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Posts Tagged ‘horses’

postheadericon Adjust Your Attitude, Find Your Balance, and Carry a Big Stick

I initially had a different post in mind for this week’s Sunday Selections, but the more I thought about it, the more I became refocused on a theme from a few weeks ago – Balance. It seems I wasn’t really finished with the topic.

In trying to find that elusive balance in my life, I regularly come across tons of advice on why you should find your balance. You’re told how important it is and what the benefits are, but never really any concrete ways of how to achieve it.

The experts may tell you to keep a journal, talk to someone, take a vacation or get a hobby, but that doesn’t really help me personally achieve anything. I’m not balanced, I’m far from it.

Our life has felt a little off kilter or tilted lately, always listing to one side or the other, never really tracking straight down the center. We’re looking to change that and find a little level ground. (notice the jousting references??) Which leads perfectly into today’s post…

Adjust Your Attitude, Find Your Balance, and Carry a Big Stick at Red Barn Blue Skies

Knights to the Rescue

This unbalanced theme became even more fixed in my head when I dug up these photos a few days ago. I took these pictures of our friends about eleven years ago and was afraid they’d been lost in one of our moves. It seemed to be destiny that I found them now as these jousting or “tilting” pictures illustrate perfectly – to me anyways, how balance (or lack of it) is ingrained in every part of our life. Kudos to karma and perfect timing as well!

Red Barn Blue Skies Mounted Knight for Find Your Balance

Just like most of us, these guys have been through a lot of changes in their lives, both personally and professionally. But, through everything, they’ve managed to remain upright and centered in the saddle or as my Dad says, “a foot on each side and your butt in the middle”.  Not always an easy feat.

Find Your Balance at Red Barn Blue Skies Knight 1

Now I’m not a jouster or a shiny knight, but I am an accomplished horsewoman and I do understand what it takes to stay in that saddle. Other than the obvious horsemanship, three attributes immediately come to mind: Attitude, Balance, and (Constant) Adjustment.

Knight Jousting on Buckskin Find Your Balance at Red Barn Blue Skies

Anyone who has been riding horses (or Harleys) for any amount of time will understand the importance and the relevance. But the thing is, you don’t have to be a rider or a knight to embrace these concepts. They pertain to all of us – every day.

Find Your Balance Adjust Your Attitude Carry a Big Stick Red Barn Blue Skies

Change Your Attitude

Your attitude can make or break you, your day, and even those around you. If you wake up spewing negativity and in a foul mood, you set the course and tone for the day. When a knight (or someone like me) has a bad attitude and mounts their horse, more often than not the horse will reflect that bad mood and behave accordingly.

Adjust Your Attitude Find Your Balance at Red Barn Blue Skies

Your attitude affects and impacts more than just yourself. If you don’t want that horse to bite you in the backside or have your boss fire you for being a smartass, change that attitude. Only you can make the conscious choice to do it. Attitude adjustment only happens when you’re willing to change. Of course, staying home is probably a good option for those kinds of days too.

“If you don’t like something,

change it.

If you can’t change it,

change your attitude.”

~ Maya Angelou

Find Your Balance

If there is one thing that can make or break a rider, it is their balance – or the loss of it. Whether you have four hammering hooves or two spinning wheels under you, if you don’t remain aware of your surroundings and balanced up on top, you’re headed for a big fall. Same goes for that rolling office chair.

Find Your Balance at Red Barn Blue Skies with Jousting Knights

Finding a harmonious way to balance your life on both the personal and professional fronts is necessary. While you may not literally fall on your face or have someone chasing you down horseback, your health can be affected, your relationships may suffer, and you might just miss out on the important moments in life.

Red Barn Blue Skies Mounted Knight on Buckskin Find Your Balance

Do yourself a favor and find what makes you happy. Each person must decide for themselves as it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario. What brings me peace in my life may bore the heck out of the next person. Working a hectic 50 hour week and then partying all weekend might bring excitement and joy to someone else while it would push me over the edge. Different strokes.

“Life is like riding a bicycle.

To keep your balance,

you must keep moving.”

~ Albert Einstein

 

Make Constant Adjustments

Keeping your butt centered in the saddle of a charging 2000 pound, fire-breathing steed while balancing an 11-foot lance pointed at your opponent is not easy. And lest you forget, on top of this you’re wearing 100+ pounds of protective (and restrictive) armor – with obstructed/limited vision. Fun times..really.

Series 1 Red Barn Blue Skies Find Your Balance Jousting Knight

As you gallop down the list (the lane) towards your target (who is also pounding the ground towards you), a series of constant, minute adjustments are taking place – you continually shift and find your balance! If you don’t, it’s all over and the fat lady will sing – really loud.

Series 2 Find Your Balance Red Barn Blue Skies Jousting Knight

Your hard-won equilibrium can be thrown off by any number of things – your horse stumbling or adjusting his own balance, your saddle shifting, the lance moving from the wind, your opposing knight hitting you just right, the list goes on.

