Between The Ears & Not The Windshield Wipers

Have a case of the Mondays?

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Well, here is a little something to brighten you up a bit.

A little between the ears time from me to you. Nothing like these dun colored ears to put a smile on my face. Even if it was from two days ago.

Or these happy herd of cows, napping together in the shade of a pecan tree.

Is your case of the Mondays cured?

Lito and I went to ride with some friends on Saturday morning during a break in the storms. Lito self loaded like a champ and we had a great ride. It was breezy, not too terribly hot, and it did not rain on us while we rode. All the horses seemed to have as great of a time as we did. We rode for a couple of hours and then gathered around the picnic tables for cold drinks and snacks.

Knowing there was an increased chance for storms in the afternoon, I said my goodbyes and went to load up. Again, Lito self loaded like a champ (cue happy dance) and we hit the road. I called my Pops while I was pulling out to see if there was anything popping up on the radar and to tell him that if I ran into some rain, I was just going to pull over and wait it out.

Here is the interesting part of the story. The night before our ride, my parents and I were driving the truck in the light rain and the driver side windshield wiper decided to fly off while in use! Just plain came undone, hit the windshield, and went flying through the air like a drunk bird. Never to be seen again. Crazy thing.

Anyway, it was a good thing I called. They had just gotten slammed at the farm and the storm was coming our way. His advice was to just stop and wait ten to fifteen minutes while the storm comes my way and passes over before driving back. I found a good spot in the parking lot of a local tavern on top of a hill to park and wait. I should have taken pictures of the storm, but I was just watching and enjoying the show. You know how I am about storms. Lito seemed a little perturbed when it all started, but quickly settled and just rode it out quietly.

The storm was soon over with nothing else developing on the radar so we slowly made our way south toward home. Lito quietly (and dry!) unloaded and was happy to have a little extra meal upon our return.

An exciting weekend nonetheless!

Here is to the next adventure! Is it October yet? I am ready for a week of riding with friends!

Walk in love, dear readers, and make it a great day!

September 13

I have already told you about September and how it, and the start of fall, get me in a reflective mood. Today is one of those reasons.

The 13th of September will always be a special day and a day I will always remember. A sad day at times, yes of course, but also a special one. A day for red wine and chocolate pie. To remember the happy memories and be grateful. Why do you ask? Because I say so, that is why. It is Mansebo’s day.

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Mansebo was the horse that started it all. Is it still hard? Absolutely. But he is in the best place of all now and free from any pain and suffering. I am forever grateful for him.

This is Mansebo’s song. Every time I hear it, I think of him, and every time I think of him, I hear it.

I can not help but think that it is because of him that we have horses today. It makes me even more grateful for my dun duo.

Speaking of the dun duo…

 

 

Lito and I had a great weekend of riding and he continues to get better and better, heading in the right direction to his regular self.

Both Cheetah and Lito pretended to be race horses on Saturday when I tried to bring them in for the evening, galloping all around the pond pasture multiple times. This video was only the beginning. I did not catch the best and fastest parts. They took turns with who was in the lead, Cheetah talking to Lito the whole time. Quite funny really. After several minutes they decided they were finished and would come in, but only if I came and got them. Naturally, that is what I did and they met me half way, the looks on their faces seeming to say, “gee, that sure was fun!” At least for Lito, the cheeky guy! Cheetah looked a bit happily worn out with her out of shape, grass fat body.

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Have some wine and pie with me today, won’t you? And go love on your horses! Remember the happy times!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Happy Friday

Happy Friday, happy people!

Only one business day between you and the weekend.

YOU can do it!

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Be happy.

Weekends are a beautiful thing. You can clear your head. Recharge your batteries. Remember what is important. Get away from stressful things. If yesterday was any indication, this is desperately needed. All this desk riding is getting to me!

There are many different ways to do this. For some people it is just sleeping in. For others it is taking some quiet time to read a good book. Or go for a walk. Or a drive. Go fishing.

