Saturday, August 30, 2014

Welcome Felix the Cat!

Paul surprised me with the best birthday gift today and I just had to share with a bonus weekend post!

I had been bugging him for a while now to add an extra member to our family- a new kitten. Linus is turning 9 and has traveled with me from Arizona, to Indianapolis (where I would truck him from my Indy apt. to Paul's house in West Lafayette for weekend visits- nothing funner than trying to get a cat in a carrier at 6am on a Monday morning), to California where he traveled via Dog Crate in the back of my SUV.
We no longer have our long lunches in AZ and IN together- Linus is home by himself for most of the day and well into the evening. And with the bigger house I no longer feel like we're limited by space.

So on to the big event! Paul had shared that we had an adventure planned for today but it required some advanced gift opening. I'll admit- I've spent several birthdays hoping to find a horse with a big bow around it's neck. And usually I have my horse fantasy all planned out in my mind but steel myself for the inevitable non-horsey but wonderfully thoughtful gift. Same thing here. I walked down to the kitchen reminding myself that if there was not a kitten in a box that I must not show disappointment. Spoiled much? I had actually shared with my Mom earlier in the day that I thought it was either a bicycle or a kitten.
When I opened the packages- cat food, cat litter, toys- so exciting! But where's the kitty?

That part was up to us. I happen to have a long history in my family of orange cats. It started with Charlie Brown, my Mom's cat growing up. I grew up with C.B. (short for Charlie Brown), then Charlie and Benny.
I, as a silly college student, got C.B. (v.2) that now lives in CLE along with Mo. My sister has Clem and Peanut. All orange. All male. And mostly named after Peanut characters- kinda.
It's weird. I know.

So I just knew I needed an orange male (if you believe the lore orange cats are supposed to be the most friendly). We started at the Oakland SPCA and clearly everyone had already visited and taken all the kittens. There was an 8yr old female Calico that stood at the window rubbing and meowing. Ladybug- noted on her information sheet as being a love. She just broke my heart.
Who can just give up their animals? I ache for the older cats that may not be able to find a home and honestly might just sneak back next weekend and pick her up. I just wanted to bring all of them home!

We stopped by another Oakland shelter and bonded with a shy grey kitten who was a little more skittish than we felt comfortable with. He was gorgeous and will find a home soon.

Finally on a recommendation we stopped by the Alameda Animal Shelter. I was not feeling very optimistic at this point- was fairly emotionally stressed by seeing all of the animals needing homes- and ready to call it a day. When we went into the Cat Room we were pointed towards two orange kittens- both 2 months old. One was a tiger- one a tabby. They both came out to play and it was clear that Felix was going to be coming home with us. He is rambunctious and brave- a fun little guy!

I decided to keep the name Felix vs. my usual Peanuts theme. Naming has always had a somewhat personal meaning to me. On our way to the farm in Findlay, OH there was a restaurant we'd pass, in one of the tiny towns, called "Felix" with an image of the cartoon holding a serving tray. My sisters and I would chorus "Felix the Cat." And there was an Indians baseball player with the last name of Felix- in the World Series we would chant "Felix the Cat, Felix the Cat." It sounds funny when I write it but always brings back memories from my youth.
His Shelter name seemed especially fitting.

So that's the scoop! He comes home on Friday! Very excited!
Finally- don't forget to enter my 31x 31 contest! Ends Tuesday!
You cannot escape my love!

Looking exhausted? Or haughty? 

The Real Felix

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

31x31 Contest

So I guess I should let the cat out of the bag. I'll be 31 this coming Sept. 2nd. I know y'all were thinking I was a shade over 21....... reality is setting in for me too.

In previous posts I've alluded to the fact that, while I love my horses, I'm just not that great of a horsewoman. It's just one of those things that in my wise old age I should own up to.

To give the briefest of back stories- I grew up riding once a week at a great lesson barn. We showed up, tacked up, rode in a group of 10, untacked, and went home. I participated in a couple of summer camps of which my primary memory is cleaning a massive amount of tack. But had a helluva fun time doing it! No wonder I still love cleaning tack to this day!

I stopped riding in high school, rode intermediately in college, and once a week during my two years in Arizona. When I moved back to Indianapolis I bought Luke but as we were at a show barn there wasn't much in the way of hands on learning. My time as an adult rider has been spent with the best of intentions but not much time in the way of coaching myself or finding others to coach me through the basics that I missed as a junior.

I'm challenging myself over this next lifeyear to complete 31 "new to me" horsemanship tasks and blog about them. This is where I need YOUR help to create my list!

So on to the contest! I need a list of 31 basic horsemanship tasks! Nothing is too simple or silly! To give a few examples....I don't know how to polo wrap. I've never cleaned a stall. And no- I'm not kidding.

Once I have my 31 suggestions I will pile everyone's name into a virtual hat and the winner will receive an Ariat team polo from me! Your name will be entered per suggestion so fire away! We all know the power of the blogosphere so feel free to share- I clearly need all the help I can get! 

The photo below shows the end result of my fab teacher, Matilda, showing me how to bandage. Submit your suggestions and you'll be treated to 31 more photos of me being delighted! Contest ends on my big day (9.2.14)!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

KMT Schooling Show

We had a bit of a challenging day at the KMT Schooling Show today. Admittedly I probably should not have attempted it- I've been MIA for most of August. Not riding regularly + lazy horse = sore calves.
We're struggling at the canter- she's either moments from breaking to a trot or running around with ears pinned at a "gallop" because I've got my leg in her side. We're just not going to achieve that nice flow to a hunter course if I can't get her going consistently at an even pace.
New goal for September? Learn to canter nicely.

