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Cowboy

Tackless Cowboy

Keira decided she needed to get some neck reins for Cowboy. She wants to ride him completely tackless. I guess I’m fine with it because Cowboy is awesome! He may be a turd and try to buck everyone else off, but he and Keira have a special “thing” together – he lets her do whatever she wants to him . . . from laying on his back while he eats hay to dressing him up for costume classes at shows to riding him tackless. We paid quite a bit of money for him 2 1/2 years ago to be a jumping horse for Keira while she got her confidence back jumping after her accident. He’s 18 now and retired from show jumping – he’s had a rough life with lots of jumping. His previous owner was not good to him, so basically we ended up rescuing him.

We rescued him. He rescued Keira.

They have an understanding and I LOVE it!

Anyhoo – back to this . . . neck reins and tackless jumping.

It’s not easy for a mom to watch her kid jump over anything on a horse with full tack! But I completely trust Cowboy and know Keira is a great rider . . . so I got out the video camera!

Because he’s a large pony, she can get on him bareback without a mounting block – and he just lets her climb all over him. It always makes me giggle!

 

Once she’s on, she goes to town! She took his bridle off and got to work :-) Look Mom! No hands!

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She gives me a heart attack sometimes, but she loves it, so we watch and just make sure she’s as safe as she can be.

Horsey Home

Our little farm here is not bad. We’ve got 10 acres – 4.5 of which the horses get to roam freely on daily. They’ve got a nice barn with stalls for shelter and large runs for the days we can’t turn them out. They get fed twice a day and also get to graze during the day. They have sunny spots and treed shelter. We’re building an outdoor arena this spring. They get fresh water. They get blankets at night if it’s cold enough. They get to see their girl daily while she loves and hugs on them and cares for them. They are happy. It’s a good place for a couple horses.

This has been Remington’s home for the past 18 months . . . with daily turnout, temperature controlled automatic waterers, 3x a day feedings, night checks, and blanketing:

MM

 

The fence on the left of the photo (with the girls riding) is the giant outdoor arena. The large red portion of the barn is the giant indoor arena.

As Princess said when we left Wednesday “Remi is going to be in for a rude awakening when he gets to our house! He’ll have to deal with Cowboy and actually get treated like a horse instead of a king.”

LOL! Just one of the many reasons I love her . . . she absolutely loves animals, but is smart enough to know that they ARE animals and need to be treated as such.

It’s The Same Hay

Dear Cowboy,

Every morning between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m., I come to the barn. I dump yummy grain with your joint medicine into your bucket. You let me hug and pet you while you munch away.

Then I go get you a flake of hay, which you ignore. Instead of enjoying breakfast, you come stand outside by your gate to the pasture and stare at me through my office window, occasionally rattling the gate chain with your nose.

Yes I see you. Yes I hear you. Yes I ignore you!

When we leave for school, you yell at me to let you out.

When I get back, you yell at me to let you out.

I let you out.

You trot over to the hay I’ve put in the pasture and enjoy brunch.

News flash – it’s the same hay. Feel free to start snacking on the hay in your stall while you wait for me to take the kids to school and get back. You’ll feel better. You’ll be less grumpy. And I won’t have to endure the laser stare of the cutest 20 year old pony on the planet.

Sincerely,

Your Girl’s Mother

The Parade

Princess’s trainer entered their group into the 4th of July parade in our little town. It’s a giant parade in a tiny town – always a ton of fun! I must say I was surprised when Princess said she wanted to ride Cowboy in the parade, but she was adamant that was going to do it. There were 5 horses with riders in her group and about 10 girls walking with the banner and flags.

We had a great time getting him all gussied up for the parade. She had a blast riding around with her friend, Alex, before the parade started. All was right with the parading world :-)

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The parade was awesome! Our group rode right behind the Rangerettes, which was fun. They’re so classy and awesome! Cowboy did great with the people and noise and starting and stopping . . . until the last 2 blocks. Our little pony decided he was D.O.N.E. with this parade stuff. He wanted to move around. He wanted nothing to do with this starting and stopping and slow walking in a crowd.

