Facepalm.

The sun’s predawn light trickled through the blinds as I blinked, reaching for my phone to turn off my alarm. Patting my bedside table, I realized it was not there, but I was still not comprehending. The only thought was why the volume was so loud and how it seemed to slowly get that way. Like it came from afar. My vision finally came to when I saw a dark something on my sheets, very close to my pillow. Strange. What in the world could that be. I did not hear my alarm anymore. I laid there staring. My still asleep mind jumped to a pool of blood. Yes, that is natural. That has to be it. Where could it have come from. My nose? I never get nose bleeds. My ear? Heck if I know. What is it?! How?

I moved my sheet and discovered the rest of the black rectangular shape that was my phone. I dropped my head like a rock on my pillow with a sigh as I began to hear my alarm sing again. Turn that off. I have to get up. Shower. Go be an adult. How I longed for the days of my youth when we got to take naps at school. Why did we fight the naps? Most all kids seem to fight the nap. If only I could tell them not to. If only they knew!

Such a dramatic wake up for a day like Monday! I can not read into that one too much. When I had my appendix taken out, I woke up one night from a nightmare that I bled out. I read somewhere that is common after surgery. Yesterday was somewhat dramatic. I am not sure if that is really the word, but we will go with it.

I can not help but feel that my life lately can be summed up in a single emoji. Something like this…facepalm

Especially yesterday. Ugh. I do not even want to share. But. That is what this is for, right? What IT is about? Sharing our story. Yes. Please tell me I am not alone at the end of this.

I spent the weekend at the farm. Lito started his light trot work and was nice and sound. He seemed to be quite happy to not just be walking and the short 5 min of trot had him slightly breathing. On Saturday, I loaded up Cheetah and rode with some friends who have a place down the road from us. Cheetah was great and we had a grand time. Rode in the morning. Then had mimosas in the shade before spending the afternoon in the pool. We had dinner and I got home a little late but not bad.

I had Sunday all planned. You know what they say about plans, right? Anyway, I woke up without an alarm a little after 6 AM. After trying to will myself into sleeping more, I got up and went to go feed the horses with the dogs. I was dog sitting for some friends over the weekend. I had a leisurely breakfast and read a little with my coffee. I got dressed and took care of some things before taking Lito out for his little bite of exercise. All good. I packed and did some house cleaning, before loading up the dogs to head back before lunch time. I had all afternoon.

I was going to get back to town and drop of the dogs at their home. Then Darcy and I would go on our merry way to our new townhouse and finish moving over the course of the afternoon. We were to spend our first night there. I was excited. I will add that Darcy was excited too just for dramatic effect. We need more of that.

I stopped in the little town right by the farm to fill up before hitting the road. I did my auto pilot thing. You know how you are doing things and do not even realize it because you do them all the time and your mind is off in a different world thinking about other things? Not really in the present? That. I filled up like I always fill my car. MY CAR. Not my dad’s diesel truck.

Yes. you read that correctly.

I could not have felt more stupid. I am not a stupid person. 

I sat in the truck while it filled up completely oblivious to what I had just done. Just waiting. Yelling at Poodie to stop barking at the innocent people walking back to their cars with their drinks and snacks. I heard the pump click off. In a split second my eyes got wide as I got an image in my mind of what I just done. No, surely not. I hope I did not just do that. Don’t freak out just yet. Turn around and look to confirm before you freak out.

That was a wasted second of clear, level thinking. I turned around to see the gas pup innocently resting in the diesel tank of the truck. My head dropped as I took a breath. I returned the pump to its holster and slowly turned around to sit in the truck and think. No one answered their phones. Typical. I called my dad three times. I look up and see I from the feed store! Oh thank you Lord! I waved him over and gave him the run down. He was very happy I did not start the truck. My spirits lightened slightly at that. He gave me our mechanic’s brother’s number who has a tow truck. Then called the mechanic begging for help.

