Sunday, December 1, 2019

Ten Things

It’s been a while since I did a post like this:

1. Right after I was feeling smug about riding five days in a week, we got a snow storm that dumped almost 20” of snow and followed that with frigid temps. It was still pretty sketch when I tried to get to the barn on Saturday and I was thankful for four wheel drive making it down the driveway.

This was almost 12” on Tuesday morning. It snowed heavily for another day.

2. For the first time since Sept of 2016, we pulled Ashke’s shoes. It will give his hooves a rest from the nails and shoes, will allow me to ride outside in the snow without risking ice balling up on his hooves, and will let us see if he is sound without them. He got his left hock done the 16th of October and hasn’t been on the previcox since that point. He is moving fantastic.

3. We have new family members. 

Meet Mia (My-ahh) Tristan’s new puppy.
She is so sweet. 

She is sixteen weeks and has taken to living with us really well.
Housebroke, but a chewer.

Figuring out the ins and outs of life from the older dogs

Meet Boo. My birthday present from T
She is a cute little thing

The calico is Lia, who is B’s kitten.
She is much happier with a friend.

They play together and it keeps Lia from sticking her head in “Lily’s mouth.

4. We had a lesson today that included two big spooks resulting in almost falling on his head. There was snow and ice sliding off the roof and making him very tense. We used that as good practice for the shows, since he felt as tight and reactive as he does when we are showing. He is never going to be a bomb proof horse. I just have to learn to ride through it and ignore his antics. We finished the lesson with a figure eight with changes ridden left handed and he gave me the cleanest right to left change we have ever had. Amanda smirked and gently said “so maybe that tells us you are blocking him with your hands”. I smirked back and said “guess I should just ride one handed all the time.” So, guess what I will be doing going forward . . . 

5.  Sauna time happens pretty much every day and seems to be helping with the pain I am dealing with in my right shoulder. I have found some Lakota chant music to play while sitting in the hot steam.

6. We have settled into our new home. There is a tree in the garage waiting for the tree stand to be delivered by Amazon. I have a bunch of lights up and two new deer in the front of the house. We need to get lights on the tree and our new bird feeder hung but those things should happen this week. I really love this holiday.

7. We did Thanksgiving at home as a family for the first time. I prepped most of the stuff the day before, so just had to get the turkey in the oven in the morning. I woke the kids up about an hour before and told them it was time to eat. T said “wow, mom, you did all of this stuff by yourself?” Pause. “Well, I guess you always did.” The food was delicious and the kids kept me laughing through the meal. They are incredibly easy to live with and they are doing a decent job of keeping their space clean. 

8. This makes me really happy.

9. We have a company party this coming weekend. Last Friday, after the hordes of peoples had mostly left the store, we went shopping for pretty clothes. T needed all the things but I think it was worth it.

I think they call this style a smoking jacket.
He sure is smokin’ hot.

10. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and had plenty to eat, fun things to keep you occupied and loved ones around you.

Monday, November 18, 2019

5 Days

The biggest issue I have faced this year has been fitting in time for Ashke around the craziness of divorce, house shopping, tending to hearts and souls, moving. Some weeks, my lesson was my only ride, and there were some weeks where we didn’t even get that done. It’s not a surprise that Ashke has lost some muscle and topline.

This week we rode five days: Sunday, Tuesday, Weds, Friday and Saturday. I think this will be our riding schedule going forward. Saturday was a “resting work” day and we went out in the bareback pad.

He already looks better.
And he got a trace clip because he was getting a little warm, plus his hair pulls where the girth runs.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Reveal: Home Addition

The past eight months has been one of the most stress-filled, trying times I have ever experienced. It took a lot of hard work both physically and emotionally to get Tristan and I (and his girl B) to a safe harbor without damaging us in the process. The journey that took us from the condo to our new house was an interesting one.

Between April and July, everything in the house was sorted, boxed and moved to storage, leaving only the necessary items in the condo that we needed day to day. The flooring in the walk-out was removed, damage to the dry wall and floor was fixed, the condo was painted, and new carpet and baseboards were installed.

On July 3, the condo went on the market. T, B and I went out with our realtor on the 4th to look at houses. I had been in discussions with the loan officer and my realtor and understood where my price range fell. T, B and I had talked about what we wanted in a new house: a yard for the dogs, a nice kitchen, and a separate living space for the kids (basement they could make their own). I already knew that my best option would be an older home built sometime between 1960 and 1980, since most newer homes have tiny yards. 

