Monday, April 30, 2012


While my social life in my hometown may blow, I'm accomplishing a lot.  Raising and training the wonderful little horse; got my certification as a National Ski Patroller; and now pursuing BCHA/LNT training in June and my concealed weapons permit prior to June.

Spent the weekend in "Handguns 101".  Shot several different makes and models.  Enjoying myself and slowly putting my fear of guns to rest.  I'm as jumpy as a wild mustang when it comes to most things, guns especially.  But after two lessons I'm definitely getting more comfortable.  Those long solo rides I end up taking in the middle of no where will eventually have a little more security to them than the speed of a horse!

Went on a ride and got semi-lost.  Not super lost, just headed down a really rough trail to the point where backtracking was NOT the preferred method!!

Around #3 is where we bushwacked up through the woods onto the better trail??

Thanks to Endomondo we were able to see where we were and cut back up the hill and onto a clearer logging road.  Griffin came along with us.  He even decided to lead a little.  I was impressed.  He got stuck twice in briers.  Kid is a WUSS.  A single brier strand wrapped around him is cause for squealing whinnies of alarm.  HOWEVER, he knows to wait until help comes.  The second time he even helped me help him by moving in a way to help me get the thing off him.  Nevermind that he could have taken two steps and busted it.  Mayer is a freaking BULLDOZER.  I love it and I love her more for it.  Trail CHAMP.

It was a pretty epic farm-filled weekend of sunshine and horses and happiness.  Weekends like this are what I live for.  I'm proud of myself for pushing through scary boundaries and proud of little man for being a champ through all my chaotic woodsy wandering.  I'm a bit of an extreme trail rider...its more fun that way.  Though most people (most of you likely, except maybe Dom) would hate it!

Anyhoo, I leave you with this:

Duke.  Never know he was so high strung once upon a time... And I TOTALLY get why people think I'm 14 after seeing this photo.  Blech.  But, I'll be happy to look so young once I'm 30.  Pfffttt on all you haters.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Griffin Video

Finally, a new video of the little horse.   You can really see how much he's grown.  I think he looks more Arab-ish than TWH in the video, but more TWH than Arab in his photos.  He's really filling out and getting big, so I'm excited no matter which side of his breeding he ends up as since he's healthy and happy.

I haven't done much round pen lunging lately as its so dusty in there and I"m usually too lazy to hook up and unwind/rewind the hose to wet it all down.  But, for video purposes, its easier to be in there so here you go.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


No, it was not lost on me when I named him Griffin that he could also be GRYFFINDOR!   Yes, I am a Harry Potter nerd.  I freaking GREW UP with Harry so DON'T hate.  We're the SAME age.  I started following him as a 4th grader and we've been BFFs ever since.  Its not his fault that J.K. couldn't write faster so we could finish our schooling at the same time (he was only a few months behind, really).

Okay, okay, HORSE news (I'll stop with my HP rant....though, okay, one more, I really want a Hedwig!):

Snothead (aka Griffin) is healthy, happy, and crazy.  It almost - but not really - makes me wish he were skinny again so he couldn't run away!  Last Sunday when we returned from Equine Affaire I whistled, he sprinted, he came in.  The next day, I whistled, he sprinted, he played and avoided me, his friends were removed from the field, his ass was chased until he realized, "Oh, hey, I'm gonna not run anymore."  The next day, I came, I whistled, he ran, he played and avoided me, I gave up and said screw it.  I didn't come back to see him for a week!  (It was raining and nasty and frankly, if he was going to be an ass, then fine.)

So this Tuesday he had a trim appointment.  I came to work an hour early so I could leave with enough time to catch him (even if I had to run his ass around to exhaust him).  I decided when I got there to not even play his game, as he immediately started doing his nonchalant avoidance thing.  I whistled without a response.   Hollered without a response.  And then initiated Plan B (no, no, no, not the emergency birth control!).  I waltzed out, loved on Mr. Duke, walked on over to Mr. Wrangler, haltered him and headed to the barn.  Snothead was all, "Oh, hey, that's different!" and followed us across the field, through the gate, and into the barn.  Mr. Wrangler was given a handful of grain as a reward and released back into the field.  Bada bing, bada boom.

Griffin was on HIGH alert to all my movements.  I had to initiate the tiniest of requests and he was responding.  That was the ONLY difference in him from his time off/new snothead-itude.  He worked well, listened well, and fell asleep for his trim.  Trimmer says after two more trims he'll be where he needs to be!  He is also hovering ~638 lbs and has grown an inch (maybe more but I was afraid to call it that, lol) and is now ~13.3hh.  With all this growth I'm hoping he's going to truly fill out to be 15hh eventually, though I'm wee so him being shorter wouldn't be the end of the world since I'm such a featherweight.

These are all cell phone photos, so don't hate.  I was ill-prepared on Tuesday.

