Sunday, January 30, 2011


I got to ride Steady today!!!  I really needed that.  It has been a good 3 weeks since I last rode.  Which has been very discouraging to me.  I decided to try to let it go and stop stressing over it but I couldn't help but think about all the progress we were probably loosing with each week that passed.  It was hard to not be discouraged.  Today was a high of 33 and the sun even peeked out every once in a while.  I was not missing this opportunity.

So I started with lots of walking I wanted to give him ample time to warm up and get moving.  Sometimes it is hard to get him to stop focusing on going back to the pasture with his buddies.  After the first 10 minutes or so he started to focus more.  After warming up I was really trying to focus on my position and I think I was starting to feel like I could feel where I should be.  I even found my sitting trot position and seat!  At first when his head was high and he was flipping his nose with every stride I thought, OH great all that progess I thought we lost, was in fact gone :(.  But after about 5 min. of warming up he started to push into the bit and round up!!!  Halle-ficken-lujah!!  He hadn't forgotten.  I shouldn't be surprised.  I mean he is the most awesomest horse EVER!  It was a fantastic ride.  We even cantered a couple times around the ring.  Beside being out of shape I think we will be just fine come spring and that is a huge relief.

I am dying to load him up and pull him to a lesson with my new fancy truck.  But I need some money before that can happen so we will see.  I have the nice truck I just can't afford to use it;)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Beating the winter blues.

It never fails.  Every year they come and settle in about this time.  I was thinking of coming on here and asking for suggestions on how everyone gets through these cold and sunless months.  For someone like me who would pick to be outside doing heavy lifting than indoors washing dishes every time.  Harsh winters can be hard on the soul.  All the turmoil around here the last month has magnified it all too.  I have been down to say the least and today was my worst day by far.  Add to that that I have not been on my horses back in WEEKS.  Yes it is true it has been weeks.  It has been bitter cold.  Windchills in the single and even negative digits.  And the rare day that it got into the high 20's I inevitibly could not make it out to ride.  And the sun?  There have been very few times in the last month that I have even seen the sun peek out. So I was thinking of coming on here and asking for suggestions and then I went out to the barn to feed and my mood instantly improved.  I realized this change and felt a sense of relief come over me that this will pass.  And I walked into my horses stall as he was eating his food and wrapped my arms around his neck and sighed a sigh of comfort.  That this amazing creature who if he wanted could take me out with one strike of just one of his legs just lets me hug his neck.  Not budging as if he wants that hug just as much as I need it.  I bury my face in his neck and breath in deeply and smell that smell that is undeniably his.  And I just stay there...and that is how one beats the winter blues.  Strike that, that is how one kicks the winter blues right in the ass. 

I didn't write this but I could have.

I mean not that I could have written something this wonderful because I do not claim to be a great writer.  But reading this was like a page written straight from my heart.

To have a horse in your life is a gift. In the matter of a few
short years, a horse can teach a young girl courage, if she
chooses to grab mane and hang on for dear life. Even the
smallest of ponies is mightier than the tallest of girls. To
conquer the fear of falling off, having one's toes crushed, or
being publicly humiliated at a horse show is an admirable feat
for any child. For that, we can be grateful.

           Horses teach us responsibility. Unlike a bicycle or a
computer, a horse needs regular care and most of it requires
that you get dirty and smelly and up off the couch. Choosing
to leave your cozy kitchen to break the crust of ice off the w
ater buckets is to choose responsibility. When our horses dip
their noses and drink heartily; we know we've made the right

           Learning to care for a horse is both an art and a science.
Some are easy keepers, requiring little more than regular
turn-out, a flake of hay, and a trough of clean water. Others
will test you - you'll struggle to keep them from being too
fat or too thin. You'll have their feet shod regularly only to
find shoes gone missing. Some are so accident-prone you'll
swear they're intentionally finding new ways to injure

           If you weren't raised with horses, you can't know that they
have unique personalities. You'd expect this from dogs, but
           horses? Indeed, there are clever horses, grumpy horses, and
even horses with a sense of humor.. Those prone to humor will
test you by finding new ways to escape from the barn when you
least expect it.

