Two Ears Tuesday

On Sunday Toby and I braved the unseasonable wind and ventured out into the unknown on our first off property trail ride. We followed Mel and Jake down the neighborhood lane where trash cans lurked around corners and large rocks stood as sentinels. The little paint looked at each new object with cautious curiosity but never spooked.

As we wound through the wooded path he eagerly stepped out, I think enjoying his new vocation. He flit from one side of the trail to the other trying to take in all the new sites, smells and sounds. It was like trying to ride a butterfly in the breeze. He carefully picked his way through the rocks but when it came to move around the long limbs of a cholla my leg cues became ineffective. I ended up dismounting and leading him around the cactus, there was no need to make this pleasant afternoon a disaster. When we made the turn back for home Jake began to jig and bounce. We stopped and Mel worked him through one of his nervous moments, Toby waited patiently like a seasoned trail pony.

Our decent down the hill proved to be my mounts biggest nemesis. Although he willingly accepts a rider, he’s still learning how to carry their weight. As my center of balance moved over his shoulders he naturally turned across the hill to traverse. I instead pointed him back down the slope and offered him steady support as he learned to bring his haunches under his body.

We retuned back to the barn with a sweaty saddle pad and an itchy backed horse. This big outing had left Toby tired and me with a list of arena work, legs cues there at the top. It’s back to schooling for us but Toby and I sure did enjoy our first field trip.

Two Ears Tuesday

Not every training ride goes as planned. Toby and I have graduated from the arena to riding around the property. We were following Mel and Jake over logs, around trees, and Toby was handling every obstacle like a champ. I became over confident and thought it was a great idea to video our awesome training ride. As the horse in front disappeared around a corner Toby became nervous and wanted to catch up. I was busy playing videographer instead of trainer. When I added my leg to aid Toby around the large cactus bush, he didn’t pick up on the cue and aimed strait for the cholla. I’m pleased to report that both horse and rider avoided the prickly, instead I escaped with only a mouth full of pine needles from a near by piñon tree. When I’m asking a horse to learn they deserve my full attention. Although it was Toby’s training, I’ve definitely learned my lesson.

Two Ears Tuesday

The red waters of New Mexico run through the salted desert like veins through an open hand. This photo was taken in the river bed of Ojito Open Space, where petrified trees and the bones of the largest dinosaur, the Seismosaurus, have been discovered.

Two Ears Tuesdays are back! Follow our journeys through New Mexico here each Tuesday. Come stay with us and discover these places for your self.

Enchantment Equitreks

Knowing I Am Enough

It seems when life gets busy the first thing I set upon the shelf is this blog. Lately it’s been shoved to the very back corner where only dust and spider webs live. In the months it’s sat idle an entire summer has slipped by.

The balmy days between May and September are undeniably the busiest for the business. With only 5 seasons under our belt, Enchantment Equitreks is in its infancy and I’m trying to learn how to juggle and balance all the hats I now wear. Somewhere amidst the chaos I decided to write a blog. I was keeping up pretty well with a weekly post and a few longer pieces sprinkled through out the month. Yet it seemed as the days got longer I found less time to write.

A few days ago, as I was mucking paddocks, I listened to a pod cast about You Are Enough. Even though it was an interview with Deborah Burkman about her 17 year yoga teaching career, I found it spoke directly to my multifaceted life that reads like a drop down menu.

Business Owner

>Horse Trainer

> amateur vet

> full time groom

> semi amateur farrier

> barn manager

> poop scooper

> Marketing Manager

> website designer and master

> social media director

> head of advertising

> photographer

> blogger

> Wrangler

> trail guide

> sous-chef

> yoga instructor

> gardener

Find your purpose and come back to that. And know that you are enough

I may be missing a few categories, but when something needs to be fixed, fed, or facebooked, I’m your go to gal. However, I find my self bogged down with trying to get it all done. During her interview, Burkman said, “Find your purpose and come back to that. And know that you are enough.” This simple and clear message lifted the self imposed weight off of my shoulders and folded it into a more manageable carrying case.

