THE THIN LINE BETWEEN WONDERING AND WONDER…(OR; HOW I ALMOST QUIT RIDING AND A REDHEAD SAVED ME!) PART 2

Deep joy, despite the circumstances! A promise from scripture.

In the last post I shared my dilemma….no sound/rideable horse in my 3 horse pasture (well, granted…the mini horse Prince Caspian isn’t a riding candidate!).

I also had spent some serious time contemplating whether or not I was meant to be an Equestrian anymore. Big questions, and….not a clue as to what the right answer should be.

I finally decided that an object in motion was far more apt to run into something than a stationary object!

So….bless Karen’s heart…I dragged her to go look at a local horse for sale. I told her straight up that I didn’t want to ride the horse, (and, no, unless it was perchance a miracle…was pretty sure it was NOT going to be a fit)…

I just needed to physically and mentally start the process of looking at other horses. We looked, I told the nice lady thank you, I walked with Karen, who is the most patient and understanding trainer ever, back to our trucks, and I cried.

Recipe edit insert! It was here that I needed chocolate! Dark chocolate! Ok, headed home to whip up this 5 minute fix!

1 cup organic coconut oil

1 cup organic cacao powder

1 tsp organic real vanilla extract

Organic Stevia to taste (I use Sweet Leaf)

Walnuts, unsweetened coconut, organic almond butter, gluten free oatmeal…..whatever healthy add in you like!

Combine the coconut oil and cacao powder in a saucepan, stir to combine over low heat. Take off stove and stir in stevia and vanilla. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment. Pour the chocolate mix over and spread out. Top with your nuts, oatmeal, etc…

Place in the refrigerator until hardened, then break up into bark size pieces. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for a week or as long as it lasts. Trust me, won’t be long! Healthy fats, antioxidant rich, so good!!! You’re welcome!

It was official. Belle was retired and I was looking for another horse.

I figured it this way…if the right horse was out there…the Lord would make it extremely clear which one it was meant to be. Right?

Enter scene 2, Deb browsing through Equine.com.

My criteria:

  1. No mares
  2. No red heads
  3. No off the track or former games horses. (First 3 non-negotiable!)

I was pretty open to height (between 15.1 and 16.1) breed and experience. However, with temperament, on a scale of 1 to 10, between a 1 (read gramma safe) and 3, the more towards 1 the better!

I began my search in a hundred mile radius.

And one horse kept coming up.

And I’d skip it and keep looking.

But I’d keep going back to reread the ad.

The reason I kept skipping this horse was a no brainer….it was a

redheaded former racing quarter horse MARE!!!

Really Lord?

(A recent drawing in progress. This one from the Paardverzameld Collective Challenge. A wonderful international equine artist group of which I am a proud member)

Sure….they’re great subject matter for art…but a riding horse? I’d been hurt badly once by a redheaded mare I once owned! Nope. Not again!

It took me a week just to come to grips that maybe I really wasn’t in charge of knowing what’s best from Gods’ point of view…sooooo, I called the gal.

And sure enough, her redheaded mare sounded really amazing, and frankly, so did she! They had accomplished so much together!

But… gulp, she was having second thoughts about selling her because she still had some goals she really wanted to accomplish with her mare Kit.

Sigh…..of course.

I imagined then that I was meant to see this ad, and talk to this gal, so I could be shown that there ARE still great horses out there. And I had to trust God to help me find the right one.

So I continued to read ads, and then friends who heard I was “officially looking” started sending me sale notices.

I called on a couple, but nothing really sounded right. Patience is not a problem for me…as long as I’m moving forward. But it seemed like I was circling Cincinnati so to speak.

I kept thinking about that one horse…the one that was the opposite of what I was looking for.

Finally, two weeks later, out of the blue….I decided to text the gal. I mentioned that if she ever changed her mind, to please let me know. I was having a hard time finding a match for me, and her horses’ temperament and experience seemed suited for me at my, ahem, stage in life.

She was very kind, and wrote that she had a couple of shows she was planning on going to with the mare, and if she changed her mind after the shows…she’d let me know.

But then this happened.

After a bit…. she texted me back, and ended her amazing text to me with these words…..

It’s not right to pray for the right person, Kits person, to come along and then get cold feet.

If you are serious, let’s talk.

I was at the Dunkin Donuts, walking towards my truck. Dazed, I got in and sat there in wonder. Did I just read that right?

Ummmm, Lord? Would you really do this? For me?

And a wonderful conversation started between Janet and I. She texted me more information about her mare, and some incredibly beautiful photos taken at shows.

She agreed to let me come meet them after her last scheduled show.

The plan: just drive up to meet the mare and she would ride Kit for me to see what she was like.

More about “the meeting” in the next blog post!

While all this was happening I was also on a creative roll, and had the absolute need to paint and draw everyday! Here are a couple more pieces.

(Both images were referenced from photos by Gary Odell)

And while painting, and searching for a new riding partner, the Lord led a former student’s mom to contact me. She designs web sites, she is an artist also…and did I need a web site builder per chance?

