Saturday evening diary – getting round and skinny at the same time!

If you are reading the title of this entry, you might be a bit confused – I mean getting round and skinny at the same time doesn’t sound possible, but it is. Let me explain.😉

Getting round. In the dressage world, getting round refers to the horse’s form while walking, trotting and cantering. I’ve referred to it before, to give you a visual, here is a picture.

A rounded horse. Image from Google.

Notice how the head of the horse has this beautiful round arch to it, while the face is straight? This happens when the horse “rounds” itself. The rounding is not just the muscles in the horses neck working, but the movement comes from the core and back of the horse. It takes years and years of training for the horse to develop the strength and desire to round its body. You start at the walk, then learn how to round in the trot and the canter. For Alfie and I, we’ve been working consistently on this for almost 2 years at the walk. Alfie and I have gotten very comfortable at rounding during the walk. Again, it’s been almost 2 years to get this far. So the next logical step was to get it in the trot.

We’ve been working on this with him for awhile now, trying to encourage him to suck in his core, and stretch his neck while trotting. It’s not an easy task. First, he has to understand what it is I’m asking of him, using your body differently at just the right moments. This isn’t easy at all for me. Both legs and arms and even your seat muscles work independently of each other, and when it all comes together it’s like a finely tuned orchestra.

After our fairly long warmup today, we were ready to trot. Heels down, hands in front, thumbs up, a little squeeze of the outside rein, a little squeeze of the inside rein, a squeeze with your legs and ask for trot. While trotting, post on the correct diagonal, maintain contact with the bit with the outside rein and give a little on the inside and if all that goes correctly, Alfie will round at the trot. Oh and don’t forget to breathe lol. Well guess what folks – we did it.

It was a few strides the first attempt and holy cow, I set up Alfie perfectly into the trot. He was rounding at the walk, and then we were trotting, and it was magical. It feels very different when the horse is rounded at the trot, their body carries differently. The motion feels as smooth as a hot knife slicing through butter. We try it a second time. This time, he’s able to trot more steps rounded than the first attempt. We ended our lesson on that high note.❤️

So I mentioned in the title of this entry, getting round and skinny at the same time. So while Alfie gets round, I am getting skinnier. A few weeks ago, I bought fleece lined winter riding pants in a size Large. All my XL riding pants are too big now, even with a belt, they are big in the seat area which actually makes it uncomfortable to ride. So with it being winter, I wanted warmer breeches and ones that fit. So I ordered a few pairs in a size large. I was so excited to get them, when they were delivered I eagerly opened up the box and tried them on. They fit, but they were snug. I was slightly disappointed but figured I would keep trying them and in a few weeks they were going to fit. Well guess what – 3 weeks later – THEY FIT!!! 👍🏻

This is such an amazing journey Alfie and I are on together. ❤️🐴

Me and my sweet potato pie.

Tuesday evening diary – He likes it when I sing to him

I love my Aunt Judy

Martini and I go way back. I’ve been riding him over a year now. In the past year, Martini has been a steady man under saddle. He’s well trained and will always take care of his rider. Despite his incredible talent and willingness when riding, his manners while grooming and tacking – well let’s just say, he can be super cranky.

What we’ve discovered is that Martini doesn’t like it when the barn is super busy, or loud. He doesn’t like to have multiple people groom him at once. He’s not a fan of high energy adults or children.

Tonight while he was being groomed by my trainer, I stood next to the gentle giant and sang to him. Let me preface this – I can’t sing. I can play the clarinet but can’t sing a single note in tune. My song of choice – one that I sing when I’m riding when I’m nervous. But, I make up different lyrics every time I sing it to him. Tonight, he exhaled, he relaxed and he even chuckled when I told him I don’t since like Madonna 😂😂.

Our lesson went very well tonight. But what stands out to me was not the dressage test I worked on, but, being there for Martini.

