Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Easing into a New Norm

I finished the barn only to be completely inundated by what feels like 80 million photoshoots. Something about autumn and trees and pretty leaves? Regardless, while I've had "more time" to "do things" my time has temporarily been consumed by photography. It isn't the worst!

Blackwater Canyon from Pendleton Point - cell phone photo because I haven't had time to edit my personal DSLR photos yet!

To the defense of everyone wanting to cram in a photoshoot during autumn, it has been a really stellar year for color. Like, I can't remember the last time things were this gorgeous. My daily commute and outside time is spent extending grabby hands toward gorgeous trees, gaping my mouth open and closed like a fish in shock and awe, and babbling incoherent noises about how gorgeous everything surrounding me is.

Sunrise from Table Rock - cell phone photo because I haven't had time to edit my personal DSLR photos yet!

My gratitude for this place is overflowing. I just... Damn.

My backyard Saturday morning *insert all the heart-eyed emojis*

Despite photography-consumed time and my autumn prattle, I have been riding a bit more lately! It's amazing what I'm able to do with a little bit of time when I don't have so many "unfinished" construction projects.


Last Monday, I took the Q mare out to play around in the neighborhood and enjoy a perfect autumn day. She was absolutely perfect!


We went up and down the mountain a time or two, galloped through fields, and gawked at trees. Through everything, she was a solid, reliable partner. Such a difference from where she used to be! (Evidenced by all of the happy, forward and/or listening ears in every photo above!!)

I find myself enjoying riding her and looking forward to the time I spend with him as opposed to feeling apprehensive/anxious about what her mood will be like. I'm getting excited for a winter that I can focus on honing her responsiveness and developing her abilities undersaddle.


Last Friday, a girlfriend and I took Stan and Q out on a lovely 7.4 mile ride. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that it was the first time I'd trailered the horses off-property since bringing them home.

Because both horses are barefoot right now and I haven't dialed in hoof boots for Stan yet, we were a bit restricted in trail options. The choice we ended up making wasn't even one on my radar when we headed out that morning, either! But sometimes last-minute plans are the best plans.


We had a perfect ride in which we saw approximately zero other people except in the parking lot. We had equal parts trotting and walking with one long canter stretch. The conversation was rich. The time spent in nature with horses was much-needed. The horses really seemed to enjoy themselves. And Q - who led the whole time! - was (once again) perfect! I really couldn't have asked for a more enjoyable ride.

On Saturday, amidst a wealth of barn and farm chores, I began clipping the horses.

Feeling fresh!

Yes! Clipping! It's so exciting to be able to do this and not worry about the horses being too cold this winter. If I need to change blankets or whatever, it's only a short walk instead of a 50-minute drive!

I'm starting each horse off with just a bib clip and may upgrade each to an Irish clip (or more) as needed. This means everyone can be more comfortable, I can be less stressed, and - most of all - I don't have to worry about planning my winter workouts around how sweaty/not sweaty my horses may become. I'm really excited.

Unfortunately, my clipper batteries seemed to have kicked the bucket permanently after clipping Grif and Stan. Ugh. Sorry, Q! But I'll get a new battery soon enough and everyone will match. 😂


On Saturday night after a long day of chores and copious photo editing, Griffin got to enjoy a workout at home. The first of many such workouts, I hope!

We enjoyed a steady warm up of walk and then trot, ending with a bit of canter in each direction. From there we worked through 6 trot poles for a time before adding in cavaletti work and eventually a few XC jumps!

We jumped the lower left side of the pile
He looks so chill about his accomplishment. I was psyched he handled it with aplomb because a similar jump gave him pause at Loch Moy in 2017.
He was literally trying to eat the tree 1 second prior... Sigh.

Griffin. Was. Psyched. He's been begging to work for awhile now and it was like he knew he was going to get to go be a jomp-jomp horse again when I tacked him up. (Or maybe it's because I exclaimed, "You're going to be a jomp-jomp horse again today!" when I pulled him into the barn? lol) He excelled at the trot poles, merely cantered over the 18" cavaletti, and didn't hesitate ONCE at our three XC jumps - two of which we'd never attempted before.


I wasn't even going to attempt the two new jumps on this evening, but he was being The Very Best and the ground conditions were primo, so I decided to add them in. I gave him lots of verbal encouragement and kept my leg on during our approach to help guarantee he knew without a doubt that we would be going over the stacked skinny logs and the wood pile. Much to my pleasure, Grif sailed beautifully over both! Such a good boy.

Unfortunately, by the end of barn chores post-ride, my back - which had been feeling increasingly tight after a very labor-intensive day - was not in a good place. I took NSAIDS, soaked in warm water, iced, had Dave massage it, etc., to no avail. By the following day, I was worse and the day after that I was no better. But fortunately, I was able to get to the doctor for some Rx meds to help relax my muscles to see if I gain some relief. Today, I see the acupuncturist. I'm genuinely hoping that between the Rx and the acupuncture, I find some relief and relaxation of those angry muscles. Being such an active person with a back strain is not fun!


Tomorrow morning, I'm finally (after a 2-month phone-tag) getting my hay tested! This is the last puzzle piece before I can start dialing in my horses' diets and supplements. I'm really excited to dive into it all.

Following the hay testing, I'll be (if my back allows) heading to Cape May for my annual raptor banding girls trip. Eeee! I haven't seen Mandy in a year and am very excited to spend several days with her. I'll be sure to put together a photo-heavy raptor post when I return for those of you who love them.

So...yeah! I'm working on getting back to a semi-regular blogging schedule - both writing and reading. It's a bit odd to come up with something beyond barn posts again, but I am eager to get to it! With luck, I'll find time to write about a backlog of things like seeing the horse chiro, the Mary Wanless and Janet Foy clinics, the blogger camping trip to Assateague, and more.

Stay tuned!


  1. Gorgeous as always. The leaves are juuuuust starting to change down here. I'm so happy for you and Q to be working together so happily these days. And yay for jumping Grif again!

  2. Love those fall colours!! Our leaves here have been amazing too. Looking out my back door everyday gives me heart emoji eyes too. ;-)

    Great that you have been riding - the trails/roads etc around you look great for riding.

  3. There is nothing like having them home. Your trails are beautiful there!

  4. Q's fuzzy ears slay me. it's a shame WV is so ugly in the fall really, how dull. that picture of your friend on stan looks like it's out of a book!

  5. I envy you your dry lot so much (not your back aches though UGH hope that improves soon). LOVE YOUR BARN and so glad you are so busy riding as well as photo shooting! !:)

    Isnt it great to know you can go swap or layer blankets now!! I need to do a bib on Remus soonish probably.....i didnt even clip him last year but hoping to haul out for lessons at least once a week so think a trace clip will be in the future. I have never clipped him myself (i mean body clip) i am not sure i can do it (Though he goes to sleep when clipping).

    Enjoy all the fun you are having and fingers crossed the acupuncture helps!!

    Swoon on the fall colors...

  6. How beautiful <3 I love nature photos. And yeah, since it's gotten colder, my back has been especially bothering me, too! Hopefully that acupuncturist will help!

  7. I'm kinda sad I missed the fall colors! Though they're starting to finally hit here. 🙌 Hope your back lets you get to Cape May, because you and Mandy in a small bird shack needs to happen.♥️

  8. Those trails are beautiful!!!
    I hope your back feels better soon!

  9. Uh yeah if I lived where the trees and landscape looked as beautiful as yours not only would I be dead fishing it like you but I'd also be scheduling a shit ton of photoshoots too lol GIVE ME ALL THE PHOTOS. And yay for jumping that log pile!!