My Partner is Delight

My Partner is Delight
Heading into the great unknown

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Trail Adventure

I had a trail riding adventure a couple of days ago.

My partner Sandra and I were riding out in the foothills following cattle trails and two tracks when we could find them. There are LOTS of holes out there, everything from a foot across to a few inches. So, you have to stay on a trail and you can only ride out there in the winter when the grass is dead and you can see the ground. Some how we got off of the main cow trail we were following and got onto one that petered out on us.

While we were trying to work our way back to the main trail Chardoney stepped in one of the really big holes and panicked, then jumped out of it. Since I was leaning forward so that I could see the ground to look for holes, I went right off over her shoulder. I landed on my shoulder with my head tucked. I don't think I am hurt too bad, I just have a catch in my back when I breathe too deep, so hopefully it is just a muscle spasm. Waiting for the Aleve to kick in right now.

Chardoney took off and ran over the crest of a hill out of sight. Sandra and I looked at each other - Sandra asked if I was OK and then made her horse stand still. I am so thankful for a riding partner who doesn't panic.
I am thinking that if Char doesn't come back, I am going to have a loooong walk home - we were several miles out. Sure enough though, we hear a high pitched "OMG I am all by myself!" whinny and she came running back to us.
As we were walking along, me leading her while I caught my breath, Chardoney stepped in a smaller hole and got snorty and scared. I have thought about hobble breaking my horses before,  just in case of something like this. Now I think I will find a trainer to help me. If she were hobble broke she wouldn't panic when she feels her legs trapped. It is a good thing for trail horses to know for just such an occasion.

I got back on and we rode the few miles home with no issues, just like nothing happened. Chardoney was calm and cool. I really love this horse!

Old Age

I was just thinking today about how our horses all have their "birthdays" on Jan 1. This will make Delight 20 years old! Tawshi will be 11, and Star will be 6 - is she really that old? She was just born! My new girl Char will be 6 as well.
I have been thinking about the age "20". It sounds so old. I read all the time about people retiring horses in their mid teens! Heck, that's when I *first* started Delight in Endurance! Delight is getting grey on her face and she is loosing some topline but other than that she is a maniac. No signs of slowing down at all. In fact, I really feel like her attitude and her "go" are a lot younger than her body. I went for a 2 hour ride the other day and had to work hard to keep her at a walk, she was sweaty and ready to fly. We both love zooming down the trail!

Last year I skipped taking her to the last endurance ride because I felt like it took her so long to come back from the one before. It wasn't that her "go" was any less or her attitude was lagging. It was just a gut feeling based on the look on her face from her pictures out on the race trail. It seemed more work for her than other rides.

Maybe I pushed her too hard - we did have a fast time - or maybe it was a failure in getting her really fit - or maybe it was an age related thing. I dunno. I will make sure she is very, very fit for next year. (This is done with long slow miles not speed work).

I don't think she is ready to retire yet but it is kinda scary to ride a horse who is "20".

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fuzzy Ponies

Delight and  her good friend Mo

It has been a dry winter so far. I have been glad to not have to deal with mud yet. The air is clear and cold. The horses love this kind of weather. They are pretty frisky and often take off in the pasture tails flying high. As long as the wind isn't blowing it is quite pleasant to work in this weather. 


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cozy, Warm and Toasty

Star is COZY:

 Delight is WARM:

And Chardoney is TOASTY:

Morning Chores:

My Morning Chores.

I wake up drink my coffee and realize it is in the 20's outside. I put every layer of clothes on that I own, then head down to the barn.

With Lyn's help I move 14 (thousand) horses from their stalls and paddocks to the pastures. My fingers and toes start to freeze and I can't feel the front of my thighs. Dang, I should have put those longjohns on. At least the sun is out and there isn't any wind.

Next I break  2" of ice in the water trough and pitch it out. Hmmm I am feeling warmer now. Gee that sun feels nice. Unzip Carhart coat.

I walk briskly back to the barn and by the time I am there I shed my coat. I have nine (billion) stalls to clean. Time to crank the Country music up in the barn. Then I start on the First stall. Oh that sun feels good. It's 30 degrees! I take off my vest.

