Wednesday, January 5, 2011
I've already told the story of how Ray and I met. Interesting enough, January 5th use to be the day I hated the most. You see, the first dog I ever had, was an English Bulldog named Dallas. She was older when we had gotten her, and you could tell she had already lived a tough life. She never held a grudge though, and when she became part of our family, you never would have known she suffered in the past. I loved that dog more than anything and when the day came that she took her final trip to Heaven, I never thought I could hurt as much as I did. She passed away January 5, 2000. You'll notice when you love someone and they die, the day of their death almost has a black cloud over it. It can be a beautiful day out with not a cloud in the sky, but it's a reminder that it was the day your loved one got taken away from you.
Maybe that's why I find it so remarkable that 6 years later, there would be a Ray of sunshine.
Friday, December 31, 2010
Starting a Resolution on New Years, perhaps takes more time discovering what you want to change and how you are going to change than the actual resolution itself. I'm terrible about keeping resolutions, however these are a few of the things I would like to at least keep in the back of my mind this year.
"I was reminding them that they need to remake their resolutions again every day. Once is not enough but if they remake them every day... day after day they will become their reality. Then a habit and then they will succeed." - Horse Daily Wisdom Message.
"The secret to success is to determine your goal and do it as if it were impossible to fail." - Horse Daily Wisdom Message
"There are always difficulties arising that tempt us to believe our critics are correct... Nay Nay! Find your courage, focus... and do the right thing. You will be fine!" - Horse Daily Wisdom Message
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
A Golden Heart, broken, tied together by horse hair. Not just any horse hair, but my boys tail hair. Little pearl pins hold everything together as if they were pearls of wisdom. I made this shadow box as a representation of what this year has been like. I got my heart broken. Not just once, but twice.
The first time was a work in progress. An on and off dysfunctional relationship that had no business lasting as long as it did. It really ended a long time ago, but this is the year I chose to make it stop. I changed my phone number and basically changed my life. and it hurt... Moving on has a tendency to do that. Especially when you realize, they moved on a long time ago but were just stringing you along.
The second time, I opened my heart a little for the first time in a while. It didn't work out, and it hurt, but you know what I discovered? It didn't kill me. And for that little while, I started to breathe again. It's kind of like when you are riding a horse and get bucked off and it knocks the wind out of you. For those few seconds when you can't breathe you wonder if you ever will again. And slowly, it does. You're gasping, but it does.
The constant through all of this, has been my horses. They are there to celebrate your achievements or hold you up when you don't think you can do it on your own anymore. Every time my heart just about iced over, they were there to melt it. Or tie it back together, at least.
It hasn't all been bad. I learned a lot about myself and what I am capable of. I've learned how to be resourceful and creative. I found my faith and take it more seriously than I ever have. I've learned that money is necessary, but time is precious. Stress and frustration is only going to set you back, but patience is respected.
Christmas is now over and what a wonderful holiday it was this year. I made peace with a few people, one in particular, because of a poem I'd like to share:
Mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend.
Write a love letter. Share some treasure.
Give a soft answer. Encourage youth.
Keep a promise. Find the time. Forgive an enemy.
Listen. Apologize if you were wrong.
Think first of someone else. Be kind and gentle.
Laugh a little. Laugh a little more.
Express your gratitude. Gladden the heart of a child.
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the universe.
Speak your love. Speak it again. Speak it still once again.
After reading this, I realized what was important in life. Forgiveness can be one of the best gifts you give to yourself.
I got to spend time with people this Christmas as well. My immediate family on my Mom's side celebrated at my Grandma's house in the afternoon of Christmas Eve, with the pleasure of having my cousin, Travis and his girlfriend, Mel who flew in from Phoenix. We spent a couple of hours enjoying eachother's company and exchanging gifts before moving on to my Uncle Terry's house with the more extended family.
I met up with my Horse Family around 6:00. I snuck into the barn for a few precious Christmas Moments with Ray before I froze and had to run into the house. Ma cooked another wonderful meal that I ate as quickly as possible so I could play with 2 year old Caden. Caden and Connor will be the closest I ever have to nephews, so I try to spoil them the best I can.
