Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Saturdays are now about Elvis, C and I hauling down to the Double Star Ranch for our weekly lesson.

I enjoy loading the trailer in preparation of our day together.  I find that after years of being a Show Mom, the task of loading the trailer comes naturally and brings back lots of happy memories.

If there's one thing I've learned about Elvis it's that he loves repetition.

The Double Star is a huge farm.  They raise and winter Thoroughbreds.  Our arrival in the trailer is always met with many horses calling out their greetings and/or running around in excitement.

The hands on from Elvis and my daily walks to/from our barn to the front summer pasture have done us well.  He leads like butter and although curious about all the activity upon our arrival, he is calm and steady.

C's first time up on Elvis reminded me of someone who hadn't ridden a bike in a long time.  Initially it was a bit awkward and off balance.  But within minutes it all came back to her.  What a special moment it was!  Her posture and balance returned and her timing clicked into place.

C and I work together on our weekly trip.  There is no need to discuss who does this or who does that as we travel, unload, saddle up, ride, unsaddle, load back up, etc.  Just like loading the tack in the trailer, the other tasks come naturally.

C usually rides first and I follow second.  We are taking two hour lessons which allows us to relax and really focus on whatever concept we're working on.

Elvis is still out of shape (although getting better).  He's worn out by the time we finish.  But before we leave he gets a nice warm bath as a reward for his efforts and just like repetition, Elvis loves being pampered.

We're hoping to board Elvis at the Double Star as winter weather sets in and the roads get crummy. Also looking at the future and another horse to join Elvis so that C and I can ride together.  And Horse shows are definitely part of our plan!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Exciting Times of a New Chapter and a New Page!

I haven't posted something for a long time.  There have been changes taking place and I wanted things to settle down before I wrote about them.

There are some exciting changes for us.

After finishing college, starting her career and getting her own place, C has returned to horses.  This is really exciting for J and I.  We have lots of fond memories as a family unit hauling C and her horse to schooling shows, 4H shows and breed shows.

Memories like this one.  Here we are getting ready to haul C's first horse, Charlie, to their weekly lesson.  Which we did for years...every...single...Wednesday...evening...winter, fall, spring and summer.

When C moved on in her life I inherited her horse Champ.  She had shown him in 4H and on the Paint circuit.  He had lots of buttons and was an aggressive, big stinker.

I started 50+Horses about all of my experiences with Champ.  It's all here - years ago and always fun to look back on.

Which brings up a New Chapter.

For years I boarded at the B40 and took lessons from my Frainer (friend and trainer).  I met many great people there and those friendships still continue.

The B40 has done well and is now a top hunter/jumper barn.

My Frainer has also done well, moving to her own barn and specializing in roping and cattle.

I wish them both the very best and will always hold fond memories of my time with them close to my heart.

But it's a new day and a New Page with C riding by my side and J supporting us on the rail.

C and I are setting both of our stars on the fun of performance shows and ironically have chosen the Double Star Ranch (C and Me/Double Stars!) as our new barn where we have started training with an old friend who has lots of show miles under her belt.

These days there is only one horse in the 50+ family.  C and I are currently sharing Elvis, who is proving to be a Rock Star (no wonder his registered name is Rock On Hunter), as we start this New Chapter and Page in our lives with horses.

Stay tuned on posts about our training adventures and future first show as well as our search for another special horse to join our family team!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Summer Routine 2015

It's been a warm, dry summer of 2015.



We have multiple fires burning on the east side of the Cascade Mountains.

Sometimes the smoke drifts over the mountains, limiting visibility and burning our eyes.  Many have lost their homes, ranches and livestock.  Many don't know if their places will be there tomorrow.
It's a rough time for Washington State...

Elvis is still our only horse.

Due to fire danger I've been putting him in the foaling stall/paddock each night so he's easy to reach should we have to leave.

Each morning I refill the front pasture water tank and take my walk with Hank and Hobo, our barn cat.  On my return I go to the barn to get Elvis - who always greets me with whinnies and nickers.