Martini spooked for the first time with me, and I didn’t panic – instead I calmly stopped him, told him it was ok, and gave him lots of reassuring pats. I’m not really sure what it was that spooked him, but, like Alfie, it was a few choppy movements, a lurch forward and a head toss. Once we were stopped and I told my trainer what happened, I put my hand on his neck and instantly his body relaxed. For me, this was a special moment between us. It was the first time he needed me.❤️

When our lesson was done, I brought him into the grooming stall. While I was un-tacking him, again, I sang to him. I gave him some peppermints, lots of kisses and hugs. When it was time to put his blanket on, his crankiness started to set in – he could hear the grain buckets getting prepped for dinner. I explained to him, we always dress for dinner – he must wear his blanket 😂. Yes, I’m well aware he wasn’t understanding a word I said, but he did love being talked to, comforted and petted.

I think this picture below sums up how much we do adore each other. When it’s quiet and calm in the barn, Martini does let his guard down, and his goofy personality shines.❤️🐴

Love and trust.

Saturday evening diary – baby it’s cold outside 🥶

As I pulled into the barn driveway today, I glanced at the outside temperature gage on my dashboard, and it was 15F. I of course was toasty warm in my car but I wasn’t looking forward to getting out.

The turn out of the horses was delayed this morning because of the extreme frigid temperature, so Alfie was waiting for me in his stall. He greeted me with excitement.

Our barn and arena are not heated, but the building is very insulated. Despite the freezing temps outside, it was about 35 in the barn. I checked Alfie, he was toasty under his blanket.

I bring him out of his stall and I hand walk him in the arena. He had some energy this morning but because of the cold he was stiff, which I expected. I tack him up, he stands perfectly still for me at the mounting block and into the arena we go.

As with any older horse, or person for that matter, Alfie has arthritis. He’s on medication to help alleviate his stiffness but when it’s this cold, it takes him a long time to get his muscles warmed up.

So I figured if he was super stiff our lesson would just be cut short. We worked on serpentines, and did an entire dressage test at a walk. About 40 min into the lesson, I could feel his back end loosen and suddenly he was like, let’s trot mom! So we did. 😊

Alfie’s trot today was great. He was forward, seeked the contact of the bit and I was able to keep him going on the turns. He was so forward and balanced it was like we were floating. And the fact that he made the decision to trot showed me he was feeling good.

I look back at when we first started together as a pair. The struggles were so real. Getting Alfie to just walk was so hard. Trotting was a ridiculous challenge as well. A lot of it was me, a new, inexperienced rider that was hesitant to do anything for fear of hurting him. But the rest of his dislike for moving was physical issues. I think at this point, after 4 1/2 years, I’ve finally “fixed” all of his physical issues. My reward is not just a beautifully moving fit horse, but a happy and healthy one.❤️🐴

The best partner a human could ask for.

Tuesday Evening Diary – come on Judy, breathe!

Martini ❤️

My lesson tonight was with the fabulous Martini. We worked on completing an entire dressage test at the proper gaits – so there was a lot of trotting.

Something you all might not know about me…when I’m concentrating really hard when I ride, well, I tend to forget to breathe. Yeah, I actually hold my breathe – I’ve never passed out before but my trainer on more than one occasion actually has had to tell me to breathe lol.

Tonight’s lesson focused on the dressage test, which has more trot than walk. You enter the arena at a trot, than you walk, pick up trot, continue trotting in a 20 meter circle, keep on trotting while you head to the other side of the arena, even more trotting while you complete another 20 meter circle and FINALLY you get to walk. 🤪

My first attempt at this test I lost steam during the first 20 meter circle, and then lost the steam again when we were changing directions. After a few laps of walking, I caught my breath and tried again. This time, I managed to get through the first 20 meter circle without stopping, and then came the direction change. As I’m getting ready to enter the 2nd circle, I lose steam. As if I’m willing my body to keep going, I say out loud “come on Judy BREATHE”! I swear Martini was laughing at me. But I managed to get through almost all of that circle at a trot.

