Monday, September 24, 2018

Life Lately

For the second summer in a row, work absolutely consumed my life. As of this past week, I was able to venture out on the "other side" - at least for a time. I'd like to think it's for good, but I'm not that naive - especially with current trends, leadership, and society's penchant for lawsuits these days. I've been fitting things in here and there with the horses, but overall, August was a pretty slow month for us.

Don't let his ears fool you, he begs for these cuddles and smooshes his nose into my shoulder/face to assure he gets them

Stan had a tragic (for him) abscess in his left hind that sidelined him for 7 to 10 days and ultimately resulted in me pulling his front shoes. If he was going to be lame, he may as well be barefoot and lame so his feet could have a break from shoeing cycles. He came sound shortly afterward and we're now into our second and final shoe cycle for the year as I know the weather and temps will take a dive near the end of this cycle. I've enjoyed a handful of carefree rides on the big guy of late. Nothing makes me smile quite like a ride with him.

Post-ride one day right before fighter jets buzzed us 200 feet off the ground for their usual training exercise through Canaan
Are your horses fighter jet proof? Mine are! lol

Q is doing great! Big spooks seem to be a thing of our past and she's much more reasonable about life these days. We're in a much better place with one another and it feels so good to have arrived here. Every ride we have is better. We still have a lot to work on, but now those things are more fine-tuning and actual physical work as opposed to confidence-building mental exercises. I'm excited to work through new exercises with her in the very near future.

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Endless giggles trotting through the pond. 

Griffin is also doing well. I've slacked off on his workload partly due to lack of great facilities to work in, but also because I don't have a future competition on the calendar to help motivate me to get out and structure my rides with him as much. These days, we head out on happy meanders, maybe some gallops, perhaps a bit of structured dressage playtime or a jump here and there, but mostly just enjoy time spent with one another. He hasn't forgotten anything, we're just enjoying this little plateau for now instead of continuing to climb the many mountains on the horizon.

This is what so much of summer has looked like here! I pulled Q and Stan's fly leggings right after this photo.
Grif and I had just returned from a ride in which we were thoroughly and completely soaked by a pop up storm.

While the horses are all 50-75 lbs lighter than I'd like to see them, they seem happier overall this summer than in past ones and my relationship with them is better than it's ever been! I moved them to Canaan for good in June. We were at one place for the month of June and part of July, and then we moved down the road 'just a titch', as we say in these parts, to another friend's place where they've been to date.


This is the first time in my history of owning horses that they've been on anything other than 28 acres of amazing pasture. This time last year, I had them in a diet pen for about 2 weeks trying to get control of their weight! Now, they're on 2-3 acres of pasture and, not surprisingly, they definitely don't need a diet pen!

Riding in a field of golden rod before mushroom hunting

They're not in the sorriest of states by any means (despite my continual stress over it), but they certainly don't look as plump as I'm accustomed to and are not where I prefer to keep them weight-wise. Anything beyond what I consider "normal" makes me fuss and fret. But the good news is that I'm learning, and I'm definitely grateful for relatively easy keepers whose weights bounce back quite quickly with the proper amount of calories! They've been maintaining/slowly gaining for almost a month now which is a great indicator that I'm nearly "there" with a feeding regiment that works for them! Despite the worry figuring this out has caused me, it's been a pretty fun puzzle; nutrition is so very fascinating to me!

Club ride! LC on Stan

I finally made it out with my riding club for a ride this past weekend. It was in Dolly Sods which made it much easier on me to attend! I had a prior commitment in the morning that meant I would have to play "catch up" to the ride, but that was fine by me! It enabled me to ride fast for a time instead of walking the whole day.

Stan navigating Dolly Sods with LC

Dan asked if I would mind if LC, a new trainer to the area who hopes to stay long-term, rode one of my horses for the ride. I happily agreed, eager to finally meet this woman I'd heard so much about from Dan, Chris, and Aimee who are smitten with her. Long story short, riding with her was WONDERFUL - and she adored Stan (just like everyone). Everything she said about horses and training resounded strongly with me, and her resume is impressive to boot with ample experience in hunters/jumpers, eventing, dressage, sane natural horsemanship, and some western disciplines. I'll consider myself lucky if my knowledge of horses is where hers is in another 30 years.

SETTLE DOWN, Q! (She stood here for 15 minutes calm as a cucumber.)
Dolly Sods interior stretching out behind her. Reminds me of the Badlands

Pending a more permanent living situation, LC is hoping to remain in Canaan for the foreseeable future. She sees a niche she can fill with horse training and lessons; I couldn't agree more! She'll not only benefit beginners, those seeking someone to start young horses, and those with problem horses, but she also has a skillset that will benefit more advanced riders and horses. It is my hope that I'll be taking lessons from her in the very near future - something I am absolutely over the moon about.

Our typical vista of Canaan Valley.