I add his cologne (bug spray) and put on his party hat (fly mask) and lead him down to the front pasture gate where I turn him out for the day.

In the evenings, after cleaning his stall, water tank and putting his dinner out, I repeat the routine of bringing him back.

This routine has become a special time which we both enjoy.  An added plus is that My Boy now drops his head for the party hat and leads like creamy butter.  :)

Elvis is one of those horses you can pull out of the pasture and with a bit of ground work, have a great ride.  But I haven't ridden Elvis a lot this summer.  I've been bothered by a sore shoulder and when the temp gets up towards 90 degrees I don't think either of us enjoy riding.

Elvis is an easy keeper - too easy.  I've struggled with weight issues and wanting him to be out in the pasture all day.  I tried a grazing muzzle.  By placing a few pieces of carrots in it before I put it on I soon had a very cooperative horse more than willing to put on his muzzle.  All I have to do it pick up the muzzle and Elvis is trying to put it on.

The muzzle worked well and Elvis lost his "fat".  The rich grass has turned brown and dry and Elvis is now off the muzzle and maintaining his lower weight.  I'll use the muzzle again next spring and avoid the issue and danger of weight gain.

Our summer routine has been low key and lazy.  But fall is around the corner and arrives some new opportunities.

My Frainer will be working out of a different barn very close to our place.  It's the barn where C rode Champ, now ten years ago!  This barn holds many fond memories.  Elvis and I plan to take the 5 minute drive down to ride with My Frainer.

C and I have also reconnected with a friend who used to show paints with C.  She's probably 7 minutes away.  I plan to also ride with her.  C may join us.

A new horse may be on the horizon...

Friday, March 13, 2015

All I Ever Wanted Was A Horse

The first words out of my mouth as a child were, "I want a horse".

Every year my parents asked me what I wanted for Christmas.  
Every year I said I wanted A Horse.

Every year my parents asked me what I wanted for my Birthday.
Every year I said I wanted A Horse.

My parents went on trips and asked me what I'd like them to bring me back.
I told them to bring me back A Horse.

Year in and year out all I ever wanted was A Horse.

My dream came true when I bought my first horse as I entered into my 40's.  It was a hard-headed and not very popular decision at the time.  But I knew that if I didn't do it at this point in my life that I would never do it.

My life-long dream would be crushed.

...I just couldn't let that happen.  

Soon we had two horses, then three and at one point I recall (gleefully) telling people we had a whole hand of horses (five).

We bought a horse trailer.

We bought a larger truck.  

We upgraded to a brand new horse trailer.  

We upgraded to a bigger brand new truck.  

We sold our house near the beach and moved out to the country where we could keep our horses on our own property.  

We've rescued horses.

We've doctored horses.

We've spent nights with sick horses.

...And we've put horses down.

In the past ten years on the Double S Ranch there have always been two, sometimes three horses on our pastures.

But today we only have one horse - Elvis.  

I've been asked if we're going to add another horse to our family and for the first time in almost twenty years ago, I sense changes in the wind.

I'm 61 years old and am blessed to have a nine-year old horse of my dreams.  He is everything (and more) than I ever could imagine.

I look back on my past with fond, loving memories of the horses we've had.

But our future may be the horse outside my window right now.

I've met and achieved my dream.

All I Ever Wanted Was A Horse.

Monday, March 9, 2015

All Well that Ends Well

On Saturday morning J and I loaded Gal into the horse trailer and hauled him up to the barn where I periodically board and ride.

We hadn't loaded Gal since we brought him home and that load had been a bit rough.  Although Gal was nervous, it was incredible how he settled down as soon as I led him into the barn and down the aisle of horses nickering to him as we passed.

He sighed in glee as I led him into his large stall, immediately made friends with his neighbors, pawed a few times and had some good rolls in the clean shavings.