Having a strong foundation before you start to advance in anything you do is super important. By working on these exercises at a walk and a trot, my body is building the muscle and stamina it’s going to need for getting really comfortable at the canter.

I love this horse so much. I love the little moments we share together. Tonight, I discovered he likes my singing – much like Alfie. We shared some special quiet moments while I was grooming him. At one point he gave me a little nuzzle with his nose. Martini showing affection is rare. Martini showing affection when there isn’t a cookie, mint or carrot is even rarer. It really makes me happy that he enjoys our time together. ❤️🐴

His eyes speak volumes.

Saturday evening diary – Supporting your partner is so important.

I love this soul so much – messy nose and all ❤️

Having an older horse comes with a lot of challenges that most younger horses do not have to deal with. My sweet Alfie is 26 years young. He will be 27 in a matter of weeks. Every ride I have with him is truly a blessing.

Over the years, our lessons have always been private. Group lessons have never worked for Alfie, he would get too bored waiting for his turn or would get frustrated with following the leader. We’ve always ridden in an arena with other riders. One lesson in particular, a person was lunging their horse and they dropped the long lead line and suddenly there was a loose horse running around the arena being “chased” by the lead line that was attached to the horses halter. It was a scary moment as the horse slammed into Alfie and I and proceeded to keep running around out of fear of the lead line that was still chasing it. I remember my instructor telling me to get off Alfie and walk to the center of the arena where I would be safe while she held onto Alfie. At this point there was another experienced horse person in the arena who was able to stop the runaway horse. The entire time this was happening, Alfie never took his eyes off of me. Not only did Alfie turn his body to absorb the impact of the other horse, but he protected my leg that would’ve no doubt been broken by the collision, but he kept his attention focused on me. He didn’t care that the other horse was running around scared, all he cared about was where I was. It was the first time that Alfie showed me his heart.

Alfie was diagnosed with cataracts in both of his eyes. His right eye is much worse than his left. So everything you do with Alfie must start on the left side, grooming, farrier services, massage therapy, etc. if you start on the right side of him, you get a very jumpy and scared horse.

Over the years, Alfie’s vision has gotten worse. Things that never bothered him before bother him now. One of those things – riding in the arena with other horses. Because his vision is fuzzy, he must know where all the other horses in the arena are at one time. Having horses trot or canter passed him, never an issue, but it’s an issue now. He can hear them but can’t see them clearly. In fact, even on sunny days, I put the arena lights on to make sure there aren’t too many shadows on the ground.

Today for our lesson, there were 2 other riders sharing the arena with us. Alfie’s anxiety began before I even got him lined up at the mounting block. He was startled by the passing horses cantering by the doorway to the arena, which led him to rear up slightly. I then hand walked him into the arena so he could see the horses that were in there.

With the assistance of my trainer keeping an eye out for where the other riders were, I was able to get on Alfie with no issue. Again, a few years ago, this wouldn’t have scared him. But today, it did.

These riders were cantering and trotting and even though they kept their distance from us, his body was tense, and he was on full alert. Remember how I mentioned I can feel Alfie’s feelings? Well, I felt him today. When he is nervous and tense, his body feels and moves differently, he’s more choppy and stiff.

During our warmup, I felt how nervous he was and for the first time EVER, I told my trainer this wasn’t working. I wasn’t going to be able to have my lesson with the other riders in there, not because I was scared, this was about Alfie.

My trainer then had us walk on the rail to try to get Alfie’s attention a bit more focused while the other 2 riders kept busy in the inner portion of the arena. The etiquette when there is a lesson in the arena – the lesson takes precedent. The other riders recognized this and after seeing how anxious Alfie was, they stopped cantering and slowed down to a walk. They then cooled down their horses and stood in the middle of the arena. It was at this point Alfie was able to relax, when he was able to clearly see both horses. He began to finally exhale all of the tension. Every time we passed the riders standing in the middle of the arena, Alfie glanced in their direction to make sure they were still there. With each passing lap we did, his body let out a sigh and a snort.

