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Horses

Four Seasons of Horse

It’s finally happened! Winter has arrived in Colorado. Which means we’ve officially owned a horse through all four seasons.

We think we bought the last seasonal item last fall (turnout blanket) that we need for Cowboy . . . so all the bigger one-time expenses (blankets, buckets, brushes, fly masks, lead ropes, halters, etc.) should be taken care of.

But with the cold weather yesterday, I actually had to go shopping for myself and Princess! Tuesdays are our Muck Day at the barn. We help Amara by taking on responsibility of mucking all stalls and pastures, cleaning stalls, adding more shavings (especially in this cold weather), feeding and watering the horses, sweeping the barn.

We needed winter barn gear.

Let me tell you – Big R is almost as bad as Target for me!

Princess and I are the proud owners of our first Carhartt jackets :-) Woot! (Never thought I’d say that!)

MAN were they worth every penny! We were toasty warm in our jackets, which made mucking stalls in freezing temps much more tolerable.

We also got barn beanies, winter work gloves, and winter mucking boots.

NOW I really think we’re finished buying things for this whole horse ownership thing!

******At least until Cowboy comes to live with us sometime WAY off in the future. Then we’ll REALLY need to buy some big things!

One of My Favorites

This is one of my favorite photos from this past weekend’s horse show. Princess was so excited about the show and wanted to do the walk/trot/canter classes. She’s been working so hard! I knew it would be a challenge for her once she got in the arena with 10+ other riders. She’s still nervous around other horses. Cowboy was amazing. He was calm and knew what to do for her.

After the first class, she placed 7th out of 10 and rode over to me. She was almost crying and said she didn’t want to do more. She wanted to be done.

I said no. Go back out there and do the next class. We’ll see how it goes.

She turned around and went back out there.

If she REALLY didn’t want to, she would’ve protested, but she didn’t.

She took 5th in that class.

She came over and said she wanted to be done.

I said just do one more and see how it goes.

3rd place.

2 classes later, this was what happened.

A smile and a blue ribbon for 1st :-)

So proud of her for sticking it out and overcoming her fear! She so loves her horse and riding and even the shows . . . and I couldn’t let her run out after the first couple of classes (even though I could see the stink eye of other show moms thinking I was such a terrible person!). She was supposed to ride in 4 classes Saturday. She asked to be in every class she could after that, which meant 10.

Many thanks to my friends, MS and QT, and her trainer, Amara, for understanding why I made my daughter go back out there when she was begging to be done.

Favorite Words

There are some things our kids say that will always be a parental “favorite.”

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On our way home from riding Cowboy yesterday, Princess said “I’m just so happy and I don’t know why!”

Um – I know why!

You got to spend time with your horse.

You got to have an awesome last-minute surprise private lesson with Amara where you got some great tips on how to improve on everything you’ve worked so hard on this summer.

You got to jump your first oxer!

******* Don’t know what an oxer is? I didn’t either! It’s this . . .

You were informed by Amara that she thinks you’ve come too far and worked too hard this summer to ride cross rails in the November show. She’d like you to canter the 18″ verticals course instead.

 

Sooooooo proud of you and all you’ve done this summer!

Here’s a bonus shot of Cowboy and Apache loving on each other at the farm last weekend :-)

 

 

*** I will admit I did not watch the first jump over the 2’/18″ oxer. I felt the need to go to the car to get moolah for the lesson :-) I did watch the other jumps. It is NOT EASY watching your teeny tiny child canter a 1,000 lb horse over a jump!

*** The last show Princess rode in was in June. She trotted over piles of poles. All other shows this summer were cancelled due to the horse virus going around Colorado. We assumed she’d step up to cross rails for this show. She has worked so hard and Princess is really excited that Amara is confident that she can canter a vertical course! Mom is nervous that Amara is that confident in her . . . but I will do my best to be nervous on the inside and supportive on the outside!

Progression

My Princess has always loved horses . . . always. Always wanted to go on trail rides, wear a shirt with a horse on it, watch horse shows and movies.

