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Horseback Riding Adventure

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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

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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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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Horse Rich

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Horse Rich

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You don't go into the horse business to get rich. This is very true. Yes there are the elite few who do make money in the horse industry but for the majority of us equestrians we usually eek by with paying our bills, often filing our barn stores before filling our own fridge. Many of us work one or more other jobs to make ends meet and inevitably the emergency fund is being tapped for yet another vet visit. I'm blessed that my regular job can support my horsey habit and offer me ample time to enjoy my ponies. I applaud all of those who feed before and after your twelve hour shift and sneak in a weekend ride.  I recently spent time with my boyfriends mom on her ranch in southern New Mexico. With the passing of her husband and her boys gone, she works the near 4,000 acres on her own. Back in its prime they supported 60 head of horses and twice as many cattle. As we drove around that day looking for early calves we chatted about livestock and her days training race horses. “I had few years where I was making really good money at it,” she said. “But it takes a long time to make a living at it.” I thought a lot about that as we bumped along. In a world where so many people are focused on making money, horses give us a way of life. For those of us who have stayed up with a foaling mare, walked for hours with a colicing gelding, or finished feeding before making our own dinner, we know that these moments aren't done just for a paycheck but for a passion that runs deep inside the horseman. It’s a way of living that only those who get up at dawn and end at dusk can understand. 

Now the ranch only run a few cattle, chores are done in a Mule, and horses no longer grace their barn. Yet the halter that still hangs on a fence and old tubes of wormer sitting in the medicine cabinet linger like spirits of a time gone by. “I still love horses,” she said as we pulled through the last gate, “but I just don't have time for them any more.” No this rancher woman sitting next to me may not have gotten rich on horses but they have definitely enriched her life. Two generations of horsewomen sat there together enjoying the warm, quiet morning without saying a word but fully understanding each other. 

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Spreading Love

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Spreading Love

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Usually with Valentine's Day creeping upon us I would be writing about how much I love my horse, my dog, my man, friends and family. Instead I'm wanting to spread a little love this year.  Five years ago Mom and I spent  about a month volunteering at Mozambique Horse Safari with Pat and Mandy Retzlaff. We came to them with a big five year plan to start our own horseback riding business. I'll never forget Mandy looking at us and saying, "Darling, don't wait, go home and do it." With out the encouragement, guidance and friendship of these wonderful people and their horses we would never had taken the big leap and start Enchantment Equitreks. 

The Retlaffs have an incredible story themselves. Mandy actually wrote 104 Horses about their harrowing endeavor to heard 104 horses across Africa during the Zimbabwe land reallocations. Yet their struggles continue. Mozambique has found itself in a devistating drought and much of the grasses that their horses survive on is gone. Pat and Mandy are now in need of help to feed their herd. Here is where I am asking all of you this holiday to send a little love all the way to the horses in Africa and give what you can. They have a set up a go-fund-me account for any one who can make donations. I thank you in advanc for these amazing people mean the world to Mom and I. 

If you are interested here is the like to the Go-Fund-Me account on Facebook. Happy Valentine's Day.

https://www.facebook.com/africanhorsesafari/posts/10153919606659287   

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