Storm Dodging & Life Lessons

I can not help but think that this weekend was a metaphor for living every minute that you get, no matter what. We are not promised any of them.

I struggled with when to even go out to the farm this weekend. I was thinking about staying in town to do who knows what. The weather reports promised rain all day Saturday and I had to be in town by mid morning on Sunday. I needed to ride and check on everyone. I have a weekend long trail ride with dear friends this coming weekend. However the thought of going out Sunday afternoon and rushing did not sound all that appealing.

I went ahead and booked it out there Friday after work. I would do as much as I could on Saturday and let the weather bring what it wished. Since you know, you can not do anything about it anyway and the forecasts are usually wrong. AHA moment, do not trust the weather man.

Friday evening was just about as lovely as it gets. I strolled down to the pond where the horses were hanging out under a pecan tree. The one that got struck by lightning a few weeks before Lito was born and has a big scar down the trunk. I was flooded with memories as I sat on a log near the horses, but we will talk about those memories later. One by one, the horses made their way over to me and huffed their grassy breath brushed my face with their velvety muzzles, each asking for scratches on their favorite spots. My mare eventually pushing everyone else away from me. I secretly love when she does that.

After bringing everyone in at sundown and feeding them, Darcy and I went inside to call it an early night. Early to bed, early to rise you know.

Saturday with my coffee mug in hand, I caught up my best mare, Cheetah, my gal pal, and set to grooming. Spending a little extra time and elbow grease to bring out the shine in her golden honey coat before tacking up. A girl needs to look her best, that is what my mother says.

We set off with no plan other than to just go, and boy was she game. A little saucy and sassy, but what else is new. Although, I think someone must have slipped her some coffee or something.

 

Some days she never seems to run out of power walk.

At times it felt very Man From Snowy River with the clouds, wind, and drizzle.

She always keeps me on my toes that is for sure. So we did a little storm dodging, but our spirits we not dampened in the least and our manes were only a little damp. At one point we were loping down a dirt road out in the pasture behind the barn. The one that has a culvert slightly exposed. A little known fact about Cheetah is she used to be really afraid of culverts. Weird, I know. Anyway, as we were going along, I wondered to myself if she was going to see or notice this culvert. Ha. She did eventually. When we were in the air over it. I am not even sure what happened underneath me. All four of her legs seemed to go in different directions and her body twisted and contorted so she could get a cockeyed glance at the thing. How offensive of it to be there in her path. But when her hooves hit the ground, she just kept on going with just a little extra pep in her step. I could not help but laugh out loud.

I gave her the first bath of the season after I stuffed her face full of treats. She was nowhere near having an empty tank (well let’s be honest, she never has an empty tank, ever), but I did not have all day. Chance was slated for ride number two and Lito needed to spend some time tied. Growing up can be hard for a horse!

So dynamic. All those colors. Especially the red.

Chance is one of those horses you barely have to touch with a brush and he is super shiny and soft. I am always amazed. As amazed as I am with his chunky, tank like frame. Sometimes, I still can not believe he is the same horse we bought a few years ago. We did some more storm dodging and it was nice for once to not have to push him the whole time.

Two completely different rides, those two. One prefers to go, go, go all the time and the other would rather sit in the shade of a tree and take a nap. There is nothing better than getting to ride different kinds of horses.

So, what is the life lesson to be had in dodging storms? Well, that you sometimes do not have control over them. AHA moment, dear readers, we humans have basically zero control in the grand scheme of things. And like I said, the weather man really has no clue!

You see, I could have sat around inside and watched the clouds, twiddling my thumbs, waiting for the storm, wondering why I came out and why I was wasting my day. Waiting on the storm that did not come until after I was happily in my bed falling asleep, reliving the great rides that I had and feeling grateful. The storm that soaked the spring ground with ever needed rain. The storm that was gone by morning and had the sun out, growing the grass.

