Blood donation…with a side of horses

Rather than an exhaustive play by play of my most excellent weekend, I’ll toss up a bunch of photos both pretty and questionable and a few vignettes from our trip up the mountain!



My new favorite photo: Fourth ride in three days, bareback and mostly hands free! Ray and I have really clicked this past month and it’s paid off; he did almost 50 miles in four days for two different riders and still had gas left in the tank!


I took the same photo two years ago on a different horse, so much has changed in life and in myself and I can say I was much more relaxed this trip, plus I had Cyrus tagging along!


We spent a good chunk of the weekend like this, I finished two books! Nomadland by Jessica Bruder (excellently researched and written!) and Confessions of a Horseshoer,  by Ron Tatum (an interesting look inside the mind of an old school farrier).


Adrienne, dogs and I hiding in the trailer, seeking relief from the incessant mosquitoes!


Lunch break during our 4.5 hour, 16 mile ride around Timothy Lake (that’s one of a million butterflies above Ray’s saddle!) We rode drag all day, moseying along and enjoying everything but the mosquitoes!!!


No, no one punched or kicked me. These are all mosquito bites! My other leg looks much the same. Note to self: Avoid this area until later in the summer!


Heading out for ride #4, see what’s missing? I only came off once (#domorecrunches) but I successfully captured Ray as he moseyed back to camp riderless (that vision is a catch riders worst nightmare) by snapping a carrot at his (slowly) retreating butt. Given a choice between camp far away and food right at hand, guess who turned right around and let himself be caught so I could scramble back up top?


Cyrus was adored by all and scarfed up everything he could find all weekend, though my trainer’s older dog also loved his special comfy bed.


Obligatory stupid awesome photo between the ears of Mt. Hood over Timothy Lake. The mosquitoes were totally worth this view!


I learned Ray loves water. Not so much to drink, though he managed that just fine, more to splash, splash, splash and seriously consider laying down and rolling in, rider and saddle still attached not withstanding!


Good friends and their matching shirts! Rachel with Mustang/Paso Fino Cody on the left, Adrienne with “Turbo Frisian” Arab/Frisian Ruais and Ronan on the right.


Cyrus flirted shamelessly all weekend, and was well rewarded for it. My trainer’s partner fed everyone, including the poor, unloved dogs heaping portions of wonderful Kahlua pork and rice.


Lunchtime selfies, five seconds before Primo the Super Mustang almost lost his mind at a cute little girl calling up “Pretty horsies!” from a horse eating kayak on the lake.


Horse eating bridge or no biggie? Several horses had complaints to be lodged about this harmless little footbridge, but not unphased Ray!

This weekend was the perfect trip I needed to relax and clear out the cobwebs so I can focus on painting and packing and moving into our awesome new house this week, a whole post coming on that tomorrow!


We went full nautical!


For a chunk of last year I had to dust off my single mom parenting skills, as Tom traveled extensively for work and kicked butt all along the way. Customers and internal employees alike sang his praises, and rightfully so. His employer (now mine too, though totally different departments!) rewarded our family with a hefty bonus around Christmas. We jointly decided to aim for experience over tangible possessions, which found us on the rented sailboat Ibis in Victoria, British Columbia over the holiday weekend.


All future family trips must now reach this super high set bar! Last year’s trip to Legoland was really for the kid; it was fun, but the entire point of that trip was a happy kid. This trip was for all of us (plus the friends that officially witnessed our wedding!) I can’t recommend the ship or her Captain highly enough (Blackfish Sailing Adventures for those of you interested!)


Captain Gary is first and foremost an educator, so we spent the day actually sailing ourselves around under his close eye and detailed stories. We started the day in the thick of the start of a long running yacht race, complete with Canadian Navy cannons booming the start to each heat. The rest of the day was spent between 5-30 degrees tilt, tacking hither and yawn, steering around massive container ships, watching the tale tells on the sails, eating a delicious lunch with Timbits and Nanaimo bars at anchor, and unable wipe the grins off our faces for days.


Tom wants to buy a ship of his own now! I told him he should probably really learn to sail first, maybe? Oh, and there’s this pesky thing called a house we’re buying currently, plus I dream of a truck and trailer of my own someday. Suffice to say, there will be more sailing in our future!

sailboat5That’s the Captain holding onto our kid, you can tell he’s done this for a long time!

We did more things in Victoria, we were there for four days (one day on the water) but the sailing was unquestionably the high point! There’s something in being subject to sea and the winds, working with your ship, the physicality and focus required which is similar in many ways to endurance. The horses will always be my first love, but for a shared family activity I’m not sure much could beat a clear day on the water.