We exchanged gifts and watching the kids get excited was enough of a Christmas for me. However, Ma and Pa gave me a bunch of wonderful clothes where I actually look high class. Maybe I can find a man now! :) Connor gave me a necklace for being his God Mommy.
Christmas Eve night, I went to a Lutheran church to watch one of my co-workers play guitar. It was a really nice service.
Christmas Day, Mom and Dad and I rushed over to Grandma's to have brunch and to say goodbye to Travis before he left. My parents and I exchanged gifts that evening in a quiet setting. We all received a lot of gifts, but my favorite was from my Mom. She gave me a Locket where I put 2 pictures of my Sexy Man, Ray.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
It's that time of year again, and of course, it's freezing! It was 14 degrees out, however the wind wasn't too bad, very uncharacteristic of that side of town.
I've had a few people ask what I have on my Christmas list. The truth of the matter is, I have everything I want. Yeah, I'd like a 6 karat diamond ring and a man to match, but I don't think those things will fit on Santa's sleigh. Every year when I made out my list as a little girl, a horse was on it. My Christmas wish came true 5 years ago when I got Ray. And then again 2 years ago, when Quinn came along.
So Happy Holidays to everyone. I hope you have everything you desire this Christmas.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
It's no secret that I love my horse. And, with that love, I love pictures of Ray and me together. We have a lot of photographs, but I wanted to do something different. Nothing dirty. Something quite the opposite. Something pure. The Lady Godiva idea came to me about a year before it was actually done. I told a couple of my friends about the idea, and they seemed receptive about it. I had worked with Shana and Blackberry Kisses Photography before and I knew I didn't want anyone else to do these photos but her. With her vision of class, I knew I would get exactly what I wanted. But I didn't, I got better. When I look at these photos, I see art. I see the pure love between a horse and his partner. And quite honestly, they choke me up everytime.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
The Kentucky Derby is something my Mom and I have been talking about doing for years! We thought after we were going to be able to get a ride in Kentucky to get State #10 done as well, however the weather wasn't in a cooperating mood.
We didn't know much about the actual event before we got there, but we had gotten General Admission seats. The seats, which we discovered, were not seats, but the middle of the track, and with the excessive rain, it was a big mud pit. We showed up in jeans and boots but a lot of people had on their beautiful dresses and clothing with their giant hats, and to top the ensemble off, rain boots.... I always thought Packer fans could drink and be crazy, but it turns out, we have got NOTHING on the people that go to the Kentucky Derby. Maybe they just don't know how to handle their alcohol like we do?
Now, the big bummer was, with General Admission seats, we didn't have a good view of what's going on on the track, but they have massive TVs. Mom and I stayed there for about 3 to 4 hours, watching a big TV in the rain when we both came to the realization that we could be doing this in our hotel room... :)
Tennessee will be one of my most favorite trail rides in this adventure simply because I actually got my mom to come. Not only did she come, but she rode. The woman who swore up and down she would never get on a horse, EVER, put her fear of horses aside to help her daughter accomplish her goal.
The weather was beautiful, a bright sunny Tennessee day you always hear about in the country songs when someone just fell in love. The people grabbed horses and brought them up to a log that was meant to be a mounting block. They pointed to my mom. She was first. Mom looked around a bit hoping they were pointing at someone else. ANYONE else! She had a slight, terrified look in her eye as she walked, ever so slowly, to 'the podium'. She got on and grabbed the horn for dear life, and didn't let go the ENTIRE time of the ride. I give her a lot of credit.
I got on my horse, who was a Tennessee Walker/Quarter Horse and who knows what else, cross. Nice horse, however when we broke into a canter, I'm not quite sure what that was. I've been on Walkers and I've been on Quarters but I've never felt a Quarter Walker Shuffle. I think I'll stick with my Arab! :)
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I was on a date last Monday with a guy that I've known for a while. He's a super nice guy, don't get me wrong, but most definitely not 'The One'. Mr. Right Now not Mr. Forever. Anyway, we had a decent dinner until he told me that his truck would NEVER pull a horse trailer and if I wanted to have kids, we had better start thinking about this relationship thing. I had out-done myself on this one, I thought! If he thinks for One Minute that I would ever need HIS truck to pull a horse trailer, he was sadly mistaken. I'm not even going to get into the relationship thing... We went to a movie after, in which I paid, because I didn't want him thinking I owed him ANYTHING! The movie was pretty decent accept Dude kept trying to put his hands on and all over me. Whatever happened to Gentlemen, I wonder?
