When you see my blog pop up in your feedly list and when you visit the site itself, you'll notice that while the URL is the same, the blog is no longer In Omnia Paratus. While In Omnia Paratus (Latin for "ready for anything") is still very much a strong motto for my life, after 10 years it is time for the next chapter of this blog.
I started In Omnia Paratus at the end of college in December of 2010. I didn't know where I was going or what my future entailed at that point in my life. In Omnia Paratus was a perfect name for a new blog whose author had no idea what direction life would take her.
In Omnia Paratus saw me enter the professional work force, get my first horse, sell my first horse, be given my next "project" horse, buy my second horse, be given a third, bring home a new puppy, move to Canaan, get married, and build my little farmette in the mountains of West Virginia. In Omnia Paratus chronicled the trials and tribulations of training Griffin from the ground up to putting him under saddle for the first time and bringing him along to be the horse he is today. In Omnia Paratus followed my journey with Q from anxiety-ridden quasi-impulse-purchase as an endurance hopeful to our first 100 mile attempt and completion of the Old Dominion 100 mile ride. In Omnia Paratus followed along as Stanley became mine to care for and not just "that horse I loved as a teenager". In Omnia Paratus followed my stories, adventures, revelations and epiphanies about dogs, horses, and life for all of my 20s.
But now my life has entered it's next exciting chapter. Enter: Starlight Lane Farm.
Many of you followed along last year as Starlight Lane Farm evolved from a dream to a reality. From ground breaking to barn building to bringing the horses home and figuring out life as their sole caretaker. It's been an adjustment I have willingly made and enjoyed each step along the way.
My adventures will certainly continue, but they will be laced with the new underlying adventure of owning and managing a small piece of land high atop a ridge in West Virginia. Fun new topics like land management, jump building, trail maintenance, barn hacks, and further education in equine nutrition will appear in this space. I'm excited, and I look forward to continuing to chronicle my adventures in this little space of the internet.
In early May, Lyss shared about the Online Riders Collective. A few of Lyss' friends put together the site with the idea that trainers could view video submissions from riders across all disciplines for 1:1 virtual clinices. Called "Clinics for a Cause" riders are able to submit up to 15 minutes of video (one video or a compilation) of them riding and choose a clinician of their choice for tailored feedback on their ride. Every dollar of your video submission is donated to The Equestrian Aid Foundation.
I quickly decided that I was on board with this and would submit a video of Q and Grif. At the time of my submissions, it was only $25, so I ultimately submitted one video of Q and two of Grif. Unfortunately, I'm still awaiting the return of Grif's second video. I'm hoping it will be returned soonish? I'd like to share the feedback videos of him in the same post to compare/contrast the feedback I received. Until then, we'll focus on Qdle Doo.
I opted to submit Q's video to Lauren Sprieser. I've seen Lauren teach in person, loved her style, and have read numerous accounts from other bloggers who have ridden with her. I've wanted to trailer to her for lessons (likely from one of her assistants at first), but my finances have been directed in other places in recent years (totally worth the barn and bringing the horses home lol). One day!
To preempt Lauren about Q, I provided the following description with my video:
Q is a ~15 year old Morgan x Arabian mare. She's my 100-mile endurance horse and has completed the Old Dominion 100. My dressage friend has been after me to get this mare into the dressage court for years, so that is my aim for the future in addition to an endurance ride each year.
This mare is opinionated and stubborn AF. I love her to death, but she's not easy! Also, Newton's 8th law of filming dictates that you're guaranteed to have a not-stellar ride when the camera is out, and that's definitely what this day was. Q rode like an angry little Morabian motorcycle, ignoring my leg and seat like a boss and bracing hard against the bit (very typical for her).
This was our first time in an arena in ages (there are only two privately owned arenas here in rural Canaan Valley, WV) and she thought that was a bit of BS. Because she's an endurance horse damnit, and this dressage business is a load of crap in her opinion. I was good humored about it (the reason the video is sans audio due to my rampant giggling, laughter, and making fun of Q), but it definitely wasn't an easy ride and I have a LOT to work on with her.
The beginning clips are Q motoring around the arena like her tail is on fire. She was super go-go-go and not a lot of whoa or listening. I was trying to get her to calm down a bit (she's never been in this arena before) and relax before trying something more structured like a dressage test. The last two clips are her first ever attempts at dressage tests in an arena - Intro C (2019) and Beginner Novice Test A (2018).
Thank you in advance for taking the time to give us feedback.
Lauren's feedback basically boils down to the following: do lots of transitions to keep Q more focused, do smaller figures to keep her attention, more inside leg, more outside rein, more leg, and do some spiraling in-out on a 20m circle.
