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.

♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡

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

In 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!!! 11×14 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! 🚀

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 Ease™

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!

Personal Progress… (Yay!) and Justify…”Proving it beyond a shadow of a doubt ….he OWNS the Triple Crown”!!!

History made…and the Lord acknowledged for His blessing. So genuinely thankful, Justify did it….ALL THE WAY! What a great horse!

It’s enough to make you holler, which is exactly what I did while riding my Equicizer Winston…and watching the Belmont Stakes. It was quite the display.

It got so exciting I was jumping out of the saddle…and yes, I got a little misty eyed. I couldn’t help it, I’ve been following Mike Smith throughout this amazing journey to the Triple Crown. He loves his job, the horses he is blessed to ride, and he is so quick to give God the credit.

https://equicizer.com/pages/2018-belmont-stakes

What a great guy!

Indeed, it’s proven that living a life of gratitude is healthier and provides much needed perspective. It helps you realize what matters most…not worrying about what we don’t have, but focusing on all the blessings we do have. Faith, family, friends, health…

(and frankly…if all I had was my faith I would be still be so blessed! Because I know God is GOOD! And I know the plans He has for me are good.

What are you grateful for?

♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡

I WAS SUPER EXCITED THIS WEEK…because when I had my riding lesson Wednesday there was a big double take moment from me and a “May I quote you?” statement that my trainer said about my ride. I said…”ummm….like for my blog”? She said “sure”…

Happy dance!

And another thing to be, er…um, thankful for…is the ability to totally change your mind and be seriously ok to go there. Like when you do a project, and then COMPLETELY redo it!

Yuppers, the kitchen backsplash I disliked for 15 years got redone. Twice.

(Poor hubby, he’s learned to just roll with these moments.)

The first redo was with paint. It was better, but…meh.

The second time…ooooh la la!

So much happier with it! A galvanized tin tile look….fits the log cabin decor, brightens and, well…its cool.

Just remember…measure twice, cut once. It was a breeze putting up. Really.

And speaking of easy…

Sometimes it’s just too hot to cook. Organic, healthy, cool and refreshing.

The best farmers market around…Detwilers Farm Market!

Where’s your favorite place to shop for organic produce and healthy food? Tips? Recipes?

Some very happy, grateful folks tonight….

What a day!

Jeremiah 29:11-13 New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart

12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart

Delays, Debuts and Discussions…

It’s officially here. Summer heat, humidity and rain….LOTS of rain!

Florida has two seasons, “Paradise” (8 months…and glorious) and “Blech!” (4 months..and everyone who can run for the hills anywhere north of Atlanta…does!)

These predictably humid and often stormy days are interspersed with the odd “feels like” 110 degree cloudless day and the occasional tropical event.

Annnnd….today IS the first day of hurricane season.

Thank goodness for my Equicizer “Winston”!

I can ride in my pjs or after I’ve sloshed through the yard back from cleaning the barn. Yay!!! He doesn’t care, and he doesn’t get crabby!

I can get pretty goofy with Winston…the “right brain” creativity prompted by a recurring memory from my childhood.

My parents said if they ever heard the words “I’m bored” they would fix it so we wished we never uttered them!

Chores galore!!!

Needless to say, riding is always more fun than chores!

So….

Part of my weekly to do list (I did NOT say chores) is to stay on track with my art making goals.

One of the goals for this year was to enter several shows and exhibitions. Last week I received notice that my polo painting “Polo Verde” was accepted into the Florida’s Finest juried statewide exhibition in Sarasota.

So I attended the opening reception last night in stealth mode. By myself.

I took pictures of people looking at all the great art, I took pictures of shoes….and yes, I took pictures of my picture.

I felt like an undercover private investigator…..note to self; art exhibition receptions would be WAY more fun with someone to talk to about all those art lovers, their shoes…

and the art!

The mission continues…and another piece completed to enter into a USDF art contest!

“Enter at A”

If you zoom in you can see the dressage ring reflected in the eye. THAT was fun!

Speaking of…what is 10 pounds and always happy?

That would be Piper…the pint sized rescue Pomeranian! He makes me laugh…a lot!

(Who can keep a straight face when that little guy looks at you and WINKS! Seriously…he does it at will!)

What have you been doing to keep laughing, or growing, or getting healthier?

That is homemade chicken crust pizza with organic sauce and cheese and organic veggies…totally yummers! Easy peasy too!

Finally, I’m having our dressage club over in a couple of weeks for our June meeting. You KNOW they will want to hop on Winston. Wouldn’t you?

I asked a couple of gals who had come over for a visit, on different days…but both coincidentally named Deb, to give me a little feedback in writing from their first encounter with an Equicizer.

Here’s what they said:

Deb #1 (upper level rider, trainer and equine/human physical therapist)

Winston has amazingly authentic gaits ! Perfect to facilitate or maintain riders muscle memory from beginners to advanced . Practice upper level moves even when you don’t have an upper level horse ! Lots of fun .

