My Baby Made Me Proud

Drew and Aragorn attended a Working Horse Central clinic today with Tarrin. Clinics are always fun because you learn so much from the other students. I’m now glad Apache couldn’t come, because Drew and I learned so much and he was just amazing.

That’s right, I have a clue. A Drew’s clue.

Everything worked out so well! Aragorn was able to canter and do all the new things he was asked to do, even though he’d thrown his therapeutic shoe. I was very proud of him and Sara.

We lucked out and the weather was cool-ish and cloudy for the first two groups in the clinic. We missed most of the first group due to not wanting to leave that early, but we did get to chat with people we’d met before, plus got to meet interesting new folks.

Drew is watching the dremel tool in action, as Julie worked on Aragorn’s shoe

I really enjoyed the second group, because they were doing things I’d never done before, and I could watch and learn from them. They did backing up zig zags, which I now think I could do, walking over a tire, which some horses did NOT like. Both gave me a good insight into how to gently teach new skills. Every single horse made it over the scary tire! Here are some photos of the cool people and their horses in the second group.

Our group was me, Sara, and the woman with the gray Arabian mare we’d met before. By that time, the sun was out, so I was glad for my fancy sun shirt. I was worried that there wouldn’t be much Drew could do in hand. Was I ever wrong!

First we practiced our dressage stuff, and I learned a better way to back him straight, plus we did our circles great. Ha! He got annoyed at me for keeping him out of my space and tried to nip back. That got shut down. I think our next show will me much better.

Then we did obstacles, most of which we’d never tried. That was so much fun. The zig zag backing up was cool because I was supposed to do it from outside the obstacle. We figured it out!

There was a jump, which I had to do from outside the jump, then at a canter. He did so well. We both were confident. I smiled and smiled. And I got Drew to do a zig zag side pass without using a dressage whip to guide him. He turned on the forehand! He turned the other way. He got applause. It wasn’t great but he DID it.

No photos of all this, so here’s my new bougainvillea.

The best one, though, was the dreaded tractor tire filled with sand, which they had to approach straight and then go through. I was surprised that it was so hard for the horse and rider pairs but learned so much watching them work through it. Patience worked! Even horses who were spooked by it got through.

And here’s a dragonfly I saw while waiting our turn.

As for Drew, I’d already walked him over it twice when we were warming up, so Tarrin said I had to do it on the long rope. To my surprise, he went over it repeatedly at a trot in both directions with me just directing him a bit. Everyone praised my rope handling and how I followed him. Holy cow! I’ve really gotten better with all that practice. I used to be so bad at this! I was so proud of both him and me. We are becoming a real team. Drew really seemed to have fun. What a guy.

After the clinic I got to watch Tarrin make a new hoof treatment device for Aragorn. It is very complicated and involves flames, mixing glue compound, molding, and hotness. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but Aragorn seemed happy. He really liked a cushion thing he was putting his feet on. It looked very comfy.

And I got to hang out in the pool with Lee later!

We were tired people and horses when we got home, but so happy. I had two wonderful horse days in a row. Wooo.

Ouch Number Three, Balanced by Kindness

I keep falling down so much I wonder if I need a walker. No, I don’t. Anyone would fall if a large horse knocked them over or, as today, if they fell in a deep hole cleverly hidden by overgrown Bermuda grass.

I had fertilized the back porch plants and was heading around the side of the house to get the front plants. It had rained (yay) so it was slippery. So when I stepped in the hole left from when the dog fence was moved to the front of the house, not only did I fall, but I slid. There went the second pair of pants this week. I managed to sprain my toe! How weird.

I still managed to make some darn good pork fried rice with fresh veggies and eggs.

Other than a headache and the toe thing, I’m fine, though. The holes will be dealt with soon, I’m sure! But, ouch.

Better things did happen, though. I looked up from my Working Horse Central meeting last night to see a beaming fellow wearing one of my straw hats. No way was it coming off, either, because the nephew had gotten all the findings needed to put “stampede strings” in my hats. They are classy, too.

No more flying off my head.

The findings he used are really nice. The slide looks like engraved silver. I’ll look spiffy when I do my next show with Drew and will keep my hat!