Lucky for me, we are long time customers and they are nice people. I owe a lot of people some homemade cookies. I seemed a little worried about me, but I assured him I would be fine once I quit being mad at myself and I would text him if I needed a ride or when I got back safely.

My dad called me and said, “What is wrong?” Well, I told him what happened and that I had the ball rolling to get it fixed. His responded with, “Oh no.” I know. “You didn’t start it did you?” No, I didn’t start it.

We got the truck towed down the road to the shop. “You didn’t start it did you?!” NO! I didn’t start it!!! Why doesn’t anyone believe me! “Don’t feel bad, I had someone just last week who did this. At least you didn’t start it.”

The tow truck driver gave us a ride back to the farm. The four of us. Me and the three dogs. A comical sight on the bench seat of a tow truck and a bit of a tight squeeze.

R came to rescue us from the farm and deliver us safely back home. She was our knight in shining steel she said. She has jokes that one. I could not ask my parents to do that. I felt, and still kinda feel, like a cowering dog with his tail tucked between his legs. They were not mad, but I was. I made R stay for dinner. R said she has driven off with the pump a few times. Thanks for trying to make me feel better, R.

Hopefully it will be all fixed today.

At least it makes for a good story? Self deprecating humor? Eventually.

Mom said to be nice to myself. People make mistakes. Yes, we do. Some just are not that easy to swallow. I tried to google how often people do this. Ha! Not an easy answer. I will find the humor!

Today is a new day, as my mother said this very morning. And it is just that!

A new day, and new hit. You only thought that was the end of it or the worst of it. I just got a text from a friend that I rode with last weekend. She is pretty sure her horse has strangles and to watch our horses closely. Great.

But hey, I am already there taking care of Lito, no time like the present. Praying that it is not and that our horses do not contract it!495ef000d5b2d8fb2a47b0f9246c8b1d

We will tackle this too. These issues do not know who they are dealing with!

We will tackle them with high heads, walking in love. Drawing our strength through Him, growing and learning.

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!

 

Weekend Hangover

I have a weekend hangover. Not necessarily the good kind. I also have no pictures. Way to go me. Friend R took this pic.
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I am up there on the left, in the orange shirt, on my girl Cheetah, looking back. That is friend S riding Chance. I will tell you that the weather was spectacular. A little windy, but I will take that. 

Not everything thing went exactly according to plan, but that is the way life goes.

Thursday it appeared everyone was leaving work early. The traffic was horrendous when I was headed out to the farm. It took me about twice as long as normal. It was OK though, because I had a fun long weekend ahead of me. It went slightly downhill from there.

When I went to go hitch up the trailer, it had fallen off the block and sunk into the ground. I had to use the high lift jack to get it high enough to hitch (after I found it…which reminds me, I forgot to put it back where it goes. Face –> palm). It took long enough that I did not have enough time to bathe the horses. No worries, I am a pretty good groom ninja.

Then I discovered that Ike had a nice fat, swollen leg. Great. I was going to bring Ike for a friend, S, to ride. She even came out last weekend to ride him to prepare. Strike number 2. We made a plan to see if he was still swollen or lame in the morning. If he presented 100%, I would bring him. If not, I load up early and bring Chance with enough time to ride him for friend S for a while before everyone started rolling in. Come Friday morning his leg was still swollen (by Sunday, he was no longer swollen). No worries, I load up early and head out with my go cup of coffee.

About 10 or 15 minutes in, I almost (and by almost, I mean I did) got run off the road by a gravel truck traveling way too fast around a bend, down the middle of a 1ish lane road. Strike 3 and I was not out! I am just so glad that I was paying attention and that the ground next to the road was solid enough. Horses were fine, I said a little prayer, and we kept driving. I called the police to report it even though I had no info other than I thought the color of the truck was silver/gray.

We safely arrive and I unload and settle the horses with enough time to work Chance.

Saturday morning rolls around and we discover that over the course of the night, one person’s horse got in an accident at the trailer and another’s coliced (both are fine now!).

Three people came off their horse throughout the morning (all are fine). There was something in the air or it was the coming on of he full moon. Something. 

