Monday, August 31, 2015


I've been keeping a bit of a secret. Ellie is going to her first rated show next week- Strides and Tides at Sonoma Horse Park.

My friends are quick to ask- "Ellie is going? What about you?"

Ellie is going to show in the Baby Greens with Ali riding. Depending on how she goes I may do the Long Stirrup Division. I included this tidbit in my schedule to my boss which read something like, "Ellie is going to her first show and I will either be working from show or office depending on ride times."

It feels like Christmas in September- I can't wait to see her in action!!! I wasn't planning to ride in the show but since we're playing with made up money anyway (which is a fancy way of saying I don't know how to pay for this from the get-go) I'm going to see how she feels and how my show boots fit (I may or may not have ordered a new coat for the occasion).

Either way I can't wait for her debut!
Ellie's general take on showing

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Gray Horse Grooming Woes

Today of all days I wanted Ellie to look nice. The infamous Joan was coming to teach we wanted to look sharp.

Sometimes Ellie will look super clean when I show up.....this rarely happens. But more often then not her brown spots are fairly manageable.

Luck was not on my side this day. Oh my god. She was covered in poop stains crusted with dirt. On her ears, rump, belly. It's like she pushed a pile of manure into a mattress and took a long nap.

I do not arrive for my lessons 15 minutes before the scheduled start for a quick tack up like my friends with Bay horses do. I show up an hour before, put in 20-30 minutes of solid grooming to get her looking presentable.

Today she got multiple curries, brushing, and green spot wipe downs and she STILL looked like an Appaloosa!

Cowboy Magic Green Spot Remover is my secret weapon for finding her dapples through the dirt. Those of you with gray horses- any other grooming tips of the trade?
Still feeling optimistic


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ellie Don't Care

I was going through video from Sunday's lessons, deciding what to share, and noticed two things.

1. Ali often reminds me not to cluck without purpose. There was one course where I literally clucked every single stride. My equivalent of a nervous tick.

2. I landed on this video because I find it equal parts hilarious and heartwarming. To set the scene, I had just come around to that swedish oxer, decided it looked too big, and cantered right past it. Ali doesn't get mad, just makes a disappointed face that guilts me right over the fence.
Throughout most of the course I tend to hear instruction as a buzzing in my ear....concentration I say! Which is what's so fun about going through and watching the video afterwards! You've got my friend Emily shouting words of encouragement and Ali giving instruction mixed with gems like "Ellie don't care" and "Girlfriend."
I love it!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

For Sale

I'm decided. Wilbur will be listed for sale with a lease option.

When I tell this to my horsey friends I get a sympathetic pat on the arm and a look that says, "it's time."
Non-horse friends have asked the same question- "isn't selling your horse like selling a pet, like a member of your family?" Yes and no. Horses are not a commodity purchase- they're meant to do a job and when they can't do that job their value then has to be taken into consideration. Wilbur is costing me about the same as raising a whole kennel of pet dogs.....dogs that I don't have time to walk so I pay someone else to do it.

Would it be different if he was at the same barn as Ellie? Would it be different if I made just a little more money? Would it be different if there were 5 additional hours in the day? Maybe.

But I think he can have more of a purpose to his life than he has with me right now. I could see him being a great husband horse, going out on the trails. I could see him as a fun project for a younger rider. Heck, I could see him enjoying life as a lesson horse.

I would love to find a lease option. Something to ease the financial burden while still allowing him to remain under my watch. But I'm also happy to find him a new owner and a new job, knowing that he has that "forever" home with me should he need it.

At the end of the day I think I've done right by him. He's had two years of R&R living the pasture life,  been in a training program for four months getting back into shape and assessing his soundness (and of course full disclosure to any potential buyer),  and I think it's time we found a good home for him.

Refer me back to this post when the bill of sale is signed please.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Best Friends Forever

I had the chance to meet up with one of my very best friends from college on Sunday night for dinner. Jade had been in Napa for a few days working and she and her husband, Matt, were spending the night in San Francisco. She had lived for a number of years in Southern California but moved closer to her hometown in Wisconsin several years ago so our meetups have been few and far between.

It was great to meet Matt- talk about a match made in heaven! They're both pilots (in fact Jade graduated from the School of Aviation at Purdue), both waterski, and do something with snowmobiles in the winter (I've only seen pictures on Facebook of that business- snow? what's that?).

It's hard to believe it has been a decade since we graduated college.....and I'm fairly impressed that we came away relatively unscathed. We would coerce the Jimmy John's delivery biker to bring beer with our subs and hitchhike around campus at 2am.
Our Greek days
In fact, the last time Jade was in Oakland, we came home at 5am after a night out and demanded that Paul make us pizza. Something Paul was quick to remind us when Jade politely asked "when was the last time I saw you guys?"
We look like a couple of trouble makers!

