Thursday, February 28, 2013

Trailered to Roberston!

So today, my trainer took me and another lady to Robertson Park, which is where the gymkhanas are held, and various other events.  Its a HUGE rodeo sized arena.

About five minutes in, I got dumped in the dirt, HARD.

Good start to the day, right?

So, what happened was we got there, went in the arena, and started walking around to warm up.  Pony was definitely calmer than she was at the gymkhana, but still clearly slightly wound up.

I did a few circles, then started to walk along the rail.  Next to one of the big pillars that holds up the arena, was a huge log, on the outside of the arena.  What it is doing there? I have no idea.  However, pony did not like it being there.

We passed the pillar and she saw the log and did a classic 'i'm going nowhere near that' and walked as sideways as she could to get away from it.  What I did to try and remedy it, was to put my inside leg on her, to block her from drifting in and get her back on the rail.

Apparently, it was not the right thing to do.  When she felt me blocking her, and her having nowhere to go except the spook, it really scared her and she splooged out from underneath me before I could even realize she was moving.  I hit the ground SO hard.

My trainer explained to me that the better thing would have been to give her a place to go that is away from the spook, but then continue to circle her around until she was facing it again.  That way she has a release, she is going where I am telling her to go, but she doesn't feel trapped and lose her mind.  In case that was hard to understand, basically instead of pushing her into the rail with my leg, when she starts to drift into the arena to direct her into the arena and make a small circle right back onto the rail where the spook was.

Later, that definitely worked much better.  However, I have a torn up elbow, a hip with sand burn on it (rug burn basically) and a HUGE swollen knee where I landed on the ground.  I have fallen so many times, but I think this one hurt more than any other.  I think that is because if someone is holding you a few feet off the ground and just drops you, it would hurt more than if someone threw you sideways from a few feet off the ground.  At least, that makes sense to me, when they're moving faster, you have more propulsion so you can kind of skid or roll, not just drop like dead weight!

Anyways, she was a somewhat crazy pony.  Well, okay, she was crazy.  My trainer had me take her to one end of the arena and just trot her in a circle, then spiral the circle, do a figure 8, spiral the circle, do some circles, just super repetitive movement to get her to relax.  For her, this is what gets her to relax, and its really the only way to handle her effectively.  She's like a little kid, she needs one thing to focus on, and once she's ready, her entire body seems to just melt, her head drops a little, her trot becomes sitable, her movements less choppy...its really cool how she just lets you know.

However, to get to that point, it took a good 30 minutes of trotting in circles.  Once she was giving me a really good responsive slow trot, I worked on going up and down the arena, doing a few circles in between.  Once she was asking me to take a break, I knew that she was calming down.  I then spent time walking, then trotting, walking, then trotting her.  We were doing much better.  Both the other riders were down at one end of the arena, and she kept doing a good trot away from them, then trying to speed up back to them.  My remedy? She got to trot away from them, and walk back to them.  Then, I started letting her rest wherever she didn't want to be.  She got to trot circles over by her friends, then trot to the other end and rest.  She decided being alone was pretty cool after all haha.

Eventually, I asked for a lope.  She gave me great stuff!  She then got a bit wound up, and we spent about another 5-10 minutes circle trotting again, but she came back to me MUCH quicker and easier.  Then, we were able to have a easy lope again! We were able to lope down the length of the arena in a controlled fast paced lope.

I was VERY happy with the quality of work that she gave me.  Even my trainer said that she was impressed with how responsive and also the speed of gaits that she gave me.  It took A LOT of work, but it paid off in the end.  Although it was physically and mentally draining for both me and pony, I left on a really good note.  I was really happy to be able to work her down from her crazies with repetitive trotting, and I'm happy to know that next time I'm at a show, thats exactly what I can do.

Its tough, because when your doing it, it doesn't seem like it'll work.  It feels out of control, and like she is never going to settle down, but time after time, it does work, after however long she needs.

