Monday, November 17, 2014

A Beginning and An End.

I've been a longtime gone from the blogging world, and a few of my attempts to get back into were massive failures. However, I'm back in Canada-land now, and excited to announce my newest venture and blog...



With a Western Twist is more of a lifestyle blog than this one - focusing on all aspects of my life... but as you guys who have followed me throughout the years via this blog know... most of that comes with a western twist. I'm excited to be back to blogging, and exciting to see where this blog goes - I do hope you guys come follow me over there :) 

Time in the Saddle will stay open, but I will no longer be posting here. So a big thank you to all that followed the ups and downs of my time in the saddle the last 4 years, and hopefully see you at With a Western Twist in the near future!

Louisa

Monday, June 23, 2014

Marana, AZ Show

This was awhile ago now, but still sits in my mind as one of my most favourite days ever.
The first time I showed, I sort of lost my mind, forgot what a cow was & marked a 63. Which was a gift. 

So the second time I showed I went into the show pen with a specific goal, "I want to have clean herdwork." I felt that if I centered myself around one goal, it would help me focus on that, and remember... ya know.. how to ride.

I decided to enter a herdwork jackpot class, the objective of this class is to cleanly cut a cow from the herd and drive it up into the chalked square in the centre of the pen. I went out there on our cow-ey, but certainly not a cutting trained, turn back horse and marked a 72 to place second in the class. I was happy, and it was a good way to head into my next class of the day.

& the best part about our turn back horse? His registered name is "Chicks Dig Yellow" - how great is that!

Herdwork Jackpot
Video isn't the best quality, enlarge it to see better.

My next class of the day was the 2000 Limit Rider on one of our client's horses, Tulip. I've ridden Tulip a lot to get her ready to show, and at home before the client, or my boss has ridden it. However, i'd barely ridden her on cows at home. Despite that, I felt comfortable, and a lot more centered than the first time I showed.


2000 Limited Rider

There was just something about this run, Tulip worked amazing for me, I felt like I was riding better than I ever had before (... and some days it feels like better than I have since haha) & it all just fell into place. I ended up winning the class with a 74. I was beaming ear-to-ear.

Me, Tulip & her owner, Diane.

Marana was such a special day for me because it really reaffirmed for me that I love cutting, I want to show more and I only want to work more and more to get better. It also reaffirmed that I am working where I should be, who I should be working for, and surrounded by people that will only lift me up. It was a great feeling.

& getting my first two cheques wasn't so bad either!
=)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Two Horse Tack Beta-Biothane Halter!

 Natasha from Two Horse Tack contacted me to do a Product Review of her Beta-Biothane tack line. I was pretty excited as I have never dealt with Beta-Biothane, and heck - who doesn't love trying out new tack?!

I went with their Turnout Halter & Lead made from Beta-Biothane in the two-colour combination.
The website states that "it's the only halter you will ever need!" due to the fact it is super strong & made of easy to clean material. The halters feature double buckle crown pieces, easy on and off throat latch snaps, an option to purchase a breakaway leather crown piece, an optional matching lead and stainless steel hardware.

Beta-Biothane

A little more on Beta-Biothane: the website claims it to be more durable than nylon or leather. It also says that the color will stay true even after years of use, and to clean dirt around the stitching you can wash the tack in the washing machine! Finally, what I found interesting is that it doesn't absorb moisture or sweat like leather does, and the web coating serves as padding so it's comfortable for your horse.

So what did I think?

well first, let's all just say how cute my model for today Buster is. I went with the black halter with red on top, because ultimately (of course) this will be Jingle's halter and those are his colours!


Fit

I really liked the fit and feel of the halter on Buster. The snap throat latch and double buckled crown is a really nice addition, plus the roller clasps work really well with easy adjustment. I'm always in the market for tack that can easily adjust from one horse to another since we're constantly using our tack on different horses in our training operation. These halters definitely have that.


Function

For what I do, I would have preferred a rope lead, and will probably end up switching out the beta-biothane lead for a traditional rope lead. I like to be able to have a long line so I can lunge a small circle if I need too, and also I prefer to tie to poles/fence/etc. with rope.

I also wanted to test how easy this halter was to clean. So I found legitimately the only mud-pit in the desert, a very gross cess pool of wash-rack run off and literally drug this halter through the muck. All I did was hang it in our wash rack, quickly sprayed it off, and then left it to dry.


After an hour it was dry, and after a day of sitting outside it was slightly dusty, but otherwise like I had never gotten it dirty or left it outside. Pretty impressive. Unfortunately the desert dust really seemed to show up on the black, so next time I might go with a different colour. 

Overall...

