Friday, December 20, 2013

Silly Pony

I haven't written much about our new horse, Mata Hari and feel rather bad about it.  She's absolutely AMAZING and has quickly melted herself into our hearts.  Today Equestrian Girl spent a bit of time free lunging MH who happens to love the corner of the arena near the observation room.  

I think she knows its warmer in there and wants to go in!

But she got caught.  Foiled again!

It sure didn't stop EG from loving on her!

They are just so darn cute together!!!

This little video clip shows a bit of what they were working on.  Soon they will be doing these jumps together!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


My sister found these awesome giant Christmas Cookie Cutters last weekend!  Since she has started a small business making cookies these hit a sweet spot with her and she just HAD to have them.  I'd love to find her one shaped like a snowman and could easily have one made by my welder buddy but if this is part of a set...anyone know where I can find one???

Monday, December 16, 2013

Gingerbread House

Equestrian Girl was invited over to the boyfriend's house by his mom to help in their family tradition of decorating a gingerbread house.  She was VERY excited to do this and had even mentioned making one to me recently.  All these pictures are courtesy of Sylvie - the boyfriend's mom.

Supposedly the hair got curled for this event while reading English...

They look pretty intense here!

And the finished product!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Unsocialized Homeschoolers

There are many truths about homeschooling that I find pretty funny.  Yes, my kids do spend a good chunk of their study time in pajamas. Why not?  Wouldn't you want to?  Yes, we sometimes take a day off just because.  Again, why not?  We don't have to be done with school on a certain day in June!  

But the one thing that always gets me, especially when asked by people who should know better, is the socialization question.

"What do you do about socialization if your kids are homeschooled?"

The answers to this question, both serious and fun, have been discussed at length and always amuse me.  I don't think we've ever really "thought" about socialization.  It just happens.  With all types and ages of people.

But recently, a new development with Equestrian Girl had someone asking me a new socialization question.

This happened.  A nice young man brought her roses and asked her to be his girlfriend.  And someone asked me how a homeschooled girl gets a boyfriend.  

Really?  Is it possible to think that a homeschooled child is so UN-socialized that their hormones don't work and that they never learn about the opposite sex?  

To make it even more interesting, I was then asked if the boy is also homeschooled.  He isn't.  Are homeschooled children only allowed to socialize with each other?  Is it possible that no contact can be allowed with those "public" school children?  I can very honestly say that both of my kids have more public schooled friends than they do homeschooled kids.  Since this is the case, isn't it quite likely that they'd end up dating a public schooled friend?  Motocross Boy/Man had his first girlfriend last spring.  She was also a public schooled girl.

Now what I do find interesting about the relationship between this public schooled boy and my homeschooled girl is how the relationship is so 'protected' compared to one between two students going to the same school.  Their closest friends have all seen them together and of course, it's public on social media that they are a couple, but there's no peer pressure for their relationship to be anything but what they want it to be.  It's rather refreshing and one of those unexpected benefits of having homeschooled kids.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Tree

Equestrian Girl loves going with Dad to pick out the Christmas Tree every year.  Since I have to go out of town tonight and won't be back until tomorrow afternoon, my guess is that she may have it decorated by the time I get home....

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


I've been back on crutches since the middle of November (although by the time you are reading this, I'm probably off them again).  The first time, back in May, I horrifyingly discovered that not only couldn't I use one leg for walking, I had lost my hands because they had to hold the darn crutches!  This had me totally confounded for several days but I gradually found that the waist band of my yoga pants could hold my travel coffee mug, a light tote bag was almost always slung over my shoulder to transport this and that, and pants with pockets became vital.

About the last week I was on those crutches someone told me that they actually make cup holders for them!  I was so excited knowing I'd be going this way again soon.  As soon as this last surgery was scheduled, I was on the search for the perfect cup holder.  I started out looking for a traditional type cup holder - one that was solid and clamped on to the crutch rail.  And then I stumbled on these little babies.

