The Colors of a Volunteer Spring.

Spring.

It is a glorious thing. Everything is so pretty! And fascinating.

I have both the green and some blue for you.

First the blue.

This past Sunday, the sky was almost impossibly blue. There was a slight breeze. The ruffling kind. It was a spring cleaning kind of day. Lito and I rode with friends on Saturday and everyone wanted to bask in the warmth of the bright sun on Sunday. So, that is what happened. I mucked the barn out and cleaned the feed room before joining the horses in the sun with a shedding blade. Everyone lost a lot of hair that day!

There is just nothing like that Texas sky, no matter what dime of day or year.

Now, for the green and your inspirational poster.

Do you see that there?

Yes, it is more than a bit in shambles. Yes, I have to do something about those leaves.

But, do you see all that green there? Those are volunteer plants.

You know the kind. The kind that just grows up in the most seemingly impossible and interesting of places without you doing a single thing. In a tree stump. A crack in the side walk. On a brick wall. Or, in this case, a seemingly barren pot.

You see, right before the covid shut down, I took some time to spruce my patio up a bit. Why not? Anyway, I planted some herbs! I had three pots at the time, the two you can see and the one in in a broken heap on the bottom shelf. I watered and talked to them hoping they would flourish.

Well long story short, without sufficient sun (thanks to a lovely large oak tree that provides all those leaves) and water (the before mentioned shut down during which I lived at the farm) my little herbs took a turn for the worse and did not make it.

My fresh pots turned to just dirt.

Over time, I had some volunteer plants take up residence. “How lovely,” I thought and I would water them when I thought of it and enjoyed them being there just because.

Then one day, a certain shade of green and texture caught my eye. Do you see that herb?

Yes, that there would be sage!

I had sage in that pot once upon a time two years ago! And what do you know, here it is again!

Let us see. What saying should we attach here?

Walk in love, dear readers!

E Hele Aloha.

Aloha, Hawaii.

Or, ‘A Plenty More Huger Hawaiian Adventure.’

…Or, ‘That Time My Photos Almost Broke The Blog.’ This one is pretty apt as it has taken quite a bit of time to get all of these up and I was worried I was going to lose the draft from crashing! As in, it did crash at one point.

If you follow all the goings-ons on Instagram and Facebook, you probably saw (a little while ago now) some of the play by play action of our trip, but I did not show everything! It has been crazy busy over here ever since I got back…so here we are looking back at my amazing trip. Texas is currently doing crazy winter things down here and I am sitting here with my second cup of coffee trying to get warm after feeding, watering, and mucking. We had frozen in shards falling from the sky yesterday and it is still stuck to the ground, fences, and deck. I am not going to lie, I have been having flash backs to last year’s winter-pocalypse. Anyway, enough of that. Let us dream of a tropical paradise by horseback, shall we?

Here is the thing. I know I have shared this before, but life is about taking advantage of the opportunities that come your way. You have no way of knowing what will still be available or what will happen tomorrow, in a week, next year, or five years from now. I have been kicking myself ever since Cousin A and R moved back to the states from Germany. Lost opportunity!

I love to travel and want to do more of that and experience local life, food, drink, and music. I love to ride horses and I want to not only do more of that, but I want to do it everywhere I go.

So, when Aunt M said to me, “Hey, I am going to visit K and B and go whale watching, you should come,” I quickly found myself saying, “You know what, I really should. Let us do it.” That is how the ‘plenty more huger’ Hawaiian adventure was hatched.

You see, K and B live on Maui and have for many years. K and B are my Uncle K and Aunt B, Aunt M and my Pops‘ Brother and Sister in Law. I had been to Hawaii once before many years ago as a kid with my family to visit and I basically only remember bits and pieces. They have always been so generous in always having their home open to family and friends for a visit. They also have this very close friend, L, who has horses on the island. Over the last few years hearing about K and B’s niece that loves to ride horses, L has told them several times that if I ever make it out for a visit, she would take me riding. Now, people say that kind of stuff all the time. I won’t lie, I have found myself doing it too. People do not always mean it, but every time I would talk with K and B, they would tell me about L and her horses and how she will take me riding.

I got to thinking, how many times does not only the offer of a place to stay, but also the offer to ride have to be made and not taken advantage of for me to come out the dummy? No more times, that is the answer! Once I committed, I quickly went and sent L a Facebook message so we could get to planning.