Overall, I really like the halter and especially like the idea of the halter and the quick-clean Beta-Biothane. At our operation we have the "home halters" and the "show halters", the home halters take quite the beating - from having the horses tied up while their saddled, washed off after we work them, tied to the fences while they are turned out - they see a lot of the elements and show it. This material is way tougher, and way easier to clean, and would be a much better substitute to have a better looking, yet still cost-effective halter at home.


I'm pretty happy with my new little halter and can't wait to throw it on Jingle and see how he looks in it! (He will look adorable... obviously) Plus, speaking of Jingle, i'm mulling around the idea of possibly trying the two different styles of Side-Pulls that Two Horse Tack provides - and if I do end up trying them out of course I will let you guys know all about it!

Try it yourself!!

Finally, Natasha over at Two Horse Tack has offered up a coupon to my readers if you guys would like to try out some of their cool Beta-Biothane tack - don't miss out!!




Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Firsts: Starting Two Year Olds

This year we had two, two-year-olds to start. I have never ridden colts who have had less than 60 days on them so this was a bit of an experience for me.

For some reason this little colt gave me a run for my money when we started him. 

Stoney was sort of lazy, and would lean on me a lot, but he also had this weird unexpected nervous streak that would just show up randomly, and more than once I found myself in the dirt. 

Why? Probably because I was nervous, tense, and all bunched up on him all the time.

Unfortunately for chickens like me, one of the most sure-fire ways to stay on the back of a horse is to just relax. As my friend yelled to me one day as I was getting flung around the round-pen "You need to start acting WAY MORE DRUNK" because, when you are drunk, you're wobbling and relaxed!

I was not so relaxed.


By the time I finally got him going, he'd bucked me off numerous times. I had bruises every which way because of him. Now, his owner, who is all tense with him, rides him and he is quiet and not too fussed with anything. Jerk horse. It seems that I was legitimately this colt's punching-bag. Sigh.

Atleast he's good for his owner now...


Little bugger got it all out with me.

But, thankfully, we have another two year old that i'm getting along famously with...


Friday, June 6, 2014

Products I Love: Equomed Lumark Cold Compression Boots

I thought i'd start a new series of products I use regularly, whether it be at the cutting horse operation I work for, or just at home with Jingle.

First up is my my most favourite Iceboot in the whole wide world. I am not kidding, these are the best.

 They are the Equomed Lumark Cold Compression Boots.

These are the ice boots on one of our show-horses.

The reason I love these boots so much is that they are convenient, easy and work to effectively cool the leg. The boots have velcro backs that you can fasten frozen gel-packs too. You literally just take the gel packs from the freezer, press them onto the boot, and voila - you are ready to put the boot on the horse. From there, you use a small pump to inflate the boot which then compresses the cold against the leg. 

Here is a photo from the website showing someone pumping up the compression boots.

From the website, "The tighter the cold wrap can be fixed on the leg, the better is the cooling effect. Equomed-Lumark's Cold Compression Boots offer a unique method to deliver the cold directly to the horses skin. By using inflatable boots, the air compression will increase tight contact of the cold wrap to the horses legs and joints, compression effects to reduce swelling, and tight fit to keep the wraps in place."

Furthermore, unlike some ice technology the "cooling gel is made to stay over a certain freezing degree, so it can not burn or hurt a horse." Also if there's a hot point in a horses leg, once you take the boots off you can feel where that area had been, so it's easier to pinpoint areas of pain.

Finally, I've used lots of other types of Ice boot-esque technology. I've used the Professional's Choice Gel Packs that you wrap independently with a polo wrap, as well as multiple types of boots that you completely put into the freezer. The Gel Packs I felt were clumsy and hard to get perfect, while the boots that you freeze become so frozen they don't meld to the leg as well as these boots do because of the gel technology. Finally, although pricey, these boots are significantly cheaper and massively easier to use than cooling systems like Game Readys.


So, to summarize, they are my favourite because at shows, and at home, I am always looking for something convenient yet effective. These boots are all that and more. Easy to use, easy to transport, easy to switch gel-packs and use on multiple horses. They are all that & I highly recommend them. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Long Time Gone... But, I am Back!

Life... is.... Good.

<Insert a hundred happy faces here>

They say no news is good news, which is probably why I've been so absent. But, lately, my mind keeps thinking it's time for me to come back to my ramblin' roots... so here's an update, and hopefully the first hello back of many more hellos (that come a little quicker than every 3 months...)

So, here is an update.

Arizona

Is getting hotter than hell. Oooo girl... this Canadian is BURNING up and, to quote the locals, "this ain't even all that bad." Well friends, it feels bad. However, other than the fact I can't rest my skin against any surface without breaking out into a dripping sweat, Arizona is treating me really, really well.

I got a dog, his name is Cash.




