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Two EarsTuesday

This pictures was posted a few days ago by a childhood friend. We haven't actually seen each other since elementary school but with the ever updating world of Facebook I've been able to keep up with his beautiful family. Our dads were both team ropers and while I can swing a rope at a dummy, Reed still chases a few steers.

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This photo should be in a magazine with big block letters across the top promoting a high performance suplement for horses. Instead it is a superbly captured moment of a horse ready to do his job. His eyes and ears remain pinpoint on the cow, intensity builds in his arched neck, he waits to spring as the gates slam open. Any cowboy will tell you that half the work is done by a good horse. This is a good horse that loves his job.

I wholeheartedly believe that domestic horses need and want a job. With the cold weather and shorter days setting in, my herd has spent most of the past month napping and eating in their paddocks. This may seem like the good life but, like kids cooped up in house too long, it makes for irritable, moody, and bored horses. Their manners begin to slip, nipping at each other at feed time or getting pushy at a gate. We often have to revert back to foundation training. "This is my space, this is your space, get out of my space," kind of schooling. My horses love their trail riding job and in the winter months I have to employ a parental like ingenuity to keeping them stimulated and out of trouble.

Like Reed, many owners can keep their horses working year around. My horses work seasonally, which leaves at least 3 months of down time. I'm hoping to fill some of those days with romps in the new pasture when the weather is nice. Just getting horses out on the walker or out on a lounge line helps. How do you keep your horses fit and entertained during the winter?

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Two EarsTuesday

This pictures was posted a few days ago by a childhood friend. We haven't actually seen each other since elementary school but with the ever updating world of Facebook I've been able to keep up with his beautiful family. Our dads were both team ropers and while I can swing a rope at a dummy, Reed still chases a few steers.

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This photo should be in a magazine with big block letters across the top promoting a high performance suplement for horses. Instead it is a superbly captured moment of a horse ready to do his job. His eyes and ears remain pinpoint on the cow, intensity builds in his arched neck, he waits to spring as the gates slam open. Any cowboy will tell you that half the work is done by a good horse. This is a good horse that loves his job.

I wholeheartedly believe that domestic horses need and want a job. With the cold weather and shorter days setting in, my herd has spent most of the past month napping and eating in their paddocks. This may seem like the good life but, like kids cooped up in house too long, it makes for irritable, moody, and bored horses. Their manners begin to slip, nipping at each other at feed time or getting pushy at a gate. We often have to revert back to foundation training. "This is my space, this is your space, get out of my space," kind of schooling. My horses love their trail riding job and in the winter months I have to employ a parental like ingenuity to keeping them stimulated and out of trouble.

Like Reed, many owners can keep their horses working year around. My horses work seasonally, which leaves at least 3 months of down time. I'm hoping to fill some of those days with romps in the new pasture when the weather is nice. Just getting horses out on the walker or out on a lounge line helps. How do you keep your horses fit and entertained during the winter?

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Two Ears Tuesday

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This weeks between the ears shot is a throw back to my month spent on the beaches of Africa with Mozambique Horse Safari. I believe the ears belong to Spice Girl, one of the many amazing horses the Retzlaffs rescued. The book 104 Horses follows Pat and Mandy Retzlaff's journey from Zimbabwe refugees herding horses across the war torn nation to horseback riding outfitters in the safe haven of Vinculo.

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My journey through Africa wouldn't have been complete without this experience with the Retzlaffs and all the people at Mozambique Horse Safari. This is a once in a life time adventure I highly recommend to any equestrian.

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Two Ears Tuesday

This Tuesday's  between the ears shot overlooks a field of white sage on a sunny fall day. We're hoping to finalize the lease on this beautiful pasture. Early this fall we placed a competitive bid on this state land and although we won the bid, it is being contested by the previous leasees. We have a meeting with the New Mexico land commissioner on the 8th. Our horses are crossing their hooves in good luck!

