This moment

Holiday 4

Joining Amanda Soule at “Soulemama” in the tradition of “this moment”:

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

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Happy Holidays from the barn

Holiday 9

So, living in a barn gives one many possibilities for creativity. I don’t mean (just) me. The boarders love to pitch in and do their part. Hence, our horses all on handmade ornaments (complete with glitter) and strung from rope. It’s a wonderful garland. I absolutely love it strung all throughout the tack room! A little holiday cheer to browse if you wish. And, of course, one can NOT underestimate the importance of decorating your horse’s stall too “so Santa won’t forget to stop there”.

Holiday 6

 

Holiday 5

 

Holiday

 

Holiday 2

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Holiday 8
Last but, my oh my, not least:

Holiday11

 


Happy Holidays and sending all wishes of peace and joy……

This moment

Oskar, the pig and the girl

 

Joining Amanda Soule at “Soulemama” in the tradition of “this moment”:

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

 

Legends in the making

Calamity Jane. The history around this woman is not clear at all and, upon my bit of research, appears that she wrote most of it up herself. But…isn’t that great?! We are talking 1800’s. A long darn time ago. Way before women’s rights. Way before women had voices. So how did her voice sustain centuries to be heard even today? Many say that she “exaggerated” or “completely fabricated” stories about herself. Yet, she has become legendary as ‘Calamity Jane’. She hangs (see above) on my daughter’s wall as a legend, a hero. However, I have only recently really looked into her actual history. A bit sordid perhaps. Hum, but really who knows? If what the researchers say, she wrote up most of it herself. What we do know is that she was a woman who perserved in her time to become a legend. Even if she exaggerated her own stories, well-again- isn’t that great? Back then, a lady probably needed to! From what I can gather of the “truth” is that she did become a storyteller in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show”. She, then, in her later years, used her minimal fame and fortune to start her own Ranch and Inn. Go girl! Some say she was a “shady lady” and that was how she earned her fame. I had never heard that one in the story of her legend. Others say she was a generous kind woman who reached out to help others. She was “known for her helpfulness, generosity and willingness to undertake demanding and even dangerous tasks to help others”. Well, I contemplate this hanging in my daughter’s room that I had thought so innocent. Perhaps, not? This woman’s history is ….shady-ish. It is okay I decide. Because I see a young woman who sustained in a time when “ladies” simply did not. A time when, ladies tended the homefires, the young, and the… dinner. A time when, often, the women did not go out and become LEGENDARY. Calamity Jane. We all know the name. For heaven’s sake, she was for sale in a chain store when I purchased the poster that I ripped and framed for my little girl. For heaven’s sake, we all “know” Calamity Jane. For better or for worse. But we all know her. And she was a brave one for her time. That’s a cowgirl if ever I knew one.

Locker

“I figure if a girl wants to be a legend, she should go ahead and be one”

   -Calamity Jane. I agree!

This Moment

Mudbathh
Joining Soulemama.com in the tradition of “this moment”:

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Horses are so good

Sierra

This writing rang so true with me. I want to give credit where it is absolutely due. This was written by Julia Everheart whom I have tried to contact and just can’t. I really need to share it though, so thank you Miss Everheart:

Most little girls go through a horse-crazy phase at some point in their adolesence. There are several theories as to why this is; the most famous is the Freudian theory about little girl’s repressed desires and need to master something powerful to make up for their inherent weakness. Hogwash, I say, but anyway, whatever the reason little girls love horses, it’s good for the girls and good for the horses!

Most women can remember clear as day the first time they sat on a horse. Maybe it was an old, arthritic pony not suitable for anything more than the occasional lead line ride. Maybe it was, as in the case of my mom, a hot Thoroughbred racehorse whose trainers were insane to put an 8 year old on its back. Whatever the scenario, it is a memorable experience because it is markedly different than, well, anything. Horses are big and they offer a whole new view of the world. A little girl all of a sudden gets a lot taller when she’s hoisted onto a horse’s back. This feeling, along with the feeling of going faster than she could on her own two legs, is very addictive.

Once a little girl gets a taste of riding, she is likely to want more. If you’re a parent reading this, I advise you to cough up the cash for some riding lessons. I can almost guarantee you won’t regret it. The first reason is simple- confidence. When your six year old can get on an animal that outweighs her ten times, make the animal walk, trot and canter quietly, and maybe even convince it to jump over something, all the while making it look effortless, she will really have accomplished something! Horseback riding, like most athletic activities, is much harder than it looks. What you don’t see as the observer is how much muscle control, strength and balance goes into even the simplest of manouvers. Horses don’t naturally move in straight lines and perfect circles. They don’t naturally lower their heads and trot prettily around an arena. Your kid is making all of that happen. As your little girl continues to advance as a rider, you will see her confidence grow. Riding is HARD and your kid can do it!

I have seen many a timid and shy girl blossom into a confident, outspoken and capable little lady simply by hanging out with horses and learning to ride. When a child rides, they may be able to get away with being a passenger at first, but soon they will have to take charge. There are many naughty ponies to thank for timid little girls learning to quite literally take the reins and take control. In the horse/human relationship, the rider is dominant and has to be for her own safety. Riding teaches kids to lead, to make quick decisions and to trust their instincts. Your kid may think she’s taking a riding lesson, but really she’s taking a lesson in life.

Horses also teach responsibility. If you haven’t noticed, they’re alive and have numerous needs. They’re a bit like very large, very heavy toddlers- they poop a lot and make a mess when they eat. Horses require hard labor- mucking stalls, hauling water buckets, unloading hay, cleaning tack, repairing fences, cleaning the barn, and the list goes on. All of these chores have to be done on a daily basis. Kids who are involved with horses learn to work hard and take pride in their work- another valuable lesson for life!

