Friday, May 31, 2013


First of all, had 2 GREAT rides this week so far!  I say so far because honorary little sis Nicole is flying in from NY to come ride this weekend!!!  Yay!!!  So I will see her on Sunday and hopefully ride.  I say hopefully because there is a 60% chance of tstorms ... :(

Secondly, the news you've all been waiting for!  If you're especially observant, I actually spilled the beans a few months ago, on the "about me" box to the right.  Drum roll ... we're moving to California.  This is the big, driving reason I'm trying to sell Tiki.  If he doesn't sell in the next 3 weeks, we will plan to take him with us, which will seriously put a damper on our travel plans.  We already have the 5 day route planned and mapped out ... taking Tiki will really mess that up because now we'll have to find places he can stay overnight.  Ugh, the STRESS of it all!  I've lowered his price by almost HALF my original asking price, HOPING someone will bite.  I can't let him go for nothing ... he's sound, young, experienced, and I've put SO much time and money into him.  It's not like I'm asking 100K for him ... 8K is incredibly reasonable, overly so!  I just don't have much time left.  So, if any of you know someone looking in GA ... PLEASE send them my way!

We're moving to Sacramento.  It's SO beautiful there.  There's actually a big eventing barn about 15 minutes from where we'll be living with board slightly lower than what I'm paying now.  That's where he'll live if he ends up coming with us.  If  he sells, I plan to still go out and hang out there and get to know Cali horse people, maybe even take a lesson here and there.  They're in the process of building a big xc course, so maybe I can get involved in that, do some volunteering and what not.

Rode the red head Monday, and he was just lovely.  I put on his cc saddle and the hunter bridle, which currently has the HS D-ring on it, and I literally did the ENTIRE ride as circle, reverse across diagonal, circle, reverse across diagonal, rinse and repeat.  Even at the canter I did this!  I've had to suck it up and ride with a crop the last few rides because the dressage trainer across the street has borrowed my spurs and has yet to return them ... so my legs are getting in some good exercise!  I HATE riding with a crop because it makes my arm stiff, but having to do it has made my arm a little better.  He started out a little on the stiff side because he's basically sat doing nothing for 2 weeks, but as per usual, he relaxed into the exercise and just got better and better.  At the canter, I halted across the diagonal, walked a few steps, then picked up the new lead.  That way he didn't stress about whether we were going to do a flying change, and he didn't get 'pulley'.  I had a single x-rail set up, and I cantered him over it, reversed, picked up the canter, circled, then cantered it off the opposite lead.  We both felt really good.  He didn't change to the jump, I counted down from 5, and all our distances were perfectly good and acceptable.  Love my boy!  He is so wonderful.  Jumped it probably 6 times then called it a day.

Today I slapped on the dressage tack, and we did some stuff in Star's pasture down in the front field.  He was a brat when I mounted, and I had to halt, back, then get off then back on again.  Star wasn't helping because she kept coming over and trying to investigate as I got on.  Fortunately, 2nd time he remembered his manners and we walked down towards the road.  After a brief time walking both directions, I went to the trot.  The fenceline is weird in that pasture, it's not straight, so I worked on sticking with a rectangular arena with nice, square corners, but I had to ride it off my eye.  Easier said than done!  Especially when a previously mentioned Morgan mare decides to come down with you and graze RIGHT in your way.  Alas, I was able to work around her, and did pretty well with my track.  I did some huge serpentines all over the pasture, working all the way from one end to the other.  I focused on his bend, his step, and the flexion ... he did great with it!  Heading towards the road, it's slightly downhill so he wanted to get a flat and quick, but I regulated my posting and half halted, and good to go!  I ended with a HUGE centerline exercise, basically trotting right up the center of the pasture.  There is SUCH a long centerline dong that!  I sat the trot, and did left shoulder-in, switch to left haunches-in.  Then come back, adding in a few circles along the way, and repeat right.  Then do it again, this time L S-I to R S-I and back again.  Then, pick up canter straight on centerline, circle, come back to centerline, walk simple change, and circle other way.  That was HARD.  The area I was asking him to circle on was very uneven, and I'll be DANGED if the boy didn't feel AWESOME.  Light, balanced, and just full of try and effort.  I did that a total of 3 times, then let him be done.  Awesome day, I will be sore tomorrow!  If we don't get rained out Sunday, I want to jump a little bit :)