In 2012, I finally got her hooked up with some lessons. She LOVED it! In the past two years of riding with the same trainer, she’s (we’ve) progressed through so much!

 After a summer of a few lessons in a Western saddle, she was ready to move to English. Here she is riding in one of her first English lessons in fall of 2012.

Of course, when your trainer is an English jumper, you naturally learn how to jump on your horse, which then leads to horse shows :-)

 Here she is in September 2012 looking as cute as ever in her little English outfit. We bought the helmet and borrowed the rest from Amara. Didn’t want to spend moolah if she wasn’t going to like this!

She started off small trotting over piles of poles on Shadow. OMG she was so friggin’ cute!

After a winter with a few lessons, she was ready to get after it! She really enjoyed the horses and the English riding, so we went to Miss Amara’s Horse Ownership 101 class. We learned tons (that we did NOT yet want to own a horse) and met Prince, the new Arabian that was possibly going to live at Amara’s. Princess fell in love – she and Prince had an awesome bond – and we decided to lease Prince for the summer. Lots more riding and lots more fun! We learned a ton about horses and horse care and everything else.

We also took the plunge and bought Princess her very own English starter saddle complete with bridle, leathers, and irons.

She rode Prince in shows in the summer of 2013, progressing from poles to the walk/trot flat classes and cross rails.

Getting higher and higher! Prince was an awesome horse for Princess. He loved to ride and jump, but he also had a mischievous side to him. He knew what he was doing, so every now and then he would just do this thing and Princess would hold on for dear life. In fall of 2013, she had a pretty scary ride on him where she almost fell off when he refused a jump at the last minute, but she hung on and he helped her stay on and all was good.

Prince started getting more and more spooked and crazy with the other girls (he was always great with Princess – she loved him and trusted him fully!). Since he wasn’t our horse, it was Amara’s choice and decision to send him to another home. He just wasn’t safe enough for her students. Princess was sad, but she got over it when Miss Amara invited Princess to ride Sunny (Amara’s show horse) in a special show at an Equestrian school.

We were so proud of her! She did great riding against all of those riders who go to boarding school at this Equestrian school with very expensive horses. A couple 2nd places and a 5th place!

 

 

The bonus was that her riding confidence and skill was getting much better. The non-bonus was that now she wanted her own horse.

We said no to her own horse. But I did buy her new boots and chaps and show clothes as a consolation 😉

Then, she had her accident while riding with a friend. I wasn’t sure if she’d ever get on a horse again! To my semi-surprise, the day doc said she was allowed on a horse, she got on. She was nervous, but she got on. She did it. She wanted it. She was scared, I could tell, but she pushed through it and did awesome! After a couple months of timid riding and seeing if she really wanted to do this, she was back at it, trotting off the lunge line and doing her own thing.

So what did we do? We bought Princess her very own show horse! She deserved it. She’d wanted one for so long, this “horse thing” was clearly not going away, and the perfect horse came up for sale at the most imperfect time 😉 But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do no matter the timing.

Princess and Cowboy are a great pair. They work well together, they get each other, and he is very gentle with her when he feels her nerves getting the best of her and she needs him to help her out. They’ve gone to a few shows this summer, back to walk/trot and piles of poles. And they’re winning.

She’s working hard toward a special show in Boulder in September. She and Amara set a goal of her to get comfortable enough at the canter so she can do the walk/trot/canter class instead of just walk/trot. Princess has set her own personal goal of wanting to jump in the cross rails division instead of piles of poles. She even decided to skip swim team in August and September so she can spend more time practicing with Cowboy. I’m so proud of her determination! Truthfully, the walk/trot/canter could happen in September. I’m not so sure about the cross rails. But I’m so proud of her for wanting to work hard enough toward her goal that she’s giving up her other love, swimming, for a couple months so she can give it her all.

And do you want to know the real point of this story? I was going to tell you that all of her stuff is for sale on eBay and at Miss Amara’s barn right now. She’s grown out of 2 pair of riding pants and 2 show jackets as well as her first saddle. I’m sentimental and usually keep the first of everything, but a saddle does not fit nicely in a Rubbermaid bin 😉 So it’s for sale. While she’s progressed through her riding levels and grown out of many sizes, I’ve progressed through the need to keep every first thing.