Splurged and got this headstall for all future endurance pursuits.  As you can see I didn't put a bit on it yet...and the pricetag is still on it!  I was going to get a Wintec bridle, but realized I really had no need to do that with what I'm interested in (jaunting around in the woods).
All you trimmers and barefoot horse owners, please feel free to comment on how his feet are and where they need to be and what to do to get them to a better place!
And the new time-lapse reveal!!  16 day lapse from other photo.  Growing boy!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

More Adventure

I'm determined to really live it up and do things that make me happy that I've wanted to do forever.  I'm going to have some pretty awesome adventures this summer.  Nostalgia for adventure overwhelmed me a day ago as I went through all my old photo albums on FB.  I've really done some amazingly fun things in the past 5 years.  Looking back on all those memories made me that much more determined to pursue more.  The new two months are already chock full of plans (hiking, photography sessions, trail rides and horse clinics, multi-day backpacking trips, backcountry horseman/leave no trace training).  I hope y'all are ready to follow along with it all.  I'm jumping in head first and planning to have a blast.  You're only young once, right?  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mawwage is what bwings us togeva today.

Mawwage. Mawwage is what bwings us together today. Wove, twue wove...
So tweasure your woves forever...

-The Princess Bride

Its that time of year, graduation and engagement - and not necessarily in that order.  Two couples I'm friends with are recently engaged - like in the last week engaged.  I'm very happy for both.  I've even been asked to be in the wedding for one - and I accepted happily and excitedly.   I'm even doing the engagement photos for the latter couple (the one we went to Montana with)!  I'm so excited for these folks, but I'm also experiencing other conflicting emotions.

Here they are, happy and newly engaged, and here I am, single for the first time since I realized boys could be more than friends.  Its weird to be doing something strikingly different from my cohorts for the first time - but that's how life will be from here on, I reckon.  We're not all in school with similar schedules anymore.  Its real world for us, with so many choices to choose from (i.e. continue education, get a job, get married + get job/continue education, have a baby, go to Peace Corps, travel the world, be a climbing bum for a year or two).  Its my choice - this single thing, sure, but its mostly due to the fact that my relationship of 4 years would be difficult to continue with half of it living in Colorado.  We'll be lucky to see one another twice a year at best, so, being realists we decided to call it quits on good terms realizing that jump-starting careers is the best thing right now in this troubled economy if we ever want to find stability later in life (barring the world doesn't really end in December).

Frankly, I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around this "alone" concept.  But I'm excited about it, even if it does freak me the flip out.  Its going to suck at first, I'm a major fan of companionship, but this is something I need to do because I need to know who I am better and know that I can be cool and content on my own.  Time to build some character.  (I love this video.)

Monday, April 23, 2012

April Snow

Photo credit: Whitegrass XC Ski Resort; taken April 23, 2012

Not exactly thrilled about this.  But it is what it is and it will be gone tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, Griffin gets his tootsie's done again.  I'm going to be able to catch him...I hope?

In other news, I may get to ride in the LD/endurance ride this August that our riding club hosts (its on the AERC calendar for the first weekend of August; Ride Between the Rivers - a 30 and a 50 through beautiful WV woods and mountains).  Remember the pretty dun horse from the barn - now known as Duke?  Well, he's of age for LDs and we've joked about how he'd probably excel at endurance since he's so I put it out there to his trainer that if he helped with conditioning (as I'll be gone 3 weeks of June for BCHA/LNT training) I'd happily pay the entry fee and ride him in the LD in August.  If he does well, then he could be sold for more.  Miles and experience for Duke, fun and learning for me, and more money for the trainer.  Trainer-man said we'd figure something out.  So its not an absolute "yes", but it's not a "no" either.  We'll see!  If it does work out, I have trails leaving from the barn that are very, very, very similar to what the ride is held on so we'd be very prepared.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Equine Affaire

I will use photos and videos to tell the story of my weekend (the non-watermarked ones and all videos came from my phone - I didn't want to carry my camera around with me much).

Lets see, Stacy Westfall is cute and really personable and I enjoyed watching her demonstrations.  I was able to learn a lot and piece what she had to offer together with other knowledge.  I'm eager to try bridleless riding in upcoming years.  To me, bridleless came across as a really phenomenal way to communicate with your horse on a whole other level.

Double Dan and the liberty work blew my mind.  It was really cool to learn ways that several horses are trained for on-screen work.  I'd really like to do some liberty work with Griffin now.  ...maybe he'll listen better and COME OUT OF THE FIELD when I arrive instead of being a snot head...

Peter Leone's clinic made a lot more sense to me thanks to a lot of you hunter/jumper bloggers.  I was surprised how easy it was for me to follow along with what he was teaching and why.  So thanks to all you horse bloggers for teaching me things!

Meeting Miranda and Emme was a fun surprise.  Nice to meet people you "know" in person; with time hopefully I will meet more of my blogging friends.

Craig Cameron is talented, but he really just didn't "do it" for me.  He's so tiny and cute though!  I did like watching the Extreme Cowboy Challenge - or whatever it was called.

