Thursday, December 30, 2021

Cantering Out of 2021

I love to do an orderly, month-by-month year end wrap up post highlighting our big adventures for each year. 

Buuuuuuut this is probably the least orderly year I've ever had. 

We kinda did everything. But also nothing. 

I didn't take a single lesson, haul off site once, go trail riding in a substantive way, or make it to a clinic of any kind. 

We did, however, cross off a bucket list item for me:

canter my horse bareback through a field

We also did the didn't-know-it-was-a-bucketlist-item:
jump bareback in a halter

We ticked off 2021 goals:

lope in snaffle

walk/job in curb

You can always count on us for great hair:
Great outfits:

western too!

And great photo ops:
always be a unicorn

who is this fancy lady!

We definitely plunked away at traditional training:
peep new saddle pad
stay posted for more on this

And sometimes we did it in non-traditional ways:


remember when she thought halters were optional?

Sometimes we just plain did non-traditional things:
tiny dog was NOT THRILLED about this

queue 70 lbs puppy exiting stage left

Can your dressage horse do this?

We trained a new barn dog:
the darling of all the barn ladies

And ZB continued to be the most stand up lady for any adventure:
family photo!

The only time I made it to a horse show was when I accidentally ended up showing a mule at the state fair:
NGL made me want ZB to have a mule baby

But ZB looked fabulous no matter what we were doing:
that shine <3

Whether we played cowgirls:

Or dressage pony:
you're welcome for the outfit

Or late night bareback adventure:
sometimes you don't knock the mud off

I can always count on her to be my very best lady horse.

I had her in training for the greater part of the year and for the first time ever, canter is just effortless and if I got my shit together, I actually think we'd lay down a really nice 1st level test. I'm really missing jumping right now so we're messing around with poles and fitness and seeing where that takes us. I don't know what next year will bring (other than another list of fun goals!) but I'm looking forward to spending it with very-much-grown-up baby mare. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Full Circle

this lady <3

 A little over four years ago, I was in a bad place. I'd never met Roxie's mom, but we chatted online occasionally. She invited me up to trail ride her big, gorgeous Roxie horse. 

(If you don't remember Roxiecorn the Horse Princess and her awesome mom, well, read this and follow their adventures here.)


I remember cantering through the mountains, giggling like a kid on a pony. Safe. Happy. 

I came home and made changes. 

I lost a lot, but I gained far more. 

horse pirates!

I made plans to meet Halo Horsebaby the month she was born, but instead I nuked my entire life and had to deal with the fallout. 

My path was northern last week and when I messaged Roxie's mom about meeting up, she hooked up the trailer and took me trail riding again. Halo is three now. I squealed when I saw her round little nose. Roxie's mom and I hit the trails again, and again, I was seated on the inimitable Roxie. 

group picture!

I'll always love that Roxiecorn for showing me another life. 

My whole world is different than it used to be.

the best

There is something so strangely transcendent about riding through a golden sunset on a brisk fall day, looking through the same set of ears that rocked my world. 


Something about having the kind of friends that hook up the trailer and say "come ride my Roxiecorn". 

Something about sharing a driving passion for life and horses.  

and the horses that carry us

Whether those rides are in the show ring or bareback alone at night, they're shaped me. 

My expectations. My goals. My life. 

that saddle pad tho

It's little things like choosing a career that affords horses and a job that gives you some free time. 

It's big things, like learning to hear what your horse says about you. 

It's setting the standard for the people in your life. For who they are to you, and for who you want to be to them. 

and trail rides in the forest

I'm in a whole different place now than when I first met Roxie and her mom four years ago. It's a good place, full of opportunities and challenges. 

I have my own horse princess now--if you're here, you know the inestimable ZB.

and yes, she looks good in sparkles

And yeah, it really can be all it's cracked up to be. 

Stay hopeful, my friends. 

Friday, October 15, 2021

Accomplishing Goals

aim high

One of my goals from when I first brought ZB home was to canter bareback through the pasture with flowers braided in her mane. 

Which probably doesn't sound that hard. 


