Monday, July 5, 2021




I've been letting Betsy out of the house occasionally when I'm around to supervise/babysit/referee in hopes she and Possum can come to some sort of truce.  They don't have to become friends, as much as Possum would like to I think, but they need to at least be able to coexist.  I'm not sure if it's ever going to work.


Friday, July 2, 2021

Yet Another Sunset Picture

The very day I post about do I really need to take all these pictures, we get a stunner of a I took a picture ;-).  And made it into a puzzle :-).

Thursday, July 1, 2021

The Month End

I'm not really sure why I take all these pictures.  I mean, the sunrises are beautiful, but do I need to document all of them?  Or pictures of the Cheeto and Willard.  They all look mostly the same, honestly.  Possum has so many bed pictures I had to pick only a few favorites to keep the video from being even longer. 

The lambs at least grow and change and I like the series of pictures of me petting Christopher, Maggie coming over to see why I'd be talking to any other lamb but her and then turning to the camera as if in disbelief before curling up in the now empty spot after she told Christopher to get lost.  Christopher talking to Lancelot is cute as well.

I probably have taken a hundred pictures of Salt in the driveway.  I can't even begin to count Kate and Tilly pictures over the years.  If I need a good laugh, I love to go back and look at Maisie pictures or that crazy video of Liddy getting stuck in the shearing chute.  I love to get prompts that takes me to an old picture of Buddy or Comby or Hank or Keebler or Lila or...

This morning one of my favorite Instagram follows @springcoyoteranch posted

"Shepherds love to capture a “perfect” moment even if it’s for nobody else to see. There’s a certain feeling of peace you get looking at the sheep. Soaking in all the details of a scene…sheep grazing contentedly, the sun rising or setting over them, mothers and lambs, a favorite ewe gazing back at you in a knowing way. For a fleeting moment all of your hard work is manifest in pure joy and satisfaction. Looking back at old photos, I catch that feeling again for just a little bit."

I love looking back at these old photos. There is a lot I want to remember this every month.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Frankie Was A Rockstar

When I jokingly said "Go big or go home!" I really didn't think going to the Lexington Carriage Classic would be that "big".  Not the show itself, although it was a nice size show with competitors from quite a few states, but big as in what Frankie would have to handle.

I've shown at the Kentucky Horse Park before, but it was always for Combined Driving Events (CDEs) which were held "out in the country".  Our dressage and cones competitions were on remote polo fields and the marathon all over the back roads and tracks of the cross country course.  

Frankie spent the week "downtown".  He was stabled in a "city" of other horses, carriages of all sorts, shapes and sizes, billowing carriage covers, cars, trucks, golf carts, mopeds, bicycles, heavy equipment, horse drawn tour wagons, the Mid South Pony Club Rally, tractors, mowers, leaf blowers, loud PA announcements, mounted patrol units, tight warm up areas, sand, concrete, pavement, rubber bricks... 

To be honest, I think he had to deal with way more "craziness" than my seasoned horse, Handy, ever faced in all his years toting me around.  I walked him around the afternoon we shipped in and tried to expose him to as much as I could, by his side.  We were even able to walk around the indoor arena for a few minutes.  That evening we hooked him up and drove.  

The next morning we were able to go into the show ring and school before the show started.  I got there early in hopes of being the only one in the ring for at least a few minutes.  It was a noisy place, but he did really well.  As some other drivers joined us he got a little rattled, but remained safe.

The other horses were the most concerning to him and I'm not sure if it was just the noise and excitement of the other horses or if he felt some racetrack pressure and wasn't sure what he was supposed to do.  On several occasions he switched into a pace which makes me think it was more racetrack confusion.

In an attempt to get him to better relax, it was suggested that I drive for a few minutes, leave the arena for a few minutes so he could relax in a "safer" setting and think about everything and then go back in for a few minutes and back out to relax...  This worked great until another horse in the ring blew up and was heading right towards us on his hind legs as we were coming in the gate.

The other driver had zero control of his horse as he leaped and spun.  I had plenty of control, but not enough room to try to turn around to get safely away.  This was a very dangerous situation and I was horrified not only from the fear of injuries, but also that I'd put my young horse in this unbelievable spot.  

All of the sudden the horse took a fortuitous rearing jump to the side and a sliver of room opened up in front of him and I sent Frankie forward!  He charged past the other horse and we were finally safely away.  Handy never faced anything even close to a carriage wreck with another horse.  Carriage wrecks seldom end well.  Frankie's quick action saved the day...and probably so much more.

We drove in two flat classes (group driving, no obstacles) and two (one horse at a time) cones classes.  He was very brave in his first cones class and a bit rattled in the first flat class.  The next day I warmed him up a little differently and between that and him having some more time to think about everything, I could not have been happier with him and we even won a third place ribbon!

We took the cones classes very slow and steady and when I saw one of the pictures below and realized how close the cones were set, I sure didn't feel a bit bad about hitting one.  I'm surprised we didn't hit all 10!  A friend overheard the judge comment favorably about me making a time sacrificing circle to better set up my young horse rather than trying to force a short turn he wasn't ready to make and that made my day.  

There are several fun videos on Instagram and Facebook.  The beautiful pictures here were taken by a good friend and they are wonderful mementos of a fabulous experience that I will treasure forever.  I remember telling Frankie, when we started driving, that Handy had left some mighty big shoes for him to fill.  They are filled.

Of course my biggest thanks goes to Frankie for being such a safe and willing partner, but there were so many folks who came out to help and cheer us on and make this such a great experience.  I am forever grateful.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Old Friends

This a post for anyone who's ever hung on to something thinking "This is something I'm using."...and then "Surely I'll use that again."...and then "Hopefully I'll use that again."...and then "I don't think I'm ever going to use that again...but I can't bear to use it for something else because that's not what it was for."...and then "I guess I'm never going to use that again...but I still can't part with it."...

...and then almost 20 years later you find yourself digging it out from where it's been stored and greeting it like a long lost friend, carefully washing it and packing into your horse trailer with a bunch of other old friends who you thankfully couldn't part with and heading off to a party.

Frankie and I (and a bunch of my old friends :-) are off to the Kentucky Horse Park for the Lexington Carriage Classic.  I had planned to take him to a smaller "practice" show in Ohio, but decided to "go big or go home"...or at least I'll be able go home each night ;-).  

We might not be completely ready for a show like this yet, but we're not far off and I'm extremely proud of Frankie for being so smart, brave and willing to try and proud of both of us for how hard we've worked to get there.  We've had outstanding help along the way!

I'll do my best to post some Instagram "stories" throughout the next few days for anyone who'd like to follow along and at very least post a wrap up post here on the blog.  

Trot on!


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