Once Alfie was relaxed, the lesson went very well. Alfie is feeling really good these days and again he wanted to trot, so we did.

Sometimes you have to make accommodations for a horse with some special needs. In today’s case, I not only was his extra set of eyes, but I was his voice. Like I’ve told Alfie a million times, I’ve always got his back. ❤️🐴

My heart.

Saturday evening diary – slow, steady, consistent work gives you amazing results

After my less than ideal lesson with the fabulous Tally-Ho left me in tears, I was excited to ride my Alfie today.

First step – the mounting block. For those of you keeping score, Alfie’s streak of standing at the block ended 2 weeks ago. Last weekend, my trainer and I worked with him again on the mounting block issue. As I approached the block, my trainer already inside the arena, I lined up my boy, told him to stand like a statue as I climbed the mounting block steps. I took the reins, and swung my right leg over him and look at that, he stood. Score one for me!

During our warmup, I noticed that Alfie had more pep in his step. He seemed eager to work, a pleasant site to see. We worked on serpentine exercises, leg yielding and circles on his stiffer side. At one point I was trying to leg yield him between 2 cones but because his walk was so forward I was having trouble with my leg position. My trainer and I have an understanding when it comes to Alfie being forward. It happens so seldom, so when he wants to move, we don’t argue, we go with it. So a quick change of pace and trotting off we go.

It’s been a few lessons since I trotted with any sort of purpose with Alfie. The arena footing was recently redone which is wonderful, but given Alfie’s tendon and foot issues, I wanted to make sure he got used to the softer thicker footing before asking him to trot. Yeah, I’m that protective of him.

Today, Alfie trotted with a beautiful forward fluid motion. He engaged his back end (he used his big booty), his body position was rounded (dressage form) and he seeked the contact with the bit (the telephone to my reins). As we trotted around not only the long side of the arena, but on the curves as well, my heart and soul were instantly filled with joy. Holy cow. Look at us go. Look at the strength, the power and the confidence we both have.

After we trotted, we walked, his walk, the most forward walk he’s ever had. It took 1 year and 9 months to get this former western pleasure horse to transform into an English horse – it took that long for me to transform as well – but today, like a puzzle, all the pieces fit together.

I know I’ve mentioned before, slow and steady wins the race every time for me. When I try to rush anything, it backfires. The same is true for Alfie. He is a slow and steady kind of horse. He learns and grows at his own pace. Sure, it took almost 2 years to accomplish this but you know what…who cares? Honestly, who cares how long something like this takes. Not only did both of us learn something new, but in this time our bond, trust and love of each other grew.

People get into horses for all different reasons. People have different goals and timetables. What I hope and wish for the people who are in a rush, or who think just because they can walk, trot, canter, jump 5 foot fences, run around barrels at ridiculous speed – all of that is great, but without taking the time to develop trust, understanding of your horse and their feelings, you lose the partnership and it suddenly becomes all about you. It’s not about you at all, it’s about both of you.❤️🐴

We make the best team.❤️

Tuesday Evening Diary – hello Tally-Ho

Let me start by saying, today was an emotional day for Alfie, which translates into an emotional day for me.

Several years ago, a lovely spiritual psychic told me that Alfie and I were connected in such a strong way that we feel each other’s emotions. It’s very hard to put into words, but I feel what Alfie is feeling. I know what you are thinking, have we crossed over into Elliot and E.T.’s bond? Well, yeah, kind of.

All morning today I was having major anxiety. I couldn’t figure out what the cause was. I was fine, my husband and mother were fine, nothing was bothering me at work, but the anxiety was overwhelming. That anxiety was followed up by a deep sadness that I couldn’t explain.