I think Cheetah was in heat and my two horses were extremely buddy sour, like they have never been before. If they act that way again, we are all going to boot camp. I was ok giving them the weekend and ignoring the behavior because there was clearly something going on. I will deal with it later. 

The rest of the ride ended up pretty nice. S and I stayed in the back and had some good quality horse time. The good news is, we are all home safe and Ike’s leg is no longer swollen. That is what matters. 

By the time I got back to town, all I needed was a shower and a cocktail..and that is just what I got! 

Back to regular programming this week. I know I already said that, but the last few weeks have been crazy and I apologize for being MIA…again. 

Dinner with my grandparents tonight. 

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!

Sunday Blues. 

You know how on Sundays when you start to feel that sad feeling brought on by the end of the weekend and the start of the week? Do you get it too? Sometimes, no matter how hard you try or how much you love what you do, it just creeps up on you. My mom calls it the Sunday Blues. My cousins call it the Sunday Scaries. I have friends that call it the Sunday Funk. 

It creeped up on me yesterday, and I was quite surprised by it. We have been really busy at work which is a really good thing. It makes the day to day more exciting. It makes the state of the oil and gas indistry more ‘comfortable.’ The weekend was pretty good. I did get out to the farm to ride Cheetah. We took a couple short loops around the pond because we were on a short time frame. Some is better than none! We got a lot of rain and Darcy and I took a nap listening to the pitter patter against the window. There was movie watching. I was refreshed. 

Maybe it was because I could only get one quick ride in on Cheetah. 


Maybe it was my list of things at work. 

Even my Darcy girl was feeling it yesterday. 


Despite the blues, it was a pretty dang good Monday. What are your best ways to combat the Sunday Blues/Scaries/Funk?

Walk in love, dear readers! 

I hope each and every one of you has a great week, free of any more blues. 

I am having dinner with one set of grandparents and lunch with another set this week. Good for the soul. 

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!

Love Fest

Forgive me for this. I am just going to have to brag on my horse here for a bit. An absolute love fest.

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Fire with Pops Friday night with great music buy Jason Eady and Courtney Patton.

Saturday, we had the best day! We went on a road trail ride with some friends. Something we do a few times a year and something she typically tolerates for me. She also commonly makes sure I know that she is doing it for me and she would rather be doing something else. Like riding by ourselves out in the middle of nowhere. That is also my jam, but the middle of nowhere is harder to find and it is nice to socialize sometimes.

She was amazing and really seemed to have a good time. Seriously. Ears pricked and licking her lips the whole time. Not overly mareish, pinning her ears and telling others what to do. She was also very outwardly loving and affectionate. In public. Ha! It was more than the great weather. It was more than the great company (It was so wonderful to be with some of my best friends doing what we all love to do. Laughter. Fellowship. Good for the soul). It was more than her being on her best behavior. It is hard to explain. Part of the wonder of horses. We both had a great time. I just love her and she loves me. Love fest. That is all I know. I know it sounds funny and a little out there, but if you have animals you know what I mean.

My good friend, H, and her mare, Chica, were there. Chica Rey did not get the ears pricked memo.

My other really good friend, R, was there with the gelding she rides, Ronan. We have a mutual affection for horses and Baker plaid.

My Cheetah girl and I have come a long way together and I would not have her or our journey any other way. I am so blessed to have her in my life and I know without a doubt that she was put in my life for a reason. I am also blessed and grateful to have my friends. It is special to do what I like to with like minded people.

I am excited for what we have planned for the year.

Do you have friends that like to do what you like to do?

I hope you all had a great weekend and an even better week.

Go shine your light!

Walk in love, dear readers.

A Soft Spot For Stars Blog Hop: Location, Location, Location.

This is my first blog hop, and it will not be my last! It has rained basically non stop since Friday, so I have no fun riding stories. I basically did chores and fed while getting wet. Then on Sunday, my parents and I got the family Christmas tree. I finished decorating it last night with the help of wine. The decorating is almost finished. Normally, I would be finished with Christmas deco within a couple days of Thanksgiving, but given the events of late, it just has not happened.