Red Barn Blue Skies Jousting Find Your Balance Series 3   Red Barn Blue Skies Lances Breaking in Joust Series 4 Find Your Balance

The point is, you must be in a perpetual state of adjustment – just like Sir Shiny Guy in all of the photos above. You’ll notice he is constantly repositioning the lance (and his butt in the saddle) as he progresses – that is until he shatters it against his opponent’s armor. Could you compensate and find your balance during all of this shifting and maneuvering?

Series 5 Find Your Balance Red Barn Blue Skies Jousting Knight

You don’t just plop in the saddle, run down the list and poke your nemesis knight or beloved cousin with your big stick. With all of the variables you might be faced with, you must be ready to change your tactics and your seat – in a split second. Your balance is in a constant state of flux – just like in real life. In order to take things head-on, you need to be flexible and ready to adjust.

“You’re going to face adversity.

It’s not if – it’s when.

You have to be able to adjust on the fly,

and that is what the great ones do.”

~ Andre Ward

Red Barn Blue Skies Find Your Balance Triumphant Knight

More Adjustments

All of these quotes really spoke to me today and seemed quite fitting for making changes as you go. Each is in just enough of a different voice to get the point across while saying pretty much the same thing. One might resonate with you while the others not so much. Again, different strokes.

“I can’t change the direction of the wind,

but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”

~ James Dean

Red Barn Blue Skies Find Your Balance Jousting Knights 3

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached,

don’t adjust the goals,

adjust the action steps.”

~ Confucious

Red Barn Blue Skies Find Your Balance Knight Photo

So how do you find your balance? Do you feel you’ve already achieved it? Let me know!

Learn More

If you want to learn more about modern day jousting and where to see it for yourself, check out The Knights of Mayhem.

You should also stop in at Clif’s California where you can “experience California from a two wheel point of view”.

Here are a few books from my recent reading list that may be of interest:

Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-Care – Maria Noel Groves

Yoga for Emotional Balance – Bo Forbes

Walk in Balance: The Path to Healthy, Happy, Harmonious Living – A Sun Bear Book

 

Adjust Your Attitude, Find Your Balance, Carry a Big Stick at Red Barn Blue Skies

postheadericon Cowboy Up!

We had a fun time out at the ranch today.  After having a lively breakfast, horseback riding was the scheduled event.  The star of course was Rowan!

Our favorite little nephew dude dragged his parents and his Grandma up to visit Aunty Julie, Uncle Mike and Papa Bill.  He was sporting his brand new cowboy boots and told them he just had to go on the long drive to see us.  We weren’t fooled though, he really came to see the horses, the chickens and Adolph the dog!  We’re all aware of our place in line 🙂  I think the tractor we call “Greenie” has also moved ahead of us..

Rowan was all dressed up for the occasion
-Uncle Mike, not so much

 

Rowan on Hailey, Uncle Mike on Ace

 

“Tickle, tickle Hailey!”

 

Rowan showing Papa Bill how to drive “Greenie”

 

He’s a natural farmer!

It was a fun way to spend a sunny morning with loved ones who don’t live close enough to see as much as we’d like.  We’re already looking forward to Ro’s next foray into cowboying.  Look out Hailey!

postheadericon Wedgie’s Week of Woes

Wedgie had a lot of firsts this week – he was FINALLY weaned from his mama, he got his first big boo boo, his first haircut AND he had his first hoof trimming.  All pretty much within 48 hours.  Little guy’s world was turned upside down.

 

We had planned on weaning him a couple months ago, but the unbelievably wet weather the last two months made it difficult.  We didn’t have any spare stalls or inside pens that were dry, so the pasture was the best place for him and his mama.

 

Walking the Wedge
The use of a “butt rope” laid loosely around his hindquarters helps teach Wedgie to walk forward while being lead with the halter.  This is a very common training technique we use with foals.
He was actually taught to lead and accept a halter when he was just a few days old.  He was then turned out with his mama and the other mares in the pasture where he was allowed to just be a baby. (The photo above shows him getting a reminder to go forward when led.) 
He’ll be worked with up close in the barn for a few weeks again while he’s completely weaned and then turned back out to pasture to continue learning how to just be a horse.  He’ll now be out with the rest of “the boys” instead of the mares.  At two years old, he’ll be brought up again and start very light training to be ridden.  Their leg bones are still maturing up to about three years old, so heavy riding at too young of an age can actually be detrimental to their development.  He’ll probably be gelded at this point as well.

