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!

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!

 

Memories Gained & Life Lived.

Are you tired of waiting to hear about our Hill Country adventure???

Well, I know I am tired. Tired because we had so much fun! I have a fun hangover. Seriously. Adulting is very hard today. Almost as hard as leaving the ranch on Monday morning.

It is hard to even know where to begin because I am so over the moon with my horse!

Let us just begin at the very beginning. This is going to be long, but at least there are good pictures!

On Thursday, I got to the farm after work at a fairly decent hour. R was able to leave work early and was ahead of her time frame for being able to make it to the farm with Ronan, aka Ro, before dark. When I got to the farm, I set directly to loading everything of R’s into the trailer and a few other things of mine that I had not loaded yet.

It then occurred to me that I might want to go check my horse to make sure he had all four shoes still securely attached to his hooves and that everything was as it should be. I could go on about how I was worried he would have pulled a shoe, which I was, and leave y’all hanging in suspense. Luckily for you, I do not have time for that! Too many other great things! He indeed did have all four shoes solidly in place and ready to go. I snapped a few pics of him because, well, why not. He is just so dang cute I had to.

How could anyone not love that face!?!? At this point, I knew that I could really get excited because all there was between us was one sleep and a drive and we were there.

After loading the trailer with everything I had, I spread shavings in the trailer and filled and hung the hay nets so all we had to do in the morning was load the horses. When I received word that R and Ro were going to be able to make it to the farm before dark (she was going to stay with a friend that lives near the farm where Ronan lives if it got too late so she would not have to haul in the dark), I set up the round pen with water and some hay for Ro.

I had all the horses up in their stalls finishing their evening feed before R pulled in. We unloaded Ro and got him settled in the round pen before introducing my Lito to him. I was pleasantly surprised how they immediately became fast friends. I was slightly worried Lito was going to be a turd since it was his home and herd, but they were like brothers from other mothers and have they same play styles…rambunctious and tough with a lot of bitey face. such boys! I can only imagine how they would be if we turned them out together! We kept Ro in the round pen (which is inside the arena) and let Lito loose in the arena so they could get acquainted over night. We kept the rest of our horses separate.

It the morning, it appeared Ro had won the night time bitey face game as Lito had the little hairless nicks of a looser all over his nose! After feeding them, they were feeling the chill in the morning air and ran around like crazies playing, causing the rest of the horses to do the same. We gave them a few more minutes to burn off some energy while we finished our coffee and got dressed.


Both horses loaded well and after a quick kolache and fuel stop, we were on the road to my Uncle’s ranch. 


It was an uneventful haul and we arrived around lunch time. Both horses unloaded well and stood quietly tied at the trailer while we got the pens set up for them. I was extremely happy when Lito stepped off the trailer like he did. He has always hauled well, but never anything over an hour. We drove over four hours, with a new horse, gained a little altitude, and ended up at a new place. He quietly backed up, stepped out, took a look around, and then cocked a back hoof and yawned.


Yes, I made him wear a helmet for the haul. I know. I’m crazy, but he is TALL. Our trailer is not small, but he does not have to try very hard to touch the ceiling. In fact, if he is just regularly looking at something with his ears forward, they are bent over by the top of the trailer!

We ate lunch, had a quick drive around, and then got ready to ride. 


I longed Lito for a bit and he acted as he always does. He was looking around more than I would have ideally wanted since he was not fully focused on me, but he was relaxed and responded to everything I asked. I rode him around the barn/house for a little to make sure he was responsive and with me. He was pretty mouthy with the bit and ready to go, but again, responsive. R and Ro were ready and waiting so we started off.

Lito was a little sluggish at first, but he soon figured it out. He was looking at everything, taking it all in, and was pretty relaxed. Both horses had some quick spooks (mostly at deer blinds), but Lito was there and with me every time I asked him to come back and relax. 





We went about 8 miles that afternoon/evening (Map My Ride was not working) in around 3 hours. My Uncle’s horse, Cisco, loved our horses and our horses loved him. That made my heart happy. He has had that horse for over 20 years and he is one of the best horses around. They acted like they have known each other for a long time and Lito chose to graze by Cisco after his hose down.


We made some cocktails and had a walk around before feeding the horses and cooking dinner. While the enchiladas cooked, we watched the sunset while listening to the frogs in the pond and feeding the fish before our enchilada dinner on the porch.


On Saturday, we woke up early, fed, and ate breakfast. I longed Lito for a few minutes to see how his mind and body were, and we rode out.





When we got back for lunch, we untacked, hosed the horses down, and gave them some hay before having a mimosa lunch with sandwiches by the pool. Then Darcy and I swam while R tanned. Darcy LOVED the pool because there is a large, shallow wading section. She eventually felt confident enough to swim after a ball and then across the pool with me. I was so happy and proud of her! If you remember, she is not much of a swimmer and this is a pretty big deal. She then proceeded to bound around in and out of the pool barking.

Darcy came with us for our afternoon ride and we saw a beautiful fox! I have seen a fox on this ranch before many years ago while riding Cisco. Truly special both times. By the end of the day, we had logged around 17 miles (yay for Map My Ride working!). 