The movie got done around 9:00 and he asked:
"What do you want to do next?"
"I want to go to bed to Caleb"
"Who is Caleb?" he asked
"My Dog." Does this guy ever listen?
"You sleep with that 250 lb thing?" Did he seriously just call my dog a thing?
"Of course, He's my Little Spoon!" Duh!
"So, let me get this straight... The Love of your Life is a Horse, and you have a dog keeping you warm at night." I knew this guy couldn't be that stupid
"So, I'm just wasting my time...."
tweet tweet (That's my cricket noise)
Not another word was spoken, he dropped me off and I never heard from him again.
If he is that intimidated by a dog and a horse, this guy is not man enough for me.
Friday, January 8, 2010
I found a few horses that kind of fit my list, but nothing I fell in love with. I decided to expand my search a little more. As much as I wanted a Paint, maybe there would be another breed that would suffice. I found a Morab and fell in love with him. He was everything I thought I wanted. He was a golden color with a flaxen mane. Very flashy. Great Expectations was his name, but they just called him X. I went to meet him and he was everything I wanted. Well, just about everything. Despite what the ad said, it turned out, he wasn’t confident with his canter yet.
So, I came to a crossroads. On the outside, this horse was perfect, he was everything I wanted, however, without a strong canter, I feared we both would be frustrated with each other and we would not be happy. I did something extremely difficult and walked away. I kept beating myself up wondering if I made the right decision and on many occasions, I picked up the phone debating whether I should change my mind.
The search continued. A couple weeks later, I found an Arabian. He was 2 ½ , bay in color, broke out to walk, trot and canter. I was pretty defeated at this point. I had looked at about 15 horses and none of them fit what I was looking for. On top of it, I couldn’t stop thinking of that Morab. The morning I was suppose to go look at this Arabian, I was in the shower and talking myself out of going. It was a far drive, and I knew he wouldn’t be what I was looking for.
“Arabians? Aren’t they Crazy?”
I decided to go at the last minute. I pulled into this large farm, introduced myself to the owner and she brought me out to the pastures. There had to be 50+ horses! She finally stopped at one of the paddocks that had about 6 horses in and I saw this skinny looking black horse that looked pathetic! He had a ratty blanket on, and was just standing in the corner. I made eye contact with his big brown eyes and fell in love! Little did I know, the horse I just made eye contact with would turn into being the love of my life.
The owner grabbed him and walked to me. This horse was not Bay, he was black! We brought him into the barn and groomed him and saddled him up. She rode him first and then I got on. I didn’t adjust the stirrups though and when he started to trot, I fell off. And you know what? It wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t get hurt and Ray just stood there, looking at me like, “are you ok?” I got back on and cantered him and I was free! The thoughts of the other horse disappeared as I realized I found my soul mate.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Ray and I started the Tradition of A Red Dress Christmas 3 years ago, when I bought this beautiful, short, red dress. Completely impractical for a Wisconsin Winter, but no one has ever accused me of being practical. My dad took one look at the dress and said "What the Hell you going to do with that?" Anyone who knows my father, knows how... 'excited' he can get and, being an only child, I love to push his buttons. I told him I was going to take my Christmas pictures with Ray in that dress (not really being serious) and he told me I couldn't do that. Well, that was enough for me!
Every year now, I try to find that perfect red dress and no matter how cold it is, I go out with my horse and make a scene! :)
Happy Holidays everyone!
Friday, December 11, 2009
My goal is to ride all 50 states, but when I got the opportunity to ride in Jamaica, I had to take it!
They picked us up from our Resort (http://www.alfreds.com/) and drove us to the Rhodes Hall Plantation (http://www.rhodeshallplantation.net/). The Plantation is beautifully manicured and you feel as if you are walking in a National Geographic Magazine.
We got into the ‘pasture’ (and I use that term loosely) to saddle up and I’ll be honest, some of the horses looked shocking. Skin and Bones and it was hard looking at them. Thankfully, the horses that they gave us to ride looked healthy.
