• "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of it's creed: "We hold these truths to self-evident that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be to the sit down together at the talbe of brother-hood...I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of character." -Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial
  • "But when a long train of abuses and usurptions pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them uder absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards to their future security." -Declaration of Independence
  • "There are no safe choices, Miss Temple. Only other choices." -A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
  • "If you are a painter, paint. It doesn't mean you have to paint Jesus into every picture, just paint good. If you paint good enough, then people will aask why you do what you do." -Issac Slay; The Fray (on why the band doesn't use the name of Jesus in every song)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cliche Ending? I Think Not...

Hard to believe that three months has come and gone. In some ways, it only seems like yesterday I saw Raider for the first time and started training him and yet, three months later, we take Reserve Champion in the Idols division and he goes to a very deserving and loving home. Sort of bittersweet, but like many things in life, some journeys have the happy ending you don't quite expect. Not cliche, but not depressing either. Like instead of the girl who finds out she's a princess and marries Prince Charming, instead she renounces her birthright and runs off with the stable boy. Not quite the ending you wanted or expected, but still gives you the warm feeling that things still worked out for the girl in the end.

Same way stands for how the Mustang Makeover turned out. You wouldn't BELIEVE how many people asked me if I was going to bid on Raider to keep him and then were shocked when I blatantly told them, "No." They were utterly shocked at the prospect of me not keeping him; understanding when I said that I simply did not have the space nor the money, but still shocked nonetheless. So was it the fairy-tale ending of the little mustang going home with the person who trained him and has a special connection with for the past 90-days? No, but instead he went to a very deserving and loving home just a couple states away. Was it hard? Yes, but I knew after with the buyer that Raider was going to a good home and be used like he should be. So it may not have been the fairy-tale ending that most expected out of this story, but it was a wonderful ending nonetheless and I honestly wouldn't have it any other way. What can I say? I've never been one for cliche endings anyhow.

So now that the Extreme Mustang Makeover is over for the time being, most would ask, "What now?" Well, obviously the biggest thing is I go back to my original apprentice duties and start riding some of Marsha's horses again. I already know of a couple of young horses I'll be starting and riding for Marsha, but the third one is still up in the air. Haven't quite figured out who she's going to have me ride. Figure I'd leave that as a surprise for myself on Monday. LOL And I still have to finish up my apprentice job I started a few weeks back for the Mustang Heritage Foundation. Have a few things I need to get caught up on, but otherwise, it's all a cinch.

I also seem to remember mentioning a few months back about National Novel Writing Month starting in November. It's a little contest where you have only a month to throw out grammar, spelling, and just simply write a 50,000 word novel in one month (you can go back later and re-write the grammar, spelling, and plot mistakes obviously in December). I've been going back and forth for about four months now on whether I should do it and just recently (okay, I pretty much decided yesterday) decided, "What the hell? Why not?" So while I'm getting my apprentice stuff done and taking on my apprentice duties again, I'm going to attempt to write a novel. It's honestly something I've been wanting to do for a while, but never plucked up the courage to do. Call me an overachiever, but I like a challenge and the only reward one gets out of this contest is the satisfaction that you wrote a novel in a month; or attempted too, whichever the case maybe.

I do have a storyline in mind; for those who have read my Harry Potter fanfiction story, it goes well along the same lines with the character, except I'll more than likely be able to flesh out my character the way I want more without having to worry about the restraints of the Harry Potter universe getting in the way. I honestly tried to come up with new ideas and plots to use for the contest, but I could never get one started and this always got in the way of brainstorming. And before anyone tells me that I won't have time to get this done, they must remember that technology, while at times annoying, does make the self-proclaimed overachiever's life simpler. Not only do I have several blank notebooks begging me to put words down and my laptop to write everything down, but I recently found an app on my Droid that will allow me to write down scenes or new ideas to flesh out later as they come to me. It's pretty much the 21st century version of the idea for the writer to keep a notepad and pen at hand. And I'll have this blog to not keep up-to-date on how my Mustang apprentice work is coming, but also I'll be using this to keep up-to-date on my wordcount and how my story is coming along. As I'm typing, I'm already thinking of how to start my story and how it'll progress. I'm getting pretty stoked about it now. ^_^

So I guess to put this whole post in a nutshell, while my journey in training a wild mustang didn't end with the cliche Grand Champion mustang coming back to Tallahassee with me, I still got a wonderful ending to that chapter of my life and am picking up my pen to start writing the next part.

Cause really, whoever said that all happy endings have to be cliche, never met the mustang training fanfiction writers who attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

Shabbat Shalom!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Road So Far...

Tomorrow, Libby, Marsha, and myself are headed up to Tennessee for the Extreme Mustang Makeover. While I'm very excited for the final leg of the journey I've taken, it's also pretty bittersweet. As I've already mentioned, this is the final leg of a three-month journey. It's been amazing in taking a hardly touched, wild mustang and turning him into a willing equine partner. From the beginnings of groundwork to working on our freestyle routine, it's unbelievable that three months have gone by so fast. Forming the relationship that I have with Raider, it's going to be very bittersweet end to this long journey.

Going in the day before we leave, I won't lie by saying I'm not nervous at all. Instead, I've actually been a nervous ball of energy. It's not been the type of nervous energy that freezes your body, but instead the type of energy that energizes and pumps you up for the upcoming game or event. So needless to say, I'm getting pumped for this weekend, but still bittersweet for what's coming at the end.

Over the weekend, I'll try to keep updated not only through the blog but also Facebook and Twitter on the happenings of what's going on. I'm even considering on trying out the camcorder on my phone and starting some vlogs.

So until next time....

Peace out!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Last week's happenings...

So while little Tucker is currently curled up with my stuffed horse, Apollo, and sleeping, I thought I would go ahead and finish off part two of Sunday's blog by telling you what happened last week. Think of it as a sequel to Sunday's blog. Hey movies have sequels, why can't blogs? LOL

Last Monday, Marsha and I took Raider and Balou over to Trey Young's facility. Trey is a local trainer who excels in the natural horsemanship methods and has worked with several renowned trainers such as Chris Cox. He's a really good teacher and really great with the horses. I learned a lot in just the few hours we were there.

Mostly what we were there for was to expose the mustangs to cattle. Marsha had done this with Splash a couple times before taking her to the Supreme Makeover (sometimes during the trail course, one of the obstacles will be riding around or even moving a cow or two), so this time was no different. We each took turns playing around with moving and cutting the small herd Trey had in the arena, during which Trey would occasionally talk us through what to do and give us hints on how to make certain maneuvers go smoother. Balou had fun, but he wasn't too interested in the cattle. Raider on the otherhand, was a different story.