Although, I’m secretly hoping one of the jackets won’t sell so I can keep it. It would be fun to have her first tiny English outfit to show at her graduation! :-)

Horses, Horses, and More Horses!

On Saturday, Princess and I spent the day at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo. And by day, I mean we left the house at 8:45 a.m. and got back home at 10:40 p.m. So ya – the WHOLE day. Basically we did whatever Princess wanted to do all day. She’d marked the schedule with a highlighter before we left home.

We walked the Expo for quite a few hours. We bought horse books – fiction and non-fiction (so glad my little lady loves to read!). Princess voted on the best of the horse art on display in sculpture, painting, and photography. We spent a lot of time petting the miniature horses. We looked at tons of random stuff. We got a quote on a large lawn tractor with a mower deck and snow blower from the John Deere guy. We ate hot dogs and burgers and ice cream and nachos and french fries. We attended seminars on how to start your horse over jumps. We spent hours sitting in the main event center watching Polo and Polocrosse. We spent more hours sitting in the main event center watching the Colt Starting Challenge (way fun to watch these guys and gals take an unbroke 3 or 4 year old horse and break it – 8 trainers with 8 totally different methods!). We spent more hours sitting in the main event center watching The Mane Event in the evening . . . English and Western dressage, vaulting, people standing on two horses as they walked, chariot races, synchronized horseback riding (aka drill team), Icelandic pony demonstrations, roping, cutting. Tons of fun!

An awesome day of horse experiences with my Princess.

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In other news, while Hubby and Princess headed up to Breckenridge snowboarding on Sunday, I spent the day watching Dude play baseball. It was BEAUTIFUL outside (68 and sunny) and their coach had set up 2 scrimmages. We were at the fields from Noon to 4:30 . . . and we didn’t mind a bit.

He got to pitch the first game . . . pitched only one inning, but allowed only 1 run and got the win – so yay for my Dude who hadn’t really pitched at all! He hit well, played the field well, and scored runs in both games. Fun fun fun! Much better than the previous weekend in the IceBreaker tournament where the temp was 20 with a windchill ~0 degrees!

Next up – heading to Arizona for a tournament over spring break. Woot!

The Leg

A recap of the past 7 weeks – from the day of Keira’s horse accident to today :-) The pictures of her leg aren’t pretty, so don’t look if you don’t want to see staples and yucky stuff!

October 27th – Keira enthusiastically accepted an invitation to go hang out with G and ride horses! It was a busy day for us at the house, so I dropped her off and said I’d be back at 1:00 unless they called sooner. 45 minutes later, the phone rang. I knew something was wrong because even though I said “Call if she’s a PITA and you need her to come” I knew they wouldn’t call for that reason. Hubby answered the phone and we headed to their house – Keira had been thrown from the horse.

When the paramedics got there, they were going through the regular questions . . . back hurt? “No.” Head hurt? “No.” Were you wearing a helmet? “Yes.” (Yay!) Are you allergic to any medicine? “Penicillin.” (Woot! I always wondered what she’d say when asked that question by someone when it really mattered!) Does your stomach hurt? “Yes. I’M HUNGRY!” All righty then – I guess she’s mostly fine . . . other than the giant gash in her leg. Nobody really knows exactly what happened . . . MS was shutting the gate after she turned the kids loose in the pasture. G only saw part of it when Keira screamed and then he yelled for his Mom. Best we can tell from the “pieces parts” of stories is that Reggie got spooked, bucked, galloped, and she flew over his head. Keira said he stomped on her leg, BUT, since her leg was not broken, we figure that can’t be it. She had a giant gash way high on her thigh that cut clean through her jeans. Best guess is that Reggie’s shoe clipped her on her way down. No matter what actually happened, she was LUCKY! It coulda been way worse! He could’ve landed on her. He could’ve clipped her stomach, her neck, her face. The gash coulda cut her artery. Coulda cut through nerves. Turns out – there wasn’t hardly even any blood! Lucky lucky lucky!