Crutcheze are really just two small pockets with some velcro.  Totally easy to make yourself if you were so inclined but absolutely perfect for what I wanted.  I ordered two.  One for each side.  I keep all my go everywhere with me essentials in one - my license, debit card, gas card, lip balm and phone.  I add other wallet stuff as needed but there's easily enough space to keep more.  The other one is reserved for liquids.  My travel coffee cups fit great as does a water bottle.  If I'm not transporting liquids, I might have other stuff stuck in there.  

They seriously ought to sell these things right at the place where you are picking up your crutches.  I wish they came in cool colors - or paisley!  I'd give an arm for them in a Vera Bradley type paisley!!!

Spur Banquet

Horseshowing this past summer was pretty relaxed with only 5 shows and Equestrian Girl was only doing the open classes - not age group division classes.   There were a few reasons for doing this but the biggest one was so they were competing against a more level playing field - one that included adults.  

I have always gone to the banquet and am always excited to go and be the club photographer as the awards are handed out but that changed this year.  Because I was scheduled to have surgery 4 days before the banquet, I wasn't counting on being able to go.  I handed over my ticket to Scott so he could take his daughter.  I don't think he was counting on having to share her with the new boyfriend...

She got all dressed up and did her hair so pretty!

She got Darryl dressed up too!

A selfie at the banquet - they are so dang cute!

Of course, not being there I didn't get the primo pictures so these will have to suffice.  Equestrian Girl won the overall open horse award - Grand Champion again!  The photo below is a composition photo by Eye of the Horse Photography in a beautiful frame.  Seeing it, now that Stanley is gone, made me cry.  What a great tribute piece to a wonderful horsewoman and the horse love of her life.
 And then they showed me the next award which was actually the overall championship award - I think the one above was for Senior Horse Western Pleasure.  Anyway, the one below was also super special - painted to look just like our Stanley!
 The other "big" award was this chair.  EG wasn't thrilled but I know this one is actually for me.  Mom needs a good chair, right?  Besides, I pay for all this!

Along with the big awards there were also a pair of really nice leather riding gloves and ....something else.  Once again, our friend Sheri outdid herself in choosing awards that were meaningful and special in every way.  The Spur Club has been such a big part of our lives for the past 5's going to be so strange not to be showing with them any more!

Monday, December 9, 2013

When one man leaves....

Without a doubt, Stanley will always be Equestrian Girl's first boyfriend but when one man leaves, another moves in.  Apparently a mare wasn't enough to fill her heart so she got herself a boyfriend.  Of the human type.

Darryl is a nice kid.  They make a cute couple.  He brought her flowers when he asked her to be his girlfriend.  For now, we think he's a keeper.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Settling In

Within days Mata Hari was settled in and Equestrian Girl was having a blast riding and handling her "college" classes.

Her corner stall in the barn became a safe place and she learned she could lay down for naps and feel perfectly safe at night.  Lots and lots of lessons for a young horse and so many new experiences too!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

New Horse Day 2

We gave Mata Hari a day to settle in and then we told her "college" classes were starting.  Clarissa and I had discussed that her leaving her farm was like sending her off to college with Equestrian Girl and so it would be.

EG brought her in, let her have a few bites of hay and then taught her to use cross ties.  

Pretty soon she was tacked up and ready for a lesson with EG and Maggie.

They worked on the lunge line and learned so many new things that first day!

Maggie was a big help.  She loves starting green horses and they made a ton of progress.  This little mare is going to be so much fun!

They ended on a good note and Mata Hari went back out to her pasture.  We've never had a horse this green before so it's going to be a very big adventure in learning what to do with her to make her a supper eventing horse but we are in this for the haul and will do our best.  Equestrian Girl is taking jumping lessons on other horses and will soon start dressage lessons with Sue Hughes on Mata Hari.  We have lots going on but it's all good.

Friday, December 6, 2013

We Have a New Horse!

Two weeks after our visit to West Virginia to meet Mata Hari, we had her home! Rather than trying to navigate that mountain with my truck and trailer (a surely death defying feat), I hired a local shipper.  Although she arrived after midnight, it was worth it.  This pretty little mare had put up a fight getting on the trailer and leaving her home, but after that she was good as gold for the shipper getting off and on the trailer several times.

