God’s Country Ride

Where do I even begin. I truly am not even sure. The Monday blues were real and hardcore on the struggle bus yesterday.

Years 1, 2, and 3 were all so different and this year was, well, no different! It was indeed the best year in my estimation and I believe in several others’ as well.

I suppose starting at the beginning is the natural way of things. It just seems so long ago!

I was able to skip town pretty early on Friday. I already had my things packed and Merle with me at the office. All I had to do was drop him off (more on that later) and I was off scot-free! Well, as scot-free as one can be in Friday traffic, but hey, I was on my way!

There were only a few stops I needed to make on the way for necessary long road trip things. Shavings for Ronan and Lito in the trailer and breakfast kolaches (both sausage and fruit) to go and nacks (that is ‘snacks’ for all you people without a cute niece) for R and me.

R and Ro made it to the farm Friday evening with just enough time to get Ro settled and for us to get into town for a Mexican food dinner. We were both starving and decided loading all of my stuff could wait till the morning.

Morning came quick enough, as it does, and there was plenty left to do before we could leave, but we got it all done in not much time or having to rush too badly. After loading Ro and Lito and before pulling out, R warmed up the sausage kolaches while I turned the rest of the horses out.

Our farm cat, clearly a bit miffed that he was going to be missing out on the fun and the kolaches, decided he would take matters into his own paws by snagging and eating our fruit kolaches off of the truck dash. He clearly enjoyed them! After having a good laugh, the first of many, we were on the road by around 10 AM. 

Lito in his road gear. Am I ridiculous? Maybe, but I do not care.

The drive was going smoothly enough.

Long time horse people never actually think that thought though because it is just a matter of when something will happen, not a matter of if.

Is that not so subtle foreshadowing you read?

Spoiler alert, there were incidents.

This was the first incident. Blown tire.

Doesn’t that just look like a party?

There are several great things about this incident. Both the horses and us were just fine. We had all the things we needed to change the tire. AND, go figure this, a friend just up the road to help. We were on the road in very little time at all. By all accounts, this part really could not have gone any better.

That was the first part.

Once we got to the next town about 45 minutes down the road, we spent the next hour trying to find someone to check the rest of the tires and replace the blown one. After trying three places, we finally got the others checked and decided to get on down the road. We started the drive with two spare tires and knew we would have better luck replacing the one in a bigger town or come Monday morning.

Feeling pretty alright about our good fortune, but still someone shaken, we drove on.

I will spare you some of the details of what happens next, but we almost got in a bad wreck…Like slam on the breaks and horn and basically come to a stop on a major freeway bad. And feel the horses get smacked around in the trailer behind us bad. All because someone was not paying attention and was entering the freeway incorrectly! (Let us all make a pact to help educate people on driving the road with horse trailers, OK? Thanks). It could have been much, much worse. I do not want to focus on that.

The point is, we were and are still OK.

I have shown you this cross before.

I can tell you one thing, we were praising the Lord during and after this drive.

Us humans were pretty shaken by the day’s events and we have never been so happy to unload horses in our lives. Oh, and bless these two boys of ours. They unloaded calmly and seemed to comfort us and not the other way around! I think at that point we would have been happy to never leave that hilltop ranch. At the end of the day, the drive took about twice as long as it should have.

We put the horses in their pens to settle and went to settle ourselves. That later on included an evening stroll with the horses before dinner with some of the other early arrivals.

Lito wanted to make donkey friends, but they were not so inclined.

The Sunday sunrise the following morning was stunning as per usual. R and I climbed on top of the trailer with our coffee for a better view. This basically set up the rest of the day.

I stayed in my pajamas until 11 AM. This will likely not be a shock for you to learn, but I never do that. Ever. It was glorious. I probably had four cups of coffee too.

Lito and one of his many girlfriends, Jazzy.

The longhorn wanted to make friends too.

Later on, in real clothes, we went for a much needed ride.

I have shown you this cross before too!

We then watched the sunset before heading down the hill for dinner in town with friends.

At dinner, our great friend and hostess read that day’s devotional aloud.

Boy howdy, if that did not speak right to me, I do not know what does.