Can you say OH YES!!!!

This week she and her wonderful son came out, we talked art, played with dogs, ate healthy snacks and talked about what I’d like my website to look like.

And I have a new friend!

God is good! And a new beautiful website will be up when ready. With a gallery, a way to order commissions, prints or buy originals!

The Lord knows He must provide if the horses are to stay in my life. So I trust Him to do that!!!

Make sense?

Proverbs 3:5,6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your steps.”

Never doubt that for a second. I know from personal experience, it is far better to give up control to the One who IS in control!

Thanks for reading friend….more about “meeting the mare” next time!

The thin line between wondering and wonder…(or; How I almost quit riding and a redhead saved me!) Part 1

I apologize. Really…truly and sincerely.

This “50 plus Equestrian” had a major life lesson that apparently had to be taught to her, and as you know…those are often not pleasant, but very necessary.

Funny how we think life lessons are for the young, right?

My silence on this blog was self imposed because I was hurting emotionally and felt it was too negative to share. But in hindsight, whenever God does something, and you learn from it, ummm duh, SHARE!…and you could have experienced perhaps a bit of the wondering and wonder as well!

So, to put things back in order in this post, let me share with you what led up to the cacophonous silence.

You may recall this blog began as a documentary of my rehab from a broken wrist, preparing for an exciting new horse to arrive and hopefully compete at rated shows.

My wonderful Equicizer “Winston” was, and is, an integral part of my journey back to fitness. https://equicizer.com/

(One of my recent oils, 16×20, on panel)

Then, the unthinkable happened and I discovered the gorgeous mare I bought had been sold to me under fraudulent circumstances.

Thankfully the Lord worked all that out!…Oh my!

Thank you God! That mare was “returned to sender.”

I was left with my recently retired AQHA mare and slim hopes of bringing her back to show fitness.

I blogged about our journey, my own health and fitness discoveries and my exercise sessions with Winston.

Things were beginning to come together with Belle (“the AQHA Princess”) and my personal goals.

And then Belle basically decided she couldn’t do it anymore.

(The little herd, Belle is the bay with blaze….)

And I wasn’t going to try to make her…giving multiple monthly shots and regular hock injections are not my equine health management style. Belle was telling me she was done.

The day I got on and started walking her away from the block and she just stopped, refusing to move, I knew. She’s officially retired and she’s earned the privilege.

And so, I had a big decision to make. I spent a lot of time praying and wondering what the Lord wanted me to do.

When you own horses….but you can’t ride any of them, are you still an “Equestrian”?

Was I supposed to give up my riding goals and journey with dressage, and just focus on my art?With the dressage ring in the back pasture, every day in the barn was a constant prompt to ask the question I kept asking….”what now Lord”?

In the meantime, my overall health has improved because my new eating lifestyle has become just that…a healthy habit.

No sugars, no grains, extremely limited dairy, no potatoes or starchy vegetables. No yeast, no artificial ingredients or sweeteners. No alcohol. All organic and grassfed or wild caught (not farmed)

Guess who has lost 16 pounds and feels terrific!

Breakfast the other day…and no cheating, that bread is grain and yeast free! Millet seed bread! Super yummy and tastes like a good Italian bread…fab discovery!The shopping, cooking and baking is now a breeze!

But…..Being in an “in between” place can be taxing emotionally.

Wondering, can I really afford to financially support another horse, am I too old to have these crazy riding goals, should I just be happy making art….should I get out of horses completely…

A decision had to be made.

Praying…..Wondering!

So, more to share, to let you know what the Lord did (and is still doing)…….in the next blog!

I missed you!

“What’s in that stuff?”

Karen was laughing when she called out to me as I was free lunging Belle in the round pen. I had to laugh too as I had just told her that Belle had been given her Summit shot the day before. And boy was she feeling good!!!

After a few minutes of high flying bucks, and VERY forward trots and canters, “Her Majesty” settled down to a dignified middle-aged mare disposition and was ready to tack up.

Remember, this is the mare that is known for her snail crawl walk to the riding ring that I lovingly refer to as “the death march of her people…”

Honestly, I have a different horse now than I’ve had for the last 2 1/2 years! Thank you Summit!

http://www.summitjp.com/

And folks….I’m riding walk, trot, canter on a consistently happy mare, ummmm…mare owners…you KNOW that is miraculous!

So while I am completely overjoyed at this turn around, Karen (world’s best trainer and friend) and I are making Belles’ “coming back into full work” rides a very carefully thought out plan each week.

Because we want Belle to STAY happy!

πŸ˜ŽπŸ˜πŸ˜„πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜‡πŸ˜‰πŸ€©πŸ˜˜πŸ˜‹πŸ˜†

You know what? As I reflected on our conversation later that same evening, it occurred to me that I have been asking that very same question a lot lately!

What’s in that stuff???