What I do every day is enough. No matter if my day is filled with time in the saddle, time on the computer, or even time reading a good book, it is enough. My to-do list will always be there. The emails will keep coming in. Horses will need to be fed in the morning.

Part of accepting this truth is focusing your path and knowing your purpose. I had to start with the big questions. What is the purpose of my business? Then work down to the smaller details. What is my purpose for this blog? I love writing because it gives me the creative outlet needed to keep my brain lubricated. I’m ok not making money, becoming famous, or having heaps of followers. So when my brain shuts down for a while, and my blog sits in the recess of a dark shelf for months, I’ll know it’s ok. My purpose guides my path and what I do is enough.

Daughters Inherit Their Mother’s Strength 

I intended this post for a Two Ears Tuesday, but it took too long to write. Honestly I had to think a lot about this subject. Last week Paige, our 14 year old neighbor who works for us as an outrider, lost her mare. Belle was Paige’s first horse, the first two ears that would listen to her heart, the first soft muzzle to nuzzle her soul, her first show ring partner, her first life teacher. It’s hard to write about the loss of an equine best friend, so many of us have been on the broken hearted side of this story. Instead I want to write about the unshakable bond between mother and daughter. 
In the last few days of Belle’s struggle, Paige and her parents Mike and Tam worked around the clock to keep the little Arab mare comfortable as possible. When she would call us for help, I could hear the heartbreak in Tam’s voice, not only for the exhausted horse but for her daughter. 

Mothers want to protect their babies from the sharp pain of life, from the hurts of the world. All Tam could do was best prepare her girl for the heartache that would follow and be there with a hug that only moms can give. Paige is a very strong and resilient young lady, but I could see the loss in her eyes and the pain in Tam’s heart. 
Only a horse can sooth this kind of fracture, so my mom suggested we take them riding. Belle passed away late Saturday night and Sunday afternoon we loaded up our soul weary friends and a few of our horses. My mom, Paige, and I all fell into the familiar routine of saddling hoses, strapping on saddle bags, grabbing snacks and water, all the preparation we would do for any client, but today’s client was Tam. It was the first time she had ridden with us as Enhantment Equitreks and her daughter as an outrider. There was light conversation at first, but as the ride took us through forest, meadow, and ridges we all became quiet. As Tam watched her daughter expertly guide us down the trail, I saw pride replace the pain in her heart. You could see how proud she was of her strong, confident daughter. Moms never realize that we gain our strength from them. 

As we unsaddled Tam wrapped her arms around Paige and said, “I’m so sorry.”
“It’s ok mom, it’s a part of life,” she answered.
“No. I’m sorry it took something like this for me to go ride with you.”
It was then that I watched Paige’s heart mend. She knew that her mom supported her passion for horses, but now she knew they could share it.
I hated that our first mother daughter ride was in the wake of such a loss, but out of the anguish came solace. The Sunday before Mother’s Day is now officially the annual Mother and Daughter’s Princes Belle Memorial Ride. I look forward to next year when we celebrate the resolute maternal bond and the remember the spunky sorrel mare. This Mother’s Day I will make sure and wrap my arms around my mother because moms need little girl hugs as much we need mommy hugs. 

Two Ears Tuesday 

I am in the middle of a deep love affair with New Mexico. It began with the cotton wood trees that lined the lane of my childhood home, it intensified with the snow dressed mountains ripe for a ski bum teenager, and solidified by the banks of the bosque where thoughts can meander in the middle of a city. Even now in my seemingly grown up world, a desert sunset sends me into a moment of childlike awe. 

When I came across this between the ears photo of the Rio Grande wandering through the Garrapata Ridge, I knew I wasn’t alone in my love for the Land of Enchantment. Pam McArthur, the owner of McAurther Quarter Horse Boarding Stables, captured one of these moments of awe. Scrolling through her Facebook page revealed her own New Mexico romance that incompasses Aspen groves, mountain lakes, and a sage brushed desert. Although she is located in the northern part of the state, near Taos, Pam has an abundance of diverse landscapes to ride through. 