Quality workmanship!

After I made my delicious dinner tonight, the nephew said he’d made me some lightweight towel racks. When I went out to see it, I was delighted to see it was the beginnings of one of those games where you throw objects that wrap around the bars. I can’t wait to play. I think we’re also getting a cornhole game, too. How kind! This is gonna be a fun summer! We will have games, swimming, a pool house, and so much more. After ten years, I finally feel home.

What the heck?

I feel so lucky to be putting together a nice fun ranch home. I don’t miss Austin as much as I was for a while. Everyone I’m around here is at least open and honest about whether they like you or not, so you know where you stand. Hmm, apparently ouch number 2 is still hurting. I do miss some of my friends, though and will figure out some way to visit soon.

Here at the ranch, one can relax. Some more than others.

Yes, Good Customer Service Exists

So, Lee and I are headed to our yearly South Carolina condo stay. We left after work yesterday to get a few hours in, and stopped at the same Hampton Inn we stayed in last year.

It has beautiful plants around it.

When we got there, one front desk person was on the phone. She had obviously been on the phone a long time, helping someone with a complex reservation. I was so impressed at her kindness and support for the person on the phone.

Snappy!

Meanwhile, I discovered I’d made my reservation for the wrong day. The young goth guy helping me was just great about fixing the error, which was made harder by the fact that I’d used points to make the reservation. He, too, was cheerful, friendly, and patient. It made me feel so much better.

Feeling rosy

Then, we realized a dude had been waiting behind us a long time. The phone call finally ended, and the front desk woman started to help us, but we said to help that guy. He was SO nice about having to wait, saying he’d had the same problem. We all ended up laughing and talking. What could have been a group of annoyed people ended up being uplifting.

They had dewberries, too.

Once we deposited our stuff, we headed over to the pizza place we ate at last year, where we had loved the calzones. Lee suggested we sit outside to eat. Our server ended up being the manager.

We had fun!

Well, the manager, named Leigh or Lee, made our meal a true joy. We had such fun talking with her about her life, adventures in the hospitality industry, and what it’s like to be the child of a very outgoing father (she and I are). The calzones with Cajun seasoning were great, too.

There are shrimp in there.

At the end of the meal, Leigh/Lee told us she’d been bummed that she had to come in to work, but that we’d made her evening great.

I guess I was happy, since I made this weird Snapchat.

I’m so glad we’d been able to meet and enjoy conversation. It was the end of the evening, so the crowd had thinned. She was able to do all her work AND meet new people. We got great food and laughed at all her stories.

I hope our trip continues to feature kindness, good service, and patience. Not being so stressful about COVID helps, for sure.

Easter Walk

Much nature has been seen today, which makes for a perfect celebration of rebirth. Kathleen took me out to the woods and pasture to see some trapdoor spider nests (which I didn’t get a picture of). Penney joined us, and she had a lot of fun.

I’m exploring.

We found some really fun things, including lots of rocks. This one looked like a skull to us.

We love our rocks.

There were tiny mushrooms, dead crawfish (thanks to the crop duster), three types of sedge, a beautiful snakeskin in the tree that no longer is covered with grapevines, milkweed, water butter cups, wild garlic, and so many evening primroses.

The best sighting of the day came from my friend in Milano, Tarrin. Look at all these icky tent caterpillars! Wow!

Ready to make a tent, I guess?

I have a lot of horse stuff, which I’ll share later. Now I’ll enjoy my family.

Sunday Dinners Are BACK

It started out small and just kept growing. Our pre-pandemic tradition of Sunday dinners with our family and friends who’ve moved here from the Austin area has started up with the benefit of hot tub time!

Enjoying the hot tub’s eerie green light.

We welcomed Mike and Martha with real hugs, and were happy to have Kathleen and her spouse come in from their new in-town digs. Plus, joy of joys, Anita is here now, for her first gathering as a resident of Cameron!

Woo hoo! We are using our porch! And it’s GREEN outside.

Mike brought lots of really good pizza from the local pizza place. Wow, the veggie one rocked.

I wonder who shared pizza with the dogs?

