Monday, December 31, 2012

The New Year

I'm really having a hard time saying or writing Happy New Year which is why that isn't the title of this post. Maybe I'm a little crazy but I'm still having a really hard time with Sassy's death and I don't want to associate it with the new year because I'm truly hoping 2013 will be a better year than 2012. Not that 2012 was all bad, after all, this is the year that Loki came into my life! But still, I will be mostly happy to get this year behind me. 2013 means the return to the states without the thought of having to return here looming over my head like last summer.
One of my first rides on Loki. Not the most flattering picture of either of us. He has that weird bridle thing on and I look like a midget but it was love at first ride! (I think my tiny saddle makes his back look much longer than it really is!)

My husband and I have never really been that big on celebrating the New Year. We've just never been that much into the party scene and now that we have three kids a late night for us usually ends somewhere around 10 or 11 pm. As I glance at my clock I realize we have a half hour until it is the new year over here in Okinawa. (Wow, I am up late!) And I'm sitting on my bed writing on this blog, hmmmm, I guess that makes me really lame. Oh well.

I'm also not really that much into resolutions. My goals for 2013 mostly consist of getting to June and the states and then riding every single day that I can. I'd like to improve my riding ability every time I'm on my horse. I want to be a better horsewoman tomorrow than I am today and improve every day after that. But as far as specific goals... I just don't really have any right now. I think I'm sort of operating on survival mode over here. And riding wise I don't even know what I will need to work on by the time I get back to the states b/c there is no such thing as being able to ride consistently over here.

But as a New Years Eve gift I did get an email that the barn is back open to Americans. LOL! I thought we had barn drama in the states! I guess it isn't really that funny but since it is something I have absolutely no control over I don't know what else to do but shrug at the absurdity of it. So it's back to work for me. I've decided to keep working as I really need something to do or I'm going to go completely stir crazy over here. And I really do enjoy my clients and the other instructors. I'm just going to have to be a little thick skinned about some of the other things.
Riding privileges have been returned!

It is positive, though, to have the barn back open in time for the New Years. I'll take it as a good sign anyways. We have our annual New Years beach ride on Wednesday. I've never been to one and I've heard it is more stress than fun for the instructors but we shall see.

I do hope that you all have a wonderful New Year, though!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lament: A Passionate Expression of Grief

My heart is broken today. My dog, Sassy, died this morning.

You know the military life does require sacrifice from time to time. I wasn't able to go home for my Grandfather's funeral. My youngest daughter was born while my husband was in Iraq. I've been living on the other side of the world for way longer than I'd like. I know that there are those who have sacrificed so much more than I have and who have lost so much more... so a part of me feels very guilty for my grief but I am so broken right now. I am so sad that I didn't get to say goodbye to her. Having to leave her in the states, not being able to explain where I was going and why and that I would be back... and then losing her... it's one of the hardest things I've ever experienced.

Sassy was my baby. Really she was one of the most obnoxious dogs you've ever been around. Nobody and I mean nobody could enter our house without the entire neighborhood hearing about it. Once people came in and got settled she was quiet but God forbid they need to get up to go to the bathroom or something. She was a born watch dog and probably a little neurotic.

But really she was the ultimate one person dog. If you weren't her person she just wasn't interested, well, unless you had food, then she was very interested... until the food was gone. She was my shadow. She literally followed me everywhere I went in the house and out. For the longest time I didn't know what it was like to go to the bathroom without company. (I think she was secretly preparing me for motherhood.)

I'll never forget the first time we tried to have her dogsat. My husband and I had to go somewhere, I don't remember where but we were only going to be gone for a couple of hours and we asked a friend and neighbor down the street to watch Sassy for us. I'm not sure why. I guess we didn't want to have to crate her as she was still too young to be trusted out in the house without supervision. When we got home that night there was Sassy sitting on our front porch waiting for us. We talked to our friend and found out that she had escaped from his yard three different times and run back to our house. She knew where she belonged.

I'll never forget the first time I saw her. It was at a puppy store. Yes, one of the ones in the mall where you aren't supposed to buy animals. But this was 13 years ago and I didn't know any better at the time and of course I absolutely don't regret her in the least. When they brought her out for us to meet her in the little meeting cubby she just ran around and barked at me but it's hard to explain how. She was just so... sassy... like she knew she was hot stuff and she was going to tell you all about it. That's how she got her name.