Second stall... work work work. Man, I am getting warm! Hat comes off. I can feel my thighs!

Third stall, oh boy, it is officially above freezing. I have toes and fingers now.

Fourth stall - you can see where this is going, right? Off comes the scarf and my sleeves are rolled up.

Fifth stall... hey you guys have dirty minds! Nothing else comes off! But I am now nice and toasty, muscles limber and enjoying a beautiful cold Winter morning. I think to my self, "What a wonderful job I have!"

Monday, November 14, 2011

Don't Bother Me, I'm Eating!

I enjoy the simple things with the horses so much.

Nearly every day when I feed I always take a minute to stop, give each one a pat and tell them how much I love them.

They may not understand my words, but I have no doubt that they understand my heart.
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Monday, November 7, 2011


I rode Chardoney's really big trot today.

It was like floating on air.


For a brief moment I *was* the person whom I saw riding her at the show where I first laid eyes on her.

I can't believe it.
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Two Best Girls

My two best girls in the whole world. I am blessed beyond belief.
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First Trail Ride

  This looks like  a wonderful trail
I had a very nice 2 mile trail ride on Chardoney. 
She was calm the whole time. I rode her with very little contact on the reins and in a western saddle.  She stopped a few times to look around and smell the air and to smell the ground. Went by a few things that are scary and she just cocked her ear and looked at them but trusted me completely, not even tensing up. We were with my endurance partner Sandra and her horse Tia (hot endurance horse) - actually I think Char might have helped Tia to slow down and smell the roses a little.

I didn't take a camera because honestly, I didn't know what to expect. Now I really regret it! I wish I had a pic or two. It was a VERY good ride. It was so nice to just be relaxed and not take a lesson, or work on anything, or ask her for anything. It's like walking with your best friend. I love being out on the trail so much with my horses.

I feel like this is the first time I have really gotten to "ride" my new horse. I can't say how happy I am that she likes going out on the trail without having a spookfest.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beauty In Motion

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Monday, October 3, 2011

A Glorious Roll

I always love it when a horse feels comfortable enough around me to have a good roll.

Ahhh Chardoney. I love you.
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Monday, September 26, 2011

"Everybody gets them. Champions use them"

Overcoming Fear Article

A friend of mine shared this LINK with me. It is to a blog named "Horse Junkies United". They have some wonderful articles on their site, one of which I want to share with you.

It's a  great article about overcoming rider fear.

I have made great strides in overcoming my AOF, (Adult Onset Fear) but it still rears it's ugly head once in a while. I have such compassion for other people who struggle with this. I keep thinking I will write some sort of a mini series of my own articles about the things that have helped me gain my confidence back. I may get around to it... someday! Until then, I hope this helps somebody out!

I have copied this article in it's entirety and included all of the links in the original article. I hope that's kosher! I want to spread the word about Sommer and Horse Junkies United.

Sommer Christie is a certified Mental Performance Consultant from Ottawa, currently finishing her PhD in Sport Psychology. She will contributing to HJU in the following weeks to help you on the Journey to Improve Your Performance. Her article today is about rider fear and it was inspired by a thread on The Chronicle of the Horse. Thankyou Sommer for sharing these great tips and techniques!