I woke up Saturday ready to do all I could until the rain made me take a break, and then I would go again. Knowing I would not have time to the next day and that I would regret it if I did not. Even if I did have the time, everything was a soupy, wet mess come Sunday morning anyhow.

Go live every minute of every day, dear readers, and walk in love. For you do not know what storm is coming or when. You are equipped by Him to handle what does eventually come your way and it will make you stronger.

And besides, a storm is just a little rain with some sun on the back side, waiting to grow your grass.

 

Tribute

Get your sunglasses out. I have started and stopped about ten times and still do not quite know how to start it.

A great man went to his Heavenly home on Monday. My Grandmother’s Husband since she was 19. My Mother’s Father. My Grandfather. Although, he would get mad at us if we called him any such thing. Made him appear old he would say. Gee Gee for George. Everyone, family and friends, called him that. I learned this week that there are people that did not even know his name was George. Gee Gee is his name.

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Mere words do not do him justice. How does one pay tribute to such a being. You had to know him or know someone who knew him. Larger than life he was, and he knew how to live every second of it and fill it with music and dancing, tequila (it makes you smart he would always say, but he had plenty of smarts all on his own), family, the outdoors, and of course horses. Lots and lots of horses and horse stories.

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That dapper man there, sitting in the middle next to my Grandmother, wearing a tux. We have a big family, and this is not even all of them!

I still can not write this without tears in my eyes. Which is less than convenient with a face of makeup. Go me for being an adult and putting my face on.

The tears are represented by many emotions. Sadness, of course, is very present. The realness and suddenness of it (sudden as in one day there and the next not), sure. It really was not that sudden. The thoughts of looking to the future and visualizing what it looks like and feels like. Him not being there (how about a punch in the gut to say that?). At the same time, the blessing and relief. How strange it feels to feel and write that.

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A moment I captured close to the time he passed. I had a funny feeling at the time and did not know why. A few minutes later my sister called me.

When my sister first called I had a feeling it was coming. I did not know quite how to act when she told me. I did not cry or have much to say, it just was. It seems most of us feel that way. I suppose that is the blessing and relief of it. That he is now whole and complete, making music again.

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He was 92 years old. We went a few years thinking any day was going to be his homecoming, but, he continued to defy the odds. It was still a shock when it actually happened. On Monday, January 22, 2018 he went peacefully with a smile on his face and a full belly. What a blessing that is! To live his whole life happy and to go peacefully. Even with the years of dementia (that he was even able to hide for many years in the beginning), he was happy through it all and always knew the love of his life.

I have lived my whole life, of 29 years, with two full sets of grandparents. How many people do you know that can say that??? I have discovered not many people can. When people would hear that I have 2 full sets of grandparents still alive, they would look at me in wonder and astonishment. I have stopped being surprised at people’s looks. There are nine of us Grandchildren (non including the spouses) that could claim that.

I could go on and on about him. How smart and passionate he was. How he loved music and could sing and play multiple instruments. How he made records and sang with the mariachi bands at the Mexican restaurants. How they would marvel how well he knew their music. How he helped my mom with her math homework after coming home late from work. How I see him in his younger brother, 16 years his junior. How he loved his dogs and the outdoors and to fish and hunt. How he stamped all of us in a unique way.

My stamp was the horses and music, but mainly the horses. Entirely different than that of my Grandmother, the ultimate horsewoman.

I would sit with him for hours and listen to his stories about horses past. He was generally a quiet man, letting everyone else do the talking. An easy thing to do with our family. There was never enough air in the room and being in our presence was commonly compared to watching a tennis match. But what I loved most was when he would get to talking about his horses, even my Grandmother would sit silently staring at him, completely captivated.

I remember the last time they came to the farm. My Grandmother, naturally, was drawn by Ike and my Lito, wanting to talk about them and how they rode. Gee Gee on the other hand, with not much of his memory left, took one look at Chance and said, “now that is a Quarter Horse. I like this horse. You need to flush his eye.” I guess he liked the look of him! His eye lid was irritated and swollen at the time. I had already flushed it.