Since we let them see the cows, Raider kept an eye on them. Not in a spooky/skittish way, but instead watched them with alert ears. I noticed this and quickly realized that he was watching how they were moving. Very rarely during the time we were there was he not watching them in some way or another. When it came time for me to introduce him to moving the herd, Trey told me to simply let Raider follow the herd before slowly starting to push them. He followed them with perked ears for a couple moments, but as soon as we started pushing them in different directions, he started surprising everybody. He started pinning his ears back and actually lunging at the cows like a real cow-horse! Pretty soon, I had to try and keep him from lunging forward and biting the cows so he would keep listening to me. At one point, we were pushing a single cow from the herd down to the other side of the arena before letting it go and he actually took off from a rollback and started chasing it down the arena! Even some of the other guys that worked at Trey's kept saying he had a natural cow-sense, which is surprising since it's mostly bred into horses from performance lines (such as Sunfrost lines, which is what Snazzy is out of-he's got some cow-sense too). Needless to say, Raider had a blast showing me he could be a little cow pony (hint for anybody who's looking for a future cow pony).

After playing with the cows, Marsha and I took the mustangs to a smalltrail set-up where Trey had a cowboy curtain (basically a tarp tied between two trees and cut into strips), a tunnel, and a see-saw bridge that we walked and rode them over. It took a little bit for Raider to walk through the curtain but eventually he started walking through it like a pro (albeit, still wary about it). Over all, it was a very good, productive day and we both had a lot of fun. I asked Trey if at some point I could bring Snazzy over and ride and he said he would be more than happy to have us over. So once I get Snazzy up and going again good, we'll be going over to his place and make a day of it.

The rest of the week went smoothly too. We worked on my 90-second Compulsory pattern, which all I have to show is walk, trot, canter, backing up, 90-degree hind-quarter turn, and we're planning on a lead change of some sort during the pattern. Right now, we're having some troubles with his leads, but we're getting them fixed pretty quickly. I'm still happy that Raider got his right lead and he going into it consistantly! LOL

We also picked out my freestyle song and we're going to start playing around with what do in it this week. So we've started riding too it and Marsha by the end of this week, we should have a good idea of what we can do in the song. It's a really good song and I'm very excited with what we're talking about doing in the freestyle. We've also started teaching Raider how to lay down and he's getting the idea pretty good, but he tends to get sticky in his hind end (doesn't know where to put it lol), so it's been a little hard for him.

Well, I guess that's all for now. I'll write another blog either Saturday night or Sunday. Saturday is the BBHA Pink show and we're going to take the mustangs there for the western classes.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

LCHA October show

I'll try to do this as best I can. Right now, I got my new puppy, Tucker, on my bed and he's ready to play before bedtime. I currently have him pacified with a glove that lost its mate and a stuffed animal. As for not doing this earlier, I've been off and on sick all week, so I haven't had the energy to get up and write something out ON ANYTHING, including my blog.

Anyway, yesterday was the Leon County October Horse show and Raider did awesome. I only showed him in three classes this time: Western Pleasure, Western Horsemanship, and Trail. All week, we've been working on his lead changes (which we've almost got), so I was frankly, a little worried that he wouldn't take his lead. But when we got into the ring, he did great. He kept his head down and when I asked for the lead I wanted, he gave it to me. I was very happy when he took first in that class.

Horsemanship class didn't work out as well. He didn't take his lead when I asked and when he did, he gave me the wrong lead. It was my fault though because I tried to rush him into it, instead of simply taking my time in getting him into it. So we only took second in that (Marsha and I were the only ones in the senior class.).

In the trail class though, his pattern was beautiful. The pattern itself wasn't that difficult, but what made it challenging was there were three poles in a triangle shape and you had to back your horse around it. Some of the other riders were worried about it and in the end, I think psyched themselves out of doing good (which I've seen happen plenty of times; I've done it a few myself) but I didn't worry about it. I simply stayed confidant in Raider's ability and told myself to take it slow. And we did. And he performed the pattern beautifully, especially backing around the poles nice and tight and taking the correct lead (again, I took my time on that). I was very happy with how he performed and the judge was too, cause she gave him first in that class too. But the best part was, I think Raider had a lot of fun at the show yesterday.

This week, Marsha and I are going to work both mustangs on horsemanship patterns to get them better at it before the Tennessee show and we're going to start planning out my freestyle for him. I now have a song picked out for him; we're going to ride to it and see if it's the one that fits him best. I hope it does, cause I really love the song and can sort of picture portions of a freestyle to parts of the song. But we'll see.

Alright, well I'm going to sign off for the night and tell you the rest of what happened last week tomorrow night. I've currently got a napping puppy that I need to wake up and play with so he can sleep through the night.

Goodnight everyone!

God Bless,

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Books and Bookworms

As most everybody who knows me knows that I'm a self-proclaimed bookworm. I LOVE books. I've been known to devour a 1,000 page novel in less than a week, depending on my schedule. My parents can't take me into a bookstore or the library without the 50/50 chance of me walking out with less money and one more book to store on my already sagging bookshelf (yes, my bookshelf is in fact sagging with several cubbies double-stacked with books. True story). Most of my closest and dearest friends will spend pretty much all day in Barnes and Noble drinking Starbucks coffee and pouring over the dozens upon dozens of books that the store has to offer. It saddened me when I got an email from Borders saying due to financial troubles, the company was closing its doors (I honestly nearly cried). It wasn't even a day after I got my new DROID phone that I had downloaded the Amazon Kindle with several free classics onto it (I now have four books on there so far). These (and other) examples are all true about me when it comes to books. So when I tell people I'm a voracious bookworm-I'm not kidding. And I owe it all to my parents, who opened up a different dimension in my imagination when they taught me how to read when I was two. I blame them for creating the book-monster I am today (not that I regret it, but it their fault lol). So what does all this rambling about my love/passion/possibly unhealthy obsession with books have to do with anything?

Simple: James Patterson wrote an article for CNN exposing possibly one of the most tragic problems we, as a country, are facing today. Problem: parents, schools, mentors, role models, every single adult in this world are failing kids (especially boys) by not turning them onto books. We whine and gripe about the condition we're leaving our government in to our kids, who are our future, but if said kids grow up not able to read or write properly, then what are we whining about in the first place? They won't be able to take over and try to run what's left of our country's government because THEY CAN'T READ!! The solution? It's simple: in order to bring up our kids' reading abilities, we have got to them away from their computers, away from the tvs and video games and READ!