For me, it is getting out in the country with my Darcy dog. Feeling the air. Seeing the light. Breathing in my horses’ scent. This does not always mean riding. My relationship with my horses is not always about riding. Sometimes it is just hanging out and grooming that we need. Sometimes it is just being in their presence doing nothing at all but just being present.

One reason I like to share my time at the farm with you is because of what it means to me. What it does for me. Another reason is because not everyone has the opportunity to experience what being in the country and with horses does for a person. If I can give you just a tiny picture of what it is like and make you feel something positive like what I feel, I feel like I have done something good in this world.

If you have been around here a while, none of the above is news to you.

Remember this?

Or how about this?

Or this, this, or this?

Clearly, I write about this a lot.

This weekend though, I need some solid hours in the saddle and some time crossing things off the to-do list. That ever present list that never goes away or gets shorter.

What does it for you? That recharges your batteries? Makes you feel refreshed and new? Feeds your soul?

Walk in love, dear readers!

The Season Of Fall

It is about that time of year and I am not talking about hurricane season. Although we really need the rain. We almost got some this weekend. Hopefully this week we actually get some.

But back to the season at hand. It is more than just entering the ‘ber months and entering fall. More than baking all the fall things, which I am very excited about. More than family time, which is everything.

It is the season of reflection. Of being grateful and thankful. Remembering those that are no longer with us and also too of those that still are. Cherishing every moment we have with them. Thinking of the future.

It always seems to hit me right at September first. With the start of dove season. College football. The distant promise of cooler temperatures. Finding new recipes for fall baked goods and sides to present at holiday meals. Thinking about Christmas presents and the real reason for the season.

It makes me want to drink red wine while I eat chocolate pie and listen to prayer and gospel songs. They have a healing effect I swear. You should try it some time.

What does fall mean to you? How do you remember those that are no longer with us?

Walk in love, dear readers!

And because I have to, I have a song to share with you.


“All my love is due Him”


Intention

You want to know what is really important? Like really, really important.

Intention.

Not only in life, but also in horsemanship. This is something that I have always known logically and in my heart and it is something I try to actively live. It is all fine and good to say yes, I know this but it is something entirely different to actually feel it and live that truth. Generally speaking, I think I do a pretty good job of doing that, especially on the horsemanship side (which is just another reason why working with horses is good for me…to bring these concepts full circle in my every day life). Some days are better than others, absolutely, but it is something I try to work on and I have told y’all that before.

What is truly amazing to me though is how the horses always seem to find ways to remind me just how important intention and self talk really are and broaden my awareness or perception to a whole new level. As if I did not even have a clue of the concept before.

Has anything like that ever happened to you before?

Anyway, this past weekend was one of those next level awareness weekends.

I went out to the farm on Friday after work and decided to do some mowing. It was too hot to do anything else and the horses were on the other end of the property anyway. Darcy quite literally sat in the shade staring at me like I was crazy. When I decided I had mowed enough (uh, hello itchy skin and watery face. Allergies are a real thing for me now), I went to get cleaned up, make a cocktail, and sit with my Pops for the sunset and dinner.

The moon was bright and full after the sun went down. It was one of those crazy bright moons where you can see anything and everything. I probably could have read a book. It has to be some magical time I swear because cool and amazing things seem to always happen when the moon is like that. Powerful. Remember that time I rode with a friend during a full moon like this one? Or that frigid night riding my favorite polo pony in college?

I was on my way into the house to call it a night and decided to head out to the barn for a bit instead. The next thing I knew, I was out with Lito doing ground work and going over obstacles. No pressure. Just the two of us hanging out going for a walk under the moon. It was the most relaxed he has been in months. I know this may sound silly, but I swear we both thought, “finally.” I gave him a little extra feed under the moon and a thank you pet before going inside.