           Horses can be timid or brave, lazy or athletic, obstinate or
willing. You will hit it off with some horses and others will
elude you altogether. There are as many "types" of horses as
there are people - which makes the whole partnership thing all
the more interesting.

           If you' ve never ridden a horse, you probably assume it's a
simple thing you can learn in a weekend. You can, in fact,
learn the basics on a Sunday, but to truly ride well takes a
lifetime. Working with a living being is far more complex than
turning a key in the ignition and putting the car or tractor
in "drive."

           In addition to listening to your instructor, your horse will
have a few things to say to you as well. On a good day, he'll
be happy to go along with the program and tolerate your
mistakes; on a bad day, you'll swear he's trying to kill you.
Perhaps he's naughty or perhaps he' fed up with how slowly
you're learning his language. Regardless, the horse will have
an opinion. He may choose to challenge you (which can
ultimately make you a better rider) or he may carefully carry
you over fences - if it suits him. It all depends on the
partnership - and partnership is what it's all about.

           If you face your fears, swallow your pride, and are willing to
work at it, you'll learn lessons in courage, commitment,
           and compassion in addition to basic survival skills. You'll
discover just how hard you're willing to work toward a goal,
how little you know, and how much you have to learn.

           And, while some people think the horse "does all the work",
you'll be challenged physically as well as mentally. Your
           horse may humble you completely. Or, you may find that sitting
on his back is the closest you'll get to heaven.

           You can choose to intimidate your horse, but do you really
want to? The results may come more quickly, but will your work
ever be as graceful as that gained through trust? The best
partners choose to listen, as well as to tell. When it works,
we experience a sweet sense of accomplishment brought about by
smarts, hard work, and mutual understanding between horse and
rider. These are the days when you know with absolute
certainty that your horse is enjoying his work.

           If we make it to adulthood with horses still in our lives,
most of us have to squeeze riding into our oversaturated
schedules; balancing our need for things equine with those of
our households and employers. There is never enough time to
ride, or to ride as well as we'd like. Hours in the barn are
stolen pleasures.

           If it is in your blood to love horses, you share your life
with them. Our horses know our secrets; we braid our tears
into their manes and whisper our hopes into their ears. A barn
is a sanctuary in an unsettled world, a sheltered place where
life's true priorities are clear: a warm place to sleep,
someone who loves us, and the luxury of regular meals.  Some
of us need these reminders.

           When you step back, it's not just about horses - it's about
love, life, and learning. On any given day, a friend is
celebrating the birth of a foal, a blue ribbon, or recovery
from an illness. That same day, there is also loss: a broken
limb, a case of colic, a decision to sustain a life or end it
gently. As horse people, we share the accelerated life cycle
of horses: the hurried rush of life, love, loss, and death
that caring for these animals brings us. When our partners
pass, it is more than a moment of sorrow.

           We mark our loss with words of gratitude for the ways our
lives have been blessed.. Our memories are of joy, awe, and
wonder Absolute union. We honor our horses for their brave
hearts, courage, and willingness to give.

           To those outside our circle, it must seem strange. To see us
in our muddy boots, who would guess such poetry lives in our
hearts? We celebrate our companions with praise worthy of
heroes. Indeed, horses have the hearts of warriors
           and often carry us into and out of fields of battle.

           Listen to stories of that once-in-a-lifetime horse; of
journeys made and challenges met. The best of horses rise to
           challenges we set before them, asking little in return.

           Those who know them understand how fully a horse can hold a
human heart. Together, we share the pain of sudden loss and
the lingering taste of long-term illness. We shoulder the
burden of deciding when or whether to end the life of a true
           In the end, we're not certain if God entrusts us to our
horses--or our horses to us. Does it matter? We're grateful
God loaned us the horse in the first place.