That is basically the back story. I wanted to ride and, well, do all the things and Aunt M wanted to see whales and the volcano. So, we planned for all of that!

We will skip over the Covid frenzy part of traveling and move straight on to the fun. While it may appear that fun was had all the way from conception to the time we landed upon our return, I will not lie and say that I was still very concerned and reserved until the moment we were on the last leg of our journey from Honolulu to Maui. I was very worried about not being granted entrance to Hawaii because of Covid. Blessedly, all that worry was for not….what is that I have said many times before about worrying for not? Something about a bunch of wasted energy?! Yes, that.

Anyway, I worried for not and enjoyed a mimosa with my breakfast while Aunt M and I waited to board the plane departing Houston.

After we boarded the plane, we then turn ourselves around and deplaned to keep things interesting. They said there was some mechanical problem. There was also a large connecting flight from somewhere that was delayed. And, I suppose, there is also Covid. This gave me time for another mimosa back in the airport! We ended up getting a new plane and were finally on our way.

With all the ‘keeping things interesting’ in our flights, we ended up being quite delayed. I do not even remember when we were originally supposed to land, I think 4 PM, but we did not get to K and B’s house until close to midnight.

All was quickly forgotten with local takeout at home followed by the first sunrise, a hot cup of coffee on the deck, and the first ride of the trip later that morning.

So, ya, the first ride. Um. I had never met L in person. We became Facebook friends when I knew I was coming. We messaged some back and forth about scheduling and experience, etc. I met her that morning when B dropped me at the driveway of her house.

But. She took me riding at Peahi. Just, you know, to casually view Jaws from up on the cliff horseback. No. Big. Deal.

EPIC.

Epic does not even touch the experience. Pictures also do not do it justice.

I mean. “Welcome to Hawaii,” L said with a big smile. I mean, is that Hawaiian for, “Hold my beer?”

I rode a lovely bay paint mare named Dreamer and she seemed to have as much fun as me. I felt somewhat like a kid in a candy store. I had already had this idea that I want to build all my travel around riding, and this ride just pretty much cemented that. If you can not ride there, I am just not so sure I want to go there. Horses are pretty cool in that way though, they are entrenched in society and human history, they are almost everywhere!

The waves were up and the pictures just do not show it. We could literally see the little ant sized surfers on the crazy waves.

To say L and I got on well would be an understatement. We are just two crazy little horse girls on the inside. The age difference meant nothing. When M and K picked me up after riding, M said we were both just beaming and I am not one bit surprised.

Driving around after the ride, I was just so struck by how scenic and dynamic this place is. Both the landscape and the weather. I was fascinated.

The crazy thing is, many views made me think of Ireland. My next place to go is either Ireland or New Zealand.

We all cooked dinner together at the house a lot so we could enjoy the sunsets on the deck. One does not have to twist my arm to do and enjoy that.

The arc of the sun this time of year from the house is amazing as it rises and sets symmetrically over the mountain.

For the second ride, L wanted me to try her young horse Carino, which means sweetheart. A super cute four year old bay, polo bred gelding. We just had a relaxed time doing horse things. Grooming, talking, riding. It was off and on raining while we were playing and it did not matter. We were just enjoying being able to ride and enjoy each other and horses and the scenery. I swear, you can see the ocean from pretty much everywhere. I suppose logically, that is not really a surprise, but it was kind of a surprise to me. Or, maybe just more fascination.

We had picnic lunches on the beach with wine while the whales blew in the distance.

We went on a Humpback whale watch boat with the Pacific Whale Foundation. Stop now if you are looking for a picture of a whale and just go google it or something. While we did see many whales, we chose not to waste our watching trying to take pictures of them. The pictures are in my memory! In real life, most of the whale action was far enough away to just not be worth the shutter click. We just did not want to miss anything and take away from the experience by trying to catch it on the camera. It really was super exciting though. We were in the moment and all had fun. It was fun to see kids and adults alike act like kids, me included, the minute we saw a whale. And, goodness, the views. I did snap some pics of the view. That evening’s sunset was enjoyed on the boat surrounded by whales.

They do call it the rainbow state and I did see one little piece of a rainbow. Better than none!

