On My Mind.

Now that I have had a chance to thaw out from the crazy Texas freeze, here are a few things on my mind. We are covering all the topics in my AHAmoments. Mostly, things I am grateful for all wrapped up in a weekend recap.

First. My Darcy dog that keeps my spot on the bed warm while I get ready for bed. Just look at that Llew-ball.


Second. Do not forget to thank the people that make your dream work and be grateful for them. For me, being a horse person, my veterinarian and farrier are two of the many keys to what I do. My form of thank you is baked goods. Usually of the cookie variety.

I am blessed to have them on my team because they work with me and my situation. The vet came out on Friday to give all the horses their annual checkups. As I mentioned before, it turned out to be the worst weather as always. It was worse than expected and that is why I do not have any pictures of said visit. 3/5 horses he wanted to float. Given that water is involved in floating a horses teeth, the temperature did not get above freezing, Apache’s advanced age, and that he had some sensitive situations he was monitoring on other farms, we decided that Friday was not the best day for it. He said he would do whatever he needed to do to get the three horses’ teeth floated soon however it worked for me, even if I could not be there, which included not charging me an extra trip charge. I am just so appreciative that they both work with me and our needs. If I had it my way, I would be there every time they came out.

Third. Fire. Confession, I am a slight pyromaniac. I also just really love a good pit fire. Saturday, the wind finally quit blowing in a hurry and the conditions were perfect for fire sitting, even if it was in the 30’s and going down. All the animals were warm and fed. I had the feed trailer loaded and ready for the following morning. I had just pulled a lemon blueberry cake breakfast bread (go make that now and add more blueberries to the bread and more powdered sugar to the glaze) out of the oven. The sky was clear and the fire glorious.

Which brings me to my next point. Four. Music. Good and great music comes in all different forms. On Saturday evening with fire and cocktail, these two songs really spoke to me. I hope they speak to you too. Have an open mind and a listen.

Thanks to No Justice – Topic on YouTube for the vid.

Thanks to the man himself, Corey Smith, and his YouTube for the vid.

Fifth. You guessed it. This farm and my horses in which I see God’s unending blessings, beauty, and grace. They clear my mind and vision and carry my troubles away. Not to mention all the great paintings!

Sixth and final for the day. The great Texas weather. What? Yes, you heard that. Great. It may be crazy at times, and yes it was really, really cold. However, as quick as it gets bad, it gets good. Saturday, albeit a weee bit cold, was down right gorgeous. By Sunday, it was perfect riding weather.

Today I am grateful for the above great music to dance in love my way through work, dear readers.

If you had to pick five things you are grateful for today, what would they be?


A Soft Spot For Stars Blog Hop: Location, Location, Location.

This is my first blog hop, and it will not be my last! It has rained basically non stop since Friday, so I have no fun riding stories. I basically did chores and fed while getting wet. Then on Sunday, my parents and I got the family Christmas tree. I finished decorating it last night with the help of wine. The decorating is almost finished. Normally, I would be finished with Christmas deco within a couple days of Thanksgiving, but given the events of late, it just has not happened.

I digress, I am going to jump on the TB pedigree blog hop bandwagon eventually, but I can not remember who started that one? Cheetah‘s dam was an OTTB and has a fun pedigree. I did all the research while I was in grad school. It was great for procrastinating.

Today’s blog hop comes from A Soft Spot For Stars. I already like her because we both have dun mares. Anyway, I too am curious about fellow bloggers locations and what it is like where they are.

8e2fb13d66cac7d6dd11209131704afeNo secrets here, I am a Texas gal. I reside in the ‘southern half’ of the state, in a big city. My horses stay at our family farm an hour away. That makes things difficult for me and my fuel consumption. However, it is an easy hour drive and I can go out after work whenever I need or want. The time change makes it hard to ride when I go after work during the winter, but I can blanket the old guy and feed him before it gets dark on cold nights. I will be doing that the latter half of this week.

Demographic? Most people that live in and around the city board their horses if they do not have property outside of town. There are several equestrian friendly communities outside of town where you can live and keep or board horses. We are probably 50/50 mix of western to english riders of all kinds. There are many shows and clinics in the ‘general area.’ Most shows and clinics are just far enough away from where the horses are to not be ‘convenient’ (1.5-2+ hr haul). This is very frustrating for me as I am hungry for more knowledge and do not want to let my riding get stagnant. BUT there are many great trainers and I have a few that I plan to haul to for lessons in the near future. We have a few good tack stores in town (good or bad considering how you look at it!). There is a big tack store in the area. It is generally an hour from town or an hour from the farm, but I ride horses for people out that way sometimes.

