situations where he is uncomfortable (water), but allow him to progress forward at a pace he is comfortable with. It only took a few minutes of standing with a loose rein square to the water and asking for literally one step at a time before he marched right in, through and around the water complex. Overall I was very proud of little Flinter today - hopefully we can make it to our local eventing venue (Jubilee) at least once or twice before the show at the end of October; between that and our cross country jumps and various ponds throughout the farm we should be ready!

(I apologize for not having pics or video...I'm quickly realizing how much I miss my mom coming along with us! She is the best show/clinic/horse mom ever! - hmmm, an idea for a future blog post!)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fantastic Clinic

Over the past two days I've had the wonderful opportunity to ride with Heather Morris at a local eventing family's farm. Yesterday, prior to loading into the trailer, Flinter had a much needed refresher course on how-to-stand-tied (yes, it got a little western for about 30 seconds) and how-to-be-polite-while-receiving-a-bath-because-it-isn't-my-fault-you-are-grey-and-chose-to-roll-the-night-before...but after this little refresher he was VERY well behaved, funny how that works. After his bath he loaded smartly in the trailer and away we went. When we arrived at the Fletcher's farm he remained calm - if you had seen him at the last clinic you would know he doesn't really "do" new places well - and settled into his stall with a quick roll. Luckily he had about an hour and a half to settle before I tacked him up and mounted - the whole time staying very relaxed which can be very much not like Flint, but hey I'm not complaining!

No "airs above ground" for us! In our lesson he was extremely rideable and Heather had us start working on leg yields at the trot and basically just standing up when tracking right. The thing that I love about this horse is his work ethic, even when he isn't quite sure he truly does want to figure out the "game." It has been awhile since I've "entered at A" Heather helped me a lot with the exact gaits that I want while in the arena and gave me some great tips on how to manage his tendency to curl back behind the bit. I even broke out the old dressage saddle (it only had about 3" of dust on it!) for the occasion and was very impressed with myself on how the old muscle memory put me right back in the correct dressage position. Overall I feel that the main goal for Holly Hill is a long warm up, especially at the walk. Naturally with Flint being an OTTB he wants to get tense through is back (big surprise right?), but when he relaxes and softens through his back and into the bridle he really does have lovely movement that I feel has the potential to be competitive in the dressage ring...if we can keep his famous "airs above ground" to a minimum!

Today we were scheduled to school cross country, which I was extremely excited about for obvious reasons, however a big ole storm system kept that from happening - don't worry I'm not complaining, I know we needed the rain! So instead we worked on gridwork and some lines in the arena. Starting out with the grids Flint was figuring out where to put his feet, but once the line built up to 3 jumps (two one strides with canter poles) he became a gridworking machine. It was amazing to feel how his confidence grew in himself as the grid grew to 5 jumps (x-rail - one stride - vertical - one stride - vertical - bounce - vertical - one stride - oxer). He naturally stayed straight and his transitions at the end of the arena just got better as the lesson progressed. We then moved on to line work, starting with a basic six stride then working in the two stride. Flint's confidence that was built up through the grid remained strong through the other exercises causing me to have to whoa more than I ever have on him before - he was eating them up and looking for the next fence! As long as I can keep his confidence growing and keep it up throughout the event I think Beginner Novice at Holly Hill should be a fun, successful first outing for us. (*fingers crossed*)

The thing that I like about Heather as a clinician is that she can have a lesson with 3 different riders on 3 completely different rides and everyone walks away learning something and feeling like they got their moneys worth. She works on the things that are fixable within the lesson time and gives "homework" that is doable with goals for the next time that are attainable. This is the second time I have ridden with her and both times Elizabeth and I have felt that we walked away with valuable information; we will definitely ride with her every time she comes back as long as our schedule permits.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Great Dressage Lesson