None of Lauren's feedback is a surprise to me. But it is very confirming because many of the exercises she recommends are things I've pursued in the past. It's nice to know that my approach/thinking has been in-line with what she'd recommend!
Something about summer weather makes me want to school dressage more often, so my plan is to work on these things with Q throughout the summer with the hope that maybe? MAYBE? I'll be able to go somewhere for a schooling show in the autumn. At the moment, endurance competitions just don't have me as jazzed as they used to. And honestly, with the pandemic and restrictions on gatherings, a dressage schooling event seems much more friendly for keeping people at a distance from one another than an endurance event.
At any rate, it is nice to have a focused direction to work with this little mare. I'll do my best to do monthly recaps on my progress with her now that I have a Pivo to capture All The Media. 😁
Well, it would probably be better to say "complete" in quotations because I'll definitely continue to tinker with this room for awhile to come (I'm already planning to modify the grain storage, alter the side table, upgrade the couch...). But for all intents and purposes, it's pretty safe to say that it is done. I'm really pleased with the results and look forward to spending more time in this room!
I painted the door this beautiful navy a few months ago. I love the pop of color it adds to the aisle. I'm also pretty pleased with how this whole area outside the tack room has come together. It's been a very slow process of figuring out what I have, what my needs were for storage, and the best way to go about it. Looking at the photo now, I can say with complete certainty that I was able to create all of this storage/organization purely by cobbling together random things I already had lying around.
Opening the door to enter the tack room, there is a scrap of linoleum on the floor in the heaviest traveled area leading to the bridles, saddles, pads (behind the door), helmets, and other random necessities stored below the bridles in the IKEA trones.
Pretty much the entire third of the tack room closest to the door is 100% dedicated to tack and riding needs. The shelf above the door holds seasonal needs. Currently, my winter stuff (riding skirt, vests, gloves, hats, etc.) are up there. There are also miscellaneous first aid needs stored in that space.
All saddle covers are by Amanda and her Bel Joeor Metier Etsy shop. The ribbons are those that Stan and Grif have won. Griffin's three are the non-wrinkly ones in the center from Loch Moy (HT) and Wyndam Oaks (dressage). All of the crinkly ribbons are from a show Stan and I did sometime around 2006. We won high point at that show and also have an etched plate commemorating that, but I've yet to hang it because I need to add some color to the etched text so it will show up against my wall.
Griffin is forever lurking... The counter is a bit of a catch-all place for miscellany. I also set their dinner buckets on it while they soak and then to add their supplements to (though I removed them for photo purposes lol). The mirrored medicine cabinet and accompanying storage above are something my dad pilfered from a friend's doctor's office (if I'm remembering correctly), yeaaaars ago. They were originally white/cream, but I opted to paint them a dark brown to fit the space better.
You may find yourself wondering, "Why is there a childish pink carousel clock in the space? It doesn't fit?" Well no, it doesn't exactly fit. But I've had that clock since I was like...5. It has graced every place I have ever lived. It has an annoyingly loud tick-tock noise but damnit, I love it. I spent years day dreaming about this reality in all of the spaces that clock previously occupied. It's only right that it's final home is the tack room in my very own barn. As for the black IKEA bookshelf, it houses various equestrian magazines, books, training manuals, and some blankets. A TV and DVD player sit on top.
Various magnets grace the back of the door. The supporting bars for the shelf have little hooks that I've hung various things from.
The couch with it's oversized cover and super cute equestrian pillows I scored from a questionable Amazon seller. The framed print above the breaker box is also of carousel horses and was in my room growing up. Various drawers of storage are beneath the couch and the side table.
Remember when Griffin was dark? It seems like a lifetime ago! The middle spot is vacant with hopes that Mandy will one day paint me a Stanley to go with Grif and Q.
The jute rug really pulls the space together. The "Cheers Bitches" banner was leftover from a bachelorette party. The bronze statue on the windowsill is a limited edition and was the last Christmas gift I received from my paternal grandfather. And, just noticing this, but the framed cross stitch to the right of the window of the two horses was also done by my paternal grandmother. Both items have followed me everywhere (like the clock).
I suppose I should one day share more about the gallery wall that is visible here. But honestly, the large majority of those images are littered across this blog. The artwork, too.
A closer shot of the pillow design.
I was trying to capture a photo of my kickass custom shade that I waited FOREVER for due to COVID. Norah, of course, had to make it about her instead. I warned her that she was backlit AF and wouldn't look good, but she insisted. Cats, man, what can ya do? Regardless, I ordered this custom shade at the very beginning of March when COVID was just becoming a Big Problem in the US. I ended up getting it for something like 50-60% off due to pandemic fears. Totally worth the wait! It's so nice. And way better than any curtains I could have hoped to put up.