In a society where girls are taught that their value lies in how they LOOK, horses teach little girls to place value on what they can DO. Would you rather your pre-teen spend her afternoon wandering around the mall looking for a push-up bra or master an automatic release as she flies over a three foot jump on horseback? Which do you think will instill tenacity, perseverance and confidence in her ability to set goals and reach them?

Horses will also turn your little girl into a tough cookie. Horses are big, and when you fall off them, it hurts. The important thing is to get right back on. Undoubtedly, everyone who rides will fall off at some point and if they love the sport, they will haul themselves right back on and give it another try. There is little time for tears and pity parties.The only way to get better is to get back on.

As little girls grow into teenagers, having horses around can be especially helpful. Your teenage daughter can’t get wasted at her friend’s party because she has to be up at 5 a.m. to trailer to a show. She certainly can’t get pregnant, because everyone knows doctors frown on pregnant ladies trying to ride. If her boyfriend dumps her, so what? Her horse is cuter anyway. Horses give teenage girls something to think about beside boys, parties and all the myriad superficial things our consumer society is selling.

I am convinced that horses give back far more than they cost in ways that are immeasurable and priceless. Many families have made sacrifices so that their kids could ride, show or own horses. The time and money spent on these endeavors has a return that will stretch into the child’s teen and adult years. Simply put, horses are good for girls.

Sierra 2

As a personal note, I’d add that horses are just good for people in general. Especially, children. We have been through so many life lessons with horses. Bullying, confidence, assertiveness, responsibility, what hard work feels like, what reward at the end of that hard work feels like, I could go on..and I could write an entire post on each of these “life lesson” topics but I will spare you (you’re welcome…). In a nutshell, we’re on the right path I think. With great teachers in our equines!

Friday’s moment

Joining Soulemama.com in the tradition of “this moment”:

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

 

Nine months

No hands!
I just spent the last hour or so going through pictures so I could send some special ones off to be developed. It’s the end of the year and time, I figured, to catch up on all of that.  Get current on scrapbooks and get some holiday gift pics ready to frame and put in the mail. I really wasn’t expecting so much inspiration to come from this simple and tedious task. Looking back at early pictures of our days here, I am actually quite (and pleasantly) surprised to see the changes in my daughter, my family, myself, our horses. It has been exactly nine months today since we uprooted our lives and moved in here to the horse boarding/training and trail riding stables. In some ways it still feels so new, like we moved in yesterday. And in some ways it feels so old, like we’ve been here forever. I found myself pausing to think over these past months. The people, the horses, the growth, the huge leaps in learning, and the hard times. It has not all been slow and easy, no it hasn’t. As much as I would like to display that here, it wouldn’t be honest. It has been slow and hard going much of the time. In more ways than one. Then…I look at this picture I recently took of my little girl. My goodness. She went from a 5 year old traumatized rider from her first “FALL” to a girl riding confidently on a sweet old man named “Jack”, to being bucked off that sweet (but grumpy) old Jack. THEN, we moved in here. She persisted forward with a new fear of knowing the scare and pain of a buck. She perserved on with Jack and a couple more horses. “Loosen your reins!” became my mantra and tighten them up further became her response. Then she got her lovely Arabian dream “Romance”. And, she proceeded to pull the you know what out of her mouth with tight reins and grasping the saddle and pure fear. Well, wouldn’t you know it but that lovely Romance RAN AWAY WITH HER in the round pen –first ride. Anyone out there working with lessons kids….you hear me. Nevermind the fact that she’s my own kid as well! We went downhill emotionally so far and so fast, I thought this little baby girl was never coming back up for some manure sweet air. Low and behold, she wanted more. I have never made her ride, she would come to me every morning begging to ride even while being scared to death to do it. So began the saga of little girl traumatized three too many times on three horses and mama teacher who (because of being mama) she just didn’t really respect. All she had to do was cry and say “Im scared” and what was one mama to do, really? Ok, “off you go”. Well, once, twice, three times, okay. BUT…there comes a time when….we just really need to RIDE. There were slow days of just groom her, tack up and walk her around the arena. Please. And, suddenly, with really no warning, my little girl said “I trust her” and dropped her reins. Put her hands out in the air and said “look, ma, no hands”. There was a little more work here that I’m perhaps leaving out, including putting trotting poles in her horse’s stall (she was petrified of them). I questioned myself over whether that was really the nicest thing, but decided that it was okay. The poles would not attack her in the middle of the night (I promise) and what better way really to get comfortable with something than to SLEEP with it. There were days of just watching while my girl did nothing but sit on her horse with her body tense and reins tight not wanting to move but also not wanting to get off (once it was for 45 minutes!). Times of biting my tongue and just trying not to look! Friends and other boarders offered encouragement to her along the way. Mostly it’s just been a lot of patience, time and space knowing that she wants this so bad and it will just come into being when the time is right. She has the skills, she knows how to ride, and she has the passion. Just give her time to heal. Well, I think her time has come. Maybe not completely. It’s a long journey for everyone and really doesn’t have a finish line. But this cowgirl is certainly more than along her way I tell you.

Sweet, grumpy, old man Jack. This was my girl’s first real horse relationship and first real “cowgirl up” experience too. My how love hurts sometimes! Jack has also recently been one of her first “saying goodbye” and dealing with death experiences. Looking back at the words I wrote above, I see all the we learn and all that we become just by being around and working with horses. How horses can teach so many important life lessons amazes me.