Friday, November 30, 2012


Soooooo we got another new horse. A chestnut named Harris Cascade. I didn't go to the docks to see him get here this time. Mostly my schedule wouldn't allow it and to be honest it is a little harder to get excited about it just yet after what happened with Tsubasa and Diamond. This picture is from our facebook page. He does look to have a kind eye from what I can see. If it doesn't rain tomorrow I will be at the barn to meet him. Supposedly we are going to be able to start riding him right away so I guess it is a good thing my saddle made it here safely.

Cascade is from the same owner as Diamond and Tsubasa. From what I understand the barn owner felt that Diamond and Tsubasa had been misrepresented since he wasn't told that they were cribbers and Diamond was also a little bit of a weaver. So the original owner took Daimond and Tsubasa back and promised to send two "better" horses. I guess we will get a second horse sometime at the start of the new year. I wish we could have kept Tsubasa but hopefully these two new horses will work out. We really really need some new lesson horses at the barn. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Just Do It

A friend of mine has been trying for a while now to get me to run a half-marathon with her. So a couple of days ago I decided "why not?" For a long time I didn't consider it because I wasn't able to run consistently but with some changes to my schedule/life I think I'll be able to train pretty consistently... now. I think my goal will be to run an average of 8 1/2 minutes per mile. So far my best time for five miles is about 42 minutes which is pretty close to my goal pace wise but the longest I've run at one time is about 7 miles so I still have my work cut out for me. The race isn't until sometime in March so barring any injuries I should be able to do it.

I figure at least by the time I get home I will be in great shape for the summer season.

Friday, November 23, 2012

All I Want For Christmas Is... Everything!

It's that time of year again. Christmas is around the corner and everyone wants to know "what do you want for Christmas?" To make things easier for our family Jay and I have used the Amazon wishlist feature for several years. I love the Add to Wish List button that you can put right on top of your screen.

Of course money is tight for everybody these days. Just because something is on my wish list doesn't mean I'm necessarily expecting it. It's just there in case the funds magically appear someday. A lot of things on my wish list aren't really things people would want to get as a gift even though they are super practical. For instance:
I've had my eye on this folding muck cart for a while. I don't really need it at the moment because I'm currently trailer-less but in the future I know it would be handy to have for events. But probably not something most people would want to buy as a gift.

Some of the items on my list are just way too expensive as a gift. I'm just hoping to save the money for them one day. For instance:

I would love to get this tack trunk from smartpak. I've been researching tack trunks for a while and so far this one seems the best for my use. When you are constantly on the move like I am and you never know what barn you'll be at next having something like this would be so convenient. A trunk that can hold both saddles and still be mobile! it makes my OCD self so happy at the thought. As pretty as the wood trunks are I just don't see them as being a practical buy for me.

And of course some things I'm actually hoping to see under the tree this year. (Actually I probably won't see them whether I get them or not b/c most likely they would just be waiting back at the states for when I get back but it's the thought that counts!) For instance:

I would love to get this cooler just because it's... well... cool! (pun intended) I'm super proud of Loki's track background and what a fun way to show it off.

And finally there are the smaller things that are easier for my non-horsey family members to buy. Shirts, books, etc. An example:

I love these t-shirts! A friend of mine from the barn at which I boarded when we were in Washington State started this company and I think she's got some superb ideas. The company is called Dapplebay, inc and you should definitely check it out.

So what about you? What's on your wishlist this holiday season?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Zelly Belly

My wonderful, accomplished sister borrowed my white pony for a blog pic over on her blog Musingly Mindee. I have so few recent pictures of my first love that I had to copy and share!

I'm also very very thankful for this wonderful horse who really taught me so much! I don't get to love and brag on him nearly enough. Oh the stories I could tell about this amazingly talented gelding with a big sense of humor!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving over here in Okinawa. I figured I'd be all traditional and write a post on what I'm Thankful for this year (and every year).

This is of course not going to be a comprehensive list. The truth is that all of us in the U.S. have so much to be thankful for and so many things we take for granted. This is just a list of things that come to mind today.