An ambulance ride, 10 hours, and 23 stitches and 41 staples  later, my horse loving Princess was relaxing in bed waiting for her IV antibiotics before she could go home. They’d cut off her pants (her brand new bling jeans, she reminded me!), so they gave her some scrubs they’d found. They were a bit large, but being the optimistic creative thinker she is, she requested the belt from her pants :-)

Leave it to my Princess to figure out how to get a little bling in the picture even in the ER! G and his brother, I, and shown up a couple hours after the accident with some lovies for her. The dog – because it looked like Duma. The octopus – because it definitely did NOT look like a horse 😉 She loved them and they were great for her while she hung out and waited for – everything. She was the least emergent one in the ER that afternoon, so it took FOREVER! But the nurses and doc were all wonderful :-)

October 29th – We went to her regular doc for a follow-up. He had to take out the Penrose tube that was allowing the yuck to drain from the wound. It was a very large injured area and doc didn’t want it to swell and get uber nasty. It’s interesting when you have a tiny leg with such a large wound – many nurses have business in the room to see it 😉 Keira was great – she didn’t mind when they came to look (although she hadn’t looked at it herself). A couple of the nurses also rode horses and had fallen off and been injured themselves, so they had nice little chats with her. Very appreciated! I had to giggle at Keira. One of the nurses said “So, do you think you’ll ride a horse again?” Keira gave her this crazy look and said “Uh, YA! Why wouldn’t I?!” Love it :-)

This is what her leg looked like 2 days post-accident right after doc had taken out the tube.

 See why we’re amazed there was no “real” damage? No nerves. No muscle. No bones. No break. No pelvis issues. No knee clip. SO THANKFUL FOR HER GUARDIAN ANGEL!

We had to keep it slathered in Neosporin, covered with non-stick gauze pads, wrapped in gauze wrap, and covered in sticky gauze (which we changed to ace bandages after awhile because $$$$! Doc said we needed to keep it covered until it completely healed – 1) to keep infection away and 2) to keep it moist so it wouldn’t really scab over. She was to use crutches for a week to let the stitches (inside) and staples get a good grip.

See the part in the “V” on the right? ER doc and ped were very concerned about that skin dying since it was a funky color, sliced very thin, and didn’t have much blood flow. I believe the ER doc said “She might not care now, but I have teenage daughters, and when she puts on a bathing suit she will be PISSED!” :-) They both told us to prepare for plastic surgery.

October 30th – Keira was on some pain meds, but decided to quit a few days after the accident. She wanted to go to school and I told her she couldn’t go if she was on pain meds. So she quit! I wasn’t sure, but she did – Advil did the trick for her, enough anyway. I gave her a ride down the hill to the bus stop. Love how she rigged mini pillow pets on the crutches for some cushion :-)

She wanted to try a half day, so I went to get her at noon. She came clomping down the hall and asked if she could stay the rest of the day. She felt great! Um – OK. For some reason I felt like a bad parent . . . but then I left and remembered who exactly she is :-)

After school that day, her swim team friend came over with some goodies from the swim team to see how she was doing. Keira also got lots of other get well lovies from friends and families. See the big dog? Jason spent the entire game night for Boy Scouts trying to win that thing out of one of those claw machines!

From here on out, it was clear sailing – mostly. We had to clean and wrap her leg every day. After the first week she pretty much did it herself. We went out and saw the horses at her trainer’s barn. That was fun! Prince was very excited to see her, but very leary of the crutches. So we put them down and let him sniff away. He was great after that and loved to nuzzle Keira and get hugs from her. She ditched the crutches after a week and was limping around just fine. It was still tender to the touch if she bumped it, so she was extra careful.

November 11th – I came back from a trip with my Mom and SIL that morning. Hubby is not real fond of medical stuff, so I scheduled her staple removal for that afternoon after I got home. She was SOOOOO excited to get those staples out! We were going to Atlantis for a beach vacation in a couple weeks and ER doc had told her that her leg would most likely be healed – IF that piece of skin made it.