It is New Mexico’s wealth of varied terrain that I want to share with other equestrians. I’ve been asked many times why I started my business here instead of Colorado. It’s simple… I never ride in the same area twice. Although we ride the same trails with clients week after week, the land evolves, dilevering a new perspective each time. The sandy arroyos sparkle in early morning sunlight, mountain flowers emerge in pinks and purples maturing into reds and oranges, river banks overflow growing into salt cedar jungles. 

New Mexico is an inigma to most visitors who invision our state covered in saguaro cactus and cow sculls. Yes we do have cactus but we live in the high desert that spans from grasslands to alpine forest. The plethora of open space gives the internal nomad a place to ramble. The afternoon thunderstorms that roll across the horizon, the sunset casting a pink hue on the Sandias, and the crisp blue skies that never end, all speak to the soul. For those who call this magical place home, wether by birth right or by migration, we love where we live. 
To explore the wonder of the Land of Enchantment by horseback please visit Enchantment Equitreks to book your riding vacation. 

All photos curtesy of Pam McAuthur and McArthur Quarter Horse Boarding Stables located in Rancho de Taos, NM. 

Two Ears Tueday

This is a bit of a reverse Two Ears photo that captures the joy of riding an OTTB. Cash has been my first rescue, my partner in crime, my wings, my sanity, my most frustrating moments, my best friend. All horses make me smile but only this boy makes me grin. 

Two Ears Tuesday 

Excuse me… there’s something in my watering hole! 

Last week our outfitters, Mel and Paige, took a few Airb&b clients to Galisteo Basin. This red painted desert ride wanders by a few old stock tanks left over from the original ranch lands. While the horses drink and splash, the dogs jump in to cool off. Chloe, the rather large black beast in the middle of it all, is a three year old Black Russian Terrierr we adopted two months ago. 

In January our 14 year old male BRT, Dodger, passed away leaving a huge hole in our hearts. Ten days later a female in Virginia came up for adoption. We flew out to meet the Russian beauty and instantly fell in love. Our journey home turned into quite an adventure when the airline refused to transport her due to over weight issues. Instead we made an impromptu road trip for two and a half days back to New Mexico. 

It took a few months of conditioning for Chloe to slowly gain the strength and stamina needed to be a trail dog. She has been going on training rides from the ranch, but this spring day was her first time to trailer out and go for about three hours with clients. “She loved every minute,” Mel told me later, “but she bounded into the stock tanks to swim.” I don’t think Risa, Paige’s Appaloosa mare,  was too entertained by Chloe’s attempt at fishing. 

This big, shaggy, wet mop of a dog stole the show that day. You can even see in the video where Rain, the bay mare, was tying to splash Chloe when she wades by. She has become quite the addition to our rag tag pack of trail dogs. 

Two Ears Tuesday

I love when someone I follow posts an amazing Two Ears photo. This inspiring picture came from Chris Cox, a trainer that I have been following for a few years. He’s won the Road to the Horse series several times and stars in Chris Cox Horsemanship that airs on RFDTV. I personally like the “Problem Horse Series,” where he visits ranches across the country to work with horses and their owners. After working with rescue horses for the last decade, problem horses are right up my alley. Cox’s training style is in line with many others that I have learned from, like Ray Hunt, Julie Goodnight, and Stacy Westfall. Some call it natural horsemanship, I call it practical training.

In a world where training schedules are over booked I appreciate that Chris took time out of his day to slow down and savor nature’s splendor. This picture not only captures a beautiful Texas sunset but also a moment between a man, his horse, and God. He shared this personal peace with his Facebook fans, giving them a glimpse of the man behind the brand; something that many professionals rarely get to do amongst all the sponsor advertisment. This rare connection between fan and horseman has ignited a deeper respect and enthusiasm for Chris Cox Horsemanship. I plan on a training video binge this weekend. 

” I had the Best seat tonight to watch Gods work.” ~ Chris Cox

The Barn Doesn’t Care

I came across this poem and instantly fell in love. “Yoga doesn’t care,” is my mantra when a guilty feeling starts to crawl its way to the surface.

