Bluebird Day

I received hard news from my boss on Friday: a coworker, a senior manager I supported and was mentoring me a bit, was found dead in her home.

For this and various other reasons, I desperately needed a good day, a smooth day when I didn’t have to worry about a million things and everything just moved…easily.

Today delivered and I seriously lucked out in every way. Truck and trailer are both roadworthy, sealed, organized and basically as good as they get. Flash loaded more or less willingly (I’ve mostly accepted that he’ll load cause he’s a good guy and not because trailering is fun or neutral for him), and I got zero traffic up to Washington.

I had managed to snag a mid Monday lesson with a new trainer, Rebekah L., And boy both she and the facility she trains out of were definitely worth the drive! The sun was shining and it was warm enough for Kade and I to have a picnic lunch in the grass while we relaxed from the drive.

Rebekah is the first new trainer I’ve introduced myself to in years, and this time with my own horse! My main goal for the spring is to get Flash and I to a solid, well matched place, so we can pick up from there when I come back from pregnancy recovery in August. Might as well make the most of our arena time while we’re stuck there, and today’s outdoor arena was just… breathtaking. I don’t go for hyperbole much, but the sun was shining, the views of the hills were beautiful, and the footing was fantastic. I just wish it were a tad bit closer and we’d be there all the time!

Flash trailered well, relaxed while we waited and I tacked fuzzbutt up, and only called once to the horses all around him. He had a few opinions under saddle, but nothing to budge even my out of fitness butt. Rebekah gave me one main pointer that I was desperately needing-carry your hands! Huh, so that’s why I lurch forward at the posting trot, my hands were way too low!

Flash and I have tons of work to do, but there’s a well trained, happy partner under his blonde, cookie hogging exterior and I’m more excited than ever to bring it out. Good boy Flash, very good boy 🙂

Dry Side Jaunt

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Two bridleless, three bareback & one horses first real camping season, Three Sisters behind us!

Last weekend was a perfect start to the riding and camping season, but it made me re-examine my equine priorities. My main goal for the past two years has been to train for and complete a 50 mile endurance ride. I obviously have to loose a few more pounds, seriously up my fitness to post 50 miles, and get over my first five miles of racing brain anxiety.

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Relax, sit deep, shoulders back, post to the movement…room for improvement, but a nice power trot!

Starting an endurance ride is deeply stressful for me, mainly because I’m usually on a horse I’ve only met a few times before, if I’m lucky. My most successful ride was last year at Klickitat with Jokker; I finished feeling like another 25 would be easy, albeit dusty, and I loved most every second of it. Any horse can feed off the energy of ride camp, dozens of horses high as kites and fit as cougars and ready to go. Problem is, I hate riding that high headed, upside down back when I just know I only have .1% of the horses attention, cause that’s when shit hits the fan.

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Camping with my current trainer and a few of her working students and friends was…amazingly relaxing. I had only one moment of stress, and it was based on my lack of fitness at keeping up at the canter/almost gallop, but by the end of the weekend I was riding bareback up to the viewpoint on the same horse. Ray and I really hit our grove this trip, and now I’m looking forward to the summer spent with this mostly easy going, occasionally surprising redhead.

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It was wonderful to lumber out of my cozy hammock where Cyrus and I had snuggled all night, sipping coffee in front of the fire and waiting for the sun to rise and the day to warm before we slowly tacked up and moseyed out of camp, no hollering or jigging required. We set our own speed, not quite completion speed but moving out more than we’ve been able to all winter.  Each horse had to have their moments of spring fever, cantering in place, spinning, side passing down the trail but those were mostly in good fun, no one bolted or screamed or disagreed too badly.

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There was plenty of time to chat, take awesome photos, revel in the dry and the sun and the open forest of the dry side. It was a good shake out for the season, testing equipment and rider’s legs and recovery times.

Cyrus even got to come along and see if he would make a good camp dog…he makes an excellent camp dog! He never strayed too far or ate too many weird things, he charmed all the other ladies, snuggled all night in the hammock with me, and even got to join in on the sunset ride to the viewpoint.

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That ride ended up with three of us riding bareback and two bridleless to boot! We soaked up the sun, huddled out of the wind, ate good food and drank just enough to relax and hit on every topic under the sun.

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I think I might like horse camping better than endurance, ya’ll. All the fun and horses and company, none of the stress! Many thanks to Terreka, Shannon, Verena & Stacy for an epic weekend!

Perish the thought

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Way too early this morning, my kiddo half woke me to crawl back into bed with me after a nightmare. Trouble with this is that’s my deep, REM sleep time, so today I’m sucking down coffee like there’s no tomorrow because I’ve been stuffing in as much overtime as I can. I eventually drifted into that state of “I know I’m dreaming but it feels so real this sucks” mode, & from my subconscious rose panic. I woke up to my car, my Emerald Queen just gone. Oh, not Tom’s little Scion, but my big green horse hauling badass? Gone, & found by the local cops stripped down for parts near a local park. Not a restful image, so thanks brain for that.

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If this had actually happened to any other vehicle I’d owned, I’d pretty much shrug & move on, being not overly attached to any particular one. Also,, when I lived in the city close to work with a bike & solid public transport wouldn’t have affected us too badly. But now I live in car dependent suburbs 20 miles from work, which is perfectly doable…with a car.

But I panicked far beyond that to find the Queen not just gone but totaled, as the insurance would say, destroyed both in utility & as an idea.

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I’ve only had her a few months, but I’ve put on a couple thousand miles, obsessed about keeping her clean (a losing battle with a growing boy), hauled horses several times, filled her to the brim with friends, Ikea, & Costco, helped random strangers in the backwoods, sought & found numerous road trips, camping trips, & assorted other adventures, not to mention making it to work every day without a hitch.

More than any other vehicle, the Queen is freedom for me, freedom to commute comfortably, to seize the weekend & camp anywhere, to tow a horse to seek beautiful places to ride, to bring friends along for the haul.

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This weekend I’ll vacuum & clean her out once again, get her a (shudderingly expensive) oil change, & load up to seek a quiet spot in the woods. This time we’ll be grinding low gears to climb Mt. Hood, travel the back way & gravel Forest Service roads to find a cool creek side campground. I won’t have a second of worry that everything will fit, that I’ll be stuck up there, or not be able to escape the hordes of mosquitos.

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The Queen & I thankfully have miles yet to go.

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