Yes.

You know. I have been thinking lately. As I do.

Someone might actually be filling out a little bit.

Which, ha, thank goodness. I was beginning to wonder if my AHA moments were going to come back. They have been seeming a little few and far between in life these days. BUT, not to worry, they are still there! I just have to write them down again!

Do you remember the heart in the tree I told you about?
Look closely there. From here it looks like there are actually two hearts. The heart has been there since the tree was planted and has persisted through the seasons.

Anyway, enough about that.

More about this. It is pretty simple, really, and it keeps coming up.

Life is about saying yes. Well, more like YES.

No regrets. Whatsoever. When an opportunity comes your way, say yes. Do it. As trite as it may seem, you really do only live once. Same as everyone else and you do not know what tomorrow will bring. You can cross whatever bridge tomorrow brings tomorrow.

Life is a very fragile thing. That is as apparent to me now as ever.

I was driving the other day and, funny as it does, it occurred to me. I am thirty years old. Ya, ya, ya it is just a number and I still believe that, but that is a third of a life. A third of a lifetime. What? How did that happen? It feels like just yesterday I was still in high school. How many times have I put things off or said no to something for a silly reason? What if it does not come back again?

Things do not always take their time to happen. You do not always see them coming like a West Texas storm off in the distance. The same can be said about the opportunities that come your way or fall in your lap. They will not always be there and you often do not even know they are coming.

Say yes.

Take the trip. Do what makes you happy. Ride the horse even if it is raining. Make the time and take the time, it is yours. Be with the person or people that make your heart smile. Sing the song out loud. Eat the cake. Whatever it may be. Stay hungry. Keep seeking and striving. Finish your business.

Do not put things off any more.

Make a decision and go with it.

Act.

Say yes!

This year and especially this summer for me is about saying yes. Tomorrow, things could change and a lot of that is out of my control. I can not hold on tight and make things stay. I have to let go so my heart will remain open.

The scenery around here is going to look a little different here pretty soon over the next couple of months and y’all are going to be seeing some new things.

But, alas, you are going to have to check back here later to find out! You’re going to like it, I can tell you that, and I am excited to bring each of you along.

Walk in love, dear readers!

The Mark Rashid Clinic

Today is a two cup of coffee kind of day. What about y’all? It seems every day this week has been a two cup day.

It appears as though I have been surprisingly void of any real, seemingly conscious thought to share. The truth is actually, probably the opposite, but we shall worry about that another day. I have not even taken very many photos. Weird.

But. We did do a thing last weekend. More than write home worthy. It has taken me a few days to digest the experience. And well, life keeps happening and has left me with not as much time for this space. Anyway.

I rode Lito with Mark Rashid.

Let us start at the beginning.

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See what I did there? You will soon find I have only four photos of my own to share with you from the whole weekend. I did get a few from one of the other participants of me riding on Sunday, so that is something. I also took zero notes. I intended to take notes, but when you are actually riding in a clinic, it is a lot going on. I did not get to watch as much as I wanted to either, but that is OK because hey, I got to ride!

We arrived on Friday around 4:30 PM. A little bit later than I had planed for, but all is well that ends well, right? Right. We unloaded and got settled in a stall while the last rider of the day finished his lesson. When the arena cleared out, I took Lito for a little stroll to have a looksee at the surroundings.

He was unimpressed by the pretty painted sticks.

After our stroll, I gave him his evening feed and tucked him in for the night to go check into my hotel and rustle up some dinner for myself.

Saturday morning I arrived at the barn at 7 to feed, take another walk around, and get some grooming in before the clinic started at 9. My ride time was at 11 so I watched the first lesson and part of the second before going to tack up.

I did a good job of keeping my anxiety in check once I got mounted in the area. It has been a long time, and a long time over due, since I have ridden in a clinic or taken lessons.

First order of business, bitting and conact. Lito has never really liked any bit I have put in his mouth and has always been fussy and worried about it every time we attempt contact. I have never really had or ridden horses that had bitting issues. They all just seemed to go happily in whatever you put in their mouth. Not the case with Lito and his fat tongue. I have tried different bits with no luck. It is one of the main reasons we have not really done much work towards getting collected and ‘on the bit’ and learning what all that means.

After going through a few transitions from the walk to the halt, back to walk and some turns, he suggested I try, if I wanted, a different bit with some tongue relief that he had for his horse that has a similar mouth. I replied in the affirmative. We gave him a minute to get used to the feel and then it was like a night and day difference. One minute he was shaking his head with his mouth gaped open and tongue flailing about and the next he was light as a feather and just there in the contact when he figured it out. Like floating on a cloud. Now we can start to build from there. Granted he still has a way to go and still has moments of confusion and worry, but nothing like before and I believe most of that will iron out with time.

By the way, I ordered that bit. I hesitated to do it a little because I did not want to be sold by a salesman trying to sell his own product. However, that really was not the case. He never once said, “buy this and it will fix all your problems.” He said, “hey, if you want to try this you can. Or I have a Myler you can try. Whatever you want. If you like it, that’s great, if you don’t, no worries.”

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This is a large block of text, so here is the bit I got to try Saturday. I ordered it earlier this week. I might also get the Myler.

The rest of the lesson we focused on getting a soft and solid contact (mainly me being consistent and keeping my reins shorter and being there for him, closing the gap. My reins seem to always be too long.) and soft and solid transitions. Halt to walk to halt to back to halt to walk to trot to walk to halt. Maintaining that contact for a few strides and then letting him stretch and relax. Building that strength. Feeling that softness and openness of the transition from inside me and allowing them to happen. This is something that Mark is so great at. Getting everyone to be soft and open, mainly by being so himself. Searching for the feeling of what we want so the horse can meet us there. To achieve the same feeling in everything we do. He did not speak down to anyone or make anyone feel small. He wanted everyone, no matter the level, to achieve that inner softness and openness and to get better.

