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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

May 13, 2017

Counting having some time again

I can't be normal?  

Please don't answer that. 

  I'm actually ticking off the days in my brain to the new reality that every weekend will be a long weekend.  Have not awakened with severe stomach pain since the news.    Still swell up like a pumpkin, but slept every night last week.   EVERY. STINKIN. NIGHT.  I mention frequently that my personality is introverted. That is probably an understatement.   Most of my peace comes in being alone.  It doesn't mean that I don't care for or about people, it is that I can just barely stand the disruption of a room full of them.  So what do I choose for a job?  Customer service in a huge open span building with about a hundred talking people and ringing phones.  Just to be blunt, it was kind of stupid of me, but it was also necessary.  So here I am, actually looking forward to being poor as dirt again, so my brain feels happy.  Can't wait to saddle up again and throw a leg over my horse.  We may not be going anywhere...and my ability to work part time may be temporary (life gets uncertain as we shove into the sixth decade), but I'm gonna ride the wave as long as I'm able.

Speaking of this job.  It is the best job I've ever had.   Yes, that makes not a bit of sense.   Very nice group of people to work with.  Hard working dedicated bunch of people.  Even though the customer service I do can get pretty rough, for the most part I enjoy being able to help people solve their problem.  It is just that by midweek I'm way out there on sensory overload.    So I'm staying put, reducing those hours, but leaving the door open in the case that I have to pull full time hours again.   Won't be a total slacker, will still work   two jobs.  But   earn better than the last job...why I stayed there eight years....well-yeah I do know.   My three day weekend every week.  

Tomorrow is Mother's Day and my Mom is eighty-three.   I want to spend more time with her.   Take her places like I used to, or just go sit and spend a half a day if I feel like it.

Three more weeks.

 Blue Girl Acrylic , ink  2017

May 7, 2017

Tipping Point

I showed up at my job on Friday and gave them my resignation for reasons of life work balance first thing in the morning, effective June 9.   Truly I like where I work, I like my part in helping people that certainly need helping.   But my life seemed to be twisting tighter and tighter...50 + a week, sometimes 60 between both my jobs.   I like the full time one, but I LOVE the part-time job.  LOVE IT.     Daily is was becoming evident I'd have to give up one or the other.    So I took a deep breath and made a choice figuring I'd look for other part time hours to round the horsey job out.  My income will take a plummeting fall, but my health has been very negatively affected by the loss of all personal life.

My instincts, timing, what ever you may call it, must have been right.  Resigned full time Friday morning and was offered part time within a couple of hours.  I didn't ask them , as this company just doesn't do part time.    They said they wanted to keep me in what ever way the could, and I realized that for the first time on a job of this type I felt "valued."  It was a humbling, but happy experience.    I only have about four more weeks of the long grind until I can dust off my horse and go for a ride.

My work schedule will be eight hours three days a week, and then the part time gig 6-10 hours a week depending on need.   Happily other job I can pop in an out of as I'm working remote, usually in my jammies ☺ Did I mention the FOUR DAY WEEKEND?   I'm hoping to use some of that time to visit with my Mom, mow the grass, keep the laundry done, all those things I used to do routinely and have sucked at for months on end.    

So I have solved one problem.

 Still looking for "the truck" but I'm not going to hurry that much as I want it.

Medical specialist appointment this month.   Long over due...hope they can fix me.  The stress has caused me some major digestive melt downs, near constant pain, esophageal burning so bad I nearly lose my voice some days. 

But I can tell you one thing.  Horse is GOOD FOR ME.   I sat out on the stump in the horse lot this evening, Journey there to keep me company, though she did try to eat my rubber barn shoe.  Horse propped on my shoulder, wind blowing through the trees, sunlight sparking red off of my hair.  I'm thinking, almost home, almost---home.

April 29, 2017

Flood Testing Journey's Stall

Overnight it poured rain.  The ground is totally squishily saturated.  Incoming today, a lot more rain.  This will prove if I have cured the flooding issue, or if I need more work on the project from the outside ( gravel, drainage pipe, shovel).  I plan to do those things anyway, just haven't had time or energy to address at the moment. 

Journey is not very happy with the $250 dollar upgrade in her living quarters.  She looks at her $50 stall toy/ lick-it (peppermint) like it is a pain to her.  She neither plays with it, nor does she lick-it.   So it will likely get moved to Phebes stall, as she will eat ANYTHING not nailed down, and sometimes those too as the teeth marks in things attest to.  This morning Journey pulled most of her hay from her rack and made a big pile in the floor.  Did not eat it, just made the pile.  Then she jerked her other flavor hay bag off the ring, undoing the clip somehow, and tossed it out the door. She is totally rebelling on the eating of hay since the world became green.  So I threw her out in the mud, and rain, to roll and make herself nasty, and go eat some grass.
On my side of things, I'm thinking about total self-employment.  Not sure what form that might take, but I really want to work from home.  I don't need to earn a lot of money as I'm pretty frugal, and definitely not a high maintenance female.  Honestly I like my current job, but I have no life outside of it, and that does not appeal to me.  Part-time is not something they offer unfortunately.  I have a few more home projects I need to get out of the way, and will probably take the leap.  Definitely need change by winter.  This past winter was just horrible with me leaving at dark, coming home at dark, no power or water at the barn and dealing with all that in the dark.  I have not ridden my horse since spring 2016 (yes, 2016) .  Money does not equate happiness in my life, but freedom does.  I do have financial obligations so what ever I do have to assure I'm exceeding those, but that's about it.  I have a few ideas...we shall see.