 

 

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Two Ears Tuesday

Today's photo is of me! Being the photographer of the business I'm hardly ever in the picture. Although you can't see my face I'm still working hard with the GoPro stuck to my head. The two ears belong to Paige's Appaloosa mare, Risa. You might have seen our young outfitter on our Facebook video of Risa bounding into the Rio Grande River. 

https://www.facebook.com/EnchantmentEquitreks/videos/941981499256925/ 

 

 
Between Risa's Ears

Between Risa's Ears

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Two Ears Tuesday

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I couldn't choose! The Sandia Mountains are so beautiful this time of year so I decided to show them from the back side, full of golden aspen splendor, and the front side, swirling in clouds and the banks of the Rio Grande stretching at their feet. We had a spectacular  weekend riding with this mother daughter due from California. Thank you Linda and Shannon for joining us for this end of the season ride.

 

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Two Ears Tuesday

It's Balloon Fiesta time! What better way to kick off Two Ears Tuesday than with my favorite shot of a hot air balloon between Cash's ears. 

 

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

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Day 13 Recurring Rescue: What Defines a "Rescue Horse"

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Day 13 Recurring Rescue: What Defines a "Rescue Horse"

I know it seems a little late but this blog took me much longer to write than expected. I had to do a lot of thinking and research. As my last assignment Wordpress U challenged me to create a recurring blog and of course I had to create two different posts. Two Ears Tuesday will be a photo post capturing moments from between the ears of a horse. Most will be my own photos but others will be photos that I like or inspired me. My monthly post Recurring uringRescue will highlight the world of rescue horses with stories of specific horses, people who work with them, training techniques, and the organizations that harbor these animals.

By definition rescue means to "save someone or something from danger or harm."

I believe a good place to start this monthly feature is to define the term "rescue horse." I didn't realize what a loaded term these two words create. By definition rescue means "to save someone or something from danger or harm." Dual Peppy, the once world champion reigning horse that was starved and left to wonder amongst the corpses of his barn mates, is the poster horse of severe abuse and neglect. Most likely when we hear the term "rescue horse," we invision the malnourished, dull eyed creature staring from the back of a mud and manure thick paddock. To often the word rescue gets bogged down by the obvious physical results of mistreatment. The mind of a horse is a very complex network and can be as fragile as their bodies. When interacting with a human the horse has to negate their instincts and trust that this predator like animal will not harm them. They can carry this burden as easily as they carry us on their backs.

Mental abuse is just as predominate as the physical kind. For example, Jake, our flashy bay gelding, has been in our foster care for over two years now. Jake hurt and we couldn't figure out why. We have had X-rays looking for navicular, a chiropractor adjust his shoulders, the vet inject his heals, farriers try different shoes. Nothing seemed to work. When Jake first arrived at the ranch he was flighty, scared of anything that was new, loud, moved too fast, didn't move at all, and he was terrified of humans. At some point in his life Jake was forced to work through this excruciating pain and then was punished when he refused. This caused a mental break down of his trust not only in humans but his environment, which manifested into rearing, panic, and bolting. Reciently we hired a natural balance farrier and he has been able to bring Jake out of pain. The relief has changed Jakes entire demeanor and attitude.

Now that his physical issues have been addressed we can begin to heal his mental scars and rebuild his trust.

Jake is an overt example of a rescue horse. In his and Dual Peppy's case it is obvious what we are saving these animals from. However, there are so many other horses that land at the shelters that are not victims of outright abuse. They are the unwanted, the unsellable, the unmanageable. The off the track thoughbred with the chipped knee, the old campaigner in early retirement, the aggressive mare with a bad attitude, the draft cross with roars, the filly in need of leadership and experience, the outgrown pony. I could tell you hundreds of stories of why a horse ends up at a rescue and a million reasons why these animals are redeemable, retrainable,  reconditionalable, rehomeable.

The lucky ones end up at the shelters where they can receive the help they need. There are countless others on Craig's list, off the track, out of the show ring, from the back yard that are sold to a slaughter truck where their fate is to ride in horrid conditions to their untimely death. So a rescue horse needs not only be saved from the immediate dangers but also from their harmful fates. I know slaughter is a huge controversial topic, and I might write about it one day. In this piece I want focus on what is a rescue. Ultimately it is an animal who needs to be saved from immediate and impending harm.

Horses are powerful creatures with a fragile physical and mental system. It is this combination that makes our partnership with them possible. When we enter into this partnership we become stewards of their livelihood with a promise to nurture and preserve their balance. When a horse becomes a "rescue" it is because the one they trust has broken this promise.