My trainer made the point that very often in horseback riding, people want things to be immediate, but in reality, you may get 9 cruddy stops before you get a good one.  Especially when we're in a new place, or doing something unfamiliar, we have to give our horses time to work through whatever they need to, whether it means five minutes of trotting or 35 minutes!

After I fell, and pony got spooked at a piece of paper in the arena and crow hopped and tried to gallop away, my trainer told me that she was happy to get on her and work her if that would help as well.  I thought about it, because after I fell I was pretty frustrated with the fact that I was in for toads wild ride, and didn't want to deal with it, and my confidence was a little diminished, since I fell at a walk (I mean, who does that!).

But I thought about it.  Why was I slightly nervous/scared?

Was I afraid of falling? No, I've fallen enough to know I'm always fine.

Was I afraid of her bolting with me? No, she's never done that and honestly she doesn't lose her head, a little rein will get her to stop, if not I know how to do a one rein stop, although I have never had to use it.

What I was really afraid of is the 'out of control' feeling I get when she's trotting miserably, cantering miserably and doesn't want to walk.  The remedy to this is obviously the trotting exercises I have already explained.  But it is really honestly tough.  She trots through my leg cues, shes goes unbearably fast, she shakes her head, and its all her nervous energy being released.  She has to have time to work through it.  I could easily let my trainer get on her and do that 30 minutes of trotting, and hand me a good pony to work with the rest of the ride.

But does that conquer my fear? Not at all.  It bypasses the problem.  If I can't solve it on my own, then it's never going to get better.  I need to be able to bring her back to me, no matter how long of terrible trotting it takes.  I need to work with her and show her that I will persist until she gives me some good work, and that she can go ahead and let go of all that nervousness.

So it was a pretty rough day, I am super sore and will definitely be tomorrow, but in the end I feel really good about myself for persisting and not sweeping the rough stuff under the rug.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Super Excited

I am a super excited girl.

Tomorrow, my trainer is taking me and one other lady to Robertson Park Arena for a lesson.  I asked her to do this.  This is the arena that we have most of the gymkhanas at, and I would like for Pony to get used to me taking her places so she doesn't lose her head.

There are two girls who board at the barn I'm at who are pretty much awesome.  They are sisters, probably in mid 20's to 30's (i'm terrible at guessing ages!) and are awesome riders.

They get OTTB's, put 90 days on them, and sell them.  However, they have a few horses who they have had longer and put much more time into that are well trained.  I have usually just seen the older sister riding her crazy OTTBs, and she is a freaking great rider.  She has super soft hands, never gets frustrated, is always super laid back and relaxed.  I've only ever seen her in a dressage saddle, but I do know she also jumps, and has also rode western.  She's worked cows, etc.  Basically, her and her sister grew up riding together and have ridden everything and every way.  Even my trainer has told me I should watch her ride because anyone could learn something from her.

A few weeks ago, I found an ad for a reasonably priced trainer offering lessons near my barn.  Turns out, her facility is WAY further away than I thought, but I figured I could still go and give her a chance.  I explained to her that I rode western and I wanted to get into jumping and wanted a horse that I could learn it on.  She said that sounded good.  I was supposed to have a lesson tomorrow, but she contacted me today and said her farrier trimmed her horses a good 1/2 inch too short and they were all ouchie, so could we reschedule for next week? I told her that was fine.

While I was leaving the barn today, I saw the sisters, and stopped to ask them if they had heard of her.  I had previously asked my trainer but she never had.  The sisters said that she is a mid level dressage trainer at best, and doesn't jump.  They said her facility is really bad, with a tiny arena, and honestly she wasn't a great trainer.  I was so glad I stopped to ask them!