April 23, 2017

A Look at Competitive Mounted Orienteering

Hoping the end of flooding stall for Journey

About twice a year some monsoon like rain will set in and the ground will get saturated, and water seeps up and floods the stall to about 4-6 inches deep.  Then I have to hand bail all of that out (no power at the barn).  This has been a ten year epic make me madder than spit, or dejected as squat scenerio.  Fed up with it.

Had crushed limestone brought in and raised her stall by about five inches on one corner and at least ten inches in the middle where she had a pit worn into the dirt floor from pivoting, and getting up.   Things are now more on even steven land and she has new mats in there to lie on.    I do feel like I was hit by a truck this morning.  However, if it fixes the stall, will be worth it.

Also purchased a peppermint lick-it for her stall with a bapping ball attached.    So where did she spend the night?

Out in the MUD.

Throws hands into the air, limps off for a cup of coffee.

April 22, 2017

Mixed Media (Acrylic / Ink) Reference photo from Pinterest (original artist unknown)

April 14, 2017

That feeling of hope...

There is something to be said for the sound of bees buzzing on apple blossoms

And the heady sweetness of the lilac in bloom

And soft muzzles happy for grass

to unravel the knots and kinks
and make one feel happy, alive, and home♥
Photo credits: Pixaby, Gabriella Neumlar, Heidi Fuqua

April 9, 2017

And in the real world

In other news, it is actually spring here in Indiana. Back to mowing, trying to titer horses safely onto grass (last year was a train wreck of epic proportions).  The truck is leaking oil even though we had new gaskets and such put on it  AND while unloading hay my foot pushed part way through the rusted bucket of bolts bed which could have been really bad for me.  It would of flat ripped me up if the hole would have given a bit larger.  LSEGH hooked up the truck to trailer today trying to get to the bottom of the rear wheel lock up on the truck that I experienced last year.   We contacted the trailer place and he said that what is described as having happened is not the controller NO WAY, NO HOW.   A couple of mechanics chimed in.  One thinks the rear brakes are rusting and kind of locking, but since it only happens with the trailer on board I don't buy that.  But our hay guy said that some of these trucks have a part that engages both wheels when making a turn so you have positive traction both sides, and if that part (I have no idea) gets hinky, then this can happen.

On the personal side I'm wanting to buy myself a truck, but have to get the finished paying for and have some testing done on myself.  Have been sick for two years now, and let me tell you it is tough trying to work long hours when you feel either pain, or have nausea.   Pretty sure it is ulcers as I internalize and stress over things in my life that I have no control over.  It is an emotional fault and I've tried to change myself "to not care." However that has just not worked out for me EVER.  So the expense of seeing a specialist and have a scope shoved up / down every available orifice is going to be a set back to the timeline on a truck as my deductible is pretty painful.

I'm really seriously thinking about selling my goose neck.  Since I'm not endurance riding, I just don't see the point in dragging that big old thing along anymore.  A nice small bumper pull with some stabilizers on it would rock and allow me some better gas mileage.  If I can get all these "wants" sorted out I'd like a good strong year of some CMO riding.  Would love to put together a local team, to hit the Indiana rides.  But first we have to get road worthy again.   The bad thing is I FOUND THE TRUCK.  It was the truck model and year I wanted, low mileage, and within budget (if car was paid for).  Of course by the time I manage that...the truck will have gone bye-bye.  LSEGH doesn't want me to risk the double payments until we find out what the crud is wrong with me.  Why must men be sensible?  Since the job I work has no benefits.

Stiff upper lip and all that.  ~E.G.
Dancing tulips Acrylic 2017  It actually wasn't finished in this photo, but the finished one is hanging in my Mom's house ♥

Two Horse Tango chugging along

The first Two Horse Tango continues to make progress:

  • We have filled the campground.

  • Will be investigating "overflow" parking

  • Prizes are purchased and ready to go
 There has been a snafu with one of the prize types, it is not fixable, so I'm going to make lemonade from the situation, but I guarantee I am NOT going to live this one down... ☺  and it will explain a lot about my trail navigation, so we will just kind of leave it at that.

I'm excited for the ride and the response, and hope the weather Gods smile on me BIG TIME.