I hope you enjoyed my first Recurring Rescue post and join me each month for more stories and insight on the world of rescue horses. Don't forget to check in on Tuesdays for my between the ears photos. 

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Day 11 Finding the Balance of Silence

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Day 11 Finding the Balance of Silence

Today's assignment brought me to the Daily Post sight with the intention of finding insperation from a prompt. I'm sure writers block is a vicious virus that plauges all writers, but this has been my enemy from the beginning of my blogging. I often place my writing on the back burner waiting on insperation to warm my thinking pot. I've learned that I have to light my own fire and sometimes search for the flame. However, it doesn't hurt to have a little help from a prompt like 'silence.'

I wanted to get deeply personal and philosophical about this subject, but I kept returning a simple idea. There are certain people who like silence, like me, especially in the morning. My thoughts like to gather over a cup of coffee and can get directed by noise. I then spend the rest of the day chasing them around. There are plenty of people who need the chatter of the TV in the back ground or to verbalize thoughts as they arrange them. Neither personality is wrong, they just order the world in a different way. So in the morning it can be difficult to place these two together. One will be trying to embrace the silence while the other is trying to fill it.

I had to wonder, are horses affected by silence as well? I know that some are more talkative than others. My youngest mare, Rain, is very verbal. She grunts, groans, and gripes when she is being lazy.  During feeding time everyone can hear her mutter until her hay is dropped. Even her curiosity had a sound.

 

Cisco, the big paint, is a silent sentient. He never complains, hardly makes peep at dinner time, and often is happiest with his head in my hands.

Although these are definitely two different horse personalities, are their reaction to silence different as well?
I believe Cisco is more like me, he gathers information slowly. When he is on the end of my longe line he always keeps an ear cocked listening for me to break that silence. Unlike Rain who constantly needs word of encouragement to move her feet I'm usually more of a silent rider, lost in the landscape and my own thought on trail. My communication with Cisco is almost always physical, we don't need words. However, when I ride Rain I'm usually clicking my tongue to her or uttering a 'move on.' I know how to work with their personalities, my clients don't. Rain doesn't do well with a passive rider, and Cisco resents a fussy one. Neither horse is bad they just react differently to silence. It's up to me to match rider and horse.

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Day 8, 9,and 10 Finding Insperation From Fellow Bloggers

Wordpress U is challenging me to become a better writer as well as a better blogger by being an active member in my blogging community. I now take time to read my fellow bloggers posts, leave comments or likes, and even find a little insperation in their writing. I really enjoy the writing of Tyler Kleese Horsemanship, his introspective voice can be applied to life and horsemanship alike.

His latest post Patch Job Junkies focuses on the importance of forming a foundation instead of relying on the quick fix when training horses, because the patch inevitably wears off but a solid foundation will last. I wholeheartedly trust in foundation work. It's the first step I take when working with a new rescue. Often these horses have had multiple owners, all with their own style of training, all asking the horse for something different. It is essential to do foundation work in order to establish a common language with the horse. When the horse understands what you want from them they trust you when you ask for something new. It can be easy to try and rush this process, I'm just as guilty for placing my expectations on a horse which only causes frustration on both sides. It's never a bad idea to take this work as slow as the horse needs and return to this work when communication starts to break down.

Mini goals are an excellet way to keep the pace of your work and your expectations realistic. In a recent post from HippoLogic, it spoke about breaking down your ultimate goal into smaller steps in order to not overwhelm yourself and the horse. Recently I took RD, our newest rescue, out on trail with the goal of a calm and slow paced ride. All was going as planned until we turned for the trailer and the patch from the previous owner fell off. RD became impatient, flighty, and hard to handle. He couldn't undertand why I asked him to slow down when his last owner always asked him for full tilt boogie. My goal was too big for RD. So we returned to the round pen for foundation work and taking everything slow. These are my mini goals with this horse. Goal one, lunge in a slow comfortable pace. Eventually we will get to the arenea where we move in a slow comfortable pace. Then when that goal is met we will return to our ultimate goal, trail riding at a slow comfortable pace.