From Sommer:
Before digging into this topic I want you know that one of the most common issues that I deal with when working with riders is fear – so take a deep breath and know that you are NOT alone!
Equestrian sport is extremely high risk and offers plenty of opportunities for fear to develop, in riders of all ages and abilities. Although injury tends to be one of the greatest factors leading to fear in riders; fear of competition, fear of failure or even the fear other people watching can be just as debilitating to performance.
Fear can be paralyzing, both physically and mentally. In fact, fear of injury or re-injury may elicit a cycle of psychological (e.g., decreased self-confidence and concentration) and physiological (e.g., increased muscle tension and over-activation) effects that can result in decreased perform-ance (Nideffer, 1993). Although fear can be a major factor in your performance, it does not have to be.
Listed below are a few tips that should help you reflect on your fear and set goals in place to overcome it.
Tips for working with fear:
  • Accept your anxieties as normal – it is normal to experience fear.
  •  Talk to your coach. Often, we are fearful of what the coach might think, yet, they can actually help us overcome the fear if they know about it.
  • Coaches should try to be open with riders. Riders may not talk about fear (hide it) because they are afraid it may be interpreted as a weakness, or feel that they are the only one’s experiencing it.
  • What are you fearful of? Be as specific as possible (e.g., what exact skill or action causes my fear). For example, are you afraid of falling all of the time or are you afraid of falling when the jump is at a specific height.
  • What does this fear make you do (e.g., tense up, lose focus, stop training)?
  • Does this fear help your performance or hurt it? What is this fear preventing you from doing?
  • Should you be this fearful?
3.    ADJUST
  • Adjust your goals to target specifically what you are afraid of.
  • Accept that you may have to slow down and take a few steps back.
  • Set small goals that are achievable.
  • Be specific and define clear actions that you will take.
  •  Make sure that your goals are progressive and ensure successful attempts.
  • Build confidence by mastering the small steps before you move on.
  •   Be proud of your accomplishments, even if they are small.
   If you are injured
  •  Talk to your therapist – educate yourself on the nature of the injury, treatment options, phases of treatment and the expected challenges along the way.
  •   Become an active member in your rehabilitation – set goals and work towards achieving them.
  • Find support – seek out other riders who have gone through similar experiences and ask them how they coped with and came back from injury or fear.
  • Maintain your athletic identity throughout process – Coaches can support this process by giving injured riders roles and keeping them involved.
4.    PRACTICE mental skills techniques
  • Relaxed breathing – Use slow abdominal breathing to relax yourself and your horse.
  • Body scan – While you are breathing slowly, do a quick scan of the important muscles in your body (e.g., legs, arms, neck, jaw) to see if you are tense. If you are holding tension anywhere, try to let it go with a few deep breaths.
  •   Thought stopping – If you are thinking negative thoughts (i.e., If you are anticipating falling), stop! Say “stop” out loud or to yourself and then change your thought to something more positive.
  • Positive self-affirmations and self-talk – Stay positive with yourself and your horse. Negative self-talk should be stopped and then replaced with positive self-talk (i.e., “We are ready, and we can do this”), as well as positive, relaxed confident actions.
  • Imagery – Use imagery to visualize yourself successfully accomplishing what you are afraid of. If you see yourself making a mistake or failing, stop and start again with a more positive focus.
  • Simulation – Simulation training involves putting yourself and your horse gradually into more and more challenging situations until you are doing exactly what you are afraid of.
  • Focus on the process (the small steps)
  • Stay positive
  • Have confidence in your plan
  • Be patient
  • Do not focus on obstacles, focus on solutions
  • Believe in yourself
  • Enjoy yourself
I sincerely hope that these tips help you on your path to eliminating fear and bringing back the joy in your riding once again.
Good luck implementing these skills and feel free to ask more questions in the comments!!

If you wish to work with Sommer Christie on an individual basis, you can send her email or phone             613-407-7669      .

To learn more about Sommer, visit her website.



Chardoney's sire is named Jonker - pronounced "Yon - kur." He is a Dutch Harness Horse.

He was born in the Netherlands in March 1991.

In 1999 he was the Dutch National Champion Harness Horse. In 2000 he was the Reserve National Champion.

He is KWPN approved. Here is a LINK to his current records, and to the records of his get.

He was imported in 2000 and lives in the US now. He is in Ohio. I would love to visit him the next time I am there visiting my family!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Out and About

Char had her first turnout in the 20 acre field on the hill today. I had my camera ready as I expected some serious running and galavanting in the wide open spaces.

She acts like she belongs here already.

Well, she and her buddies took a long draught of water and set about eating sagebrush and sunflowers.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

First Ride

Here's the first picture of my first ride on Chardoney.
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Selling Star

I have decided to sell my Star.

It has been a hard decision, and one I made a while ago, even before Chardoney came into the picture. But I am just now writing about it. There were lots of factors involved in this decision. I don't want to share them just yet. All of the unknowns are very scary, but I do have peace in my heart about it.