I am one of “Those Girls” when it comes to riding. I hate wearing helmets. Call me vain, call me conceited, I don’t care what you call me, I don’t like wearing them. I realize they save a lot of lives. I understand a lot of people find it stupid NOT to wear them; however, this cowgirl is just not a fan. If you wear helmets, I commend you. Unlike me, your head will not be smashed like a pumpkin if you fall off. I have even fractured my skull and yet I still don’t like wearing them. When I ride, I want to feel free and a helmet restricts that for me. However, before I get off my soapbox, I truly feel anyone under the age of 18 should have to wear one.
Ok, so I completely digressed and I apologize, however I had to say all of that because, as I’m sure you have figured out, they made me wear a helmet. At first, I was really offended by this, until, that is, they pulled out my horse wearing an ENGLISH SADDLE riding IN THE MOUNTAINS and his name you ask? BIG SURPRISE! So, I hoped on and made the mistake of asking, “Why is his name Big Surprise?” The Jamaican man LAUGHED at me and said “Oh you’ll see.” At this point, I’m tightening up my helmet and pulling at his mane to make sure the hair follicles are strong, just in case I need to hold on.
Off we go. The Mountain trail was pretty. It actually reminded me a lot of some of the trails I have been on in Wisconsin. The guides called it Ferngulley and I guess I could see the resemblance. They pointed out all of the fruit trees they had and were genuinely proud of their country.
We rode on the beach and the sea is just stunning. A beautiful turquoise color that is crystal clear! The brought us to a swamp and told us it was an alligator pond, but I wasn’t buying that. I found out later, they actually were being serious… Oops!
We go back and at this point, I think we are finished. They take the saddles off the horses and we’re ready to walk back when they ask if we want to go swimming.
“Nah, we can swim back at the resort” I told him.
“Wait, what? Swim with Horses?”
Ok, well, I’m in! I can’t even get Ray to look at water, much less swim in it! They put a bareback pad on and grabbed our reins and off to the water, which also happened to be a Mineral Spring with healing powers. The horses walked and as we got deeper and deeper they started to suddenly SWIM! Our guide told us to grab on to the mane and just “Let go”. I floated on top of the water, holding on to Big Surprises mane and I let go of everything. I let go of holding on to the horse with my legs, I let go of my doubts and fears and I let go of beating myself up over Him….
Friday, November 27, 2009
I called to Ray and brought him in to brush him up and the thought crossed my mind. Why not bridleless? F*** it! So we did. I took his halter and crossed the lead rope to make reins and I rode that way. All of my cares went away and all of my focus went on what I was doing! It was such a powerful experience. And Ray was marvelous, however, without having a bit in his mouth, he felt at liberty to eat when he felt like it. So, we took a lot of pit stops to grab a mouthful of stringy grass and it made me happy because he was.
I called Ray from the pasture, and of course, he came running. I groomed him over, put the bridle in his mouth and off we went into the fields. As you already know, I love riding Ray bareback. I feel like we become closer and have a stronger bond. Nothing is in between us. We were riding along just fine, and Ray, of course was a pro. We were coming up on some thick grass and I barely remember hearing a noise, when that darn black cat, that stalked us before, came out of nowhere and hissed at us like a cougar! Well, Geez, my heart stopped so you can only imagine what Ray did! He went up on his hind legs and I didn’t have a chance… Down I went. Luckily, my trusty stead didn’t go too far. Once I fell off, he stopped and kind of looked at me like, “I’m not sure why you are on the ground, but I didn’t do it! And if I did, I didn’t mean too!” I got up, dusted myself off and checked him out to make sure he was ok. Unfortunately, I haven’t mastered the art of getting on bareback without a stool, so I did the walk of shame home with a bruised butt and a bruised ego.
Long Beach, Washington has probably been my favorite ride without Ray. (http://skippersequestrian.tripod.com/) It wasn’t exciting as far as things we saw, but the experience was incredible.
