about that filly

Are you wondering what is going on with our potential filly purchase? Yea, I was too for what felt like f-o-r-e-v-e-r. Earlier this month we got caught up in a game of tag. Brad had a second set of important (to us) questions. It included finding out what was required to hold the filly until we had a chance to complete processing. The further we looked into Padame, the more we liked her. The harder the thought became of having her go home with someone else. Brad thinks she is "the one" and that is good enough for me. We had one long week of checking our phones and email a zillion times a day. Waiting for responses, wondering if the filly sold to someone else for a quicker sale?


Last time I typed about Brad's potential new show partner he had talked with the breeder on the phone for the first time, and liked what he heard. We waited for the filly to return home from the trainer, and for another opportunity to view additional videos. After a couple days full of anticipation, Brad checked in with the owner. He found out she had been very busy putting in extra long hours at her day job. We completely understand busy, and went back into wait mode. Let me tell you in a volatile market, waiting is tough!! The unknown is always the hardest part. We are very aware nothing is a done deal, until you sign on the dotted line.

We (Brad, our trainer and I) had some concern when the filly was described as being "spicy". We gave the word spicy a lot of thought.

adame is listed as a 5 for temperament (on Dreamhorse the scale is 1-10). I looked long and hard for signs of a hot horse in the photos and video we already had. When Brad got his chance to ask for clarification, the "spicy" filly was further described as a horse that doesn't want to be in trouble. Kind of unsure, until she sees it is okay and then is agreeable and goes alongs with it. Sometimes known as looky.

Well, that just described our Nemo. Cierra has also been called "looky" many times over. We think of "that behavior" as awareness. Brad meshes really well with aware horse personalities. Besides his very aware heart horse Nemo, there is another noteworthy horse that crossed our path with an aware personality. His name was Iron Mountain. The horse from Colorado that made Brad fall back in love with horses. Iron Mountain didn't fit into our friends trail business because he was too aware of his surroundings. Iron Mountain took to Brad. Among other things like moving an aspen that blocked the trail, they fended off rogue sheep dogs together. Our friends were amazed. Brad rode Iron Mountain a lot those 10 days. They offered to sell him to us. We declined. At the time we were not in a position to give Iron Mountain a good home. Besides, who takes a mountain horse out of the mountains. He ended up being sold, and used for hunting excursions.

Thankful to have a photo to remember that special ride when I knew. Iron Mountain changed our lives forever.


Riding off the beaten path, on top of the world with our friend, our son,
Brad on the big grey gelding Iron Mountain and me bringing up the rear.
(Colorado, 2007)

Aware/spicy/looky horses can easily be mismatched if they find themselves in the wrong hands. Finding the right trainer/owner that understands this personality is crucial. We knew this when Nemo joined our family. He has a capacity to understand that our other horses do not have. I actually trust Nemo more than any horse in our herd. 
The breeder was simply being honest, and wants to match her horses with the right buyers. We appreciate this, and so far our interactions with her have all been good.

A few days passed and we received an older video taken last Spring of Padame being worked with at home. It was very telling. You could see more of the horses personality come through. Sorry, not my video to make public. I spent my whole adult life employed for my attention to detail as a Graphic/Web Designer, and continue using detailed skills as a photographer. I am here to say, I just don't see "spicy concerns". I could be completely wrong, it happens once in a while ;) There are some things you can photoshop or fake, and others you can workaround. I do not see anything unusual about this horse. In my opinion, this filly is not any spicier than any other two year old. In fact, she listened really well and seems well behaved for a young horse. All horses are somewhat spicy at two. Soooo much concern about one word, spicy. A word that means something different to everyone.

Our vet reviewed photos/videos of the filly with us. He thought her conformation looked good. He gave us some things to request when Brad schedules an on-site vet check. We also had an interesting conversation about the horse market. We all agreed, horse prices are very high and quality availability is low. Exactly what we found. Right now in the U.S. it is a sellers market, especially for a horse with any training.