It was a great evening and we all awoke on Monday morning rested and ready to make it to our final destination for the main event! …Sans incidents!

However, R and I first needed to replace our blown tire which took some time. This was actually kind of nice because we got to have a nice breakfast in town while we waited. Once that chore was finished, we went back to the ranch, loaded up (again, I praise these boys that loaded very well despite how their last trip went!), and headed out!

I am happy to report that we made it without any problems and got our ponies all settled for the week of fun!

And fun we did have in a big way.

Fun. Fellowship. Sisterhood. All with our horses. I can not share too terribly much because it is all, you know, secret and stuff, but here is a little taste of what went on.

Just look at my cute boy. He looks happy, yes? He had this face on pretty much the whole week.

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We enjoyed a movie out on the lawn after dinner the first night, complete with popcorn and candy…under the full moon! It took me right back to childhood and camp. We watched The Man From Snowy RiverGreat movie if you have never seen it!

I had late night and early morning hangouts with my guy.

Lito striking a pose while looking for the strange animal that made a scary noise.

We rode the hills together.

Those are my friends R and H. And Lito’s friends Ronan and Chica.

We crossed a lot of water and we loved it.

We rode through the shady, idyllic groves.

We hung out in the river and watched the fish.

Lito took many naps. I did not. I did not sleep much all week!

We saw, experienced, and felt God’s creation from the back of God’s gift to us. It could not have been any better.

We caught the sunrise each morning and the sunset each evening.

I felt transported to a different place at times. Which was much needed.

I do believe my Lito had as good of a time as I did.

My horse. My Lito man. He was amazing and seemed to be very happy (even if he did get bored and frustrated when we were going too slow or stopping too much). He wanted to be friends with everyone. I could not be more proud of him. He is not the horse for everyone, but he is for me. We have our own thing.

I lost count of how many times I laughed until I cried with my fellowship and horsemanship sisters. My stomach and my eyes hurt! Y’all have no idea how much I needed that. How much we all needed and still need that.

We rode together. We prayed together. We laughed together. We cried together. That is what it is and was all about. That is what IT is all about. AHAmoment. They call the Hill Country God’s Country and it sure did feel that way!

Now I can not share any more about that! BUT. I do have one more thing for y’all.

Did you wonder about my Merle while we were away? Well, wonder no more. He was in excellent care. I had to board him because all of my people were busy or out of town. He did not seem to mind and clearly had fun! Does he look like he is practicing his face for Halloween, missing baby teeth and all?!

By the time we got back to the farm and unloaded, I wished R a good safe rest of her drive, took a much needed bath, and then took a two hour nap (another thing I do not do).

I still have not caught up on sleep! We are all happy to be safely home even though we were not quite sure we wanted the trip to be over. This week is major catch up and now I just want to go back!

Walk in love, dear readers! I sure missed y’all!

 

Hey Howdy!

Did you miss me? Shh, I know you did.

I have missed you!

This past week has been a whirl wind, but a fun whirl wind.

In short, it was fun and Lito was amazing. By Friday he was more than ready to come home, but he did better than probably any other young horse that has never been exposed to anything close to this.

Saturday morning greeted us with a beautiful sunrise and ample time to do what we needed to do before we left. That included a quick water line repair. Again…let us not talk about that…and a shower glam session for the Lito man. Can’t be traveling when you aren’t looking your best. That’s what my mamma says.


He rode in a new to him trailer. One that he actually fits in. Even though he still likes to rub his head on the ceiling. He just has to work harder to do it. Lito got to ride with his bro for life, Ronan. I rode with my gal pal for life, R.



We drove to a friend’s place for the weekend before we made the shorter haul to where we were to stay and ride for the week on Monday. We were with 3 other ladies and their horses and we all had a grand and relaxing time.


He is the cutest.

Sunset.

Sunrise.



A much needed cocktail. All the excitement got to me and I needed to level out.

