Happy 25th Birthday Mexican Gennyral!

My sweet Gen is 25 years old today!! To celebrate, I am going to the barn after work and stuffing his face full of treats and giving him a day full of scratchies with no brush in sight. That is right, Gen only gets 2 days a year that I can guarantee not to brush him…both his birthdays!

Even at 25, my Gen is still a character! I tried to take the annual birthday portrait and he below are the results…

“Mom, I am too tired to look cute”

“I need to take a nap”

“How about I look cute and I sleep”


“Why are you yelling at me Mom, I was just kidding”


“How about I just look cute enough and we call it a day?”

Sigh, even when he is being cheeky he is still a handsome guy!

10 Horse Questions for May

I have been not great about blogging even though I have plenty to write about, so I am going to try and get in the habit again. I am setting myself a very realistic goal of doing something every single week. I used to write every day, how hard can it be to write or take a picture of something once a week? So in honor of my renewed enthusiasm, I am doing a meme and I am inviting anyone to join in and do it as well if they like! 
This one comes Clover Ledge Farm (formerly Standardbred Excellence), who I just about panicked when I thought she deleted her blog last week. Turns out it was just moved to http://cloverledgefarm.blogspot.com/ and she is still blogging!

Here are my 10 Questions for May

1. What are your summer goals?

I have two and both are very selfish things that I have no control over. So basically, these are not good goals, but they are my goals so here goes.

One is that I want Gen to be alive and healthy at the end of the summer. He hates summer, HATES IT! He is just not a hot weather horse, so I always worry about him extra during the summer months. Pretty much my goal every month is to keep Gen healthy and alive and has been for 10 years. He is still with us though so I am happy to keep that as a goal for as long as I can.

My second goal is equally out of my control, and that is that I want to be riding D at the end of the summer. I have no control over what D’s mother does, but I am hoping I can wish and pray my way to a full summer of riding! It isn’t even just riding in general I want, I really am enjoying him, he is a cool horse to ride. I know it may not work out, but fingers crossed I can ride D long past Labor Day!

2. Do you have any tips or tricks for fly control?

Yes, and no. Compared to most barns, the bugs where Gen lives are not bad at all. We get comments about that all the time from Farriers, Vets, Equine Podiatrist, etc. So my tip is to find a barn that has good pest management (frequent manure removal, fly predators, good air flow, minimal standing water, etc). That being said, my Gen is a very sensitive boy and thinks that the bugs are terrible. He does have a fly mask and I swear by Endure brand fly spray. It is very, very chemical, but Gen is now 25 with a bum leg and he already has melanomas so if it keeps the bugs away I can deal with the other consequences. Overall I think bugs are just something that all horses and horse people have to deal with!

3. How often do you bathe your horse?

In the summer, Gen gets hosed off just about every day, or at least every day it is over 80 degrees. I hate doing it because it dries out his coat, but he just gets so hot that a rinse and some hand grazing in the shade with a breeze is critical to his happiness. I also run a soft brush over him after he is dry every day to get those oils going. Now that he is retired, he probably only gets 10 full blown baths a year, most of which are for his calendar pictures. When he was showing I would give him a bath about once a week to try and get him glowing white before each event.

Doesn’t he look thrilled about getting a bath??

4. Do you have any upcoming travel plans? Equine or otherwise?

No fun equine travel plans, but I do have some amazing trips coming up! I am going to Niagara Falls this summer, a place I went to once ten years ago for like an hour and kept saying I would go back. My hubby and I are spending a few days there thanks to some well-planned gift card usage and a free hotel room that is going to expire soon. I am looking forward to just getting away for a few days and just exploring something new.

My hubby and I are also going to be taking a cruise to Alaska this summer, which is literally a dream come true! I have been dreaming of going for so long and thanks to amazing people and generous gifts I am finally going to see a glacier!! I cannot even tell you how excited I am to be going! The only “scary” thing is that I will be out of contact and away from my Gen for 8 days, one of the reasons I have never gotten in to cruising! I remind myself that I board my horse for a reason, so I can go on Alaskan cruises and not have to worry! You cannot look a gift horse in the mouth though so Alaska here I come!

5. What is your favorite way to beat the heat?

I have a neighborhood community pool. I literally go just about every day in the summer. Now that I am riding, I will get home some days after it closes, but I am sure I will still go on the days I am not able to ride. Nothing beats the heat like a nice pool! When it comes to horses, I get about as wet as Gen does when I hose him off which also helps to beat the heat.

6. Do you do anything to prevent your horse from sunbleaching?

Nope, nor did I do anything to present his Melanomas, which is something I still feel guilty about. Gen hates fly sheets though and is very picky about smells so I am not sure if I could have done anything, but saying I did nothing still feels crappy.