On another ride L took me to ride with one of her friends at this sustainable farm. Again with the ocean view! We also saw a couple NeNe, the Hawaiian state bird. It is some level of endangered or was? They have one mate and breed for life. Anyway, it is apparently a big deal to see one. On this day we saw two! I rode Carino again and L said she wanted me to ride him the rest of my visit!

We went on a dinner cruise with Champaign and cocktails being serenaded by whales, you know, no big deal. The whales were literally right by the boat.

Uncle K and I hiked some of the crater together…and we saw A WHOLE FAMILY OF NENE. An adult breeding pair and two very small goslings. You can not really see the babies in the pictures, but trust me, they were there.

After the hike, we picked up Aunt M and enjoyed a wine flight tasting at the vineyard. Then L and I had another relaxed horse afternoon. It is just a jungle everywhere!

Another beautiful sunrise. Sitting on the deck watching the sun never got old. That will never change no matter where I am.

I am not really quite sure what I loved most about this trip. Well, obviously the riding, but our day trip to the big island to visit the volcano was pretty dang, um, epic. What other word is there? It was a bucket list item for Aunt M. We hopped on a commuter plane for a day trip. It was a long day, but boy it was something. We could see whales playing from the sky. We saw the steam and vents. We drove the crater and all the way to the coast through the old lava flows. We saw another breeding pair of NeNe! We watched the sunset and the reflection of the lava on the steam with cocktails and dinner. No big deal. The red glow in the darkness around the last of the sunset reminded me of a pit fire here in Texas.

I tried to take pictures of our flight back to Maui that night, but they did not turn out. The moon was almost full and you could see the waves on the shore of Maui as we were flying.

We went to a luau in Lahaina and watched the sun set there.

On our last ride, we rode the pineapple fields. I was being silly apparently and did not take an actual picture of said pineapples in the fields. Oops. I was distracted because it smelled like pineapples and of the view up ahead.

We went for a lovely dinner out on the water in Kihei. Afterwards, I went to the moonlit beach to stick my feet in the water. I went to bed with sand still on my toes. Judge me if you wish!

We watched the moon set and the sun rise on our last full day morning.

We went up the hill to enjoy the view and watch the parasailers and then went to the lavender farm.

We had a little hike to some waterfalls where the young and old alike were having grand times.

We had my new Aunt L over for our last sunset and her birthday dinner. I baked a pomegranate cheesecake to celebrate her birthday and as a little thank you for all of her generosity in taking me riding almost every day. We got to ride so much, I did not even take pictures every time. I do not think I could do anything to thank her enough.

A welcome back to stateside with the moon over San Francisco. It was a long ride back!

Mahalo.

E hele aloha e na makamaka heluhelu.

Walk in love, dear readers!

I am out of words and pictures for this trip. I think that is a blessing!

Say yes to the opportunities and adventures!

Festive.

One of my favorite things about Christmas time is including my animals in it. Taking the time to get everyone groomed up and festive (or as groomed as possible anyhow. Merle makes it difficult.). Maybe take some pictures (duh). Do something fun and special as it is just as much for me as it is for them. This probably makes me weird. Oh well. Well, maybe not all that strange. If I had kids, this would look perfectly normal!

I remember as a kid I would make homemade Christmas stockings for the dogs and hang them around the fireplace next to ours. I would put special dog treats in the stockings for the dogs to enjoy Christmas morning. They would always have a blanket or a bed in the room where the tree was and they would be present and a part of our gifting on Christmas morning. I would also often get them a new toy. My mom and my friends often get my dogs a toy for Christmas too.

Christmas looks a little different now at 33 years of age, but I still like to celebrate with my animals and include them in as much as I can. Even if it is just something simple like ribbons and a bow tie. One, because that personality trait is no different now than any other time of year. It also feels like a way to celebrate them. To pay tribute and gratitude for the gifts that they are.

So, that is what I did Saturday morning. I spent a couple hours when I was not doing chores with my dun duo and the Merley Bob going back to my childhood. Grooming until my arms were tired using every brush in my box. And, yes, using THE GLITTER! I am thinking next year I might be that crazy lady that sends a Christmas card of her animals. Why not?

Enjoy the festivity! And the sheer talent it takes to get everyone to be still and pose. It did not last long! Hit play on the song and have a little scroll!

Merle had left at this point for something in a bush. He was whacking his tail on a broad leafed plant and Lito was sure it was a crouching tiger or a hidden dragon.