The Crew

It may have taken us a few months to coordinate- but the gang from the old barn gathered for a dinner last Thursday night. We're all doing different things at the moment......
Sarah's Finn is leaving Brown Ranch to start training in an event program. Lexi's Jinx has a quarter crack and will be taking some time off in Walnut Creek until he's ready to go back to work. Emma's loving her new position and keeping her personal horse down the street from Ellie. And Emily and I are enjoying the program at Westhaven.

Love my barn friends!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What Happens in Vegas....

Goes on the blog. I was there for an overnight but had a full two days at Platform, a trade show that I usually attend twice a year.
My flight left Tuesday at 5:40am out of SFO. Living the Bay I have 3 International airports- San Jose being the farthest, SFO being about 20 miles BUT bridges, and Oakland about 10 miles.

When I can take a Southwest flight I usually make a point to fly out of Oakland, a Southwest hub, but booked my tickets too late and ended up out of SFO.

I had set an alarm for 2:10am, planning to do my hair and makeup at home before heading out. Honestly I was too tired and knowing that I was getting in at 7am I decided just to get ready there. Plus I plug in a podcast and fall asleep on planes so it seemed like an opportunity to look a little less disheveled than usual.

Despite making this decision, my sleep deprived brain didn't think to grab an extra hour a rest- instead I managed to drop my car off at long term parking and get to the terminal at 3:30am. Yes. More than two hours before my flight.

As an aside- I've developed a bit of a phobia to early morning driving- convinced that every driver out there is quite likely drunk.

Anyhow- the only photo I got of the entire trip was putting on makeup in the McCarran airport. Enjoy!

Monday, August 17, 2015

2'6" What?

Like I mentioned, just last week I had resigned myself to being an awesome crossrail rider for a little while longer to focus on confidence building.

Not to be. After warming up on Wednesday, Diane set a few 2'6" verticals and said "off you go."

Then on Saturday, Ali set a 2'6" 8 stride line, vertical in and oxer out. Coupled with a long ride to a 2'6" brush box. And said "off you go." By the time the lesson ended we had added in three rollbacks- one to a "stone" wall and one to the oxer out of the line.

Sunday we jumped a "brick" wall (which you can see in the background of the photo below and Ellie didn't hesitate. Then through the one to two to one line with a purpose!

We're like jumping machines! Now I just need to get my heels down!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sneak Peek

Didn't I just write a post about being the queen of crossrails?
Paul and I just got back from an epic day of urban hiking, movie going, crawfish eating, and are going to bed.
But tomorrow....

Thursday, August 13, 2015

I've got the Overtime Blues and Wilbur has New Shoes

What. A. Week. I've had two different coworkers mention that I don't appear to be quite myself. That theory was not negated when I found myself wandering aimlessly around the marketing area clutching my furry blanket and a can of coke this afternoon (the blanket was a sample that I have on my person all the time since the air vents have been fixed and I was up wandering because IT was at my desk working on my computer.....which apparently has a virus).

I was walking out the door ready to head to the gym when I realized that I didn't have my phone. A furious search ensued that had me all but convinced that my mind really was lost. When I had finally exhausted all of my resources including (but not exclusive to) speaking to the facilities cleaner, asking a coworker to email my IT friend to see if he had swiped the phone, and finally *dejectedly* telling the remaining IT staff of one that I had lost my phone somewhere in the building.....eureka! Use your lost Iphone app dum dum. So I marched back to my desk to do just that that when there it was. My phone. Sitting on a stack of papers.
No- I did not leave it there. It turns out my IT coworker DID accidentally grab it by mistake. Haha.

To switch gears......I received a call from the barn manager at Brown Ranch while I was at Menlo on Saturday. A border had called and said that Wilbur was dead lame in pasture and he looked like he was in a lot of pain. Turns out- the farrier was out that day- and per my instructions had pulled his front shoes. Now I will just say that I pulled his back ones and sent him up North without a second thought. My plan was the same here- he has good feet- he'll get over it- please give him some bute.
Totally different to see him in person and Sunday morning I made the quick decision to pull him into a stall and have the shoes put back on. If nothing else- I just needed to sleep on Sunday and I was too worried about him being harassed by the herd or tripping.