So he tried to trot ahead of the group. Princess of course reigned him in. And that’s when Cowboy got his pony on! He started doing mini kicks and bucks to let her know how he felt. She hopped off and tried to walk him the rest of the way. He didn’t even want to do THAT! All he wanted was to trot off into the sunset. Hubby and I were trying to help her (we were pulling the muck bucket and raking up horse pooh with Dude throughout the parade route), but Cowboy didn’t like that either. He kept doing little side kicks to let us know to just let him be.

We finally got him settled enough when the parade started moving at a little bit quicker pace. And because I’m me, I just HAD to have a little giggle at my hard-headed Princess walking her hard-headed pony back to the trailer at the end of the parade.

Pre-parade picture below shows the awesome beautiful and confident team of Princess and Cowboy ready to walk the parade.

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Picture below shows the aftermath of the battle of the wills . . . Princess isn’t riding anymore, her shoulders are drooped, and her number is falling halfway off her back as Cowboy sashays down the road with his tail flicking behind his glittery butt, feeling lighter because he lost three bows out of his mane during his tantrum just a couple blocks back.

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If you could see the look on Princess’s face at this moment, you’d most certainly turn to stone. Cowboy is lucky cute ponies are immune to the icy stares of their girls!

She was upset, but mostly she was mad.

I told her that I was proud of her for doing this. That asking a show jumper like Cowboy to walk through a parade without showing off is difficult. That she and Cowboy did awesome. That if we didn’t do anything difficult in our lives, we’d never learn or get better at our trade. And that seriously, if Cowboy wasn’t a bit sassy like she was, we probably wouldn’t love him as much 😉

She smiled and agreed, but it didn’t make her any less mad at the moment.

Next try – the smaller community parade in August :-)

The Story of a Horse

We did it! We have our very own horse living in our very own barn on our very own property. It’s only been a couple weeks since Cowboy moved in. He’s happy. He likes his new pasture mate, Angel. Princess is happy. I’m happy.

But not being a “horse family” I have at times throughout this process wondered if we did the right thing. Did we get ourselves in over our head? Do I really know what I’m doing? Are we ready for this?

I knew that we’d have to buy a trailer some day. That day came last March when Princess’s trainer got a 3rd horse and filled up the spots in her trailer. So we spent time researching horse trailers and combing the internet. I think Princess is happy with her purchase!

CboyHomea

Then we learned that we were probably going to have to move Cowboy to a different place for boarding. I didn’t really want to do that. We bought this property for many reasons; one was so we had a place for a horse should we need it. Hubby took some convincing, but he finally agreed that Princess had earned having Cowboy at our house, and I was excited to be able to see Princess with him every day! By the time we got the old fencing down, we entered monsoon May where it rained a TON every single day. Took forever to get our fence installed, but it finally got done, rain or shine.

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This meant it was time to actually purchase stall panels and install them in the barn! I pulled Princess out of school one day and she, Gigi, and I headed up north of Denver to get the panels. The boys at the ranch supply place were HORRIBLE at securing them with the tie-down straps. We lost straps twice in the first mile. So we pulled over and the girls made it awesome :-) I think Princess looks pretty happy :-)

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Next, our awesome friends gave up a Wednesday evening to help us unload the crazy heavy stall panels, and then gave up the entire next Saturday to help us install them. So thankful for them! We could’ve figured it out, but it would’ve taken forever – and we needed more muscle. They were also invaluable in putting down the stall mats.

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Even Princess and her friend, G, did a lot of the work. The cut the boards and installed them in each of the stall walls and door panels.

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They are kids, so they may have gotten a little bit “done” after awhile – and we’d moved onto the stall mats, which they couldn’t help with. So they got creative and created a rickshaw with an old wire spool and extra wood in the barn. Love creativity! I think Princess looks pretty happy :-)

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After a long day, DONE!

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Princess couldn’t wait to put a few of Cowboy’s things up on his stall.

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Duma didn’t know what to make of the new guy out in her yard!

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But Duma was happy when she discovered that Cowboy is the same color as she is and, much like herself, likes to get dirty! Now maybe she won’t be the only one in trouble :-)

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After a couple weeks of Cowboy and Angel getting used to the new place and pasture, Princess saddled Cowboy up and went for a ride. On the way, she decided to stop and do her best impression of Crazy Horse – except our Crazy Horse is munching on a snack :-)

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Some riding around the pasture – your very own pasture on your very own horse – is good for the soul.