           Author Unknown

God Bless Flying Solo!!

You can all go over and thank eventer79 at We are Flying Solo for my new lovely header.  The header that is actually resized to fit on my blog.  I am so very grateful and you truely brightened my day!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Well you all had great advice and I am glad to say that compromise is exactly what we did.  You can probably tell that last week was a terrible week.  Actually it was one of the worst weeks I have had in a very very long time.  I thought in the bottom of my heart that I was going to have to give up my horses.  We have struggled financially for the past few months.  I mean we all struggle with money at some point or another so I am sure most can relate.  It is just magnified by the fact that we only have one income. 

My husband is supportive of my horse habit.  Not only financially but also always doing projects around the farm to help me keep up with stuff around here.  Now he is not the guy that goes out and feeds or even puts any thought into those things but he will when I need him to if I ask nice and am very descriptive.  I know he wants, with his whole heart, to make this all work out for me and for my girls.  But it has been hard sorting it all out this last year.  We jumped in feet first with the horses last year and we did not expect the expense that it has been.  Just bad planning I guess or high hopes who knows but either way we weren't prepared for the stress it would put on us financially.

Well last week was the straw that broke the camels back.  We were trying to play catch up to begin with when I started having problems with my transmission in my mountaineer.  We had to put a bunch of money into it to get it running including replacing the transmission after we paid to get if fixed 3 times...ouch.  That was enough.  Ryan and I both agreed that we felt better getting rid of the mountaineer.  First because of the trans problems and because I would no longer be able to haul with it.  Probably should have never hauled with it to begin with.  So we decided to get a truck.  I could tell Ryan didn't love the idea but he felt like it was our only option since, well I have these horses. 

That brings us to truck shopping.  I honestly do not want to relive this experience so I am not going to go into it but lets just say it was not pretty.  But we finally found a middle ground and I feel that healing from the whole situation can begin.  I start a part time job on Thursday and we bought a truck, a pretty bright blue 07 6.7L quad cab Dodge Cummins 2500, with a towing package.  It is a very nice vehicle and I am very grateful how this whole situation ended.  One thing I learned was that we need to make it more of a priority for Ryan to find and pursue his hobby or interests.  I think that contributes alot to his resentment toward mine.  He is one to not put himself first and I am learning that if I don't push him he is not going to do what makes him happy. 

So not only did I not have to sell my horses but I also got a truck that is more than capable of pulling them to all of my spring/summertime events!  I will also have a way to help fund all of these events.  I pretty much took the first job available and closest which is 2 day part time position in the afternoons at a truck stop about 3 miles down the road.  Glamorous?  Not so much, but it will help bring peace and that is what needs to happen.  I hope to find something better or get my own business off the ground enough this summer that I won't work there forever.  I feel bad because I don't like airing dirty laundry on the internet.  Thank you all for being so understanding and supportive.  I also try so hard to stay positive and that was not positive so now back to our regularly schedueled programming...Amy and Steady's, Slow and Steady journey toward our eventing dream!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It is the beginning of the end...