And then, they offered to give me lessons for what I would have paid her! I'm so excited! I had actually thought about asking her a few weeks ago, but could never find a good time to broach the subject! Plus, I didn't know if she had ever taught lessons or wanted to, so I didn't want to make her uncomfortable or put her on the spot.  I am so excited! They said we could set up a time and could tack up two of her horses and I could try out both and figure out which one I felt more comfortable on, but she had two that are super point and shoot that I could learn to jump on!

I am so excited, I can't wait to have a lesson with them.  I am just happy because I know what good riders they are, and they have no western vs english qualms.  I told them I just hate it because in pretty much every english lesson I've taken, at some point they have told me I am doing something wrong 'because I ride western'.

Now, I understand that there are differences between the two, but I think you can be fully capable of riding both, it just takes more time.  But honestly, I am not doing things wrong in an english saddle 'because I ride western'.... I am doing things wrong because I don't know how to ride english! Huge difference! Pretty sure a first time rider would be making the same mistakes! They said when they first started to work cows, they heard that phrase a lot too, but opposite.  And they always said they got frustrated as well, because it's not due to learning something else, its due to not being taught yet!

Anyways, I was just really excited because I have seen first hand that they are both super good riders and have a lot to teach, and I am way more comfortable with that!

Do any of you ride both western and english?

Bath Time!

These pictures were all from about two weeks ago, I kept meaning to write this post and other things kept coming up!

Anyways, it was a BEAUTIFUL day, probably 75 degrees with a hot sun.  So, of course, I gave pony a bath! Man, I was not prepared for how tough it would be.  She has a thiiiiick water resistant mustang coat.  I could barely even get her all the way wet! Everytime I would think she was fully wet, she would move and her fur would shift and there would be completely dry 'underfur!'

Anyways, she was obviously really good.  you can straight tie her and spray her in the face, shes so cute! She wasn't exactly happy with that, but she let me do it! I even washed her blaze! So anyways, I guess the pictures speak for themselves, but she was SO SOFT afterwards! I loved it!

wet pony!

'staaaahp.  mohhhm this is not cool. ok fine i'll just stand here.'

'are we done yet?'

cute pretty petite legs!

this is what i mean! her mane was completely soaked, and i flipped it over to bone dry hair!

fuzzy wet muzzle

punk rock pony teehee.

when her mane was light and fluffy the growing out bridle path decided to stick straight up!

it was SO SOFT

she had to stand around to dry.  she wasn't exactly stoked on it, but she decided to finally accept it.

'do you think my butt looks big?'

'i'll stand here and look pretty if you give me those carrots in your pocket.'

clean blaze! she's always had that funny stripe halfway up, i think it was a scar at one point and is just kinda discolored now.


she has the most colorful tail! the more you pull back the more colors you find!

black, gray, red, silver, blonde. so weird.

slightly less pineappley.  she has the most pineappely tail! she gets wormed like clockwork and its always been like that.  shes just an itchy mare hahah

'see how cute i am?'

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Just and FYI

Hey Guys,

Just wanted to let you know that I changed the email address associated with my blogger account so that I was exposing a little less information about me, but in the process it didn't transfer all the blogs that I follow to this account! So I will be going through and following your blog through this new account (the name is just not my full name and the email is my blog name!), so just an FYI if you see that I am a new follower, but thought I already was!


Thanks to Carly over at Poor Woman Showing, I have been drooling over all the shirts Leah makes at  Dapplebay.

She just came out with a new one, and she has a promo code on her Facebook for 25% off! However, the shirts do begin shipping the first week of march, so I don't know how long that code will be good for!

I also have it on good authority that she is coming out with a shirt geared towards western riders this spring :)

Isn't it the cutest shirt? For anyone who doesn't get the reference, look it up on YouTube but replace ditch with a slightly less lady like word.. :)

Monday, February 25, 2013


You will never believe what Pony did!

We had an AWESOME ride.  Once again, it only lasted about 20 minutes, because she was so freaking good, I didn't need to do more than that!