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So after all the time and effort and research and learning and lost sleep and stressful days and money spent, I sometimes wonder if it was all worth it.

I’d have to say yes :-)

Trailering Success!

We’ve had a crap load of rain the past week. Love LOVE LOVING it! Everything is so greeeeeeeeen – and not on fire :-)

The rain meant we had to trailer the horses to the indoor arena for the girls’ group riding lesson yesterday. 5 horses total for the two lessons . . . one 3-horse trailer and one 2-horse trailer.

Guess what that meant?

Yep! I “got” to haul Princess’s and Alex’s preciouses (is that a word???) to the indoor arena.

Took a couple tries to get Cowboy in the trailer, but once he figured out I meant business and it was not optional, he hopped right in and let me close the divider. Mojo hopped right in behind him cuz “OMG we’re going for a ride and my buddy is already in the trailer woo hoo!!!” He pawed and kicked the entire time he was in there . . . yay for kickboards in the trailer!

I’m happy to say that I successfully hauled 2 horses a whoppin’ 5 miles one way without incident . . . this included very soggy gravel, small 2-lane, highway, and dirt.

The big bonus came when it was time to load ’em up after the lessons and take them back home . . . they got right in! I’m hoping that means that my driving skills on the way to the arena were acceptable to them and I didn’t scare them out of the trailer.

42 years old and had another first.

Love it when the kiddos continue to introduce new stuff to us :-)

New Is Not Better!

It was beautiful this past weekend, so we spent quite a bit of time out at the barn with Cowboy. We towed his new trailer out there and were going to introduce him to it. He’s always been great at getting in the trailer and going for rides. You walk him up to it, get within a couple feet, throw the rope over his neck, and he walks in and stands there while you shut the door. Easy Peasy.

Apparently he was not at all impressed with his shiny new trailer! And the smart little pony also knew that WE weren’t sure what we were doing – he took full advantage of his knowledge 😉

Princess got him haltered, walked him to the trailer, and figured he’d go right in. Nope. He stopped, sniffed the trailer, threw his nose up, and took off running, right back to the barn where he threw the lid off of the grain bin and had himself a little snack.

Princess got him, walked him right back to the trailer, and tried again. This time we stood in the way of his escape route. He put his front feet in the trailer, sniffed around, and bolted. We were not standing in the way of a 1000 pound horse! This time, he ran to the front yard and munched on some yummy new green grass :-)

The little turd was not interested in a shiny new trailer that smelled – not like horse!

Lather, rinse, repeat.

We finally decided to contaminate the trailer. We grabbed some of his stall shavings and poop and littered it in the trailer (seriously hard to purposely put poop in a trailer when you spend your time trying to keep it OUT!). We gave it a few minutes to get all smelled up, and Princess tried again. He got all four feet in. He didn’t stay long, but he did get in, and we did keep him from bolting when he got out!

He got lots of love and pats and a couple peppermint treats. We figured that was enough for the day.

We headed back out on Sunday to work on it some more. Amara was there and gave us a couple pointers. Always learning – it was amazing how a couple little things we were and weren’t doing made a huge difference! He finally realized he couldn’t push us around – literally and figuratively – and that was that. We once again have a pony that runs right in the trailer and stands there waiting for us to do our thing. To prove how grateful he was for his new trailer, he promptly pooped in it 😉 We left it in there to get some new smell in it . . . Princess gets to clean that out tomorrow!

Chalk one up for the Boedies!!!

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In other news, it was so nice out and the arena was finally clear of snow, so Princess saddled up Cowboy and they did some light jumping. A good ride in the pasture and he was nice and sweaty. Since it was sunny and 80, Princess thought he deserved a nice sponge bath, which he did love :-)

But what happens the minute you release a clean, damp pony from the hitching post?

He finds the dirtiest spot he can and rolls. And comes out looking like this :-)

Dirty Horse

He even got his face dirty! He was quite proud of himself and went about his day having a mid-day snack while we shook our heads and walked away. Gotta love our spunky pony and his awesome personality!