March 31, 2017

Waiting is over!

Woot!!!  We got our permit today (FINALLY!!!) The Versailles State Park location is ours and the Two Horse Tango will be held there on June 10 and 11th .  Ground zero is the horse camp. Don't let me kid you, Marti is the "brains" of this event.  But she has definitely been around the CMO block for a lot longer than I've even known it existed.  But there is one thing that I do well...and that is give out prizes! This ride will have its own little treasure trove of great (albeit low cost) prizes.  We will have everything from a super dooper tack item drawing (sponsored by Two Horse Tack), t-shirts for a lucky few, and all manner of thing- a- ma- bobs at the Tango turnpike (prize table).

  • We will have both short and long course available both days.  Long course will run about 13-14 miles, short approximately 5-8 miles.
  • Bring the tools you need, solid horse,  compass and a good ink pen.
  • Saturday evening we will have a pitch-in meal together, and announce the placings of the day's events.
  • Those coming for the day, please park in the day parking area and mosey on over in the morning for the ride meeting and the competition.  Those needing a tie up spot are welcome to tie up at my site.
If things get tight camping-wise we are working on "alternatives" with the DNR to get you in.  So if you determine the sites are all taken, get a message to me on facebook and we will be putting together a list to see if we can get some over-flow primitive camping for the weekend.  Stay tuned....

March 18, 2017

Acrylic 2017 Raven

Some day...I'm going to have this Baroque Bridle Set

My goal this year since my time is so limited is to get both of the girls riding like they have a brain. Phebes has issues that prevent her from high performance goals, but it would actually be great for her to do some trail work.  If I could get someone to ride the spotted monster it might be do-able to get them both trail worthy again.    A year off certainly hasn't done them or me a bit of good.  Journey is FAT, Phebes is CRANKY, and it is making me feel OLD.  Hells bells on that I say!  Spring is just around the corner and I can't wait.

March 12, 2017

Endings and Beginnings

One more step to go and all the legal entanglements of Green Bean Endurance will be complete.  It has been necessary and still brings me a sense of loss, but it just had to be.  I will officially close out the bank account and all will be in the capable hands of Deb Moe.   It has grown substantially this year, and I know first hand the hours of work involved to keep it running and up to date.  My own commitment was easily 10-20 hours a week, which I found doable working a 32 hour job, but with my current job?  NO. WAY. IN. HELL.  It takes some woman power to get the job done, that's for sure. Wore my official Green Bean Endurance jacket today to longe the horse, covered it in white hairs, and turned it into my "work coat."  I'm getting there ♥  it's hard, but trying to give it the perspective and place it should have rather than to wrap my happiness around "that one thing."

So on I move.   Several other projects on the horizon.  We are still waiting on the approval to get our permit for the CMO.  We have all our ducks in a row, and I'd really love to have that permit nailed down so I can get awards purchased, t-shirts ordered, etc. We are gonna have us a TANGO!  So many have said they'd come, and many I count as good friends...Marti, Jeanie, Lida and her gal pals, many of the CMO folks from other rides.  Praying for a permit and good weather (and maybe a little liquid sedation) *LOL*  It will be a good and happy time.  I'm actually excited about setting a ride up, which is an entirely new skill set for me.  I've also never done "timing" so that will be interesting.  CMO's have staggered starts not unlike CTR, but a more laid back structure.  Riders go out in about 5-15 minute intervals so every body isn't congregating on the same station at the same time.  Another interesting factoid about CMO is that as long as you stay "on trail" you can decide how you will go after the station markers.   For instance there are 10 stations out there and and let's suppose they are on 4 different trails.  One person might head out on trail A  and someone else may decide they can time it faster using another route.  So it involves trail savvy, map reading, compass reading, and as much speed as you can apply to it, without blowing by an important landmark (which would cause you to eat time back tracking). No ribbons to point the way on this one.

While I'm at it...want to thank Two Horse Tack for the donated item to the IN/IL CMO banquet held this weekend.  It was raffled off and will benefit the group at large.  Which sure helps!

The truck search continues.  I've been working extra hours in preparation in case I find the right vehicle.  I'm torn between buying a new F150 and switching to a 2 horse bumper pull to lighten the load, or staying with the steel grey monolith and purchasing a heavy duty truck, but if I do, I won't be able to choke down anything low mileage.  So would need to go diesel.    Everyone is telling me that diesel is awful to repair cost-wise.   But I am just done with this being land-locked with the horses.  So over it!   Our current truck has about 90,000 miles on it and all we get done is "fixing it." I truly believe that truck was rolled over and going for a second spin on the odometer when we bought it. This past two weeks we've had two repairs, and we still have not got the vibration out of the front end.  We had a front end alignment, balancing, and new shocks.  It is a GMC Sierra and the body on those trucks are like rusty tin cans.  I can push on the bed over the fender wells and big chunks of truck fall out.  Every truck that model I've seen has severe rust problems.  Apparently they cut corners on under coating and paint.    We've put two water pumps on, two fuel pumps, belts, worked on the radiator, brakes, rotors, some work I am not even sure of regarding the suspension of the truck and I kid you not there is a part hanging down under the rear that I'm unable to identify.  Time for a truck ☺

And somewhere...a part of me, really wants this in the worst nonsensical could even make me change tack colors.
Related image

March 11, 2017


Flowers in Pot, Acrylic, 2017

Marti's Yellow Suzies, Acrylic 2017

This one has been adopted!