I've heard parents say that their kids just don't like to read. Well, Mr. Patterson has a solution for that: "The best way to get kids reading more is to give them books that they'll gobble up -- and that will make them ask for another." That's right. Simply find books that will appeal to them the most. Then parents will say, "I don't know what they will like." Pardon me, but that's bull. You're the parent; the person who has swaddled, coddled, cooed, your child from time he/she was born (or adopted, whichever the case maybe). You know what your child likes, dislikes, what makes them happy, sad, mad, their dreams, their goals, what music they like, etc. You know your kid the best. So if your child likes animals, go to the library or go online and find books on animals. If they like history, there's books on historical fiction. If they like a cartoon on tv like X-Men or Yu-Gi-Oh, go into the manga/anime or comic book section and show them that their favorite tv shows are based off of books (it might also appeal to them to tell them that by reading the manga or comic books, they will already know what has happened by the time the show gets around to it; most times, I've found the manga are at least a year ahead of the episodes). Or better yet, take them to the library or bookstore and let them explore the shelves and see what interests them. You might just be surprised at what peaks their interest. 

Mr. Patterson also warns parents to not tell their kids that a book is too hard or easy. Case in point: by the time I was thirteen, I was already reading Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Granted, my reading comprehension levels were way above my grade, but the point is, my parents very rarely told me I couldn't read a certain book. Yes, while they made sure I stayed clear of the romance section of Barnes and Noble for obvious reasons, they also never put limitations or restrictions on what I read. I pretty much had free range of the library and bookstores and what they found is that even though I would pretty read anything and everything they put in front of me, they also found that I would (and still do) gravitate towards the science fiction/fantasy section. So don't discourage your kids from reading what interests them. Even with all the controversy that surrounded Harry Potter, the seven-part series turned thousands upon thousands of kids, both girls and boys alike, onto reading. 

Parents shouldn't leave it up to the public school system to make sure their kids find books they like and actually read them. While many schools have great programs to get kids to read, most schools, sadly, actually don't give a crap. They would rather put the money they receive from the government in sports equipment rather than education. I lost count of how many times my mom and dad had to fight the school in order to let me go into an advanced reading class (which never happened). But, on the flip side, there are the exceptions of schools having great programs or simply individual teachers creating incentives for their class to read more (my second grade, fourth grade, and fifth grade teachers were a part of this: my second-grade teacher had an incentive program for the class to get them to read more. Basically, the student with the highest number of books read would get the coolest prize out of the treasure chest. Needless to say, my childhood best friend and I were the top two who the most [I won by just a couple books]. My fourth grade teacher set aside thirty minutes or so and read to us [one of the books was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone]. My fifth grade teacher set aside a set time period where we could read a book of our own choice, but at the end of each book, we had to write up a small book report and discuss the book with her. I'm pretty sure I was the only one in the class who came up to her with the most book reports to talk about. LOL).

In the article, Mr. Patterson discusses other options and websites to help parents get their kids reading more (I realize I hadn't done it before, but here's the link for Mr. Patterson's article  I think this article needs to go viral and get passed along any chance we got. Because, let's face it, by not getting our kids to read more, we're failing them creatively and academically. Reading a book, whether it's sitting on a shelf or downloaded onto a Nook or Kindle, opens doors to new worlds and dimensions that we cannot possibly fathom. It sharpens and hones a child's imagination. Without reading, we would not have anymore teenagers vying to publish their own stories; kids learning how to create new works of art; kids jamming out a new piece of music they simply created on a whim; children going outside and sitting under a tree, ready to open the new novel they have been dying to read for the longest. Without reading, we would lose all that and more. 

Earlier, I may have come across as harsh and brash, but this is a subject that I feel needs to be talked about, discussed, and then done something about. Cause if we don't do something now...there won't be a future to talk about later...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

One more month!

Whoa, hard to believe that I only have one more month until Marsha and I take Raider and Balou to the Extreme Mustang Makeover in Tennessee. I'm getting more and more pumped up as that weekend gets closer, but to be honest, it's also bittersweet. Cause it also means that I have to let him go for adoption. Even though I really want too, I won't be able to take Raider home with me. Not only do I not have the money but I also don't have the space for him.

So besides still looking for sponsorships, I've also started looking for people locally that would like to adopt him. With his personality and the way he works, my parents and I have been constantly telling people he would make an awesome 4-H Colt to Maturity project for a kid who has ridden for a few years. He's a great little horse with a big heart and he deserves a good home to go to at the end of this, even if it can't be mine.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Marketing Strategies

This week, the next step of my business plan is to write up a marketing strategy. Honestly, I've been a little more excited about this part than the other steps. Probably because I have a better idea of how to research what I need than the others or probably because I already have an idea of how this step is going to work out. Or maybe it's just because it gave me an excuse to research and print off the company profile and marketing strategies for Starbucks. I don't know. The only way I can justify printing off five pages of nothing but Starbucks is the company has been in business selling freaking coffee, so they must've done something right in the marketing process, right? Exactly. Moving on.

So as I said, I'm pretty excited about this step in the business plan process. But while I'm working on this step, I'm still working on steps 1 and 2 from the past couple of weeks. So I basically have about two weeks of work to catch up on and only one more week to gather what I've got together and get it to Marsha so she can look it over. Yes, it is procrastination and yes, it is a bad habit that should be broken, but honestly, I find it as a good motivating tool to get things done as long as it is channeled properly. And I honestly have gotten better about my procrastination. See how I'm getting caught up two weeks ahead of deadline? There was a time I was still working on putting my 4-H project together two hours before it had to be judged. True story. Ask my mom.

But I digress slightly. Really, all I have left is to get together a mission statement, a name, and a description of the business like qualifications, location, how it'll serve clients, etc. It may seem a lot, but honestly, it's not. Or at least I don't think that it is. Or else, I'm not letting myself think like it is. Either way, it'll get done. Ask my mom.

I can't really think of much else to talk about with this project right now, so I guess I'll just leave it off for now and either start on another blog post of a different nature or just go back to researching and see what other things I can come up with. Hmm...definitely gives me a good excuse to research Barnes and Noble. Hmmm...


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Big Bend Horse Show

Raider did very well at the Big Bend Horseman's Association show on Saturday. I showed him in Novice Western Horsemanship, Novice Trail, and Novice English Equitation. I was going to show him in the Senior Poles, but by the end of the day, everyone was extremely hot and exhausted, so I simply scratched him. In the Horsemanship class, he received a fifth place ribbon; in Trail, first; and in Equitation, he got second place. Even though he kept getting into trouble all day outside the arena (mostly it was getting into people's space and being downright nosy-typical little boy behavior), he was extremely well. We did have a bit of a trailering problem in the morning, but Marsha and I think that it was because we loaded him last, so he thought he didn't have enough room to get into the trailer. I was very happy and proud of how Raider handled all those people and horses around him; he took everything in stride.

This week has been pretty quiet at the barn with Marsha, Splash, and Balou in Texas at the Supreme Mustang Makeover. With everything quiet, it has given Raider and I chance to really work more with our right-lead (which he's finally getting) and starting on our simple lead changes. Even though he needs help getting into his right-lead, he's really getting the hang off getting into his left lead quickly. He's been getting faster and faster with it everyday.