Both articles referred to this method as giving yourself a head start or 'getting ahead and staying ahead.' If you have a strong foundation method, when all hell breaks loose, you and your horse have a common place to come back too. This happens often with Cash, my typical spook at a plastic bag throughbred. We have worked together for years on his perpencity to shy at a shadow. So for the days when he balks at a rock on the path, my hands drop low and my legs urge forward. This is his cue to trust me, this is our common languge, without it he would he become obsessive about the rock and revert to all his bad habits. Instead we are ahead game, so if something truly harmful slithers onto our path, Cash will trust me to get us past this too. 

When reading other writers work it makes me a better writer and horseman. I have added a 'blogs I follow' widget on my blog if you would like to visit some of my favorite bloggers. 

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Day 5, 6, and 7. Fidgeting with Widgets and Tweaking Content

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Day 5, 6, and 7. Fidgeting with Widgets and Tweaking Content

 

I blocked these days together because my over achiever inner child has already worked on the theme, "about me" page, and customization. Now everything can be improved. I toggled through themes, trying on new ones and throwing them off like unwanted clothing. Deciding on a theme is like picking out a dress for a first date, you want to make a good first impression. Nothing too young, sloppy, or dated, I want my reader to be interested in taking the next step but not rushing to the end. I decided to reinforce my brand by choosing a look that mimicked my website, but is unique enough to stand on its own. I browsed through a plethora of color schemes, settling on my standard grey and turquoise, like a classic black dress. However, the turquoise does looks more blue on a P.C.. Now widgets were a bit harder, kind of like shoes. The "follow this blog" header was too big and clunky like combat boots. Instead I opted for the sleek stiletto silhouette of the "follow" button. To keep my page simple and clean, I declined to heap on many more widgets as if they were stacked bangles.

Now that I had my blog all dressed up, I had to decide if I wanted to keep or discard my already written "about me" page. This little statement reads like a dating site script. Who is your author? How much do I reveal on a first date? Do I divulge just enough to keep my reader intrigued? Do I let them know what my intentions are? Instead of scrapping the initial piece, I revised and edited the content until it flowed with better rhythm and stood with confidence. I didn't want to overthink this date with my reader, but I want to let them know who they will be engaging with and what they should expect from my writing.

I'm certainly not done working on my site, not because I'm a perfectionist, but because I like to fiddle with new techniques. I believe changing up my blog style or adding a new widget can bring unexpected spice back into a comfortable reader/writer relationship. I hope you like the improvements and I would love to hear how you make your blog better.

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Day 4 My Reader, My Tribe

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Day 4 My Reader, My Tribe

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When did you fall in love with horses? For some it was a pigtailed obsession playing with model horses in puddles. The equine bug can also bite the empty nester with lot of love still left to give. I fell in love while still in the womb. When my mom finally went to the hospital in labor, after being two weeks over due, her doctor sent her home to walk. Instead she rode her horse. I may not remember this exact moment but my mom's passion for ponies was passed down to me.  Horses have been a unifying element for many women and can transcend age, discipline, and ability. Something happens to the ego when women come together over something they love. I have watched competition melt away and compassion, understanding, and laughter fill its place when we have a group of women riders. No one worries what they look like on their horse, instead they just enjoy the ride. When one rider is a bit nervous about her ability other riders encourage her confidence. At the end of the day we all can sit around the fire with a glass of wine and relive the days triumphs and missteps with the bond built by horses. 

When I was assigned to identify my target reading audience I immediately thought of these ladies. The woman who find encouragement, adventure, community, and sisterhood through their love of the horse. 

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Day 3 Lets Visit the Nieghbors

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Day 3 Lets Visit the Nieghbors

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Thankfully Wordpress U took it easy on me today or I just really liked the assignment. Remember I'm a sucker for homework. Although I follow a few blogs on Wordpress already, I was challenged to explore five new tags and follow five new blogs.  I love reading other people's work. So I typed in rescue horses, trail riding, equestrian, cowgirl and horsemanship. I found a few blogs that I already follow and love. The blog https://newdirtnoldboots.wordpress.com/   has a unique cowgirl voice. And I follow this blog for the amazing training advise, https://horseproblemsolved.wordpress.com/.