Who knew that a little fluffy girly-mutt dog could make my heart so fulfilled and happy? Cash is wonderful, he is goofy, sometimes disobedient, cuddly, funny, smiley... just great. He fancies himself quite the ranch dog... even though the sight of a poofy dog following behind me as I move cows around is a little amusing. He is my constant little shadow and I am happy to call him "my dog".

My job is fricken' wonderful

& there's this little two year old that I'm obsessed with.

Even when i'm complaining about my job I'm happy, it's sickening. I love my boss, I love our horses, I love our program. I LOVE how much I'm learning. I wake up, and fall asleep, feeling blessed to be riding cutting horses in Arizona whilst being surrounded by uplifting and amazing people.

I have officially shown - TWICE!




The first time I showed was a bit of a train wreck, resulting in a 63, the second time I learnt a couple valuable lessons and walked away with a FREAKIN' 75. 75s are truly what dreams are made of. It was in December of 2013 that I told my ex-Boss that I wanted to show by January 2015, only three months later I found myself showing for the first time. Dream chasing is a real thing, and I feel like the more I believe in myself, and the more I set my mind to something, the more the universe gives to me... it's amazing, and humbling.

I have a life here.

People from home come & visit! 
Everybody wants to escape to warm Arizona!!



When I was in Texas I was suffering from homesickness... terrible, dark homesickness. I went home for the holidays and wondered to myself if I could ever make a life for myself somewhere other than home. The homesickness I was feeling was a lot deeper than just being away from home for the first time, it was a homesickness that made me question leaving behind my roots, the physical place I loved so much, a friend group where I had finally cultivated happy healthy relationships, my family. It took awhile for me to fall into a rhythm here too, but once I did I settled right into what feels like a life. It's refreshing, a teeny bit scary, and I'm excited to see where it goes from here.



but then, there is always, my most beloved...

Home

Jingle. Plain & Simple.


I miss Jingle with my whole heart, I feel like my life is falling into place here but i'm just missing... and lacking.. this major piece. A few weeks ago my farrier gave me a call that my horse was a little unkempt and acting a little wild. Brigitte, my Best-friend, went out to groom him and remind him of manners and snapped this photo for me. He is so handsome <3. She also said he was squirrely through most of it, until she groomed his mane and tail. She said he seemed to remember all the time I've spent braiding him and grooming his mane and tail over the years. So cute. sigh. miss him so much.

But - this too is falling into place - i'm hoping come October I can get Jingle on a trailer and have him down here! Cannot wait for Jingle amongst the Cactus!!


Summer.


I am heading home for the summer - for July and August. I'm going to be part of the Stampede Ranch Girls again, and I plan to serve at my old restaurant so I can make some money to put into my savings. Finally, that means i'll get to spend more time with my boy - Jingle! It's bittersweet... I don't want to leave Arizona, but I need to get my affairs in order, and as the temperature creeps above 110 F I'm thinking the summer months are the prime time to leave. Besides, what's 60 days?

Happy to be back, and hoping to catch up with all of you. :)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

My New Blog: The Circuitous Cutter

Dun Dun Dun...

Here is my new blog & I have posted my first post tonight!


www.circuitouscutter.blogspot.com



The Circuitous Cutter, for me, is a lot more anonymous, is a lot more silly, and is totally focused on my day-to-day life as a loper in the cutting horse industry. I hope you find it funny, I hope the posts make you laugh at the depravity, and I hope you follow.

Those are the only things I can hope for :) & don't worry, my long winded rambling personal posts will stay here, they aren't leaving any time soon!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New & Old & In-Between.

My "Year in Review" post took me a very long time to write.

Actually, it didn't, it just took me a really time to finish.

What happened was that I began to write, and as I did, I was catapulted back into last years winter. Last winter was not a good one for my pony, Jingle, and I. Jingle and I were in a lesson program that was simply not working for my horse and his brain. We had some tiny accomplishments here and there, but for the most part, almost all of my lessons were becoming increasingly and increasingly frustrating. I was reading all those words I wrote last year, and suddenly... I didn't want to write anymore.

& I was really sad, and I really missed my horse.

Finally, a month later, and at the urging of some friends, I sat down, opened up my Macbook and began writing again - vowing to get it done in one night. Then a funny thing happened, I began going through last year, and I began remembering how truly amazing and blessed last year really was. It was a complete and utter whirlwind year. It was a year of change, growth and happiness. It was a year surrounded by good friends and even better horses. It was a year I closed a very significant chapter of my life (university), and then diverged onto a new path into the horse industry. Finally, to top it all off, it was a wonderful year spent with the love of my life. My most beloved thing in the entire world, my horse Jingle.