Barefoot has a lot of believers and non-believers. Wilbs has been barefoot for most of his life, grows hoof really fast, and Brown is not the type of place to find a 6 week shoer. We'll call it an experiment gone awry. I did have a chance to meet Alex, the farrier, and we do have a plan to keep him on a shorter cycle which is helpful.
Poor Wilbur peering at us from his home for a few days!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Menlo Charity Show

My husband is a saint. After being gone at the barn all day I came home and packed him into my car to spend our afternoon and evening at the Menlo Charity Show. My barn was showing there and Diane was celebrating a birthday so it was great to connect Paul with my new barn!

I had several friends from work there as well, so we all met up (husbands in tow) to watch the Grand Prix. I merchandised my shots well- snapping my fabulous ladies and men on their cell phones.

After the Prix I stayed to help out with the Ariat fashion show during the awards dinner. Who knew John French a) could rock some Flame Resistant Gear and b) that he was such an awesome dancer!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Viva Carlos Blog Hop: My Cubicle

I thought I'd jump on board with a Viva Carlos Magical Blog Hop because she hasn't done one in a million years and I'm pretty sure I spend more time at the office than I actually spend at home.

L asks:
Most of us work for a living (wishing I didn't have to), some of us in way swankier places than others (right now thinking of all my friends who work at places like Google and Salesforce.. le jealous! all dem snacks!) Anyways I am curious for a pictorial tour of your office or cubicle. 

About a year ago the office doubled the space (leased the second half of the building) and underwent some major renovations. There was a period of time when they were working on the middle of the building and employees had to leave one side of the building and walk outside to the other wing depending on where your meetings were. Luckily we have a great facilities team and would often get mid afternoon emails to come outside and get popsicles or the like.

The transformation was impressive and we went from working in a bit of a cave to having tons of natural light and high ceilings. Everyone has been situated in their workstations for a moment, I was part of the 1st wave to move in, and there are still plans abound to finish up the decorating.

Below (clockwise) is a first glimpse when you walk through the door, racks of clothing hiding the leather library (love the tin ceiling), the boot wall, and the lunch room/ "arena" where we gather for company meetings and brown bag lunches.
 I sit amidst Marketing, and while most folks have 3 other pod-mates, my teammate and I are at the end of the row so we have a bit of wiggle room.

My desk is a little more cluttered than usual- I've got a bunch of Lifestyle catalogs (we call them books), paperwork from the trade show (Outdoor Retailer), and stacks of contracts that would normally be filed away (we're doing an audit).
And of course- our team mascot- Zoe!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Crossrails for Life

I was in Salt Lake on Friday when I saw a text from Ali, our asst. trainer, pop up and my stomach dropped. It's always far more likely to receive bad news than good. This time though, it was the latter, that Ellie had gotten an A+ for the day with a balanced right lead, no inverted transitions, no rushing to fences, and clean changes.
That text made me all the more excited for our lessons over the weekend. Yes- I get excited for lessons now, not nervous.

We're still very much in crossrail mode with an emphasis on confidence building along with focusing on the 4 pillars- pace, track, balance, straightness.

I know I've mentioned it on the blog before- that I fall into the "small fence" cycle of doom- whereas I don't see distances to smaller fences, panic, and spook myself. That's why I think we're having so much fun at the moment. These crossrails are just not intimidating and I can really focus on Ellie's pace, track, balance, and straightness. You know what's happening? When the nervous factor is removed I am actually able to ride to those objectives and the distances just come up.

At some point the fences will become bigger and I think that we'll find ourselves successful due to the foundational work that we're laying now!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Heading Out of Town

For a few days so I stopped by to visit the munchkins. Ells wanted little to do with me....until I pulled out the carrots! I love that she has her own little turnout to enjoy today's breeze (and a few drops of rain)! Peace of mind for sure!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Baby Drugs

I ended up sitting in Kaiser Surgery today after noticing a gross bump under my armpit earlier in the week that just didn't want to rehome itself. Why do I look so weird? Because as I was taking this selfie the doctor opened the door- and no one wants to be caught in a compromising selfie position. I mean...this is me looking pensive.

The numbing shots have worn off and no good drugs were given (save for antibiotics)- wine any aleve are my only friends.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Herd Bound

The pasture kids were moments away from breakfast this morning when I pulled up the drive. My eye caught Wilbur playfully kicking and nipping his friends up on their little hill and resisted the urge to shout "stop, stop" out my open window. Like please, do not trip and fall down this hill.

There's actually a sign on their pasture gate now that reads-"please remember to lock the gate." When I asked the barn manager what had prompted the placement, well.....they had escaped.....twice. The whole herd of them were found running around and over the giant dirt and sand mounds littering the property. Had it been Ellie I might have had a bit of a conniption. But for Wilbur it actually sounded like a blast!
Now I just spray him with Alushield and call it a day.