We did end up Reserve Champion out of a division of two and I was super happy for the little KMT student who won- she rode really well. The big outdoor ring is sectioned off by small divider gates to give some extra space to those coming in and out and Bear was so excited to be jumping that after his last line in the last class he and his little tot just jumped right out of the ring! Added some excitement to the morning.

I didn't take any snaps from the show today so instead please enjoy my new Ariat vest! It's orange!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Treat from AETA

While it's very tempting to do some serious shopping at the AETA trade show I try to be mindful of my luggage capacity.
This year I brought home a simple jewelry dish from a vendor who sells gorgeous porcelain dishware painted with horses, hounds, and foxes.
I love it!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Snapshot of Shows

Eight days on the road and I may be losing my mind a bit! After the Mowery farm Thursday visit we drove to the AETA tradeshow for Friday setup and a weekend show. I showed all the tall boots, all the time, and had so much fun hanging out with friends and retailers. Dinner at PF Changs with a few coworkers was awesome- I haven't laughed so hard in a long time!

Monday morning found me on an early flight from Philly to Vegas and our Lifestyle booth at Platform. Vegas isn't quite as fun when I'm here for work but I did manage a yummy tapas dinner out with coworkers complete with a sparkling sangria!
AETA Booth

New for Spring!

Ice Bucket Challenge in Vegas

Platform Booth

Lots of white! And loud music!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mowery Farm: Part Two

The adorable Shetland, Teddy

Westie love from Clem and Finn

The view from our computers

Teddy and Sebiano

Tiny Teddy

Catch the equestrian themed sheets?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mowery Farm

I'm in PA for a trade show and had the chance to spend the day at the Mowery farm. I came last summer and think it's so gorgeous and relaxing! Kasey and I had a busy work day ahead of us but of course made time for an early morning hack!
Heading back towards home!

Kasey shows off her new arena!

A view of her gorgeous barn!

Hacking through the hay fields!

AJ is such a love!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Equestrian At Hart Blog Hop: Equestrian Wardrobe

Equestrian At Hart Blog Hop series begins! The first question is..... I want to know about what you ride in and why? Show us your Equestrian Fashion choices and tell us why you wear them!

Boots: I find myself gravitating towards the Ariat Volant- not a traditional show boot- but it's seriously the most comfortable boot I've ever worn. I'm riding in the Volant S but you can also find me in a pair of Challenge in Cognac or Monacos for show. 

Breeches: It's a toss up between Tailored Sportsman and the Ariat Olympia. Always a front zip. TS has far and away the best color assortment but the Olympia has some fun fashion detailing. 

Shirt: I have a few EIS sun shirts and I love them- the hand, the colors- not the cost. I prefer to ride in long sleeves all the time so have an assortment of sun shirts and when winter comes I do have a couple of Ariat Lowell tops
Not gonna lie- have been eyeballing some Under Armour. I usually wear the lululemon Y Power Tank as my base layer. 

Helmet: Charles Owen Ary8- although in the market for a new one after my spill last week. Curious about the new V8. 

Accessories: And this is where I become decidedly unstylish. Hairnet for every ride. Socks with holes in them. No gloves (I have two pairs- one Ariat, one IDK (that's I don't know for short) that reluctantly are pulled out for show). No belts (many belts that don't get worn). 
The one thing I do wear day in and day out is my horseshoe necklace, a gift from my husband.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ellie Jumps a Line!! Again.

As usual we spent Sunday conquering lines, getting straight, and asking Ellie to sit back for a quiet 5. I love that feeling when you finally nail it (after a million attempts)!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Emily Takes a Tumble

Frances and I had just finished up a nice flat lesson with Kelly and decided to do the short loop trail. Frances hadn't taken Remy up before but Elle is an old pro right?

Up and down over the mountain hill we go and are finally at the part of the trail that levels out where we can just enjoy strolling along. I was even going to suggest a little trot.

Until Ellie saw the giant monster rabbit out of the corner of her eye, spun around, and started back up the hill. And that's when I came off.

Personally my favorite kind of fall is the one where you don't even realize that you've fallen off until you hit the ground. The most embarrassing fall is the one where you slowly slide off while the horse stands quietly.

This was the worst kind of fall. The one where you realize impending doom as you're frantically clinging to any solid object- mane, neck, saddle (I left boot marks on the seat of my saddle from my attempts)- until there's no other alternative than to note where your foot is in the stirrup, give yourself a little push, let go, and land flat on your back.

When I came to sat up, Ellie was looking at me like I was an idiot and my poor 9 year old friend was asking in a worried voice if I was OK.

Between wheezes I assured her I was fine (not fine) and suggested she hop off her pony and walk the remainder with me. Because the last thing I needed was to deal with Remy running off while I hobble slowly after.

So here we are. Two glasses of wine and a huge Ibuprofen in. I have a feeling when I get on my plane to Salt Lake tomorrow I will be feeling less than stellar but hopefully recovered enough to kick it in my Sunday lesson!

Happy to have my first fall on Ellie under my belt (and on trail- which is perfect!) and looking forward to the next two (I am superstitious in that falls happen in threes)!

Tell me- what was your worst fall?

Love that Kelly reads the blog and agrees readily to take "artsy photos"

Monday, August 4, 2014

Seattle Sunday

Harry Potter and wine on a Sunday night. This is how I roll in Seattle.
Not a bad way to kick off "epic month of travel August." Of course I would prefer if my flight home would stop getting delayed.

Co-Worker K goes through a serious sign in process involving photo IDs 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Super Satuday

I had such a fun Saturday at the barn! A trail ride with friends was planned for 11:30 and I joined in the lesson at 11 for a fun exercise which included a walk jump.

Always up for anything Ellie can go seamlessly from hack turned jumping lesson to a relaxed trail without batting an eye. Such a trooper & cute to boot!