My Cowgirl Pal had told me that Gal would be attending a de-sensitization clinic with his new owner the following day.  She'd keep me posted on how it went.  Last night I got a text message and pictures regarding Gal's first day with his new owner.

Here's Gal with his new owner.

Good Boy, Gal!

And my very favorite picture - a happy horse...and look at the smile on that happy owner!  We couldn't be more pleased for both of them!

Our journey with Gal is complete.  All is well that ends well.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Win-Win For All of Us

Gal came from one of my Cowgirl Pals.  She had taken him into her home when a friend of hers had a baby and decided Gal no longer fit into her life. My CG Pal has known Gal since he was a baby.

We didn't know much about Gal and were hesitant in making a commitment.  But with an agreement that if we changed our minds he would return to my CG Pal, our concerns were alleviated.

The plan was that he'd be a horse for family and friends to use, joining Elvis and I on rides.  But as time went by it became apparent that Gal is more horse than I am comfortable placing a novice rider on.  Not his fault, he's a good boy but best for an intermediate/advanced rider.

So the phone call was made to my CG Pal.  Within two days she was able to find another good home for Gal...a friend who knows and has ridden Gal in the past and who is thrilled to have him in her life.

Gal will remain here for another week before he heads to his new home.  And now that our new neighbors next door have two horses, Elvis has buddies over the fence and won't be lonely.

Down the road we'll keep our eyes out for that babysitter horse, but we are in no hurry.  We are happy to have known Gal and thrilled that he's going to someone who will love and care for him as we have.

A win-win for all of us.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Good News. The Bad News.

It's February 14th.  Happy Valentine's Day!

This is what our cabin usually looks like this time of the year.  We're driving up for the day tomorrow and we can take any vehicle we'd like (not just 4-wheel drive)...because there is no snow (at all).

As the East Coast digs out of another snow storm, we on the West Coast are enjoying mild temps (60+ out there right now).  It's been so mild that last night (February 13th), we were walking around in shorts and t-shirts until later in the evening when the temps cooled down.

The grass is growing green and tall right in front of our eyes, prompting the first mowing of the season.

Color is starting to show on the trees and bushes.

The good news is that spring has arrived early.

The bad news is that there's no snow pack in the mountains and I expect summer will bring a long fire season.

That being said, I'm betting next year will be totally different and I'll be writing about how cold it is. :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Dilemma - My Box of Chocolates

Have you ever received a box of wonderful chocolates and found you didn't know which one to eat first, (second, third, fourth)?

Elvis is my box of chocolates and I'm struggling with which one to eat first.  Some of those bites of candy are richer than others and I must watch my budget (ahhh, such is the life of a 50+)!

Should it be Dressage?  Elvis has an extensive background in Dressage.  If so it would be Western Dressage (and I also find myself interested in Cowboy Dressage).

Should it be sorting cattle?  Not sure I want to pursue this any further.  Every horse I've sorted with became aggressive at home in the pasture towards poor Hank (the dog) and this includes Elvis.  Too many close calls.

Should it be Western Pleasure?  (Bad example above - hard to take pictures of yourself when you are on the horse).

My box of chocolates lived for years in a WP training barn before his former owner decided to turn to Dressage.  Showmanship is an add-on of that experience.  My candy knows much about this world.

Should it be trail riding?  My boy is pretty green at this so I would benefit from a half-bite of that chocolate in finding a partner with a steady horse to go out with.  But my sweet boy is a registered Appaloosa so we could participate in the Chief Joseph Trail Ride.

Maybe it's "just riding".  I miss boarding my candy boy at the barn and hanging with my Cowgirl Pals.  My rides at home are minimal as I don't ride here when I'm alone.  I know I'd ride much more at the barn where there are people around plus I would join the group activities such as Ladies Nights, etc.

But right now my box of chocolates is out in his pasture.  He is covered in mud instead of chocolate. I haven't done much with him for a few months as the days became short, wet, etc.

But days are getting longer and spring is just around the corner.  It's time to figure out which piece of chocolate I should pick first.