I surprised myself by following other blogs such as https://afarnsworthaday.wordpress.com/and https://hotrodcowgirl.com/. The first follows the photography of Farnsworth in New Mexico. The second is written by a woman who balences her love for horses and her husband's for hot rods.

I'm excited to read https://www.writingofriding.com/, because it offers an interesting point of view about writing in the equestrian industry. The blog https://greento100.wordpress.com/ follows the journey of a novice to her 100 mile race. It was the picture and the message of https://whenwomeninspire.com that caught my attention, and https://theislandproject2015.wordpress.com/ looks like it can speak to the heart. 

I read at least one article of each of these blogs. Some are positively intimidating, others are encouraging as they too are still finding their voice. Out of all of my tags I researched I found that "cowgirl" produced more interesting pieces than any of the other tags I researched. It made me rethink the use of tags and hope that it will be the subject in the lesson plan. 

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Better Blogger Day 2

Well day two of my Wordpress U better blogger series has proven to be just as difficult as the first. After my latest blogging achievement I constantly checked my email for the next assignment like a school kid who likes homework and new notebooks. Today I have been challenged to "take control of your title and tagline." Thankfully the email offered a little advise on how to update my opening statement and, like the overachiever geek I am, I spent the next few hours researching what constitutes a good title and tagline.  I decided not to change my title. At first I thought my "Never Holler Whoa In a Tight Spot," was too long and bit wordy. I looked at the titles of blogs that I follow. Some winked at you with clever quips, others stated their purpose with clear intentions. Mine is neither frank nor witty but it has a back story. This is actually a quote my mom would tell me when life got tough. Basically when the horse you're on takes off and is heading on a course that you will both have to squeeze through, it's better to just hang on and trust your ride then to stop the momentum. This is exactly how I feel about not only starting my own business but heading into unknown territory of using rescue horses in the trail riding industry. There have been a few instances when I've narrowly passed through this vet bill and the that feed tab while hanging on for next paycheck. Yet I let life have its head and reward me with one heck of a ride.

[wpvideo Uum1w8vJ] I did change my tagline. My original blanket statement was cute in a generic sense but my research drove me to be creative to capture my reader. This tagline is where I can clarify my title and offer insight to the purpose of my blog. Oh how clever of Worpress U to have me identify why I'm blogging yesterday. I want the reader to understand that using rescue horses in my type of business is a new concept. "Navigating New Trails, employing rescue horses in the horseback riding industry," I believe this has just enough wit and frankness to uphold my title. 

I couldn't simply plug in my new tagline. I spent another hour tweaking and adjusting the look of my blog to highlight my new opening statement and founding title. I'm sure in the syllabus of my course there will be a lesson on optimizing the theme and I'll have to readjust again. However, this is the first time I've been excited about my blog and receiving another homework assignment. 

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Why Did I Start This Blog

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Why Did I Start This Blog

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I want to be a better blogger. While my friends and family have encouraged my writing and the small posts I have thrown out there, I feel a little intimidated by and rather lost in the scope of successful blogging. This morning I signed up for the Wordpress U better blogger course. My first assignment was to write about "who I am and why I'm here." Geeze, this  course isn't playing around. My brain started to real around all the existential answers to this seemingly easy question.  After thoroughly examining my intentions, life aspirations, clandestine  goals, and deepest fears for most of the day, I calmed down and considered what this question is really asking. Ultemetly it is preparing me to focus on what message I want to provide. 

I am a first time business owner following my dreams of running a successful horseback riding vacation destination while rehabilitating rescue horses. I believe that there is an untouched pool of horses waiting to be understood, loved, and given a chance. With so many good horses for sale why would anyone look to a rescue for a horse? Perhaps it takes a special type of person to look into the eye of a misused animal and say, "I hear you and you can trust me." It is the moment of finally breaking through the walls of mistrust and cracking open the potential of these horses that is the epitome of a reward. I want to share this passion with other equestrians. 

The shenanigans of starting my own business can be highly entertaining, especially when horses are involved. I thought I started this blog to capture the moments of laughter, pain, blood, tears, and triumphs but none of it would be possible without the horses standing in my barn. With out these creatures I would only be human. They are the reason I get up each morning and find the courage to follow my dream. I blog to chronicle the journey of rescue horses and bring awareness to viability of the second chance animal. 