Today, I also set up four cones in a square and practiced some foundation drills for barrel racing. After practicing the drills for a few minutes, he started getting the hang of it and his turns got smoother. Hopefully, tomorrow his turns will be even smoother than today. I'm also hoping that by the time he goes to Tennessee, Raider will have a nice barrel foundation under him, if not at least trotting around the barrels nicely. I also plan on doing some pole bending on him. I've already played around with the pattern around some tires, now I just need to take the poles that my dad made me over to Marsha's and play around with it more.

Other than that, not much else has been going on. Like I said, with Marsha in Texas, it's been very quiet around the barn.

So I guess that's it for now.

God Bless,

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Last week in a nutshell...

Because the past week or so has been absolutely crazy, I have been having trouble figuring out how to start a new post on a new mustang update. So I'm just going to tell you what has been going on in a nutshell. Hopefully after this, I'll have a better time of getting the words from my head to the computer. So anyway, where to start?

Well, on Saturday, August 27, Marsha was holding a Dressage Under the Stars nighttime show. It was really cool. The show started at 7pm and it ran until almost 1am (I didn't stay that long; my parents and I went home long before then). Watching the dressage riders and horses do their tests as the sun went down and then being bathed in the glow of the arena lights was really cool; just as cool as being at a nighttime rodeo or barrel race. But what does the dressage show have to do with an update on Raider? Cause I actually showed him in it!

I had actually decided to do this about two weeks before the show and Marsha and I decided that Introduction Test B would be good to show him in. Intro Test B is just a simple walk/trot test and I have actually done it before during a dressage clinic on MJ. So it was only a matter of brushing off the cobwebs of what I remembered (which was pretty darn near all of it-I actually only forgot one sequence of the test) and working Raider on it in a dressage saddle...for the first time. In fact, some of the pictures I've posted on here with him in the dressage saddle is his first time in it, so he adapted very well to the weight and feel of it.

After working a little over a week in the dressage saddle and working on certain aspects of the test, we rode through our test on Saturday evening. He did extremely well and took fourth place with a 58% on his test! I was very happy with what he did. The only thing he spooked at was the judges' table, which it seemed that several of the horses were doing the same thing too. But I was very happy that instead of bolting (which is what he did that morning while practicing), he only bulged the inside shoulder in a bit and went into a bit of a counter-bend. Which wasn't too bad and he came back to me anyhow and went back to work just fine. Needless to say, he got Sunday off from work. ^_^

Then last Saturday was the Leon County Horseman's Association (or LCHA) monthly show. Marsha and I took her Supreme mustang, Splash, and Raider and while Marsha showed Splash in several different classes, I decided to take things a little slower and just showed Raider in three classes: English Equitation, Western Horsemanship, and Trail (all walk/trot of course; we're still working on getting the right-lead canter on him). I was a little nervous as I went into each class, but he took it all in stride and won blue ribbons in all of his classes! He did an excellent job and was a complete gentleman the entire time we were there. The only problems we had in the trail class was the sidepassing over the log to the left. We've been having some issues in him not moving his hips along with his shoulders going to left, so I wasn't too surprised when he tried to pivot on his hind instead of sidepass. But eventually, we somewhat got it and he still managed to take first. He did have his cute moments though; we've got pictures of him sticking his entire head in the hay bag and all you can see are his ears. I'll have to grab those photos off my parents' computer so I can upload some of them here.

But he did so well, Marsha and I are going to take him to the Big Bend Horseman's Association (BBHA) show this Saturday. I plan on doing more classes with him, including a game class and pole bending as I ride MJ too. So I have a pretty full day on Saturday, not to mention the barrel race on Sunday that I'm taking MJ to in Pavo, GA. Hopefully, he does just as well, if not better, especially on his sidepassing.

Let's see, what else? Oh yeah! I've also started a sort of side-job alongside training Raider. It's called the American Mustang Apprentice program and what it's about is while training Raider, I have to create and implement a business plan for a horse training business and promote what I'm doing with training a wild mustang. Some of the things I have to do with training is to create a business plan for my horse training business, keep a time log of what I'm doing, create a business expense record system, and create and implement a campaign promoting the awareness, training, and adoption of the mustangs through different media outlets such as Facebook, blogging, magazines, newspapers, etc. I have 12 weeks to get everything done, but luckily, instead of the 12 weeks being up when the Tennessee competition ends (like I originally thought), it ends in November. So far, I'm into week 2, so I'm a little behind in the blogging aspect, but I did get everything else on the list done.

Just another little thing I've added to my plate, but I'm pretty sure I can handle it. I just have to get my time management a little more organized so I can get everything I want to get done, done before I go to bed at night. Which, speaking of bedtime, it's about that time now. So I'll leave off with what I got and post more updates and perhaps a couple seperate thought-processes soon.

Goodnight and God Bless,

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

One month down...

Wow, has it already been one month since I started the Mustang Makeover challenge? Amazing how times flies. Hard to believe that the same horse who dragged me halfway across the roundpen on Day 1 is now learning about bending, correct leads, and showing in his first dressage test on Saturday evening! To be honest, I do doubt whether or not I'm doing a good job with him, especially on what seems like a particularly bad day, but when I remember just how long I've had him, I realize just how far he's come along.

Today, I lunged him on lunge line for the first time and after some confused moments and a couple "I don't want too" hissy-fits, he settled in and did pretty good. He even got his right lead canter a couple times, which has been a problem for the past week or so. Then I walked and long-trotted him around the jump arena for a while, working on his bending, keeping his hip under him, and getting him quicker off my leg. Overall, he did really well during his workout.

Later that morning, the equine dentist came out to float some of the horses' teeth, including Raider's. Not only did he need his teeth floated, but he also needed his wolf teeth pulled. We thought that he would act up, especially when trying to pull his teeth (one tooth gave us a bit of a problem in coming out) but instead he stood perfectly still the whole time-and all he had was a light sedative (nearly killed my hips in holding up his head though-OUCH!)! The dentist couldn't believe how well-behaved he was for a 3-year-old mustang and I was simply very happy with how he acted. Thursday, he gets his feet trimmed for the first time, which I'm not worried about at all. He still thinks he can't quite stand on three feet, especially when you hold up his front feet, but he's getting the hang of it. So hopefully, he'll behave for the farrier just as good as he did today.