Costs of horse keeping in my region of the great state:

  • Trim-$35 (Lito just gets a trim, as do the other geldings and Petunia)
  • Front shoes-$70 (I keep front shoes on Cheetah Beets)
  • Average cost of a month of full time training-$800
  • Average cost of monthly pasture board-$400
  • Average cost of monthly stall board-$600 (All kinds of board and prices range wildly. These averages might be on the high side, but there are places I have seen that have exorbitant prices. The ones that I have looked at and work for me are not all that much closer than the farm)
  • Hay, good horse quality Bermuda-$8.00 (I have not looked at the prices for this year yet)(We high quality pasture and have had good rains this year…I do not think we will need to buy too terribly much this year)
  • What I consider priceless? Feeding in my pj’s. That Texas sky. Sunrises and sunsets viewed from the back of my horse. When I am at the farm, I can do whatever, whenever.

Weather? In the summer it is hot and humid. The only ‘good thing’ about the humidity is that it keeps us from generally having too many 100+ temp days. The heat index is the killer…and the bugs. All of our cows have some percentage of Brahman in them to help with coping with bugs and humidity. I ride all year round. In the summer on the weekends, I wake up and feed in the dark so I can be tacked up and mounted by the time I can see with the first light. I generally ride 2 horses (groom, ride, cool out, hose down) and get some chores finished by 11 AM. I do not do much else until 7 PM when I will ride another horse. It also limits when I haul. I do not like to haul during the hot, middle of the day. During the work week, I hustle out there and get 1 horse ridden and get back home late. Sometimes I stay out there for the night and come back super early in the morning for work. Winter is pretty easy by majority standards. It will freeze a few times. Lows are generally in the 40’s. A cold night is in the 30’s. It will only do that for a few days. It is not uncommon to be riding in short sleeves in January.

Other notes? Hunting season. It cramps my style a little bit because some in the family like to hunt at the farm. That is all fine and good except that requires me to not ride. That bugs me. Other than that it is fine. Our property is on a river and there are some duck hunters that like to come and park themselves behind the barn. The barn is not right on the river, but it is close. Anyway, I can hear them and let me tell you, it is funny. They are not very good at their duck calls and I can hear them talking. That is not how you do it!

Frustrating things?

  • The drive. I wish they were closer. However, I like not having to pay board. I have contemplated it so I could have at least a horse closer. I also like them being able to live like horses. It is also simpler to have them at the farm with the others. I have also contemplated moving to a place somewhere in the middle.
  • I miss the barn community. It is a great thing. I have horse friends that I ride with, but most of them are not in our neck of the woods.

Join in on the blog hop if you have not already! I have had fun reading them!

It is December, y’all.

I know, I am such a Sherlock Holmes.

I started decorating for Christmas yesterday after work. I put on my Spotify Christmas playlist entitled ‘The Reason For the Season.’ It all really lifted my spirits and today is a new day!

For a new influx of happy/fun/positive on this Thursday, I have for you some of my past years animal Christmas photos! It is December 1st after all. I will take some new ones soon. This is to prep you. I know you are just too excited. If you are well behaved, I might rustle up some old Christmas photos of us sisters all in matching outfits…that is a real hoot.

Have you ever taken funny Christmas photos??? Share them with me!

Walk in love, dear readers.

The first year I made everyone do it. Look at Apache’s face! He was wishing he was not retired so he could buck me off.
Darcy’s first Christmas photo.

Darcy is a good sport.

Look what I made baby Lito man do. Maybe not such a baby. This was last year when he was 2.5+ yo. Yes, those are jingle bells. He is a good boy. I am mean.


Lito…part 2

Settle in with some coffee, y’all. Here is the good part. Full disclosure, get ready for cuteness overload. It will be worth it to get to the bottom of this post! Check out part 1 from yesterday if you missed it.

It was Tuesday. Before 7 AM. I was in the computer lab on campus finishing an assignment for a geophysics course that was due later that day. As I worked, I pondered to myself, “I wonder if today will be the day?” I had grown weary of waiting on Cheetah…and paying for board. Horse people problems, I tell you. I shook my head and got back to work while at the same time cursing myself for signing up for more school, assignments, and having to learn MATLAB. I loathe MATLAB.