But, even after hitting "publish" on that behemoth post, I still really missed my horse. I am still hoping and attempting to figure out a way to get Jingle down to Arizona, but it is not happening in the foreseeable future.

So now it comes down to this blog. For me, "Time in the Saddle" is a very personal blog. It is more about my journey, the issues I face and the things I witness in my own person day-to-day. "Time in the Saddle" is a lifestyle encompassing blog. Also, "Time in the Saddle", really reminds me of Jingle... which in the end was kind of why I was hiding from the blog.

Now, I am back, and I am going to keep posting my long, wordy, sometimes boring posts. They are still going to be entirely overly personal, sometimes they will be random, and the blog wont really driven by anything topic-wise... but me!

However, I have cooked up a new blog... which I am very excited about.. and will announce in my next post. Stay Tuned! :)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Year in Review: 2013

I'M BACCCCCCCKKKKKKK

Without Further Ado.... a very belated blog post... a Year in Review...

January


Using Jingle as a Couch... What are ponies for, really?

I began January in a bit of a tough spot with Jingle, he was testing me every which way he could. However, we were also taking baby steps in the right direction, his leads were coming along and I was learning to more clearly communicate with him and figure out who "he" is as a horse. Mac and Brigitte also had their two month anniversary at our barn, and so our two horses celebrated with some rolling in the arena. Cue the dirtiest paint that has ever existed. I finally got finished my Year in Review post, even though it took me FOREVER (similiar to this one.. sigh), I also wrote out some resolutions... we'll discuss those another post. After a brief 21st birthday adventure to Vegas, I was back and ready to ride my horse. Our first lesson back was awesome, and I voiced out loud that I feared jinxing the good rides we'd been having. Our next lesson my trainer wanted to try draw reins on Jingle, I debated whether or not I liked/disliked/knew what I was doing when it came to that particular tool. I decided in the end I was "okay" with the draw reins, but leery of the effects as well. The lesson train kept rolling on, but this time, I found myself in a new arena - a cutting pen! I found a guy, I deemed him "Coach" for the purposes of the blog, that had some horses I could take lessons on. He was very serious about position, and it took me a long time to figure out what he wanted. However, Coach and I clicked, I found him "very nice, soft-spoken and very encouraging." I took a breather from my Riding Diaries to recount to you the first half of a favourite story of mine, "Never Stare a Guard-Goat in the Eye." Finally, I tied up the month with a post that I thought up whilst in a yoga class.  I found myself getting physically manipulated and moved by the instructor, and I likened that to what we, as riders, do to our horses. However the ah-ha moment came from how hard I found it to isolate certain body parts, and calm, consistent leadership really helped me work through those issues. I walked away from that class with those thoughts on my mind when it came to riding my ponyboy.


February
Jingle, a very cute, very hell-demon.

February started with another lesson, I remarked that Jingle was amazing, in that, one minute he's wonderful, and then the next he absolutely falls apart. I ultimately concluded that, "sometimes, owning horses with personality, and a pissy streak, isn't easy." From there, I had a successful ride on Jingle just letting him run around the arena (funny enough). I also talked about how much I truly love my horse, but that, it would take some time to figure each other out. I also finished my (hilarious - I tell ya, I am funny) story about the "Guard Goat". In February lessons continued, we worked on the barrel pattern and stopping and we worked on trying to not kill eachother. Not only was my horses lack of manners on my mind, but so was deworming when I found a MASSIVE worm in his manure. icky icky icky. February appears to have been a banner month for us lesson-wise (not....)... I remarked how draining it was dealing with such a pissy/split-personality horse. I needed a good break from my arena, and my frazzled lessons, and I headed to Banff and Warner's Guiding and Outfitting to visit with some good friends and some beautiful draft horses. Finally, to cap off the month, I had a ride that I did not want to talk about. However, I had always blogged about any situation, so I blogged about this bad lesson too. Basically, the lesson began with me putting a bit back in my horses mouth, at the urge of my trainer, even though I knew it wasn't the solution. It then spiraled down into a bad, angry, jingle-flinging place. I finished the post by saying, "Anyways, by the time my lesson was over, my horse was jogging really nicely, but it was all fake, and it was all done with aids, and I was pissed at him, and at myself." So, all-in-all February was pretty tough for me and left me with a lot of questions, and problems, and I needed desperately to find solutions and answers.


March


Couldn't pick just one, apparently March was a great month for Photos, all thanks to my good friend Sarah!

Sarah's daughter, Abby, and my boy.. how far we've come.

Working on those poles, love this horse.