Walk in love, dear readers, and share the festivity and the joy!

Happy December.

Onwards and upwards, right?!

I am dubbing this December, “Happy December.”

Just go with it, it is a thing, OK!?

I do not know about y’all, but this 2021 year is trying to finish out worse than that other year. So, I have decided to just not let it be that way. December does not have a choice. With your help, we are going to make this a rockin’ awesome December! Trust me, we can gang up on it and make it so! Check back here all month for happy things! We are going to use this month to solidify our Christmas spirit so we can take it with us into the new year 2022. (Yikes, that sounds funny! 2022! How did we already get there?!)

So, just for you, on this first day of this joyous month, I am dragging out the tried and true.

Yes, I know I share these every year, but they are so dang cute and happy. I am just gearing you up for this year’s pictures! Besides, how do these not make you joyous?!

Walk in love, dear readers, have a great Wednesday and an even better December 2021!

If you have anything happy and joyous to share, share it with me!

At Long Last.

Now for some fun stuff.

I have to say, I am more than happy we were able to have this year’s annual ladies hill country ride. If we were unable to have it, which we were in danger of not being able to, I would have very likely had a complete breakdown. I mean, OK, I am using that term a little flippantly, yes, but only really a little given recent events that you are now privy to. I needed it so bad and so did everyone else.

Last year the year 2019 and that year’s ride feels a life time ago, both in actual time and in events as so much has happened since we were last able to ride together. Those salient details we do not need to belabor as I am sure each and every one of you are grateful for.

So, back to the ride. I will admit, I do not have overly much to offer you in words (good thing I did take some pictures!). Most of that week now seems a blur to me. Quick to arrive and quick to go. I spent most of my time on horseback up front by myself, in my own little world (sorry, K!). Just me and my Lito. Who, by the way, was absolutely fabulous. Part of my lack of words is that there really are none to describe how great he was.

Given how, um, ‘eventful’ our drive up in 2019 was, I was just overly grateful to have an uneventful trip this year. I did not even care that we could not stop to shop at the big tack store that is on the way.

For a horse that really does not generally enjoy being in a stall, Lito quite likes his tent stall while we are there. He gets the five star treatment. A deeply bedded and banked bed. Unlimited fresh and clean water. Salt block. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner in bed. Spa treatments. Room service and turn down. How could a guy not like it?

I did do a funny thing.

You see, this ride is more than just for fun and vacation with your friends. More than just an escape. It is a chance for us to be like kids again. To be that horse crazy girl again. To get in touch with that horse crazy girl if you have forgotten.

Each year I seem to take that to a new level. This year was no different. Although, you might not believe me as there appears to be no photo evidence.

I brought out the Twinkle Toes. You heard me. Yes I did.

Let me tell you something, the glitter is more fun than it used to be! They have more products than they used to! They also have some more subtle color options! It is just that little something extra that catches your eye and then adds a twinkle to your own (see what I did there?!). The copper body spray for Lito’s coat is where it is at. I also got some gold feathers to put in his mane and tail. Which I did, but again, I somehow do not have it in any pictures! Oh well, I did it, OK, and trust me, it was all worth it. Even to end up with glittery reins. I also got the glitter hoof polish, but I never did get around to using it as applying it out there is a little tricky. Anyway, if you are looking for something fun just because, go and get some glitter! It will be fun, trust me.

You can maybe see just a hint of the copper glitter in his mane here.

We were blessed with great weather. It was not too hot, not too cold. Not too humid. It rained some, but it did not get in the way of the riding…even if we did get a titch wet the first morning. It was foggy and then the skies cleared to brilliant blue.

I wish I had been wearing a go pro camera to catch all the butterflies that serenaded us.

A lot did happen that week. Sisterhood and friendship. Fellowship and blessings. Horses, horses, and more horses. Fun and silliness. Memories and sadness. Grief and togetherness. Beyond that, I can not say, dear readers. That is for us and nobody else. Secret society and all that, you understand.

Each year is a blessing and this year was no different.

The sunset at the farm the first night back was as stunning as usual. This photo really does not do it justice. The sunsets here are something that is almost as comforting as a hug from a family member or a close friend.

After looking through the photos I was able to get that week on my phone, I was somewhat gobsmacked at how the view from Lito’s back has changed since I started riding him. From age three to now a little over eight and a half, the view has changed a lot! And I am not talking about the scenery.