1. I'm very thankful for Godly Grandparents. They were far far far from perfect but they had an authenticate faith that is just hard to find nowadays it seems. In a time when cynicism and unbelief abound I'm so thankful that they shared their faith with me.

2. I'm very thankful for my husband. He is perfect for me in every way. There have been times when our success at this marriage thing was far from a guarantee but I'm so thankful we pulled through and beat the odds.

3. I'm very thankful for my three wonderful children. They drive me nearly insane sometimes but honestly I can't even imagine my life without them anymore. Kids test you every day but they make you a better person if you let them.

4. I'm very thankful that Jay's mom, otherwise known as Mimi, has the opportunity to live with us for a while here in Okinawa. I can't tell you what a blessing it is to get along so well with your in-laws. Mimi is a gift!

5. I'm very thankful for my sister, my mom and step-dad and all the rest of my family. I could go on and on but they each have helped to make me who I am today.

6. And of course I'm very thankful for my horses and all the people who have been a part of my "horse world." Trainers, friends, farriers, vets, etc. It's so nice to have people who share your passion and understand the craziness that comes with loving these amazing, wonderful animals.

7. And last but not least I am so very thankful that I only have less than 7 months to go over here in "paradise." There will be a big celebration when this assignment is over!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Gone In 60 Seconds




They were here when I left the barn Sunday evening around 6:30 and gone when I got to the barn Monday morning around 10:00.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that they are... gone.

Forgive me for sounding like a petulant 13 year old but, dude, seriously, I didn't even get to say goodbye.

One last picture of Tsubasa... still skinny but looking much better.

So here's the story I heard:

Both Diamond and Tsubasa are cribbers. Tsubasa got a very bad rub mark/cut from his cribbing strap. The collar was removed to allow the cut to heal. Tsubasa cribbed like a mad-man and ended up giving himself gas colic. The barn owner decided he didn't want to deal with two cribbers and contacted the previous owner. The horses were picked up sometime after I left Sunday night. They are somewhere on the island but are going to be shipped back to the mainland in two days.

I'm so very disappointed. We could have dealt with the cribbing issue I'm sure. We were just getting plans set to put the first rides on both Diamond and Tsubasa this week. Their paperwork had just arrived and we had just found out that they both did race between 6-8 times. Neither one won anything but they were at least track broke. They were both three years old. Tsubasa was such a sweet heart. I don't know what is going to happen to them and frankly I'm just trying not to think about it.

I took some pictures and video of Tsubasa on Saturday and if it hadn't rained us out we were planning on fitting his bridle and at least saddling him to see what he would do. I didn't even get a chance to take more pictures of Diamond.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Many Speeds of Time

Have you ever been in a place where time seems to simultaneously creep and whiz by?

That is where I am right now. On the one hand OMG! We're halfway through November!! But, on the other hand OMG I've only been here for approximately 2 1/2 months!! It feels like I've been here for-EV-er!

I'm not writing much right now b/c there just isn't much horsey stuff to write about. I've started a couple of new students over the past couple of weeks and I plan to have a few more starting soon. My saddle is supposed to get here (hopefully--keeping fingers crossed) on Wednesday. I know that I will enjoy riding quite a bit more in my own saddle. None of the saddles are great fits for the horses so I figure my saddle won't be any worse and my saddle does at least have an adjustable tree.

I plan on getting some new pictures of Diamond and Tsubasa soon. They are both looking much better. We still haven't gotten any of their paper work (that I've heard) so still no riding. This is a good thing. The more time we can give them the better since they are still so young. 

I am very thankful to have so many blogs to read every morning. I do get jealous from time to time when I read about all the different riding and training happening on the other side of the world but I'd rather hear about it than not.

Hopefully I'll have more interesting (in a good way) things to write about soon.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

We Are Not Alone

 On our way to the docks (to pick up Diamond and Tsubasa) the Japanese instructor, Yama, drove us by two other stables on the island.

I was amazed!

#1 I had been led to believe that there weren't too many other stables on the island and of the ones around they were private.