We saw eight homes that day, none of which wowed us, although there were a couple that might have worked. Most homes built during this time frame have small rooms, and although they have the square footage we were hoping for (1900 - 2100 sf) in some the rooms were awkward and the layout uncomfortable (like the kitchen where you could either open the fridge door or exit the space, but not both at the same time . . . or the house with a murder room in the basement . . . or the house that backed onto the highway with a rocked in back yard). T was wonderful during this process: he was so humorous and lighthearted about everything we looked at, that he kept me and my realtor in stitches. 

We made plans to go out again the following Sunday, with a new list of places to look at. The second to last house we visited ended up being the house I ultimately bought. It is a bi-level with about 1000 sf upstairs and downstairs, with the largest yard we looked at anywhere, and a two car garage. We absolutely fell in love. Hard. It didn't hurt that there was Deadpool everywhere you looked in the house.

 And a life-sized Deadpool in the garage.

T and B posing with the Merc with a Mouth

Ultimately, Deadpool and Marvel Comics is why we ended up with the house we wanted.

By the end of the day on Sunday, we had decided to put in an offer on the bi-level house with the Deadpool memorabilia. My realtor helped me put together the offer and we submitted it. The word came back that there were more than one offer on the table and asked for a second counter offer. I was already at the top of my range, so we stood firm. When I told T, he asked if he could write a letter to the seller. I checked with my realtor and she said it couldn't hurt. T wrote the following:

Hello! Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tristan XXXXX. Recently my family underwent some restructuring and some members decided not to stay. Unfortunately we have decided to move houses. This means that I’m leaving the house I grew up in. Luckily, there are upsides. Besides a direct upgrade in living quality, I’m also getting to move in with my SO. This is exciting for both of us, as it’s the next big chapter in our saga. We started our search, leading us to your wonderful home. We wanted to share our thoughts and feelings about your house.
First and foremost, we absolutely loved the clear obsession with DeadPool, and my SO is incredibly jealous of the signed autograph. Beyond all of that, we absolutely loved the house! We have been at the search for a new place, and have had a lot of different houses to look at, but out of all of them this was truly the first house that we had only positive things to say. It was easy to picture how we as a family would use the given space, and had a wonderful time imagining living there. The house accommodates every single one of our desires, and for the first time since we started looking we all agreed it was beautiful. Every little detail spoke to us. From the wonderful
Sized yard for our ever growing family of furry friends, to the beautiful view on the balconies. To the stylish wooden doors leading to each room, and the masterful layout of both bathrooms. Thank you for the privilege of letting us inside your home. We hope you don’t mind but we snagged a group photo with the nice Mercenary in the garage :)

Ps: the large black cat is an ABSOLUTE UNIT

They accepted our offer. We wrote the contract and made it contingent on the condo going under contract. 

Then we went six weeks with four viewings of the condo. We fell out of contract with the house we wanted and waited. The end of July, we finally got an offer on the condo. The house we wanted had gone under contract and then fell out again. T, B and I went out and looked at houses for two days and every house we walked through we were like "it's nice, but it's not the Deadpool house".

I finally talked to the realtor about making another offer on the house we loved. We submitted it and went back under contract.

Then the condo fell out of contract. There was a provision in the contract on our new house that released us from the contract if the condo didn't sell, but no real way to release us from the contract early. We reached out to the realtor for the house to see if they wanted to be released and the seller said no. He was willing to wait for us.

Finally, the condo went under contract again. We shuffled dates around on the new home to accommodate the change. On 10/7 the condo sold. On 10/8, I closed on the new house. We moved out of the condo on the 14, and moved into the new house on the 19th. My mom came out for two weeks and helped us get settled.

We are mostly moved in and there are pictures hung on the wall. The dogs are pretty much settled in and things are set up the way we want. So, here are some pics:

The sauna I have wanted for almost twenty years is installed in the garage.
It is a dry/steam sauna that will sit six (but fits three pretty comfortably).
I have sauna'd at least once a day since we got it hooked up. We need to figure out the flooring to keep the cold from rising from the concrete floor, but that is a minor irritant.

The front room

The other side of the front room.
The front door opens into a small entry way with a door to the garage, a set of stairs down and a set of stairs up.

The master bedroom.

The other viewpoint.
There is a walk in closet to the left of the picture.

The door and dresser.
All of the doors were upgrades to the house.

The backyard with T's new puppy, Mia.

The backyard from the deck.

The right side of the backyard.
The far corner needs to be addressed this weekend.

The straw I added, because there was no ground cover.
And the mud being tracked in was overwhelming.