But what I really needed was this. An evening ride on Sunday and stumbling upon this at sunset. Serendipitous. Something I really love about the hill country is that it really puts life in perspective. Gives you a true sense of scale and how small we are. Similarly to how the mountains make me feel. I swear there is a cross somewhere on EVERY hill out here. When you get to the top of one, you can see forever and yet not see much of anything else besides what you are felling. Hard to explain.

This song reminds me of the hill country. Describes what the hill country makes me feel. We listened to it on Saturday morning, on the top of that hill where we were staying, before we left.


We did not drive like h***.

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When we got to our final destination Monday morning, Lito stayed in a box stall in a tent barn and acted like he was born in there. 

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​A front blew through Monday evening/early Tuesday morning and was quite windy. They ​delayed the ride on Tuesday, but Lito did not seem to be bothered by the wind. We rode every day this week with around maybe 90 other horse and rider pairs. He got a little anxious when the ride went to slow or got too crowded, but he really handled himself well. I had faith in him and I really think he had faith in me. You could really tell he was trying his best and trying to figure it all out. Proud of my loyal boy. He nickered every time he saw or heard me coming to his stall. Made my heart melt. He is such a gift.

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When it came time for everyone to pack up and leave on Saturday, for the mass exodus, Lito thought it was the perfect time for his mid morning nap. My horse is a freak and I love it. Poor kid took up every inch of that stall.

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He sure was happy to be back home in his pasture and with his heard. I am happy to report he strutted his stuff in fine form for everyone.

To spend a week with a bunch of Texas horsewomen in the country, just enjoying Texas, tradition, horses, and fellowship is nothing short of amazing. It was great and I can not wait till next year. Fun times were had by all.

R and Ronan stayed at the farm with us Saturday night before heading home yesterday. I went straight to my parents house to have dinner with them and get my Darcy doolittle dog.

Happy to be back with my Darcy dog, but not ready for reality! But. Reality brought us a cold front this morning. The air is glorious. Straight up feels like fall! I am going to have a fall cooking and baking session with my cousin tonight!

I hope everyone had a great week!

Back to the regular scheduled programming.

Walk in love, dear readers!

 

Psalms & Proverbs.

The trail ride I am going on this weekend is an annual thing. I have been going for about five years now. It is always a super fun time and is my favorite ride of the year. On the Sunday of the weekend, we ride out to a nice place and gather around for a quick little sermon on the trail. There are moments of laughter and there are moments of tears. The message is usually strong.

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This was last year’s ride with Ike. Last year’s ride was after Easter and I was able to wear a straw hat. Some of the people we ride with stick to those old hat season conventions. Me, I do not care for them. It is too dang hot down here to be wearing a felt hat for months. We only have a few weeks of ‘real winter’ down here usually. I took Ike because my Cheetah beetah had a hoof abscess AND white line. Ugh. I will let that sink in for you horse people. That was rough. For 3 months. Since Easter is next weekend, I will have to wear my felt hat and it is supposed to get into the mid to high 80’s.

Anyway, I digress. A few years ago, it was a rainy Sunday. It was decided that instead of riding out, we would just stay at camp and have our sermon in the pavilion after breakfast, then everyone would go home early. The radar predicted it to be wet all day (and it was, go figure, very wet indeed). This particular Sunday was also a somber one. One of the ladies had just lost her mother. As you can imagine, there were many tears shed over the weekend, but what I remember just as much or more than the tears was the fellowship. Everyone really came together in support. It was extremely touching. I jotted down this closing line of the sermon focusing on Psalms and Proverbs before the closing prayer. Your AHAmoment for the day.


“Be calm and confident and leave it there.”

This year I offered to play (ha! not me, my device) a song to add to the experience since we all know how I am about music and I thought it would be a nice touch. I suggested a few songs to be chosen from. This was the winner. A lovely story and message (thanks to Jason Eady – Topic on YouTube for the vid).

This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday naturally made me think of Easter and my favorite Easter song (thanks to Mike McClure – Topic on YouTube for the vid).

Can you tell I am ready for the weekend? It is literally all I can focus on. Lucky for me, it is going to come one day early! Tomorrow we have some important meetings and things that need to get done, but then I am off to the farm after work. Friday 10 AM arrival for good times.

Walk in love, dear readers!