Saturday morning I decided would be Lito’s morning and Lito’s morning only. I fed him his breakfast where we were the night before. I spent extra time grooming and tacking up. My music playing in the background. We did the same ground work we did the night before and then I read out of my devotional before mounting up. The memories of our full moon night and the words of the devotional dancing in my brain, I made a conscious effort not to jumble my communication. To make the conscious choice and put it into action. To keep my energy and my core low, grounded. To keep my heart and my intention true. To stay positive, connected, and a source of support. I even talked to us both out loud to make sure.

He rewarded me by acting on my every thought. Practically saying, “I got this, let’s go!” We did the same exercises we did on the ground. We did some new ones. We rode out in the pastures. All the while being soft, responsive, and willing. Before I knew it we were both covered in sweat and it was time to quit for the day, but neither of us seemed to be ready to stop.

I do not even think any words can come near to describing the feeling, but just to suffice it to say that this is just another reason horses are such a gift from God.

It was what we both needed. For me to be hit with this AHAmoment yet again to stay present and with the horse. To stay true to yourself and have faith. To have an open heart and clear intentions. To stay positive and think the right thoughts so your actions are right. That is how the horse lives and that is what we should strive for. Both horses, dogs, and people respond better when we do.

Sunday morning I decided to take a sunrise gospel walk to the river with Lito instead of riding. We had not done that in a long time and I wanted to take the time to just be with him and be grateful for Saturday’s experience.

We saw these three cuties scurrying up a pecan tree.

There is always that one!

I feel utterly blessed and grateful.

When I returned Lito to the paddock upon our return, Cheetah walked up to me seemingly saying, “hey mom, is it my turn yet?” So I grabbed her halter and we had a quick bareback ride followed by a hose down before I tacked up Chance for his ride.

And just like that it was time to pack up and head home for the weekend was over.

Quite a big weekend if you ask me!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Somewhere In There

Welp.

You know what they say about when you are busy? Ya, I don’t either, but man, the time sure goes by pretty quick like and then you look back and have no idea how you got so far. That is how it has felt since I got back to town for good at the end of July, after all my gallivanting about. The good thing about that is at some point, it won’t be so hot!

So. I have a new niece! Stubborn thing was not ready to come and was holding out as long as possible. I guess she comes by that honestly. Ha.

We all spent the first half of the week waiting and waiting and waiting. Then, FINALLY, little girl decided to grace us with her presence in the wee hours of Wednesday. I had a conference/expo for work (that we have twice a year…yes, the one where I have spilled coffee on myself in the past) starting that afternoon, so I went up to the hospital for the morning before heading over to the show.

Between the expo and helping my mother with my new niece’s older siblings, there was not much time for anything else. Then I caught some kind of virus on Friday and spent the next twenty four plus hours couch hopping between my parents house and mine.

By Sunday morning I felt well enough to get myself to the farm for a ride. The last six months have been very slow on the riding front and Lito really needs more work to get over this hump and get back to where we were. He is still in this ‘phase’ and I am not the biggest fan. Every day he seems a little better, but this whole process is taking much longer than I expected.

I keep having to remind myself that he is young and we are in no rush. He never did act like a young horse. He skipped that whole bit. And he is allowed to act like a young horse. We have all the time in the world. It is going to take the time it takes and that is up to him. He needs to get his old confidence back. That is very hard for me to admit, that he seems to have lost it, but it is okay to not be okay. He will get it back.

I have started a new thing. I found this devotional specifically for horse people: Unbridled Faith: 100 Devotions From The Horse Farm. (Funny side note, I bought this for myself a while back and then my friend, H, unbeknownst to me, also bought it for me! I just love that.) Anyway. This new thing I have been doing. I have started reading an entry from this book out loud with him before every ride. To get myself in the right mind set, to get centered. To remind myself to keep the faith. I used to keep certain quotes in mind when I first started riding him and I need to get back to that. It kept my intention true and all outside factors away. The horses can really pick up on that.

(This is how hot it has been…nice and sweaty before the ride. Luckily the breeze picked up mid ride and that helped a bunch.)

Anyway, the ride was pretty good overall and you could tell he was trying. That is what matters most. And at the end, everyone was tired and happy.