“Now that horse comes out half cocked, so you better ride him down and work him out of it first,” he would say about Chato, the last horse he had. He was a little feed lot horse and would politely slow down to a halt every time my phone would ring.

My Mom would always tell me how Gee Gee would ride every horse first before any of the kids hopped on, just to make sure their heads were on straight. Something I have always done because of that.

He once hauled a horse in a trailer with a faulty floor. The thought gives me nightmares. He crawled in the loaded trailer and fixed the floor mid route because the man said the horse would be fine to do it.

Consequently, I still can not find pictures of the two more prominent horses in his life. Jenny and Rowdy Dexter. Or of him taking my Mom and Aunt and Uncle riding. Jenny was the young filly he kept at the local stables where he met my Grandmother. She kept her horse at the same barn. My kind of love story. I will never be able to tell a story like him. I am not going to give up on finding them.

To tell some of the stories, I have these to share.

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I believe this was Jenny’s sire.

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Time to hit play on the music and stir our tequila drinks as we remember and celebrate this great man. I do believe anything less than a party he would not stand for.

This has been a slow blogging month for me, but I am still here chugging along. There is still much to see to yet, but I am not going anywhere.

Life is an interesting thing, as you have heard me say multiple times. How everything comes full circle. With death there too also comes life. Gee Gee will live on in another member of our family, due to arrive in August. I get to be an Aunt again!

Till next time, dear readers, walk in love!

Compliment

I have to tell you about the greatest compliment for a girl like me.

But we will get to that in a minute.

If you want to know what I have been up to for the past I do not know how many days, please read this post from a couple of weeks ago. Just rinse and repeat that. That is the synopsis of what I have been up to. However, you can add more to the ice and broken manure spreader. Basically nobody could leave their house because there was so much ice on the roads. There was ice in places I have no idea how there could be ice.

I fixed said manure spreader (well, by me, I mean my cousin…good thing I can repeat that…) only for it to break again in the same place and on the other side for a double poo whammy! Oh well, we will try again with hopefully a more permanent repair.

I am still blaming the Canadians. Or no, wait, the Alaskans? Whoever is to blame for this crazy polar vortex winter that leaves us with several days of freezing temperatures and co-mingled wintry precipitation, I still blame them. Lovingly, of course.

When the sun finally broke and the temp rose to a balmy 37 deg F, nobody knew whether to play or nap. All the above was indeed accomplished.

All horses were supremely over the cold.

Cold sunrises sure are pretty though…even with little ice shark teeth daggers.

There was ice everywhere! I saw somewhere that the neighboring county shut down ALL roads due to the ice. That big, thick hunk of ice that I am holding there? That was a thinner piece from out of the water trough. The ground was actually frozen. I have never seen that.

Nature did its usual and wonderful thing, never ceasing to amaze. We had a calf born on the coldest night. A big calf at that.

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This curious heifer and her partner in crime seemed to stalk my every move, just waiting to be fed.

Lito had a tail feather to shake and Chance was the perfect partner.

After all that silliness, it was time for a nap in the sun in one of the few dry, ice free patches of grass.

Same relationship, just a different sized baby. They can always seem to fit themselves in any sized space to nap together.

I just love how they breathe when they are sleeping.

Anyway, enough of that ice business. We are ramping back up to normal seasonal temps. They say we will be above 70 deg F by tomorrow. Got to love Texas. I much prefer a short sleeve January.

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Now, let us get back to that compliment thing.

This past weekend, you know before all the icecapades (except it was very cold), my Mom’s Aunt, Uncle, Cousin J, and J’s daughter, R, came out the the farm. R is reportedly horse crazy and only has really ridden at summer camp. J wanted to surprise her with a horse filled weekend.

Well, what could be more fun for me? Certainly nothing. Ask and you shall receive.

