{Moments of Inspiration}

{Moments of Inspiration}

“Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them;
for those experiences have left an indelible impression,
and we are ever and anon reminded of them.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

Horse and Goat moment

Typical siblings, Jane the Goat stealing Chappy’s grain and vice verse. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side…

House under snow moment

And our first real snow in our own home!

Bringing Chappy home

Bringing Chappy home

Chappy, at homeOne of the main goals with buying a piece of property was to be able to bring my baby girl, Chappy, home.

She’s been my baby since I met her at just two weeks old, then brought her home to live with me at 8 months. She’s a beautiful little 10-year-old mare now, and I love her to death. She has been residing at the home of a professor I met while in graduate school, and I AM SO LUCKY to have had her so close by. A HUGE thank you to the family who has kept her like one of their own. I couldn’t have done this without them.

But it is finally time to bring her home.

The fence is in place, the buckets are hung, the gates are up. Our backyard will be her new home. And looking out the big picture window in my own kitchen to see my girl grazing and lazing the day away is priceless.

But just like everything else with home-buying/home-ownership, it hasn’t been nearly as simple or straightforward as I would have liked.

First, it took far too long to prepare. Because, as is too often the case, other things cropped up. Other efforts were needed. Time was split.

Our first attempt was postponed. Our second attempt aborted when she refused to load onto the trailer. The next time I saw my girl, she walked right up to me and nuzzled my hand, clearly asking for forgiveness.

Another two weeks passed, with dedicated training involved. Finally, on attempt #3, we successfully brought my girl home.

Over the bridge to grandma's house we go

Trailering

Home.

I spent Memorial Day weekend constantly heading to the backyard just to marvel at the sight of her. So often I found myself distracted from my projects just gazing out the windows at her. She’s home.

Oiling my saddle

I truly believe that my love for horses is God-given. I believe that He placed in my heart a special place for these majestic creatures that He created with love and care. And in my life, I am to love and care for them as well. For this one in particular.

Chappy girl

I am so thankful that I was given this heart. It’s so much a part of who I am. And I don’t mean that I always want to be known as “the horse girl”. I mean that animals, horses in particular, are a part of my calling. Much the same as my work, my marriage and so many other things in my life. They are inseparable from the rest of me.

Arabian Horse

Someday, I’d like to write about more of the ups and downs and lessons God has given me in the past few years of trying to be wise and right. I was stretched and grown and learned so much. But it’s still a little raw. I’m still unsure of what it all means…

For now, I will bask in the knowing that my baby is home.

My baby

The Curated Life: Horses

The Curated Life: Horses

People ask me all the time: “Do you ride all the time? Like every day?”

I hate getting that question.

Because it forces me to face my answer: No.

I don’t. In fact, I recently admitted to going six months without riding at all. Six months!

It’s ridiculous. Terrible. An atrocity!

My girl, Chappy

I have this beautiful, wonderful thing at my fingertips and yet I don’t put it to use in my life.

There are a thousand excuses–I have them memorized. The limited daylight in winter. The wet or cold or hot or windy weather. The responsibilities of life. Work. Home. Relationships. Time.

Honestly, they are valid excuses. But they are excuses, not reasons.

And I don’t want to live excuses anymore.

As Husband and I attempt to pay down big student loans and simultaneously save enough for a down payment on a house, we have gone over every single expense with a fine tooth comb. Every. Single. Penny.

We’ve made big changes and little ones. We tweaked our car insurance to save $15 a month, and at one point even got rid of our internet service at home.

I cannot tell you how many times we have calculated the cost of keeping a horse, down to the penny. And it’s not cheap. Beyond the cost of feed and board and farrier and vet care there is the time. The daily grind of cleaning stalls, feeding, letting in, turning out. It all takes time.

But she’s my baby. My girl. Not just a part of my world, but a part of me. I would do anything to keep her. Letting her go just doesn’t feel like an option, because I think it would break my heart.

The value that she brings to my life isn’t tangible, it cannot be given a numerical value. It just is.

Horseback riding.

Then, earlier this year, I brought forth this idea about living a curated life. And recently, I realized that this part of my life, this horse-loving barn-cleaning part of my life, should not just be consumed, but curated.

Carefully designed, molded, shaped, collected and pieced together. Chappy should be too. The value she brings to my life should be forefront, not vaguely remembered from six months ago. The beauty and life that she offers should be capitalized on.

So I have decided: It’s time to curate.

My desire is to ride two or three times a week. It’s completely doable, I just have to commit. I’m thinking if I make space to ride Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at least two or three of those times should work out, with decent weather. And Sunday makes a good back up day. (Usually Sundays are set aside to spend with God and Husband, but Husband said he would love to come with me to the barn to watch me ride on Sunday afternoons.)

And just to make things clearer, I want to set some goals. Goals for me and for her. Goals that will motivate me to ride more and will benefit us for years to come.

Goals for me:
1. Ride 2-3 days/week
2. Ride Chappy in large pasture
3. Begin taking Chappy down trails near stable
4. Train Chappy to load/unload from our trailer
5. Increase comfort level at lope in large pasture
6. Add hitch to my truck and increase my trailering skills

Goals for Chappy:
1. Consistently keep head down
2. Maintain consistent, easy pace
3. Increase neck reining ability
4. Continue to work on side-passing
5. Begin flying lead changes in large pasture
6. Begin turn on haunches

By the end of the summer, I would love to start taking Chappy to Northwest River Park on weekends, to practice trailering, and work her in the round pen there, then take a few walks in the open area of the park. Perhaps by fall we will be ready to tackle a trail =).