We all enjoyed the new patios and all the chairs. It was so nice to have normal conversations with each other.

Pizza time!

The women all enjoyed the hot tub for a long time after dinner. That was my dream, to share the pool and hot tub with friends and family, often!

Men sat by the pool to chat.

I sure hope we can have more gatherings with neighbors, friends, and visitors this year. Small groups like this are just perfect for us hermits.

We will NOT make visitors get licked.

A highlight of the evening for me was that I realized my new phone lets me take photos of the stars! It’s quite cool. You have to hold still, and the phone fixes it up to where it sees more stars than you do!

I need to go into the bottom pasture where there are NO lights and get Milky Way photos when it’s visible. Maybe Jupiter’s moons will show up, too. I can see them with my binoculars. Way to go, iPhone 13!

There’s Still Life in the Old Guy

I had a little extra horse time today, so I decided to groom Dusty, the Buckskin Buddy that Kathleen rode the most. He’d been looking lonely. Plus they are all shedding.

Look at me go!

We groomed a long time. He is much lighter now, and his mane and tail are all shiny. He is even growing some forelock back in after it was just a nub for a while. I could tell he enjoy it.

See, I have a mane!

Just for fun, we went on a walk and into the round pen. He immediately picked up a nice trot and kept going until I asked him to stop. Then he went the other way, also just fine.

Thanks, Suna!

To my surprise, when I encouraged him, he picked up an easy canter, not the uncontrolled one I sometimes get from Drew. It was fun to watch him looking so good and enjoying himself. I think he likes his current rations.

After I put him away, Drew came out to play. His mane is so pretty. More important, so is his behavior. His jumps looked great, and he stopped when I stopped, then trotted when I jogged. Yep. He’s great at home. Even sidepassed both ways.

Mmm. Grass.

When we were done practicing things, we went for a nice, relaxing walk around the property. I let him have a grazing break near the arroyo and just enjoyed his shiny hair above his hooves. The walk back was just great. We had a great time.

I’m glad I’m not a horse. Zzzz.

Apache was thrilled not to have to go trotting in circles again today, so we were all happy!

Flower love. Did you know our florist grows flowers for other florists? No wonder these seem so fresh.

In spring news, the swallows are back, swooping around. And I’ve never seen or heard so many cardinals. So pretty.

Chirp

And to end the day, here are some pretty flowers Dusty and his friends sent yesterday, just to brighten your evening or day.

Enjoy whatever is on the side of your road.

Can Horses Give Birthday Presents?

Horses don’t know about calendars or birthdays, though I guess they are aware of seasons. But I’m going to choose to believe they can give gifts! So, thanks to Apache, my American horse, for the gift today!

Seconds earlier, he was trying to taste the flag. Guess that doesn’t spook him!

My birthday gift to myself this year was a Working Horse Central clinic, which happened to be at Tarrin the trainer’s place, quite familiar to my guys. I decided to take Apache, to see how much he’s improved. By the way, a clinic is like a group lesson, where you get to see how others are doing. You can learn so much.

Apache paid careful attention.

We went with Sara and Aragorn, which made the day that much more fun, and Trixie also added to the birthday friend fun with her very lively little stallion, Archie.

The sun shining on my friends!

The clinic was fantastic. We learned a lot from the advanced people, who included a young girl who’s also a trick rider. It was fun seeing how the cantering crowd had stuff to learn, just like us.

Practice with the dreaded pole.

Our group had a very young woman, too. I was so impressed with how much she wanted to learn, even when her horse gave her trouble. She just got on another horse and kept trying.

I missed the dang birds.

She was a great role model for not giving up. My favorite thing that happened with her was that I heard a familiar noise in the sky. It was the Sandhill cranes migrating. I told her to look up. It was such a tender moment to introduce a child to this Texas wonder. She was enthralled. For many reasons, she won’t forget today!

I won’t forget this hay.

Well, you don’t need the details, but I was so happy with how well Apache and I did with all these new things! We learned to try trotting. We will score better. And I learned he backs up well.

Having a great birthday.