We did some walk, some trot, a lap of lope, then I worked with her on collecting a little at a walk.   I am not very experienced with collection, and its hard to work with a horse that is not good at it, since I am trying to learn and teach at the same time! So I just do a little at a time, and while walking we had a few good steps where she collected nicely.

So I asked for another lope, and I let her have my hot seat for a second.  I actually was really enjoying letting her speed up a little, and then I prepared and asked for a stop.  Holy crap, did she stop.  She tucked her booty underneath her, and slid! Look at the slide marks!

Slide Marks from a stop!

I was riding her in a cruddy wintec saddle since my trainer was on a trail ride with her saddle, the one that works well with pony.  Since its a wintec it doesn't really fit any horse great, and it also has an oddly high perched seat, I also had too short of stirrups, but since I wasn't planning on having a tough ride I didn't bother changing them.  But holy shamole, when she slammed on those brakes, I lost my center of gravity and ended up hopping off her side.  When I saw the tracks, I was SO happy with her! She got lots of hugs and kisses, and then got to go outside to cool out and got super groomed and got to go home.

So there again, we rode about 20-30 minutes, but that was all we needed to get something super awesome! 

The best thing about this entire ride was the fact that I put that stop on her.  I don't know if she has ever done a sliding stop before, but when I first started riding her, her stop was pretty cruddy.  She is super responsive, but she would plant her front end or just slowly transition down into a stop on her fore.  My trainer has always used her as a trail horse and hasn't spent a lot of arena time with her, and sliding to a stop is not something that a mustang naturally does.  

It feels so good to know that my hard work has gotten her to this point.

Also the other awesome thing?

I had no rein on her.  She slid to a stop based on body language alone.  That is how awesomely responsive and sensitive she is.  I love my crazy mustang pony!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Giveaway results

Okay, Okay, I know, I suck.  I am like three days late on this.  But regardless, its not like anyone else entered in the past three days, so it doesn't really make a difference...except for both of you entrees waiting for the results....

Anyways, It was a 50 50 chance.  I wrote the two names on pieces of paper.  I cut them.  I folded them.  I put them in my cowboy hat.  I drew one (because no one else was around and I didn't feel like I could continue to put it off...)

And the winner is....

Cindy at Life With my Herd !!


Cindy, email me what address you want me to send your goody to, and I will let you know when I put it in the mail.  It may take me a few days to prepare it (because it's tailor made for you!) but I'm thinking it will be way worth the wait!

Louisa, you were a close second! (Teehee :) )

However, make sure you follow Cindy's blog so that when she passes it on and continues the giveaway, you can enter and possibly get it next!

Anyone else, make sure you check out Cindy's blog so you can get the giveaway next!

Also, I will be having another giveaway before too long to pass on Cindy's books :)

Everyone have a good day, I'll have horsie posts soon!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Quality, not quantity

Pony continues to amaze me.  She never fails!

I went out to the barn today to ride.  Tomorrow marks exactly three weeks since I have ridden.  Of course, I have jumped on her bareback a few times, but we have done nothing more than a walk or a bareback trot (which tends to be much slower than her saddle trot).

The past three weeks have been a whirlwind of being sick, working extra long hours, and me having sporadic days in which I'm able to make it out to the barn.

With pony, if she has been out of regular work, one day won't really get you anywhere, if you know it won't be followed by regular work.  She is such a high energy horse, she really needs to be kept in constant work (I average 3-5 days a week and that keeps her happy) to keep a level head.  Of course, with it being winter, and us having a preview of spring in the last few weeks (temperatures around 60-70 with bright hot sun!) the horses have energy galore!

So anyways, the past three weeks when I have come out to the barn I have groomed, I have bathed, I have brushed, I have tried tack on, I have done ground work, I have jumped on bareback...but I haven't ridden her above a small trot.

Clearly, I was waiting for crazy pony galore.  I went to the barn, saddled up  (western, if I'm prepared for crazies), and went to the arena.  She walked fine without trying to trot.  So I asked for a trot.  We did a few circles, and even a few laps around the entire arena....I didn't have to post a single step, the trot she gave me was so slow.  I guess I should call it a jog.