Again, it was just Christine and I and the wrangler, who was just amazing. The ocean was so loud, it sounded as if a freight train was coming through. My horses’ name was Spruce and we did A LOT of loping! Running on the beach was dreamlike, only something I ever saw on movies. The horses would run and we’d have to stop after awhile because we were laughing so much! You know how you get when you are doing something really fun and it and just makes you happy? For someone who had never been on a horse before, Christine proved to be a natural! And did it all in Sandals… :)
We drove to Pacific City to ride on Oregon’s Pacific Coast at sunset. We got a real cheap Motel Room and rode with Oregon Beach Rides (http://www.oregonbeachrides.com/index.html). Luckily, Christine and I were the only two riding with the two guides. I got a horse named Cola, which at the time was poetic justice since I had just given up Diet Coke… (Key words there are: at the time, as I sip on my Diet CokeJ).
We rode in the woods for a while. A lot of evergreen trees and trees that had moss growing on them; I almost felt as if we were riding in the Rainforest a few times. The ground also had a carpet of green moss that looked extremely spongy. We stopped every so often and there were huckleberry bushes and, it was our luck that they were in season. Huckleberries look a lot like blueberries and taste like them as well; however they have a hint and aftertaste of apple. At least they did to me.
The beach and riding in the sand, and actually we even got the horse’s hooves wet, was really cool for me. The sand was sugar white and we even saw seals hanging out and playing in the water. As they sun started to go down we were able to trot and even lope for awhile. The sunset was breathtaking and the sound of the crashing waves of the ocean was awe-inspiring.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I shined Ray up a bit and put the Bridle in his mouth and started to walk him out of the barn.
‘Pa’ comes out and says “Where you goin’?”
“We’re going to ride in the field again” I said.
“Well, aren’t you forgetting something?”
I paused for a second, looked Ray over then myself and said “No, I don’t think so”.
‘Pa’ then said “Well, aren’t you going to put a saddle on that crazy Arab?”
I laughed and grinned “Nah, he’ll be fine”
“Okay, well, I’ll get the 4-wheeler ready in case you need me. Want me to feed him when he comes back before I get ya?”
“Sure, that sounds great” I told him.
As I explained last time, Ray got a lot taller on me, so I had to grab the mounting block. It wasn’t pretty getting on him, but I struggled up and got comfortable. I gave Ray a gentle ‘click’ and off we were.
The nice thing about riding bareback is you get to feel, wholeheartedly, what your horse underneath you is doing. Every step, every tail swish, you feel it until it becomes a part of you. Every time he moves a muscle, it’s as if where you connect becomes one. His muscles become yours. Until, quite literally, the two of you unite.
We had an amazing ride despite a black cat that started stalking us. I saw it’s green eyes hunting us, and while I’m not usually one to recoil from a challenge, I thought it best not to fight this one today. We stopped as the sun started to go down just underneath the trees. It was so bright I couldn’t look directly at it, but I leaned down and hugged Ray’s neck. At this moment, I was happy. True happiness is so rarely felt, but this one of those occasions.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Ray, as you know, is my 6 year old Black Arabian. I got him when he was 2 and I wonder how I ever lived without him. Despite everything in the past 4 years, Ray has always been my constant. In January, he hurt himself. He cut his hock real bad and to this day, I’m dealing with it. I have not ridden him since last year about this time, simply because I have been babying him, so I thought today might be a good day.
I saddled him up and he stood like a champ. Despite having a year off, he knew what to do. We went into the yard and I saddled up. Little did I realize how much bigger Ray had gotten on me. Last year he was a measly 14.3 hands and now he had sprouted up to be an impressive 16 hands. As I struggled to get my 5 foot 2 leg up in the stirrup, I paused to look at him. Wow, he really has grown up. He has such a presence about him now. Quite stunning how his black coat shines in the sun and his beautiful espresso eyes glimmer. I could go on for hours, but I’ll save that for a different time.
We rode around the hay field on the property. Not an exciting ride to the Average Joe, but to me, this was one of the best rides I’ve ever been on because it was with my boy! It was almost as if he didn’t forget a thing. Nothing seemed to bother him. It could be that I wasn’t uptight, so then he wasn’t. I’m not really sure.
As we rode in the open field, I could feel Ray getting excited and wanting to go. He has so much heart and as much as I wanted to let him go, with his leg, I just couldn’t. I made him walk and it broke me as much as it did him. Nothing is better than letting him go and letting the wind whip through his mane and my hair. At that point, we are one, or at least as close to one as possible. The wind picked up and it started teasing him with a game of tag. We’d have to forfeit this game…