And once again, Norah had to make it all about her in this shot of the side table. Though really, it's okay because I purposely left that little pillow there for her. Spoiled big-eared kitty. (More evidence of her spoiledness present beneath the table where the 32 cans of cat food are.) The stickered bin contains a wealth of first aid supplies.
I hope the final "reveal" has been worth the wait for those of you who have been curious about how everything with the tack room ended up! This time last year, we were breaking ground on the barn. It feels so nice to be nesting this year instead of merely dreaming of this moment.
Well, here's another manic Monday photo dump. Mostly because I can't get my crap together to finish taking final photos of the tack room. Promise I'll do it today though for a post tomorrow!
Lovely springtime views of Canaan
Ickle baby Ferdinand. It's gonna be hard to eat this guy! He's so damn cute.
He came a month before they were expecting him
He was super snuggly those first few days!
Moon over the house
Dinner time views while I muck
Looking toward home because FRIENDS ARE THERE
This dude is in amazing shape right now
FINALLY found pool noodles in local stores so I could do this
Front porch sunset sitting with the pups
I had taken my book out to read, but couldn't quit oggling the sky
Q took longer to shed out this year. Something to be said about Canaan Valley weather.
The weather this evening was absolutely perfect. No humidity. Light breeze. Gorgeous light.
Such happy ponies.
House view as I walk up from the barn
Sun rays preceding the sunset
The Queen on her throne
So very lovely and green!
Jacks in a pulpit in my backyard! Was super psyched to discover several of these growing
Oh, hi there, Ferdi.
Ferdinand and his tree, just like in the children's story!
Had my chef friend come over and make us dinner one evening. Fried chicken, mashed sweet potatoes, and mushrooms sauteed with ramp pesto
It was such a nice way to get yummy food during these odd times
It was also a great opportunity to hang out with this goober
I'm sorry you're out of work and had to come back home, but I'm so happy you came over to cook for us!
Flippy floppy mohawk in need of a trim + beautiful evening light
My Monstera deliciosa unfurling her first leaf with fenestrations. I was really excited. I also may one day do a whole post on plants I have in my house because it's getting a bit ridiculous. My bff in San Diego shipped me a bunch of new babies at the start of May. It takes me a minimum of 6 gallons of water to take care of everything in the house on watering days now.
All three horses enjoying an evening stroll
I was up on the roof cleaning gutters
Are you tired of photos of beautiful evening light yet? Too bad if you are. I take a LOT of them.
Tack room teaser. And Grif being a creeper.
Sneak shot of the snoogling happening.
Because every time I get close enough, they wake up and the cute moment is gone.
More evening light on Mt Porte Crayon from my friend's front porch.
Amidst the pandemic, my office has moved. I went in on my assigned day (alone in the building) to setup my cube
It's quite a change from having a 10' x 14' office with a door
But the plus is that whenever we go back, my commute will only be 7-8 minutes AND I can open that window!
Because I am home all the time, the dogs get to spend more time outside. I don't like leaving them out all day when we aren't here, but being able to take a quick peak and make sure all is well during my work day is easy enough to do. They really seem to enjoy all of the time outside.
I'm not entirely certain how this is comfortable, Norah.
But I suppose that's what cats excel at? Finding odd positions of comfort?
Looking toward Dolly Sods and Mt Porte Crayon
Dry Fork of the Cheat canyon
Ugh, I love Appalachia
And I love the increasing number of photos I'm getting of this rebuilt Civil War era cabin on my neighbor's property.
It was a really perfect evening
Her ears are so obscenely large
Another cute moment I turned around to while working
WE HEARD CRINKLING. IS IT FOR US?
I let Grif out to graze before heading out on a ride with Q and Stan. Q wanted to go with him and was contemplating the feasibility of slipping under the hot tape to do so.
But then she was a good girl and followed me back into the barn when I asked.
FINALLY got Miss Kate on bareback
And got her to gallop this shiny beast up the mountain. She was a bit nervous, but the smile on her face afterward gave away how much fun she had.
Ugh. Mares. Q insisted on peeing in this same spot under the overhang for DAYS. So I finally marked it off in hopes of letting it dry out and breaking her cycle.
Because seriously, mare. EW. It took a good FOUR DAYS for this spot to dry out. Complete with me raking it twice a day.
Front Street in Thomas, WV with friends early this past Saturday.
The amount of support for the BLM movement is present in every shop window.
I had a great first session with my Pivo in some super shitty filming conditions
I'm eager to put it to the test more when the lighting is better
And y'know, maybe with a saddle?
Family photo snapped by a friend at her farm post-hike on Saturday
We hadn't even left on our ride yet and she was already over my shit lol!
But I found a new occurrence of an endangered species on our ride! Running buffalo clover Trifolium stoloniferum