My morning started out when Flint broke not one, but two sets of cross ties this morning...we promptly put an end to THAT behavior (thank you carrot stick!)! But don't worry, it got immensely better when he not only loaded onto the trailer like a perfect gentleman, but also UNloaded and walked to his stall at the Fletcher's farm like he's been hauling around his whole life. We then had a great lesson with Heather Morris - unlike the last time when he was running around like a retard the whole time; he actually was calm, relaxed and completely rideable. I think the key to his first event or two will be getting there Thursday afternoon and hacking him around a bunch to get him comfortable so he can relax. Bless his little Thoroughbred heart, he gets himself all worked up into a huge knot and then literally cannot relax until he has worked himself through the entire tantrum, then he is 100% the perfect little angel. It may be questionable how much I'm actually teaching this horse, LoL, but he sure is teaching me an awful lot, which I guess is the point. More on the clinic (especially tomorrow's XC ride) tomorrow evening!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Too Late for Goodbye

It's too late. It's all gone.
You had your chance. You took to long,
Like you always do. I won't wait for you.
It's not a game. It's not your choice.
It must be strange to hear my voice,
Saying don't come back this time.
It's too late for goodbye. 
- "Too Late for Goodbye", Randy Rogers Band

You know I love me some Randy Rogers Band! This song actually sums up a lot of changes I've had within myself the last year or so. I don't know if it is the fact that I've now turned 25 (ack!) or just the maturing process but I am so over people who waste my time, guys in particular, and now have this newfound courage to walk away for good. I have learned that I am a boundaries person - I want boundaries, I need them. Without them I become a basket case, I need that definition in life. In figuring this out about myself I became more honest with myself in what I need and want; and therefore was able to be more honest with the people in my life. 
The biggest change is what I like to call: The Official Fall Phone Purge of 2011. Tada! In just ten short minutes I deleted more than ten people that I honestly don't want to talk to ever again. The reasons were various: he's a dick, he's a married dick who still calls me (what a winner!), he's so 2010...haha, I wish I was kidding. It really is crazy what kind of guys have resided in my phonebook for the past 10 years, embarrassing even. 
The hardest ones to delete were the time wasters...those guys who I used to have so much fun with back in the day but just hem and haw around now; the ones I know that I will never have any sort of relationship past "maybe." Everyone wants to have those couple of people they can text when they are bored, but how is that fair to either party? It isn't. 
I have two categories of guys now: Dating or Friends. There is no room for the grey area anymore - and I think that is what has surprised a lot of people. Under most circumstances I am a very confident person, I don't let people run over me rough shod; but there are those few people who have slipped past and I have given way too much control before they truly earned it. Shame on me and no more of that in the future!

The Pony I Never Had

From my first lesson it was planned that I would be an eventer, it is the barn my parents chose when they were looking at buying me lessons for my birthday. As soon as I learned to trot around correctly I learned to canter, as soon as I learned to canter I was taught to jump. By the time my parents bought me my first horse I was coursing cross country fences in the back field and taking dressage lessons with the dressage clinician who was brought in every month. Eventing and showing is what I was taught to do from day one and I wouldn't trade my background for the world. All of my western-raised friends find it so funny though how uncomfortable I can be in a western saddle and how foreign the thought of riding without a real purpose (showing) is to me. Well I now have found the joy in riding a "broke-not-trained" horse (this is what we call a horse that is broke to death but never ridden in a true program/arena environment). The funny thing is that I've found this joy in a 13.2 hand grey former hog-hunting pony package! Yes, laugh it up - I am 5'8" tall and absolutely LOVE riding this little pony. We got her to teach lessons on about three weeks ago from a lady who had her as a barrel and poles horse for her child; prior to this my little Lacy pony was a hog huntin' fool down in Louisiana (no, I'm not kidding). One of the first days she was at the farm Elizabeth had me tack Lacy up in western tack (since that's what she is used to) and take her out - I had a blast! For the last couple weeks I've been trail riding this little pony head and am (finally) actually feeling comfortable in western tack. Today I hopped on her bareback - I've never had a horse that I could literally hop on bareback from the ground! This may have to be my chuck wagon racing pony next year - Snowy River Race competitors watch out! LOL!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

First Gallop & XC School = Success!