I was so surprised by her! I pulled her out right at feeding time, she could hear the quad coming and new she would be getting food soon.  She hasn't been ridden in weeks.  Usually, even when she has had work she can be crazier than that around feeding time!

I walked her around the arena and I wondered if I should lope her.  Her cinch was a bit loose, and I figured I was probably tempting fate.  Its always the famous last words....she was doing so good I just wanted to see if she'd do good with something else! Says the rider three hours later still trying to get some semblance of calm work out of their horse!

But, I temped fate...and I asked her for a lope.  And holy sh*t, this pony is amazing... she gave me her totally normal quick (since she's so small its probably about the same speed as a bigger horses normal lope) lope, all the way around the arena without trying to speed up! It was beautiful!

It's funny how much different her gaits feel depending on how she feels.  When she doesn't want to work, or if she is spastic or hot, or whatever, it really isn't much faster than her normal lope, but its all about how it feels to ride it.  Do you guys know what I mean? When she gives me good work it is SO easy, like I just melt on top of her.  And when she gets riled up, its really probably not much faster, but it feels rough, like I can't stay with her.  And I'm sure you guys are thinking 'that my friend, is called collection'.

And this pony does not collect well.  But when she wants to, she can use her body much more efficiently, and I can really feel it. Its interesting what she gives me without me asking her for it. I didn't ask her for collection, and she was not collected. Its quite amazing!

We have our days of me working with collecting her, mostly at the walk and trot, because this is a pony that HATES it when you play with the bit (uhm, win for riding with body language!) so you can only work on it a little at a time before she has had enough of it.

Anyway, after a lap of her loping nice and easy, I stopped, got off, untacked and she got to go home right as her food was arriving.

I rode a total of MAYBE 20 minutes... but honestly, its the quality and not the quantity.  It only took me 20 minutes to get some quality out of what she was giving me, and I didn't need to push it, I decided to take what I got (which was amazing that she was so calm) and show her that if she is good, she gets to go eat sooner!

I think this is especially important because I have had some problems when riding her at night (although this may be attributed to tack...) but when she isn't giving me quality, maybe she will now realize that it just makes her work harder and longer!

I was just really surprised by her, she never ceases to amaze me!  But then again, thats what we love about these creatures, right?

Herd dynamics

Maybe someone who knows more about herd dynamics can explain to me what I saw earlier when I put pony back.

I have always known pony to be the lead mare. If she pins her ears, other horses walk away. She will start to back up on horses, but she rarely has to go further than that before she gets her way.

However, there is a new big bay in her paddock. I haven't found any bite marks or signs of her being picked on, or even played with. I've never seen the big bay do anything at all, really.

So this is what happened. I went to put pony back in her paddock today, and they had JUST been fed. The big bay was near the gate, so I took her halter off, closed the gate and watched. She walked to the pile of hay the bay was at, the bay raised her head and pinned her ears at pony.

However, Pony kept her ears pricked forward took the next two steps or so, put down her head and started eating. After the bay pinned her ears, she put her head back down and continued eating as well. None of them moved a single hoof, there was no communication other than the pinning of the ears.

So who is more in charge? Pony or the bay? What I saw seemed like it was Pony. She acted so confident, kind of like 'Bitch Puh-leaze'. But at the same time, it was the cutest most innocent 'well I'm hungry so....' Like she didn't even notice that there were ears pinned.

I just thought it was interesting how calm and copacetic the situation was! And also how the bay was just okay with having another horse join her hay pile.

Pony and the bay sharing the hay pile

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New saddle!