I began March with two cutting lessons, my first I got some nice praise on how I seemed "natural" with the horse, John Wayne, I was riding. The second lesson was good as well, this time I had to work on relaxing more. Then, I shared another Storytime, this time about a scary incident I had with a Wagon. Finally, I was back working with my boy, and blogging about it, in what I called an "Intensive". Two weeks of slow stuff. I said "I wanted to find his stop, I wanted to slow him down, and I wanted to just generally slow us down..." I introduced the "Wither Stop", I worked on all the technical stuff at a walk and jog, I ran through a pretend "lesson" to see how he'd react. As per expected, he became strung out and pissed off, so our next ride we went back to basics... and walked. During the Intensive Jingle also got a visit from a masseuse and his dentist who said he was happy where Jingle was after his first big overhaul 6 months previous. At the finale of the "Intensive" I remarked, "Jingle has done really well the last two weeks, I see the potential in him everytime I ride him, but it's his attitude that really jars the both of us sometime." Jingle was boarded at a very multi-disciplinary barn, so in March, Brigitte and I got a chance to ride with two english riders, who lent us some tack and we fooled around in the "English Pony" world. We had a really fun, positive night, Jingle wasn't perfect, but that wasn't the point. Then, my blog briefly went to the dogs... per se... with a post about a rescue friend, Tennessee, and my own lovely puppy Moose! I went to another cutting lesson, this time we weren't so harmonious, but by the end we were back to "clicking" and I learnt a lesson about not being a lazy rider. In March I also had my 50th lesson - so insane! I spoke with my trainer before this lesson and asked her if we could slow down and work on more technical stuff, during this lesson we began to work on two-tracking, and Jingle really excelled. Then we did some AQHA Trail patterns, and again, Jingle did well and overcame his pissy side to work with me. It was a REALLY good lesson and "I walked away with some ways to make that technical stuff a little more interesting and diverse for him." My farrier came out, and we had a discussion about how bad horse behaviour can sometimes reflect their owners, but not always. I said that, "I try to surround Jingle with people that have this philosophy [patience] of horses because I think, in the end, it'll make him all the better of a horse to be around." Then, with those thoughts in mind, a friends kid came out and rode Jingle! And he was AWESOME. I was over the moon about it. Finally, at the end of March, I had another lesson. Sarah came and took some photos that I loved, and we worked on more technical trail style stuff like pole work, and the gate!


April


My outfit for my Ranch Girls tryout!

A new month, another lesson! We worked on rollbacks, and sidepassing, and the gate! My trainer, and myself, were slowly figuring out stuff that Jingle likes to do - slow, steady, calm. I was beginning to actually enjoy lessons again.. that's what it's all about, isn't it?! I posted something that annoyed me... the fact that bit-less bridles are often not allowed in competition. I said, "what if my horse likes a sidepull more than a hackamore, what's the harm in letting us come play on the swings with all the other kids at the playground?" I also posted about my Calgary Stampede Flag Girl try-outs, a crazy night indeed! I DID NOT think I would get it, but to my "utter shock and amazement, I was invited to be a member of the 2013 Calgary Stampede Ranch Girls!" I also got the chance to do another cutting lesson, this time I rode another horse than I usually had been, and I had a hard time keeping him in position on the flag. I also chronicled the INSANE amount of tack issues I've had with Jingle... ridiculous. April was also the month of my "last finals of my last year of University", but that meant I didn't spend as much time with Jingle as I usually did. Then I wrote a post "A Love Letter to Camp Souncesllors" that I'm very proud of, it details the strength I found in being a camp counsellor for many summers. At the end of april, I snuck away from my finals to sneak into a barrel lesson! Yay. Jingle was awesome, until I wanted him to lope the barrel pattern... dats not happenin'. I ended the lesson with some "barrel homework", "my trainer wanted me getting jingle's nose following my hand, especially when we were loping." I walked Jingle out, and had an emotional moment with him telling him the "story of us", "as I was sobbing and telling my horse how much I loved him and how much he meant to me, two massive dogs came bolting up to the fence line and scared the shit out of both of us. He turned on his haunches and jumped right out of his skin and away from that fence line. It took me a bit of time to get him slowed down and stopped. Great metaphor... as is our life together, one part sappy love story, one part hysterical ridiculousness."

May
May deserves this many photos: 

Our first time sorting, look at us go!

First time cutting a cow! yip yip yeooo!

Birthday celebrations with 9 year old Jingle and his hat-wearing buddy, Mac!

What is better than being surrounded by wonderful people, great horses and spectacular scenary? Ft. some beers and fireball = NOTHING.

