Friday, August 29, 2014


I found my first horse, a horse I can call my very own.

As some of you may know, I've been looking at endurance prospects for quite awhile. I found a few I liked, but nothing in the end worked out. I was browsing my usual websites and links last week when this girl caught my eye.

Hip #62 was a 15hh 2004 registered National Show Horse mare. The volunteers who handled her at auction could not stop raving about how awesome she was- solid W/T/C, floaty trot, and even tried a jump. She said to have been a lesson horse at one point in her life. One volunteer watched her being ridden for 20 minutes and was tempted to buy her for herself. Her temperament was friendly and her breeding impeccable with proven endurance horses that had lots of heart.

I spent a few more minutes wistfully looking at her pictures before I went to bed that evening, telling myself she sounded perfect but it wasn't prudent to buy a horse, especially my first horse, sight unseen. I had a very restless night and barely got any sleep...I just could NOT get her out of my mind. I checked the mare's ad again the next morning while at work. She still had not been sold but her page was flooded with comments from people who were interested in her. I felt like I had no chance but I needed to try so I called, the phone rang. No one picked up and the call went to voice mail. I felt my stomach drop. Trying to steady my voice, I left a message with my name and call back number asking if #62 was still available. I hung up and of course, I could not concentrate on anything work-related. My head was reeling partly at the fact that I had just worked up the nerve to purchase a horse and partly in slight panic that she could have been bought right from under my nose.

Couple minutes later my voice mail alert chimed. I hadn't received any phone calls though. Bewildered, I checked the caller id and saw it was the feedlot returning my call. I quickly called back and a lady on the other end answered. She was told me that yes #62 was still available and in fact she had just gotten off of the phone with someone else who asked about her but kept hemming and hawing and decided to think about it more. I bluntly told her that I was really nervous about buying a horse that I've never seen before but I felt like I needed to call. The lady was very understanding and took the time to answer my questions. She started working at the feedlot because that's where her own daughter found her horse. The purchase would be a leap of faith but the girls that worked with the mare really took a shine to her and she was everyone's favorite. I took a deep breath, and said "Let's do it." Five minutes later, Hip #62 was mine.

The rest of the day was a blur and flurry of activity as I called all my horse friend contacts and got set up with boarding and arranged for transportation and quarantine. The next day, the lady called me back for additional details and then she was like "Oh I forgot to tell you her name, I figured you'd might like to know."

The feedlot has rule about not letting releasing identifying information like registered names or tattoos about horses during the auction. As her new owner, I was entitled to know her registered name since she came with her papers but I had forgot to ask when I bought her. The handful of people that I had shared the news with had been helping me come up with barn names for her. I'm usually VERY good at coming up with fitting names but for some odd reason nothing came to mind when I thought of this mare. Nothing seemed to fit.

"Her name is Quest....Liberty Quest." It sounded perfect to me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Riding Gig & Watercolors

Things have been quiet the past couple of months. Since no more Rori, I’ve been putting my time (and money) towards lessons which seemed to have paid off tremendously. Couple weeks ago I had a schedule conflict so did the lesson with another instructor who was 100% new to me. Within 10 minutes, she complimented me on my seat, high praise all around, and said that I was going to become very good rider- Cue biggest smile on my face for the rest of the night. The lessons have been great but I needed more saddle time. Plus I still missed Rori a lot and I needed a distraction. My friend has been trying to set me up with horses at the barn she rides at but very long story short, it’s been one set back after the other. It has been so frustrating to the point that I’ve decided to hell with leasing and I’m going to get my own horse instead. So I started looking at endurance prospects. I looked everywhere and had all of my local FB endurance friends keeping an eye out for me. Finally I found her. A 15yo gray mare that I was smitten with, pretty much 100% ready to buy and literally pending a test ride.  She was set to do her first 50 this past weekend with one of my friends piloting so I decided to wait until the mare got back before I went to go visit. Well just my luck, I find out (albeit indirectly) this weekend that the horse was taken off the market as the owner decided to keep her for herself. I was (and still am) disappointed but I guess it wasn’t meant to happen.

But maybe fate knew that the mare wasn’t going to be and consoled with some better news. One of my endurance friends contacted me on FB last week asking if I was interested in a riding gig. She gave me a number and name and next thing I knew I was on my way to meet H at his property. He had been injured last year and was still on the mend. In the meantime, he was interested in having someone ride his two pinto gelding trail horses for free. He didn’t want any money, just wanted them loved on and exercised. I met his horses, the boarders, and we chatted for nearly 2 hours. Turns out we knew a lot of…mutual acquaintances which we both had similar opinions about (that’s a story for later).  H seems like a true horse lover, loves trail riding/hunter paces, and has a down-to-earth attitude. So tomorrow I start my first horse riding “job”, the first few rides are going to be supervised which is fine with me. I’ve only been doing this about a year (November marks my first full year of riding) so all the eyes the better to learn from. Fingers crossed this works out. 

As for other news, I was recently inspired by one of my all-time favorite artists, James Gurney, to try my hand at plein air sketching so I splurged on a travel-sized watercolor set, water soluble color pencils, and small 140lb paper sketchbook. Of course after ordering the latter, I found a great tutorial online for a DIY watercolor sketchbook…oops. I’m still going to make one (or several) because I’ve got REAMS of watercolor paper in big blocks that aren’t very travel friendly. Keep your eyes peeled for more art because autumn will be here before you know it, along with all the colors! I’ve got a family vacation coming up next month to Acadia National Park in Maine, which I’m really looking forward to. We’ve been there once a few years ago and it’s been ingrained in my mom’s mind as one of her favorite places so we’re going again- no problem with me. I love vacations that involve hiking and trails, plus any an opportunity to do some painting in a new environment.