You see that photo there on the left? That was when he was four. It was from his first big trip. It has been my phone background ever since then and I smile every time I see it. Anyway, I was scrolling through the photos from this most recent ride on my phone and I stopped at the one there on the right and admired it for a while. I quite liked it I thought and wished we could go back. After a sigh, I closed the photo app and saw my phone background. My jaw practically dropped. I had to blink a few times to reorient myself. To my eyes, he looks like a different horse. And he is different in so many ways, but he is also too that same baby boy in so many ways. Look though at the differences. His ears. His neck. His way of carrying himself. It has been quite the journey and I am blessed to still be on it with him.

I was forced to get a new phone recently and I went ahead and made the new photo my new phone background. I smile every time I see it too.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Wyoming

You only live once, right?

That is what I said to R at some point in May when she asked if I wanted to go to Wyoming and ride the Tetons and Yellowstone.

Life is about saying YES, remember?! It is too short not to. One day is today.

I could try to describe this trip, but I really do not think I could do the beauty of God’s artwork justice. If the pictures can not, how on earth could words? All I can say is, like I am pretty sure I have said before, is that mountains, like storms, have a way of reminding you of your place here on earth.

It was a full spectrum trip that involved the luxury of Jackson, Wyoming and the ruggedness of the crunch of frosty mountain meadow grass underfoot when you first step out of your tent in the morning.

We flew in and out of Jackson and spent those two bookend nights there in two different nice hotels. We enjoyed two of the most fabulous meals at a steak house and an Italian restaurant. We definitely said yes on our two nights here. No holding back and it was worth it!

We spent the middle two days and nights riding and camping in the mountains. We rode three different horses each. Most of the horses were of at least some draft blood and we loved it. We rode all day. We ate outside. We made smores. We got in the cold rivers and creeks in addition to the hot springs. We drank champagne in the water and red wine with dinner. We soaked in the scenery.

Enjoy our trip to Wyoming through pictures.

Walk in love, dear readers! I hope you enjoyed the view!

Transformation

Need a pick-me-up?

Or a reminder for how old you are? No, forget about that, let us get back to the pick-me-up part!

I have just what you need. This will surely do it.

It is Thursday after all and we all know how I like alliteration, even if it is a social media thing…it is Transformation Thursday!

Anyway.

April, May, and June are an animal birthday trifecta over here! It just occurred to me. So much to celebrate!

My Lito turned eight (WHAT?) in April.

Cheetah girl will turn seventeen (again, huh?) here in five days.

Merley bob will be a big fat two on June 17th.

Where has the time gone? This is more than just a time warp.

Get some more coffee or tea and enjoy. The work will be there when your break is over.

Let us begin.


My Lito man.

From this…

I first saw Lito about thirty minutes after he was born. I about fainted when I first saw him.

He has really grown up! He was big from the start and he has not stopped being big!

To this…

He hated that birthday hat, so do not ask him about it. He hated it so much in fact, I could not even bring myself to post the pictures on his birthday.

He has grown into his legs, but he is decidedly tall at about 16.3 hh! I do think he is still getting wider. At least I really hope so. He is a slow developer, so we will see!


My Cheetah girl.

From this…

I started riding Cheetah when she was in her four year old year and she became mine at some point during that year. These are the earliest photos I have of her from her three year old year. At one point, my friend T found some foal pics of her, but unfortunately they are lost on an old computer of mine that I long ago lost entry to. Those pics were at an ugly duckling phase to say the least, so I am not too upset about it! Now her three year old pictures, well, that was decidedly not an ugly duckling phase.

To this…

She looks the same to me now as she did then.

This was her yesterday. It is a terrible picture, yes I know, but I do not care. She was dirty and hot and bothered by the mosquitos. She is out of shape as she has been out of work for months.

She may have some arthritis that plagues her and she may have some gray over here eyes and on her legs, but she is still my girl. My queen. She has given me so much and she continues to give. She has carried me through so much. She may not get as much of the spotlight these days because of Lito, but she will always and forever be my number one. We are still working through her arthritis/lameness issues and I do hope to have some news to share soon. My prayer is that we can get her comfortable and sound without having to give regular medication. It is a process.


My Merley.

From this…

To this…

Does that photo look familiar?