At the beginning of May we celebrated Jingle's 9th Birthday with "Carrots and Champagne." It was a lovely evening spent with friends and celebrating my most favourite horse in the world - Jingle! I also got to go up to Red Deer for the yearly Mane Event with three of my best friends - it was an awesome day! We got to see THE George Morris do a clinic, it was amazing! On the topic of Amazing, Jingle and I also went sorting for the first time with Caron and Quiz, and we had a total blast! Sarah came along and took photos - she is the best photographer! Jingle and I had a less than pretty lesson with me remarking "Remember that one time I dreamt and wished that my horse was one of those magical horses you hear about, that you can just show up and ride once a week and have lovely transitions, calm departures, and beautiful cadence? People tell me about these horses and I wonder if they actually ride unicorns. Let me tell you something, Jingle is NOT a unicorn." May was coming in like a lion and I got to work cows for the first time - it was an amazing experience and I remarked, "What a rush, I just want to do it over and over and over again." I almost had a 57th lesson, but then realized that Jingle was back sore... from a saddle... another saddle.. that I had just bought. I was not happy. I shared another Story, about my most beloved guide-horse, Cash. I had another cutting lesson, this time I realized that cutting is a lot more fast-paced than I ever realized. Over the May Long weekend, myself and some friends went out to our old ranch and got to spend a blissful weekend trail riding, camping and having a lovely time all around. It was absolutely AMAZING. Finally, at the end of the month we went sorting again, this time it was a mini-clinic where we got to do some slow stuff, and work through other things. Jingle was really great with the cows, but not so great with loading, either time... a little frustrating to say the least. However, I remarked, "Another great sorting under our belt, and the mini-clinic was such a wonderful way to work on some things, and try other techniques I may have been too nervous to do in a timed and speedier situation." Overall, May was AWESOME, just one good experience stacked on another, stacked on another... way life should be every month!


June


My beautiful horse. 

I am a DEGREE HOLDER now!

At the beginning of June, I had been a bad blogger, my life was "My life is consumed with three and a half jobs, totalling about 50-60 hours a week, when I'm not working I'm at the barn, and before you got all excited about how awesome we've been doing, and how amazing of a rider I am, and how my horse is a mystical unicorn that now excels in cow work... Jingle was put outside for the spring/summer at the beginning of last week and pulled a muscle in his shoulder (I think) because "omgz, I am the most excited to play "let's run around like fuckheads" with Mac, my new best friend." In June I also convocated from University! Look whose a grownup now (hahaha... kinda..). I listed some things that University taught me, "You may not love where you are in the moment, but you gotta keep going.", "Allow yourself to love and be interested in things that may not be the most lucrative."and finally, "My Degree taught me patience, commitment, research methods and communication skills." Jingle's mystery lameness continued through June, bute didn't help the situation, we chased an abscess, that wasn't real, an osteopath came out, and said his withers were misaligned and his left elbow and shoulder were locked. Still lame... I waited impatiently for a vet to come out. During June was also when Alberta was rocked by the "Great Flood". I posted this via Facebook, and it sums up how I was feeling, "Tragedy is tragedy anywhere it is, it's breaking my heart that so many people, places and animals that I know and love are being displaced and watching their homes be ruined by this flood. It doesn't matter who you are and where you live, loosing a home is still a heart-wrenching and debilitating experience. My prayers and thoughts go out to everyone in Alberta at this time, although I know we are a fortunate and lucky province, it doesn't make this devastation any easier to take." Finally, I documented the two floods that Jingle has seen in his life, and recounted the story of a "Hero Horse" Tad. The vet came out, and although he saw some "strange movement", he concluded that I should start riding again. It was wonderful news to hear at the end of the month!


July


That's me and Duke, levitating!, at the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth - so blessed!

In July, I received the "Liebster Award", thanks lovely readers! Then I wrote an article which I titled, "What Makes a Quiet, Safe, Bombproof & Broke Horse?", it was inspired by a lady that rode at my barn. I cautioned, "As much as I love to tell the story of Jingle and I, basically a "rescue" case that was semi-dangerous but whom I fell in love with, I always caution against it... there's been a lot of success and triumph with us, but there's also been a lot of scary moments, and a lot of sad ones too. I can't imagine if he was the first horse I ever came to know, I honestly don't know if I would still be riding today. " In July I experienced ten amazing, crazy days - Stampede 101 with the Ranch Girls! "Stampede was INSANE. The first few days my nerves got the total best of me. I think it kind of shocked my body into some weird state because I am never really "nervous". Sure, I get butterflies and a tossy stomach every once in awhile, but this was a whole new level of nerves for me. Like, feeling like I was going to puke and pee my pants as the gate opened for grand entry. After three days of feeling like I was seriously going to die, my body finally calmed down, and I started having fun." It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I am still so thankful to the Stampede, Rodeo Committee and our coordinators and organizers that I was allowed to be a part of it all! Finally, I wrote a post called "Peripheral Vision" about the Ranch I grew up on. "It's easy to duplicate feelings, emotions and patterns when you did the exact same thing, every week, for six weeks, every summer, for five summers. It's easy to feel empty and alone when your Monday wake up call means a shower, and a trip to the office, whereas, for five summers, a Monday wake up call meant the first day of rides for a brand new group of campers. Just beyond my peripheral vision I can see all those horses lined up in rows, softly munching on their hay, nickering to each other. However, here I am, at my office, and all I can hear is key strokes. It is a strange thing, knowing you can go back to a place, but knowing you can never go home." It was a melancholy moment, to a very awesome month.