Just for the record, Linda and I did connect. Brad & I feel comfortable moving forward without asking her to travel however far and do an onsite visit in the middle of a pandemic. We sure appreciate Linda's willingness and vet recommendation.

During our wait, Brad contacted a hauler we trust and got a rough estimate. It is actually Cierra's breeder. She runs a reputable national hauling business with her husband. 

Brad also found out why the filly wasn't sold last year. Good question Shirley. We learned there were unexpected personal reasons that affected the timing, combined with the filly being "a late bloomer". The breeder felt it was in the horses best interest to hold off. She also mentioned, if she was ten years younger the filly wouldn't be for sale at all.

Guess where we are at with purchasing the filly now? Still waiting, until after the New Year. 
The breeder went for an extended visit to see family for the holidays. There is a lot to be said for someone who doesn't rush a sale. Our waiting is still filled with anticipation, but much less. At least we have a verbal commitment. If for whatever reason the filly doesn't pass her vet check, there is another buyer who went to see her in person and wants her. Time will tell. I have continued looking for another fitting prospect (just incase) and have found nothing.

things are looking up
(our pines)


jingle all the way

Merry Christmas blogger friends!!

(photo taken 2/2020)

(inside greeting)

Wishing each of you a Healthy Happy New Year!


before the storm

Saddling up this time of year is most enjoyable on sunny early afternoons. A weather dependent short window of time, when the sun has dried the lingering dew and warms the cool crisp late Fall air. Temps have risen as high as they are going to get, and winds are usually calmer.

We savored what appears to be the last few beautiful warmish sunny days of the year, in the 40's F. By this time I am normally hoping for snow, but not this year. This year is different. This non goal setter, set a goal. A riding goal, to be specific. To ride Koda among our majestic pines before the looong Winter storms take over, and I have to restart myself and my horse. Once again.

However easy my goal sounds to some of you, it was both challenging and far fetched for me. I honestly didn't think it would happen this year. Life demands seem to get in the way. Both Brad and I being home mid afternoon when the weather shines, does not align more often than it does. Don't people know nothing can be scheduled when Mother Nature decides to be nice?!! Once in a while, with great efforts and plain ol' just saying no everything aligns and we make it out to the arena before 3pm. Ideally around 2-2:30. Anything close to 3pm is a bust. Not only is the ride rushed, but the rest of our evening is too. It is a sure bet to having another ride like this.

Considering all of the above, our rides have dwindled to about once a week. What a difference an indoor arena would make! There would still be days we want to ride and can't, but an indoor would offer SO many more opportunities when we could!! Ideally I would ride 3-4 times a week, with a mixed approach and location. Indoor riding being my least favorite, then outdoor arena and my favorite rides are on the trail. I am happiest being outdoors.


Today we are under a Winter Storm advisory:

Our main trails are in the pines, along the right half

However, the day before the storm we seized the day and rode!! Our ride went like this...Koda was the ultimate slug during our short lunge warmup, being all "oh woe is me" dramatic. After my increased efforts, he did put in enough of his own effort. I had worked up a sweat, him not so much. In hind sight, I should have skipped the warm up lunge. We headed over to the mounting block and before I stepped up, he did his one hind step over. I repositioned him and then he stood like a rock. Guess I can live with one step over, as long as it's before I climb up the block.

We proceeded to ride, and he proceeded to chomp. A lot. Know we have spent oodles of time trying to figure out his random chomping habit. He does it when he is bored, or nervous, or just because he can. Koda gets regular dental care, and back in his training days bits and bosels were discussed. We looked into all of it. In the end, we concluded his chomping is just part of his complexity. It's annoying. His chomping affects me, unless the reason is obvious. It makes my mind spiral into thinking something is potentially wrong, even tho Koda has chomped on/off (with any rider) for many years. He probably knows it bother me, and I don't "get after him". Some days he also flips his tongue over the bit, which makes riding a start and stop adventure. We work through it all and the ride goes on, and eventually the chomping stops.

