The End of an Era

This week, I helped put my family’s last two equines, a mini-donk and my beloved Riley, on the market. As the youngest of my siblings has now officially graduated from high school, my parents are preparing to become empty nesters, and as such, are planning to sell their 6 acre equestrian property and transition to a much smaller house, with less acreage to tend for, and that plan sadly does not include horses.

My mother has taken care of horses since she was a little girl, across more than 4 countries and as many decades. She said to me in regards to the horses that after so many years of horse-stewardship, and watching the horses become less and less used in the backyard, that she was tired. And in my personal opinion, maybe a little sad, to see such loved family members not be doted on any more.

My last couple trips down to my parents’ home have included taking sales photos and making videos where applicable of the horses still there. My dad’s horse, Cochise (pictured above), is a butterball of a spotted draft cross, and his main goal in life is to be a couch. He has now been placed with a veteran’s therapy program in New Jersey, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with this practically perfect match for him.

It’s a little more bittersweet thinking of the other two finding homes beyond my family’s backyard. Hudson, the mini-donkey, has been in our family since he was 3 months old and we found him at an auction as a sickly orphan wedged in a 3′ wide space between two stalls. For the last 7 years he has been the source of much entertainment, chasing the German Shepherds around and braying for ear scratches when someone gets within range. Luckily, there was essentially a facebook-brawl to get to Hudson, and he is very securely spoken for and to be picked up this weekend.

Which leaves Riley. He, of course, has been with the family longest of all. He’s the product of two of our personal horses, and though people looked at us squiggly-eyed when we said we bred an Irish Draught x Haflinger, he’s been exactly what we were hoping for and some. I taught him to lead, crosstie, bathe, flyspray, and together with B, started him under saddle. I got to spend some more quality time with him last summer and fell in love with him all over again. All I can say is I hope whoever is lucky enough to end up with this guy appreciates a horse who rests his head on your shoulder when you scratch under his chin, who grabs the hose to drink out of it before he will stand to be bathed, and who had more athleticism and ability in him than we ever found time to tap. It’s going to be tough having this one belong to someone else, that’s for sure.

I can’t imagine how I will feel when I visit my parents and see not a single equine out in the fields. For years, it was my duty to feed the horses, so much that when I went to college I often woke in a panic realizing I hadn’t done the chore already. But beyond the habit of having horses in my life, and theirs, it is bittersweet to me to think of how others will enjoy the products of our love, in a home beyond our own.

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Photography Friday: Mother’s Day Edition

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In the past, I have mentioned that I have a lot of respect for my mother’s opinion regarding horses. As a horsewoman, breeder, and entrepreneur, much of her life has been spent around horses. Growing up in England, she competed in showjumping and other English disciplines, before coming to the states and starting a business in reselling off-the-track thoroughbreds. She then started a breeding business, standing stallions of varying breeds- including but not limited to Belgian Warmbloods, Trakehners, Connemaras, and more.

Our main stud, Hadrian, taken at the old farm

The cornerstone of her breeding program, Hadrian

Even though growing up on the farm I got to see much of this first hand, it wasn’t until a conversation we had earlier this year that really opened my eyes to her success. While not in her nature to name-drop, we started talking about many of the people she has had business with over the years, and the list was impressive. Susan Beebee (eventer) and Jim Koford (dressage/Art Deco) both boarded stallions at our farm at one point, and she regularly dealt with and sold a couple horses to Daniel Geitner (showjumping/hunters), just as examples. So here are some images documenting the bi-continental journey of one horsewoman! Thanks mum, for teaching me so much and infecting me with the horse bug.

Starting young (middle child) at a horse show in England

Starting young (middle child) at a horse show in England

Showing as a kid

Showing as a kid

Pony jumpers

Pony jumpers

A handsome Grey in England

A handsome Grey in England

Competing alongside her sister in England

Competing alongside her sister in England (left)

late 80s perm and a cute bay

Late 80s perm and a cute bay

chestnut

I’d take this chestnut home if I could!

Another family love - german shepherds

Another family love – german shepherds

Ribbons with one of her favorites, Blue Boy

Ribbons with one of her favorites, Blue Boy

Schooling Blue Boy

Schooling Blue Boy

Schooling Blue Boy

Schooling Blue Boy

OK, so not of her, but of one of the OTTB's, and my brother hanging on the gate

OK, so not of her, but of one of the OTTB’s, and my brother hanging on the gate

New Millenia, New Discipline! Dressage on her own Bud Light

New Millenia, New Discipline! Dressage on her own Bud Light

Another current family horse, Cochise

Another current family horse, Cochise

Happy Mother’s Day, and have a great weekend!

Being Thankful

Cue the Thanksgiving-themed post about being thankful. Sorry, not sorry.