Darcy was a tired pup! We had some cocktails with cheese and venison sausage, from a deer harvested on that ranch, with honey mustard before feeding the horses and having cesar salad for dinner.


Sunday morning we again woke up early and had another great ride. I don’t think either of them spooked at all and they acted like they had been riding that ranch for years. We rode the furthest into the ranch on this ride. A little bit of the terrain and brush coverage got a little worrysome there for a bit, but both horses handled it. We covered almost 10 miles.



After lunch, we took naps and then took a drive around the ranch. We were going to go for another ride, but we got an invitation we just couldn’t refuse. The ranch foreman is also a pilot, I don’t think I mentioned that. He was going to go fly and offered to take us up in his plane to see the ranch from the air and enjoy the sunset. My initial response was, “**** YES!!!!!,” I excused myself for my language and told R we could do whatever she wanted. Her response was, “how often does someone offer you a ride in their plane without it being creepy or having any expectations?!” Needless to say, we went up in the plane and had a blast! I am so glad we did it and would not change it for the world! Well, really the whole weekend actually.





We cleaned a packed as much as possible Sunday night. We needed to leave in the morning by 7 because we had a meeting to get t by 5 PM back home. That meant an even earlier wake up call to get sheets washed and dried, beds made, stuff loaded, and horses loaded.

I may have cursed when my alarm went off in the morning. We got it done though and the horses loaded well, hauled well, and unloaded well. We got to our meeting in hauling clothes, but on time and happier than…I don’t even know what. A clam? I don’t really get that saying.

Each ride, we rode a different route, the weather was amazing, we flushed lots of wildlife (including pigs multiple times), rode through thick cover, and the horses got better and better. we saw each sunrise and sunset. By the end of the weekend we were not spooking at deer blinds anymore and we were walking with a purpose. Ro was made to climb mountains and really loves it. I think that really helped Lito. He really took to the hills and rocks. I am so incredibly proud of him and he really seemed to have a good time. We had a few sticky moments where he was unsure, but he was never unreasonable, just questioning and needed support. R and I took turns leading when we were not riding next to each other, both of us just enjoying the horses and nature. Every time I went out to check on Lito in the pen, I could have sworn we were at home by the way he acted and how relaxed he was. Each time, he nickered and walked up to me, ready to go ride.

People call the Hill Country God’s Country, and it truly is. His presence is palpable there and this trip was no different, especially to be there with this horse. I know this may sound crazy, but I could have cried several times while riding out there because of just feeling His presence, experiencing His gifts and creation, and all with my Lito.

We came home with even more confidence and trust. He is such a gift and I can not describe how grateful I am for him and to have this experience with him. I could not have asked for anything better!

Can we go back?! Today was extremely hard at work! I got through it with the memories gained, life lived, and lunch with my cousin.

Thanks to R for some of these photos!

I hope you enjoyed reliving our Hill Country adventure with me! On to the next!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Hurry Up & Wait.

This morning I woke up early to finish packing and load everything that did not need to be cold in my car. I even woke up before my alarm. Darcy was picking up on the energy and seemed to know that this weekend is not going to be the average weekend. She was bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to go the minute I opened my eyes. She stuck by all morning, as if to remind me not to leave her. It was extremely hard to leave her to go to work!

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Right now, during my lunch break…after I finish writing this post, I am going to a local Mexican bakery (my favorite!!!) for some pan dulce for our breakfasts. After work, I am packing up the cold groceries and my sidekick Darcy girl and heading to the farm. One step closer to leaving Friday morning and pulling out. Cross your fingers Lito still has all four shoes on. Last night I made some chicken enchiladas to have for a couple of our dinners. One less thing to take away from fun time! Ain’t nobody got time to cook (or clean dishes!) when we have a girls weekend dedicated to horses!

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Last weekend I got most all of my horse stuff loaded and packed in the trailer. I have all of R’s horse stuff in my car, ready to load in the trailer, along with all of my personal things. I will be doing that while I try not to die waiting for patiently wait her arrival with Ronan (I had gif conversations with R all morning!). Hurry up and wait. Ugh. I have patience, I promise. I am so ready for this and am super excited to put some serious miles in on Lito. I tried to do this last year with him, but then the river flooded, twice.

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The plan is to leave around 7:30 or 8 AM on Friday to avoid hitting traffic on our way and arrive around lunch time. We will get the horses unloaded and settled, get our stuff inside, and eat a quick lunch before tacking up and riding out for the afternoon. Then ride all morning and all afternoon. Rinse, repeat! There will be some drinking, eating, music, swimming, pit fires, watching of Kentucky Derby, and maybe some sleeping. We will have all day Saturday and all day Sunday before leaving Monday morning. Both R and I have somewhere to be by 5PM on Monday.

This sums up how I have been all week on the inside…and maybe on the outside:

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Sorry for the excessive gif usage, please don’t leave me! …tap, tap…? Anyone still there???

More from Midnight River Choir to get me through the work day. Thanks to Texas Music Scene for posting the vid on their YouTube. Enjoy!

I will update on the weekend when I can!

Walk in love, dear readers!