Yoga Doesn’t Care: A Disclaimer that Should be Posted in Every Studio. 

By Janne Robinson

(Abbreviated version)

Yoga doesn’t care what your hair looks like.

Yoga doesn’t care if you are vegetarian, if you eat meat or know what Kombucha is.

Yoga doesn’t care when the last time you practiced was—yesterday, six months ago, never.

Yoga doesn’t care what kind of mat you have, brand new or eating away at itself.

Yoga doesn’t care if you show up cranky or exhausted.

Yoga doesn’t care if you wear mala beads.

Yoga doesn’t care what the tag on the back of your pants says.

Yoga doesn’t care if you don’t know what yoga means.

Yoga doesn’t care how much money you have, what house you live in, what car you drive.

Yoga doesn’t care if you are flexible.

Yoga doesn’t care if you fall over in Trikonasana.

Yoga doesn’t care if you fart during practice.

Yoga doesn’t care if you ever make it into head stand.

Yoga doesn’t care if you feel uncomfortable saying Namaste and Om.

Yoga doesn’t care if you drink super food smoothies or drink coconut water.

Yoga doesn’t care if choose the back corner or the front row of the room to practice.

Yoga doesn’t care if you stay to meditate.

Yoga doesn’t care if you can put your leg behind your head, or lick your own ass.

Yoga doesn’t care if you know what Ujjayi breath is.

Yoga doesn’t care if you have a man bun.

Yoga doesn’t care if your monkey mind takes over.

Yoga doesn’t care how old you are, the color of your hair doesn’t affect your practice.

Yoga doesn’t care if you juice or cleanse.

Yoga doesn’t care if you shake the entire 60 minutes.

Yoga doesn’t care if you complete a 30 day challenge.

Yoga doesn’t care if you shop at whole foods.

Yoga doesn’t care if you remember to shave your armpits.

Yoga is just happy you show up.

Too often I mentally kick my self for not stepping onto my mat for days. I know that a simple fifteen minute session would make all the difference in my day. Instead, I’ll throw out some excuse about time and rush about creating more tension. When I finally find my self back in Tadanasna, if only for a few minutes, I remember “yoga doesn’t care.” It also couldn’t give two pennies about when I show up, how I look, what mood I’m in, what I ate the night before. It’s just happy that I showed up.

I believe “yoga” can be replaced by many words. Running, biking, blogging…. the list could run on. The “word” is what makes you happy when you show up, in what ever state. At first I wanted to replace yoga with my horse, but that didn’t seem to encompass the whole feeling. It’s more than just one horse, it’s the barn full of horses. It’s getting up early to the barn to watch the sunrise. It’s sipping a cider at the barn after afternoon chores. It’s sneaking to the barn late at night just to check in on sleepy ponies. The barn is my happy place.

The Barn doesn’t care.

The barn doesn’t care if your hair is in a ball cap.

The barn doesn’t care if you wear Tuff jeans or Kerrit breaches.

The barn doesn’t care if your horse is purebred or backyard-yard bred.

The barn doesn’t care if you’re eight or eighty.

The barn doesn’t care if you’re finishing a lesson, going on a trail ride, or prepping for a show.

The barn doesn’t care if there is an eight horse slant with living quarters or a two-horse stock parked in the back.

The barn doesn’t care if you’re Parelli, Classical, Cowboy, Ray Hunt, Julie Goodnight, or Self trained.

The barn doesn’t care if you can spend all day or just enough to finish chores.

The barn doesn’t care what car you pulled up in.

The barn doesn’t care how many saddles you have in the tack room.

The barn doesn’t care if your best friend has two legs or four.

The barn is just happy you showed up.

I’ve never regretted the time spent at the barn or on my mat. I have to remind myself that it’s ok to spend 10 minutes in Sun Salutations if I don’t have an hour for a class. It is ok to groom a horse for ten minutes if I don’t have an hour to saddle up. The moments that make us happy are always there waiting for us. Essentially it isn’t yoga or the barn that’s just happy that I showed up, it’s me.

I am just happy that I showed up.