So I spent the weekend with bubby in Sacramento.  We got a hotel room to celebrate valentines day, and got dressed up and went to old town sacramento to walk around and such, then ended up at the cheesecake factory for dinner.  We went to see his friends (I guess after 2 1/2 years in a relationship I should refer to them as my friends as well!) and on the way, we stopped by my favorite used tack store.  I suppose its technically a consignment store...and its awesome! It has all sorts of tack, english, western, clothing, boots, bridles, saddles, pads...anything and everything!

Anyways, the english saddle I have on pony is slightly tight on her.  She seems to behave well in it, but she's got a really amazing work ethic and will disguise her pain as long as she can tolerate it! So, since I am the first person to work her english, I don't want to turn her off of or sour her of english or jumping due to any tack problems.

So anyways, I browsed the saddles in the store, not really thinking about getting one, when this one jumped out at me! Its a Crosby jump saddle, it's a Mark 8 Combination Spring Seat.  I know that Crosby's aren't the top of the line, but they are definitely still a nice saddle.  This one has obviously been previously loved, but the leather on the seat is like butter.

When I saw it in the store, it looked like a wide tree.  I thought so, and my thoughts were confirmed when the woman that worked there said thats what she thought as well.  There was no information on it, so I had to guess.  I know that Crosbys can run slightly narrow, so possibly a wide would be more like a medium wide.  At the same time, I have no idea what the tree in the saddle I currently ride in is, So I don't have much for comparison.

Anyways, I couldn't decide if I should get it or not, but honestly, when you hear the price, you will be able to see why I had to get it.

Are you guys ready?

It cost....


I have two theories.

1) There was a communication error and it was meant to cost more or

2) Whoever brought it in for consignment acquired it somehow and simply wanted to get rid of it and didn't either care about the money or didn't know what it is worth.

I looked up this saddle for sale from people, and they are mostly going for around 400 dollars or so, so I figured I could at least get my money back if it didn't fit pony.  However, I put it on her and it seems to fit.  I now need a new girth for her to work with this saddle, but I jumped on and walked around and it seemed to have adequate shoulder movement.

So I am excited! Plus, its much more comfortable to sit on than the last one!

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch 81

  1. What's your favorite fruit?
  2. Wendell would like to know if you've ever been horseback riding.
  3. Do you carry a small purse, a big one, or just a wallet?
  4. If you could travel to one state for a day (all expense paid), where would you go? If you're not in the US, where would you like to travel within your country?
  5. What was your first car?

1. I love fruit! All kinds of fruit.  I don't think I can name my single favorite fruit (mango, papaya, pineapple, apricots, strawberries, oranges, apples, blackberries, raspberries) so instead I'll tell you my least favorite fruit.  Blueberries.  I cannot stand them.  Even the smell of them makes me gag.  I don't know what it is, they are just horrendous.

2. Yes Wendell, I have! I horseback ride a lot! I have however, never ridden a draft horse.  But I have sat on a draft bareback at the draft festival! Patrice, do you ride Wendell?

3. I carry a medium sized purse. This is my purse, but in turquoise.  I love it!

4.  I travel a lot, so I don't think I can decide where I would travel if I could go to any state! I think that if I had that option, i would probably take a road trip! I'd like to see more of the southwest, something I haven't seen! I've had most of my traveling in the south and southeast!

5.  I still have my first car! Its a green 99 saturn.  My mom bought it from someone that was moving out of the state when I was 15.  It had 30 thousand miles on it (in 2007) and we got it for 3000.  Its not the most attractive car, but its perfect for me! I would like to get a new car at some point, but I don't want to pay for all of the expenses associated with a new car (not necessarily the purchase price, its the registration and insurance that I don't want to pay for!)

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Exciting things

I have so many exciting things to share....

But I will be posting about them later! may involve a soapy pony...and maybe even a new saddle :)

But in the mean time, go enter my giveaway! There are no annoying things you have to do to enter, just comment on my post!! Super simple, super fun!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

My Religion

Alright, before I dive into this post, let me put a disclaimer on it.  What I am going to say in this post has to do with horses, and not necessarily organized religion.  I am not trying to discredit any religion, so don't take it that way.  I am not trying to say that I don't believe in a God, or that I am comparing any religion to something silly.  Just thought I'd throw that out there, I would prefer not to step on any toes.