Today, one of the fellow boarders moved her horse to a barn that specializes in retired horses. The horse that left was Texas, Alfie’s stall neighbor and best friend. We knew this move was coming so several weeks ago we changed Alfie’s field mates, keeping him in the same paddock and he could see Texas in the paddock next to him. We were trying to slowly rip the band aid off so to speak. Today, when the trailer left with Texas, Alfie yelled for him for the rest of the day. This explains the anxiety and sadness I felt, because he was feeling it.

When I got to the barn, all I could do was hug my boy. There’s nothing I can say to make him understand where Texas went, but with time, Alfie will adjust to not having his neighbor and best buddy.

Ok, so I’ve painted a pretty good picture of what my emotional state was when I was getting ready for my first lesson on Tally-Ho.

Tally is a 15 year old paint draft horse. I’m pretty sure she’s got another breed mixed in there but I’m not sure what. She’s a tad smaller than Martini, but wider and more powerful. She arrived at our barn 3 days ago. And I was going to be the first student of my trainer to ride her.

As with any new horse, my trainer rode her before me. As I watched this beautiful and powerful beast walk, trot and canter through the arena, I was just in awe of how magical she really is. She’s a horse that’s done it all, from western pleasure, barrel racing, jumping, English, dressage, you name it, she’s done it.

Tally-Ho and my trainer Kari

My trainer gets off Tally and I get on. First thing I notice, she’s much wider than Martini. A few seat adjustments are needed, basically I told my arthritic hip to get over it and off we went. Her walk is forward, much more forward than I’m used to, but I wasn’t scared, just took me awhile to get used to it. I decide I want to trot, so we do. It didn’t last long as her trot has suspension to it, meaning you get the sensation that you are floating or flying. As we were trotting all I could do was say “weeeeee” – that was my downfall – Tally knew immediately that I was a bit flustered, and she wasn’t going to let that opportunity slip her by.

She then started to pull out her “testing” moves…what can she do to fluster me where I will be too scared to continue…I’m used to these games, Alfie still to this day tries his moves on me. It doesn’t scare me when Alfie does it, but I just met Tally and to be completely honest, she got the best of my nerves. All she did was wiggle her big booty and spin a little. She refused to turn in the direction I wanted to go, and even with my trainer giving me instruction on what to do, it was too late…I was a domino and Tally was pushing me down – figuratively, not literally, I was sitting just fine on her. And just like that, I told my trainer I was scared and the tears came out.

I can’t remember the last time I cried on a horse out of fear and disappointment – I don’t think I cried on Alfie, I know in the beginning I was brought to tears by him but I never let him see me cry. As I sat there my trainer – who’s also my friend told me it was ok, and she told me how proud of me she was that I even wanted to ride Tally. At that moment I didn’t care of how brave I was at getting on, all I was focused on was how I let her win. Letting a horse know what scares you takes a long time to undo – I mean it’s been 4 1/2 years and Alfie still tries his old tricks.

I know this was only the first lesson, but she humbled me in a way that I haven’t felt since those early Alfie years.

As I was un-tacking her, my trainer reminded me that she is a mare. Mares are different than geldings. When a gelding objects, you can usually still get them to get over it. When a mare objects, you need to know exactly how to negotiate with her or there’s no hope at all for success in whatever it is you’ve asked of her. They say, “tell a gelding” and you “ask a mare.”

This was a hard post for me to share. Admitting to yourself that you were scared is one thing, admitting it to the world is another. Does this mean I’m going to give up on Tally – absolutely NOT!! She has so much to teach me. But I’m going to do it, even if I’m scared.❤️🐴

Saturday evening diary – I love learning how to dance with Alfie

#goals – 2012 Olympics

So I posted Laura Bechtolsheimer’s Olympic performance in dressage from 2012 because it is incredibly beautiful. Also, because while watching it, I can now identify many of the movements she and her horse are doing and that’s just really freaking awesome. A few years ago, I would’ve just thought this routine was beautiful. Now after having been working on dressage for almost 2 years, I not only think it’s beautiful but I understand and appreciate all the hard work this rider and horse had to put in together.