 

Boo Boo wrapped in blue
Wedgie’s boo boo.  He cut himself on the ankle when he was having a tantrum over being separated from his mama.  We put them in side-by-side stalls when weaning, but he still managed to have a fit and bang up his little leg on the wall.
**On a related note ~ Horses tend to find numerous ways to hurt themselves.  It’s a full-time job trying to keep them safe.  For instance; if you have a mile of fence posts and only 1 has a tiny nail sticking out, the horse will find that 1 tiny nail and cut himself on it.  I think you could put them in a padded cell, cocooned in bubble wrap and they’d still manage to do something!  It’s part of their nosy nature and part of life with horses. 
Wedgie’s 1st trim
Wedgie received his first pedicure or in equine terms: hoof trim.  A lot of times this is a very difficult task as the babies don’t like their legs and feet messed with and lifted off the ground.  This first trimming was made much easier because we got him used to us touching his legs and looking at his hooves when he was just a few days/weeks old.  The more they’re handled when young, the easier it is to do the necessary tasks as they grow.  He was a perfect little gentleman while Dad trimmed his hooves.  He won’t actually get his first set of shoes for another year or so.
Wedgie’s 1st haircut
This photo was more of a snarky comment by my husband on the similarity of Wedgie’s wild forelock and mane and my wooly head.  It was pretty foggy that day and with a lot of moisture in the air comes lots of curls and frizz in my hair!  So yes, the Wedge and I both have naturally out of control locks.  We did manage to trim what is called a “bridle path” for Wedgie (not me).  It is a strip of about three inches of his mane right behind his ears that we trim down to the base.  It makes it much easier for the halter to fit snugly and secure.  It’s also more comfortable for him as the halter won’t be sitting on top of a wad of mane and pulling his hair.

So that’s pretty much Wedgie’s traumatic week.  He’s doing fine and starting to enjoy being in the middle of everything at the barn.  He has already learned to pull the lid off of the grain bin as he goes by and tries to snag a mouthful of hay when passing the bales.  One thing is for certain, Wedgie will be in the middle of things on a regular basis.

postheadericon Another Conquest for Swifty & Cattle Sorting

Mr. MoonCat’s horse Swifty has yet another admirer……

Does this photo make
my nose look BIG?

 

He really is a looooooooong horse

 

A couple of weeks ago the hubby’s folks stayed a few days with us and we dragged them along to a cattle sorting with us and my Dad.  Mr. MoonCat talked his own Dad into getting up on Swifty for a few photos.

They got along really well and make quite the pair, don’t they?  ~Mr. MoonCat took these photos so Swifty can’t blame me for the big nose shot… 🙂

 

So now I’m thinking we need to get the hubby’s Mom up on Swifty too!  We’ll have to work on that when they come up to see us again at the end of the month…

 

Here are some other photos from the cattle sorting that day:

Everyone waiting for their turn

 

Mr. MoonCat & Swifty calmly strolling
Moi & Fella not so much

 

The hat’s on backwards….
he must be seriously concentrating

 

Dad and Petey sorting the cattle….fast!

 

Sorry, no action shots of me this time.  But..I did end up placing 5th out of 102 teams!!  Not bad for a rusty old fat woman and a rather hyper horse 🙂  We had a lot of fun that day surrounded by family, friends, and furry creatures.  Great food finished off an almost perfect day.

postheadericon Horses of Course

Today’s topic: Horses of course.

 

Many of you have asked how Wedgie (aka the Wedge, Phantom, and butthead) has been doing.  Well, he turned 4 months old on September 22nd and he’s quite the big boy.  Dad is talking about weaning him early as he doesn’t nurse near as much as he pigs out on his mama’s grain and hay.

 

As usual, I had a hard time getting photos of him.  He either wanted to run and play with me or he wouldn’t get his head out of the feeder.  So I only have the two pictures today, but I’ll get some more in the next week or so just to show you what a little pill he is.

 

In other horse news, Mr. MoonCat has a new horse.  His buddy Whiskey just wasn’t cutting it when it comes to working cattle.  Whiskey would much rather cruise along the trails and go for long scenic rides than participate in the cow events.  So he’ll be going to a new home with someone who enjoys just trail riding.  He’s been a great first horse for the hubby while he’s been learning about riding and life in general with the equine bunch.

Whiskey

 

This is the only photo I managed to snap this morning. We were in a hurry, so hopefully, I’ll get some updated shots later in the week with Mr. MoonCat doing his thing. “Swifty” is the name my Dad bestowed upon the new guy.  In case you’re wondering, it’s actually an oxymoron. The horse is a bit on the lazy side.

But as usual, if the naming is left to Pops, he’ll name him according to where he came from.  The previous owner was named Swift so there ya have it.  (I warned hubby…)

 

Swifty

 

I know he looks similar to Whiskey in coloring, but Swifty is actually a registered Paint Horse whereas Whiskey is a Quarter Horse.  Swifty is a real sweetie, very gentle and able to teach Mr. MoonCat a whole lot more than Whiskey could.  The hubby is excited because this new horse LIKES to work cattle!

 

So that’s the happenings for now.  In closing I’ll leave you with a shot of Adolph (Dad’s dog that he got from his neighbor, yup – named Adolph) sharing his doggy bag from breakfast with the chickens.

 

Yummm..biscuits and gravy