Washington Island 2014

A couple of weeks ago, Sofie and I headed to Washington Island for our annual weekend getaway with Bella and Charm. To sum it up, it was amazing. We had 3 nights and the most of 4 days to relax and explore.
Here are some of the highlights…

• We hiked Rock Island the first day and walked/jogged the 5 mile trail, of course exploring the shore or whatever else caught our eyes along the way.

• What made this trip extra special was that some friends who frequent the island were there with their horses. Because of this, we were able to explore off the road and really see the land.

• We rode about 24 miles total on the road, in the water, through fields, meadows and along the shore. We also happened on trails through the woods with ferns and even hidden sand dunes in the middle of the island.

• We went to the annual Death’s Door BBQ Competition. We rode the horses there and tied them to trees while we sampled some delicious food. Then, we rode over to Main Street and got a couple of beers horseback.

• We picked about 6 pounds of wild blackberries. After eating our fill, I was able to bring home enough to make blackberry jam to enjoy in the months to come.

• When it comes to bugs, there are only butterflies and dragonflies on the Island, or so it seemed.

• The most frequently asked question of the weekend was, “Do year hear that?” To which the other would respond “I hear nothing.”

• We ate a lot of good food and drank some good drinks.

• We enjoyed our traditional Black Velvet at the Fiddler’s Green.

• The horses behaved like old pros. They were patient, went through anything and everything we asked them to and did not tire (except for some ouchy feet on the hard road). Charm in particular was totally in her element. She was happy and forward.

• I ended up selling my saddle on the Island. I’ve had it for sale since February and now it’s gone! Who could have guessed that would have happened?

• One night we laid out a blanket around midnight and looked at the stars all while enjoying some gourmet popcorn.

• The weather was perfect. Low 70s, mostly overcast but not dreary. Ideal when you’re riding all day!

• We had this ridiculous giant white truck for the weekend. The thing was so loud people would make comments about it to us … oops. We named it “Great White” for the weekend. Totally redneck.

• We had no schedule!

• And lastly, we became experts on Snoants and Cincolizards. I will tell you all about them sometime…

Till next year!

Here are some of the pictures that sum it all up…

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SOLD!! Circle Y Mesa Wade Saddle for Sale!

Just a quick update…

Charm was adjusted earlier this week and there were a few spots that were stuck. Specifically her lower back, lower neck, ribs and sternum. The sternum improved a lot over last time, which is good to know. Her stifles are weaker and I will be doing isometric exercises to help her build strength. Also, her abs are WAY out of shape, which is no surprise. We will be going back to hill work once the footing outside improves (will it ever?).

Dr. Patty expects that Charm is developing arthritis in her knee. She has less mobility than last time. This is not a surprise to me, but it still sucks. I have had her on a supplement since this past fall which has helped. We will just be watching it.

And finally, my saddle might be causing a lot of the problems as well. After looking it over during the appointment it just doesn’t fit well and there isn’t enough room for her shoulders. I think she beefed out since I bought it and with my air pad, I just never gave it much thought. But it was obvious once we took a close look at it. I love my saddle, but now will be looking for a replacement once this one is sold.

So anyone out there.. if you’re looking for a GREAT ranch saddle, I have a 16″ Circle Y Mesa Wade for sale! It’s beautiful and is in great condition! Here is a picture of Charm showing it off when I first got it. If anyone has any questions about it, please send me a message below. 🙂

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A Frosty Morning

A beautiful frost and soft light covered the farm this morning. I was fortunate enough to be there and capture it.
(Click on the picture for the best quality)

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Brandywine looked very handsome with his frosty mane.

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Little beautiful things are all around us if we take the time to look for them.

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The geldings are bored in the pasture this time of year, so they play this little game. First one to take a step back loses.

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Frost was literally everwhere.

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The whole fence line was like this.

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Wana play mom? Charm knows is time to head up to the barn with me. 🙂

Charmer Turns 12

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My oldest turned 12 last week. I’ve had Charm since she was 2 so that makes 10 years of learning together.

Here’s a little summer update.

Charm is really good at maintaining her weight. I didn’t make it out to the barn for a couple of weeks in June and her belly got just as big as it was earlier in the year. I know all the new sugary grass is to blame, but I would really like her to be a little more fit and not so roly-poly. So, we’ve been doing a lot of trotting both online and while riding. She actually isn’t in bad shape; she can trot quite awhile without getting tired.. she just has a few extra pounds around her mid-section.

