Back in the Saddle...

I pulled into the farm today and as much as LTN and I like to work outside, I decided we'd stay indoors with how the day was heating up. The windows were open, the doors were open and a nice cross breeze was blowing through, so it was pretty much as perfect as we could ask for. 

Since moving to the new farm, the big guy has taken some big strides forward with his training and I'm quite happy with how he's doing and more importantly, I'm extremely happy with how our relationship has/is developing. He's been a part of the family for almost 10 months now and while there has been some back and forth about who the 'boss' is some days, I truly do feel that we are falling in stride with each other. 

Some people know his story and some don't, so let me share.

This guy came into my life through two wonderful women who we're still with today (hence our move to this farm, as they were moving there as the new farm managers). He's 11 years old and is GREEEEN! Up to last summer, he essentially lived his life in a pasture with a mare and their daughter (he was a late geld at age 6). From what I understood, he had very little to no work done with him (up until last August) and he would need to be started from the ground up.

I know our progress may seem slow to some people and that's just fine with me. I'm in no rush and wanted to really establish a trusting and collaborative relationship with him first and foremost. We will never be jumping fences at The Royal (or any competition for that fact) or running barrels at a rodeo. He's my return to the equine world and to be able to take him out on the trails or ride him around the ring through walk/trot/canter is enough. I'd rather take our time and do things properly so both he and I enjoy it and can learn from each other along the way, vs me solely dictating to him. 

He's had someone on his back mayyyybe 15 times now and today was my longest session on him (about 15 minutes). We made it around the arena 3 times!! This is HUGE for a guy, who not matter what cueing you use, pretty much stands still as soon as someone gets on his back (he is absolutely more whoa than go). With A LOT of encouragement and me leaving him to his own timing at times, we did made it around and the smile on my face couldn't have been bigger! He moves forward perfectly on the lunge line and we're working on transitioning to that to the saddle. As you can see in the photo below, I'm currently using a halter and lead rope to guide him when I'm on his back. I have very mixed feelings about introducing a bridle/bit at 11 years old, but it is inevitable if we're wanting to head out on the trails (at least until he is much more seasoned and then I may move to a witless bridle).

Such a great view... #throughtheears..

I will also admit, somedays, I've been nervous to get back into the saddle too. I'm no longer a 17 year old with no fear (and a hockey helmet on my head, that would then climb on a wayyy too energetic 3 year old filly and hold on for dear life) and this 38 year old mind and body is all too conscious of the potential of being sent flying through the air to the dirt. I'm very aware that falling off is part and parcel of riding and I continue to wrap my head around that. I am absolutely amazed how well he is doing with so few rides 'under his belt' and once I'm on, I feel much better about things.

He is one incredible creature and has a 'once in a lifetime' personality and way about him. He's so smart and with that, comes his stubbornness (kinda like his Mom and his other furry brother Charlie). He's playful, caring (he'll literally lick/'kiss' you to death), full of life yet calm (most days) and there's this look he gets in his eyes that brings a huge smile to my face, no matter what. 

I truly feel that finding him was meant to be and I can't wait to see what the future holds for us!


My Life of the Horse....


It's the Year of the Horse.....We see it in decor, style, fashion....It's everywhere!

For me, it's not just the Year of the Horse....They have always been a part of my life and I have made a concerted effort to incorporate the majestic equine not only into my home, but as many aspects of my life as possible.

I was two years old the first time I rode a horse and it wasn't just any horse...It was a Clydesdale!

That amazing creature was just like one of the gentle giants in the photo above. She was almost 16 hands high at the crest of the shoulder (each 'hand' = 4 inches) and I can say with complete honesty, it was that day that my love affair with horses began.

We had horses growing up (Quarter Horses) and most of our neighbours did as well. Many a Saturday was spent trail riding or at a country fair. You would walk into the barn and be surrounded by saddles, bridles, harnesses, saddle soap, tack boxes, curry combs, neighing horses yearning for attention...but something I will always remember and that I really miss....was the smell. If you've never experienced the aroma of a  mix of leather, soap, hay and horse is one I hope you do get to experience at some point as it is intoxicating!

I used to wake up and head out to the paddock and on those lucky days, my horse would be lying down on the hill, still snoozing....I would curl up in the grass beside her, snuggle right in and be happier than any little girl could ever be! Then, it was time for a ride and whether it was bareback or with a saddle, the feeling you get when you're sitting atop this amazing beast is absolutely indescribable! The feeling you get when we'd come out of the woods to the edge of a pasture and with almost no cueing, she'd break into a full gallop and the two of us literally flew across the grassy field as

Needless to say, after being immersed in that lifestyle for my formative years, I have tried to keep a piece of that with me as I moved away from home and made a new home for myself. Sure, I can't walk out the back door and run my hand over a horse's mane, but, I can surround myself with items that remind me of those moments and take me back to them.

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These are all pieces of art that can be found in my home that capture what I feel is the true essence of the beauty of a horse.....Their flowing mane, their graceful lines, their amazingly alluring eyes, their strength as they work...

They truly are the noblest of creatures and their character & personalities bring a kind of joy into one's life that I only wish every person could experience. Surrounding myself with these pieces allows me to keep a bit of that "feeling" in my home in the city.

I was in one of my new favorite shops in Toronto, Love the Design, just before Christmas and as I walked in the shop, I came face to face with this piece by Christine Flynn...


I returned home and looked through her website and found these pieces that just drew me in and took me back to those mornings in the paddock.... They captured the aesthetic perfectly!


Trends will come and trends will go.... For me, I surround myself with things I love, that spur happy memories and that make me smile as I catch a glimpse of them as I walk by....Yes, this may be the Year of the Horse, but my life will always include these incredible creatures, no matter what year it is!