The end of a dream that is.  I don't know if it is really the end or whether it is just a temporary break from it.  It is beyond painful to even put this in writing because it makes it all the more real.  It is not that I didn't see it coming because I did.  I just saw it faintly from a distance for so long but even a freight train looks small if you are far enough away from it.  I don't know that I can even acturately describe the situation because it is years and years of choices and differences that have led me to this moment.  So I will not start at the begining.  But I will give a little background.  My husband and I come from completely different backgrounds.  On almost every single level.  When you are young and in love all of those differences seem to just fade to the background.  But when you attempt to live your lives together for the rest of your lives it has a way of bringing every last difference to the surface.
I know my husband in his heart would love to provide me with my every hearts desire but life has a way of making dreams some how seemingly unattainable.  My dream?  Owning a horse.  A thoroughbred in particular.  A jumper to be exact.  I dreamed.  Literally had dreams.  Dreams that when I woke up and realized it wasn't reality a dissappointment set in.  Every horse person knows that passion that is untamable.  Every horse person gets it but every non horse person doesn't.  That is where my problem lies.  My husband is not a horse person.  Not only is he not a horse person he actually doesn't even like any animals.  I know many people can relate to their spouse not being a horse person but usually that spouse at least enjoys the animal.  Not mine.  I can honestly say that I don't think I have ever seen my husband ever reach out a hand to EVER pet one of my animals in the 12 years we have known each other and out of those 12 years I have always had animals.
So I cannot blame him for his distain and resentment toward all of my animals and their expenses.  The #1 reason is I do not have a job and provide 0 income to our home so he is solely responsible for all financial responsiblity concerning my animals.  So I consider it very kind of him to even had put up with it for as long as he has.  Well today the frieght train finally made it here and it hit me at 100 mph.  The dream is over.  Enough is enough.  The peace that I have lost in my home over these years over these dreams of mine are now more then my heart can bear.  It is probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do but I have concluded that it is at this point my only option.
Steady will officially be on the market as of tomorrow along with Moonlight.  I have not decided yet where we go from here.  I mean the ONLY reason we moved to the country is to work toward having horses and now that it is not a possiblity I see no reason to torcher myself by having the barn and pasture to look at everyday of my life standing empty right along with my heart.  I think that might be more than I can handle.  So with tears streaming down my face I am putting it out there and please please please pray my heart can heal from all of this because right now I cannot see how that will happen.

Friday, January 14, 2011

I am sad to say...

I am sad to say that it has been a week and a half since I have had an official ride.  So tomorrow is the day.  The temps are going to be in the thirties and I cannot pass up this opportunity.  Today was nice enough to ride but my husband came home for the first time in a week and is leaving again in the a.m. so I thought I really needed to spend a few hours with him instead of ride.  Some times juggling it all seems impossible.  But a few friends and I all commited to show together at CAF in April so that is something exciting to work toward.  In the words of my friend, it helps the winter funk to fade a bit.  The funk is fading ladies!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Goals for 2011

I have been trying to get to this post for a while now.  Well since the last week in Dec. pretty much.  Goal #1 stop procrastinating about setting goals...hehe.  I think I have put it off mostly because it is hard to get a good idea how the year is going to go when I get to ride once a week on a good week.  I know we will have lost almost all fitness (in him. I am keeping up with working out.).  And I know we will spend a good amount of time reviewing.  So my goals may be vague but at least they are in writing.

Get back to regular riding when the temps stay near 30.  Regular riding will be a minimum of 3x's a week.
Work toward being ready for our first show in April.  At starter which involves learning BN test A
That also includes getting consistent leads.
If I am not riding a show once a month then I will volunteer to gain experience.
Lessons once a month. (I wish it was more but financally that is all I can do)
Trail ride 2x's a month.
Attend event camp.
Attend clinic with Becky Holder.
End the year at Beginner Novice.
Enjoy every single moment I get to spend on the back of my horse, goals met or not!

Writing it down makes it more real and exciting so I am glad I did!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Where do you get your motivation?

I am struggling to find the motivation to get out there in the cold to ride.  I have been ok up until this point but I have struggled since I got back from our trip.  I am hoping it is just a phase.  We got a good 5 inches of snow today.  I left the horses out most of the day.  I brought them in about an hour or two earlier than normal.  They had gotten snowed on all day and were kind of wet and had some ice on them.  I decided to put Steadys cooler on him to help hold in some heat.  Then standing there talking to him I couldn't help myself but to jump on and take a trip around the property.  I am glad I did though Steady is probably the most uncomfortable horse to ever get on bareback so there is very little relaxation for me cause I am getting a spine wedgie the entire time.  I think next time I will choose Moonlight.  He is a round boy and he is gaited so even easier.  I can't say Steady was real thrilled but I did manage to get a couple pictures.  Once back in his stall I took off the cooler and fed everybody their dinner.  Then got back inside where it is warm. 

