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Princess

Fourteen!

Yep. She’s 14 today. How did this happen?

It seems like just a couple years ago that she entered our lives!

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Always on her own time – always doing her own thing :-)

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2003 – Always up for an adventure!

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2004 – You can dress her up, but…

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2005 – Enjoys all of it no matter what!

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2006 – Loves the simple things and will ALWAYS stop to smell the flowers.

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2007 – Love my Warrior Princess who will wear that Princess dress and kick your a$$ at the same time!

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2008 – Loves animals and would do anything for any one!

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2009 – Does my makeup look OK? Bwahahahahaha!!!

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2010 – Love her sense of humor!

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2011 – She loves to tease :-)

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2012 – Love love love those blue eyes and that smile

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2013 – Never one to shy away from a good time and some dirt!

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2014 – Love love love to watch her do what she loves with the horses she loves

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2015 – Finding her awesome country girl style

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2016 – She’s always willing to spend a day on the mountain with me no matter what the temp!

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2016 – Fearless. Love her fearless go get ’em attitude!

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2016 – I can’t believe this is my baby. She’s FOURTEEN today! So proud of the caring, loyal, beautiful inside and out, wonderful young woman she has grown into.

Happy 14th Birthday, Keira!

Elephant

I was happy when Keira wanted to get a costume for Halloween and go trick or treating with her friends :-) As long as you dress up, you can go trick or treating as long as you want to!

She chose to be an elephant. I giggled because it’s a redo. 13 year old elephants are not quite as cute as 10 month old elephants, but still cute and fun :-)

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Loved how much fun she had trick or treating with her friends . . . and that she didn’t mind that a couple moms tagged along (in costume, I might add – although no photos of the big people).

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No Capes!

Last weekend, Keira went to a horse show at a local barn. It was a great show! There were some very high level riders and horses there, and it was great for her to see that and compete against them. Even with all of that, it was a fun laid back show as well. They had a Halloween Costume class, which girls and horses always love!

Keira “dressed” Remi up as a giant Beenie Baby – and she dressed as a Beenie Babie riding him. She loves having fun with her horses! while they were in the warm up arena waiting for the costume class to start, she decided to pop him over a small cross rail jump :-)

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He’s such a good boy and so tolerant! You’d never know he was just 5 if someone didn’t tell you! There were super hero horses (red and blue capes), princesses (giant white dresses with flowing capes), unicorns . . . lots of fun costumes. So fun!

Yesterday, she had a lesson with her Western instructor (doing it all with this smart guy!). They had a Halloween party with all of the girls and their horses. Keira was riding Remi around the arena while the other girls finished costuming and tacking up their horses. Remi was doing great – UNTIL – a horse with a black cape came walking in.

Remi FREAKED. Started galloping and hopping around – Keira ended up bailing (no tack!). So thankful for Amara and teaching the girls emergency dismounts  . . . but Remi is still tall and she fell hard, even when under control. He was about a foot from stepping on her – and in about 1.5 seconds I thought “If he steps on her, we’re done with horses. Everything goes.” Of course he didn’t and of course we aren’t. But JEEZ!

He stopped being a freak once she was off. She got up and did the body check – sore back and sore elbow, but other than that, she’s fine. Luckily the arena is quite cushy with all the sand!

I asked her if she wanted to continue or go home. She said nothing. She was M.A.D.! She stomped him over to the trailer – with purpose, I might add (if you’ve never seen a girl in a pig costume mad at her horse dressed as a Beenie Baby – oh my is it a sight! LOL!). She took off her costume, saddled him up, and took him back in the arena. And boy did he learn that if his girl falls off, the next 15 minutes will not be pretty for him. She lunged him until he was sorry and rode him like there was no tomorrow – making him do anything and everything.

Then she got back into the Halloween Party mode. For the rest of the lesson, he was funny! He kept his eye on the horse with the black cape. He never flinched again, but he certainly knew where that horse was at all times!

They played bobbing for donuts – they had to walk under a rope that had donuts swinging from it and get one in their mouth without using their hands.

If this isn’t the face of a horse who really has no clue why he did what he just did and is forever sorry he threw his girl, I don’t know what is :-)

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He is soooooo looking right at me! I can see his eyes saying “I’m sorry! How is this? Am I standing still enough? Is this good? Is she still mad at me?”

What we learned today?

Red, blue, white, and green capes are OK. Black? Not so much.

Always trust your mother’s instinct. I did not feel good about her getting on him bareback yesterday. No clue why. He responds so well when she’s tackless – such great communication between the two of them. But I just didn’t feel good about it. I asked her multiple times if she was sure and did she want to put the saddle on and if not at least use the bridle so she has some head control. She said no no no. Next time I might tell instead of ask. I’m not sure what’s more difficult – watching your baby get thrown off a horse or watching your baby get back on!!!

Oxer!

Oxer – A horse jump or fence with vertical poles and another pole spread out a foot or two away that is usually higher than the first set of poles.

I have so much to say about Keira and Remi and riding and jumping and Amara getting married and moving to Florida with Seth and the Air Force and us finding a new trainer and and and and.

But it’s Monday and all of that will have to wait.

So I leave you with this . . . Keira and Remi training over an oxer . . .