The pups are enjoying being able to terrorize the neighbors.
And each other.

Dining Room table, just off the living room.

Basement for the kids

The double TV set up with a multitude of gaming options

Kitchen from the dining area

Gas stove is the bomb.

A side table I added to the kitchen.
Dog treats are kept inside.

Center island
Yes, there are some holiday decorations I have been working on.

There is a second bedroom upstairs with a nice closet, the kids have a great bedroom downstairs with lots of windows and plenty of room for their stuff. They have their own little apartment downstairs. It's been really easy to live with both of them.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Birthday Tattoo

You might not have heard of a super hero film by the name of Captain Marvel, film number 21 in the Marvel Comic Universe, and if you haven’t you need to educate yourself on it right away. It is the best origin story in the 22 film arc and I love Brie Larson in the role. I saw it five times in the theater, and have watched it numerous times since it came out on video. It will be the go-to movie for me when I am feeling a little bit down or in need of a reminder. 

My truck is named Marvel and has Captain Marvel’s symbol on her in two different places. To say I am a little obsessed might be an understatement. So, of course, a Captain Marvel tattoo seemed in order:

Line work done.
Let no one tell you that the inside of the elbow is a comfortable place to tattoo.

Shading in place prior to color.

Pausing at the end to contemplate the outcome and any final touches.
This was the point at which I developed a severe case of Turrets.
Several M’fers were uttered. 

Finished tattoo.
Captain Marvel materializing out of me.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Changes Bareback

Bareback Changes

I hadn't ridden since Weds night. The temps have changed and fall is definitely here. Snow is expected on Thursday. There was a tractor loading manure onto a flatbed trailer right next to the arena. He was perfect. Light. Connected. Listening.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019


We went from fall temps of mid-70's to early 80's to cold, wet and raining with a high of 50. When I talked to Amanda about Ashke she said he was still warm, but I might want to pull a blanket out and toss on him for the night. I was already planning on being at the barn to pick up the start/finish gates for the National Championship show and getting them over to Chris to pack in the trailer, so I figured I would throw the blanket on him when I got there.

He saw me and came out whinnying and tossing his head. I was walking to the barn in a light drizzle and said "are you cold? Do you want a blanket?" He reared and spun, trotting the length of his run to meet me at his stall. His hair was standing on end when I said hi, and I got the impression from him of a slight shiver running the length of his body. I started searching for his light weight blanket, but then was reminded that his neighbor helped strip the top layer off of it last spring and I threw it away. I grabbed the mid-weight and carried it back to where Ashke was impatiently waiting.

I said "it's a little heavier than you might need, but you will be warm. Do you still want it?"

He nickered and tossed his head.

I opened the stall door and went to step inside and he moved to position himself so that I could toss the blanket on him (he never does that). I got it snapped and buckled while he tossed his head violently up and down in a "yes do that please" movement. Once all the straps were hooked up, he took a deep breath and settled. Just like a kid curled up on a corner of the couch under a blanket.

I got a strong impression of warmth and contentment, mixed with a heart-felt thank you.

My poor thin skinned desert horse.

Monday, September 30, 2019

PSA: Portable Saddle Racks

Have you seen one of these?

Saturday, I had Ashke tied in the same spot he is usually tied in, while I groomed and got him ready to ride. One of my friend's had her Friesian in the crossties half way down the row, and we were chatting as we got ready to ride. There was a portable saddle rack hooked over the rail next to where Ashke was tied, but it was turned away from him, with the pokie part facing into the feed stall. I went into get my saddle and heard my friend yelling whoa. I came around the corner and saw Ashke on his hind feet, pulling back, with the portable saddle rack attached to his face. 

He must have lowered his head and hooked the back hook onto the side of his halter.

I dropped the saddle and said, "Ashke, whoa. Stand."

He dropped down, and although he was trying to stare threateningly at the object attached to his cheek, he stood. I calmly, but quickly, walked out and put my hand on his shoulder, using my other hand to steady the rack until I could get it unhooked. He was shaking and snorting, but trusted me to take care of it. I put it out of harms way and then spent a little bit of time running my hands over his neck and back, telling him how proud I was that he listened and waited for me to save him. I told him over and over what a good boy he was, while I waited for the adrenaline shakes to stop.

Then both he and the Friesian (who was alarmed by not overwhelmed by Ashke's reaction) got peppermints for being great horses.

Teach your horse the command "stand". That is like the fourth time it has saved either me or Ashke from a trainwreck. And be careful with those saddle racks. I had no idea he could do that to himself with one.