And I got some more photos of him!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Song of Gold

During the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition, the Top Ten Riders have to do a freestyle routine to a song of the rider's choice, a small list of pre-disposed maneuvers, and other maneuvers the rider can add for fun and effect. So for the past couple months, I have been scouring through my favorite songs and albums, looking for one little 4-5 minute gem that will help make a freestyle routine that will ultimately stand out to the judges and get the crowd to their feet. And I think I've found it. I won't make it public yet, because I have to make sure I can come up with a good routine outline to it (enter the guinea pig-horse named MJ! LOL) and run it by Marsha to see what she thinks about it. Because, let's face it, the cash prizes would be awesome to get, but ultimately I've got my eye on the really cool looking belt buckle the Top Rider gets. Sure, I can actually buy the belt buckle, but what's the fun in that? ^_^

Anyway, as for another little update: Raider is progressing very nicely. We're still working on trying to get him to take his right canter lead, but since he's weak in the right hind, it's extremely hard for him to take it. He takes the lead correctly maybe 20% of the time, whereas he takes his left lead 90-100% of the time. So we're going back to lots and lots of lunging. Hopefully, it'll click by the end of the week. Other than that, everything else is going smoothly. He lets me pick up his feet and clean them (still working on getting the cue down though) and we've already ventured out into the big arena with no problems. Tomorrow, I'll start long-trotting him down the arena fence; it'll help build up more muscle in his hind end too and help with his leads and his stamina.

OH! And before I forget...

Here are some pictures of Raider and I! There will be more coming, as well as videos:

Until next time!

God Bless,

Monday, August 15, 2011

Update on Mustang

Remember my last update on how I said it was a week and half before Marsha and I went to pick up the mustangs? Umm...well...ah...yeah...week and half came and went and I'm into week 2 of training my mustang. Wow, I am really bad at this blogging thing. I have actually been meaning to get on here and blog about my new mustang, but with trying to get into a new routine with training now three horses and plus hitting up some barrel races with MJ, things have been a little more than crazy around here. So I'll just get started.

In a nutshell, I got a three-year-old chestnut gelding from the Adobe Holding Facility in Adobe, Wyoming (I was really hoping for a mustang from the Pryor Range, but it's close enough too home ^_^). A while ago, I had mentioned I had a couple names I really liked that I was going to choose from when I saw him. The minute I saw him, I knew what his name was going to be. I named him Raider, from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Marsha and I picked up Raider and Marsha's four-year-old mustang Balou in Mississippi and took them to a nearby trainer that Marsha knows for the weekend so we could spend the weekend playing with them and getting them started.

Day one was a little more than rough; I honestly felt like an idiot and I really didn't know what to do. Raider came off the trailer and he drug me a good twenty feet across the roundpen before I could plant my feet and skidded to a stop. Fortunately, as the afternoon progressed and I watched a one of Cohn Livingston's students (Marsha's friend and a really great guy all around) work with her mustang and I had a better idea of what I was doing. By the time we finished Friday evening, Raider was joining up with me and I could pet him and rub his head.

Day two, Saturday, we went back to Cohn's barn and taught our mustangs how to tie and stand as we walked in between them, clapped, made noise, etc. Raider didn't even flinch at all. He let us walk up too him and pet him all over his body. In fact, the only time he moved was when he figured out he could move his line and went to visit Balou. Otherwise, he simply stood there. As the day progressed, Cohn helped me with trying to lunge him and getting him to go forward, cause he would constantly stop and simply not move or push into my space. It took a while, but by the end of Sunday, I had a pretty good start with lunging. We also introduced the saddling process and he didn't mind it at all. He simply stood there and let us throw the saddle on and off several times and cinch him up (the only time he moved was when he got a little off-balance and he took a step to re-balance himself).

By the end of Sunday, day three, I was mounting and dismounting and being sent around by Cohn at a walk, trot, and canter. That's right, folks. Only three days out of the wild and I was already riding him. I also got him started on pivoting on his hind end on the ground. I was shocked and excited too no end whatsoever.

The original plan was to load up the horses on Marsha's trailer and head back home Sunday evening, but all weekend it downpoured frequently and Marsha didn't want to travel on wet roads late at night with a trailer loaded down with three horses (she also brought her Supreme mare, Splash). So we decided to leave on early Monday morning. Monday morning, we woke up (early again-thankfully not as early as Friday morning) and went down to the barn for the last time. Marsha and I took our mustangs out and we both loaded them into her slant load trailer like normal horses. We all were very surprised and happy at how level-headed and easy-going both Balou and Raider. It made for a great weekend all the way around.

After we got home, even though I had already ridden Raider, I spent about a week on doing nothing but ground work. By the end of the week, I had him in a snaffle bit and working off very light mouth pressure by ground-driving him twice a day. I also started riding him again at a walk and trot, this time, with steering capabilities. We've worked on in-hand showmanship skills and have been playing around with several different trail obstacles like walking over a tarp, walking and trotting over poles, and pivoting inside a box. He's got his hind-end pivot down on the left, but it still needs a little polishing going to the right (he has difficulties planting the left hind so he can spin around it, but he's getting it). We've also started cantering and currently working on his leads. Marsha said she's going to get on him and teach him how to bend his body, so hopefully it'll help him understand his leads and where to put his body a bit better.

As you can tell, the past couple of weeks with Raider have been extremely hectic and busy, but exciting and fun at the same time. The learning curve we've both had in the past two weeks have been simply incredible. I now have to start thinking about what I have to do for my freestyle routine for the competition in October. I'm still pouring over several songs that I really like (most of them from Thousand Foot Krutch and a couple from SuperChick and Fireflight) and I'm going to start playing around with them on MJ to see what I can come up with.

I will be updating a lot more as the days progress; at least once a week, if not more. I have also been posting pictures and such on my Facebook and started using my Twitter to update too (so if you want to find me on Twitter, there's a little button on the side that says "Follow me" you can click on ^_^). So there will be plenty of places there will be updates on Raider and also quite a few on MJ too, since I've started taking her her to barrel races more.

Until next time...

God Bless,

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What Does Love Mean?

Found this bao bei, precious treasure, courtesy of a friend on Stumble Upon today. Thoughts you fine folks like to have a peek at it.


Hope you enjoy.

God Bless,

Monday, July 11, 2011

Week and half left...

Okay so I looked on the calender at work this morning and realized today was July 11 (I'm not great at keeping up with dates; somedays I'm doing good at knowing what day it is). Further realization dawned when I looked further down and realized that July 22 is only a week and half away. So basically, I only have a week and half left until Marsha and I head to Mississippi and pick up the two mustangs! And I could think was: "Dang, where did the time go?"

I'll tell you where. Between mucking out stalls, riding horses, breaking colts, helping Marsha with her two Supreme mustangs (basically fulfilling my awesome apprentice duties-except the stalls; I get paid to muck out stalls ^_^), falling off horses, mild concussions, summer camps, and the occasional girl's night out, the past couple of months flew past me until that moment of truth hit me at 7 o'clock this morning. Even though I had been anxiously counting down the days, the date still managed to sneak up on me. And now with the added load of training my mustang, the days leading up to the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition will only fly by faster.