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Facebook Milestone

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Facebook Milestone

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Well I've started to get quite a following on my Enchantment Equitreks Facebook page. We reached 10,000 likes today. Now I'm focusing on my blog page. I better get to writing! 

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Easter Special 

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Easter Special 

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It's been a busy Easter Sunday. While many people are out hunting for rainbow colored eggs, we have been evaluating a new horse. Rising Desert, RD for short, is a 17 hand, off the track thoroughbred. For the past eight years the fifteen year old , sorrel has been used in endurance. Now with a new horse coming in, his owner is looking to give him away to a good home. When we asked why no one else wanted him, the owner replied "Because he's so big."  He brought the big horse out to our ranch today so that we could all ride together. It was hard to notice anything else but his size as he walked off the trailer. However we all realized there was something very different about his front left leg. Perhaps that was the real the reason he was having a hard time being rehomed.

   We had been warned that he has a tendency to hold his leg back and it shakes when he is nervous. His owner believed it was due to an old injury, but when mom ran her fingers down the leg she couldn't find any signs of previous trama. It didn't seem to bother the horse or slow him down as we trotted out to ride, all of our horses were a little fresh. I kept an eye on that left front leg on RD, although his knee never seemed to straiten or lock,  he didn't take a misstep. When he finally calmed down I could see that his gate seemed smooth and powerful, his temperament quiet and inquisitive. Mom and I decided to give him a month trail to see if he could fit in our program.  

    As he wondered about his new paddock, trying to make friends with two mares, we watched his leg it seemed that the way he held it was unusual. Mom looked again and confirmed that he has a confirmation flaw, he is over at the knee.  This odd way he was standing wasn't due to an old injury, but just a physical defect, one that non of us had seen on a live horse before. Thankfully many horses adapt to this flaw and have lucrative and long performance careers, such as Seabiscutt.

   

We are very excited to be working with RD and we hope that he will fit right into our herd of rescues. Yes he isn't a traditional rescue from a shelter or bad situation. He had an owner that cared for him, however with RD's odd flaw, not many people would want him. We are the ranch of the misfits, all with a little something different that needs to be understood and cared for. 

So we hope that you have a happy Easter and that the Easter Bunny has brought you something special. Maybe as special as our RD. 

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Adulting Like a Grownup 

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Adulting Like a Grownup 

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I am clearly adulting correctly lately. Although adulting hasn't made it into Webster's yet, its become a highly used slang to describe Performing tasks that are associated with adulthood. I am usually trying to postpone adulting, like leaving my laundry until the last minute. This procrastination is usually the result of working for a boss, i.e. I have to do this or I will get in trouble. However, there are days when adulting produces outstanding results and overwhelms me with a since of accomplishment and responsibility. This go getter attitude is a direct result of being my own boss. There is no one to blame but me.  Two things have happened lately due to my adulting. First we received our first repeate booking. When I found out I danced around the house chanting, "We're a legit biz!" Then it dawned on me. We're a legit business, I've got more adult things to do! I would like to think that our client would have booked again this year regardless my little prompting email I sent a few weeks ago. However, my adulting ego was proud of my follow through and was thuroghly beaming.  

  My next great success is Mia, our little tiger striped dun mare. She is  our first foster from The Horse Shelter and my first horse to pick out on my own for the business. Most of the time Mom and I visit the rescues together, pick through a few candidates and work together to choose our newest foster. Last year, due to illness, I trucked out to the shelter on my own, waded through the candidates, and settled on Mia. Since then she has become my pet project, with her snarky attitude, big doe eyes, and huge heart. And as we began this journey together we are finalizing it tomorrow when a representative from the shelter will come out for a home inspection and will have Mia's adoption papers in hand. I'm so happy to say Mia will be joining our heard as a ranch horse and will be avalible for clients to ride this season. 

    

My adulting is simply trusting that I can actually do adult tasks effectively and realizing they're not as daunting as I believed. When I complete a project, a blog, or even the laundry I feel a since of order and accomplishment. It gives me the drive to do more adulting, even when I sit in my pjs all day binge watching Gotham. 

  

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