We started out with R on Chance and me on Cheetah in the arena first. Then the plan being, after they got to know each other and I got a feel for her skill level, we would head out to the pastures.

I quickly discovered she could competently, and balanced, tell ol’ Chance where to go and what to do…and work him through his tests. Needless to say, we did not stay in the arena very long and went out to take a tour of the farm.

The thought occurred to me that she could likely ride my Cheetah in the arena. When we got back, I asked her if she would like to. You can guess her answer.

And you want to know what?

She rode that mare all around trotting and cantering like a pro. She a had a little bit of trouble with Cheetah’s bigger movement, but she stayed balanced and relaxed the whole time.

Y’all. I died.

Every time R would ask Cheetah to do something, she did. Go faster, she did. Rate back, she did. I taught her about the left and right lead and how to ask. She asked, and Cheetah picked each lead right up like a dang packer.

I had to make them stop and call it a day so the spell wouldn’t break.

I thought to myself, that is a dang good mare. Of course I knew this already, but seeing the looks on both of their faces…so happy and content. What dreams are made of.

Watching her ride my horse, a horse that I trained for myself, was and is the greatest compliment in the whole world. She is not all that easy of a horse to ride some days. She is quick and hot and can be quite strong. She is often not the biggest fan of walking. But I could tell that this would be good. She was quite serene and I knew she knew what was expected of her, and not just because she kept looking at me as if to make sure she was.

Then we stuffed her full of treats and braided every horse’s mane. It was like watching my nine year old self.

J, that girl needs more horse in her life!

Walk in love to share the love, dear readers!

Setting Yourself Up For Success

I read something recently about setting yourself up for success that really resonated with rawme and I figured I would share it with you. Setting yourself up for success helps you to have…success! Gold star for me! In all seriousness though, that is the key. Success leads to confidence and/or confidence leads to success. AHAmoment. It is that whole coming full circle concept that life is all about.

I have been working on my…‘resolution’ plan for the year, if you will, and how to best execute it. To be successful.

I have been pretty darn good about all the general, daily items on my list and I have even added a few things to it. Those are not overly important at present. What I want to discuss is my main ticket item, my riding related goals, and how that may help you with your big goals. Your 2017 goals. Your riding goals. Your cooking or baking goals. Your parenting goals. Your getting healthier goals. Your writing goals Your fishing goals. Your dancing goals. Anything. Your life goals.

No matter what it is that you want to accomplish, to be successful at, you have to set yourself up for it. To have some sort of execution plan or, let us be honest, more plans/adjustability/fluidity, since we all know how plans can go. Hello, life. To break it up into manageable bites and have a few benchmarks. All of this to me means preparation.

I have scoured my sources and filled my calendar with all the clinics and schooling/working equitation/dressage/SHOT shows in the general area. I am still doing some research on the clinics and thinking about who I want to take lessons from. The point for me is not what I do, it is that I do it, both my horse and I have a good, positive experience, and we learn something. To grow and never stop learning. To continue striving and searching. To always try and be better. It is the quest.

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My last time in any show ring over 5 or 6 years ago. I have done one clinic and zero lessons in that time.
I think I have landed on my plan outline that will get me prepared and set me up for success. I have not settled on specifics or looked at where things fall on the calendar, so the plan will likely change and that is OK. The first quarter of the year I am going to just focus on riding as much as I can to get us both back into shape and back in tune. Second quarter will be for lessons and making progress. I might add a show in here based on focus and progress. Third quarter will be for possible more lessons and a clinic closing with a possible show. Fourth quarter will be my rainy day quarter given it is the busiest time of year. Yikes, that feels like tomorrow!

I open the floor to you, dear readers. Do you have a better way to break the year’s plan up into acceptable bites? What is your advice for setting yourself up for success? What are your plans to set yourself up for success in your goals/resolutions, whatever they may be?

Walk in love.