Let’s just say staple removal was very unpleasant :-( The “better” side had the staples in too long. They told us to wait 14 days because of the size of the gash so the stitches and staples could really hold the skin together. The better side the staples were really stuck in there. Most came out pretty well, but a couple bent and had to be convinced to come out. It wasn’t great, but Keira was also super nervous about it, so she was not happy. We took many “breaks” during removal. Doc used that time to go see other patients. The worse part of the gash was fine. The staples came out great, and along with them, that flap of skin. It didn’t make it :-( So after all this time, she still had a giant open gash on that side of her leg. Looked like it had never been “fixed.” She was so bummed :-(

Doc said we should come back in a few days so he could see how it was doing.

So we went back. Surprisingly, it had started to heal a bit on its own, in only 2 days! He had the name of a plastic surgeon all ready for us. He said when he took the staples out, he was quite convinced we’d NEED to go see the plastic surgeon. But now that he saw the wound trying to heal itself, it was up to us. We could go get it taken care of now while she was still healing – get a skin graft from her butt and make the scar a lot smaller. Or we could wait and see if it healed itself, but the scar would be much larger.

Keira wanted nothing to do with more stitches and surgery and stuff. He said great and sent us on our way with instructions to come back in a week for a follow-up. In the car, I mentioned to Keira that even with a scar, her leg would work just fine. But if she ever chose to get it lessened until she was 195 years old, to just tell me and we’d take care of it. She said “Mom. I had 14 stitches in my lip and have a huge scar on it. Clearly I can still talk just fine! My leg will be fine how it is.”

All righty then!

We stopped back at doc’s office one more time before vacation. It was healing amazingly well, and he wanted to check it before we left to give us final instructions for our week in the Bahamas. Keira was so hopeful it would be healed so she could go in the water – she is part mermaid afterall! No go :-( There still were two open spots, so she just couldn’t risk infection from the ocean water. The water park was definitely out of the question. She was bummed, but such a trooper. She never whined about it while we were there. She did what she could in the water, up to her knees, played with Jason on the beach (such an awesome brother) and happily watched as Jason and Hubby went down some large water slides (I wouldn’t have gone down them anyway!). Her biggest bummer was that she wouldn’t get to swim with the dolphins. That was WAY expensive, so we used that money in other ways and still saved!

It was almost a whole week since we’d seen doc by the time our last day at the beach arrived. Her leg was looking great! Not totally healed, but much better and looking awesome. So we tripple wrapped her really well before headed out for the day. She splashed around up to her knees as always, but wasn’t quite as quick to run from the large waves 😉 One or two may have “accidentally” gotten her a “little wet” as she said.

She took a long shower and rinsed her leg really well when we got back to the condo, and that was that :-) She got to enjoy the waves a little and I wasn’t too worried about infection.

December 2nd – As instructed, we headed to the doc right when we got back so he could check it out and make sure it hadn’t gotten infected while we were on vacation. While it looked nasty, it looked great considering! It was healing very well with only a couple open spots left. He mentioned again how impressed he was that it was healing how it was and complimented Keira on being a healthy active person because that was allowing her to heal well.

 

She had hoped to be able to start riding and swimming again in December, but he told her to wait a couple more weeks to make certain it was healed. He did say she did not need to come back again because it was doing so awesome! Woot!

December 14th – We were headed up to the mountains for Scout Ski Day! It would be her first real activity since the accident. Doc had given her strict orders to let it rest so the skin could get a good tight hold before she started running and stuff. It was finally healed, so we headed up to the mountains. For her peace of mind, we kept it wrapped really well. She was a bit nervous her first run, but after that, she got in the groove and forgot all about it. She even went over some baby jumps with Jason! So proud of her!

After we left the mountain, we headed to the condo in Breckenridge for enjoy the hot tubs (always a nice treat after the first day of the season for us old folks!). She was a little nervous about the water hurting her leg, so I agreed to put some giant waterproof band aids on it. She was SOOOOO happy in the water! She just kept saying “It feels so good to be in the water. I can’t wait to start swim team again!”