As, what’s in:

β€’The boxes, cans and packages I pick up at the grocery store…specifically, what exactly is the labeling telling me. And NOT telling me! By the way….sugar, or any of its hidden forms like sucralose, syrups, fructose, natural cane syrup, sugar alcohols, etc…is in nearly everything!

β€’ What’s in the produce I’m buying? Is it Non GMO? Is it Organic? Is it sustainably produced?

β€’ What’s in the coffee I drink? How is it processed?

β€’ What are the ingredients in that meal I’m about to order at that restaurant?

β€’ What’s in that spray or cleaning product I’m using?

β€’ What’s in that medication or over-the-counter remedy? And what are its side effects?

β€’ Is that repeat dental x-ray really necessary?

Ok, it’s not that everything is questionable…but I’ve become a very informed and curious consumer!

Hence, better choices all the way around, with benefits for our health and our budget.

It really does make a difference!

Keto inspired grain and sugar free chocolate chip cookies! Yummers! Yes, you can eat sugar free and enjoy it!

And organic eggplant parmesan with grass fed beef and organic sauce.

Healthy is definitely delicious!

As new lifestyle changes have now become habits, these last 5 months of being sugar, grain and processed food free have been easy and fun, besides the fact that both hubby and I are feeling great!

Shopping is now an adventure, finding new markets is great fun…and cooking at home, well…it really resembles gourmet cuisine, without the high prices! Win, win!!!

By the way…as hubby and I were shopping one morning at our local “healthy choices” grocery, I reached in a frozen food case and pulled out two cauliflower pizza crusts and popped them in the cart.

Hubby looked shocked and said, “I’m not going to eat that!!!”

“Honey’, I replied, ‘you’ve been eating them for three months!”

His eyes got big as saucers, and he shook his head. “Just don’t tell me what I’m eating from now on, ok?”

It’s a deal, dear.

Lol!

Now, a friendly riding tip from Winston and me!

https://equicizer.com/

Yup….happy gal!

And VERY busy making art!

Here is a look at a recently completed colored pencil piece of a lovely little dressage pony.

He’s away getting scanned right now so I can have some giclees or limited edition prints as an option in the future.

Speaking of the future…not one of us can predict it, or guarantee anything. Right?

Only the Lord knows what’s in store for each of us. Truth! So….I’m planning on living each day I’m gifted with, in joy and hope!

What do your plans for each day look like?

Do you wake up thinking “Oh good Lord!, it’s morning already?”, or do you wake up thinking…

“Good morning Lord! This day is yours, show me your way please!”

One thing I can guarantee….

it will always be an adventure!

Happy New Year friends!

SWEET… (Results!)

Merry Christmas!

And oh my WORD y’all!!!

Big changes and big news!

Backtrack a bit with me as I remind myself, and also you, dear reader…for the reason this little blog exists.

I really wanted to document my progress getting to a place of personal health and fitness, share the ups and downs exploring ways to bring my heart horse Belle back to soundness, and also share the products and information I’ve learned about through this lonnnngggg process.

And…a look back over all my blogs this past year has been a mixture of sweet nostalgia and unvoiced frustration. And a sequence of life lessons the Lord had lined up for me.

I think people of faith have all heard the saying:

“nothing happens by accident”

Can I hear a big AMEN!

So let’s see….

  • January, 2018: I bought a beautiful Andalusian mare that was to be the dream horse. (My AQHA mare was completely unsound and we had tried nearly everything)
  • Then double whammy, I fractured my wrist in a fall unloading 120 pound hay bales and also found out that the “dream horse” was not meant to be sold as a dressage horse! With a broken heart, after a couple of months…she went back to the previous owner.
  • Found my Equicizer “Winston” through a complete God thing on Craigslist…had him sent to Frankie at Equicizer to check over and then ship to me. https://equicizer.com
  • I rehabbed my wrist, my core strength and my heart riding Winston…and The 50 plus Equestrian blog and Facebook page were born.
  • Also during the last few months as some health challenges arose, I documented lifestyle nutritional changes and their impact on my life.
  • Finally…I also documented going through various interventions with Belle, from using supplements, Adequan shots, to getting her hock injected…all apparently to no avail.

β™‘β™‘β™‘β™‘β™‘β™‘β™‘β™‘β™‘β™‘β™‘β™‘β™‘β™‘

But now the good news! My mare is sound! More on that with the video!

On the health front…in my last blog I shared the various tests my new family doctor had ordered to get an overall health baseline, and that I still needed one. The dreaded colonoscopy.

Blech! But…being the good trooper that I am…I followed through.

Of course the last test is always the ONE with the info you are looking for, right?

Sure enough, THAT Dr. said…you’re good to go, see you in 10 years. And… you have Diverticulosis. (No polyps, tears, etc…but this explains the stomach pain I was having)

Take away from all this?

God IS in control.

Finding Doug Kauffman and Knowthecause.com is a huge blessing, and finding a natural treatment for Belle (Summitt chondroitin injectable) is incredible!

http://www.summitjp.com/

Results!