Night Sky, Acrylic 11X14, 2017

Pink Dahlias in a pot, Acrylic, 2017

March 4, 2017

Marti & Dave held a really nice clinic!

My morning started late.  I'm up and about every morning by 5 AM , sometimes as early as 4 AM.  I chose this particular morning to sleep like the dead and require waking up at 7:00.   Not enough coffee, and very little time to throw my stuff together, hustle to the car and go.   It was darned cold, so I stopped and bought me a clearance hat, scarf, and gloves on the way up.  Things were going well running on time and I left Decatur County and entered Rush County and holy crap-Ola! SNOW, ICE, slipping and sliding.   Every mile the clock ticked on me, and then I got behind a crawling snow truck...and "our clinic" which was to start at 10:00 had me still behind the snow truck.  So I arrived about ten minutes late, and I'm never late to anything.  It seems the incoming crew had the same experience and they had beaten me there by just a few minutes which made me feel so much better.

The clinic was hosted by Dave and Marti.  They are the most experienced CMO riders I know, or probably anyone else in this part of the state knows.  They live in this great historic farm house on a huge acreage with a classified forest on site.  When I say huge, I'm not exaggerating.  I may be off a bit on this but my recall says around 500 acres?  It runs from one county road all the way to another.  It is a working farm with cattle, crops, maple syrup producing trees, horses, and a fine old dog named Tick.  Dave, Marti, Sara, and Larry are among my favorite people in this world.  They give so freely of their time and energy to promote this fun and not nearly well-enough known sport called CMO.  Welcoming and wonderful people.
Dave, Marti, and Tick photo credit: Lida Pinkham

So gather we did and we had a pretty good little group ready to find some plates (stations).  The warm up was at the house.  Dave gave a primer on the use of the compass, the map, the clues, to and from, and we all booted up, shoved on hats and gloves (that snow and ice thing) and headed outdoors.

 We going to woods? Are we? Are we?

The newbies all had their maps in hand, compass ready, and Tick, he was ready too.

Woops! No red in the shed....

Stations were set up around the yard to break folks in on the use of their compass and also to illustrate how ridiculously challenging it can be to find something that is staring right out at you.

Plate? What plate?  And yes that tree "is" that big.

Well look there, another one!  Easy  right?

Our ride awaits! Of which was pulled by the ranger and was a quite the fun adventure!

Dave did the driving, Marti rode shotgun, and the rest of us piled into the "chariot of fire".  Ever gone fast in a wagon in the snow? Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

So maps in hand (this looks like spaghetti to me) we went mud slinging and sliding through the snow to find some real life CMO stations in the woods.

Look there's one!!!
We found a couple stations out in the woods, and then we all warmed up by the wood stove, and filled up on bowls of chili, cornbread, slaw, cookies and other yummy things.  Once we determined we'd thawed to room temperature we did what any CMO'er worth his salt would do ---we suited up, and went back out to find some more ☺  A big thank you to Dave & Marti Caldwell for opening up their home and hearts to newbies in the sport ♥   It was a very fun day. 

Stay tuned for the upcoming Two Horse Tango and also a CMO upcoming at Midwest Trail rides here in southern / southeastern Indiana.  Come on out, and ride!

Sponsored by: Two Horse Tack

March 3, 2017

CMO Clinic tomorrow

So excited!  We are going to have a nice little group of ladies attending our CMO clinic tomorrow.   This is in preparation of the Two Horse Tango ride still in the "waiting for permit" application stage.  We will be learning to use the compass and then jamming into the Ranger for a brisk ride into the classified forest on Marti's property to learn how to recognize landmarks, and locate the stations (find the danged paper plate/code).  We are having Chili and fixin's, and tonight I'm baking my Mom's recipe for the best oatmeal cookies in the world ☺  Hope to get some photos to share.
The upcoming ride is being graciously sponsored by Two Horse Tack.


February 26, 2017

I'm a charge in an get 'er done kind of gal

And the logistics for the CMO are moving just glacially slow, like maple syrple dripping on a 22 degree Indiana morning slow.  I want results!  We are waiting for the insurance company to provide the insurance document needed for the event.  Then I'm going in guns a blazing at prizes.  June sounds like a long way off, but when you look at it in weekend days (which is all I have) it's close, very close.

