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I am taking horseback riding lessons! I was contacted by a lady here in town who owns and shows western cutting horses. (cow horses, they cut the cows from a big herd and keep them separated from the rest of the herd for a certain amount of time) The local vet had given me her number and I had left a message on her phone about wanting riding lessons or hands on work with horses. She was willing to give me lessons in exchange for doing some work with her young horses and barn chores. The young horses haven’t been around people before and are very skittish.

I went out to her place during the week and got to ride and then today I went out and worked/played with the horses, it was fun! But, boy am I a weenie. I was trying to help get a couple of saddles on two horses that were going to a show and I couldn’t get them up on the backs of the horses! Bobbi(the owner) had to help me with the first one and the second one I eventually flopped up roughly on the poor patient horse. I guess the saddles weigh around 35 lbs. and these horses are fairly good sized. Whew. After I got the saddles on, Bobbi asked me to pick out their hooves. Oh my, that was hard work too, the horses pick up their feet for you but they don’t hold them up, you end up holding all their weight in one hand while you dig out dirt and rocks with the other hand. My left arm was literally shaking when I was done!

The next chore was using a big plastic fork to scoop manure out of the pens, it reminded me of cleaning a cat litter box only huge. Again my arms didn’t want to cooperate with this task either. And you should have seen me trying to push the full wheel barrow around to dump it on the manure pile outside of the barn. I was huffing and puffing and felt completely rediculous. I was glad that there was a shed between the house where Bobbi was and the barn. I will start my new exercise program Monday — walking, pilates, and weights. 🙂

Actually working with the horses was much more relaxing. The goal is to get the horses comfortable with humans. I walked around the pens, touched and brushed the ones that would let me, and just hung around for a while. Two yearlings were in the barn in their own pens and I was able to work a bit closer with them. One was shy and nervous but loved the attention, the other one was haughty and standoffish but very curious. It was a lot of fun to work with them. I am hoping to work with them a couple of hours a week and take a riding lesson with Bobbi on the weekends. We’ll see how it goes.

I am also spending some time with Martha and we are searching the internet and reading books and emailing each other with thoughts and ideas about the youth ranch idea. I am beginning to compile a Christmas wish list of books, videos, and western paraphenilia. I even ran across an exercise video for horse riders using one of those great big inflated bouncy balls. I thought that was hilarious, but it did sound like a great workout. Hey, Martha, maybe we can start a workout class together! 🙂 Ha!


I found this article in my on-line searchings, for those of you who are interested in my equine dreams. I thought it was cool.

I had a wonderful time with Martha Saturday. Thank you, everyone, for all your offers of help, encouragement and kind words! It was a great experience. The time spent with Martha was the highlight of the trip for me, she is an awesome lady. I am so glad to have met her and am looking forward to spending more time with her and her family and getting to know her even more.

Visiting the ranch was encouraging, I thought. It made the dream seem possible and attainable. Their set up was pretty basic with about 14 horses on 80 acres. They had a small building they used as a tack room, feed room, and gathering place with a couch and blackboard and bulletin boards for student and staff use. There was water and electricity and they used port-a-potties, not having regular bathroom facilities. They didn’t have a barn, but used several three sided sheds to shelter the animals. They had a nice sized arena and a round pen. They have only been in operation a couple of years and were very generous in offering to help us get started by sending examples of all their forms and paperwork for us to look at.

Martha is ready to start making some contacts and to find an equine lawyer to get all the legal paperwork going. I am not sure exactly how involved I will be able to be, but I am definitely going to try to help where I can and to start educating myself the best I can with books, online articles, and hopefully some hands-on experience with the local horse community and possibly some volunteer work with a horse therapy place down in Columbia, Missouri.

It feels good to have something to work towards, to be able to pick up a dream and start testing the waters. I will try to keep you posted once in awhile with our progress.