The good news is, I have nothing on the books but riding in the near future, so eventually we will get there. Slow and steady wins the race and that I know to be true.

Somewhere in there, last week, this little place called AHAmoments celebrated its two year anniversary. That is pretty cool and I have y’all to thank for it! Thanks for coming here and reading (even when I have been MIA…sorry about that), commenting, sticking it out, and coming back!

Walk in love, dear readers!

 

Daily Dose Of Cute

Time for a daily dose of cute, just for you, on this fine Tuesday. I also need distraction. Too much excited anticipation.

I finally had a weekend at the farm with my loves. I felt blessed with the time.

Yawning time.

Nap time.

Sunrise time.

Standing awkwardly for pictures time.

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Deep conversations about life, solving the world’s problems time.

Moving cows time.

CUTE time.

There was also riding time. Not the most exciting rides as they have all been on vacation for over a month. You know, life and that adulting thing. Anyway, just moving our bodies and focusing on the basics is all anyone’s brains could handle, but they were great.

And.

Birthday time. This girl is 5 years old today!

Why, you say, do I need distraction from my excited anticipation??? Well. Oldest sister A is in labor. LABOR. Baby girl is a comin’!

Yikes!

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Walk in love, dear readers!

The French Countryside: La Fin

I last left you after having experienced the best day on the trip so far, riding along the river and enjoying my finds from the local farmer’s market with everyone. The memories of this day will stay with me forever and I could have gone home happy then.

But, I still had a few days left and they were going to be busy ones. They may have been the last days, but they were certainly not the least ones.

After a Friday of eating croissants and baguette with magic butter and resting up (I did eat other foods…), I took a day trip to the coastal town of Pornic on Saturday, Bastille Day, with a few of the other house guests. We stopped in the city of Nantes on the way so I could peruse through a tack store there. I bought some things I did not need, but I was in France, so I bought them. Why not, right? Side note, this city looks to be pretty cool and has many things to do. If you are in the area, it might be worth looking up. Food. Shopping. Entertainment. Close to the coast.

Continuing our journey to Pornic, we took “the scenic route” trying to get out of Nantes as they were already barricading many of the streets for the Bastille Day celebrations. We all had a fleeting thought that we might not be able to leave! Every time we tried to turn,  we could not and our GPS kept telling us to u-turn. We gave up on the GPS and just started to follow the traffic hoping we would end up somewhere where the GPS would recalculate our journey. Eventually, after much honking and swearing and laughing, we did find our way and continued on.

The kids in the car were starting to get hungry at this point and we still had a ways to drive to our destination. One of them had a fascination with trying McDonald’s in France and it seemed like a good plan to get them some food while we held out for a cafe in Pornic. We asked them if it tasted the same as back home and their comment was that it tasted a little funny. We thought nothing of this and continued on.

We pulled into Pornic, found a parking spot, and set off on foot to the busy harbor. It was a hub of activity and there were people all around with the set up for the night’s celebrations and cafes and shops. If we were not so far from the farm, it would have been nice to stay for the fun, and indeed the original plan was to stay for it. However, after much deliberation, we decided it was best to not stay that late and planned for a nice late lunch, look around, go find the beach, and then head back before it got too late.

Lunch at Le Cap Gourmand was wonderful. A couple glasses of prosecco. A goat cheese galette with honey, nuts, and delicately dressed mixed greens. So simple, yet absolutely fabulous. Sitting outside under an umbrella next to the canal. Good company. It was lovely. After our leisurely meal, we walked through some of the shops before grabbing some sorbet at Glacier Pornic, which was also a knockout. Current and lemon. So so good.

After some trial and error on where and what this beach actually was (the non rock cliffs with crashing waves), we found a good parking spot and made our way down. One of the kids mentioned he needed to use the little men’s room, so our first stop before the actual crowded, teeny tiny patch of beach was the public restroom. Or rather, right outside of said public bathroom with Turkish toilets.