As for my horsemanship, we’ve still been focusing on some refinement things from the Ryan Rose clinic. Specifically, refinement when it comes to freestyle riding. It’s gotten pretty good. My phases are well defined and she follows my focus and I only need to use the reins about 10% of the time. Also getting our hindquarter and forequarter yields soft and effortless and opening a gate. For some reason, I’ve never really focused on opening a gate and we were nowhere near doing it well. We could open it, no problem. But there was no finesse involved. Now, things have drastically improved and she’s a pro at waiting and taking one step at a time, stepping around and side passing to shut the gate all while I have one hand on the reins and the other on the gate. So I will keep practicing this until it’s as smooth as buddah.

Also, we’ve been amping up the Liberty. Specifically, working on draw and responsiveness.

This stuff is great, but overall, all I really want to do is trail ride… and I think she does too. She really doesn’t care to do arena work and do the same old stuff we’ve been doing and can do with our eyes closed while standing on our heads (well maybe not). So I say, then let’s trail ride!

So overall, that’s what I’ve been focusing on.

Things are going well, I have a super horse. I can get her from the pasture, clean her up, load her in the trailer and go somewhere with no problems. What else can I really ask for? She’s a great partner.

A Rose Weekend

Ryan and Hillary Rose joined us this weekend for a few days of workshops. Charm and I participated in the Freestyle and Liberty workshops.

We had a lot of fun! I came away with a lot of strategies to help Charm maintain her responsibilities… and also to help me not micromanage her. I also have learned how to achieve more refinement in my phases. So to do less, I will end up getting more from her. And the best part is that it works!

Of course I had my camera handy and couldn’t help buy snap pictures while I audited the other workshops. Here are some of my favorites.

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Ryan and Pico

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Sofie, Grace and Toni all playing with their gray horses in the online workshop.

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I like to call this one the peanut gallery.

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Grace was helping her horse, Pico, become more confident.

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Here is the finesse group.

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Ryan ended up riding Charm during the finesse workshop.

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Beth and her horse Ollie. I’m sure Hillary had some brilliant advice for them.

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Grace and her Andalusian, Pico, are strutting their stuff.

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Trish is loading her horse Stacy with confidence.

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Ryan is helping Sandy and Schatzi.

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John and Polo

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Sofie is introducing Bella to the trailer obstacle.

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Stacy!

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Toni and Kidd. They did super!

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Tracey and Cooper

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Sofie and Bella

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Kidd on the tarp. This was a major step for Kidd. He wasn’t too sure about the tarp, but Toni did an excellent job building his confidence.

It was hard just picking a few pictures to share. We had a great weekend and I’m so happy the weather cooperated! Everyone seemed to have an excellent time this weekend. Thanks Ryan and Hillary for sharing your knowledge with all of us!

Nature iPhoneography: Charm’s Feeling Fresh!

I’d thought I’d use pictures I took of Charm during our warmup session over the weekend.

We were doing some hill work which I hope will help her develop a stronger topline and get her ready for an upcoming clinic as well as trail rides.

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She started out a little frisky! I love it when she bucks and plays 🙂

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Still going a little fast at the top! Must feel good to move out now that the snow is finally gone.

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It’s like fishing, but with a 1,100 pound bass at the end of the line.

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Ahh… there’s that nice round canter I was looking for. Looking good Charm!

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Nice reach with that hind leg!

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Ok, come on in for your cookie!

All images edited in Snapseed and Instagram.

Thanks for looking!

Check out other entries here:

Watching the Photo Reels
Frames & Focus
Lens & Pens

My Favorite View: Feels Like Narnia

One of these days I am expecting Charm to just start talking to me… well, especially when we have this beautiful scenery to ride in.

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Last year we had a very mild winter, so it’s been two years since I’ve ridden with her in the snow. We got about 5 inches of fresh snow overnight and to my my delight, it was still hanging on the trees.

I took my D5000 on this ride. I have a Lowepro Slingshot 100 camera bag that fits snug to my back allowing me to actually take my camera with me on trail rides. Sometimes the iPhone can’t quite capture all the beautiful details. Like the snow on her ears.

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But Charm, feeling fresh in this new snow, started to perform some mild acrobatics and didn’t really want to stand still and wait for me to get out my DSLR. Since I was riding bareback, it was probably a lot safer to not argue with his excited, 1200 pound animal and to just keep moving along.

So, I also got some shots with my iPhone 5. I put these through an app called Snapseed. It’s pretty handy and fun to use. I was able to give these a more vintage look without looking overdone. Also, the borders were kinda fun to play around with.

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I love this one. It’s looking back up the hill. The tracks on the left are the ones we just blazed. 12123 12124

It’s hard to tell, but this is a pretty big hill that we are walking down. The trees thin out a little at the bottom, giving me some awesome light to photograph.12125Here’s the rest of the herd all jealous of our awesome ride. I can’t wait to go again!