1. I rode Belle for the first time in months and now have a riding plan for her journey back to Western Dressage competition (if the Lord is willing!)

2. I have lost 10 pounds and counting….whoop!

3. I am completely sugar and grain free and have been for over 2 months! NO CRAVINGS!!! Really!

(Incredibly yummy pumpkin muffins, this recipe is on the Knowthecause.com site, as well as many other sugar free, mycotoxin free recipes!)

4. I feel SO MUCH BETTER!

5. Also I’ve been making many new works of art, paintings, drawings, portraits…I get excited to share each new one and build my Hearthstone Studio business! (dherbertart/fb)

Who knew being a full time creative could be so much fun!!!

There is No Way anyone can predict the path that the Lord has set before each of us.

But I do know that if you learn something from crawling, walking or running on that path you should share the lessons!

So like this little Hereford calf I painted…I’m resting secure. Trusting. And living my life verse from Philippians….

“Be anxious for nothing, but with all prayers and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace that passes all understanding will be yours in Christ Jesus.

….Whose birthday we are celebrating very soon!

Let’s plan to remember who is the real reason for the season!

Merry Christmas dear friends!

Less…is WAY more!

It began as a general bleh feeling. Then more brain fog than my usual artsy creative late night marathons produced…

And then, a pain in upper belly with swelling. Unusual cravings for sweets, oats, carbs and blue chips with anything.

Something wasn’t right in Kansas and my body was telling me to pay attention.

Ok….I am positively phobic about dental work…and I knew I had a really bad tooth I had to deal with. Could that be what was causing my problems?

I pulled on my big girl boots and headed into the new dentist my hubby absolutely loved. Yup….”girl, that tooth has gotta go”…

Um…rats. So I made an appointment to remove the nasty abcess causing molar. Antibiotics planned, etc… Phht…

And future $$$ to save to have yet another implant added to the three I already need. Thanks rotten gene pool!!!

But, in my reading, and random recipe browsing, I came across diet, health issues and antibiotics all in the same site.

Whoa…what?

I have had tons of antibiotics over the years…who hasn’t. Let’s see….for multiple cases of strep, mycoplasma pneumonia, oral surgery a few times, shingles, multiple bladder, yeast or kidney infections…

Wait a minute….I consider myself a super healthy person! I eat clean, take no meds, do take great supplements and I exercise!

Come on!!!

http://www.knowthecause.com/

And then I stumbled upon this website. And my life took a 180.

Not fully realizing what ALL those antibiotics had been doing to my gut was, well….shocking.

And from how I was feeling…it was all beginning to make perfect sense.

Fungus infection… and it was literally taking control over me!

I made an appointment with a new D.O. and asked for a routine “haven’t been to a doc in a long time” check up. She is a very sweet and thorough gal.

I explained my symptoms and she did a physical, pap, ordered blood tests, and a stomach and lower GI ultrasound. Inconclusive, not remarkable. (I wasn’t offended!)

Then….she ordered a cat scan and a mammogram for good measure. Normal. (thank you Lord!!!)

Finally…the next test is a colonoscopy. Ack.

Unwanted, but necessary. My dad died of colon cancer at 62.

So….while all this was happening in the space of a month, between my first dentist visit, my tooth being pulled and all those tests, I made a huge life changing decision.

Go unconventional, get radical.

Own my health decisions fully (not what the media, magazines or big pharma says to do), from my attitude, excercise, down to every food purchase, snack, and item on my plate. My food can and should be my medicine!

So…what does that look like?

I was pretty close in some areas…off the mark by a mile in others.

The Kauffman diet, basic level one is what I’m living by for now….level two eventually!

And less truly is more.

Things that are now missing from my life and I don’t miss:

  • Sugar of all kinds except pure Stevia (believe it or not…no cravings!)
  • No coffee (most is full of mycotoxins) but I am drinking myotoxin free Bulletproof brand. Yay!
  • Grains of all kinds
  • Peanuts
  • Potatoes, peas and beans of all kinds
  • No bread unless I make it with Buckwheat…which isn’t a wheat at all but a seed (who knew?) or purchase or make it with almond and coconut flour
  • Only berries for fruit in moderation
  • No dairy (I use feta cheese and plain Greek yogurt) Yes to almond milk!
  • Only grass fed beef, chicken, turkey or wild caught fish. And our home raised chicken eggs.

It’s made my life…well,

SIMPLE!

And yes…I do feel a LOT better. My energy is back, swelling subsiding and tummy pain 90 percent gone. I still have to get that one test….still blech about it, but I must eliminate that concern. Besides…its on the “you need to get this one anyway” list.

I encourage you to at least look up the “Know the Cause.com” website.

If anything just to see WHY I went this route. You may see yourself or someone you love who had an illness that was attributed to one thing, and its root cause was most likely something entirely different!

If you’re at all intellectually curious….check it out!

So…that’s the yummy Buckwheat with walnuts and blueberries bread I made…toasted with almond butter..delish!