Here is where I might should mention that one should not eat McDonald’s in France. But. S*** happens and it indeed happened that day. In spades. That poor mom and kid! They were both troopers in, dare I say it, somebody stop me, a s***ty situation!

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It was character building! That kid took it all in stride is going to be somebody great!

All is well that ends well, as they say. After the McDonald’s episode, the kids swam for a bit in the ocean before we decided it was time for us to cut our losses and head back to the farm early. These adults needed some wine. We would put our feet in the pool and pretend we were on a beach somewhere with less people and more sand and zero McDonald’s.

We had some good laughs on the way home and after we got back.

Sunday, World Cup day,  began with more croissants and more laughs followed by a ride on the Top Girl in the fields to start the day off right.

Then some of us thought it would be great to meet up with a newcomer to the house at  Chateau Des Vaults to try some wines. Wine tasting in France is fun. I liked the wine and the grounds were just beautiful. So lush and green. You can walk around the gardens and then up a hill to see the vines. I highly recommend it. We all bought some bubbley rose to take home.

That would have been a good enough day right there, but France was playing in the final game of the World Cup that afternoon so we loaded up some snacks and headed to a packed park in Chateau Gontier to watch the game on a jumbotron and drink some beer with a bunch of French people. If you do not know, France won and everyone commenced to celebrating in the streets.

On Monday, the newcomer to the house (who we tasted wine with) and I went off to the coastal town of Concale. It is a lovely, quaint town. We went there specifically to go to Epices Roellinger  (a great spice shop I could have spent hours in. There are others around France, but this is THE one) and a bakery called Grain de Vanille. I bought all the things. Seriously, y’all should go here.

After lunch the coast and crepes for dessert, we drove over to see Mont Saint Michel Abbey. I wanted to go in, but we were too late in the day, and to be honest, I was quite tired by that point and we had a long drive back to the farm.

Tuesday was a relaxing last day on the farm. We had a lovely lunch in a nearby town and then I had one last ride on the Top Girl before leaving on Wednesday.

Wednesday was an early and long day. It is a long story, but I missed my train to get to the airport and we had to make the three hour drive to Paris instead…which put me at the airport less than an hour from the scheduled take off. Fortunately, the flight was apparently delayed. I however, did not know this until after I frantically ran through the airport, almost slipping and falling on my behind in the process. I half expected my shoe to break.

When I finally got on the plane and settled, I ordered a cocktail like I needed it more than my next breath.

Always dress for a run through the airport, kids. You just never know what can happen, whether or not you eat McDonald’s! Ha!

Walk in love, dear readers, and I hope you enjoyed coming along on my trip with me! Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

The French Countryside: The Best Day

The only thing I knew about Thursday when I woke up was that there was a local farmers market happening in Chateau Gontier and I wanted to go. I love markets. Especially with other people who also love markets.

We skipped the croissants at the house in favor of having one near the market so we could get there early and find all the things we wanted to find. Namely mussels to prepare for lunch later that day at the house.

All of the eager market goers hopped in the car and set off. We parked and set off on foot to a bakery for the first order of business.

We were all suffering from croissant withdrawal and we needed to remedy the situation. What we found in this bakery was a basic gold mine. If only I could remember the name of it. Everything was beautiful and looked as though it actually tasted as it looked. Each pastry was an individual art piece. While we all acted like we had never been in a bakery before, a few people jumped in front of us in line to order because we could not figure out what to do. At the end of our ogling, we each ended up getting multiple things to sustain us throughout the day. With our buttery, delicious finds safely tucked away in a bag for later (we were too excited to eat them just yet), we continued on our route.

As we approached the beginning of the market, I began to get giddy.

We passed by the bird and rabbit section rather quickly to get to what was happening farther down. We were not in the market for that kind of dinner or in need of any breeder stock.

This is where the action was happening. The fresh produce, goods, and all the people! So many sights, sounds, colors, and tastes. I am not typically a fan of crowds of people, but that is part of what makes a market a market.