In other news concerning the Two Horse Tango, Marti Caldwell is providing a clinic Saturday March 4th to teach our newbies the use of the compass in a low stress environment.   We will have chili and the fixin's, and beer & wine for the breaks, a ride around the farm and woods on the Ranger, it will be fun. 

Then, the royal spotted one has not had a saddle on since early last summer.  She is my locomotion, and breaks that long from a historical perspective have not always boded well for me.  The first 30 days of spring riding on Journey is a force to be reckoned with as she gets a barn sour recurrence that is no less than EPIC.  But I'm going to need her for setting the stations for the ride so it really must be endured.

Truck shopping.  I thought horse shopping was bad.   I'm really wanting a diesel, 4 wheel drive, less than 120,000 miles, a good service history, and a non-lemon year on what ever I decide to purchase.  Also considering selling my goose neck and purchasing a bumper pull, which means I could likely pull with less truck.   It would be much easier to get within my price point that way. 

February 18, 2017

Blog worthy: Good reading

The Reeling: An unexpected mare venture

This gal takes lessons, hits the shows, and even has some endurance riding noted.  Currently she is awaiting the birth of a new foal.  Her blog is up to date, and active.  A fun read.  The author is Andrea, and she's from the great state of Texas.

Trail Horse Adventures written by Judi Daly is all about the Morgan experience.  Her horses range from full Morgan to part-Morgan.  Judi has even written a book.

More to come.

Working with the DNR

First meeting today on working through what is needed to obtain a permit for the CMO we hope to host.  So far things are on track.   Marti has to send our proof of insurance, they look that over, if it is sufficient, we will be a go.  The meeting was fruitful in other ways concerning formation of a non-profit, there was some very helpful information given in regard to that  The park is going to try to accommodate our group even if it "swells" just a bit outside the space confines.   We are going to ask people coming in for the day to park in day parking and ride over for the meeting in the morning (only about a mile), let the horse chomp some grass and chill for a bit while they attend the meeting, and get their start times.    So the process is very painfully slow, but we are on track.  Woo hoo!

On Pins & Needles

Find out today if we get to manage a CMO at my favorite location!

February 17, 2017

Still painting

Worked on this night scene of wintry birch trees this evening. Not quite through with it yet.

Blogs of Note: Horse Woman I am

I've been in a rut for awhile.  Chasing the same old butterfly, armed with my tattered net.

"How's that working for you, she said."

"Not so good, said I, damned straight it ain't."

Endurance Granny is turning a page.   Well---actually I'm sliding the entire book up on the shelf.  You see, I don't really want a new chapter.  I want a brand new book.  Some other genre, some reason to be glad to see my horse, no my horses.  I long to do some new thing.  Deeply I just yearn to participate in something less of the same and the same and the same.  Something fun.   Something that is mine.  My heart has lost the desire to push my horse's limits.  Some horses do love the endurance sport.  I believe last year that Journey was speaking to me.  Cramping, lameness, appetite off.  All connected with our sport.  I want her to be eager and ready for what we do.  I want Phebes to be ridden again.  I feel time is short and I want happy horse time.  That's it ♥

Resigning from the Green Bean thing was  emotionally wrenching for me.  In all honesty I had a period of mourning.  It was the closest I came to belonging in my life.  But some had big dreams and hopes for it,  and I felt I needed to get out of the way.   I sank into a funk of epic proportion as that thing had become my identity, and really my passion.  But it is done accept for a few things undone that need cleaning up.   I love that group.  I truly do. 

So life moves on.  What will I not be doing this year?  ENDURANCE  

Looking for that something else will occupy me this spring, summer, and fall.   So I've begun to look at other's equestrian blogs and read about their personal journeys with their horses as a vehicle of discovery.   Maybe in my travels through the blogs I will find a niche that will take me, The Spotted Wonder and Phebes to new places, and new friends.

My first blog of note:  The Mindful Horse Woman

Logan Darrow of Washington (State)
"It's never the fault of the horse, it's always the fault of the rider."   

Check it out.  More blogs to come...

February 11, 2017

Meeting with the DNR next week about CMO

Say your prayers out there that I can get that permit!  CMO people are such a good bunch.  Can think of no reason to deny at all, just need to make everyone aware of the park rules as in: STAY ON TRAIL.  Which creates it's own little challenges of hiding the plates in "plain site."  I'm quite aware Marti is very adept at this (in fact maddeningly so).  But I have some learnin' to do.  So net up is the meeting and I'm inching along to success.

Next weekend I hope to knock the mud of the Spotted Wonder and do a creepy crawler of a ride in the mud.

February 9, 2017

North Park Soap Co.