Star was my dream foal. On they day she was born I felt God smiling as he gave me my heart's desire: a black filly out of my beloved Delight. I doubt I will ever have the experience of foaling out my own mare again. I won't be breeding anytime in the foreseeable future.

I am sad. In a perfect world I would keep every horse that has come into my life. Each one of them has been a gift of God, come into my life to show me His love and to teach me life lessons. But it's not a perfect world.

And, I do believe that sometimes we must hold onto things loosely so that new things may be placed into our hands.

I have a vision that I will find an owner who's dreaming of a beautiful black Morgan mare, much like I dreamed of Delight and now of Chardoney. She's out there... now to wait and have the honor of being on the other side of Adoption.



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Friday, September 16, 2011

Feed Buckets

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Chardoney's Day Yesterday

Chardoney's day yesterday: Had her breakfast in her quarantine stall. Went to the pasture for 30 whole minutes (2x her regular time - woo!), then into the big paddock which shares a fence line with the pasture.

Makes her very first friend (Tia) over the fenceline and they spend the whole day winking and peeing at each other (Regumate has worn off) eeew.

Walked up to the barn that evening and Char whinnies - her first acknowledgement that there are other horses here! (yay!)

Put her into her very own stall in the barn (out of quarantine now - yay!) and she commences to buck and snort and pace calling out for her new girlfriend Tia, who is racing up and down the one acre paddock snorting and whinnying.

Proceeds to flood her new stall. Buries her whole nose in the automatic waterer in order to pull out the plug - which is flush with the bottom. I put plug back in and watch. Walks straight over and pulls it out again. Evidently she has experience with this.

Different stall with no drain plug. More whinnying for new girlfriend.

So much ruckus that Tia gets to come in and spend the night in the barn for a sleepover.  More, well if you have mares, you know. Two stalls are now flooded, this time with urine (eew). 

I wonder "Could they dehydrate themselves this way?"

Appropriate screaming at each other about how h*rny they are before they settle down.

Yep, she is feeling more at home.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Delight and Star 9.1.11

After all this hubbub about Chardoney I thought I would share a picture of my other lovely girls Delight and Star. I am the luckiest girl in the world!
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I am still amazed that this amazing, beautiful, talented dream horse belongs to me. I can't believe how lucky I am to have her. She is so beautiful.  This page has precious pictures to me - many are from the day I picked Chardoney up.


I am so happy that I have a great relationship with Char's former owner Lynette. Chardoney officially has her Very Own Fan Club. We are the co-Presidents. Purchasing Chardoney feels much more like an adoption from one loving owner to the next. It's really nice to have one other person out there who is willing to talk about this horse with me and never tire of the conversation.


Lynette and I 


I had only admired Chardoney from afar up until this point. I had never actually met her.

Very first touch

Char and Char

Chardoney was bred, raised and trained by Terie Ellis at Ellis Supreme Arabians . She has her own fan club there too. It is wonderful to have a horse that is loved and cared for by so many.

 Terie and Char

Welcome to my home Chardoney! This is  a new chapter just waiting to be written for both of us.


Canadian Arabian Nationals

 Char with one of her riders

Chardoney recently traveled to Canada to compete in the Canadian Arabian nationals. She brought home two top tens in Sporthorse In Hand. SHIH is a class where the horses are judged for conformation, quality of movement, temperament, and overall suitability as a sport horse.

 Here she is with the whole team in Canada

She traveled with her owner Lynette and Ellis Supreme Arabians. It was a long drive, but well worth it for everyone who worked so hard to get there. All of the horses came home with ribbons.

Smiles all around!


Lynette, Chardoney and Kayla

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Friends

Chardoney meets new friends. Star sees a friend, but Tawshi is NOT impressed.
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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It happened! She's Here!

Dreams do come true.

Here is the newest member of my horse family. E-Chardoney.

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Chardoney at Sunset

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Monday, August 1, 2011

The Pink Flamingo

It's nearly time for the Pink Flamingo!

This is the ride that started it all for my riding buddy Sandra and I last year. Since then we have each logged 100 LD miles on our horses! We also have logged 25 on Lyn's horses Sam and Tacki. I think we have definitely found a new passion.