After a break for lunch, which I couldn’t really eat because I was just still a little high, I worked with Mark’s student to reestablish the level we got to during my lesson and take it a little further.

By the end of Saturday, Lito and I were a bit exhausted and hungry and ready for a shower and bed. I brought a pizza and a bottle of wine back to the hotel and crashed.

On Sunday I did the same morning routine as Saturday and settled in to watch the first lesson.

Then at 10, Lito got a Masterson Method body work session! Y’all. That was amazing to watch and Lito was very responsive and gave big releases. Mark’s wife, Crissi is certified in the Masterson Method. It was fun to watch her work because she is so quiet, soft, and confident like Mark.

I do not have any photos or videos of his session, but this is an introduction on the method. There are many videos out there to watch. I wish I had videoed his session!

It was about this time that the wind picked up and changed the energy of the day.

My lesson was at 2, so I watched what I could and then got tacked up. While I was waiting outside of the arena, a gust of wind made one of the standing tents take flight and every horse thought it was going to eat them. Unfortunately, that set the tone for the rest of the afternoon, but it gave us a chance to work through that tension and get his attention back on the task at hand by changing direction and going to do something else. Redirecting the energy. Not reacting to his responses.

I used a Myler bit that was similar to the bit I used on Saturday to see if Lito responded differently. I think he liked the bit from Saturday more than the Myler as he was a bit mouthy the whole lesson, but we got to a good soft place faster than we did on Saturday. It is all still new for him and with the tension/reactiveness caused by the wind, there was a lot going on. It will take a little time I think for him to break the habit of worry and tension created from the previous bits.

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Thanks to C for the photos! My boy working through it. It was so windy, I bailed on wearing my hat.

We did more transition work and building on what we did the day before. Being better about my consistency and defining the expectations. Teaching him where the boundaries are. Towards the end we got some really nice downward transitions keeping the energy, momentum, and push all the way through.

Afterwards we worked again with Mark’s student, G, but I probably should have opted out of that because he was just fried at this point. And I guess so was I.

All in all, I was quite proud of him. He handled himself very well. And. I will say. So did I. I am proud of the both of us.  It was a great clinic and I am glad I did it. We have more to build on and a next level to reach now. We both received compliments and I am over the moon.

The afternoon was wearing on, Monday was fast approaching, and we had a ways to go to get home. I packed and loaded everything and lead Lito to the trailer…

…Then…

He would not load in the trailer to go home.

And that is a story for next time.

Walk in love, dear readers!

 

A New Day, A New Year.

I may be a day late with my New Year post, but I hope it is not a dollar short. I have missed y’all!

NYE was another rainy day, as was this morning. Photo evidence below of NYE. Luckily, the rain moved on today. Darcy and I had a lovely, sunny walk while listening to sermons after lunch with my Grandparents, Mom, Aunt, and Cousin H to celebrate my mother’s birthday. I am back to my normal working schedule tomorrow and am looking forward to it.

I am excited to hit the ground running…or at least walking and not standing still.

It seems like it was yesterday that we were beginning 2016 with such hope and optimism. Time is funny that way, how it feels so fast. I remember when they began doing the state 200_squarters and thinking how it was going to be SO LONG until they released the Texas quarter in, if my memory serves me, 2005. It still feels weird to me that we are in the 2000s. You would think being 2017 I would be used to it. It feels like it has gone by so quickly. In three years, it will be 2020. I will be 32 in 2020. Woof.

Anyway, I digress. No surprises there. I begin 2017 the same as I began 2016. Full of hope and optimism. Yes, it has been a hard year for a myriad of reasons, but there are always going to be hard and difficult times. The light is that there are even more great and wonderful times (yes, even in 2016). AHAmoment. I am looking forward to those times. I know there are great things in store. That will be my focus. I am going to be open to receive the gifts and allow them to happen.

I said that I was only going to make one resolution this year. I am going to change that. I am going to spend this year focusing on myself and getting myself back on track. Practicing self love. Setting my priorities. Stop making excuses. That is going to be my resolution. Naturally, that in itself involves a few different things. This list will likely change throughout the year, but here is my start:

  • Pray with intention while I make my bed every morning
  • Read my Bible every day (I am one day away from finishing Genesis. Woohoo! Let us not discuss the days that I have missed since I last spoke of this…)
  • See the positive
  • Stop making excuses
  • Ride more, worry less. Ride at least once a week (as much as I hate to admit this, 15740882_1829461203991198_8210992180279854157_nriding once a week for the past few months has been hard to manage between stuff that just needs to get done, chores, weather, my utter lameness, and, and, and….EXCUSES. It is like it has become a habit and I do not even recognize myself. I never used to miss a ride day before. Don’t judge me, I am trying not to judge myself. Can I go hide under a blanket now?)
  • Make a schedule with support system for riding Lito so I am not by myself. This is going to be hard, but it is time to move forward with his training. I have to do something.
  • Exercise on non ride days
  • Attend at least one clinic
  • Have at least 6 lessons
  • Attend at least one show

I think this is harder to admit than my fears. I want to thank you, dear readers, for being here and helping to hold me accountable. I am not perfect and I know I will likely fail some days and weeks, but is there really failure if you grow and learn from it?

I have already done item 1, 3, 4, and 6. Item 2 is next. Tomorrow I am going to start my research for clinics and shows to build my calendar.

What are your resolutions? Are they hard for you to admit? I will help hold you accountable if you need or want it.

Walk in love, dear readers.