I looked at my phone for the time (why not the computer I have no idea) and just as the clock turned to 7:20, a call came in from the lady I was boarding Cheetah with. A fleeting moment of panic rushed in as I got the all familiar, punch in the gut sickness that there was a problem. Colic? Breach position? Still birth? Was she having trouble? You name it, I thought it in that moment. I can not tell you how long I stared at the phone while it rang before I came to. Answer the phone you idiot!


My mind jumped to the present as I answered the phone. I do not even remember what was said other than that the time had come! I immediately called my mother and started to cry the moment I heard her voice. I feel now is a good time to tell you a little something about me. I am a crier. Not a pretty one. And sometimes a catastrophic thinker, if you didn’t already pick that up. This is a genetic trait. OK, now back to the story. My mother answered the phone saying something like, “oh, is it time!? I had a feeling!” Then she heard me and assumed the worst, forgetting that I am me and her daughter. I somehow got the message across that there was not a problem and we needed to go!


Best mom ever was waiting in the driveway with the carrots, champagne, orange juice, and coffee cake packed in a cooler. How I managed to drive the 40 min out there through my excitement is beyond me. As we got out of the car and walked into the barn, I could see my now pair of horses. I about fainted when I saw the dorsal stripe on that tall, lanky foal. I knew it was a colt just by looking at his face. I had hoped and prayed for a dun filly. I expected a bay colt. I got a pretty good middle option! The biggest dun colt in the barn! He was bigger then the 1.5 week old foals in the barn and just a complete spunk of a personality. I was, and still am, a goner.


Cheetah apparently just popped him right out like it was nothing. I filled her full of carrots and thank yous as mom popped the champs and served coffee cake. Truth be told, I got so worked up I was sick to my stomach and could not enjoy the coffee cake for more than a couple of bites. The mimosa helped to settle me a bit as I got to know my new colt.

When my mom had her full of barn time and I was assured my dun duo were OK, I agreed to leave them on the condition we have Mexican for lunch on our way in. I arranged pickup for a week later. I was full on hangry at this point with a couple of mimosas and having not eaten all day. I got my bearings enough when we got to the restaurant to email my professor and ask for an extension on my assignment, stating a family emergency. That counts in my book and I was granted one! Winning!

The little booger needed a name. No easy feat, naming a baby of any kind. Now I will be honest and tell you that I had a couple picked out prior to the birth, but I was not committed till after I met him. If it came out to be a colt, I knew I wanted an ‘M’ name in honor of Magico. I first came up with the name Manolito from a song (I know, go figure). It is half in English and half in Spanish. Just like my new colt. It is about a great ranch horse, just like my new colt would grow to be. Have a listen to the story about the inspiration and to the lyrics of the song. I know some of you are rolling your eyes at me right about now, but just give it a chance! I love this song. Thanks to THE Wylie Gustafson for the vid on YouTube!

I started to research the origins of the name and this is what I learned. It is a nick name or term of endearment for the name Manuel. Manuel comes the name Emanuel. Emanuel means ‘of God’ or ‘God is with us.’ It sure seamed to fit him and the situation. Kept everything in perspective. Naturally, I thought Lito would be a great name for the biggest colt in the barn! Lito is not so little lito!

I picked my duo up to bring them home one week after Lito’s grand arrival. He loaded right into the heavily shavings bedded trailer right after his dam, and he unloaded just the same. He fit right in with everything and everyone. At 2 weeks old, he was a better equine citizen than most mature horses. Before I knew it, I looked up, and he is now 3.5 yo, standing at 16.2 hh, and started under saddle by me. I am one blessed human to have the best mare and colt.

I hope you enjoyed Lito’s story!

Lead with love, dear readers!

Lito…part 1

This is Lito’s story. From the very beginning. Which, really, is a lot of Cheetah‘s story.

It has always been a life long dream of mine to breed a mare of mine and then raise and train the foal. I never knew when it was to be, I just knew that it was going to be. I am one of those ‘mare people.’ I will always have at least one. I have been blessed with some great ones. While in college, I found THE MARE. We clicked almost right away. I knew I would have this horse for life and I would one day breed her. My secret planning commenced just a couple short months after she was officially ‘mine.’

I did not tell my family for I thought they would think me crazy. I did however tell my close horse friends, naturally. The dream would have to wait till after I graduated and, ideally, I had a stable job. You know, to be responsible. I also had been chunking any and all money that I could into savings. Next came the fun part. Choosing a stallion. This surprisingly, did not take too terribly long and all came about in a wonderful way. I knew I wanted PRE (Pura Raza Espanola/Pure Spanish Horse/Andalusian) and narrowed it down to two reputable and well known ranches within the Iberian horse community here in Texas that have more than one successful stallion, both in the show ring and the breeding shed.