Friday, May 17, 2013


Tiki loves his kitty

Well, it's been a week since literally laying Timbre in the ground, and my heart has finally stopped outright hurting.  I kept it together pretty well for the most part, and I'm finally adjusting to my "new normal".  I have 2 other "fur babies" that need my time and attention, and I can't dwell on my feelings of loss with regard to my wonderful partner of 14 glorious years.  I HAD that time with him, I got to send him over the bridge on MY terms, and my MIL is concentrating on making his grave a beautiful memorial to his life.

I didn't ride at all last week.  I've been feeling a little bit overwhelmed, and if I'm being honest with myself, a little bit depressed.  I vowed to shake it off this week, and for the most part I have.  Put out a 'paid' ad for Tiki, and lowered his price on my sale blog page, and I'm finally starting to get a few nibbles.  STILL praying as hard as I can for a teeny tiny lottery win so he can continue to be mine, but barring that, trying to motivate myself to market him a little more aggressively.  Soon, y'all will find out the main reason I'm sacrificing a large chunk of my happiness, but first there are still moving parts that need to be finalized.  Soon, my friends:)

I rode the gorgeous red head yesterday and today.  Put on the dressage tack, and employed once again a Jeff Cook type flatwork exercise.  He was out at PWF last weekend, and I audited all day on Saturday.  I just love him.  I WISH so much I could have ridden in it, but hey ... I got to watch!  I focused on using half the arena at the time, paying lots of attention to his straightness and my track, and his bend as I approached the fence.  He felt VERY stiff on the right rein.  Left, all felt light and lovely.  Right, I felt like we both were struggling a little bit.  To be fair to him, I also have not done much at all exercise wise in the last 2 weeks, so I probably wasn't much of a help to him.  I INSISTED that he maintain his flexion through the poll, and closed my legs every step to squeeze out of him as much movement as he could give me.  A friend borrowed my spurs, so I was riding sans any artificial aids!! :0

I rode him for probably 40 minutes, just doing the half arena exercise and going back and forth, and LOTS of circles.  I trotted several poles and worked on maintaining rhythm and power.  Rather than cantering a bunch, I worked trot/canter/trot transitions.  At the end, I was pretty pleased.  He settled into a nice and steady contact, and gradually that right side loosened up and I felt like he was more willing to bend his body rather than tilt that head.  Success!

Today we just walked hills.  Nothing fancy!  He was pretty forward considering I was still spur-less.  I actually dropped my stirrups on the uphill and sat hard, opened my hands to encourage him to breakover at the poll, and used my seat to create as much energy as possible.  On each downhill, I halted and backed a few steps to work on building up that back end, ALWAYS!  Finished with a nice long rein hack through half the pasture, and gave him a bath.  His coat looks so great right now, I love that deep copper color.  Here's to moving forward:)

Friday, May 10, 2013

The empty corner

Timbre 1999-2013

As I stare into the empty corner of the room, I feel as though I can't breathe.  Cold and flat, the memories assail my senses one at the time.  It's an innocent thing; a 12"X24" corner of plain white carpet ... what's missing is a teal blue foam bed.  Upon that bed, a piece of my heart slept EVERY night.  Tonight will be the first time since living in my house that the corner is empty.

The first memory to hit me like a shocking, cold wave is that moment when he left me.  Wide eyes, head up, and a piercing keening wail.  Startled, the vet looked right into my eyes and reassured me he didn't feel anything, this was just nerves.  As the wail drifted away like the sound of a far off siren, his mouth closed and he was gone.  The next wave was of him slinking off his bed, head hanging in shame.  Large brown eyes gazed sadly into mine as the scent of his shame filled my nostrils. At that moment, I felt my heart crack.