Deb #2 (working on silver medal in dressage, licensed Psychologist and works with riders)

Meeting Winston
A special thank you to Deb Herbert for allowing me to try her Equicizer Winston. I was pleased to meet her patient and SAFE riding exercise partner and quickly learned he was a real workout. Winston requires the use of my core muscles to move and a non-restricting hand to keep him going. With Deb’s guidance I was able to experience walk, trot and canter, as well as feel how to keep my arms and legs independent from my seat. Winston was also very sensitive to any changes in the rhythm of my seat or lifting my seat from the saddle. He was also a real tattle tale if my rein contact became inconsistent. In about 10 minutes I was sweating and 20 was all I could handle. Winston was a fun and instructive way to stay in condition for riding.

Such GREAT feedback!

I love it when people find out about new opportunities and fun ways to stay, or get fit!

Well, here’s hoping the awesome weather guy with the cool suspenders got it right for our neck of the woods this weekend….get ready Belle…I’ve REALLY missed you!

Have a blessed weekend….

Because He IS Good!

“When it rains, it POURS…or, ‘The Little Bumps on the Road of Life’ (or on your horse)…!”

Can you catch my drift?

Be careful what you pray for folks!

Because we were in a severe drought and I was throwing hay to my little herd like candy at a parade…I, well…. you know….implored upon the Lord to send rain.

So Sorry, Floridians!

The combined prayers of horse owners alone were probably so obnoxious that the Lord waved his hand and smiled benevolently….

I’ll have to remember these last 2 weeks next time I ask for rain! Eight (Yes 8!) inches so far and a tropical event of some sort this weekend promising five inches or more!

And…indeed,

you CAN safely assume the AQHA princess did NOT get ridden.

But yesterday (Wed) was…

gasp…

Dry!!!

I quickly shot off a text to Madame Trainer and asked if she could fit me in today (Thursday…and DRY!) for a lesson. Fully intending to have a great blog and video of Belle and I on the path back to show ready fitness for you. Phhht!

“When it rains…it pours”….not so proverbally speaking.

As I was bringing the gang into the barn, I noticed “Miss Thing” had a couple of bumps on her butt.

Wait,

AND on her flanks…and belly and neck….

“GOOD GRIEF BELLE!

What did you get into?”

I tossed the other two unscathed horses into stalls and thoroughly cold hosed Belle from head to toe.

She was covered with hives and welts. No telling what bit her (Not fire ants, property treated and clear) but whatever it was my sensitive skinned mare was a mess.

And of course, a warning phone call to Karen that Belle was…not herself.

With a promise to call her in the am., I treated just the biggest hives with a little of my “go to” remedy…..Denise’s Swell Gone Salve, and hoped the hives would be gone by morning.

You need to know….pretty much nothing takes away Belles’ appetite, so since she was scarfing dinner and hay like she had been cruelly starved (in other words her normal appetite) I wasn’t too worried.

Until I checked on her at midnight and she also had hives on her face….and more everywhere else. Ack!

Lots of praying overnight, and a run out to the barn at 6 am.

Still hives everywhere.

AND… a huge appetite!

Whew! I called the vet at 9 am. and left a message to just see if anyone else was having hive “issues”….

A fast call back from the vet…YES! Two other horses were experiencing the same thing, and the consensus is that with all the rain the ground wasps have become super active. Yikes!

I was doing everything right according to the vet. Thank you…but….my horse looks like a topographical map to the hills of Kentucky.

Quick message to Denise…of the the same salve mentioned above. “Can I feed Belle the salve?”

And an equally speedy message back. “YES!”

I thought I had read I could, as I have used it on a tooth abscess I had once. Yes…me!

Belle wolfed down the recommended amount (do not mix with feed, and feed a couple of hours after meals), and I’ll repeat tonight. Thank you Denise!

https://m.facebook.com/DenisesAllHealSalve/

I’m so glad that there are all natural, safe alternatives to drugs!

It will be interesting to see how Belle will be for next week’s scheduled lesson after 3 weeks off. I can hear Karen now, “Yup…you and everyone else!” No excuses!

So what do you do when the weather dampens your outdoor plans?

My little brain starts flashing the word “PROJECTS!” in neon!

Bill, the darling hubby, just shakes his head and retreats to the garage. Good man.

A quick run to the craft and home improvement stores and BAM!

I repaired the dog scratched leather on our super comfy sofa and also dyed the leather on a cool but outdated teal leather/nail head trimmed rolling chair I found at an antique shop.

Now it’s a gorgeous spare chair that matches the sofa!

Annnnd then I headed into the kitchen.

You know when you look at something for 15 years and even though you don’t like it, you live with it?

I’m talking tacky kitchen backsplash wall tile here.

Research mode, and voila!

I primed and painted it!

A whole different kitchen look! Now …. a decision to make. Want to help?

Do I want to ADD the galvanized metal trim pieces, or leave as is?

Let me know what you think!!!

A ” before” shot. Blech!

Speaking of the kitchen…Paleo organic blueberry muffins!!! Easy and very, very good!

I love a good sale! And plenty left for the freezer.

So imagine the smell of fresh baked muffins, a soft evening rain and a good ride afterall…….on Winston!

If I didn’t have my Equicizer I don’t know what I’d do. Mope…or think up MORE projects.

https://equicizer.com/

Hubby says I am going to wear poor Winston out.

I secretly think Winston really isn’t concerned…we’re having too much fun.

Working out!

Oh! Some excellent news!

I entered the polo painting into a juried show…

“Florida’s Finest”

…and was accepted!

Whoop!

Reception and photos to share next week!

So, my verse this week?

Amen…

So despite the setbacks….

Saddle up!