One definitely stood out from the other in that I thought I recognized the owners. I dug a little deeper and came to find out that my grandmother (the one where I get most of my horse gene from) bought her last horse from them! I met them when my grandparents bought the horse, but I can not remember what year that was. That is another story for another day. Anyway, when my grandmother was no longer able to ride anymore due to her health, they bought that horse back from her at the same price she paid. They are lovely people and treated my grandmother with such kindness and respect. Couple that with the quality of their two top stallions at the time and their outstanding reputation, I knew my choice. It was really at this point, when the decision was so easy, that I knew breeding Cheetah was the right thing to do.

Are you tired of waiting to hear about the stallion I chose? OK. I chose Rancho del Lago‘s Magico VIII. This hunky 1997, bay stallion has quite the resume. He was successful in the show ring. Check. He has w truly wonderful temperament. Check. He has an established foal crop. Check. His get are of good temperament/mind, trainable, brave, and successful in the show ring. CHECK. I also met him those several years ago with my grandmother. These lovely photos of Magico are from Rancho del Lago’s website.

Fast forward to after graduation and half way into my year ‘off.’ I call it my ‘lost year,’ but that is yet another story for another day. Now was the time, I thought to myself. I had seriously saved every possible penny. I had already decided I was going back to school to get my graduate degree. I had time to tend to what it would take to get Cheetah bred, have the foal born, and handle/gentle/train him before I had to become a real adult. This was when I broke the news to my parents. They thought I was crazy and I do not think they believed me. Never a good thing. This was very much happening.

It took two tries and a twin reduction to get her bred, but pregnant she was (and, yes, I have ultrasound pics)! I will save that story for another day or else we will be here all night. It was fun to watch her transformation, both physically and emotionally. She was a great mom even before the foal was born. Just look at the happy pregnant mare face at 11 mos, 9 mos, and 6 mos.

At 10 mos., I took her to a lady that foals out mares for people. I give you permission to marvel over that life! Given that Cheetah and I were both maidens (ha!), I wanted her to be somewhere where she got constant supervision from someone experienced in case of an emergency. Here she is in all her glory, getting very close.

After this visit, I went to the store and bought a bag of carrots, several bottles of champagne, fresh squeezed orange juice, put them all in the fridge, baked a special coffee cake, and stuck it in the freezer. I could practically feel she was going to foal any day and I wanted to be prepared to celebrate.

Stay tuned for part 2!




New day, new week.

Thank you to everyone that commented with support on Friday! I really do appreciate it more than you know. I am going to focus on taking it one day at a time and try not to worry about things that are out of my control. I am going to focus on remembering to pray and tell Him about my worries. Give it up to Him. Why is that so hard??? New day, new week, new attitude. I am starting this work week out well. I came in early today have gotten a lot of work done while listening to Nelo, Penny & Sparrow, and The Head And The Heart to keep me on track.

This weekend was good to get away and get my center/focus back. I got in some chores and rides, but I spent most of my time just absorbing the essence of horse: watching them graze, listening to them eat, breathing them in, and spending an exorbitant amount of time picking burrs out of everyone’s manes and tails. My fingers still hurt. While on a nice bareback ride with Cheetah, I noticed this little guy, just chilling.

The niece and nephew were there as well. Niece LOVES horses. A girl after my own heart!

When I got back to town Sunday, I got the Darcy dog bathed. She truly hates baths, but man does she love the toweling off part! It is so funny. This is Darcy’s day light savings look while I waited for the pumpkin bread to bake and laundry to do itself. I think day light savings is harder on them than us. She wanted her dinner earlier than the old time! Poor Darcy, she has it so rough.


That face just gets to me, I tell you. I almost caved and fed her early. I said ALMOST.

What is that you say? You heard me mention baking pumpkin bread? Yup, you are correct. I baked pumpkin bread yesterday! No experiments this time. This is a tried and true recipe that I grew up on. You can tell by the state of the cook book. Just look at all that love. I am pretty sure it was me that colored scribbled on those pumpkins. Thank you to Frances Robinson of Mobile, Alabama for this recipe in the Southern Living 1985 Annual Recipes cookbook!