When I found out how much they wanted for her I nearly died. I couldn't afford her but my parents were also looking for a dog at the time and they bought her. Let me just say that I pouted and pouted because they wouldn't give her to me. I admit it I was a big child. My behavior was somewhere around the age of a 4 year old but I didn't care. I wanted her. It probably wouldn't have worked, though, except for the fact that my Mom had already decided she couldn't handle her. Every time she let her outside to go to the potty she would climb under their woodpile. (This was during a very cold November.) She was such a pain as my Mom would tell you. But really I think she just knew she was meant to be with me. I never had any trouble getting her to mind and stay with me. I really think we were just made for each other.

She was just so special to me. She was as much a part of my family as anyone of my kids or my husband. The decision to leave her in the states was very hard. I knew it was the right thing to do with her age and medical issues but it was just so very hard to leave her and I really was afraid of this happening.

I know this is text heavy but it was something I had to write. I have cats over here in Japan and I do like them but it is not the same. I don't know that I would call myself a "dog person" or a "cat person" because really I enjoy both species but having the loyalty of a good dog is something I will never take for granted. I just wish I could have said goodbye.

Sassy you weren't the best dog in the world but you were the best dog for me. You kept my secrets. You let me cry in your fur and you always made me feel like I must have hung the moon. I will miss you so very much.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Let's Get Positive

I hate to leave my last post up for too long because it is kinda depressing so on to happier things!

I had a very blessed Christmas this year! Truly I am so spoiled. I know that I am and I often act exactly that way but I'm trying to keep reminding myself to be grateful and hopefully pass some of my blessing on to others.

From my amazing husband (It's super romantic because he knows me so well!!!):
Mines in black and I plan on putting a Logo on it somewhere
I am so very excited to get home and be able to use this trunk! Aside from being spoiled I am also a little on the anal, obsessive compulsive side. When you move barns as often as I do having something like this to keep all your stuff organized is a must. I know there will likely be barns where I won't be able to use it as much but it will still be handy for years to come.

From my Wonderful Mom:

Can't wait to try my new cooler from Ottb Designs on Mr. Loki
Awesome eventing t-shirt from Dapplebay.
And a very generous amazon gift card from my M.I.L.

I ordered back on track quick wraps and the following books with my gift card.
As I said, I have had quite a blessed Christmas. I would say it was just about perfect other than not being home with family. It was wonderful to have my M.I.L. here but still not quite the same as being home for the holidays.

I hope all of you also had a happy and blessed Christmas. And here's hoping that 2013 will be the best year ever!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thank You and Goodbye

No more riding for the time being. Due to an ongoing situation with Prince, a horse that was injured by an American, the Japanese barn owner has decided to ban Americans from the barn for the time being. I'm very sad for all the people this affects and I hope it won't last too long.

I'm more glad now than ever that I only have 5 months left here.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tis The Season

It's Christmas Eve day right now (as I write this) in Japan. I just wanted to take a few minutes to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!

We had our barn Christmas Party last weekend. Lots and lots of food, a piñata and of course pony rides for the kids. The horses all got stockings which were quickly filled with goodies.

The Piñata. Nobody seemed too upset to be hitting a horse but I wasn't so sure about it.

My girls enjoying the craft "paint your own horse ornament"

Weston hanging out on the roof of the barn

Pony Ride: Weston on Sly

Pony Ride: Elaina on Mocha

Pony Ride: Evie on Rocky
I'll have updates on Aqua Blue and some other goings on later. I hope you enjoy your Holidays!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Welcome Aqua Blue

So I got this photo from one of the other instructors today. I don't have any new information other than his name is apparently Aqua Blue. Can't tell much from the photo other than he's skinny (of course). I'll get to meet him tomorrow so we'll see. He does have a pretty cute face.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Blue Sky something

We are apparently getting another new horse on Friday. Another three year old bay. Yamma wasn't sure of his name other than it is Blue Sky something. I probably won't be able to go to the port to help with pick up but I will see him on Saturday when I work. I hope he is a tough horse. We'll see I guess...

Saturday, December 15, 2012


6 years ago today I met my little girl face to face for the first time.
Evelyn Noelle "Evie"
She was so tiny and she looked so much like her Dad. She was due Christmas Day (hence the Noelle as a middle name) but came 10 days early. I never believed in love at first sight until I had children but now I know it is real.