Spring In Colorado

Crazy weather – one of the many things I love about springtime in Colorado Springs :-)

Monday, Keira and I went to the barn for a couple hours to do some light jumping on Cowboy. Had to get him warmed up after 5 days of doing nothing but standing around eating!

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And today, baseball was cancelled because we have a mini-blizzard happening.

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Great excuse to hang out inside and watch movies this evening!

Happy spring break, everyone :-)

Weekend in Words

Friday
Da Girls: Picked Princess up from school and we booked it up to Denver (where we promptly un-booked it in crazy traffic – still hate Denver!). We headed straight to the National Western complex for the Friday night portion of the Horse Expo. Our friend, MS, was riding in the Mane Event evening show and we wanted to be there! It was lots of fun :-) We got to help get a couple of the horses ready – letting down awesome long beautiful tails, brushing, etc. After the show, we headed to a hotel – just the two of us. It’s not very often we get to spend time like this alone. It was nice and fun and relaxing.
Da Boys: As far as I can tell by the credit card bill and the new clothes bags, they stuck to their plan of going to the sporting goods store for baseball gear (darn boy keeps growing!) and meeting some fellow Scouts at REI to shop for the high adventure trip this summer. Those are the only “details” the talkative men in my life were willing to share.

Saturday
Da Girls: Up bright and early. Princess made me promise to get her up early enough so we could eat breakfast and make it to the Horse Expo by 8:45 so we could be in our seats at 9:00 for the class she wanted to attend – Techniques for Trainers. Yep – given the opportunity to sleep in as long as she wanted, she made me wake her up so we could go learn how to train kids on horses. Spent a few hours walking around the Expo looking for things to buy (we succeeded) and getting quotes on stalls for our barn (yikes!). We may or may not have been sucked in by a live infomercial starring Princess herself – and we may or may not have bought a straightening iron that CURLS your hair. Last year, Princess loved watching the Colt Starting in the main event arena, so this year that was the 2nd must-do thing at the Expo. Sat our behinds in bleacher seats for 2 hours watching trainers break colts ranging from 2.5 years to 4 years. It’s actually pretty interesting and fun to watch! We left mid-afternoon to catch up with the boys at Dude’s baseball games. He had a double-header in South Denver.
Da Boys: Best I can tell, they got up, went out for breakfast, went to Denver, bought more baseball stuff, and headed to the ball field.
All: We had a great time watching Dude’s team play. He’s loving the high school baseball. He’s struggling a bit at the plate . . . hasn’t gotten his groove back after getting his cast off, but he’ll get there. The weather couldn’t have been more beautiful, and the facility was amazing! Private Christian school has some MOOLAH! It was fun for them to get to play on awesome fields. The games started late and ran late, so we all bolted the minute they were over.
Hubby and Me: Raced inside, cleaned up a bit, put on something nicer than shorts and a t-shirt, and headed out to a fundraising benefit with silent auction. Enjoyed lots of wine samples, yummy appetizers, and fun with friends. We may have ended up winning quite a few of the items we bid on 😉 Next time we might want to bid together!

Sunday
All that fun on Friday and Saturday meant catching up on responsibilities on Sunday. The kiddos were tasked with cleaning their rooms – like their entire rooms. For two kids who swore they had nothing they didn’t need, we ended up with 3 large trash bags and one large tote of clothes (2 to donate, 2 to put into a consignment sale in a couple weeks), 2 trash bags of trash (yuck!), and 2 totes of “stuff” they’re ready to get rid of. All is well in the land of the scary teenager bedrooms downstairs. Princess and I also made it out to the barn for a couple glorious hours of loving on Cowboy – brushing, cleaning his stall, giving him a massage . . . life is good!

And where are the photos of the horse expo and baseball games and before/after of the cleaning spree?

In my  melon. We were having so much fun just enjoying time with the kids and together as a family this weekend that none of us pulled out a phone or camera for a photo. I love photos, but this was a nice fun, relaxing, weekend with family and friends :-)

Now we’re off to the races again this week – horses, baseball, work, scouts, volleyball – Let the games begin! Woot!

A Girl and Her Horse

I’m still amazed that we own a horse. Never in my wildest dreams did I see that as part of our lives. Princess loves Cowboy, and I love him and everything that goes along with owning him, too.

And this? This just makes me smile :-)