And those would be the incredible pumpkin, walnut (with a tad of organic unsweetened coconut) muffins I just made. Glorious!

See…you can still eat simple AND well!

Homemade organic tomato beef soup with carrots, organic cukes and homemade bread.

And for the curious….it was easy going cold turkey!

My biggest concern was missing chocolate…dark chocolate. Seriously!!!

And hurray!! There is even a sugar free delicious chocolate bar that Doug Kauffman recommends… the kids are ordering me a few for Christmas.

Whoop, cant wait!

Now…on the art business front…I’ve been cranking out the work!

To gauge my work against other professionals in my mediums and genres of choice, I have joined quite a few forums and submitted work for review and comment. I’ve actually been quite thrilled and encouraged by the responses!

So look for my pieces on Instagram and dherbertart/fb.

Here’s one of the most recent, also available in giclee! “Full Bore!”

And finally…the AQHA Princess had her teeth floated, gets a body adjustment next week and an assessment ride with the world’s nicest trainer. I’m keeping it simple and stress free on that front as well…..

Because after all, I’m NOT in control…never have been, and surely can trust God to work out the details in ALL areas of my life…including my passions!

Want a quick stretch tip?

Here you go!

https://equicizer.com

So, added to my gratitude list this week;

  • God is always lovingly handling the big and small things!
  • I (and most Americans) have been blessed with so much, that giving back is not a burden!
  • And He allows me to keep learning about His goodness every day!

His mercies are new every morning!

Keeping it simple makes it easy to count your blessings!

What are you grateful for?

Keeping Quiet…

A couple of my favorite verses are:

“lead a quiet life…and work with your hands…”

(1 Thessalonians 4:11) and

β€œIn quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”

(Isaiah 30:15)

Are you picking up on a theme here?

I’ve been in a creative storm, mostly because I’m really working hard on my art making as a business.

(Just finished these drafts! Strong and gloriously beautiful. Just amazing horses!!! 11Γ—14 Colored pencil on Bristol)

I’ve also been exploring new techniques (I got oils…yes, smelly oils. Acrylics are my thing, so way out of my comfort zone!!!) New subjects (like drafts) and styles. It’s been, well…crazy FUN!

Caveat.

Working from home is still radically new for me. I really enjoy the freedom to schedule my time but I am very aware of time itself!

It really does fly.

Failing to plan is planning to fail…right? So, I try to plan to be productive every day!

There’s a big difference between “busy-ness”…and productivity.

Frankly, for me…it’s important to have uninterrupted quiet. The smellavision (aka television) and phone need to be off.

So my brain can be on!!!

Colors, textures, shapes and spaces all get reexamined. New ways of seeing.

Even our dinner has to be appealing to the eye…or blech, not interested. The challenge of preparing organic, delicious and varied meals can be daunting if you don’t have a plan.

My plan:

  • Always go organic.
  • Always include at least 3 colors.
  • Always go for 2/3 vegetables to 1/3 protein.
  • And always make it look appealing

(Piper the Pom photobomber!)

Wild caught salmon cakes, and organic vegetables…yum!

Organic green beans, carrots, nectarines, and

Good stuff!!!

This idea of seeing possible new combinations, textures and colors carries over to other areas.

So when I saw this weird little handmade table at a thrift store I could totally see it in our kitchen. (It matches our huge handmade live edge dining table)

Yup…40.00 treasure snagged!

Now that I’ve kind of brought up the idea of having a plan (with room for creativity), and being in a quiet place to help make the plan work…here’s the thing….sometimes it’s hard work staying quiet. Distractions so easily creep in.

The same thing happens when you ride.

And your horse knows it!!!

You can be present or distracted, but not both! So when your practicing, it’s important to know how to isolate parts of your body to focus on correctness.

Let’s look at how I practice using my leg correctly on Winston!

Are you a “quiet” rider? Have you ever had someone videotape you riding? I know, trust me…I hate having my picture taken… and videos are worse!

But its a way for me to improve. That’s another reason why I love my Equicizer…perfect practice!

https://equicizer.com/

And you know what….the not so pretty (but temporary) will usually preceed the “hey, you’ve been working hard, I can see real improvement!!!” comments. Bam!

So mount up! Get present. Eliminate distractions…..

Find your quiet.

Its totally worth it.

Ripples…..

You never know what one small (seemingly) insignificant action can eventually cause to happen!

I had just finished a couple of pieces of art from my own reference photos and posted updates on my Facebook Hearthstone Studio (dherbertart).

Routine by now…

I’ve begun to understand that a small business takes mindful, constant exposure and marketing.

And patience, and prayer….but I digress.

One early feedback comment asked about the identity of the person (his back is turned) and I verified the correct guess. A few days passed and I noticed the post was shared. That’s usually good. But…

More crickets…..

That’s ok. I’m NOT in charge of anything other than being faithful to my core values, and making the best art I know how to make.

Then one evening I got an instant message…

Hi Deborah, I’m a dear friend of the owner of the horse in the picture with “….” She would love to talk to you about buying the painting. She’s not on FB. Can you please call me so I can give you more information?