Custom Cross Country Vest = $250
Cross Country Boots = $95/pair
Charles Owen Helmet = $280
Being on a horse that loves his job out on XC = PRICELESS

As I'm getting ready for the Heather Morris clinic this weekend I realized that I should probably school a little bit of cross country to see how Flint will behave his little self out in the field with other horses galloping around. And, you know - see if he will jump them! Haha! So I went out today with Elizabeth, who was on Peaches - a seasoned eventer, and played around a bit with some of our cross country jumps.
Flint was an absolute rockstar. He was very nervous when I first got on - we had switched around turn out and he was missing his ladies, but after we started trotting and then let him roll along at the gallop he clicked in like any self respecting Thoroughbred would. It has been so long since I've galloped an off the track TB, I forgot how great/fun/easy it is. Coaster was fun to gallop, don't get me wrong, but Thoroughbreds are bred to run - it's like driving my mom's BMW on the interstate thinking I'm going the speed limit only to look down casually and realize you're running 90 (hypothetically of course...LoL); I didn't realize the ground I was covering until I pulled up and realized how far behind me Elizabeth was on Peaches.

After he was such a superstar with our little gallop I absolutely had to try him over a couple fences. What a machine. Once he realized we were combining galloping AND jumping he would land and look for the next one. We jumped the majority of our Beginner Novice fences today, the goal is by Holly Hill to be schooling all of our Novice stuff. Hopefully he can keep his wit about him in a new place at the clinic this weekend and wow me just as much as he did today!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Kinda Roper (another video - I apologize!)

Now this cowboy holds the key to my heart - a horse performing without a bridle! I may be in love!

Naughty Pony!

This video absolutely made my day! I completely stole it from EN, but I absolutely had to post it! I literally just called Elizabeth CRYING because I was laughing so hard. But hey, can you imagine how good of a rider this kid is going to be after this pony???

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What a Pro...

Wow, what a show of poor sportsmanship from Serena Williams - throughout the entire 3 1/2 minute clip! What a great role model for the kids...

Monday, September 12, 2011

My New Man

I guess it's about time I introduce the new man in my life: Dixie Demon (aka Flint). When I started my job at Hickory Hills Flint had been there for about six months; Elizabeth bought him off of a high school girl who had gotten him off the track to be her next Young Rider horse. Flint proved to be a bit more of a project than the girl wanted to take on at the time (he has the tendency to be a little naughty/opinionated sometimes), so Elizabeth bought him and turned him out for a few months before starting him back slowly through natural horsemanship
methods. By the time I got there he was really starting to make the turning point in his training where he was beginning to realize that a.) humans were in charge and b.) he was not. Haha - you know me, I like my guys a little head strong and somewhat emotional basket cases! From the first tim
e I saw him on the lunge line I knew that the horse needed to be an eventer - the way he carries himself, his trot, his canter, his gallop; it's all there. The horse is sup
er confident in some things but then has his few moments where there is zero confidence - can we say off the track Thoroughbred?! After I sold Coaster at the beginning of the summer (and yes, I did cry a little) I decided that I had to have Flint.

Our first outing at a local hunter/jumper show in June proved to be a success. After arriving in the box stall in the big trailer (it's a long story that finally ended with Flint and his poofy mane and tail in the box stall) he hopped around warm up like a rockstar and took a 6th in his first 2'6" jumper class and then the blue in the second class. Jumping wise I d
on't think the horse is scared of a thing; water makes him nervous (so our first event should be entertaining to say the least), but jumping is not his issue (knock on wood!). The main issue we have had throughout the summer is shoulder control (haha, so basically: steering). I would have been able to work on this issue a lot over the summer except between dealing with glue-on shoe issues (remember - off the track Thoroughbred) and then me being grounded for the finger incident, I didn't get a lot of saddle time on him. He's coming back though, and after, erm, "sharing his opinion" on getting back in the swing of thing
s he has decided that he DOES want to go back to work, contrary to his immediate reaction to the idea. I am truly enjoying this horse and hopefully we will continue our progress up to our first event at the end of October at Holly Hill. Naturally I will keep y'all posted! :-)