I think that having 'faith' and 'religion' can be done outside of church.  I know a lot of people that go to church every Sunday, but were pregnant when they turned 15 with a guy they met at a party, or turned to drugs, or whatever else.  With that being said, there are a lot of people that go to Church and really strive to continue the lessons they learned there all week long.  My favorite saying is that 'going to church makes you a christian just as much as standing in a garage makes you a car'.  My point is that faith and 'acting christian (or any religion)' can happen anywhere, not just in church.

I have been thinking about it a lot lately, and I can say with all honesty, that Horsemanship is my religion.

That might sound silly, but I bet a whole bunch of you will agree with me.  I think that it started mostly with Pony.  She is the sweetest thing in the world, and very mustang.  She has always had a 'fear' of people.  They are foreign to her.  She now trusts people, but she always has a guard up.  If I do something as small as smacking her on the butt, she gets big eyes and looks like she would cry from confusion/fear.

Other horses have of course, had this same effect on me, but with Pony I am able to put a finger on it.

She makes me a better person.

Does anyone else ever find themselves trying to be better for your horse? They are so sweet.  They have simple lives.  They get to play with eachother, wait for food, look out for potential danger, and their humans come love on them.  This is their purpose in life.  They go where we go, they do what we tell them to, they are careful around us, they protect us (sometimes) and they listen to us.

And I really find myself trying to do good things, so that my horse sees me as a good person.  I think sometimes if I have a choice to make I think 'what would pony do?' if the answer is 'turn around and double barrel them' I don't necessarily take that advice, but a lot of times I think of her sweet face, and I find that maybe I shouldn't think badly of the bitchy skank that just walked into the party, I bet somewhere along the road she had a bad life.

Ok, I'm afraid I am doing a very bad job of explaining how I feel, I think I just made myself seem like a lunatic.

Another way to show you guys what I mean, is something I KNOW everyone will be able to agree with.  How many breakups have you gotten through with your horse? How many broken hearts, how many bad days? How many tough times, when life felt like it hated you? How many awesome rides, and awesome days?

Right after high school, all of my friends went off to college, and I felt like I was left alone in my hometown with a cruddy job and stupid college courses (our community college is LITERALLY across the street from my high school...doesn't feel like growing up at all!).  Right after my friends left though, I found my awesome bubby.  I then didn't feel the need to go and find new friends (uhm, its really hard to 'find friends' when your 19... you talk to people in classes and such but its super tough to transition from study buddy to friend ahah).  Then, about six months into our relationship, his parents picked up and moved to a town about 40 miles north.  So I still got to see him on weekends, etc, but it meant weekdays with no friends to hang out with.

About six months after he moved, we went through a rough patch (you try being 19, broke, and living 40 miles away from your also broke and jobless boyfriend, it was tough!) and we broke up for a few weeks.  This is when I started riding horses.  We went through a good 6 or 7 month period where we were 'together' but we rarely saw eachother (maaaybe once a month, maybe less) and fought a lot.

I honestly think that I would be somewhere different in my life if it wasn't for horses.

I honestly think that horses have changed me for the better, and I am not the same person I was before I started riding.

I am WAY more confident now.  I don't need anyone else to rely on, I can go to the barn and spend hours with an animal.  I don't 'need' friends to hang out with or else I feel lonely, I'm happy to go out to the barn, play with my horse, talk to people, and come home and relax, ALONE.

I think that I have much more self esteem, and I have really found something that I enjoy.  The biggest thing that has changed (and in turn changed my relationship with the boyfriend) is that I am happy with me, and for me.  I am happy without someone to lean on, I am happy with the person I am.  And I honestly think that I would not have reached this point in my life and understanding about life until much later, if I didn't have horses around.