Well…

That would be because we have done this photo before!

Clearly at different times of year though! Same dog, same tree. Different year, different sunset.

I bet he will be a firecracker for years to come! I just hope he does not give me too many gray hairs. I am pretty sure he has already given me a few. That however, is a story for another day.


Do not forget to smile and breathe today. Forgive and have grace.

Walk in love, dear readers.

Regularly Scheduled Programming!

Happy Friday, dear readers! As I promised, we are back to our regular scheduled programming. Are not you happy?!

Yes, yes, I know you are!

If you are new around here, our regular programming includes adventuring musings starring one or two lineback dun horses and a certain rambling, mongrel bird dog!

Many of our adventures are set in the hill country of Texas. It can be quite difficult to express the true feeling of being there if you have never experienced it for yourself. It has such feeling and the pictures very rarely ever do it justice. The sights. The smells. The feeling. Many here in the state call it God’s Country. Really, I feel that way about the whole state. But, we sure do like riding the hill country as long time readers can attest to. We travel there at least once a year and I really enjoy sharing our rides there with you, even if to just share a change in scenery through my horses’ ears.

Lito’s first time to travel there was to a ranch in the heart of the hill country that my family and I used to spend quite some time on when I was younger. We went with our best friends and my Darcy girl. We actually went there a couple of months ago, just me, my Lito, and Merley, for a weekend with family. I shared some photos of that trip the last time I wrote to you. I did not take very many pictures on that trip, but the three of us had a lovely time. The feeling was…I just do not know…as if we three had been traveling the world and riding trails alone our whole lives. Lito and Merle really have each other figured out, use each other out on the trail, and seem to gain confidence from each other. Lito felt very grown up.

Then of course there are our bigger group rides once a year that take place in a more southern area of the hill country. The first year I went, I took Ike. I took Lito the last three years and each time it was an even better ride. Unfortunately, the 2020 ride was canceled (which is how we ended up going to Lake Sam Rayburn to ride), go figure that! We have been sending up all the prayers for a 2021 ride!

For our most recent adventure a couple of weeks ago, Lito, Merle, and I went to a new to us part of the hill country. We went with some of our good riding friends to Parrie Haynes Ranch Equestrian Center outside of Killeen, Texas. This group has been here several times and it is open to the public! This place has cabins, electrical hook ups, water, and nice horse pens. There are many trails that are pretty well marked and there are some challenging places! I think we did some of the more difficult riding I have ever done there.

Man, we just had a great time!

Lito has been taking posing lessons from Merle. Odd that this time I caught Merle’s eyes open!

Merle came along just to hang out, as there are not many horses that are used to his antics and energy, but he seemed to have just as much fun as everyone else. Both Lito and Merle settled right into camp on Thursday evening.

We rode. We ate (very well). We drank. We laughed (a lot). We shared. We watched the rain. Felt the sun and the wind. I could have stayed! I can not wait to go back and ride the places we could not because of the rain.

I took pictures when I could. The hill country has the best blue skies.

For a lot of it I wish I had a GoPro! Climbing hills and rocks does not allow for taking pictures while riding.

We had one afternoon of rain, but other than that, the weather was stunning. Especially on Sunday.

Lito and I led the way most of the time, which is funny since we had never been before. Lito has taken to prefer the front with his big walk.

There is this one open field dotted with beautiful oak trees and tall, golden, waving grass speckled with bluebonnets. It was pure magic. I am telling you the pictures do not do it justice!

All of this adventuring really makes me want to travel even more to different places!

Have you been on any fun adventures? With or without horses? Or read of any good ones recently? Tell me!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Where In The World Is…

…Carmen Sandiego?

Ha! No no no. Not Carmen Sandiego!

My Cheetah! Where has my Cheetah been?

Who me? Who you lookin’ at?!

I have heard some say that not only have I been somewhat absent (sorry!), but so has my main gal, Cheetah! In my defense (in truth this is not much of a defense, so just go with it), I was exposed to the ‘rona and I still have no idea how I did not contract it. Everything just came to a stop for a couple of weeks while I quarantined it out. I can not complain much about that though as Merle and I just camped out at the farm. Even with all the rain, mud, and cold, I can not complain about it. At least my manure spreader was working!

Anyway, I shall tell you where exactly Cheetah has been.