To make that happen, these things had to come together:

  • Let baby zb grow up with enough proprioception to move across uneven ground safely
  • Develop her canter to something balanced enough to do on uneven ground safely
  • Learn to feel confident and relaxed enough riding bareback that I don't just slide off
  • Show up to the barn when the sun is up
And maybe to most people, those things aren't insurmountable. 

tiny barn dog not stoked

Ms. Zoebird is a lovely trotting horse. It wasn't until she spent the better part of this year in pro training and can comfortably do a first level test that I actually felt confident enough with her canter that I wanted to take it out in the field regularly. Prior to this year, she required such a high level of fitness to do it that yeah I didn't make it happen. 

It still never felt like something I wanted to do tho. I'm not about forcing my hobbies anymore. I can have goals, but if I don't get on and immediately think "this is a good idea", I just don't do it. Let's just say that when I sat on my very round horse in exercise tights, cantering never seemed like a super great plan.

I'm a long ways out of the trendy horse world right now, but I have a fabulous group of friends who kept saying "brockamp pad" like it was some sort of voodoo that would help me. 

I'm all in favor of voodoo, but 0/10 do long lead times on non-custom items. 

And then I found this:

Relevant points: PURPLE, less than half the price of name brand, can be at my house in 3 days. Sure, it's not the "THE PAD" but let's be real. I've never seen a real one so I won't know the difference. Worst case scenario, I end up with a pretty purple bareback pad. 

So that happened.


Naturally, I dragged Alyssa out to the barn with me immediately. 

warm weather

Hopped on with zero prep and went straight to the field.

don't mind if we do

And rolled straight into the canter


It was the most natural thing in the world. 

cold weather too

It's my new favorite thing. We have a long, dark, cold winter ahead with a cheery purple bareback pad and a whole new toolbox unlocked. 

i am a leaf on the wind
watch how i soar

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Always Be a Unicorn

Photo edit by Beka

When you have a Zoebird, there are certain things you can do that normal horses really can't. 

One of those things is throw a little girl a unicorn birthday party. 

(Note: none of the children are mine to share so I'm not showing faces/action shots, EVEN IF THEY HAVE REALLY CUTE SMILES.) 

We started mid-week with a quick dress rehearsal. 

Well no. It started with me saying "I'm throwing a unicorn birthday party" in front of a friend and she immediately volunteered to bring her sister and help. 

Then we did a quick dress rehearsal. Turns out the $20 etsy horn needed a little reinforcement to prevent a rather unfortunate flopping situation. And we picked correct sparkles. And made a plan. 

When party day arrived, #teamunicorn was on site early to get all decked out.

the ideal horse model

We (they--let's be real my only contribution was a tail braid) got everything ready, then took the world's most adorable unicorn out to walk around and do a final fit. 

We did a couple quick tweaks to dial the outfit in and it was go time with Alyssa was on hand to document!

I mean. ZB is a really damn cool horse and her love of the littles is possibly the most adorable thing I have ever seen. 

They petted her and learned how to feed her treats (and brought BAGS of carrots and apples so it was 100% the best horse day ever). 

And then we did pony rides! 

Pro tips:
1) BO suggested the indoor to contain the party participants. This was an excellent idea.
2) A 3 step mounting block is not tall enough to get the littles on your percheron cross (but helpful parents are great for this!)
3) Remember to ask the parents to bring helmets, because your adult size helmets will be WAY too big (glad I thought of that one in time!)
4) Should definitely ask everyone to wear closed toe shoes. Again. Did not think of that. 

It was a really fun time! The kids were so excited and the parents helped manage the chaos (as did Alyssa and co--it's definitely a lot to throw 10+ kids and their non-horsey parents into a barn situation). 

And ZB. 

not pictured--actual children

By now, you know she is the best horse ever. 

But like. 

Not a foot wrong. The whole time. My proudest moment was having a little girl up who simultaneously LOVED Zoe and was COMPLETELY TERRIFIED. We were in the farthest, darkest corner of the arena and every child not-on-Zoe took off running straight at her AT FULL SPEED. 

I stopped dead. ZB didn't even flick an ear. 


Just taking care of the scared little girl on her back. 

You guys that is the cutest thing I have seen IN MY LIFE.

I'm living for these photo edits

I'm certainly not planning to get into the unicorn party business*, but it was so much fun to make a little girl's day memorable. 

Local unicorn team. Should have made Alyssa get in the picture instead of take it.

*No one tell ZB I said this. She is living to be a party unicorn.

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