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I was inspired to search for horsey videos after reading Kimberly’s post at I Gallop On, about a dream she had. It was familiar to me in that it was of a girl riding a big black horse in front of her peers. My equivalent was of myself riding bareback on a black horse, keeping up with the school bus all the way to school, jumping ditches and dodging trees.

Here’s to big black horses…

Thanks to my awesome sister who babysat my 4 year old for me, I was able to ride with Arlene today. We had a good time even though the weather was iffy and the horses a bit skittish. We rode along the gravel road for a while and then went back and rode down in the woods and crossed a few ditches and practiced going through a little water. Misty, Arlene’s two year old, is not as comfortable with water as she needs to be so this was good for her.

Babe, the horse I rode, got herself all worked up on the way back to the house. She was all lathered up in her fuzzy winter coat. At one point I tried to turn her to the side to let her walk out a bit faster, but she thought I was making her turn all the way around and she got a bit testy with me. We hopped around in a couple of circles which got Misty a bit excited for a couple of minutes and then we were all right. Babe just wanted to get back to her pasture.

Here are a couple of photos I took. We finished riding right before the wind picked up and the sky became overcast. It never did rain though. Misty is on the left and Babe on the right. That’s Babe being nosey with the camera. 🙂

horses

nosey

Here are some pics from earlier in the month of Nicholas at my friend’s farm.

nickanddannyboyjpg.JPGHello, horsey!

nickcat.JPGOooh, I found a cat!

nickcatrunning.JPGUh, oh, cat, let’s get out of here!

Today I spent some time at Martha’s working with a couple of her young horses in the round pen. I am trying to learn as much as I can by reading books, watching videos, and attending clinics. It is a lot different to read something and watch someone else do it and then try to do it yourself. It is a lot of new information and when I get in the pen I find that only a very small portion of the info makes it with me. Read the rest of this entry »

I finally got back in the saddle this week. After taking a long summer break I am ready to get back to some horse related activities. Yesterday I rode a quarter horse mare named Molly. She belongs to a very nice lady who has been wanting someone to ride with her. She is 74 years old and rides a nice gaited mare and is training a young filly who is also gaited. Arlene (the lady) is the mother of Bobby, the lady who was giving me lessons last winter. We used Bobby’s indoor arena to warm up and for me to get aquainted with Molly. She hadn’t been ridden in a while but she did just fine. It was fun. Arlene and I are going to try to ride together on Mondays while Nick is at preschool. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m reading this great book that Martha loaned me, Believe — A Horseman’s Journey by Buck Brannaman and William Reynolds. It is a compilation of stories from people whose lives have been changed for the better by working with Buck Brannaman at his horse clinics all across the country.

I came across some wonderful stuff from a story of a lady named, Susan.

I have found that there is so much more grace in life in being imperfect than in struggling to hide the fact that I’m not.

Let that one sink in a little.

Here is another one:

I remember visiting Tallie the next day and just staying with her in her stall, something I had never done before. I was always at the barn to get something done, to accomplish something. I’d never experienced just being with her in a quiet moment. It turns out this was a thread that ran through my life: I never could relax. As a person, I didn’t know how to just be in time. I’ve heard people say, ” We’re not human doings, we’re human beings,” but it never sank in until I met Buck. He taught me that I didn’t have to be doing all the time. He taught me that accomplishing something with my horse was all about being with the horse. It’s actually a relief to learn what it is to just be there.

I think that this is something I have been learning about my relationship with Father God and also my relationship with others. In the past there was always this pressure to “do” something, this “project” mentality with people. I had a job to do, to accomplish with this person, a hidden agenda. I must be something for this person, I must fulfill a specific need here, instead of just being with the person, of being who God made me to be. I got worn out trying to be that somebody that I thought everyone needed me to be instead of just being myself. Sometimes it is hard to even find “me” now, but when I do it is wonderful to relax, knowing that Jesus loves the me that I am.

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.

Ok. Here’s my heart on a platter. One of my biggest dreams ever has been to do something with horses and children. I have been crazy about horses for as long as I can remember. I practically was a horse when I was a kid, every single pair of jeans I owned had holes in the knees from all my galloping around on the ground. I would even hook myself up to a wagon and pretend to pull it though the yard. My bike got groomed and fed regularly and I loved trying to jump ditches on it. Read the rest of this entry »