I realized it when I hung out with an old flame from high school.  I hadn't seen him in years, and he seemed the same.  He told me that I seemed like a whole different person.  I tried to explain to him that I no longer need someone else to make me happy, and he did not understand it at all.  That really showed me how much horses have made me mature.

What I'm trying to say, is basically that horses make us different.  They give us a sense of meaning, a sense of purpose.  They show us how simple life can be.  They let us know that how we treat others is exactly how we will get treated back.  (You want to spur me for no reason? Let me dump you in the mud and see how you feel then...) They make us be mature, put our own expenses, wants, or needs aside for their wellbeing first.  They give us something to believe in other than ourselves, and show us how good life can be.  After all, isn't that the main point of religion? To provide you with something you can have faith in, and that makes you be the best person you can be?

Faith is intangible.  It is for us to use when we believe in it, and when we need it, wherever we can find it.  I just so happen to think that I have found it in the eyes of a honest, sweet, hardworking, understanding pony.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentines Krispys!

Gooey, delicious hearts of melted marshmallows and peanut butter....

Say what!

This is what I spent my last night doing.

These are my FAVORITE treat to make, mostly because they're delicious and kill a sweets craving, without actually being terrible for you.

There are only four ingredients to make these.

Butter, peanut butter, marshmallows and cheerios.

Well, I prefer cheerios, but I figured they wouldn't cut as well as rice krispies would. I did the same recipe I have been using forever to make these, and altered it a little.  First, I double the recipe (I wanted a lot, ok? Don't judge)  I melted the butter on the stove, I poured the marshmallows in, I waited for them to turn gooey and melt (do not simply wait, stir, stir, stir until your arm is going to fall off! Otherwise they will overheat and not taste as good), removed from heat, added peanut butter, stirred in rice krispies, and poured it all onto a piece of wax paper.  I put another piece of wax paper on top and rolled it out until it was about as big as I could get it.  (I of course, didn't take a picture until halfway through cutting it up!)

Then, I let it cool.  If you go for it too quickly, it will just fall apart when you use a cookie cutter.

I used this adorable heart cookie cutter and started stamping it in.

I put the already cut ones on a different sheet of wax paper.

 Once I stamped all I could stamp, I tried to mold together all of the edges/in betweens/left overs.  Word of warning? DON'T DO IT! They clearly don't 'mash' together well, and those ended up ugly and not as tasty.
Pretty and not mashed together
Ugly mashed together

Then, I heated up my chocolate.  Somehow, I royally fudged up the white chocolate heating up, and ended up with lumpy chocolate.  I was way bummed.  However, my taste testers promised me it still tasted delicious.  Its kind of a white chocolate coconut thing though, because I had to add a bunch of coconut oil in order to get it to smooth out.  (If anyone wants to know my love affair with coconut oil, just ask, stuffs the bomb)

So, I simply picked up the heart, dipped it into the chocolate, placed it on the wax paper and sprinkled whatever sprinkle I felt like!

Pretty simple, right? It was just time consuming, but definitely fun!

Some I dipped one half, some I dipped the edges, some I dipped the top half, some the bottom.  It was fun to mix it up and try to 'design' different ones.

What do you guys think? Look good enough to eat?

Heres the recipe for HALF of what I made.

3 Tbs Butter
1 Bag Marshmallows (I prefer mini because they melt faster)
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
6 Cups Rice Krispies (Or cheerios! You'll need to add approx. another 2 cups if you use cheerios)

1. Melt butter in medium pot over medium heat.

2. Add whole bag marshmallows, stir frequently until melted.  Use medium - medium/high heat.

3.  Once melted, remove from heat and stir in peanut butter until melted.

4.  When mixture is smooth, add cereal and stir until fully coated, then spread and press into a casserole dish or just on wax paper.

And now you have delicious treats!

P.S. if you haven't entered my giveaway yet, do it here!