I digress, I am going to jump on the TB pedigree blog hop bandwagon eventually, but I can not remember who started that one? Cheetah‘s dam was an OTTB and has a fun pedigree. I did all the research while I was in grad school. It was great for procrastinating.

Today’s blog hop comes from A Soft Spot For Stars. I already like her because we both have dun mares. Anyway, I too am curious about fellow bloggers locations and what it is like where they are.

8e2fb13d66cac7d6dd11209131704afeNo secrets here, I am a Texas gal. I reside in the ‘southern half’ of the state, in a big city. My horses stay at our family farm an hour away. That makes things difficult for me and my fuel consumption. However, it is an easy hour drive and I can go out after work whenever I need or want. The time change makes it hard to ride when I go after work during the winter, but I can blanket the old guy and feed him before it gets dark on cold nights. I will be doing that the latter half of this week.

Demographic? Most people that live in and around the city board their horses if they do not have property outside of town. There are several equestrian friendly communities outside of town where you can live and keep or board horses. We are probably 50/50 mix of western to english riders of all kinds. There are many shows and clinics in the ‘general area.’ Most shows and clinics are just far enough away from where the horses are to not be ‘convenient’ (1.5-2+ hr haul). This is very frustrating for me as I am hungry for more knowledge and do not want to let my riding get stagnant. BUT there are many great trainers and I have a few that I plan to haul to for lessons in the near future. We have a few good tack stores in town (good or bad considering how you look at it!). There is a big tack store in the area. It is generally an hour from town or an hour from the farm, but I ride horses for people out that way sometimes.

Costs of horse keeping in my region of the great state:

  • Trim-$35 (Lito just gets a trim, as do the other geldings and Petunia)
  • Front shoes-$70 (I keep front shoes on Cheetah Beets)
  • Average cost of a month of full time training-$800
  • Average cost of monthly pasture board-$400
  • Average cost of monthly stall board-$600 (All kinds of board and prices range wildly. These averages might be on the high side, but there are places I have seen that have exorbitant prices. The ones that I have looked at and work for me are not all that much closer than the farm)
  • Hay, good horse quality Bermuda-$8.00 (I have not looked at the prices for this year yet)(We high quality pasture and have had good rains this year…I do not think we will need to buy too terribly much this year)
  • What I consider priceless? Feeding in my pj’s. That Texas sky. Sunrises and sunsets viewed from the back of my horse. When I am at the farm, I can do whatever, whenever.

Weather? In the summer it is hot and humid. The only ‘good thing’ about the humidity is that it keeps us from generally having too many 100+ temp days. The heat index is the killer…and the bugs. All of our cows have some percentage of Brahman in them to help with coping with bugs and humidity. I ride all year round. In the summer on the weekends, I wake up and feed in the dark so I can be tacked up and mounted by the time I can see with the first light. I generally ride 2 horses (groom, ride, cool out, hose down) and get some chores finished by 11 AM. I do not do much else until 7 PM when I will ride another horse. It also limits when I haul. I do not like to haul during the hot, middle of the day. During the work week, I hustle out there and get 1 horse ridden and get back home late. Sometimes I stay out there for the night and come back super early in the morning for work. Winter is pretty easy by majority standards. It will freeze a few times. Lows are generally in the 40’s. A cold night is in the 30’s. It will only do that for a few days. It is not uncommon to be riding in short sleeves in January.

Other notes? Hunting season. It cramps my style a little bit because some in the family like to hunt at the farm. That is all fine and good except that requires me to not ride. That bugs me. Other than that it is fine. Our property is on a river and there are some duck hunters that like to come and park themselves behind the barn. The barn is not right on the river, but it is close. Anyway, I can hear them and let me tell you, it is funny. They are not very good at their duck calls and I can hear them talking. That is not how you do it!

Frustrating things?