So this week and the beginning of next will be a little more than hectic. Along with helping getting the other two mustangs further in their training and riding my other assigned training rides, Marsha and I are breaking a 3-year-old Warmblood stud colt to ride; and we only have until next Friday to get him going. His name is Indy and I worked him in the roundpen this morning, doing basic join up work and getting him to flex his neck. He did really well and seems to have a fairly steady head between his ears, which I really like. It'll make the process go that much more smoother. Tomorrow, Marsha and I are going to put the saddle on him for the first time.

Another update is I got a CT-scan on my head and cervical x-rays on my neck last Thursday. Later that afternoon, my doctor called me with the results and said everything is fine and I did receive a mild concussion (as noted above) in my fall. He did warn me though that I needed to make sure not to fall on my head again in the next 30 days or else I could suffer from chronic migraines and/or neurological problems. Today, Marsha had me try out one of her jumping saddles (it's a Stubben, so it's a really well-made saddle) and when I told her how secure I felt in it and how much I liked it, she said that we'll try jumping in it...in 30 days. So no more jumping lessons until my 30-day "no falling on my head" period is up. *sigh* Bummer.

So in short: I have a week and half left until I get my mustang, a week and half to break Indy, a 3-year-old Warmblood stud colt to ride, and no more jumping lessons for 30 days. *sad* Still bummed... That it? OH! And I got a new helmet! It's an International Riding Helmet. It's made out of better material than my old Tipperary helmet, so I considered it a cool upgrade. And just in time for my mustang! YAY!

Okay, I think that about does it.

Peace out and God bless everybody!

Until next time,

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Important lesson on helmets...

I have just recently learned an important lesson about helmets: if you take a fall and hit your head, go ahead and replace the helmet! I learned this the hard way last Wednesday.

Yes, I did take another spill off a horse, this time on MJ, my mare. We're taking a jumping lesson Wednesday night and as we were going over the jumping lines, I fell behind MJ's motion and she rushed the jump, which made me lose my balance completely. I went straight up in the air and fell off on the side, landing hard on my head and then my back. I'm not sure, but I probably blacked out for a second before waking up completely dazed and everything spinning around me. After a minute, I eventually got up and got my horse, but for a week after I had chronic headaches and even migraines which caused dizziness and some nausea. It wasn't until yesterday I went to doctor and (after giving me a death glare for five minutes) he ordered a CT scan on my head and cervical x-rays on my neck.

Everything turned out alright; turns out I had a mild concussion. He did warn me if I fell off and hit my head again within a month, I could have chronic headaches and even neurological problems. Other than that, everything was normal.

Moral of this story? If I had replaced my helmet when I fell off in March, I'm pretty sure this wouldn't have happened. There's a reason why the helmet companies say to replace the helmets if they take a hit: even if there aren't any visible cracks or damage on the helmet, there could be hidden damage underneath the shell. And I'm pretty sure that's what happened to my helmet. Even though I couldn't see any damage to it on the outside, there was more likely damage on the inside. So when I fell Wednesday, my helmet wasn't able prevent a mild concussion, even though I know that if I wasn't wearing a helmet, things could've been much, much worse. So after I get done with this entry, I'm going on the helmet company's website and see if they have a warranty on my helmet. If they do, then I can send it in and they'll send one back to me as a replacement.

On another note, if anyone knows of anybody selling an older Dover jumping saddle in good condition for a decent price, let me know. The reason for my fall was based on my English saddle because of how slippery it is. I have a hard time keeping my balance in it, especially going over jumps. So if anyone knows anyone selling an older Dover jumping saddle or even a Stubben jumping saddle for a decent price, post a comment and let me know. I would really appreciate it. ^_^

God bless,

Friday, June 24, 2011

One more month too go...

It's official: my application for the Extreme Mustang Makeover was approved and I've got one more month to go until Marsha and I travel to Mississippi and pick up our mustangs! I am VERY excited about this and getting more excited as the pick-up date gets closer, which was moved to the weekend of July 22. I've been nearly jumping around in my bedroom whenever I think about it (the reason I nearly is cause I learned my lesson about jumping around in my room after I smashed my hand through a glass ceiling lamp. Not fun; still got the scars from that incident.).

I'm still coming up with different to name my mustang, though I won't officially decide on one until I actually see him. But I do have several names ranging from old muscle car brands, names from books I really like, a few translated in Latin, a couple from different Ancient culture mythology (cause I'm nerd like that and love mythology), and a couple from some old western tv shows I'm into. There are a couple I really, really love and several I really like, so even though the list keeps slowly getting longer, it's also pretty short since I keep coming back to those select few names I've got. It also helps that I know my mustang will be a three-year-old gelding, but I don't know what color it will be. Most likely either a bay, black, or sorrel. Those three colors are what makes most of these un-adoptable since everyone wants the pintos, grays, grullos, cremellos, palominos, etc. I also don't know how tall he will be. For all I know, I could be getting a pony-sized mustang! LOL So besides not knowing the color or height of the mustang, choosing names has gotten quite easier since I have a pretty good idea what I'm going to be looking at for the most part. I will be sure to get on here several more times with updates before the pick-up date and I will definitely try to bring my laptop with me to Mississippi and post pictures and such of my new mustang. Plus, I can't go without doing some sort of writing on my laptop.

Which reminds me of another update I've been meaning to post about. Come November, I will be joining in on the National Novel Writing Month contest! In essence, I have to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. It will be very challenging, especially since in order to get it done in time, I have to do away with be finicky about grammar and such (which will be extremely hard, since I'm a perfectionist about grammar and spelling-ask anybody) but instead just write out a story with all abandon. Even though the rules of the contest state that I have to start officially writing the story on November 1st, I can draw out an outline so I can keep to a plan on how my story is going to draw out. I still have yet to figure out what I'm going to write about, but I'm going to talk to several of my friends who will be doing the same thing and brainstorm with them. I've also gotten on the website and browsed through their forums for any ideas on the matter. It is definitely going to be fun!

All I have too say is when December rolls around, I won't know what to do with myself! LOL

Until next time friends!

Shabbat Shalom,

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Getting Closer...

The countdown has begun! Well actually, the countdown began last month really but still, it's no less exciting that in less than two months, I will be travelling to Mississippi with my trainer to pick up my mustang and start the Extreme Mustang Makeover challenge! As the date ticks closer, I have been getting more and more excited about getting my mustang. Whatever reservations I had in the past about training a mustang have been replaced with confidence; it's helped that I've regained my confidence in my riding since my fall a couple or so months back and I've been helping my trainer with both of her Supreme Mustangs (the Supreme Mustang Makeover is essentially the same thing as the Extreme Makeover, but instead of the mustangs being 3-4 years old, these mustangs are 5-6 years old and considered "unadoptable" because of their age). I simply cannot WAIT until I can get started on my own mustang! It's going to be a hectic summer and fall, but it's well worth it!