We learned so much from everyone else, and from what we tried and realized we could do. There was a lot of trotting. It went well and I got better and better, but I sure hurt now.

I was really tired, too. So much trotting.

I’d forgotten how well Apache does in clinics. He is like a learning sponge. And he was so patient waiting for his turn. He was calm and didn’t do one squirrelly thing. Nothing the other horses did phased him, even when a horse rolled onto its rider. I was so proud. What a great birthday gift.

Patiently waiting. All these guys were so good.

I can’t believe we did so well at things we’d never tried before. This sure makes up for Drew just not wanting to do anything yesterday. If he messes up tomorrow, so what? We will just keep learning. That’s the fun part.

Yee haw! It looks like I’m pulling on him, because I’m trying to get him to look at Sara.

I hope that Drew learns to enjoy clinics and shows like Apache does. In any case, my horse gave me a good birthday. No need to worry about people, parties, or presents. Perfect.

Y’all Won’t Believe THIS Coincidence

Do you remember reading about how much fun I had just wandering around Breckenridge, Colorado day before yesterday? And do you remember that I got very excited when I walked through a residential area and saw that a house had a big bird feeder and I hung around there trying to get photos of the pretty birds?

The Steller’s Jay I saw

I remember thinking what a really nice bird feeder those people had, and how much I liked all the stuff they had on their deck. It looked like such a nice, comfortable home, and I wished I could watch birds on that deck. As I walked back to town, I was so grateful to those folks for letting me see a new bird.

Well, today, I was reading Facebook comments about my earlier blog post. You could have knocked me over with an intensely blue feather when I read this!

What??? (I scratched her name out because I, too, care about internet privacy)

At first, I thought she meant that was the same kind of bird feeder she had. But no, out of all the houses in this little town, I had managed to take a bird picture at the home of the ONLY person I know who actually lives here! I knew she’d moved away from Texas, but I forgot where she had gone!

This made me SO happy.

So, I may get my wish and get to look at birds from that lovely deck. Maybe I can get better photos. I’m just tickled to death! This whole “keeping up with folks on the internet” thing is really working out for me!

Speaking of Friends

My friend Kathy and I knitted and talked all morning until the shops opened, at which time we went shopping a bit more and had a wonderful brunch at a place called the Columbine Cafe. I had an omelet with a side of the first Colorado green chili that I’d ever had. If you get a chance, try it. The tequila sunrise was also delicious.

This woman can really knit by the way. That sweater has incredible subtle detailing and fits perfectly. I wove my scarf.

Our shopping was a great success, as I have holiday gifts all under control now. One shop we went into had some of the funniest dang cards, fridge magnets, and t-shirts that we couldn’t stop laughing. What we really liked about this place, and the other one we spent a lot of time in, was that much of the merchandise was unique and not the same old stuff you see everywhere. There must be a lot of creative and funny people in this state.

I think we are trying to blind ourselves. But we wanted a picture with mountains in the background. Note that I got earrings with crows on them that completely match my winter coat. I think they may be my winter go-to earrings. They are enamel on copper.

We both tried very hard to not go into the store with all the rocks, crystals, and jewelry under the one with the funny merchandise. But we went in. There, I discovered a treasure trove of turquoise jewelry, including some Sand Creek stones I had never seen before. It’s beautiful, light blue stuff. They also had a genuinely nice collection of old Navajo jewelry. I totally fell in love with a coral and turquoise piece from the 1960s, unsigned, as many old pieces are. I’m going to end up wearing this one a lot.

After we finished at the jewelry store, where I had heart palpitations from the beauty, we went for a little ride looking for a mine. We didn’t find the mine but did fine some beautiful scenery from the road that runs up into the mountains east of Breck. That was plenty great for me.

Then, Kathy was nice enough to take me to the grocery store to stock up after I ate a lot of my food last week. I’m probably good with food until I leave town.

Meanwhile, Back in Texas

I’m sure you’re craving photos of my animals back at the ranch. Lee has been really nice about sending me dog and chicken pictures. However, this took my breath away. I think Drew is the prettiest horse in the world, at least for me. Thanks to Sara for grabbing me a photo while she was at the trainer’s for her lesson. He is filling out so nicely. Ahh.