Since that moment, her mood has changed DRASTICALLY! She’d been a whiny, bitchy, crabby, PITA for the past month. I guess I would be, too, if I was used to being so active and had to sit around and watch everyone for 6 weeks! She missed her horse time and her lesson friends. She missed swim team and her swim team friends. She saw them, but it wasn’t the same as “doing” with them. She has been very pleasant the past few days – FINALLY my Princess is back!

December 16th – Here is the last photo of her leg. It is all healed, and she’s agreed to let it go unwrapped (yay!). She said it feels awesome unwrapped. It’s getting a little dry, but any skin would after being slathered in Neosporin and covered up for 6 weeks! She’s keeping it very clean and trying lotion, although the lotion stings the rash she got from the 2 days she wanted to still wear giant band aids after she quit wrapping it.

Believe it or not, I think the scar will be much smaller than I’d anticipated. All the docs said how big it would be (to me, not her), etc., so I was imagining this giant thing. But it’s really not going to be bad. And, it’s so high on her thigh, that shorts will pretty much cover it. The only time it will be noticeable is when she’s swimming.

We’re so looking forward to 2014 and a new start! Weather permitting, she’ll get to ride before the end of the year. She starts swim team again in January. Swim team will be the first time anyone besides us and our close friends get to see her scar. She says she doesn’t care. We’ll see how it all goes with the kiddos on swim team. They’re all so nice and good kids, so hopefully it’ll be a positive experience for her.

Thanks to all who have sent her will wishes and called and stopped by to see how she’s been doing. It’s meant a lot to her (and to us!).

Weekend In Review

Once again, we spent the weekend in Denver at a baseball tournament. Love them – totally not complaining . . . but this weekend we took two vehicles because Princess and I had “stuff” to do. Here’s how it all went down – and why I felt like I’d driven to MN and back this weekend!

Friday 2:00 p.m. – 15 minute drive to riding lessons
Friday 3:30 p.m. – 1 hr 15 minute drive to the hotel in Westminster
Friday 5:30 p.m. – 15 minute drive to Boulder for dinner at the awesomest brew pub with some great friends. Fate Brewing Company – two thumbs on an awesome menu and amazing food!
Friday 8:30 p.m. – 15 minute drive to hotel
Saturday 10:00 a.m. – Drive to brunch, then to baseball field
Saturday 2:30 p.m. – Drive back to hotel for quick clean up and change
Saturday 3:00 p.m. – 1 hr drive to Parker for Grand Prix horse show jumping. Yay to Princess saying she does NOT want to jump horses that high. She says she will stop at 3 feet, or maybe 5 😉
Saturday 6:00 p.m. – 1 hr drive back to hotel
Sunday 8:00 a.m. – Drive to baseball field
Sunday 12:15 p.m. – 1 hr 40 minute drive to Girl Scout summer camp
Sunday 4:00- 1 hr 40 minute drive home

In there I got to:

Watch Dude’s team play some awesome baseball!
Catch up with some old friends over drinks and dinner.
Watch my first Grand Prix horse jumping event (the winner won $30K!). Very cool and very amazing. Can’t wait to go back in July and get there earlier to watch some of the smaller jumping events – and maybe shop :-) Such cute riding clothes for sale!
Have yummy girls dinner with Princess after the horse show and rummaging around a 2nd hand store.
Relax and enjoy drinks at the hotel with Hubby and the dad of a boy on Dude’s team while the kiddos swam.
Spend lots of time chatting with Princess one-on-one while in the car for many hours driving to/from horse shows and summer camp.
Check out the girls scout horse camp and see how awesomely excited Princess was to be there.

Oh – and when I got home Sunday evening around 5:30, I apparently thought it would be a good idea to honor Princess’ request and rearrange her room . . . which may have turned into a major undertaking of removing EVERYTHING from her room and stacking it in my living room while  we make her room back into a bedroom and move all the “stuff” down to the Lego table/play area in the basement. At this moment, she has a bed, a bookcase, and 2 dressers in her room. I still get to go through all of her “stuff” out in the living room – before I pick her up on Friday :-) Fun! No seriously – organizing makes me happy… especially when it involves a shopping trip to The Container Store. That place is like a candy store for OCD organizers!