We worked up to loping half the arena again, both directions. This time Koda's super smooth direction to the left, was anything but smooth. Every ride is a different ride with this boy! He anticipated my right ask, but I gave it to him anyways because his departure was so darn nice. This lope felt wonderful! Floaty, framed and dreamy. Albeit short, but we are working our way up - mostly because of me. I need to lose weight. In the past when riding with others, Koda's lope turns heads. He has pretty much ruined my loping another horse for life. It's not that other horses don't do it, I just haven't ridden another horse that lopes like he does. Consequently, when done correctly it is my favorite gait.

What happened after our arena ride, has been a long, long time coming. We headed out on the new tree line path to gauge where Koda's head (and mine!) are at:

Brad & Cierra
with Koda & I following

Our heads were still attached, so we continued along the path. Pass the barn, through the trees, pass the fuel tank, house, then rode out of the trees, across the driveway, onto the field, next to the farm equipment, towards another open field and up a path to our main pine trail! EEK!

My first what felt like a real trail ride in a long long time :))

I sang along the way, well the two words I could remember lol. I made sure to keep my legs loose. No more ride photos this first time out. I wanted to live in the moment, as well as focus on my ride. We rode along our preexisting main trail, that looks like this...

bordering trail pines are smaller

they are huge further along the trail below
very tall and sway in wind

We rode along our "spooky tree" trail. We created (with the help of deer) and named it based on a group of trees on a corner, that look like this...

I was glad the new neighbor dogs didn't greet us in our woods. That day will come, but I needed a non-challenging first trail ride. And I got it. Koda was a great riding partner! He didn't do a thing wrong. A little too much of a hustled walk coming out of the woods, but Cierra did the same thing. We rode back out of the pines, down the border path to the open field. The one thing I said I wasn't ready to do, ha ha! Ride across an open field. Little known fact, to enjoy our paths and get to/from the barn you eventually need to ride across a field. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith. It was the same field we crossed to get to the pines. Brad had to remind me to breath, and suggested maneuvering Koda before heading back to the barn. More for me, then Koda. I know this approach, but...haven't thought about it in forever. Brad is my steady, for more than just horses.

After walking around and changing directions, I did one of my favorite things use Brad and his horse for a cone. Koda and I trotted around them both directions! Making them feel, well, like a cone. It absolutely makes my day!!

It is snowing and beautiful outside as I type. Like living in a snow globe. My heart is still happy. I was able to enjoy riding our pines with Koda, before the storm.


a new documentary

PSA: Incase you haven't heard, there is a new horse related documentary called "A Mind Like Still Water" featuring clinicians Mark Rashid & Jim Masterson. 

You can see the documentary trailer here: https://youtu.be/LJlXILj42oE

"Once a year, world-renowned duo, horse clinician Mark Rashid and equine massage therapist Jim Masterson hold a dual clinic in Littleton, Colorado. Participants Mindy and Linda come to learn how to connect better with their horses, unaware of the vulnerability it will require of them."

"A Mind Like Still Water" chronicles the time two women spent with their horses at a clinic, and the profound changes in their horses, and themselves, as a result of working with the principles of softness. This is not only eye candy, but heart candy as well."

Editorial Review "Mindy and Linda arrive at Happy Dog Ranch to attend the clinic of world renowned horsemen Jim Masterson and Mark Rashid. Although they anticipate a few days of simple tips and tricks to connect better with their horses, the participants quickly realize this isn't an average workshop and that their horses aren t the ones who need to change. The more Mindy and Linda connect with their horses, the more they start to question how they've navigated their lives outside of horsemanship. In an emotional and life-altering week, they learn the art of softening, and let go of the truths they've held on to, until now. A Mind Like Still Water proves it's never too late for change."

It is 39 minutes long, and available for pre-order now (Amazon, iTunes or Apple TV and who knows where else). The documentary will be released on December 29, 2020.