Thats my pretty boy

He was not at all thrilled that I kept walking away but then kept telling him not to move.
"Uh Ma I am not really getting the point here.  Are we walking or not?"

Belated Christmas present.

My daughter asked for a new halter and lead rope for Christmas this year.  Girl after my own heart for sure.  Well we got a stand in halter for hur to open on Christmas day because we were having the name plate put on the real one.  Well we finally got a picture of him in it.  I have to admit I am a little jealous.  I wish I had one for Steady but Moonlight looks good in his.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Well there goes my saddle.

I should have never written it down that I was going to get a new saddle this year.  I should have known better.  So instead of getting a nice new leather saddle I will be getting I shiny used steele transmission!!!  Yay!  I am so excited.  Ok Ok I will lay off the sarcasm but ooff it has been a rough week.  I am sparing the details for you and so I don't have to relive the situation.  I am just grateful to be home and will soon be the owner of a car that actually runs. My transmission is gone in my Mercury Mountaineer and will be replaced this week.  It happens to be in Detroit, MI 400 miles from me but once it is running again we will be off to pick it up.  We are crossing our fingers it makes the drive home and then be taken to the car dealership where we will be terribly upside down in our loan and trading it in for a shiny used, new to me, "Bubba truck".  Yes I am excited and slightly embarassed that I will be driving around a truck fit for a good 'ole boy.  It only makes sense for me to get something that I can tow my horses around in without dropping the transmission on the side of the road.  It will be a 4wd, diesel, quad cab of some variety.  My top choice is a Ford f250 or f350.  Next would be dodge, gmc then Chevy.   Do any of you have one you just love or that you would never buy.  The years and mileage will vary depending on price and dealer but under $20,000.  So though I would much rather not be trading in my car upside down and putting in a transmission I cannot complain.  I am very blessed to have the life I have and a few bumps in the road are to be expected.

So next time you see me don't mistake me for you 3rd cousin Bubba the country boy cause I will be sportin' something a little like this.

What not to wear!

Have you seen the show?  I have before though it has been years.  I remember it including humiliating scenes of women in the middle of department stores having their "mom jeans" ripped from their behinds.  Though I would hate for that to be me it was quite entertaining.  This is the horse girl episode of that show.  "What not to wear while doing chores, in the middle of winter when you have to trudge through melted snow and mud to get to the water trough, edition!"

It was standing between a mud puddle and a pony with a gruby little muzzle that it occured to me maybe white pants were not the best choice in clothing to fill the water trough.  Then I started to sypathize with my DH that has repeatedly begged me to "please stop wearing your nice cloths to the barn".  Poor guy he just can't win.

Then Snappy decides to take a taste of my boot.

I came away with mud splatered up my legs but otherwise unscathed.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Grumbling: BEWARE!!

Ok I have two posts I have been wanting to get to so what better time than when you are on a 5 hour drive.  Bear with me I am going to do a bit of grumbling in this post but the next is much more light hearted.  This is about my lesson on Monday and a few saddle fitting woes.

I usually love my lessons and look forward to them.  I was eager to get to  a lesson and after so many raving comments from the clinic I may have needed to be brought down a notch or two.  I left the clinic feeling so positive about our progress.  After a terrible month weather wise for riding and getting to ride all of about 7 times I guess I should have expected it.  Then again after our second ride last week I thought it all would be a bit more fresh in his mind and our lesson would go well.  And for some reason Steady is always on his best behaviour at the barn I trailer to for lessons.  To the point that he does so well it is hard to work out some of the kinks we have at home when he is not on his best behaviour.  So I guess that could be a good thing that he did act up some.  But I am about to unroll all of my excuses as to why he could have been acting funny.  Unfortunately I think the biggest problem is a new discovery.  I think he might have soreness issues with his right hock :(.  Now I did just notice it that day but I think that because of his HIGH pain tolerence he has successfully hidden it until now.  One reason I believed it showed itself is because of the incredibly deep footing in their indoor area.  I think he was really struggling in that footing.  I mean we didn't work more than we usually do but he was really sweating and it was hard to get him moving.  Second reason I think I have not seen it until now is because he is terribly out of shape from the lack of riding this past month.  Then the cold probably caused some stiffness.  So up until now I have been incredibly thankful for my 100% sound horse and my bubble was burst a bit that he is not 100%.  I mean it is not like after racing for 8 years realistically would have no effects on his soundness so I guess I should be too surprised but when are we expecting our horses to be in pain.  Though we all know owning horses in nothing if it isn't unpredictable.