I was surprised when I came home yesterday with a box A BOX full of fabulous North Park Soap!  One of my favorite things is handcrafted bars of soap.  Steven (the soap Meister) creates cold process soaps, and made my own eucalyptus / tea tree blend under the Jacke label.  Private label soap ☺  The bars are chunky, hard bars that last.  Creamy smooth, vegan, and smell of wonderful herbal and earthy scents.   If you get the chance check out the North Park Soap Co. on facebook.

February 4, 2017

Making a little headway on the CMO

Great minds think alike I guess.  Marti (CMO brainiac) called the park office and my husband stopped by as I was in the midst of about a 60 hour work week and could not get ten minutes to call the office when there were actually PEOPLE there to answer the phone.  But we got a foot in the door, and next step is to get the paperwork in. 

I've given the ride a name: Two Horse Tango  (Two Horse Tack is sponsoring some of our prizes) and I am hoping to finally meet Natasha who owns Two Horse Tack in real life ☺  She likes CMO!  Invited a bunch of my very favorite horse riding friends and even a lady from work plans to come out for the ride.  What is so encouraging about CMO besides the challenge, is they have really kept entry fees low (usually under $20) and as horse sports go that is unheard of.  You don't need any special breed of horse, or special tack (use what works).  You can ride your own rate of speed, just drag your butt in by the cut off (which is generous), can sleep in come morning.  Rides usually start off around 10 AM in the morning so you have all day to enjoy the trails and find those pesky plates!

Hoping with all my heart that this is a success and we can build a CMO coalition down here in Southeastern Indiana, form up some teams, and have a full schedule someday.  We have some very nice parks in firing distance.  Liberty near Brookville, IN, Versailles State Park, and Brown County State Park.    If enough people play the game, and take turns putting on the rides, we can have a fun activity to participate in with our horses and pit our skills against others across the country ☺I'm hoping and dreaming.   Hey if I can build (with help) something as cool as Green Bean Endurance, why not this?

January 27, 2017

6 Horses Dead in Region 7 rides this month

Article Here

It just makes me viscerally ill to here the continued abuse, and death of horses in endurance in good old region 7 of the Middle East.

I'm going to just give the short course here:  It reflects on endurance riding in general across the world what is happening there.  Anyone who would sell a horse to that group of people is equally as culpable in that horse's death.           

FEI also has that blood all over their hands.  It is so sad, so very sad.

Sadder is that our organization can't take a hard line in that regard.  It is not the same sport.  Let me repeat IT IS NOT THE SAME SPORT.

So why are we enmeshed with the International scene where it is about big money, prestige, WINNING at all costs.    It should never be about winning.  It should be about a glorious partnership with your horse, longevity, scenic trails, friends, and campfires.  But yet even at the amateur level, we honor those who win.  We honor those with top tens.  The point system is driven by those things.  This isn't a condemnation of our sport, but it is rather...thought provoking.  At the end of the day look deep into those big old brown (and once in awhile blue) peepers, and feel what your horse is feeling, and know that your motivations are right.

January 26, 2017

Ride Manager

It looks like I'm going to co-manage a CMO ride!  That will be really a huge learning experience for me and may help me to build the CMO horse network in this part of the state.  Honestly I'm kind of relieved that I have this other horse passion to fall back upon.  Maybe I'm mellowing out (yeah, right) but I want to more enjoy my horse.  I know the endurance sport was stressing her, and that stresses me.   What ever the Spotted Wonder does, I want her happy at the end of the day.  Far as I'm concerned she has proven all that needs proven for me.

 Two Horse Tack is going to work with me on this.  This company has helped me in so many of my goals.  They tacked Journey up early on in bright orange, and later green.  They supported Green Bean in a big way.  And the biggest thing is they trusted me.   Speaking of, they have their winter give-a-way drawing, be sure to sign up.  It is for a bitless bridle in the lighter shade of blue (I call it electric blue ).   The link in this paragraph or the photo on the sidebar will get you there to sign up.

The plan is to have the ride in the late Fall.  I have to get in touch with the park manager and see how / if I can work it all out.   My NACMO membership is in the mail, and this project will free me up to just "enjoy" the horses for a change.  Neither have been ridden for a long time.  Journey has been idle for months and Phebes again idle for a year or more.  Both of the lameness issues appear to have cleared up.  Work will prove or disprove that.  But let me tell you the idea of spring grass  gives me anxiety.  Have the horses on all forage presently with no concentrated feeds, and expect they can maintain on that as pleasure horses.  If the grass doesn't set things off.

That is the news on this front.  If you are local (OHIO, KY, INDIANA) come join me this FALL for the first annual Two Horse Shimmy at Versailles, IN.  I give the details out here as I work it out!

January 21, 2017

NACMO : The Thinking (person's) Sport

God willing and the truck situation gets cured I hope to venture out and ride CMO this year.  If you don't know what CMO (Competitive Mounted Orienteering) is well let me just make it easy.