Beautiful palomino gelding
Black dun paint, a very talented horse KC trained that she picked up from an auction
Wille the mule!  He got third place
KC rode both these horses, the paint placed 1st and the other 2nd
All competitors
Closer inspection of his unique coloring
This horse's movement was incredible; it is a Kiger mustang x Lusitano

Guy McLean is my new favorite person ever.  Well, not really, but he was by far my favorite person to watch this weekend.  He and his horses blew my mind.  I love them - especially Spin Abby!  He gives me even more motivation to want to learn liberty training methods.  Not as something I'll do soley, but as something I can do in conjunction with all the other training methods.  Another arrow in my quiver to pull out as I need it.

Guy's Australian stockhorses are phenomenal.  I think the most rewarding and unique thing about watching Guy and his horses was getting to really understand and see each of his horse's personalities.  You don't always get to see that.  He's such a character himself, too, which really made it all the more enjoyable.  And besides, who's ever seen a horse canter backwards - or in place?  Or how often do you jump in place on command (first video clip)?  Or side pass over another horse (third video)?


I also really enjoyed the breed displays.  The Andalusian, Lusitano, and Arabian ones really blew me away and made me lust after one (or all) of those breeds.  I definitely plan to have an Arab eventually (its my freaking 8-year-old me's dream), and after watching Friesians on display in a billion ways I'm convinced I want one of those eventually, too.  And an Icelandic horse.  And a Kiger mustang. Okay, I admit it, I have a problem.

Andalusian stallion, Festivo.  I feel like this guy is the George Clooney of the horse world.  He's so dreamy!
Another Andalusian.
And another (a mare,  though)

But honestly, I really do plan on having an Arab and mustang eventually.  They're the two breeds of horse that I've had interest in since I was wee.  One day....

OH!  And lastly, but certainly not leastly (tehe, leastly): D bought a trailer!!  And, logically, we christened it by drinking beer at 11a with the sales guys.  Its a two-horse Horizon Sundowner...and my hammock will totally fit in the horse quarters!  So if it rains I can hide in there when we go ride this summer.  Squee!


Overall, the Equine Affaire was awesome.  I had a ton of fun with my friends and definitely plan to attend again in the future!

Saturday, April 21, 2012


In the past couple months I've had the beautiful gift of TIME back in my life.  Ski patrol training is over, I have weekends for the first time in a LONG time, and I'm free to make plans and do things as I choose when I'm not at work.  Enter: crafts and reading.

I've been a voracious reader since elementary school.  We had a program at my school where you could read a book, take a quiz on it, and amass points for your memory about the book.  The length and difficulty of the book determined its point value.  Our teachers set goals for us for each nine-week period.  If we could meet a certain level of points we were rewarded with a trip to swim, ski, ice skate, bowl, snow tube, get pizza, see a movie, etc.  I'd always liked reading, so when this program started I was all "GAME ON, bitches!"  And ever since, I read like a champ.

But then college happened, and then ski patrol training, and mostly LIFE happened.  Reading became a dormant pasttime for me.  But, luckily, it's reared up back into my life.  I can't quite read 5 books at a time like I used to, but I've read more since February than I have in years!

A Dog's Purpose 

I enjoyed this book a lot and it really made me see Kenai in a whole new way.  The book anthropomorphizes a lot, but so what, it was fun and that was the point.  It tore at my heartstrings a few times and made me laugh aloud.  If you own a dog, love a dog, want a dog, I recommend it.

The Art of Racing in the Rain

I enjoyed this more than the first dog book.  I learned a little about car racing, a lot about love, and really enjoyed Enzo, the dog who tells the story.  It's one of those dog stories that makes you want to cry, (you know, like Where the Red Fern Grows or Marley and Me) but knowing how happy Enzo is at the end sort of makes them tears of joy.

The Summer Tree

Okay, I admit it, I'm a fantasy nerd.  This book was the first in a trilogy.  It started a little slow, in my opinion, but I really began to like it as it wore on.  I plan to read the other two this summer.  Its another quest book, but different from my true love series (The Belgariad and The Mallorean by David Eddings - the best fantasy books ever) it links our world to another.  An interesting twist on things.

The Twilight Series

Yeah, I gave in and read them all finally.  I really don't have a thing for monsters (vampires, werewolves, the like) but I was bored and knew they'd be quick reads - so I read them all.  I understand why people love them.  The way the author write about the love and intense relationships between the characters leaves us wanting that in our lives.  The grace and power that comes with being one of these monsters is also desirable.  However, I, in no way, desire to be a vampire, werewolf, etc.  Having a love like Edward and Bella would be enjoyable, yes, but BEING a vamp?  Nah.  And all that "Team Edward" "Team Jacob" shit, fo'gettaboutit.  This series is an entertaining read though.

Prodigal Summer

I'm currently re-reading this book - something I hope to do at the start of every summer.  I absolutely LOVE the characters and the descriptions of Appalachia.  I see facets of myself in each of the characters and the author manages to put into words some of the reasons why I love this part of the country so much.  This book makes my heart happy.

Among the Bears

I started this book on my Montana trip and am enjoying it.  I don't know if I will read the whole thing or not as it is dry, scientific reading to a degree.  It is very interesting though and told in a story-telling format.  After my brief work with black bears I find the work of this man to be more interesting than most.  Its an added bonus that it all takes place in the Appalachian mountains, too.