Happy New Year?

No, no, no. Not ‘Happy New Year?’

Happy New Year!!!!!

And Merry Christmas!!!!! Since I am pretty sure I missed saying that to you before.

Yes, all of those exclamation points are more than necessary.

I hope each one of you and yours had a very merry and blessed Christmas and New Year. May the many blessings of our Lord shower upon you. Peace, love, and joy. Go forth keeping the Christmas spirit alive all year long.

Aunt M asked me the other day if I was sick or something since I had not shared any AHAmoments in a while. No, no, not sick. Just still reeling from a busy Christmas season. I have lost count of how many naps I have taken. A little tidbit about me, I do not really take naps.

I have been spending my time watching the rain re-hydrate the mud. Trying not to get mud everywhere. Watching the horses roll in the mud. Scooping poop in the mud. Watching the horses slip while walking in the mud. Not riding enough. Losing my mind a titch. You know, normal 2018 stuff.

It rained this weekend. It rained yesterday and it is raining today.

But hey, speaking of Christmas…I did a little baking. It is one of my favorite ways to celebrate and share love with my family.

Apple Cranberry Pie with Pecan Shortbread Crust.

Chocolate Spiced Rum Cake.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake.

Pesto and Prosciutto Christmas Tree and Cranberry Pepper Baked Brie.

And that was just my part. We ate well to say the least. For days.

I made Lito dress up like a reindeer a few days before Christmas. I had a good laugh…or ten. Him, not so much, but he put up with it!

I will be perfectly honest, I am still laughing! He is so dang cute, even when he pouts. There is your daily dose of cute, dear readers!

Anyway, in my opinion, the best way to close out a year and ‘ring’ in the new is to watch the sunset and be in bed long before midnight. Then wake up early on January first, saddle up the best mare, and strike out down the road because that is the only dry stretch of ground for miles. So, that is exactly what I did.

“Stop taking pictures, food lady, and get in here to feed us!”

My Mamma came with on foot.

Hopefully 2019 will bring more ride time for me and my dun duo. It might just be after winter before the rain slows a little. Only the good Lord knows! And you know what? It is all good! Eventually, my riding will be back to normal. Until then, the horses are being horses. Doing what they do best. So, I am going to take this time and focus on myself. Be present.

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Here is to 2019.

‘Rise with lifted eyes’ every day. Ride more when you can. Worry less all the time. Focus on the journey and the path and allow it to create your momentum. Live in the moment and see the light and blessings around you. Do not ‘live on the surface and in between the lines.’ Go find the ‘deepest part of you’ and let your heart fight for the truth.

You are not flying alone.

Cheers, y’all!

Go walk in love, dear readers.

Cold Mornings

There is nothing like a cold morning at the farm feeding horses to wake you up in the right mindset, I tell you. Even if I was running a little late and got stuck in traffic. Even if I am not all together, full on ready for winter. I probably said that last year. I probably say that every year. I am nothing if not consistent, yes?

This morning was the first real cold of the season.

So very cold, but so beautiful.

We have officially reached southish Texas winter which means blanketing the old horse and feeding everybody extra on the cold nights. And scooping lots of muck, but I will leave that part out to not spoil this idyllic image.

Last night’s sunset on the way to throw the cows a bale of hay.

This morning’s sunrise leaving the barn, before I poured myself a travel mug full of coffee for my commute into town.

I am headed back out there after work for another cold night and beautiful morning full of velvety muzzles and smokey breath. And manes and tails completely full of burrs. Let us not forget about those.

Life has been busy over here for me and I am just focusing on staying present and enjoying it all. Hence the mild silence. Fear not, for I am still here. You know, living life.

Hopefully I do not have coming reports of wearing sweatpants on my head or broken manure spreaders. If I do, you will know. It is good material. No? Alright, fine then.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Tell me how you are living in the present and enjoying it.

 

Speaking Of…

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I have seen this pop up a few times and then my Aunt M shared it with me yesterday. So, naturally. I am sharing it with you! Hard not to since I was just talking about being present yesterday.

This speaks to my anxious self always worrying about the future.

So.

Your AHAmoment today brought to you by Lao Tzu and my Aunt M.

Walk in love, dear readers. Have a great Friday and be present!

Simple Happiness.

I was talking with a couple friends yesterday over the email, all within the same conversation about people and wardrobes. I love email conversations during the day. Makes it more exciting and entertaining. It also means I get to keep up with people I don’t get to see all that often. Makes it feel like we live closer together.

Anyway, we were discussing our trail ride vacation coming up this fall and H said something about how animals, horses specifically in this instance, are simple and that it doesn’t take much to make them happy.