Back to knitting, relaxing, and wishing the time didn’t change tonight. I’ve got plenty to do and so much fun to look forward to in the next two weeks. I’m so grateful for kind friends who are willing to spend time with me when I just randomly show up near where they live!

A Little Trail Ride

This was a nice ending to a long day! Apache has been doing so well this week with his schooling and such that I said, “Yes,” when Kathleen asked if I wanted to go for a ride with her and Dusty. Apache hadn’t been out on a trail ride across the ranch in a long time, since before I started trying to ride him solo.

Look at me, I’m in the cow pasture.

I’d had the brilliant insight last week that a lot of his insecurities were because of both of us not being used to going out without another horse and rider. One thing my lessons have done is build confidence in us both. It’s still a work in progress, with one extra-annoying habit to break, but all that round pen work, circling, and walking the property has made a big difference.

I’m also losing weight, thanks to the dead grass and hay. See those ribs??

So, off we went. Dusty doesn’t enjoy leaving his man friend Remington, so he had to be walked a bit. But, once we got going, a good time was had by all, with Apache like his old self, confidently walking around and paying attention to my cues.

I didn’t get to go, so I brayed my ass off. Oh wait, I’m an actual ass. At least Suna refilled my water bucket.

There were a lot more grass eating episodes than I’d like, and once or twice he was reluctant to do what I asked. But mostly we had fun and got to forget about our stresses, challenges, and negativity.

I’m glad I took the chance. I see a glimpse of my enjoyable future riding with friends and family, and maybe even doing some Working Equitation with him. Hey, he can already walk in a circle, so he’d not score a zero.

Thinking of all of us today, the day so many of us got deep trauma. I’m so glad I got to see my kids again after being stuck in Schaumburg, Illinois!

Crissi McDonald

Heartline Horse Training

sara annon

seeking the middle path

Tonya's Tall Tales

My life with horses, bunnies, chickens, ducks, and cows.

rfljenksy - Practicing Simplicity

Legendary Wining and Dining World Tour.

The Backyard Horse Blog

All about keeping horses at home

Hazel's Animal Adventures

My life on the ranch.

Diary Of The Wests

The West Household Runs Of Love And Laughter

Katie Zapfel

Children's book author. Mom blogger.

365 Knit Socks

I knit, crochet, and dye yarn

recoveringpornaddictcom.wordpress.com/

Coach, author and educator

The daily addict

The daily life of an addict in recovery

Just Vee

A regular gal who likes to stop and smell the flowers.

Happy Heidi's Happenings

My life in the country.

BrownesPups

A family of dog lovers, owners & breeders since 2015

The Adventures of a Mountain Coward

panic-stricken mountain adventuring!

Something Over Tea

Scribbles from my notebook

The Renegade Press

Tales from the mouth of a wolf

Heccateisis's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

The Upstate Gardener

The Upstate Gardening blog with Gardening Information, Recipies, Home Improvement Ideas, and Crafts Projects to make your life more beautiful and healthy.

Read, Learn, Live

Look closely around and about you, and you will see all forms of beauty.

Nature And Photography

Bring Nature Into Life

AT PATHO

no streetlights, just star light

Words and Stitches

woolgathering at its best

The Grief Reality

Normalising the conversation about Grief.

iRoseStudios.com

Art Studio Dumfriesshire

The Creative Pixie

eat up some crafty goodness with this creative mama

Writings of a Furious Woman

My thoughts, sentiments, and scribbles on womanhood

Paws Bark

Dogs Leave Paw Print in your Heart

Yeshua's Child Art

Art that Expresses the Heart

Chicken Coop Plans

Build Your Chicken a Home

Leaf And Twig

Where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry.

Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Cathartic Tendencies

motivational posts, rants, and stories!

TotallyTexasGifts.com

Featuring Fine Arts & Crafts created and sold by Texans

Seasons As My Teacher

Truth Written In The Wind

claudiajustsaying

Aging & Attitude

The Tragedy Kween

A boisterous introvert illustrating her way through life.

Zoewiezoe

Where a little insanity goes a long way