Monday, April 25, 2011


I got a hold of a YouTube video of Carrie Underwood singing "How Great Thou Art" at the Girl's Night Out concert televised on CBS. Everybody is talking how they're surprised how fast this video went viral and got so many positive reviews on it. Personally, I am not. I have always known that Carrie Underwood has an amazing, God-given voice and this is just proof of it. God was definitely in that concert hall that night, there is no doubt about it.

Enjoy everybody.
Shalom and God Bless,

Friday, April 22, 2011

Summertime is coming!

Wow, I have really got keep this thing updated more...over a month since my last post and many things have happened since!

First things first: I have finally started taking MJ, my mare, to her first few barrel races! YAY! After putting in two and half years' worth of work, time, and effort into her and it's finally paying off. We're not winning many paychecks yet; in fact, we've only just won one, but we are getting back into the game. Still have to work through several issues (the biggest one being her trying to balk at the gate), but other than that, her pattern is SOLID! Couldn't have asked for a better partner...even though she does like to push my buttons while at home!

Snazzy, on the other hand, has been off of work for several weeks now. Last month, I noticed he was seriously limping in the front (looks like right-front lameness) and immediately asked my farrier if we could shoe him. But that quickly became a hassle considering Snazzy kept throwing his left front shoe almost every week... couple of times even twice a week! So long story short, after weighing the options, we decided it was best we take off his shoes entirely since it is becoming not a hassle financially, but going around constantly with three shoes might make whatever is going on his foot worse. Come next week, he's got an x-ray appointment with vet to make sure that it IS just a foot soreness and not anything worse, God-forbid. My worst fear is founder from the lush spring grass he has access to. Fingers are crossed and prayers are being spoken, so hopefully, everything is alright.

Now for the BIG NEWS! As I have already mentioned, I am doing an apprenticeship at the barn I work at, Southern Oaks Equestrian. Well over the past couple of months, my trainer/boss has been talking to me about an event called the Extreme Mustang Makeover. I'll do another entry explaining about the Extreme Mustang Makeover later on, but in a nutshell, it's an event hosted by the Mustang Heritage Foundation to get the mustangs who have rounded up into holding pens adopted out to loving homes. Unfortunately, there aren't many people who can correctly train a mustang, so the MHF created the event to help get these mustangs trained and adopted out. There are about 200 trainers (I'll have to check it and make sure I got that right) who are selected to participate in this event. What happens is, when it comes time to pick up the mustang (or mustangs; there are several trainers who do at least two or even three if they can), the trainers have exactly 90 DAYS to completely halter-break, saddle break, and teach the horse to walk, trot, canter. Then once the 90 days are up, the trainers take their mustang to the Extreme Mustang Makeover Competition, showcasing the work they have put into these once wild horses. Once the competition is over, the horses are put into an auction where they are then sold to the highest bidder. Once the horse is sold, the trainer receives a $700 trainer's fee and 20% of the commission from the sale, plus whatever cash and/or prizes they receive during the competition, if they get any. Of course, it isn't the money that is the attention-getter in this case; it's the experience and reputation the trainer receives when they do this event. It is basically the once-in-a-lifetime experience to work with a wild mustang. The competition is also shown on national television, on channel RFD-TV.

So, as I mentioned before, my trainer and I have been talking back and forth on this event and after weighing my options on everything (mostly if I would have time to not only work my horses but add a mustang that I would be working two-three times a day), I decided to enter into the Tennessee Mustang Makeover in October. The competition will be held in Murfreesboro, TN, and Marsha and I will be picking up our mustangs (cause she's doing one alongside me) in the middle of July. So needless to say, my summer is going to crammed pack but it will be completely worth it! I am very excited for everything that is going to be happening starting July!

In order to keep everybody updated on the progress of not only my horses but my new mustang that I will be getting in July, I will be trying a lot harder on updating my blog and also, not only posting on my Facebook but also my new Twitter account. Many exciting opportunities are starting to open up for me and I want to make sure to keep everybody posted on what's going on!

Until next time...

Shabbat Shalom,

P.S. Before I forget, here's the URL to my new Twitter account. I'll probably be getting on that more than Facebook, unless I'm posting pictures:


So there you go! Enjoy and Happy Easter!


Friday, March 4, 2011

A Small Epiphany

Just last week, on February 21, I got bucked off three time off the Quarter Horse/Arab filly I've been training. It was my first time falling off a horse and I landed pretty hard each time. The first time I fell off, I landed more on my butt and my back, knocking the wind out of me and then hit the back of my head on the ground. I was a little dazed as I tried to catch my breath, but I simply shook it off and got right back on. The other two times, I actually landed on my head and my shoulders. Considering how hard I landed and where, I was grateful that the only thing hurt was a little bit of my confidence (it was my first time falling off ever-who's confidence wouldn't be shook up after that?) and sore shoulders and back. I joked about with my trainer and several of my friends after that, but when I got to thinking about it, I was truly grateful that I didn't end up with a concussion or worse. And it was all because of a simple piece of riding equipment that is sorely overlooked by many people (including me): my riding helmet.

I shudder to think what could've happened if my trainer hadn't been diligent enough with me in reminding her twenty (soon-to-be twenty-one) year-old apprentice too take the extra minute or two and put on her helmet before bridling her horses. Remembering how hard I hit my head on the ground, I realized just how fortunate I was too have a trainer that kept onto me about the importance of wearing a helmet is...and how stupid I was before to not wear one while I was barrel racing or doing other activities. I've told several people, including my parents, that with as many close calls as I've had with horses over the years, I knew that I would be falling off at some point. I even went as far as bragging that the fall would be epic! But now, I wonder if I really believed that I could never be bucked off, could never be completely unseated; I wonder if I believed I was invincible too some degree. The more I think about what happened and what could've happened as a result, I'm certainly thinking I had those thoughts. But since I've been brought back down to earth (literally and figuratively lol), my thought process has changed-as well as my habits. Since my accident, not only have I made more of an effort of remembering my helmet when I ride the horses I'm training, I've also noticed I've made more of an effort to grab my helmet out of the truck and put it within sight in my trailer while I tack up my own horses-something I have only done a mere handful of times since I've started riding under Marsha's tutelage and even more rarely before that.