I love living in this area so very much, but it definitely makes improving my horsemanship and riding much more difficult because my access to quality professionals is very limited and comes at a cost (both time and money). It seems I may have the very thing I've hoped and wished for for so long plopped right into my backyard. Fingers crossed that LC can find a good place to rent and ample clientele to remain here for awhile!

When the mountains on your wine glass match the mountain views in front of you

Beyond horses and work, I've found time to bike a lot, climb a little, hike with the dogs, book some photoshoots, travel a little for work/play, and spend a copious amount of time with wonderful people who make me smile and inspire me to be a better human.

Baby bakasana on top of Seneca Rocks. If you think it should be a full bakasana, I welcome you to give it a go while staring
 down at a ~900-foot drop! The fin of rock I'm standing on is not more than 5 feet wide at any point. This is Seneca's south summit,
the north summit is behind me and is accessible by hiking.
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A moody landscape. Seneca Rocks is just behind the tree in the foreground down in that valley.
Photo taken from Roaring Plains Wilderness in Dolly Sods.
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Dave and I from our campsite enjoying the above view.
Kenai (and Taiga!) ready for an adventure.
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She is the posing-est little dog. Golden hour light looks so good on her.
Yeahhhh... I'd been inside working and came out to the porch to find this. Dave reports they'd been this way for 30 minutes or so.

I've got a bit more travel coming up for my best friend's wedding in Moab before settling into late fall and early winter. Dave and I have a garage project we're hoping to finally finish before we leave and when we return I'll have a handful of commitments to follow through with - one of which will have a very huge effect on my future! Positive vibes from now through the end of October are very welcome.

A different perspective of our home.

It's going to [continue to] be a whirlwind for another few weeks, but every part of that whirlwind is something I'm looking forward to. Best of all, autumn is here, which is my favorite time of year to get out and ride! And you can bet I'll be fitting rides in as much as possible amidst the controlled chaos I love to live.


  1. YOu have been busy. I am so happy (and slightly envious) of your progress with Q. I aim to get there one day. I love your countryside. West Virginia (and returning to Virginia) is on my list of places to visit.
    Sending all the postive vibes for October that I can.

    1. Oh don't be too envious! I hardly ask her for "real" work like you and Carmen. :-)

      It's definitely a gorgeous place down in these parts.

  2. I'm just in awe of your scenery and views...and the fact you have changing fall leaves (and four seasons!). That last pic of the about idyllic. You and the ponies all look happy!

    1. Thanks =)

      I can't fathom being somewhere without the 4 seasons! It's all I know and I adore it <3

  3. absolutely stunning photos, sounds like youve been busy

  4. oh man, sorry work has been so crazy lately!!! looks like you've been out and having a great time despite it all anyway ;)

    1. Definitely trying to keep my mental health in a better place than it was last year.

  5. Your pictures are gorgeous as always. Fingers crossed she finds a permanent place and can start giving lessons. How fortunate for you!! Good luck with everything coming up!!!

  6. Wow you have been super busy! Such a beautiful spot you live in. Very exciting to hear about the new instructor. Sending good vibes for the end of October :)

  7. sending you good positive vibes. I think your horses look great. Not rotund (cough cough like a certain buckskin) but shiny and healthy!!

    1. Hahaha! Definitely not as round as Remus, though Stan wishes he could return to that state lol Just lacking toplines and round bottoms they once had, le sigh.

  8. Man those pictures tho... <3 !!!

  9. I love how positive you are about each (literal) season - you have such a wonderful outlook and really enjoy each to the fullest. It's really inspiring and a great reminder for someone like me who starts dreading winter as soon as the 4th of July is over.

    Also I can't imagine being buzzed by fighter jets at 200 ft... Forget the horses, I'D be spooking!

    1. ❤❤❤ you're too kind! TBH, I didn't always love every season. But I got really tired of feeling so negative about my least favorite times so I made an effort to find positives in each season and some season specific activities that could consume my time. Finding a reason to root for what I previously viewed as "bad" weather made my life so much happier lol Skiing and ski patrol in winter helps me root for snow and cold, various crafts keep me occupied during wet cold, & birding and botanizing in the spring gets me out finding life and exploring

  10. Wow Canaan is just STUNNING. I can't tell you how much I adore you photos. I love that you can take a step back from competitive/training goals just to enjoy Griffin. I'm sure it's good for both of you mentally. So excited that you have a new trainer on the horizon as well, sounds like the perfect situation!

    1. Haha, Grif might beg to differ as he is a freak who LOVES work! lol

  11. Your home is so beautiful - I always marvel at your photographs!

  12. Life is funny that way. We can appreciate all we have and are surrounded by, but still feel overwhelmed and not quite right. You live in such a beautiful place! Seems we're quite similar in that we need nature to be a part of our daily lives.
    I hope things continue to get better and thanks for sharing such beautiful pics.

    1. I always love seeing your photos with your dogs and horses in nature. Daily nature keeps me sane. Daily nature with the dogs and horses keeps me super sane. I know you can relate =)