August


No More Riding.. I am THROWING out this halter Mahm! - Quote Jingle in August

I was a long lost blogger at the beginning of August, and updated what I had been up too! I was having a great time being a loper for a cutting horse trainer I was working for. I began to slowly work jingle again, using fence-lines as my friend and trotting straight lines trying to strengthen my horse, and finally, after what "seemed like months.. my horse seemed sound." Sarah's kids came out and rode Jingle, and we also got to visit our old ranch. & I remarked on a year of owning my most favourite thing in the world. I also had a Big Announcement, I was heading South to work for my boss in America for a year! With than announcement I made this statement, "Of course, there's that nagging part of me that worries I will fail, or that this thing will be a bust, but for now, I'm just holding on for dear life. I'm sick and tired of surrounding myself with stagnation and negativity in the horse industry, and the horse people I know. This year I'm focusing on two things - personal development, and dream chasing, and that's all that matters from here and out." Good statement past-Louisa, still rings true to today. I recounted the many "Versatile" things that Jingle have done with a little review. Jingle and I have dabbled in Western Pleasure (hahaha... bit of a satire with that one), Sorting, Being a "Kid's Horse", A Liberty Horse,  Jumped, We've been a Pasture Puff, a Guide Horse, a Ranch Horse... but most importantly "Being my shoulder to lean and cry on." Love him. At the end of August, I whined about Planning, and Packing, and admitting to doing a lot of sitting because "Moving is just so... hard."

September

Look at us go!

I started off September with the second installment with my story about my beloved Guide Horse, Cash. I also showed off my new trick-riding skills and couldn't believe that a year before I barely had the courage to ride him outside a round-pen... time flies when you're having fun! I also put up a bunch of tack For Sale in preparation for my move to the states. Then, I wrote a post entitled "Relationships and Horses" about a relationship I had currently come out of. What's even funnier is that, in writing this year in review, I had forgotten I had even wrote this post - how funny. So, as a quick follow up, the guy that inspired that post? Well, a couple months after I had left, he found out he had gotten a girl pregnant, and they are now living together and having a child. Guess I dodged the bullet on that one... ;) In September, Sarah and I went up to Banff and went on a fun Tourist Trail-Ride with an old friend, and guide, Garry. It was a lovely day with friends! I then announced a slight change of plans, I was heading to the states - tickets were booked - but to work for a different cutting horse trainer. Things are never dull in my neck of the woods! At the end of September, my baby and I went to our first Gymkhana. It was such an awesome day - Jingle was a total rodeo rockstar, totally blowing me away, and we had so much fun. Sure we had things to work on, but the reality was setting in that very shortly I would be saying goodbye to my horse for the forseeable future and to just enjoy the small stuff.

October

I think this picture will always sum up Texas for me - the whole crew!

Well, at the beginning of October I found myself in Texas, "farther away from home than I've ever been, ever." I recounted my crazy work schedule and the new life I had found for myself for all of you. I also had some "Early Insights of a Canadian in Texas". I tried Cajun food for the first time, as well as "nutbread sandwiches" - yummy. However, there was no such thing as Ginger Beef and everyone said "Ya'll"! Furthermore, people partake in an activity called "noodling", which is catching catfish with one's hands, and that my friends... is "simply not okay." We found ourselves in Jackson, Mississippi for the Southern Futurity, and I documented it in photos as well as summarized my first big show in the cutting horse world! The days were long and the sleep was lacking but "overall, I felt the show was a definite success, and I was pleased with how well it turned out - especially since it was my first."

November

Texas, where Margaritas are everywhere.
(Which is a good thing, because a loper always needs one after a long day!)