#2 Do you see the hay in the above picture?!?!! I have definitely been under the impression that there is no hay on the island. I do know that the hay we feed at our barn is shipped in from Australia but it is very different from the hay I saw at the above farm. These horses (and goat!) had free access to hay. I'll just be honest and say that the English Instructors were a little green with envy!

#3 The other thing I found notable was that the two farms we visited both seemed to have quite a bit of turnout. And the horses all seemed happy and approachable.

 And of course let's not forget the view! It was a gorgeous day and this farm really seemed surreal to me.

This is from the second farm we visited. Their hay looked more like what we feed but the horses seemed to have plenty. Oh and another thing that sort of blew my mind was that some of their horses were wearing shoes, say what?! I seriously didn't even think that was possible on this island!

This is also from the second farm. Can you say turnout with a view?

Well, back at our farm things are going pretty well. Diamond and Tsubasa are both gaining weight pretty quickly. Tsubasa is still a total sweet heart! If I had throw away money I would find a way to take him home with me! Diamond is a little more skittish and we think maybe younger? We are still waiting on their papers for exact information.

Lessons are going pretty well, also. Actually I'm really enjoying teaching a lot more than I thought I would. I still feel a little inadequate at times but mostly I think I am doing a good job. It's amazing to realize how much you know without really knowing you know it until you start trying to regurgitate it for someone else. (You can quote me on that, lol.)

And as for riding without stirrups I'm still at it. I'll be honest if I had been riding any other horse but Mocha on Monday I would have eaten dirt at least once. I was doing pretty good until I hit pretty much total muscle failure and then in the downward transition from canter to trot I really had to grab some mane to steady myself. But I lasted about 20 minutes without stirrups including walk, lots of posting trot, canter and jumping. I even put one jump up a whole from last week.

So in all a pretty good couple of weeks. Before we know it Thanksgiving will be here and then Christmas and I'll be down to just 6 more months!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Mocha Challenge

Life is in full swing (still) over here in the south Pacific. Our new horses, Tsubasa and Diamond, are both picking up weight. I really think I am in trouble with Tsubasa. He is stealing my heart every time I go to the barn. He has a (so far) wonderful disposition. He's inquisitive and friendly and loves to be patted and rubbed. I just hope and pray and hope and pray that he is able to maintain his sweet disposition. I also really hope that I get to ride him when he is ready!

Not the best photo but hopefully gives you an idea of Mocha's Dachshund(ness)
Well, in order to give myself something to work towards while I am over here I've given myself a little challenge. I've finally started riding a little bit more but I'm still riding little Mocha. I think of Mocha as the Dachshund of the horse world. I'm pretty sure he is longer than he is tall. 

To say he has an unfortunate conformation would really be an understatement. Flat work is really not a lot of fun with him, not just because of his short, choppy strides paired with his short neck and thick throat latch but also because of his pony attitude. I actually really like Mocha but he gets away with a lot when kids and beginners ride him so when someone like me gets on him we are dealing with lots of bad habits. But despite all this Mocha is actually a very cute little jumper and he seems to enjoy it. So since I really just don't have the time or patience to try and really concentrate on Mocha's flat work (not that I am completely ignoring it) I've decided to try just working on me for a change.

That means I've joined the no-stirrup club! My goal is to be able to ride an entire hour at walk/trot (both sitting and posting) and canter and to be able to jump an entire course (well, as much as we have room for over here anyways) without stirrups. So far it hasn't been too bad. I was really surprised at how easy it felt the first day I tried it. The only time I have a little trouble (so far) is the downward transition from canter to trot. A lot of this is because Mocha is often times the opposite of round and can get really bouncy but I figure the bouncier he is the harder I'll have to work. I've already gone over cross rails without any trouble and one small vertical. So here's hoping I will come home from Okinawa with legs of steal and a core to match (if I can just stay away from the darn Halloween Candy!)!!

Mocha does have a very sweet face and he is a good boy just smart enough to get his way with most riders and hey who can blame him!

 If I do get to start riding the new horses then this goal might have to be put on hold for a bit depending on what kind of time I have but it's definitely nice to have something to do over here.