So that is that.  I left a bit discouraged over that.  Then I had  revalation when exercise after exercise I was clearly the problem in not being able to perform them.  One problem is my fitness level.  I feel like even when can figure out the correct aides I too weak to cleanly apply them.  This alone is discouraging because I have focused so heavily on my not only weightloss but also my fitness and  am still so far from acceptable.  I am incapable of sitting the trot well for even 20 meters.  With visible space between me and the saddle so clearly I am not using my leg correctly.  I realized I rely on my hands WAY too much for balance...ew.   I was pinching with my knees when asking for the canter and in turn loosing my stirrups.  I lean forwad and close my hips which directly effects all of the afore mentioned issues.  I "ride with my hands in my lap".  I am dragging him with the inside rein...gosh.  I have been wanting to really focus on my position and I can say one of my complaints from going to this particular trainer was that she never has spent much time on my position.  Well I guess I can't complain now cause she picked me apart.  Not that she wasn't right on EVERY SINGLE point because she was. I could feel it.  Now I don't believe I ride that terrible all the time but some of those issues are long standing habits that will be hard for me to over come.  Kind of like the feet too far forward having to be fixed by tying my stirrups to the girth.  Pretty soon my whole body will by tied to something.  She said I need to spend some time on the lunge line so I can work on my position.  OK now who in the world am I going to get to lunge for me??  Maybe I should make a list of the things that are right with my position.  That would be a shorter list.  Ok pitty party over.

I think her point not focusing on me and my position because she was more focused on Steady and getting rid of some of the track issues.  So I guess the good news is that we are far enough along that we are able to even focus on these things.  That alone is progress it just didnt feel that way when I was so inundated with my faults.  So my number 1 realization from Monday is that I am the problem in Steady's progress and that makes me kind of sad:(  The other #1 realizations I had from Monday (ok it doesn't make much sense to have 2 #1's but they are both very important) is NO MORE EXCUSES!!!  No more excuses to get out and ride, like "yuck, it is 15 degrees out I can't ride", or "I am tired" or "I don't have time"  but mostly "it's toooo stinking cold".  I should ride more even if it is just to build up his strength.  Amanda (trainer) told me it would be more effective to gallop him if I can't get out much.  I can say I have never taken him out and galloped him.  It kind of scares the poopoo out of me to gallop my good ole racer.  Not that he has ever given me a reason to think he would act like he was going for the win but it still makes me nervous.

As for the saddle issues we tried on a few used saddles on.  There was a nice keifer that fit well for him and I but I realized that instead of spending a few hundred here and there to patch up our saddling issues that I would rather spend a bit more and get something new that I could be way more picky about the way it fits him and me and also I can pick style, color and all that less important stuff that with a used you will take any look if it actually fits.  So I am planning to spend under $1,500 so not high end but my trainer is confident that we can find what I need.  She actually is having a custom one made for their tack store from HDR I believe.  It is a black eventerish type look with lots of added features.  I don't have the exact details but she knows Steady better than anyone besides me so I trust her judgement.  It is coming in at the end of January so I am planning to deal with my saddle until then. 

If you made through all that then thanks for caring enough to listen to my whine.  Any feedback or tips on how to help correct some of my many issues are welcome.