But seriously, isn’t it important to take a moment and remember all of the blessings in our lives? This year has been one of emotional duress for me and my family, and so in this season I feel it is especially important to recognize all that we have that is dear.

The Husband
This year we celebrated 5 years of being together, and our first year of marriage. I can’t say how thankful I am for our time together and these memories, and for having someone in my life who is so patient and understanding. It doesn’t hurt that he can also tell the difference between a leg yield and a lengthening, and I continue to be impressed by his support of my hobby.

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Family
This weekend, we’ll be celebrating the birthday of a loved one that has spent as much time in the hospital as out of it, and we are so thankful that they are once more doing well. I’m thankful to have a better relationship with one of my parents. And I’m thankful for bonding with my Grandmother over Outlander, and the knowledge that I am not the only one in this family that goes crazy over all things Scottish.

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Career
Another turbulent part of my life this year. But somehow, I managed to land a position with one of the top companies to work for in the country. I am still shocked that I’m here, but I am immensely grateful. It still amazes me that this is where I ended up, and that I do work that I really love. And let’s be real, I’m incredibly thankful for this job because it allows me to afford a horse, and that, to me, is a big deal. So many, many thanks here.

Thankful for wearing grown-up clothes again

Thankful for having an excuse to wear grown-up clothes again

Friends
It’s been a year of weddings for many of my friends. I feel blessed that I am been able to be a part of some of them, and I’m glad to see them happy in their married lives. I’m also thankful for making new friends this year, mostly through horses, and I sincerely look forward to getting to know these people better the rest of the year.

Thankful for moments like this... (aha, don't kill me!)

Thankful for moments like this… (aha, don’t kill me!)

Foster
You knew this was coming. This has been a big year for Foster. I’m thankful for finding a barn where I think he is happy and healthy. I’m thankful that he has become so confident on the cross country field, and that he has matured so much in the dressage court. I’m thankful for his boisterous, puppy-dog attitude and for the affection he gives me when I groom him. I’m thankful for being able to see him grow, and cannot believe it’s been almost 4 years that we’ve been a team. Here’s hoping for many more.

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Photography Friday: Sampson

Ready for puppy-poluted post number one? Here ya go!

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Sampson is a 3 month old German Shepherd, and the newest addition at my parent’s house. He is potentially the floppiest puppy I have ever seen, with these super expressive eyes that make you want to melt. In true GSD fashion, when he’s not wrestling the other puppy at the house, he follows my mum around like, well, a puppy. He even sleeps just outside her door, the way my GSD Drake does. Completely adorable!

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Sampson does have a couple of siblings still available in Florida- if you or someone you know is interested please shoot me a message and I’ll give you the details!

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Have a great weekend, guys! I’m off to a horse show!

Happy Monday

What a beautiful weekend it was! The husband and I went down to Charlotte to see my parents, grandmother, and an aunt I haven’t seen in 10 years. It was a happy reunion, and we had a lovely time at a formal charity event called the Red Cross Ball.

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Not much else to update on- I was able to get back yesterday to ride Foster and he felt fantastic. I finally feel like he’s back to where we left off in the winter, he is super supple and really responding to my seat. We even had a couple nice canter transitions, sans underneck! Now to try and fit in that jump school before the show this weekend!

Anniversary Weekend

Warning: Gushy stuff ahead. Reader beware.

I would be remiss in having this blog if I never gave credit to my wonderful husband for all the dedication and support he gives, every day, to building a life with me in our house on a hill.

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Today marks 5 years of us being together, and I am thankful every day for having such a wonderful partner by my side. I realize that I am probably not the easiest person to be with, and my over enthusiasm for tackling new projects and filling every minute with activity would exhaust most men and send them running to the hills. But not Tyler, he has embraced the crazy with open arms, and put up with countless hours of talking horses, riding horses, and competing horses with super human patience and understanding.

My videographer, photographer, hay net tie-er, horse handy husband!

My videographer, photographer, hay net tie-er, horse handy husband!

Tyler and I met in the most unexpected place- on a cruise ship in the Bahamas. It just so happened that he was attending law school in Buies Creek, NC at the time – 30 minutes from NC State. We had a blast getting to know each other in the Bahamas, and started dating when we got back to North Carolina. Meant to be? I think so!

Hanging out at Atlantis on that fateful cruise!

Hanging out at Atlantis on that fateful cruise!

Anyways, that was 5 years ago today that we started dating. And this Sunday will mark 1 yr of being married! It’s amazing to me that even after being together so long, we still make each other laugh on a daily basis, and each and every day feels like a fresh adventure. Even though we have definitely rubbed off on each other (for example, I now pay attention to whether or not my socks are inside out, and he quotes random Disney lines for laughs), we are still capable of surprising each other.

I am so excited to celebrate our wedding anniversary this weekend, and reminisce about that beautiful evening when we danced the night away with family and friends! Here’s to more adventures with my love! You’re the best, honey!

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