“Why sure! I’d be happy to chat with you!”

(Are you kidding…I’m jumping up and down right now)

It turns out that somehow through multiple shares and texts, the picture made its way to this gal, who instantly knew the mare and rider/trainer.

She is dear friends with the owner of the horse (who doesn’t use social media). The gal recently lost this special mare and was still grieving.

At a dinner out together these sweet friends handed the gal a Kleenex and a phone and showed her my painting. She burst into tears….and, well….

The whole series of events is a “Divine intervention thing”!

I’ve made a couple of new friends, sold a painting to the specific person God had wanted to own it….

AND I learned about an amazing new injectable treatment to try for Belle…

Which I ordered yesterday!

Wow…just WOW!!!

Our God even cares about the little things in life…things we think we “just have to live with (or without!).

So…updates on that news for Belle in about a month!

Unbelievable…if I wasn’t living it!

The everyday becomes exciting! πŸš€

Back to normal for a moment, whatever that means!

Living in a log home means being creative with space usage. I don’t like clutter, but I do like having things handy…especially things I cook with.

In the kitchen, which is also the dining room…and part time drawing space, I organized shelves for my everyday items. Local raw honey, organic coconut oil, organic olive oils, natural sea salts, ACV, MCT oil, etc…

and the dog treats!

So a view across the tiny rolling island and my yummy morning bulletproof coffee.

That’s when I decided to show you a different view of Winston!

https://equicizer.com/

Early mornings are great!

After my barn chores I’ll be working on this new piece. A horse standing in water…a new challenge!

A few hours on that piece, and then I’ll go get horse feed and fresh veggies. I’ll let what I find at the best farm market ever help me plan dinner!

(And here was last night’s yum dinner!)

Fresh organic green beans, organic apple and carrot slices and roast chicken.

The leftover chicken became chicken veggie soup!

What do your weekends look like?Moments of fun? Is there any room for spontaneity? Reflection?

Do you slow down enough to see God’s hand on your life?

I hope so….one of those amazing ripples of His may be about to touch you right now!
Proverbs 16:9

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The mind of man plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.

Have a wonderful, blessed day!

Transitions: On Winston…and in life…(like THAT is a surprise?)

You’ve read the road signs…you know what’s up ahead….but somehow you just don’t want to take the turn down that road. More on that later.

I’ve been working in a serious artist mindset the last few weeks…I even got creative with an “outside the box” arena toy!

And…I’ve been making art…lots of art!

It’s what artists do when they are frustrated, or full of whatever it is that makes us have to MAKE things.

Like this painting in process,

Which is a reiner piece (acrylic on canvas) from Triple J Arena, Sarasota….

then this one for grins, in process (Prismacolor pencils of our cat Bentley, who just showed up one day!)…

And finally…this one, (Faber-Castell pastel on board) finished and ready to send out, for Kayla, at Equicizer

(https://equicizer.com/)

…just because!

So….my explosion of creativity is probably due to a need for measurable productivity. Does that sound weird?

YET another reason why Winston is a necessary part of my life! Every ride on Winston is productive!

A great workout….repeat until you have a hard time counting…lol!

So….about transitions…you know, the go down THAT road kind?

Today was a pivotal day for me with Belle, “The AQHA Princess.”

She’s had tons of therapy, a few months back her hock was injected, and she’s on a great feed program. The saddle fitter adjusted her saddle twice.

Today was supposed to be lesson day 2 this week…we got rained out Tuesday.

I’ve been playing with Belle in hand, but still had too much trepidation about riding her alone with no one around. But today…I didn’t hear from Karen. (turns out her mare had injured her eye somehow! Poor Divinity!)

So, the sun was shining, it was hotter than a super nova and as humid as a rain forest….but I tacked up.

Alone.

We did some ground work, some TMJ releases, walked around the new arena toys and then I got on.

Whew…no biggy.

We walked on a long rein in big loops around the ring and on the third loop she stopped dead, threw her head down and started chomping the bit and tossing her head around.

Ok…breathe….

Dismount, more groundwork, not forcefully but firmly, mounted (with a treat for being cooperative) and walked on a long rein again.

This time the stop on her part was much more angst driven and I felt her back start to tighten.

This was pain driven. Belle hurt. So…

Dismounted…Cried…..

(a lot)…

and told Belle she was a good girl because she tried.

It’s time to go down a new road.

I’ll try a new anti-inflammatory supplement, give her the rest of the summer off, possibly get her hock injected in the fall and try again for a month to see how it goes.

But the reality is, we’ve been on this cycle going on 3 years….

I’m taking a lesson on Karen’s warmblood Decor Saturday morning.

I’m going to smile, and be the best rider I know how to be.

It’s the plan for the foreseeable future.

And in faith I’ll wait and see what God has in store for me, for Belle….and for His choice of a future riding partner.

I can’t complain or worry.

He is the God who makes beauty from ashes.

