Koda & kitty Belle


out of the woods

I wasn't quite sure what to expect. 

I was either going to wallow backwards, or do away, with the lingering 10% of the illness that was hanging around. It was not only extremely long lasting, it was an odd virus. It changed my taste where even a hint of hidden salt was unbearable, my sense of smell was hyper-sensitive, and of course my energy was completely zapped. 

Week three since I got broadsided with "it" was a pre-planned Valentine's vacation snowmobiling in the north woods with my hubby. Only time would tell, if I would have the energy to handle the riggers of riding. It only took one day to know, it was exactly what I needed. 

There is something about the woods that is healing for not only the body, but the soul.

We laughed. We rode. We enjoyed. Breathing in fresh air, and once again in complete awe of the endless beauty. 

Maybe I just needed a change? You know, something to shake it up - or in this case shake it out.

We rode familiar trails on our first day, including up to the lookout...

Townsend Lookout

It's a crazy ride up there, but the view is worth it. It's also my favorite place to take selfie's with the love of my life - who keeps me laughing...


When we ride the woods, fond memories fill our thoughts. Many include our horses, they are what led us to this magical place in life... 

Love the Pines

Most trails we ride in the winter can only be accessed by snowmobile. Some are private land, other's are closed snow covered backroads that weave throughout the woods, and a few are the same trails we horseback ride. One trail in particular we frequently explore with Nemo & Koda, is one of my favorites... 

Last Fall

In turn, during the other season's horseback riding gives us access to area's where motorized vehicles cannot. We don't travel as far but it doesn't matter, it's all about the experience. Our horses may not be with us during the winter trips, but they are always on our minds. 

Our second day took us further north exploring new trails. The real beauty is seen while riding the remote areas, but pictures happen during breaks...


...where we meet unexpected new friends...

A friendly greeter on top of an intersection sign (in above photo).

This ride ended with a new chilling experience. One for the memory banks. The kind that make for great story telling. As we headed back south towards the cabin the beautiful light snowfall, turned into unpredicted ice pellets! Coating our face masks, as fast as we could scrap them off. It was a looong, slooow blinding ride home...stopping at every intersection, and then some, to scrap off ice. We had to see somehow. Best use of a credit card I can think of! We passed a couple riders with heated face masks, even those didn't ward off the ice. 

If you are going to play in nature's wonderland, you better be able to adapt to what ever get's thrown your way. It's all part of the outdoor experience. We finally made it back to the cabin where the cozy fireplace, and a hot shower, felt extra good!! 

The food up north is outstanding, homemade & plentiful. One of our favorite friendly family run establishments is a quaint remodeled church, it's our breakfast place of choice...

Four Season's

Valentine's Day was the best, most beautiful ride of this trip! We took the back route north, experiencing new area's. I am always amazed by how varied the terrain and trees are in the Nicolet National Forrest . This special ride was 125 blissful sunny miles through breathtaking beauty...surrounded by endless towering tree's, freshly painted with snow. Sigh.

Perfect Day

I am feeling 100% now, literally out of the woods and really looking forward to riding Koda!!


missing all the parts

I've been sick. Really sick. Influenza-type sick. No, I didn't get diagnosed - but I had all the lovely symptoms. Didn't feel the need to pay someone to tell me what I already knew, yep I am sick. I did call and talk to a nurse, to find out my options. I'll save you a phone call, there are none. Seven days later, with the majority of those spent in bed, my body began to win the battle. Symptoms dissipated. It's a good thing, because the alternative isn't anything to look forward to - sadly influenza this season has taken down too many healthy mid-aged people. Eleven days later, I almost feel normal again. Almost. Only the coughing nastiness remains. 

Needless to say, I haven't ridden my horse or even seen my horse. I miss him. All the parts. Even the ones I struggle with. I know Koda could care less if I go see him or not. He has humans that feed, water and look after him. Food is all he really cares about. I know that. But I still miss him. 

I always wonder, do horses miss their humans - just a little? They do seem to recognize us. Missing someone is a human trait, and yet horses call out for each other. Perhaps they do miss us, to some degree?

Koda must be terribly out of shape, doing lots of nothing. Gee, that kinda sounds like me. I tried to at least start back to yoga this week, it went something like this: deep breath in...cough! cough! cough! I gave up shortly after I started. The only thing getting a workout was my already overactive irritated lungs. Maybe next week?

Until then, I miss...

this muzzle

...and I miss...

this face

...and even if I try not to, I miss...

her sweetness

I am making the drive this weekend, regardless of the weather or how I feel. I doubt I'll ride, but it will be great to see our horses again regardless!!


change the mindset

Last time we rode, I was armed with a plan of sorts. I was looking forward to moving past the indoor arena funk we seem to find ourselves riding in. In the process of searching for "things" to do indoors, I realized that if I am bored riding indoors - it's on me. Boredom is a state of mind. Change the mindset, change the boredom. Simple solution.

I chose to begin with a butterfly pattern, adding an extra cone to the top. Which lends itself to other potential patterns. Not that I needed any more, one is plenty per ride.

Koda & I worked the butterfly pattern, first at a walk and then a trot. One side at a time. It was hard trying to make our passes between the cones flow smoothly. After the first full butterfly, Koda figured the pattern out and tried to hurry through any future attempts. Here I thought I was the one who got bored easily...I worked on asking Koda for continuous fluid movement, with an even lighter touch.

I found myself wondering, how can a person be soft with a horse that doesn't respond to it? The only answer I know of is gradually, by using the least amount of pressure. There are almost always improvements that could be made, but some horses just need more firmness then others. Koda has been this way since we bought him as a yearling. It's not something he learned, it's who he is. You may disagree with me, but when leading/working on the ground with Nemo (who is polar opposite) and Koda before all the formal training started - it was made crystal clear.

We didn't do the butterfly much, a lot of repetition just doesn't work well. Makes it more challenging, because that's exactly what I need. In fact, I will practice this pattern again next ride. There was a lot more I wanted to do with it, like work on quality of arcs, rating our speed, flowing through the entire pattern etc. Time just goes so fast. While working the pattern we would run into Brad & Nemo, get distracted by the evil service door aura, or my wandering mind. I tried to focus on what we were doing, and not Brad's struggles with Nemo - which incidentally are getting worse.

Before I mounted I drew a large box in the freshly raked sand, on the inside of the butterfly. I was really curious to try Shirley's, @ Ride a Good Horse, suggestion. The sand lines didn't last long, but they worked ok with just two riders in the arena. It was kinda humorous actually. At first Koda looked at the lines, then "looked" at me, then looked at the lines. It's really funny watching him think, he gets the cutest look on his face. He figured out I wasn't just inventing lines, and we side-passed/pivoted the perimeter. I had too much going on, and could have done much more with the box. Brad & Nemo enjoyed doing pivots, inside. I liked drawing lines in the sand & the best part was I didn't have to put anything away!

We also did a little loping. I must admit, I've been somewhat avoiding it. Which stinks, because it's my favorite gait. Just not in a good place with any of it right now. I am still second guessing myself. So I've resorted to working on loping smaller graduating into larger circles. What was I saying about changing mindsets? If only it was that easy.