7. How hot is too hot for you to ride?

I live in an area with very bad air pollution (literally in between two large cities), so when a heat advisory is up, I do not usually ride. If it is going to be several days of a heat advisory, I will make it a point to ride, but to do so early when the sun is rising or late just as it is about to set. I am not a hot weather person, I would much rather ride when it is 25 degrees versus when it is 95 degrees.

8. How important is sun protection for you riding or just in general?

I am not the best about sun protection. I do use my sunscreen, but I love to ride in tank tops. I have heard about sun shirts and think they would be cool to try, but I am admittedly not too great at covering up in the sun because I get so hot. Just for perspective, my air conditioning bill in the summer far exceeds my heating bill in the winter.

9. Have you ever gone swimming with your horse?

No, I never have gone swimming with Gen. I have had the pleasure of doing it with other horses though and it is super fun! Yet another thing Gen and I will never get to do. I used to lease a horse Skya who would go swimming in a pond in her field every single day in the summer. She would come in soaking wet, but very happy.

10. And because shopping is always on my mind, what’s on your summer wish list?

Well, I am pretty practical by nature so on my wish list right now is a gallon of Endure fly spray and a pair of full seat summer riding tights. I will likely just get the fly spray, but it can’t hurt to look at new riding tights right? It feels a little like I may jinx it if I buy any riding gear for myself. I am also always on the hunt for fly masks. Gen has a hard time with finding comfortable fly masks so I always buy him a new one (or four) a year to see if there is anything out there that works that he likes. I am always open for suggestions if anyone knows any!

Enjoying The Ride

I have been riding (I HAVE BEEN RIDING!!) pretty consistently for about 2 months now. I am on cloud 9 about it. I keep starting posts about what we are working on or about D himself, but with it being 2 months in and only one post about my new catch ride, I figured it was time to just post something about how happy I am! Please enjoy the handful of photos from my ride two weeks ago. My hubby offered to come out and take pictures so I had to take advantage of that offer right!

Working on forward


The current situation is really ideal for me and my life right now. Not only do I get to ride whenever I want Monday-Friday (and even occasionally on weekends when D’s owner is busy) but I have this amazing freedom to being able to pick which ever days work best with my schedule. D’s owner is the best and is very laid back and just happy that her horse is noticeably happier and better behaved both on the ground and under saddle these days now that I am riding him. I do not needing to do anything else but enjoy riding and giving D attention. There are no goals, no problems to be fixed and nothing to rehab from. For the first time in a long time I have a horse that I can afford (D’s owner is amazing, that I can ride, who knows what he is doing, who is safe and who is healthy. Yes, I just knocked on wood. It is blissful. I have no idea how I got so lucky, but I really am enjoying every minute of it!

Canter transition, a work in progress, but we are getting there!


D has very solid basics, but his owner loves the trails so he doesn’t do much ring work anymore, or at least he didn’t until I came in the picture. The funny thing is, I was worried when I first started with him that he would get ring sour, I can’t imagine going from fun walks around the woods once or twice a week to working in the ring a few days a week, but he actually seems to really like it. He really gets in to learning new things and he tries his heart out whenever he learns something new.

Enjoying the challenge of teaching him things like Haunches In


I have been trying to go slow with him, both in building his fitness up and in teaching him new things. There is no rush to do anything, he doesn’t need to learn how do a shoulder-in ever really, but it, and other dressage moves are just something I think would be good for him. He is really funny because I can tell by his ears how he is feeling about things, they are forward when he is confident in what he is doing, floppy when we do basic stuff he already knows, and they go backwards and forwards constantly when he is trying to understand what I am saying and learning something new. It is just really sweet. Can you tell I am smitten? I am. I really like him, which is funny because I never thought that would happen before I started riding him.

Is there anything in this world better than this?


I have no idea how long this will last, but for now, I am just enjoying every minute of it!

Life Finds A Way

So remember my last post when I was done with riding and so I was selling everything off?