So there you have it, my breakdown of goals to bring this part of my life from consuming to curating. Wish me luck!

Curating my life - riding

Welcome

Welcome

So I may or may not be washing my hands a million times a day in hopes of using up the last drops of my summer hand soap so I can replace it with a nice fall-smelling one (without the guilt of wasting precious soap)…

Because I’m ready to welcome fall.

My windows are thrown wide open and cool air fills the house. The scent of fresh corn husks fills the air as farmers harvest the field next to our house. And it is a beautiful scent.

Here and there I see the first signs of fall–the harvest beginning, pumpkins at the corner nursery, a single red leaf among the green.

One red leaf begins fall.

Welcome fall.

The mornings are brisk and Husband and I cuddle with the puppy beneath extra blankets for warmth before slipping our toes out from under the covers and facing the day.

Husband and Ginger cuddle.

Welcome fall.

I start my morning with teas that bear names like “Autumn Harvest” and “Trick or Treat”. I watch the sun rise out the kitchen windows. We take a few moments out of the morning rush to just sit on the porch enjoying the coolness as the morning light reflects the early dew.

Sunrise in fall.

Welcome fall.

I slip a sweater over my shoulders as I head to the barn for evening chores, and breathe in the fresh air flowing through the barn. I whistle and watch my girl run toward me from the pasture, an exuberance lost during the heat of summer. And as the sun sinks down below the treeline, Chappy and I enjoy a few brief moments together in the field, the feel of cool leather and soft horse hair beneath my hands.

Chappy

Sunset in fall.

Welcome fall. Welcome.

Dear Monday…

Dear Monday…

Dear Monday,
I can’t say that I was looking forward to your arrival, but with the new leather bag Husband bought me to carry all my work “stuff” in, I am pleasantly surprised by my delight in packing my things to leave for work this morning. Amazing how an over-sized handbag can turn a day around.

Dear Chappy,
Oh, what a wonderful ride we had! Let’s hope it stops raining sometime soon so we can do it again…

RainDear Rain,
Thank you for holding off on Saturday so I could line dry my laundry, and thank you for arriving on Sunday. There’s really nothing like rainy day to make you stop all the craziness and just enjoy. Even if we did get seriously wet running in and out of stores yesterday. But at the same time, I’m not sure I really love the weather report…another week of you might be more than I can handle.
 

Dear Husband,
Thanks for Sunday. I know that I have to share you with the rest of the world Monday through Saturday, but I’m so glad that we set aside Sunday for us.

Dear Charleston, SC,
We might be meeting soon…

Sincerely,
Holly


Linking up with Happy Day.

Dear Monday…

Dear Monday…

Dear Monday,
Please be a calm, quiet day. I think I need to ease back into the workweek…

The puppy Ginger.

Dear Power Company,
Will you please get my electricity back on? Putting on mascara in the dark was an experience I would rather not go through again tomorrow.

Rainy Sunday

Dear Rainy Sunday,
Can I just say thank you? You were exactly what Husband and I needed. A day of church, browsing through Trader Joe’s, picking movies, resting, snuggling on the couch and eating homemade sticky buns… Basically, we just didn’t do anything at all. And it was great.

Homemade sticky buns with tea

Chappy

Dear Chappy,
We had the best first ride of the season yet! I’m so proud of you for remembering all those long hours of training that we’ve had together. I’m delighted that you even remember the more advanced maneuvers that we just started learning last summer. Let’s keep up the good work and make some real progress on your training this summer, shall we? Maybe by the end of the season we’ll be trail riding at Northwest River Park!

Dear Graduation,
You’re only two weeks away…

Dear Friday,
Please come as quickly as you can. I cannot wait for our little road trip up the Eastern Shore in celebration of Husband’s birthday. And if you don’t mind, bring some sunny weather with you =).

Sincerely,
Holly


Linking up with Happy Day.

TC 10: Horses

TC 10: Horses

I think it is ingrained in every little girl to love these massive animals. Interestingly, I wasn’t as taken with them as some of my friends (I was really into dolphins as a little girl), but when I was 10 and we moved to a new home with a barn and pasture, things changed. I became enamored with horses, and determined to get my own!

It took me three years to earn enough money to pay for half a horse (an agreement I had with my parents that they would pay the other half), but it was once of the best things I’ve ever done. At the age of 13, I brought home my very first horse.

Chappy running.Since then, I’ve had more experiences with horses than I can relate…I showed and gamed, I worked at a breeding farm, I got a bachelor’s degree in Equestrian Studies, I interned with a nationally known horse trainer, and the list goes on.

Perhaps one of the best things I did, though, was bring home my own filly when she was 8 months old and complete all of her training myself.

Her official name is Easy Feelin’, but she is better known as Chappy around the barn. She’s “my baby girl” and the light of my life. It’s hard for me to believe that she is already eight years old! She is no end of entertainment and affection. And although I sometimes gripe and complain about cleaning stalls, I love that I get to live right around the corner from my baby and see her anytime I want.

I have learned more from horses, and from Chappy in particular, than you can imagine. I’ve learned patience, persistence, sacrifice, self-control, determination, courage, love, respect, and so much more!

Me and my filly.

If your little girl ever asks for a pony, I would encourage you to seriously consider it. My horses have taught me so many lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Thank you, Chappy girl. I am so thankful for you!

Bridal portrait with my horse.
(The above photo is a bridal portrait with Chappy taken by my sister-in-law.)