I sent this video to my trainer who is familiar with the rider. I said to her…goals for me and Alfie. 🤷🏻‍♀️

No, we aren’t going to the Olympics – unless there is an old horse category where everything is done at a walk – then we are totally there lol. But, my goals for Alfie after watching this incredible amount of talent are to be able to dance with him. And that is totally doable.

I make the long walk up the driveway to Alfie’s paddock. He sees me coming, he pops his head over the fence just enough so that our eyes meet and he walks to the gate. I love that. I love that he knows who I am. I love how he still lets me kiss his nose before I put his halter on. These are the moments I cherish every bit of.

As we walk to the barn I ask him how his week was. I tell him how crazy work was for me this week…he’s always the strong silent type, he never interrupts me when I’m speaking lol, but he does lift his head and tilt it towards my face as if to say, I’m sorry you had a hard week.

While he chows down on his hydro hay, I start the task of brushing the incredible amount of dried mud he’s managed to get himself dirty with. I don’t mind the mud, he’s a horse, he’s gonna get dirty. It makes me happy that he loves to roll in it to get so dirty. His claim to fame with mud – he manages to get it so ground into his mane that the only way to pick it all out is by hand. 😂

I get him tacked up and we enter the arena. There are 2 other horses in there and he’s super excited to see that he’s not the only one who’s going to be tortured with a ride lol. But alas sweet Alfie, they are done with their rides, and are just standing in the middle of the arena – their riders are chit chatting and Alfie does everything in his power to get himself close to them. But my sweet Alfie, not this time, I’m way ahead of you, lol. I keep him focused and away from the other horses and we begin our warmup. During our warmup he decides he’s going to spook at normal sounds of the barn he hears every single day…the filling up of a water bucket, a horse kicking their stall gate…oh Alfie really. All of this just to stand still and hang out with your horsey friends lol. The old Judy would’ve been scared of his very mild spooks, but this new and improved confident Judy, just continued to ride.👍🏻

We worked on our shoulder exercises and get this…we advanced to the next level of exercises without even knowing it!! No more shoulder fore, now we are shouldering in!! And in Alfie’s harder direction, for the first time he didn’t object and actually got some really good fluid movement in on the exercises. There was a lot of foaming at the mouth and chewing – it means he’s thinking.

While we aren’t ready for the Olympics yet, we are learning how to dance with each other. By the end of the lesson, my trainer has me lengthen my reins but separate my hands. I look at her very confused because all this time we’ve been working on keeping my hands pretty close together. She explains that I’m now going to train Alfie….say what??? I’m going to train Alfie?? She says yes. Because I’ve learned proper positioning and proper aids such as how to work the reins, by separating my hands, it will encourage Alfie to come into a more round position and continue looking for the contact of the bit. So I keep my elbows bent and slowly separate my hands. I’m directing the focus so that the power of his walk can come directly from his beautiful butt. And holy cow, it worked. He dropped his head low, still seeking the contact with the bit and he picked up the most beautiful forward walk. I was stunned. Stunned that he moved so beautifully and so properly, but also stunned that I am now able to train him. Sure, this is a small step in training, but wow, I’ve reached that level with him.

Our ride ended and he got the biggest hug from me. Lots of pats, lots of praise. ❤️

When I think back to the beginning of our journey together. I knew NOTHING. My horse experience was small, my horse understanding even smaller. I look at us today. I trust Alfie with my life, and he trusts me with his life. I am confident in ways I never imagined I would be. I couldn’t have wished for a better dancing partner than Alfie. The heavens truly were looking out for both of us when the universe brought us together. ❤️🐴

Alfie ❤️

Tuesday evening diary – I found a horse with a slower gait than Alfie!