This year we will be bringing 4 horses and 4 riders along. Sandra will be riding Tia in her first ever 50 mile ride. I will ride Delight for the 30 miler on the first day and the 25 miler on the second. Katrina will be riding Sam with me on both days. On the second day we will be joined by Nancy, a first timer riding Takima.

Our crew will be headed by the best crew leader ever Lyn. Chase, Cherish and Nancy, will help her crew on the first day and Chase and Cherish will help on the second day.  Lyn has big plans for some yummy food and Sandra will bring her metal fireplace so we will have food and firelight every day.

I can't wait to hit the trail in the cool green mountains of Cascade. We'll have food, fun and friends. I am so blessed!



I was reading a thread on a message board the other day that was titled: "Heart horse or Dream horse, which would you choose?"

When I read it, I agreed with the people who responded "Heart horse". Delight is my heart horse. I have shed many a tear in her mane and many joys too. We both make an effort to know what the other is thinking, often times with hilarious results. She has a heart as big as Texas on the endurance trail. We have had so many adventures. Unlike other horses that I have owned, I will never sell her. She is my friend.

Delight  started out as a Dream horse. I dreamed for 20 years of having a horse. The horse of my childhood was a little red quarterpony mare named "Babe". She was sold by my parents while I was in my teens and I grieved for her for years. Then there came College and Marriage and Kids... and life. To have another equine best friend was just a dream. In 2005 my dream came true when Tom bought Delight for my birthday. She quickly moved from Dream horse to Heart horse.

I now have the opportunity to own a second Dream horse. I'll share more details later, once she is here. I first saw her a couple of years ago as a three year old at one of her first Class A Arabian/Half Arabian show. She was stunning. I couldn't take my eyes of off her. I was blown away by her talent and beauty. I started to watch for her at other Class A shows and I got to know her owner/breeder. At one time I thought about purchasing her, but I decided to put training on Star instead. I thought that this horse was a superstar and way out of my league.

Over the last couple of years she has grown into a beautiful full bodied mare. I have followed her career from afar, asking for updates from her breeder. She was sold once. I never thought I would see her again. I was excited when she came back to her breeder. Then she was sold a second time. I got to meet her new owner and we hit it off. I was very happy that she had found such a kind, loving person.

Now she is for sale again. I am excited because this time I have the opportunity buy her.  Just like Delight, she is a once in a lifetime Dream horse. I have high hopes she will soon become a heart horse too.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Owyhee Cheap Thrills No Frills


I rode the Owyhee Cheap Thrills No Frills endurance ride last month and I thought I would share a few pictures. It was the first ride of the year for me. I rode Delight 25 miles each day. Sandra was with me riding her trusty steed Tia. On the second day we were joined by Katrina riding Lyn's horse Sam on her first ever endurance ride.


Chase climbed a nearby mountain to take a great picture of Ridecamp. Or, maybe he was trying to get cell phone reception in order to check his Facebook page? We were some of the first to arrive, so there aren't many rigs in this picture. Lyn's truck and trailer are at the top right hand side. 

A Canyon
  Sandra and Tia hightailing it up a hill

spite of being out in the middle of the high desert there were interesting things to see and stunning vistas to explore. On the second day we went straight up and down a mountain gaining about 1000 feet. We walked our horses both ways. Going down was a LOT easier. Climbing back up, Katrina easily rode Sam to the top. Sandra and I wanted to give our horses a break so we chose to hike up. We were gasping for air. We very quickly taught our horses to "tail". We unsnapped one side of our reins and then followed our horses up, holding tightly to their tails. The horses pulled us up the mountain by their tails!

An old dugout

This was where the trail went along the spine of a mountain. It was very rocky. This pic doesn't really show how high or steep it was. We rode all the way to the top in the distance and then down the other side. This part was thrilling to ride!
Katrina and Sam. All smiles.
 Sandra and Tia. All smiles.
 I don't have any pictures of myself from this ride... or any of our wonderful crew Lyn and Chase. They were once again the best crew ever. We had the best support team of all of the riders there!

My view through Delight's eyes. 

It was a wonderful couple of days. The weather was beautiful, the horses healthy and the company the best.