All the locals were catching up and sharing stories. Smiling. Playing music. It was fabulous. Did I mention the weather was fabulous? Because it was. It reminded me somewhat of the markets we would go to in Mexico while spending summers there growing up. Not quite the same, but similar.

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I spied some beautiful cherries and circled back around to buy a kilo of them. I said si instead of oui. I had actually done this multiple times already, but who is counting. Spain was not all that far away, right?! What can I say, old habits die hard.

We opted to start our walking breakfast of croissant as we continued on. I had to quickly stop as I realized how good this croissant was. Seriously. I am not kidding in the slightest. This one croissant was seriously the best one I had enjoyed yet (and was the best one the whole trip).

Once I was able to walk again, I found something to really got excited about. Local goat cheese! I LOVE goat cheese. Well, any cheese, but put goat cheese on anything and I will eat it. The same can be said about queso and vanilla ice cream. Anyway. Her case had already been depleted and there was a line, so you knew it all had to be good.

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I purchased a round of plain and a round of fresh ground pepper corn crusted to take back to the house. I said si to her as well.

At this point, we decided to power through to the other side where the mussels were to make sure we got some and then stroll back through the rest.

The powering through only lasted so long as we had to stop at this stand with all kinds of dried sausage.

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Anything you could imagine as a sausage, this man had it. Someone in our group bought some kangaroo sausage, just to give you an idea. One of the things I love about these types of markets, is the tasting. They all have little delicate tastes of their offerings to passers by. This man had slices of pork sausage with walnuts to offer. Naturally, I had to try, and just as naturally, I had to buy. I already had the goat cheese! How could I not!? Then I saw something even better. Pork sausage with figs! Do you want to know what I also really love not only in addition to goat cheese, but with goat cheese???!!! FIGS. So I bought some of the fig sausage as well.

We continued on and bought some potatoes and the mussels we came for before turning around.

On our stroll back through the rest of the market, I kept an eye out for the local honeys I saw at the beginning to go with my goat cheeses and sausages. All of that combined with a fresh baguette, I was going to create the best cheese board some time in the next couple of days.

We found a lady with different kinds of honey and she was willing to let us taste them all. This was a very interesting and enjoyable experience. If you like honey, and maybe even if you do not (you might find you indeed do like honey based on how different honeys can be), I recommend you try doing this. They were all really different. We tried four or five different kinds based on what the bees were pollinating on. Some were lovely and balanced and one in particular was straight up medicinal (in which all three of us made a face after we tried it). After deciding on a honey we thought would go well with the cheeses and sausage, we made our way back to the farm.

A large, late lunch and a nap had us all ready for the evening’s activities.

A ride along the Mayenne River at sunset.

Y’all, I can not imagine that I can fully describe this experience in words, so I figure I will let the photos do most of the work. This ride alone was worth the whole trip.

There were five riders and two horses, so we took turns with two people riding and three walking. The plan was to ride from the trailer to a cafe down the river where the rest of the non horsey part of the group was enjoying dinner, at which point I would hop on and ride with one person past the cafe, turn around and come back. Then I would ride with another person from the cafe to the trailer.

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I turned around while I was walking to see this chateau.

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When I hopped up on Top Girl (which was comical because I have not had a leg up in many years), she was ready to go. That Top Girl has top, big girl walk when she wants to! She was happy to be out and about, and so was I. Just another reason we got along so famously.

France loves their hedges and so do I.

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The part from the cafe to the trailer was really and truly fabulous.

A great horse.

Stunning scenery.

A nice new friend and good conversation about horses.

We trotted for a little bit and if I thought Top Girl’s walk was nice, her trot that day could have gone into any ring and won the blue ribbon.

The money shot here. Not surprisingly, this was the best sunset of the whole trip.

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As if all of the above was not enough. The evening just continued to get better.

All of the horse group met at the horse trailer to head back to the farm while the non horsey group finished their meal at the cafe.