How was your weekend?

It Came!

The saddle came, MS came to help us put the leathers together, and Princess got to try it out on Sunny at her lesson last week. It was perfect! We need to get a new girth, but other than that it’s awesome and worked great and can’t wait for her to use it in the show this Saturday.

Diving In

It’s official . . . we’re diving into the land of English horse jumping and shows.

Yup . . . Princess is leasing a horse this summer. We’re going to ride a couple times this week to make sure it’s a good fit before we make it official, but I can’t see why it won’t work out.

I also just purchased this as a surprise for my Princess…

An English saddle beginner’s kit (many thanks to MS and A for your help in educating me about saddles and decisions!).

We had planned on purchasing a used saddle, but I (and my lovely horse people who help me learn all this stuff!) found out it’s VERY difficult to find a used English saddle for a kid – and within the beginner budget I had set. Princess and I searched quite a bit last week – she even sat on about a half dozen used ones. There was one we’d settle for, but it wasn’t great, and was too spendy for what it was in my mind.

So when a link to this saddle came to my inbox (thank you Dallas friend!), it was meant to be :-) It should be here in a week and I can’t WAIT to surprise Princess with it!

***** To the moms in my life . . . note the word SURPRISE. Please don’t tell Princess!

Also excited to see how the riding goes this week before we officially add a new semi-family member to the family for the summer.

If you’d asked me a year ago, or even 6 months ago, if we’d be leasing a horse and owning a saddle, I would’ve said you were crazy. Come to think of it, I probably DID tell you you were crazy!

My how things change … and how giant blue eyes on a tiny little body can convince you that it would be just wrong to keep a Princess from her horse :-)

 

Spring Babies!

Even though Mother Nature is trying to hold off on spring (yup – snowing again right now!), it’s definitely spring. How do I know?

The baby fox family has moved in under the neighbor’s driveway again! Three of the cutest little fox you’ve ever seen. In previous years, I’ve only seen them when they are a little older and redder and look like miniature versions of mom, but last weekend she let them out on the warm asphalt to give them breakfast (the remains of which I found in my yard . . . squirrel tail anyone?).

Excuse the crappy cell phone photo – we didn’t want to get too close and I didn’t have my real camera with me…

So cute in their natural grayish brownish camo coats. Always love the white tip on their tails :-) For reference, here’s a photo of them next to a piece of paper that was folded in half. That’s about how big they are! Mom came prancing across the road with breakfast and herded them back into their den.

 

Then the real fun started! After Princess’ riding lesson, we headed to a friend’s house to see their brand new baby horse! We watched most of the baby’s birth on webcam, but it stopped working for the actual birth . . . boo hoo! This baby is 2 days old and a total Mini Me to her mom, Honey :-) Mini Me will be named at a later date. Princess and I could’ve sat there and watched her run and play all day! She’s TINY!

 

 Love love LOVE her 3 boots – and she’s got the cutest white diamond on her face. She was so cute prancing around and hopping and then just dropping to the ground for tiny little power naps.

And if my Princess hadn’t convinced us by her actions that she is indeed cut out to be a vet, just Sunday night, we watched our friend’s other horse give birth to the baby . . . and this time she watched all of it – from first hoof to the big plop! She didn’t even cringe or go “eewwwwwwwww” as Hubby and Dude wretched and walked away :-) Our Friend kept saying that baby was HUGE . . . can’t wait to go see it and compare! It was also interesting to watch how a first time mom – Honey – reacted to her baby and a 16th time mom – Dally – reacted to her baby. Just like people! Honey was all over her baby and so protective, standing right over the top of her making sure she was safe – even out in the arena she was never far away and always between baby and people. But Dally, she’s an old pro. The minute the baby was born and she had finished cleaning her off, she laid down, neighed, and nuzzled her with her nose as the baby tried to stand :-)

So some awesome experiences for Princess this week – none of which convinced her she did NOT want a horse!