My accident comes a little under a week before the one-year-anniversary of another rider who had a similiar accident-but with much more traumatic injuries. A year ago, on March 3, 2010, Courtney King-Dye, an international dressage rider and trainer, was training a horse when the horse tripped and fell, throwing Courtney out of the saddle. She was not wearing a helmet at the time and she suffered a traumatic brain injury that left her in a coma for four weeks. When she woke up, she had 3 months of inpatient rehabilitation re-learning how to walk and talk. She is currently still doing outpatient therapy with the ultimate goal of riding professionally again and writes down her progress on her own blog. Since Courtney's accident, many people have been inspired other riders to re-think their riding habits and the implications of riding without a helmet; even those at the Grand Prix level, where the normal attire is a sports coat with tails and a top hat.

While Courtney is lucky to be alive (and says so frequently), what happened to Courtney could've been me-either last Monday or even during any of the previous times I had extremely close calls. If I hadn't been wearing my helmet last Monday, I think I could've been waking up in the hospital with a serious concussion-or even worse than that. I was extremely lucky in the sense that when I fell off, I was wearing a helmet.

Like Courtney's accident inspired many other riders to re-think their riding habits, my accident inspired me to do the same. Unfortunately, epiphanies like mine or Courtney's are rarely told to the rest of the horse world. Many riders, both amateur and professional alike, continue to make the decision of wearing their cowboy hats or top hats instead of helmets while performing in the sports they love. This needs to change. Horseback riding is a dangerous sport whether you're just in it for the fun or training professionally. Horses are living, breathing creatures with a mind of their own. They are not machines like cars or motorcycles; they have a brain that processes thoughts and emotion like ours do. They have their good days and their bad days and are prone to be moody just as we humans are. While they are beautiful renditions of God's handiwork, they are still bigger and stronger than us and need to be treated as such. The word need to be spread about riding safety and helmet use; from the dressage ring to the rodeo arena to the working ranches, people need to know about what can happen. Maybe if the word was spread further little by little, more people would be saved from the hardships that Courtney went through as I was by wearing my helmet. I know it sounds like I just turned my personal epiphany about my accident into a public service announcement, but this is a subject I feel strongly about, especially lately.

And I know Miss Courtney feels the same way.

If you want to keep updated on Miss Courtney's progress and rehabilitation as she recovers from her injuries, here is her website: http://www.courtneykingdressage.com/4436.html

God Bless.
Shabbat Shalom everbody.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


A simple word with a simple meaning.

A simple word with a simple meaning.

A simple word with so much complexity.

A river runs its course; a simple thing to see.
But when broken down, it becomes a complexity.
The wind howling through a canyon, a simple thing to hear.
But when broken down, it becomes a complexity.
A large rock wall towering over everything, a simple thing to touch.
But when broken down, it becomes a complexity.

Complexity: a simple word with a simple meaning.
But when broken down, it becomes what its called:

A complexity.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Here, There, and Back Again...

It's been almost a year (seven months to be exact) since I've posted on this blog that I created last year. Too be honest, I'm not that great at journaling my thoughts on a daily basis and since a blog is pretty much an online version of it...yeah I think the drift's been caught. But I created this for a reason and I'm going to try (keyword here is TRY) and be more diligent on getting on here and updating my life and what's going on. And now...I just realized I paraphrased J.R.R. Tolkien in my title. Haha, what a LoTR nerd I am!

Anyway...there have been many changes in my life so far. Still haven't been able to get back into school (though I really, really want too) and I'm still working with my horses. Lately though, I've started to take on more responsibility at work. Just recently, my boss/trainer, Marsha Sapp, has taken me under her wing and started me in a program she just started. She's calling it the Apprenticeship Training Program and it's for working students who can devote 3 hours a day for 3 days a week at the barn training horses under her tutelage. The training can range in many things from just simply grooming and saddling to actually getting hands-on experience in training young horses. I've been doing this just in the past couple of weeks and I have had an absolute blast with it.

Marsha has started me off with three young horses at three different experience levels: one is just now getting saddle-broke (Diva), another is saddle-broke and is knowledgeable in the basic foundation of dressage (Solitarie), and the third is at First Level dressage (Darren). As I've already said, I have been having a blast and been learning a lot about training green horses and how each horse differs from one another in how they work. Diva, for instance, is definitely the more opinionated one of the bunch and she lets you know it. She is a very sweet little filly and will just be in your back pocket as soon as you walk into the pasture, but she isn't quite used to the fact that I'm the "boss mare" of our little herd. Don't get me wrong, she is very intelligent and knows that in the end she has to do what  ask of her, but she still wants that little bit of control. But I guess that is just like how we humans operate; we want to try and control everything in our lives, even though we can't control everything that happens. We just have to learn to roll with the punches and not let the little things get to us so much. But I'm digressing and letting my ADD take me into another subject for a possible later time.

The other little mare, Solitarie, is not quite as opinionated but just as sweet and cute as Diva. A lot of what I've been working with her on is getting her to stay off her front end and shift her weight to her hind where she can carry herself better and be in better balance as she transitions into harder and more challenging areas of her training. So once you get the hang of her and learn how to keep her off her forehand, she is a lot of fun to ride and play around with. In the three-four weeks that I've been working with her, my riding has greatly improved because I've been having to get her to shift her weight to her hind end, which is something I've been working on with my own young gelding, Snazzy. Unfortunately, because she is easy to ride, come next week, I won't be riding her anymore but instead training a new young, Quarter horse/Arabian mare that came in yesterday. She is a very sweet and gentle little mare, if not a little skittish and untrustworthy about people, but then again, she just came in yesterday and has yet to settle in. I'm not sure how she's going to be; I have to wait until Monday to see how she is going to work. I am very excited to find out how she is going to work out with me, even though that means I won't be riding Solitarie any longer. I'm still bummed about that a little.

The third horse, Darren, is the most complicated one of the bunch. While he is very easy to ride and has the most experience (he is up to First Level in dressage), he has a lot of buttons to push there is a certain way you have to push them. Like the other two mares, he is very intelligent but a little skittish about new riders. It took him a couple or so rides before he accepted me as his new rider. He is another horse on which my riding has improved a lot with because of the way he rides. He is very sensitive and collects himself into a correct frame immediately when you start riding, so you have to be careful about how you ask him to do things or else he won't understand and get frustrated. Because of all the rain we've had lately and that he recently got worked on by a chiropractor, I haven't had too many rides on him like I have on Solitarie and even Diva, who I've just been able to get on and ride in the roundpen. But next week is a new week and hopefully the rain will hold off long enough that I will be able to ride him and get to know him more, because he is a lot of fun to ride as well.

Well this post certainly turned out longer than I expected. But then again, many things have occurred in my life since I started this blog and being started in the apprentice program is only part of it (albeit, a big part). There will be many more updates on how my progress in the program is going, intermittent with the occasional thought processes that go through my head constantly.

So until then, my friends!