Yes, that is the short course in a nut-shell.  CMO is fun.   The idea of a CMO ride is that you are going to get a map.  On that map will be circles that indicate you are now in the zone of finding a marker.   You will also have a couple of clues and when you find the object related to them, you will then set your compass and ride that reading until you find the marker (a white paper plate with something written on it that you note on your map next to the clue).   It honestly sounds harder than it is and I believe that those that hear about it think....oh....I couldn't do that.

Check out this link Treasure Hunt on Horseback

Well sure you can.    It is challenging, but not "hard".    You just need to be able to follow a map (my weakness), learn to set your compass (easy peasy), have a mind that can solve a visual riddle ( are you looking for a bridge? a log spanning a stream? a carving in a tree's bark, a tree with strange conformation, or a tree in a specific location?  A green gate post? ) See, not that hard.   The hardest one I encountered was a "snake bark tree".  Oh you should have heard the gnashing of teeth! I did finally locate it, and it was as plain as day.  The bark on that tree did remind you of a snake.

You can form teams (we all know I believe in team stuff) or you can ride solo against other solo riders.  You can aim for a national championship, or just take each ride for the fun of it!

CMO is also the least expensive horse sport that you might ever participate in.  The people I met were all just really welcoming, warm, friendly people.   That is saying something coming from me as I tend to lean towards "social outcast" but they did, they made me feel very welcome.

CMO is the fastest I've ever ridden any kind of competition, and the slowest I've ever ridden period.  In that way it can pretty much be what you aim for on a given day.  The only thing wrong with CMO is we need to have more of them, lots of them, EVERYWHERE.

Read about NACMO the supporting organization.  Check out a ride near you.

Upcoming Indiana rides:

So far our 2017 schedule looks like this:

March 11 - 2016 Season Awards Banquet and Annual business meeting
May 6 & 7 - Crazy Acres - Danielle Popovich
June 17 & 18 - Midwest Trail Ride - Caldwells
Aug. 26 & 27 - Kankakee River - Christina Sepiol
Sept. 9 & 10 - Middle Fork - Beth Colla
Oct. 14 & 15 - Matthiessen - Marti, Jeanie, Colleen, Sara

 Rena Bartlett in KY is hoping to host a ride at Taylorsville SP.

Competing on a non-arabian breed horse

Reading today about the struggles many have meeting the measure of endurance riding.  Rider burn out, and worse equine injury, non-completions, and facing up to the realization that the sport isn't working out like you had hoped and dreamed.

I know that the higher percentage of people who experience this are likely riding their non-arabian breed of choice.   You have to be darned smart to complete with "that kind of horse" while the sea of Arabians blast on by.   And therein lies the rub,  You have this horse that is bundled up with fast twitch muscle, you rev that puppy up and it can really go...for a little bit.  Keep the pedal down and muscle fatigue sets in and the balance of your horse's cadence starts to get a little wonky.  Maybe sweating more than the Arabian counterparts as they just prance on down the trail.

Do you realize the challenge you have laid before your horse?  I've encountered a rash of problems trying to fit Journey into the endurance mold.   Even though she did complete two fifty-mile rides, I'm unconvinced it is in her best interests to do so moving into the future.  LD's?  If she arrives eating and drinking she's good to go on LD's.

So what am I blathering on about here anyway?  Believe it or not I do have a point or two for you to ponder.  Let's go.

What are your goals?

Do you want to complete or do you want to compete? 

  If you want to truly compete  you need a horse with a good couple of years of slow previous work, and it probably should be a well-conformed, and well trained Arabian or half-Arabian horse.   That is just the truth of it.  There are anomalies of non-Arabian horses doing some decent finishes, but that doesn't account for their longevity (or lack-there-of) in the sport.  Even the Arabians break (ask those guys in the middle east) when they are pushed past their limits.

If your answer was complete, start your self way back in the herd and actually ride your own ride.   (Out of sight of the herd is even better) Partner up with your horse and set a goal to take a near maximum time allowance riding adventure.  Even if it means you ride alone.  Those horses hammering down the trail are NOT YOUR HORSE.  Probably the hardest thing on ride day is to keep one's self from getting caught up in the herd.   Almost every horse I see that has a visual of a horse ahead of them, due to herd instinct (the last horse in the herd  does get eaten by the bear after-all) is going to inch up the speed a little, and a little more.  It doesn't take too much of that to set off a metabolic issue.  It doesn't take too much of not paying attention to the trail to trip on a root, stomp on a rock, or make a big slip in the mud.  End of day! Money down the out of commission.

So what are you going to do with your mustang, paso, appy, or fill in the blank breed of horse you hold so dear?   You want to keep that horse healthy and sound?    You are going to stage your passion to your horse's individual talent, and that might mean the only way you will ever top ten is if there are only ten or less riders in the field.  It might mean that if you have six hours to complete a ride including the holds, then you do the math and ride those miles in a way that uses that time in the best interest of the horse you are riding.  It might mean cherry picking which rides your horse goes to in order to not over-ride for the season.  Make a pact with your horse that you will do this for two full seasons.   That you will gear your riding to your horse's current level and talent, not your own desires.