The amazing Maestro!

Tonight was my second lesson on the amazing Maestro. My trainer Kari rode him first to warm him up for me. While they were walking I looked at Maestro’s gait and realized that although he appears to be moving slowly, his walk was forward enough where his back feet were tracking his front feet which is what you want. She then asks him for a trot, and look at that, his trot is similar to his walk, small quick strides, and at a speed that is slower than Alfie – which I didn’t think was possible.

Kari gets off and I get on. We warm up my muscles by doing a nice forward walk. The first thing I notice is how much he reacts to my leg pressure. Hmmm, this is really cool, and an improvement from the last lesson where I needed the dressage whip to help reinforce my leg pressure. We work on circles, serpentine exercises and then I ask him for a trot. Sure enough, he picks up the trot nicely and because his legs are small but quick, posting to his trot is much different than with Alfie or even Martini.

When I trot with Alfie and Martini, my seat (my butt) comes out of the saddle completely – but with Maestro, because his gait is different than either of them, to post his trot, my seat comes up very slightly. It was actually a harder trot to post because I had to use more muscle control to sit it properly. At the same time, I’m chuckling on the inside because again, although it was a forward trot, it was slower than Alfie.

We trotted beautifully in both directions. Getting the diagonal was hard because his legs moved so quickly! I found myself staring down trying to figure out the timing – one would think it would be easy, when the outside leg is forward get out of the saddle…yeah, my brain processed that but there was a delay with my butt lol.

As I’m un-tacking Maestro, my trainer reminds me that I now have 3 horses under my belt so to speak. A year ago, I remember, I was excited to be riding Alfie and Martini. And now, Maestro has joined their ranks. He has lots to teach me, and I can’t wait to show Alfie and Martini all that I’m learning from Maestro.❤️🐴

Saturday evening diary – it’s my birthday – and I spent it with my love.

For those of you that are wondering, yes, I am married. My husband of 5 years is my biggest cheerleader when it comes to Alfie and horseback riding. He has supported me since day 1, and although his severe allergies to both horses and hay has prevented him from participating in this journey physically with me, he has been there every step of the way.

My amazing husband.❤️

Finding a supporting partner who doesn’t mind you spending countless hours at the barn, coming home covered in dirt, hay, sometimes horse poop, is a rare find. Finding a supporting partner who doesn’t get jealous of the amount of time you spend with your horse, and all the discussions of you have of your horse any chance you get, again is a rare find. My husband is that unicorn. I met and married Scott before I got involved with horses. This “hobby” started several months after we got married. Alfie came into my life just a few weeks before our 1 year wedding anniversary.

I wanted to share with you a little bit about my husband and his incredible love he has for me because without his support, encouragement, patience and understanding, I wouldn’t be where I am today with horses. I always tell Alfie his dad loves him very much – just from a distance.

Today is my 45th birthday. I woke up, looked in the mirror and shook my head. How could I be 45? Where did the time go? I eagerly opened my gift from Scott – a leg and foot massager complete with a heat function to help with the poor circulation in my lower legs and feet – extremely flat feet wreak havoc on my legs. Like a kid on Christmas morning, I tried the booties, plugged it in and enjoyed a morning leg massage. This will help with the long active days I spend at the barn. Thank you my sweet Scott.

Scott leaves for work, and I head to the barn to spend my day with my “horse husband” as Scott sometimes refers to him lol.

We have an amazing lesson on the new arena footing. We took it easy because the increased footing is going to take some time for him to get used to, but he did great with everything I asked of him, even when it was hard.

I’m coming to see you mom ❤️

After our ride, I spent almost an hour hand grazing him on our big field. The weather was sunny but cool, and Alfie enjoyed the last of the grass. As he ate, I sang to him softly, told him it was my birthday, and told him how he made my special day absolutely perfect.❤️🐴

Nom nom nom