I just had to put this picture in - it is typical Flint! Haha! I don't know who he is giving the "stink eye" to! What a diva!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

How Naive I Was

To be completely honest with you, ten years ago I had no idea what the impact of September 11, 2001 would be on our nation, our world. I was a Sophomore at Little Rock Lutheran High School; I remember running late to first period and people talking about some explosion (remember, I'm in central time) in the World Trade Center. Honestly, at the time I didn't even realize the "World Trade Center" and the "Twin Towers" were the same. We went through first period fairly normal; it wasn't really until after first period that we all really started realizing the enormity of the situation. I remember getting home from school to see my mom sitting on the bed watching the news. She had not moved since my dad had called her to tell her to turn on the news that morning. I wish I could say that I understood, that I got it; but I didn't - I actually went to my riding lesson that afternoon. It wasn't until the following days, after I heard the "whole story," that it started to dawn on me the impact of September 11, 2001. My little naive 15 year old brain took a several days to comprehend that not only did 2,000 people lose their lives but that several of those lives lost were the terrorists responsible for it all. I didn't understand the whole suicide bomber thing - my world was tiny. My world revolved around Little Rock, my family, my friends and my horse; I didn't believe that such loyal hate could exist. I especially couldn't believe that it would cross the strong threshold of the United States. Looking back, I guess you can say that September 11 was my first glimpse of mortality.

When I watch the documentaries, see the images and hear the voices I feel more fear now than I did ten years ago. I'm ten years older, ten years wiser in the ways of the world, have had ten years of experience with death... Back then I didn't understand why my mom was so pale or why her eyes were shocked as she watched the continued loop of the planes crashing and then of the towers falling. I don't even know if I truly understand it now, but I'm pretty sure my face mirrors that of hers now on the few occasions I watch the news or when one of my friends tell me he is deploying or even when I watch the playbacks of the planes and the towers. Obviously September 11 changed us all and I guess is still in the process of changing us.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Ropers and Ranchers and Cowboys Oh My!

Oh do I love the Chuck Wagon Races...
Where else can you show up in shorts, boots and a camo hat and be considered "in style"? Where else can you ride double with cowboys all night, and it not be dirty? Where else can you hoop and holler, drink beer, fall on your ass, get your truck dirtier than hell, fall on your ass again (have you met me?) and then have your pick of cowboys to flirt endlessly with? Nowhere else - that's the answer! Now I know everyone is sitting here thinking "wait?! Doesn't this girl ride english?" And of course the answer is yes! I have ridden western maybe 20 times in my entire life, and most of those times would be just sitting in the saddle, not actually riding. But this english rider most definitely has an inner chuck wagon racer that is just dying to come out. I've already decided I'm going back next year and taking a horse - not one of my english horses mind you! Now THAT would be a rodeo! But I most definitely want my own set of hooves to troll around on next year, so I may have to get creative... I will say: yes, wagon racers are crazy and I would never have the balls to do it, but after talking to people who have been doing it for 10+ years you realize that there really is strategy, training and conditioning involved. Not to mention they are some of the most accepting and fun people you will ever meet! Only thing is, if you are offended easily you may just want to stay up on the cliffs! ;-)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Page from an 87 year old Horsewoman's Journal

I ride. That seems like such a simple statement. However as many women who ride know, it is really a complicated matter. It has to do with power and empowerment. Being able to do things you might have once considered out of reach or ability. I have considered this as I shovel manure, fill water barrels in the cold rain, wait for the vet/farrier/electrician/hay delivery, change a tire on a horse trailer by the side of the freeway, or cool a gelding out before getting down to the business of drinking a cold beer after a long ride.

The time, the money, the effort it takes to ride calls for dedication. At least I call it dedication. Both my ex-husbands call it 'the sickness'. It's a sickness I've had since I was a small girl bouncing my model horses and dreaming of the day I would ride a real horse. Most of the women I ride with understand the meaning of 'the sickness'. It's not a sport. It's not a hobby. It's what we do and, in some ways, who we are as women and human beings.