Now, I could have done without dinner that night, but why would I do that?! I had all this cheese and sausage, so after settling the horses in their paddocks, we all went up to the house to enjoy some wine and my finds under the starlit sky, around the outdoor garden table. Good food, wine, horse talk, and laughter.

I do not like to use the word perfect, as you well know, but this day was rather perfect.

Walk in love dear readers, and stay tuned for more!

 

 

The French Countryside: The Beginning

The last update from France left you with us in the quiet farm house well after midnight on Sunday the 8th, drinking wine and eating chocolate mousse before getting some much needed rest.

Apologies for the delay in sharing the rest of the trip, but life has gotten in the way! That whole being an adult thing.

So, here is some more of the French adventure!

I woke up later that morning to this.

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Naturally, way before everyone else, but I did not mind because it gave me a chance to explore and enjoy the quiet. The mornings were the only quiet time in the house as the house was full of people and most everyone slept in until the croissants arrived after 10 AM.

The air was cool, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the birds were chirping.  This is how every single morning greeted me. As you can assume, a bit more my speed than busy Paris.

I was staying near Chateau-Gontier, a very cute and quint little town surrounded by rolling hills of golden wheat fields, dairy producers, and French Trotters in the Mayenne department. I will tell you, there is nothing quite like seeing one of those golden wheat fields on a hill as it is lit on fire by the late evening sun. It truly redefines the color gold like Lito’s coat will do when the sun hits it just right.

This first day began, as the rest of the days, with croissants from the local bakery. They really are better over there if you were wondering and that is why I ate so many of them! No excuses! I was in France! Good thing I have never had a croissant over here that tasted as good as the real French ones or I might just make that part of my lifestyle.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing on the farm. Meeting the horses. Enjoying the yard and the breeze. Talking about what we wanted to do that week.

Monday, after croissant and fresh black current jam from currents grown on the farm, we drove three hours to Normandy to visit some of the brood mares and foals, see some of the young horses in training, and bring one of them back to the farm.

On the way there, we stopped in Fougeres to walk around the castle and have lunch.

 

The castle and the view were better than the actual lunch and we continued on our way.

 

It was a long day of driving, but we were greeted back at the farm with wine, cheese, and charcuterie for dinner. I believe it was at this time I tried the magic butter on a piece of baguette (which are also really as prevalent as croissant if you thought that was not true). Magic butter is no lightly used term. It will change your life. It has huge salt crystals in it and it is nothing short of amazing. Word has it you can buy it here in The States and I am going to go buy some for EVERYONE as soon as I can.

Tuesday was another quiet, slow day on the farm where I spent time in a hammock reading next to one of the paddocks.

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Wednesday was a good horse day. We trailered one of the horses to a near by equestrian center that used to function as one of the state studs, Le Lion-d’Angers, for a visit to a farrier. It was a really cool place with an amazing cross country course and race track. Hedge lined, white sand, outdoor jump arenas. Rows and rows of militaristic stables (not my most favorite part). A breeding center for the standing race studs.

I walked the grounds as the mare got her new set of kicks. It was beautiful. If there was any kind of event going on there while I was there, I would have definitely gone back. If you are ever in the area, give it a visit. You will not be disappointed.

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Then, back at the farm that evening, I finally got to ride! A big, lovely French bred warmblood bay mare named Top Girl. We got along famously the whole time I was there. It was most needed.

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We rode at the magic golden hour in France. 8PM. It stays light till about 10:30 there. The air was cool, the lighting was wonderful, and the grass and wheat fields. Words can not describe it. Atop a fine horse and nothing could have been better.

Wednesday was a good day, but not nearly as great as Thursday!

But. You will have to check back for that later!

I am currently out on location for work trying to enjoy some down time in my life this month as a traveling vagabond. I got to have two much too short days at home with my Darcy before I drove the three and a half hours out of state.

So, this is where I sit. I hope to be home by next week and you can bet your boots the first place I go will be directly to the farm. This is the longest I have gone without my animals, but this is what pays the bills.

Being an adult man…

Walk in love, dear readers!