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Their oxer was a 2′ vertical, spaced by tires, 2′ 3″ vertical. Notice the markings on our ruler jump – Keira is over 4 feet in the air on a young 1,000 pound horse.

As a parent, this is NOT easy to watch, and this is a relatively low jump.

See that 36″ mark? That’s her goal before high school.

I’m gonna need more whiskey.

Oh The Places They Have Been

Lovin’ this photo of Keira hiking at Independence Mine in Alaska – July 2012

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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.

Drive Time

With Jason driving himself all over now, I figured it was time to get started with Keira :-) She’ll be 14 in December, which means she can start driver’s training in June (yes, I really said that – next summer!!!). I had told her she could start driving the driveway when she was tall enough to safely reach the pedals AND see over the dash.

Well, she’s been growing all summer like there’s no tomorrow and her legs are officially as long as mine – which isn’t saying much, but the girl’s got legs up to her neck!

Yesterday, we borrowed Jason’s car to go buy grain for the horses . . . on the way we filled it up with gas and I fixed Lola’s skirt when we got home . . . so I figured I had “purchased” some extra time in Jason’s baby.

So Keira put on shoes and moved the seat up and forward and we were off! She did great – up and down the driveway a few times, complete with backing up and stopping at the end and blinking and driving around the cul de sac before coming back up the driveway.

The first trip was a little jerky, but by trip #3, she was doing great!

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Looking forward to more trips up and down the driveway to get my Princess some practice!

Oh Time – Where Have You Gone?

I’m old enough to have close friends sending kids off to college for the first time. I’ve been crying with many of them for the past month as they figure out how to say a temporary goodbye to their babies. I’ve also been the freak sitting at my desk (or at the stoplight) crying as I read about friends of friends dropping THEIR babies off at college.

We’re not there yet, but it’s getting closer every day.

I have proof . . .

Photo 1 – what they looked like just last year when I put them on the bus for the first day of school :-)

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Photo 2 – what they looked like just last week as I put them in the car for their first day of school :-)

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Yikes! WTH is happening?!

Like A Duck

That was me yesterday afternoon – frantically moving and treading underneath, still and calm where the world could see.

I was sitting at my desk working while Keira was out riding Remi in the arena. For some reason I had an urge to go see how it was going. As I got to the sliding glass door, I saw her ask him to canter . . . then I saw him turn his head at her, glare, and proceed to buck her off.

Little shit!

He stood there for a second then trotted off up the driveway to the barn and stood by his stall door.

Keira’s friend was out there with her, so while I really WANTED to bolt out the door to see if she was OK, I just stood there and waited. Keira got up, dusted herself off, said something to Piper, and stomped up the driveway after her horse.

I looked out my office window to see what she’d do. I was HOPING she’d get back on him. Instead, my heart deflated a little bit when I saw her untack him.

Really?! You’re going to just let him get away with that?

Uh – no. I should’ve known better.

Next thing I see is Keira stomping back down the driveway with her horse in tow. The poor guy had no clue what he was in for.

She lunged the crap out of him in the arena! He got to do all the cantering she wanted him to do originally, and then some.

And boy was he M.A.D.! I saw him put his ears back, give a little mini buck, and try to gallop off. Keira grabbed the lunge line with both hands, held on, and made him come to her.

He tried again.

Same result.

He finally put his ears up and started to nicely trot around on the lunge line. Then canter when she asked. Then change direction. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Finally she took the pressure off and just stood there in the middle of the arena.

He stood at the end of the lunge line. When he decided it was safe, he put his head down, slowly meandered over to her, and put his head in her hands.

Good boy.

She wasn’t willing to get on and give him an attitude adjustment without the fence up yet, but she found a way to get her point across without getting back on, that’s for sure!

We’ll see what happens when she gets on him to ride today.

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This morning when I went out to feed, I told him that if he hurt his girl again, we’d send him away to the cowboy farm where he’d have to actually do work and not have a cute little girl to braid his hair and bathe him and get him all ready for horse shows where everyone would love on him and give him carrots and treats and ribbons.

He actually looked at me, dropped his head, and nickered.

Good boy.

The Bonus of Being Behind

We gave up Saturday in the mountains and with friends to work around the house. We spent the day cleaning up the yard . . . all of it . . . the pastures . . . the woodpile that was here and out of sorts the day we moved in . . . trimming tree branches . . . cleaning the horse trailer . . . picking up trash that has blown into our yard from the neighbor’s construction site . . . throwing out saved carpet that is 3 generations old . . . cleaning the inside of the house.

I’d say we put in our fair share of adulting on Saturday!

Sunday, we took a break. I had 13 loads of laundry to do (don’t ask), so I decided to set up scrapbooking shop in the dining room and scrapbook while I did laundry.

It’s been a LONG time since I’ve scrapbooked!

How long?

I was scrapbooking pages from June of 2008.

One HUGE bonus of scrapbooking pages from 8 years ago?

7 and 5 year old Dude and Princess :-)

JDandelion

KDandelion

All at once now – “AwwwWWWWWWwwwww!” :-)

I think I’ll leave the stuff out a little longer – the kids have enjoyed looking at their former selves as well :-)