Isaiah 61:3
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, and to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of gladness for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

“Check Engine Light!”

You know when that scary little light goes on when you’re driving, and you have two choices?

Choice one: Pull into the nearest shop and have a diagnostic made asap…and if you picked the right shop and caught it (whichever one of thousands of doodads under the hood “it” might be) in time before something really serious happens…yay! Count your blessings! And the money you most likely saved.

Choice Two: Live dangerously! Ignore the light, wish it away, or tell yourself that you’ll get to it later. You already know how that usually works out. Often…expensive, and perhaps with long term…inconvenient or even dangerous repercussions.

Sigh…horses don’t have check engine lights, but if you know your horse well, then you can and should pick up what he or she is telling you. Stop…Check!

The AQHA Princess Belle went really well Tuesday during our lesson. She was even, er…pleasant.

But, she hadn’t been ridden at all in a week due to schedule conflicts. That’s ok.

Today (Thursday) was the second lesson and ride for this week as we work our way back to fitness.

The weather has been freakishly hot and humid with VERY scary, severe pop-up thunderstorms.

Earlier this morning before my lesson I decided, since things were going well, to contact the best saddle fitter and bodyworker around, Miss Sherry! I asked if she could double check Belle’s saddle as she was now getting back in shape. “Yes!” was the quick reply, she could even stop by later today. Whoop! Surging ahead!!!

Except….during the beginning of the riding lesson today…the Check Engine light came on!

Belle…”I don’t want to turn left mom!…And, I mean it.

Me…”Um, hey princess…no pulling the union card on me!!! You need to turn left, because we’re over that bratty stuff…remember?”

Belle…”No!!! I am NOT and if you try to make me we’re skipping union negotiations and going straight to ugly boycott!” (Which means I refuse to move any part anywhere at all!)

I looked over at Karen, who was about to make a very strong suggestion…and I told her Belle was letting me know in no uncertain terms that she was hurting.

Not just The Princess and the Pea hurting, but genuine pain.

Providentially, Sherry pulled up just then! (Only God can work these timing things out.)

I had already dismounted, so the three of us had a chat about what was happening, and Sherry readjusted the saddle and pad and asked me to mount up again so she could see what was happening. I’m sure you could have read Belle’s mind as clearly as I was…

….even as far as Cincinnati!

Belle…”What??? Are you nuts??? You jusssst got OFF!!!”

She graciously allowed me to hop up, she even allowed me to walk her past the two gals, and then she stopped dead in her tracks, dropped her head, clapped her mouth and teeth, and refused to move.

Folks….please listen to your horses!

The diagnostic…

Sherry pulled off Belle’s saddle and basically got really inside it. Yes, it needed serious adjusting with wool in a couple of panel spots. She has a great eye for detail, and an analytical mind.

The saddle (not me) went back on Belle and clearly fit her much better! Yay!

Then, Belle got a great full bodywork once over and was definitely sore in several places. With plans to double up on her joint supplements and therapeutic walk, trot riding only after a couple of days off…we’ll see how it goes.

Proceed…because the Check Engine Light is off, for now.

A great support team includes not only your trainer, your vet, and the right farrier….but also your saddle fitter, bodyworker and chiropractor.

So, again….an opportunity to pause, Breathe…and remember that this road to fitness is a journey, not a deadline.

What a relief!

So what do you do in between the ups, downs and surprises?

Try to be consistent.

Here is a screenshot of Sunday…what it looked like from the fitness tracker’s point of view.

Ok…seriously boring chart. I didn’t ride Winston, didn’t do anything physically strenuous. But I did enjoy driving up to the big mall with my hubby, window shopping, and having a nice lunch out. Long drive back, clean stalls….yada yada…

Now Monday…with an excellent ride on Winston in the evening.

Here is Tuesday…lesson in am and riding Winston in the evening!

So you see….big difference when I ride!

https://equicizer.com/

Are you taking the time to listen to what your horse is telling you? Are you listening to your body…giving it what it needs?

It’s pretty simple….healthy fuel, healthy relationships, fitness that’s fun….and Faith.

Annnnd….maybe even a little weirdness! I turned the table! A diagonal! All my Concrete Sequential, highly ordered straight line, square corner friends will go crazy!!!

Try something different (I may even leave the table there!)..and enjoy…even if it’s an experiment! Who knows, you may love it!

Like I LOVE having a horse named Winston in the living room!

So, go ride, or rearrange something, or play! It’s good for the soul.

Just Relax…

For the last two weeks I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to grab a video of canter work.

You know…the AQHA princess and I smoothly working Western Dressage movements like the serpentine with canter-walk-canter transitions. I really wanted to show more progress.

Monday night when I brought H.M. (Belle) in I didn’t notice anything odd.

I usually don’t walk a 360* inspection around her every night.

THAT’S going to change.

Text to Karen Tuesday morning, confirming lesson time: “The princess gashed her right hip last night, I didn’t notice it until this morning. I think she’s fine.”