As reality began to haze over, the waves began to roll in more gently.  That moment when my life was changed inexorably as my brand new husband of 2 months proudly deposited the tri-colored ball of fluff into my lap.  I was so shocked and surprised, my eyes filled with tears of happiness and I knew great things were to come.  Learning how to sit/stay/rollover/play dead/dance/come made the days go by quickly.  The fuzzy little fur ball gradually grew into a 50 pound model of perfection.  Perfectly fluffed double coat, a unique mohawk that lined his nose, and perky ears that simply flopped over and made him so completely and perfectly MINE.  He was my shadow, my protector, and my companion.  Together, we made a life and made memories to last a life time.

Playing fetch on the beach, trail blazing an impossible path at Little River Canyon, straining against his harness at full strength, running down the Silver Comet trail while I wobbled behind him on roller blades ... preening under the admiring stares of people on the crowded streets of Helen, awkwardly attempting to swim at Clark's Hill, and sniffing our newborn son while looking at me with a knowing eye.  Timbre was a piece of my heart, a spirit that completed the entire soul of my being, an unconditional love that never failed me one time.

As the harsh, ragged sound of his breaths gave way to the gentle sounds his lungs used to make, I was reminded of the Christmas my parents bought their first box of dog treats.  Lifelong "cat" people, Timbre was the first "grand dog", and they embraced him with love and compassion.  He showed my parents, my in-laws, and my friends the same unconditional love and respect he showed me.  Timbre won over anyone that spent a moment with him, he was a very special canine.  I believe animals are angels here on earth to protect us, give us unconditional love, and to complete our souls.  Sadly, there will be many of them to fill that role; our lifespan is just so much longer than theirs, but they teach us how to open our OWN hearts, and help us to give that same unconditional love in our own lives.  Timbre was my first, but he isn't my last.  He helped me to think of someone other than myself first, to put his needs before my own.

As I stare into the empty corner of the room, I feel myself begin to breathe again.  I would go on this journey again, 100 times over, even knowing how it all ends.  Because life is all about the journey, and my journey with Timbre was absolutely one of the BEST things about my life to date.  Run in Peace, Timbre.  I hope I get to be with you again when God calls me home to be with Him.

Timbre and Kody, best buds

You fought the good fight, buddy.  Love you forever.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Garnering compliments!

All dressed up for his first lesson with Gigi Nutter

Decided to go with a dressage school in Star's pasture today.  The footing was fantastic in the field, and even though Star LOVES to continuously creep closer and closer to us while we're working, he was remarkably good.

Before I ever picked up a trot, I did some leg yields and circles.  He is so lovely and forward in the pasture, I never have to nag him when we're out there.  Unlike the other day, he didn't trip once today, yay!  I swear, he forgets where his feet are sometimes when he's not in the ring.  Upon picking up the trot, he tried to drift closer and closer to his "mare", but I put my leg on and rode him forward into the contact.  If you've never tried to keep a horse straight in a rolling field with no fence ... try it some time:)  It's dang hard!  I did lots of circles, lots of nice tight figure 8's, and some quality work doing shoulder-in and haunches-in.  The first few times I did haunches-in, I lost his shoulders.  Moving forward, I focused on keeping his body straight, then moved his haunches off the track.  Good Muffin!

When I transitioned up to the canter, it was light, lovely, and beautiful!  I engaged in some circles, leg yields, and asked for a L-R change.  Fail.  Back to left lead, asked again, got half.  Back to trot, back to left lead, asked, nothing, asked again, clean change.  No more changes!  Back to trot, did some transitions to 1 or 2 steps of walk then back to trot, and popped off a few small figure 8's changing leads through the walk.  Other than a hand full of scrambling into the canter, the transitions were superb considering we were in a pasture ... with a horse in it!  LR will come out this weekend hopefully, but I will probably ride tomorrow.  Not sure yet what we will do, I'll figure it out tomorrow!

The compliments I was referring to is a boarder that hasn't seen Tiki in a while commenting on how much better he moves now.  She says he's like a different horse:)