Monday, November 28, 2016

November, The Month of Thanks

First off! EquinPilot is having a super awesome Giveaway from RW!

Okay, back to November!

I have written this post over and over in my head and I felt like it was definitely going to be a tear-jerker. We'll see what happens though since I kept putting it off due to the pet-sitting insanity. I survived though! I even spent some time with my family to top it off. I have to say, probably the one of the best Thanksgivings I have ever had.

In truth, I think it's because I have a lot to be thankful for this year.

Obviously a lot has to do with this girl and her painted unicorn.

Wendy has absolutely been an incredible friend and partner throughout the year and I can't wait until next year. I am so so so thankful for her and every experience we have been able to have together.

Right there with Wendy, I have Kate and Lauren. I have never had such an amazing support group or cheerleading squad in my entire life. They are my grounding ties and also the reason I know that Brantley and I can do anything and everything we could set our minds to. They have been with me through basically the beginning. The beginning of the "new" me. And I wouldn't be that person without them.

I'm also thankful for new friends and the group from WGHA. I'm also really thank you for Grasa who I feel like should've been in my life a long long long time ago. But it's never too late and I'm glad she's here now. You know when you just connect with someone and next thing you know you both are singing "No Scrubs" in a crowd of people and then say, "Friendship Level Achievement Unlocked" ... loudly... And then be lucky enough you are both horse crazy? I'm set for life.

My best friend and my hero.

I'm thankful for my boys. These boys are the reason I'm still alive and mean everything to me. I honestly don't know if I would've made it as far as I have in my life without them. Mikhail is a Junior in college working as a research student and skipping ahead into his PhD program, all expenses paid. Mason just began his Freshman year and is a straight A student in all of his classes. Did I mention their both Engineers in the making? They are my mentors and the two people I look up to the most because they're amazing and two of the most invested kids I know in their generation. I am so lucky to have both of them.

My Mom. I know we don't always see eye-to-eye and we have definitely have had our ups and downs, but she's my Mom. She's always taught me to be optimistic. To look at the stars. To be a star, when I have the chance of course, and sometimes you just belong in the spotlight. Because of her I can basically fiddle with any instrument I pick up and can sing my heart out when I really want to (in the right key too). I know it's hard for her to relate sometimes because my passion is different from hers, but it's how passionate we are that makes us so alike. I know that no matter how differently we see things, we can always find a middle ground or just call each other "cunts", have a laugh, and try again tomorrow. For a long time it was just the two of us and watching her be so strong working days and nights just to make sure I had a smile on my face and some mac 'n cheese to eat was inspiring. 

Being a single mom is tough and she made it look easy.
... with jazz hands.

My Dad. I don't even know how to talk about my Dad without writing a book. My parents were divorced before I even understood what that could medan. And honestly, I didn't know what it really meant until my Mom remarried when I was 8. When I realized what "divorced" meant and he wasn't around as much as he had been, it hit me really hard. Basically to the point our relationship fell apart and I got really lost in my teen years (like most of us horse girls do). When Lucky came around he wasn't crazy about the idea because I was 14 and he thought that it'd just be a wave that'd go away (he admitted later in my life that he was wrong). But when I needed him the most, he was there.

When Lucky got hurt, this man did everything he could to give my boy every chance possible. He made the decision to try to save him because I couldn't. And when I lost him and went off the deep end, Dad was there every night making sure I was okay or waiting by the phone just in case. He sat with me more nights than I remember while I cried myself to sleep. He pushed me to go to the barn and keep at it, and that's probably why Brantley came along he kept quiet that he wanted me to have another horse, "just not that one." Which I found out like a year ago... I think he gets it now that it's not just a phase and has definitely become a bit more supportive. There are things I do with my life I know he's not crazy about, but I know that if I do fail, he'll be there. And the best is when I succeed and can laugh and "I told you I'd do it." And he has that look like he knew I could the whole time.

Alright, I saved the best for last. Someone who doesn't get a lot of credit and it's definitely due. See that guy to the right holding up my brother Mason? In the light blue polo? Yeah, that guy. That's Michael. He's my Other Dad. I won't call him the "S" word because there's just so much stigmatism that goes with that. He's nothing like one of those. He stepped into my life when I was 8 and I could tell right of the bat he was a rookie. But he liked my Mom and helped me pierce my Barbie's ears (yes I had a Barbie) with thumbtacks (totally Maddy style). Yes we fought, yes sometimes things got out of hand, and I definitely screamed "You're not my father" a few thousand times. But honestly? He was much more than a father. He has a completely different outlook than both Mom and Dad and is probably the glue that sticks those two personalities together in my own personality. Kind of like the bacon on BLT. A lettuce and tomato sandwich is just not the same without bacon.

When I don't know where to go or who to turn to in those family moments, I know he's there. He took on a lot of responsibility when he signed up for this situation and because of him I have my boys and a happier Mom. And I love how much he loves my Dad. I love his sense of humor and he has never made me feel out of place. He's been a strong and steady hand the majority of my life and I don't think I'd be the woman I am today without him.

