Okay, then. Long time no see! The ease of FaceBook has stolen me away from blog-land, but Aarene at Haiku Farm has started a "blog hop"--which I am taking as a personal challenge to re-activate Mountain Trail Music! This will also serve to update some of you that don't "do" FaceBook.
If you want to play along, I'll leave a clean copy of the questions in the comments.
Here's the directions:
- Answer the questions (below) on your own blog, and leave a link to that post in the comments here.
- In your post, invite readers to answer the questions on THEIR blogs, and link those blogs to yours AND to here.
- Let's see how far this can travel!
- Pictures! Let's see lots of pictures of people and horses!
HI! I'm Laurie and I consider myself "horsaii." Been addicted to horses for 55 years or so, doing everything from dude strings in the Sierras, to grooming for an Olympic eventer, to managing a 60-stall show barn, to breeding family/4H Paints, and most recently, offering retirement board for show and family horses. And just about everything in between!
|My first horse, Shadow, 1969|
|"Holy Smokes," approximately 1975, Doylestown, PA|
* Introduce your horse(s)!
Kate (APHA "Canticle") was foaled in 2005, our fourth year of breeding Paints.
Raised here on the farm, I have done all of her training.
We've ridden all over the Eastern Washington Cascades.
She's a grandkid horse:
And sometimes she even fills in as a therapy horse:
Of the ten babies we bred, Kate is the one that still remains at EvenSong Farm.
She is my "heart horse" and will stay here as long as I am able to care for her.
(If she outlives me, she will go to my daughter's home.)
* What's your favorite horse sport?
Since Kate was four, we have been competing in mountain trail events.
It's not your mama's arena trail class!
Kate and I (and my other mare, Maddie, now in a new home)
have been dabbling in western and cowboy dressage for the last year or two.
I've also been know to hang out with a few endurance folks.
* Who else in your family rides?
My grandkids all ride...unfortunately, it's only during the couple of weeks that they visit "Grandma's farm" each summer. My one Paint broodmare, Misty was who the older boys started out on, but Kate came up through the ranks to take more and more responsibility for the youngest one, as Misty's navicular started limiting her activities.
|Mikey & Misty, 2005 (Maddie in tow)|
|Delaney & Brenden, on Kate (with Mom and Grandma), 2009|
|Mike on Kate, 2010|
|Delaney on Kate & Brenden on Misty, 2016|
My daughter rides with friends when she can.
Hubby Allan used to ride with me on occasion, but hasn't since this anniversary get-away in 2010.
* What's your proudest equestrian accomplishment?
In spite of the fact that 90% of the photos in this post are of Kate and I (and I'm super proud of our partnership), I think I'm even more proud of the progress I made with Maddie over the last 15 months or so.
Five years ago, after three years of successful green horse experiences, Maddie and I had a wreck, right in our own back yard arena. She bolted, and in the ensuing "unscheduled dismount" I wrenched my back, not to mention pummeled my confidence.
For the four years following that, I was afraid of her, and she knew it. Every time I tried to start back up with her, all she had to do was pull a green horse stunt, and I would get off and not try again, sometimes for months. I finally sent her to a trainer for spring and summer of 2015. He taught her lots, and never got any hint of a bolt, but he never did "click" with her--partly, I think, because he demanded things of her, and Maddie is the kind of mare than needs to be asked, with a good explanation of how and why. When I got her back home last fall, my goal was to ride, to quell the queasiness in the pit of my stomach and establish a partnership again. Then I would decide if I would keep her, or put her on the market. (I wouldn't sell her until I knew she was past all her issues.)
We did several clinics, with moderate success. She was still flighty, but I was riding her through it. We didn't even try a lope until spring of this year, at another clinic, but when we did it with no fuss, no muss...I knew we were on the home stretch. I actually took her to the Cowboy Mountain Trail Challenge, in Walla Walla in June. She did every obstacle I asked her to (I think I skipped two or three over the three day event)--she did them waaay too fast, and waaay not pretty, but she did what I asked. And I never once felt any butterflies about being on her.
With video from that event and one other, I put her on the market. I had a local 4H senior come out and ride her a bit, as she had never been ridden by anyone besides the trainer and me, and she did well for her. She now has a new home, with a couple who love her dearly. They will primarily trail ride with her.
* What was your lowest moment as a horse owner/rider?
I retired in June of 2014 in order to spend more time readying Kate and I for a competition season that I hoped would take us to the Regional and National Mountain Trail Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Two weeks later Kate and I got tangled in some hidden barbed wire, while bushwhacking on a trail ride. (Feel free to get the whole gory story by going one post back on the blog.) Kate severed two tendons in her left hind, at the hock. It could have been career ending, if not life ending. She spent five weeks in a cast at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital of Washington State University.
From the moment of the accident, to getting her out of the back country for emergency triage in town, to driving across the state to WSU, I was running on adrenaline and sheer determination to get Kate the help she needed. But as I drove home the next morning with an empty trailer, and topped a rise to get a panoramic view of the hills where we had been riding, I lost it.
* What's the most important small thing you ever learned in a lesson?
That one has to support with the outside rein to gain control over the shoulders.
* Do you have any riding rituals or superstitions?
Helmet--every time, every ride!
* What are your short term goals for yourself/your horse?
After WSU, Kate spent three months on stall rest here at home, then started hand walking and rehab work. Cleared to start riding her gently again the April after the accident, we did a lot of walk work and basic trail obstacles. We went to Walla Walla that June, mostly to just be at my favorite competition. Dropped down a division, and got some hesitation on certain types of obstacles. We didn't place, but we did do something much more satisfying: Kate and I were back!
Because my focus this past year has been on Maddie, Kate has not been doing much. As soon as the weather starts improving next February/March, I plan on bringing her back into competition. The Eugene championships are back on the agenda, just a few years later than I planned.
* Long term goals?
I'm not sure how much longer Kate and I will compete--she will be 12 1//2 and I will be 66 by the time we get to Eugene next November. I doubt we'll make it to the "century club" (horse's age plus rider's equal 100), but I suspect we'll still be moseying down the trail for a few more years.
|Teanaway River, 2010|
* If time and money were no object, what is your dream equestrian vacation?
I've always wanted to ride the Grand Canyon, as well as in the Canadian Rockies, near Banff (the latter would require getting a passport, though).
* What kind of horse activities were you doing 10 years ago?
We were right in the middle of our Paint breeding enterprise. Maddie and Kate were yearlings, the three geldings we raised before them were in homes, and two new fillies, both "Paints-that-ain't" were running around.
|(This was actually 2007, I can tell because Kate's little sister Amy is at the center right of the frame.)|
* What kind of horse activities do you think you'll be doing 10 years from now?
|36 year old RT (Royal Tardez), who was part of the inspiration for the retirement business, greets "youngster," Sonny, 22|
|Fizz, 29, Bella 23|
* What is the quirk about your horse that you like most?
Every year, when I haul Kate's fat, fuzzy butt out to start legging her up for the riding season, she will spend about 20 minutes on the lunge line doing airs-above-the-ground.
But she always settles down and decides she's ready to go to work.