Now let's flip that coin. There are some pretty highly successful people out there riding on their breed of choice.   Sue Phillips and her quarter horse Sussie Prize come to mind. They have that coveted Pardner's award from AERC.  Now that would be someone to talk to about how to do the thing and do it successfully.   I dang well guarantee you that horse is being ridden to it's strengths, and the rider is riding SMART. 7,140 miles of mostly 50 mile rides on a quarter horse. I've seen photos, this is a heavily muscled quarter horse.  1999-2016 (Seventeen years of beautiful long rides on that horse).  That is the kind of place I like to throw my respect.  Would I ever like to have about eight hours to pick Sue's brain! 

So there is hope.  Work out your bugs on the trail, and implement that learning experience at a ride and accept that the horse you ride will give you what he can give you.  If you ask for more than that ---well---it might all hit the fan in some big ugly way.  Set goals that are realizable for that horse.  That is having success.   Ego just brings us all down.

What makes me so righteous? How do I think I know so much?  Because I've fallen flat on my round little face by doing it wrong.  Even in learning, there is still much for me to learn.  ♥

January 15, 2017

Now that we have a challenge concerning mentors...where do you find one?

Check out AERC's mentor list.  The people on this list have volunteered to give useful advice and answer questions concerning getting started.  You may already know someone who has been riding successfully that is not on the list.   If their riding style aligns with yours and they've had 500-1000 successful competition miles and their riding style is conservative, then go for it.  More than one way to skin a cat!  Do remember that the first year of endurance riding should be done on the slow side ( it takes that long to build up your horse mechanically to the stresses of competition).

Remember on our agenda there are two great give aways going on.

AERC VOLUNTEER CHALLENGE : Open to all AERC members who volunteer.
Volunteer a day = 1 entry into the drawing   Volunteer two days = 2 entries into the drawing etc.

Two Horse Tack / Green Bean Endurance Grow the Green Bean Garden Challenge: Open to membered AERC/ GBEC riders.

Rules and such are outlined farther down on the blog announcing the challenges.

January 14, 2017

Two Horse Tack wants to help Grow the Green Bean Garden!

Two Horse Tack is back in 2017 to sponsor a fun and challenging give away to three lucky Green Bean Endurance Challenge Riders.

Complete  your chores (don't worry, these are fun!) and be entered to win one of three complete tack sets.

Everyone in Teams and 1H1R is automatically entered and you don't need to submit anything. We'll take care of all the tracking.

Let's get busy!

Bean Sprouting

Who qualifies? On the Vine riders

Garden chores: Obtain a mentor, volunteer a full day at a ride, and complete a ride of 25+ miles.

Bean Blooming

Who qualifies? Picked riders

Garden chores: Obtain a mentor, volunteer a full day at a ride, and complete back to back LD’s on the same horse or a ride of 50+ miles.

Bean Epic

Who qualifies? Cooked riders

Garden chores: Obtain a mentor, volunteer a full day at a ride, and complete four 50’s on the same horse this season or a ride of 75+ miles.

(Only AERC sanctioned events qualify for both volunteering and riding)

All riders finishing their chores will automatically go into a drawing for a tack set from Two Horse Tack: Bridle (western, or halter style), reins, and breast collar. Color combo of choice. To keep, or to share with a bean in need

Thank you to this awesome Green Bean Endurance sponsor Two Horse Tack

January 12, 2017

Worries and making progress

Hubby's two surgeries are now in the history books.  He is doing well, going to therapy to build strength and doing well all things considered.  So the most of that worry is set aside and we just have to get him stronger.  Hoping he can return to work after twelve weeks off.

I continue to have serious stomach issues.   Have a history of ulcers and pretty darned sure I might have me a doozy.  The past year has just been so tumultuous.   Actually the last two years.   My Mom was treated radically for cancer.  Surgical side effects.  My brother had emergency quadruple bypass surgery, my first great grandchild died, determined that I have a corneal disease that seriously effects my speediness on the computer, my job was putting so much pressure on me concerning one single task (didn't matter that I worked constantly on the other tasks effectively) that I just couldn't take it anymore and quit the job (bye bye vacation hours and benefits), found a new job and it is a very high stress job (customer complaint resolution on the phone) (big complaints)  (did I say BIG complaints?).   Training for a part=time job to go with it currently (this one I will like) but still the learning curve.  So when the smoke settles I have to find out the deal with my stomach.  I've been on meds for two years and still getting gradually worse.  Wake up off and on all night so no good solid sleep due to the pain of it.   But most of those things are behind me.  Hoping the part-time job gives me enough hours that I can look for another part time job, and get back to my de-stressing (a.k.a. riding my horse in the woods and enjoying the stillness).  Hoping, hoping♥