When she got to Foxcroft, her new home, she unloaded like a champ and just stood looking around in the dark while the shipper and I wrapped up business and reloaded a small pony that wasn't interested in leaving such a nice farm!

Mata Hari had never been in a barn so we weren't sure how she would feel about walking in - but she did just fine.  She had never been in an indoor arena, but she let Equestrian Girl lead her right on in - even before we found the light switches and were using the lights on our phones! We though she might want to run around a little and stretch her legs but she stuck right with EG.

Two tired but happy young ladies!

They explored the stuff in the corners of the arena.  MH was very interested in all of it but not at all spooky.

They walked over some poles, too.

Motocross Boy/Man had come along with us and had to get in on the action.  Mata Hari was starting to look really tired.

We changed her out of the sweat sheet we had shipped her in and into a light sheet since it was getting so cold that night and let her taste the nice hay in her stall.  She had never been in a stall like this either but she found it comfortable and cozy!

The next morning we took her out to her new temporary pasture.  She walked the fence line for a minute....

 took a short detour out to the middle to check out the logs...

headed back towards where we were standing with a couple stops for sampling the grass...

and then right back to us.  Such a sweet mare!  She totally ignored the horses across the driveway that were all lined up to watch her.

Our new horse was home!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Big Adventure part 5

With the sun shining bright and needing to get on the road for home, we had no excuses to drag our feet in the morning.  After helping to feed all the horses, EG got out her own dressage saddle and tacked up Mata Hari for ride #2.  She stands so nice and quiet...and is just a fuzzy bear with her winter coat right now!

 After following the routine from the day before, they hit the rail for a repeat of lots of walking followed by a good amount of trotting.

 Near the beginning of the ride, Mata Hari decided to spook at some rustling leaves and took off towards the top of the pasture closer to the other horses.  It wasn't much of a run, EG was easily able to half halt her knowing she would stop at the top of the hill and the fence. And then they went right back to work.

To end the "lesson" and at Clarissa's suggestion, they tried a canter.  Knowing Mata Hari would prefer to canter towards the other horses, they took the same route as she had gone with the spook.  Clarissa got this great departure shot while I was doing the video.  All went well and we called it a morning!  At his point, we pretty much knew we wanted to bring her home and had discussed some of the logistics but we were leaving the final decision open until Equestrian Girl and I had time to have a serious talk on the 6 hour drive home.  This was going to be a big move and we had to be sure. 

 We packed up the car and gave hugs goodbye to our new-old friends!  It had been a super exciting little trip and we were looking forward to the great weather for driving home.  

The view below is part of Clarissa's pastures in the middle.  It's so beautiful there but sooooo remote!  As I navigated us back down the mountain (I still had 3 weeks until my hair got colored again - I couldn't afford any more gray hair), I had EG take these pictures.  

There is a pipeline going in over the mountain behind Clarissa's farm.  While it doesn't go through her property, it does cross the creek that is on her property so they will be doing some work at her farm next year that will include making it safer for her horses.  While it cuts a big swath through the trees, they are replanting what they've tore up and trying to return as much to nature as they can.

And then we crossed back into Ohio (Why doesn't this side say Welcome to Ohio?) and had the long drive back to Michigan.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Big Adventure part 4

Sunday morning I was up with the chickens again.  Literally.  But we also woke to a bright clear sky and a beautiful fall morning.  As we went out to feed the horses and other critters, we were greeted by everyone!

First was Mata Hari and Liath Macha doing their best to look like the princesses they are.

Will, the Mustang Garden Gnome, looking quite handsome, was happy to see us coming.

And Ode, the Arab stallion...such a sweet boy and father of Mata Hari.  

Loki, the new boy, looks so regal!

But soon after wasn't feeling so well with a bit of a tummy ache until Clarissa doctored him up.

To the north of the farm...

To the west...

One of the roosters and cats.

And a few of the cats that stop by for breakfast every morning!