And other than my boys (who obviously I'm thankful for), I'm thankful for you!

You read my stories and my rants and flip through the pictures I post on here and Instagram (and some of you on Facebook). You help me up when I'm down and celebrate my accomplishments. I'm so lucky to have this community to share stories and lessons with. Thank you for making me... Me!

So I'll leave you with this question.

What are you thankful for? Other than horses of course.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Windy Days & A Past Celebrity Ride

Thanks for everyone's responses from my last post!


I know there are plenty of dogs out there who go absolutely nuts when you pull out their adorable little blankets or outfits, but how many dogs start bouncing off the walls when you pull a full wrap-around hat... with a brim... out of their toy/blanket basket. I know of one. P.S. He also loves to wear his "cone of shame" and will put it on himself (with pride) if given the chance. What a weirdo...

#Petsittinglife - It's been pretty easy going with normal walks and just a couple of overnights, but it's just the calm before the mini storm. Luckily Thanksgiving weekend only lasts a few days and into December we go! A week off and then another busy weekend and a few more quiet weeks. I'm still on the fence about how much longer I can keep this up. If there are any super success non-exhausted pet-sitter/dog-walkers out there who has some advice... I am all ears. 

But I have goals I really want to reach in 2017.

One is competing and doing a few horse trials and I'm sure there will be a few injuries to go with that and being laid up is not good for business when you are the only employee of your business... But at least with most full-time Monday thru Friday jobs, there's sick time. We'll see what happens!

Brantley and I have a had a couple more lessons with Eric Horgan which I learned a lot from. There are definitely things I like and don't like but it's great to have tools to throw into the cauldron of horsemanship. Some things have been working well while others don't. Still though, it's helping us figure things out that work for us. B seems to be happy and moving smoothly and ready to jump anything we put in front of him.

Lauren came up for Equine Affaire weekend and got to take him for a spin. I love hearing what she has to say and watching her go around especially since she's seen him basically from the beginning. It's like watching your friend's kid grow up from afar. You see them 1-2x per year and they're a foot taller and have so much more to say. Luckily Brantley is not getting taller but he does have a lot more to say.

She has a lot more experience in the jumping world than I do so that's another reason I love watching her. There are a lot of horse owners that watch someone else ride their horse well (and maybe even better than them which is Lauren in this case ahaha) and may get upset or jealous, even angry. But me? I am so proud of the kind of horse he's become and watching what he can do with someone who knows what they're doing? I love it. I'm so lucky to say, "I did that."

Here's Lauren from last year (10.9.15)

And here's this year! (11.9.16)


This past Sunday, Wendy and I left the horse trailer behind and went over to Cherry Croft to support our friend Grasa from Gypsy Rose Horsemanship at her Gymkhana. Me being me... I had to butt in and see if I could be of service and lucky me! I got to watch and set the timer and organize results. I know, I know, I'm a weirdo, but I love trying to be helpful. I think Wendy and I may dabble in some Gymkhana stuff next year to if the finances allow. Hunter Paces of course are first priority.

So anyone taking the winter off this year? I thought about it but... I feel like if I try to give that beast the winter off, let alone myself, Spring is going to be more interesting than I'd like it to be. So there's the next question... To clip or not to clip? Wendy nailed a super awesome deal at E.A. on some clippers and I'm thinking a trace clip would be nice. What is everyone else doing out there?

Saturday, November 19, 2016

5th Pony-Versary

Today is better than any day to start blogging again. I can't believe I've almost reached the two month mark again but the clouds seem to be clearing more and more every day...

Today marks the day I picked up that sad-looking, scraggly thing out of a sand paddock in the middle of nowhere. Heartbroken and looking for a quick fix-and-sell project, I gave into that quiet but worried eye. Following me into that trailer in the dark, trusting the pressure on his tattered lead... he knew better than I that this would be forever and not just a quick pony affair.

I should have known better and luckily through all the bullshit, blood, sweat, tears, and concussions... I have this... part of me. Definitely something I never thought I would have again.

I knew you would be amazing and you would do great things Brantley. I am so lucky to be a part of the journey. And I know for a fact that this is no close to over yet... It's only the beginning.

Someone gave his first pony ride to one special little girl today. I don't think it could've been any other little girl to be honest. With all her time "training" him, I just felt it was right today. After Kate rode him around a bit I said, "What's going to happen... If he goes anywhere, I'll have him and you'll have her." So, Hannah rubbed his neck and patted his back and swung her leg over. Afterwards she kissed his cheek and whispered "Thank you" to him (yes, my heart cried a little).

I love this horse.

THIS is everything that I have been working for. We didn't go anywhere. We just stood while she sat and patted his neck and pulled on him mane. He was a little worried at first but his eyes relaxed and his whole body got quiet. It's funny how they know. I am so proud of this boy.

Every horse deserves to be loved by a little girl <3
This horse is loved by a little girl and a few other girls.
But I think we're definitely the lucky ones.

Happy Pony-Versary Brantley Tear Drop Winken: November 2016

Tear Drop Winken