We eat pumpkin bread all year round in our family. We always make a double batch because more pumpkin bread is always better and it makes everyone happy. You see those lines there crossing off two items in the recipe? Those two items are chocolate chips and pecans. My mother is strictly against those in her pumpkin bread. It does not sound all that bad to me, but somehow I can not bring myself to add them. Funny how that works. If we do the glaze, it is for Christmas or Thanksgiving…and we add chopped pecans. Pecans are OK on the outside, just not on the inside according to mother. It makes a really nice Christmas gift. Just picture it: beautifully baked pumpkin bread, drizzled in a spiced pecan glaze, wrapped up in clear cellophane and both red and green ribbon. Gets me all excited for Christmas! Sometimes, like yesterday, I do half all purpose white flour and half whole wheat flour. I think it adds a lovely texture and makes you ‘feel’ like you are healthier…ha. I just love these loaf pans. They show as much love as the cookbook.

Well, that is all for today. Thank you, dear readers, for being you. I wish I could share this pumpkin bread with you. Oh well, more for me! What did y’all do this past weekend?

Stay tuned this week for Lito’s story. Click here for his dam’s story and here for the intro to this new series I am doing if you missed them last week!

Walk in love.


The time has come, y’all. As I promised, here is Cheetah’s story.

I was sent off to college under strict orders that I was not to take a horse to school and I was not to get one while I was there. The thought of this conversation with my father still makes me chuckle. I had been trying to find a loophole since I left.

I began an internship in my second year for the director of the university’s equestrian center where I schooled/trained program and sale horses, assisted in horse sales, led summer horseback riding camps, and helped run local horse shows. I had anywhere between two to five horses on my ‘string.’ The best part about it was I could ride two to three horses a day while going to school and I still got good grades…my parents could not complain! Anyhoo, Cheetah was in my first group of horses (could have been the second group, but that really is not an important detail) during that first fall of my internship. It was practically love at first sight. No one at the center wanted to use her for anything, being the strong, opinionated mare that she was is.

I have learned that the majority of the horses I fall for begin with this descriptor…probably not the best thing in the world. Oops. I was asked to put some miles on her and either get her placed in a university program or aid in her sale. After the first week of riding her, I was a goner. She was 4.5 yo at the time and did not know much of anything past go. She turned…some…and was not the biggest fan of stopping. She was also a booger to catch. Most days it took me a solid 30 min to bring her in. She made incredible strides in the riding department in just a matter of a couple weeks. Knowing the opinions about her and her personality, my Cheetah girl would not be a match for any of the school programs. She would have to be put up for sale. This thought broke my heart. I constantly shoved it away as I found new things that she ‘had’ to work on.

One horrible day, you know the kind where you are just all over the place emotionally and have that sick feeling where you have no idea what you are doing in life and that you are doing the wrong thing…that all too common feeling during that time in your life where you are just figuring it all out, I went out to the barn all bottled up like a shaken bottle of champagne. Everything was just beneath the surface, ready to explode. As I entered Cheetah’s turn out, we made eye contact and I said a little prayer, “please, just let me catch her today. I have had an awful day and I just need to stick my face in her mane.” When I turned back around from locking the gate to walk out and try to catch her, she started walking to me. We met in the middle. I then sat and cried with her head in my lap for the remainder of my allotted catch time. That awful feeling of her being sold kept creeping up on us.

I went home after finals for Christmas with a plan. I attempted to convince my father over Thanksgiving that my life could not go on without this mare to no avail. I had my mother and my Aunt though. Game changers. I gave him my best pitch at Christmas and I do not even remember what I said. I thought it would never work out until my Aunt stepped in and said he had to say yes. Well, I never did get a ‘yes,’ but I got something that was not a ‘no.’ I texted my boss on Christmas and asked if I could buy Cheetah. She probably thought I was crazy when she said yes, but I doubt she was surprised.

My boss and I ended up working a deal where I worked off the payment. It was a win win for everyone. I have to be honest though, I think I got the better deal on all fronts. I have lost count of the times I have cried into her mane and she has been great to catch ever since that one day. I honestly do not think I would have finished college without her.

We have logged countless hours in the arena and out in the crop fields. We trained. We showed some. We conquered. We made life long friends. The best part is, our story is not over yet! She is only 12. We are still doing even if sometimes it feels as if we are not. We enjoy our time together even if I am just standing in the pasture next to her while she grazes. She knows me better than anyone and has changed my life for good. I can not imagine my life if she had never mare glared galloped her way into it. I thought about changing her name when she first became ‘mine’ (my boss’ daughter named her), but you know they say that is bad luck and really, it suits her personality. I went through the hassle and ridiculous advanced age fee to get her registered with AQHA because I had our next adventure planned. I just had to graduate first.

This, my dear readers, brings me to Lito’s story. That is a story for another day ;).

Go walk in love.