Friday, December 31, 2010

December 31, 2010: New Years Resolutions

New Years Eve. A time where people take stock in what they did in the past year of what went right and what went wrong. These past couple of years have been tough for a lot of people. The economy fell and things we were used to doing, were just not realistic anymore. I definitely fall into that category.

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 attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
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.
~Audrey Hepburn

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December 30, 2010: Past Years Reflections

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.

December 28, 2010: Christmas Memories

Our first Christmas 5 years ago

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:

This Christmas
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

December 14, 2010: A Red Dress Christmas (4th Annual)

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

There is No Secret so Close as that Between a Rider and a Horse....

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

May 1, 2010: Kentucky Derby!

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... :)

April 30, 2010: Nashville, Tennessee: State #9

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

The More Men I Meet, The More I Love My Horse

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

"Your Point?"

"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

Love is Patient

It’s about this time 4 years ago that I learned the true meaning of patience. I was 20 and my childhood dream of owning my own horse was becoming a close reality. I did my research on and I had my criteria. I was in love with brown and white paints. I even had one tattooed on the small of my back (also known as the famous tramp stamp…). I was convinced that there was no other horse that could make me happy, except a brown and white paint. Tobiano, I thought, but would settle for an Overo. I also wanted a younger horse, at least 15 hands, that was confident in a walk, trot and especially a canter. Cantering was one thing that even as a kid intimidated me. (Not at all anymore)

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.