Karen (with her usual abundance of caution and wisdom): “Let’s wait until Thursday, I’d rather her be 100%.”

Me: “You know…I’m thinking she goes out of her way to get OUT of work!”

Karen: ” No-one said she was stupid! She has a union card!”

That’s why I love Karen! She can crack me up in an instant.

So I doctored Belle up, did ground work with her Tuesday pm and ‘let’s refresh our memory on how to s.t.a.n.d. at the mounting block nicely’ work Wednesday evening….

It worked.

Thursday morning (yesterday) dawned bright and we had an early, cool of the day (almost 90) and shade from the oaks, lesson. Despite not being ridden at all in a week, she was a good girl. She even stood at the mounting block like a lady. Great lateral work, trotting poles, transitions….

But no canter work yet.

She was tiring, and we ended on a good note. (And I didn’t pass out from the humidity and increasing heat) Plan for next time…canter early in lesson!

The good news…I really WANTED to canter! That is a huge breakthrough my darlings!!!

A quick hose off and out with the boys she went. That was the best part of a quickly downhill day for both of us.

I hopped in the Ram and went to the feed store, bought feed, went to Stuff-Mart, etc…

Got home, bedded stalls and got feed and hay ready. I called the horses in and the boys cantered up as always, Belle strolled up as always.

But….when I closed her gate and positioned her fan she went right down and rolled. Crumb!!! That’s New!

I grabbed a halter and brought her right back outside. Annnnnd…Let her loose to see if it was just another “union card thing“….. Nope, she dropped and rolled two more times! Colic alert!

I grabbed my stethoscope to listen for gut sounds, which I heard faintly. She was dull acting…lethargic.

I performed gentle belly lifts on her, pulled out my red light therapy light and worked all the points for colic AND called the Vet at the same time. Better safe than sorry!

I also used my favorite Essential oil for tummy distress on her belly, Digest Ease from Eden’s Garden.

Digest Easeβ„’

And I called my neighbor and friend Robin because I didn’t have any banamine. She has horses, and she’s a small animal vet. The more team support the better I say.

The most important member of the team at the moment pulled up in record time and started “the process.” I told Dr. K. everything I had done, he asked a few questions and watched her for a few moments. “Let’s see how she is when you walk her to the good grass in the front yard”

….now, you know Belle would have to be hog tied or on her deathbed to not eat that really good green front yard off-limits grass!

Well…she nibbled at it, and slowly dragged me to a few lush spots. I decided the princess wasnt faking it, because normally I would be hollering and halfway across the yard at this point!!!

Doc was a bit relieved….”good sign” he said, “let’s take her temp.”

Belle was a lady and permitted the indignity, indeed, she had a low grade fever. A quick blood draw showed a slightly elevated blood count, but not panic mode. We cold hosed and scraped her, and then he gave her a banamine shot.

At this point my friend Robin also arrived. After all of us watched her mope around by the barn (No more front yard for you deary) she passed a pile of manure and pee’d……YAY!!!

Only horse people celebrate poop!!!

With instructions from the good doctor to leave Belle out and keep an eye on her, I thanked Dr. K. and made plans to spend the night in the tack room/art studio.

With the two geldings joining her, Belle had company and extra night time turn out. They were all confused.

I was….relieved.

Not too bad…

A Futon, a fridge….a new painting on the easel to work on. I checked the princess every half hour.

By midnight the mosquitoes made putting everyone back in stalls with fans a necessity. They were all notably happier. I could tell by the rush to the stalls and the happy munching of the good timothy hay. Poor Belle got a few scraps….

But, she had an uneventful night and I am so grateful!

Grateful that I had a protocol of my own I put into place, grateful that doc came quickly, (and left a tube of banamine), grateful for my friends checking in on Belle. Grateful Belle is…well, Belle. My princess.

Here is the aforementioned new painting in process.

From my own photo reference from Triple J arena, at a reining show.

For a peek at where we school? My arena behind the barn!

Shade trees are WORTH GOLD in the summer!

And a final note about my workouts with Winston my Equicizer. I did a gym session with my daughter at L.A. Fitness Wednesday am. Her trainer took us through an upper body workout. She noted, like I discovered when I started working with Winston, that my left side was weaker. Yup…fractured wrist in January. But, I could actually DO the gym machine work this week. And, like working with a new riding clinician, I picked up a few targeted excercises to focus on to further strengthen my left side. Cool!!! A date with Winston tonight!!!

By the way, I told you a couple of weeks ago that our Alpha Dressage Association GMO club (USDF Group member organization) came out to my place for the meeting. Everyone got to ride Winston…what a hit!

Comments: “Oh my, that’s a real canter!”, “This is fun!” , “Geesh, I can tell that’s a workout!” “You can watch tv and ride!!!”….

And so many more. I LOVE my Equicizer! (He’s a party animal!)

https://equicizer.com/

I’m heading out to feed now.

Relaxed because I’m NOT in control.

God is!…..What a relief!

So, you have a GREAT weekend! And, relax!