Looks like a good one to watch, learn and feel!!


is it too much to ask

I do not normally look at horses for sale, nor do I follow market trends. Many look out of curiosity and find it fun, others are in the horse business. Then there are the bargain hoarders, and those that go through horses like winter coats. Always looking for the elusive winning horse to replace all the others they have ruined. I know of people in all of these categories. I am here to say, I do not find anything fun about horse shopping!! Or any kind of shopping for that matter. If it was up to me, we would keep our little herd at 5 (counting Cierra's future baby) to enjoy together for as long as we all live. I must be the only horse person that truly doesn't want any more horses. However, Brad continues his dreams of showing. So here we are, horse shopping. Gee I can't wait to try explaining why we got another horse to all the non-horse people in my life, lol! 

I have discovered finding a horse that fits, is much harder than looking for a saddle that fits. Is it too much to ask for a decent younger AQHA Ranch Pleasure prospect? Ideally very lightly started under saddle, around 2-3 yrs old. Anything double that age and further along in training, has a ridiculous price tag. Of course the horse must be healthy, have good conformation and mind. It would be nice to find a gelding. Flash is a bonus. Good luck finding all of those! If you do find anything remotely close, the horses are located on the border States. Where are the upcoming show horses in the MidWest? Horses that semi-fit the criteria are selling within hours of posting, or going for ridiculously high dollar. Many sell at auctions. 

I think Brad's requirements are reasonable, with flexible ranges. However we are not typical buyers and horse shopping is a HUGE deal for us. Our horses become family. We will not buy under pressure, or at an auction/sale barn. 

With that said, Brad recently found a filly prospect. Her unusual barn name is Padame. No clue what it means? Every time I google the meaning of Padame, an apparently popular Star Wars princess comes up with similar spelling (Padme). I will eventually ask about the name, and how to pronounce it! If the filly comes home with us, her barn name will likely be changed. If you are interested in taking a peek, here is Her Pedigree

screenshot from sellers website

I was going back-n-forth for a good week via email with the filly's owner, and felt like the monkey in the middle. Then handed "the reins" over to Brad. He spoke with the owner and is seriously considering this horse as his next show partner. 
So far her owner has been wonderful to interact with, and horse beliefs seem to align with ours. I have warned him of the urgency of making his mind up sooner than later, especially if he thinks this might be the one. Brad said he is okay if Padame sells before he makes up his mind. She is the closest prospect we have found, but he absolutely needs to be comfortable with his decision. Of course we could potentially sell her if she doesn't work out, but who wants to go through all that expense, invested time and more importantly heartbreak. Not me/us. We've never done this, and would definitely prefer to keep it that way.

Considering everything going on, it just isn't going to work for us to look at this horse in person. But it sure would be fun!! I know a couple bloggers I would love to meet that live in that general area :)) Padame is waaaaay out about 45 minutes from Spokane, Washington at Running Brook QH Ranch. It would be close to a 24 hour drive one way, and w
e are not open to flying right now. Although airlines are reportedly doing a good job handling the pandemic. We have never bought a horse sight unseen, but in this case we just might do it. I know people purchase sight unseen all the time, but not us. Of course we have watched videos of Padame (while in training for 60 days) but nothing compares to seeing a horse in person. The only way to really get a feel for personality. Unfortunately I can't share her video's here, they can only be viewed via Facebook. Our vet is coming out for routine care this week, and we look forward to his input before potentially taking on the further expense of doing a vet check. 

It has been over a decade, and I am hopeful this is the last time we buy a horse!! Ultimately it is Brad's decision, but I am about to go cray-cray. SO here I am, whining about it on my blog lol. I do follow multiple related AQHA/Ranch/Trainer sites on FB and we regularly check Dreamhorse and Equine Now and Ranch World Ads. Do tell if you have thoughts on the above prospect and/or her bloodlines, or other valued input.