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via GIPHY

Just as I decided I needed to stop pretending I was an equestrian, a ride has fallen in to my lap.
I am riding again! Like regularly riding!
I literally cleaned my spare tack and was organizing what to sell and what to keep when an unassuming conversation turned into the best thing ever!
I board Gen at a small backyard farm. There are only 6 stalls and 2 are occupied by the owner’s horses. At the moment, it is just myself and another boarder who has been there for years herself. I hardly ever see the boarder unless I swing by the barn on the weekends in the afternoon. A few months ago, on a weekend afternoon, I saw the other boarder getting ready for a winter trail ride. Her horse was very up, and I joked with her about how much braver she was than me. She laughed and did say it had been a while since he was ridden, so I asked her if she ever came up on the week to do anything with him. She said no, and then went on her way. I finished up with Gen and didn’t give our conversation a second thought.
A few days later I got a text that she needed to talk to me. It was during a busy day at work so I asked if it was an emergency, thinking she was at the barn and something was wrong with Gen (because why else would another horse person from the barn call :P) She said to just call when I had time. I spent much of the rest of day trying to figure out what she needed to talk to me about.
Imagine my surprise when I called her up and she asked if I wanted to ride her horse!!!
Of course I answered yes!
She said my question about riding during the week had her thinking. The more she was thinking about it, the more she realized that she just didn’t have time right now to ride during the week, but that her horse is the kind of horse that needs to be ridden regularly. She and her husband talked it over and agreed that they wanted to see if I wanted to ride him during the week!
I was (and still am) beyond excited about this. It is not a forever thing, but it is perfect for right now. Her life is very busy at the moment, but she doesn’t want to make any decision such as leasing, half-leasing or even selling her horse if her schedule being so full is just a temporary thing. That means that I get to stay on budget AND still ride! She never comes up during the week, so I get to ride whenever works best for my schedule! 

And I cannot beat the cost…she is just letting me rider her horse! She knows it is tough to pay for one horse already so she is okay with just letting me ride. I literally am tearing up at her kindness as I write this. She is just a really nice (and practical person) and pointed out that this is something that works for both of us. She will (hopefully) get a better ride on the weekends because her horse will be more fit and more mentally engaged and I will get to ride without having to worry about cost or commitment!
I was on cloud 9…until I started to think about actually riding again. That is a story for another day though. I have been meaning to write this post for weeks now, but have been much too busy riding to be able to get it down 😉
Did I mention I am riding again?
Can you tell I am happy?
I may be able to live without riding but I am much happier with it in my life!!

Happy “I Love You” Day


Okay, so I know you are looking at a picture of my horse dressed up as cupid making a face for Valentine’s Day and assuming that I am about to gush. And I am! But not in the way you think! The truth is, I am actually not that crazy about Valentine’s Day, or “I Love You” Day as I like to call it. As a single person, I used to detest February 14th (the only holiday in America that people spend more on is Christmas) and now, as a newlywed, I think my friends and family can attest to the fact that I gush about how amazing my husband is on a very regular basis (I came home last week to a fridge full of chocolate covered strawberries that he made me just because he loves me, no occasion needed. That sort of stuff happens often and reminds me how lucky I am) so I don’t feel the need to go on and on about it today.

I decided that instead of gushing about romantic love, I want to take a moment to talk about the love between a girl and her horse. Everyone reading this knows that is a special kind of love.

I talk a lot about how much I love Gen, but I don’t often talk about the ways in which my horse loves me. In fact, I often joke that Gen doesn’t love me at all, but I know that isn’t true. My pony shows many ways in which he loves me, and knowing he does makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Gen may not be always to be around easy or particular affectionate, but I am his person. I am sure some people may think I am crazy, or maybe just that I am anthropomorphizing, but I really feel like it is love.

I know Gen loves me when:

1. I hug him and he lets out a big sigh, licks and chews, closes his eyes and leans up against me. He reaches this level of contentment that lets me know that he trusts me completely and that he feels protected and loved in my arms.

2. He comes running over to me when I get to the barn. I thought he did it to everyone, but I found out that, he does come over to just about anyone who comes to see him, but the only person he gallops to the gate for is me. It doesn’t happen every day, and I know having a Thoroughbred gallop towards you at full speed may not be what everyone wants, but I love it and it makes me feel like feel like Gen has been thinking of me all day and can’t wait to see me.

3. He doesn’t feel good or is hurt and I go rushing to the barn and he hears me before he sees me and he lets out a huge nicker. I may not be able to make him feel any better, but knowing he is talking to me as soon as I get there makes me feel like I am all he wants when he doesn’t feel good.

4. When I bring someone to the barn and need to step away for moment, the second I walk out of his line of sight he gets super fussy and looks around for me. He will even whinny and cry for me (which is not something he does if he is in alone and I am there). It makes me feel like it isn’t just that he needs attention, but rather that he needs MY attention to make him happy.

5. When he lets me kiss him on the nose. Gen HATES getting kisses on the nose, but he has this sweet copper colored marking right on the softest spot. He will let most people kiss him on the forehead, but I am the only person that he will let kiss him on the nose. Letting me do something because he knows I love it even though he hates it? Now that is love.

So how do you know that your horse(s) love you? Is it something you horse does or something about the way they make you feel? What is it about a horses love that just makes everything better?