I ride. I hook up my trailer and load my gelding. I haul to some trailhead somewhere, unload, saddle, whistle up my dog and I ride. I breathe in the air, watch the sunlight filter through the trees and savor the movement of my horse. My shoulders relax. A smile rides my sunscreen smeared face. I pull my ball cap down and let the real world fade into the tracks my horse leaves in the dust.

Time slows. Flying insects buzz loudly, looking like fairies. My gelding flicks his ears and moves down the trail. I can smell his sweat and it is perfume to my senses. Time slows. The rhythm of the walk and the movement of the leaves become my focus. My saddle creaks and the leather rein in my hand softens with the warmth.

I consider the simple statement; I ride. I think of all I do because I ride. Climb granite slabs, wade into a freezing lake, race a friend through the Manzanita all the while laughing and feeling my heart in my chest. Other days just the act of mounting and dismounting can be a real accomplishment. Still I ride, no matter how tired or how much my seat bones or any of the numerous horse related injuries hurt. I ride. And I feel better for doing so.

The beauty I've seen because I ride amazes me. I've ridden out to find lakes that remain for the most part, unseen. Caves, dark and cold beside rivers full and rolling are the scenes I see in my dreams. The Granite Stairway at Echo Summit, bald eagles on the wing and bobcats on the prowl add to the empowerment and joy in my heart.

I think of the people, mostly women, I've met. I consider how competent they all are. Not a weenie amongst the bunch.. We haul 40ft rigs, we back into tight spaces without clipping a tree. We set up camp. Tend the horses. We cook and keep safe. We understand and love our companions, the horse. We respect each other and those we encounter on the trail. We know that if you are out there riding, you also shovel, fill, wait and doctor. Your hands are a little rough and you travel without makeup or hair gel. You do without to afford the 'sickness' and probably, when you were a small girl, you bounced a model horse while you dreamed of riding a real one.

"My treasures do not chink or glitter, They gleam in the sun and neigh in the night".

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A New Leaf

So I'm going to try to turn over a new leaf as a actually, you know, blogging. Bear with me, the first few posts back will probably just be boring stuff like updates to my life so I get back in the swing of writing. So here it goes:

The New Job: Back in February I took on a new job in Heber Springs, Arkansas at Hickory Hills Equestrian Center (website done by yours truly). I absolutely love it - I actually found someone (or rather she found me - we went to school together) to give me a real (yes, real - salary, benefits, the whole deal) job doing what I love. My job pretty much entails the following: ride/train horses, show horses, help making management decisions on the horses, foal mares out...the list can go on and on but you get the drift. The best thing about this job is it gives me the opportunity to further not only my teaching skills, but also my personal riding and training skills; something that was hard to do in Northwest Arkansas on my own. Since working at Hickory Hills I've been able to show multiple horses and ride in clinics that wouldn't have been available to me up in NWA.

The Finger: And no, this isn't meant in a vulgar way! Back in June I broke my finger...and yes, I'm sure you will all be just so surprised to hear that it did indeed involve a horse...and gravity was a major factor. Naturally I didn't go to the doctor for almost a month (don't worry, my mother chewed me out big time for did the doctor actually) - anyway not only had I broken my finger, it was pretty much twisted off. Think of a pine tree after a tornado comes through. So after surgery I now have 4 screws in my finger (see the pic below) and it is stronger than ever (just not as straight!). Oh well, go figure!

The Concert: Yes, be June I got to go to the New Kids On The Block/Backstreet Boys concert in Memphis with my cousin. And yes, it was amazing. I didn't feel like a traitor nearly as much as I thought I would - those of you who knew me during my N SYNC days would understand. 
We actually got upgraded to third row seats - my cousin and I were like screaming little teeny boppers again; not gunna lie - I'd go again in a hearbeat!

Well this is going to conclude my first update-to-my-life post. My back is killing me and it is waaay past my bedtime (us Heber folks turn in early)! Hopefully I will be able to post again tomorrow, or at the very least next year! :-)