No. No it does not. AHAmoment right there. A lesson for all of us hidden (not very well hidden!) in there for sure.

Truer words have never been spoken.

What does it take to make you happy?

Every day I look at how happy my dog is at all times and what it is that makes her so. Not stuff. Her life is compiled of moments and experiences, always positive, always present. She is fed. She is healthy. She gets to be outside. She gets to run and play. I would like to think that I am part of that. That is IT.

Same with the horses.

Horses do such a great job of bringing us down a peg, in many ways. When Lito had his tendon episode, I got so wrapped up in the worry and getting the next exercise done, that I was forgetting to enjoy my time with him. When the realization hit me, it was like a ton of bricks and I could see it written all over him. He was not experiencing joy either. I was at a loss until Lito gave me an idea. Hand grazing. Hello. How could I not think of this? It is one of my favorite things to do. I was so focused on what was next and not the right now, I couldn’t even see it. I vowed right then and there to hand graze him both before and after our rides in addition to a longer grooming session. Words can not express the difference this had not only on his demeanor, but my experience as well. Something as simple as that can have exponential effects. I swear it made the birds sing. No, just kidding. They were already singing, I just heard them again.

 


People can get so wrapped up in the next thing, always looking to the future (hello, my favorite hobby. So much energy in something I don’t know) and what is the next thing that will make us happy or get us something or get us to the next step. Not focusing on seeing the positive and being happy now. In the moment, which all together make up a life. And look. We all know I struggle with this as much or more as the next person. Especially lately it seems. But. Just like a bad ride doesn’t make the next, a few bad days or a tough season of life, doesn’t make a life. It is setting us up and getting us ready for the next, whatever it is, whenever it is.

I always want to try and look at life the same way Darcy and my horses do. Keep it simple. Be present and in the moment. Create experiences. Not be driven by things. See the beauty and joy I am surrounded with every day, created by Him. Seeking it. See the grass that grows after the rain. Blooming flowers. The wind. The smell of the rain. Sunrises and sunsets. New life. Happy, healthy animals that give their all to me. Great family and friends. I am fed and healthy. I get to do what I love. I am free and I am loved. What more could I possibly ask for? Who am I? Who are we?!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Keep it simple!

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!

3 Things

I had a friend tell me that she was feeling blue yesterday after a great weekend and that she did not know if it was because the weekend was over or because of the unknown future. It got me thinking as I have often felt the same way myself and my suggestion was to:


Focus on something good from the weekend (or past), something good right in front of you, and do something fun for yourself tomorrow. Nobody knows the future, so you are not alone!

Too bad I can not seem to do that for myself in those moments, so I think I will do the same thing for myself right now. We all have something to be grateful for even when it is all going up in smoke and hitting the fan. AHAmoment. It also seems like a good idea since I am supposed to be practicing self love and all that. Disclaimer, this may or may not turn into another love fest, and I will make zero apologies for it.

  1. Something good from the weekend.
    I rode 3 amazing horses.
    Saturday I took Second Chance, Chance on a road ride with some long time friends. It was terribly HOT. Like sweating at 8 in the morning hot. He was amazing even though he made some ugly faces at some other horses. It was quite comical, really.  I also got compliments on his butt. It is pretty big. I really need to show you what he used to look like. I love how he shines like a penny even when he is a woolly bear.

    Sunday morning I rode the my best gal, Cheetah. We did some arena work with transitions and ground poles before going down in the pastures to check the cows and let her really open up and stretch her legs. I did not get any photos because I was having too much fun. I finished out the morning doing some chores and unpacking the trailer. Then, my parents (the most amazing parents ever) met me for lunch at a nearby town on their way home from out of town and then came back to the farm so I could ride my Lito. I could not ask for better parents or a better colt. Seriously. This horse. I think it was his 10th ride or so and the first ride in a couple months. He was AMAZING. He was much more forward and fluid than he has been. That was a little bit of a worry for me. It reminds me to stay the course and do not lose heart. He is still learning. AHAmoment. He is just so easy, brave, and keeps getting better…and taller. I will stop before I explode.
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  2. Something good in front of me from today.
    My dog is tired and happy from running at the farm and my boss told me she was proud of my work. Boom. Enough said.
  3. Something fun for myself tomorrow.
    My bible study is having a Valentines party as our class. Thank goodness because I do not like Valentines Day!

Pretty dang good at present. Certainly can not complain.

What are your 3 things? Something good from the weekend (or past), something good in front of you today, and something fun for yourself tomorrow?

Walk in love, dear readers!