As Evie got bigger and went from crawling to walking she earned the nickname "Evie the Destroyer." She loved to walk around her brother's Lego creations and kick them over as soon as he wasn't looking (he absolutely hates Legos to this day). She's my little helper and Miss Independent. She can "do it all by herself." She is in Kindergarten this year and so far everything has been pretty easy for her. She is still so innocent and sometimes I do wish I could freeze time so that she can stay this way forever.

Like so many I am horrified to hear about this latest school shooting. I simply can't imagine it. Possibly an entire Kindergarten class gone? How is that possible? Reading about this tragic event all I can see are the faces of my daughter and her classmates. The thought of someone hurting them is truly unbearable. The pain that so many families are going through right now... unbearable.

It is times like this that I am truly thankful for my faith. This blog is about horses and I try to keep it about horses for the most part. But, right now, I am so very thankful for the hope I have of seeing my loved ones again someday. This tragedy is heart breaking enough as it is. I just can't imagine going through something like this without having the assurance of meeting in heaven again someday.

My thoughts and prayers are with all the families and friends affected by this tragedy. Now, I think I will go kiss my sleeping 6 year old (and the 7 and 4 year old as well) and whisper how much I love them.

Evie and I on her field trip to watch Puss in Boots in Japanese

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Horses, Don't Try This At Home

Warning: somewhat graphic photos below.

So as most of you know a horse is capable of hurting himself or herself on pretty much anything. Hence the desire of many of us to try and bubble wrap our horses as much as we can. Here in Japan there is no hint of bubble wrap. Honestly It is amazing our horses aren't hurt more often.

This time it was Sky. When I got to the barn the vet was already there and in the process of stitching up a HUGE hole Sky managed to rip in his throat latch area. I'm not sure exactly how he managed this feat but somehow he found a bolt on the outside of his stall and decided to try and impale himself on it. Honestly, I'm not sure how he isn't dead. I have to imagine there are all kinds of major blood vessels he could have hit but somehow didn't. As long as we can keep the infection out he should be fine, though.

The photos in no way show how bad this looked in person

The vet did an excellent job with the stitching

You can see the tube that was inserted to help the wound drain
The vet has been out every day since Sky injured himself on Friday and so far Sky seems to be healing pretty well. The drain will hopefully come out this Friday if everything still looks good.

***side note***

You might have noticed I added a counter in the top right hand corner of the blog. It's basically counting down to June 1st. I'll still have about two weeks to go after that since our actual leave date isn't set yet but I figure by that time it will be close enough to start celebrating anyways.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


I have been following Eventing Nation's coverage of the USEA convention in Colorado that happened/is happening over this weekend (Dec 6-9). Some of the things coming out of it are so exciting! David O'Connor taking over the coaching reins and his plans for the future of our team being just the tip of the ice berg. I'm also excited because I just learned that next years convention will be held in Cincinnati, OH and come hell or high water (as the saying goes) I will be there!  I cannot wait to get back to the states and back into the eventing scene! GO EVENTING!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Killing Me Softly

I've spent a lot of time feeling sorry for the horses over here. It's not really that hard to do when you compare the care these horses receive to what most horses receive in the U.S. Try as I might I just can't wrap my mind around the mentality I encounter every time I am at the barn here. But last night I felt like I had a small epiphany. I had the sudden though of what if... what if I had been born here and this barn was the only thing I knew about horses.

It made me think of some of the Japanese girls that I've seen riding out at the barn. Did they have stars in their eyes when they first saw a horse? I have always loved horses. I can't remember a time when I didn't have horses somewhere on my mind.

But would I still feel the same about horses now if I had grown up in an environment like this? I wonder if my passion would have died softly without me really even being aware of it? I would probably never have known what a true partnership or bond with a horse felt like and how it can make you feel like the most special person on earth.

Yes, we tend to anthropomorphize our animals a lot but for good reason I think. I'll never forget when I had Ghazal shipped out to be with me my second year in college. He heard my voice before he saw me but as soon as he heard me he neighed and came running over to where I was standing. Felt. Like. A. Million. Bucks.

And the girls and boys who come to ride here will most likely never get to experience it.

Honestly, the whole thing just makes me very sad sometimes. More than anything I really just want the next six months to be over so I can get home and hug and love on my ponies. I am very thankful for the many blessings I have in my life tonight. Sure, I might not be Jessica Springsteen blessed (who is?!) but after living here I really do realize how very rich I am in so many ways. Go hug your horse!

Just one of the faces I am missing