  • The drive. I wish they were closer. However, I like not having to pay board. I have contemplated it so I could have at least a horse closer. I also like them being able to live like horses. It is also simpler to have them at the farm with the others. I have also contemplated moving to a place somewhere in the middle.
  • I miss the barn community. It is a great thing. I have horse friends that I ride with, but most of them are not in our neck of the woods.

Join in on the blog hop if you have not already! I have had fun reading them!

Cheetah

The time has come, y’all. As I promised, here is Cheetah’s story.

I was sent off to college under strict orders that I was not to take a horse to school and I was not to get one while I was there. The thought of this conversation with my father still makes me chuckle. I had been trying to find a loophole since I left.

I began an internship in my second year for the director of the university’s equestrian center where I schooled/trained program and sale horses, assisted in horse sales, led summer horseback riding camps, and helped run local horse shows. I had anywhere between two to five horses on my ‘string.’ The best part about it was I could ride two to three horses a day while going to school and I still got good grades…my parents could not complain! Anyhoo, Cheetah was in my first group of horses (could have been the second group, but that really is not an important detail) during that first fall of my internship. It was practically love at first sight. No one at the center wanted to use her for anything, being the strong, opinionated mare that she was is.

I have learned that the majority of the horses I fall for begin with this descriptor…probably not the best thing in the world. Oops. I was asked to put some miles on her and either get her placed in a university program or aid in her sale. After the first week of riding her, I was a goner. She was 4.5 yo at the time and did not know much of anything past go. She turned…some…and was not the biggest fan of stopping. She was also a booger to catch. Most days it took me a solid 30 min to bring her in. She made incredible strides in the riding department in just a matter of a couple weeks. Knowing the opinions about her and her personality, my Cheetah girl would not be a match for any of the school programs. She would have to be put up for sale. This thought broke my heart. I constantly shoved it away as I found new things that she ‘had’ to work on.

One horrible day, you know the kind where you are just all over the place emotionally and have that sick feeling where you have no idea what you are doing in life and that you are doing the wrong thing…that all too common feeling during that time in your life where you are just figuring it all out, I went out to the barn all bottled up like a shaken bottle of champagne. Everything was just beneath the surface, ready to explode. As I entered Cheetah’s turn out, we made eye contact and I said a little prayer, “please, just let me catch her today. I have had an awful day and I just need to stick my face in her mane.” When I turned back around from locking the gate to walk out and try to catch her, she started walking to me. We met in the middle. I then sat and cried with her head in my lap for the remainder of my allotted catch time. That awful feeling of her being sold kept creeping up on us.

I went home after finals for Christmas with a plan. I attempted to convince my father over Thanksgiving that my life could not go on without this mare to no avail. I had my mother and my Aunt though. Game changers. I gave him my best pitch at Christmas and I do not even remember what I said. I thought it would never work out until my Aunt stepped in and said he had to say yes. Well, I never did get a ‘yes,’ but I got something that was not a ‘no.’ I texted my boss on Christmas and asked if I could buy Cheetah. She probably thought I was crazy when she said yes, but I doubt she was surprised.

My boss and I ended up working a deal where I worked off the payment. It was a win win for everyone. I have to be honest though, I think I got the better deal on all fronts. I have lost count of the times I have cried into her mane and she has been great to catch ever since that one day. I honestly do not think I would have finished college without her.

We have logged countless hours in the arena and out in the crop fields. We trained. We showed some. We conquered. We made life long friends. The best part is, our story is not over yet! She is only 12. We are still doing even if sometimes it feels as if we are not. We enjoy our time together even if I am just standing in the pasture next to her while she grazes. She knows me better than anyone and has changed my life for good. I can not imagine my life if she had never mare glared galloped her way into it. I thought about changing her name when she first became ‘mine’ (my boss’ daughter named her), but you know they say that is bad luck and really, it suits her personality. I went through the hassle and ridiculous advanced age fee to get her registered with AQHA because I had our next adventure planned. I just had to graduate first.

This, my dear readers, brings me to Lito’s story. That is a story for another day ;).

Go walk in love.