In November, I wrote out my "Final Thoughts" about the Southern.  These included my take on loping-pen style aka "how to be part of the "in crowd" if you are a loper. Also, how do you know if someone is a Trainer's Wife. I had it all figured out now ;) After the Southern we had a moment of rest and jumped right into the Season of Pre-Works! Our First Pre-work was marked by our three year olds being absolute hellions, and then us finally getting a hold on them. We were pretty proud of ourselves. From South-Texas, we headed to San Angelo (.. also in South Texas haha) for another Pre-Work, this one was much more of a show-setting, but our horses did really well, and again, we were pretty proud of ourselves and our little (big!) crew of three year olds! However, being a loper is not a cushy job, "On Sunday night we hauled home after our works were done for the day. Yup, 20 hour day and by the time we gone done and home, and the next morning we were up and show-bathing them at home by 8 am. Nobody ever said lopers get sleep... nobody." I got my mind off Pre-works for a second to share a super cute horse-themed proposal found via facebook. I also talked about how much I missed "My Teammate", Jingle. I posted about a new study that talked about "co-being", which, "In short, "Co
being refers to a state of relationship in which each partner evolves to “fit” better with each other, both physically and mentally." I think this is something that most riders know already, and as this blog post shows, I am a firm believer that Jingle is my co-being... but interesting that a study has now proven it." Finally, I posted about "Diagonals and Directions", I talked about discovering that many people didn't know about diagonals in the western world - but hey, something I know about! Which felt pretty good.


December

Happy to be home, Happy to be with my baby.

I missed Jingle terribly, so I got a very cool monogrammed bracelet made on Horse.com with his registered name - I love it!! I also experienced a record-breaking ice storm that almost shut down all of Texas - let me tell you, I was experiencing my first humid winter, and I was ABSOLUTELY hating it. UGH. Horrible. I jumped on my two-time a year buckle-bunny train and talked about how much I love watching the NFR. I also discussed the controversy over Taylor Jacob's handling of her horse Bo after a nasty run. I admitted to hiding from my blog, (something I tend to do often I am afraid - shameful behaviour), and wrote about Texas. "Texas was an experience, filled with ups and downs." I recounted a bit more of what working at a big operation was like, and the disappointment at finding out that I wasn't going to be at the Futurity much, like I first thought. I ultimately decided that, "I need to learn how to cut. That's it. That's all. No Excuses. I'm going to be showing by next year, and to do that, I need someone to mentor me. It wasn't going to happen for me where I was." So, I hopped on a plane for home to visit my family and friends for the holiday, and didn't book a ticket back to Texas. Finally, as a seemingly fitting last post of 2013, I wrote "Adventures in being Turned Out", the chronicles of my Princess Pony to a Fuzzy Draft Pony Horse! "Being turned out has been a learning experience for both Jingle and I. Jingle is learning how to expand his belly every single day, and I am learning to stop over-reacting, and get over myself as a horse-mom. Baby steps."


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I can't even.... what an absolute crazy year... who has years like that? Brought my first horse home, had some absolutely amazing, wonderful, love-filled, excitement-filled, scary, great, etc etc etc moments AT HOME, and then packed up and moved to Texas to work for one of the biggest trainers in the cutting horse world THEN came home for the holidays and am now writing this from my new home in Arizona! I feel like my life is a hurricane trapped in a tornado sometimes, and for the most part, I really really love it.

There is a reason I haven't been posting much - don't fear I am actually very happy here... but I'm cooking up some new projects, and thinking about some things. Stay tuned - things are changing around blog land!

Please know, as well, that although I haven't been blogging much, or commenting on your posts, I'm still reading about all YOUR adventures, and will try to be a better blog-friend by actually dropping a line soon in the future. Life has just been so crazy.

Monday, January 6, 2014

"The Land of the Sun"

So, this afternoon my plane touched down in...


Arizona!!

Yes, friends, this is where this crazy journey that is my life is taking me now.

When I was stuck in Texas, experiencing everyone's all-time favourite weather pattern = chunks of ice rain from the sky, I got a call from my old boss from back home. She was the one I originally was suppose to head down to the states with, but her plans fell through and I ended up in Texas. She was back on her feet, needed some help, and wanted to see if I was interested.

We had a long discussion and basically what enticed me into taking the job was two things: one-on-one and a small operation. My boss is a much "smaller" trainer than the guy I was working for, she has a small operation, and she can only have one person helping her (me). She's also getting a bit older and wants to physically slow down a bit, that's where I was really interested. She really has the time, and the means to train me how to cut. She also focuses a lot in coaching of amateur riders, and as of now... I am beyond amateur in the cutting pen, so someone who knows how to work with amateurs was a serious plus.

So here I am, my first day jitters are in full effect, but I'm hopefully optimistic about where i've landed this time around. Plus, Arizona is beautiful, and warm (warmity warm warm warm yaaay), just a short drive around today and I'm already obsessed with the desert and the rock. I'm hoping I can find some areas to do some hiking/running and can hopefully find some time to do exploring. (smaller operation = a bit more alone time) However, in february we have three big shows, so I doubt i'll have that much alone time. What kind of loper gets alone time, really?

Wish me luck on my next (and newest!) adventure.