First, she gets the heat of the summer off every year because, well, she deserves it. That and the fact that she breaks out in hives when I ride her under tack in the heat of the summer ever since I bred her. So she gets to spend the summers frolicking and grazing and getting stuffed with treats while being groomed.

Then, I mentioned a while back that she was experiencing some on and off lameness in addition to a soft tissue issue (hey look, I am a poet!) that popped up some time during the summer. We tackled this check ligament issue first as we could see it. The remaining lameness that presented was somewhat odd and perplexing (well not really, in the end, go figure) and did not go away with time come the end of our prolonged Texas summer.

I then called my vet back in for a full lameness evaluation. I had a pretty good idea of what the problem was after some time to observe (hey, actually using my brain), the lameness presentation itself, and her age. He performed the lameness evaluation (on a terribly cold and almost wet day, sorry no pictures!) including a couple of blocks and some x-rays to ensure we were correctly and completely targeting the issue. This was all a first for me after a whole life of having and riding horses.

All of that to say, my girl is finally starting to feel her age! At almost 17 years young. She has arthritis in her front coffin joints. In the end, I think the check ligament issue on her right front was caused by her compensating for the arthritis in her left front being more painful than the right. Once the diagnosis was made, we quickly made a plan with both my vet and farrier to help make her feel more comfortable.

The first step was getting her coffin joints injected. Another first for me! And let me tell you, it is pretty creepy how easily the needle goes in. The came on Christmas Eve morning. Merry Christmas, Cheetah! Christmas Eve was another very cold and windy day, but luckily, my vet’s clinic is not far from the farm.

After being shaved and thoroughly scrubbed clean, her joints were successfully injected and bandaged.

She was happily back home and resting in her cozy stall by 8:40 AM.

Middle sister K and I proceeded to have way too much of a good time that night and stayed up till 2 in the morning! Even still, we were up early to tend to our charges. A toddler for her and animals for me! After feeding, I took Cheetah’s bandages off and took her out to hand graze in the yard.

Then a couple weeks after her injections, we decided to put her in a slight wedge shoe to improve her angles and to help relieve some of that pressure on the joint. My farrier and I had actually been independently thinking of putting her in a wedge even before this.

I am happy to report that she is no longer feeling her ‘age’! She is back to moving like a million bucks. Therefore, we can start her slowly getting back into shape and getting back to adventures. Woohoo!

Given how long she has been out of work, her age, and the resulting issues, we decided to go for another new thing! A couple weeks at a rehab center! I wanted her to have a low impact, strength building start back to make sure to not over work anything too quickly in addition to hopefully knocking the edge off before I actually start riding her again. I have more hope in the former!

Anyway, AquaPlus Equine Center is a new, state of the art hydrotherapy facility with an aquapacer, CET saltwater spa, pool, and exerciser walker. They are professional, open in communication, and good horsewomen. I was very impressed. Cheetah seemed to settle right in.

Cheetah has enjoyed two weeks there building her core back up. We opted not to swim her in the pool to keep her from hyperextending, but I could see a change in her top line and hindquarters even within the first week.

I pick her up tomorrow and I am so glad to have my girl back and feeling herself. We are officially ready to rock and roll! Tentatively. Scratch that. Knock on wood. Cross all the fingers. And toes.

How about the rest of the crew you say? What have they been up to?

Well, Lito and I go on many little adventures followed by margaritas and Mexican food when we are not riding at home. I am currently bit shopping. I know there has to be a bit out there that he likes better than what I am using or have used before. It is proving to be a little tricky as he has a big tongue and a low, soft palate. I have a few different ideas of what I would like to try, but if anyone has any thoughts or ideas for us, let me know! He also gets many treats.

Merle is wondering when his trip to the spa will be or when he is getting another treat. Most likely the latter.

No matter how goofy he is, he is just so cute and handsome. He gets the pleasure of coming most places with me still and I love it. He is currently at day camp with my Aunt M because my HOA is tearing down and rebuilding a brick wall attached to my townhouse. He loves this as he gets a big yard to play in, cousin dogs to play with, and lots of attention. More attention than I can give him while in the office working.

The rest of the herd is doing well too and seemingly have been enjoying all the extra attention they have been getting all year. A positive thing to come out of this strange season!

Well, enough for now. Go get another cup of coffee and have a lovely day!

Walk in love, dear readers!