Brief Video

Just wanted to share a short clip of the river excursion with Jesse the other week. I couldn’t get the longer video to upload properly from my phone, but you get the idea with this little 20 second clip.

One week after this video was taken, we got pounded with 11″ of snow!!!  Hard to imagine!  Now, a week later, it’s going to be 55 again and rainy, so the snow will melt in now time, I’m sure and we’ll be in a major muddy mess soon.



In other news, well… there’s more news, BIG news.  A LOT of MAJOR changes are coming in the next few weeks, so stay tuned.  The blog will be changing titles and look and a big reveal will be coming as the year ends.


Stay tuned!


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End of the Season Driving Totals


It is a little hard to believe that the 2015 driving season is almost over.  This has been an absolutely crazy year, with a lot of roller coaster events taking place.  I’ve been busy like crazy and my driving hours have suffered because of it.  Not only have I been driving less, I also have less horses to drive now.

2015 has not quite gone as expected.  With starting out the year driving Luke and Chewbacca in tandem (which was awesome!), to Chewbacca developing permanent lameness in June and my pursuing photography and a few other personal matters a bit more, it just hasn’t left quite a ton of time for driving.

I still go to the barn regularly, but I’m finding that I am doing a bit more loving and less working!  Truth be told, Luke and Jesse, the only 2 remaining horses still in work, are so beyond trained, they don’t “need” constant work as refreshers.  I work them enough to keep them fit to keep working, but that’s about it.  They are not in 3 day a week training anymore.

As a result, my grand total of driving hours this year was a mere 58.  A far cry from my usual 120-130 hours!  WOW!  Well, I am still working towards the American Driving Society recreational driving award pin of 500 hours.  I think 2015’s total puts me up to somewhere around 310 hours.  Maybe another couple years before I get to 500!

Although the year is winding down, there was still a beautiful day left to get out to a local park!   I had simply one of the best trail driving experiences I’ve ever had recently when I joined 4 other miniature horse drivers and hit the trails on a beautiful Sunday afternoon!

Jesse Deer Run 11-15-15c

Jesse was on his A game that trail drive! Loaded into his glittery red trailer right away and headed off to the park like  champ.  (no, his breast collar really doesn’t sit that high, it just slid along his neck while he was grazing).

Deer Run 11-15-2015a

We hit the trails and had a WONDERFUL drive with lots of trotting and cantering.  They were some of the best canter trails I’ve been on.  There were a few downed trees and we wheeled right over them with no issues.  Otherwise, the trails were wide and maintained.    I am picky about where I canter, due to the cart, of course.

And, not only were we rocking the canter in many long stretches along with solid trotting during a 2 hour trail drive, we  also went down a (short, but) steep incline and ended up in a river – for simply the absolute best time I’ve ever had in my life with a horse ever.

Deer Run 11-15-2015b

Jesse is definitely a water horse!  This was a far cry from puddles – he went right in and waded up to his belly in a flowing current.  We spent quite a bit of time in the river and when we were done, he pulled me up the steep incline again (if you can see the bank to the right, that gives you an idea how steep it was!)  It was maybe only a 6′ drop, but it was steep steep steep!

Wooo hooo!!!!!!!  I can’t think of a better way to end the driving season (assuming we don’t get anymore great days to hit any parks).

Having my new car this year and getting the perfect little horse trailer to cart the ponies around had been truly rewarding!  I’ve been so very very lucky to hit shows and parks all year since the weather got warm in May!

I truly cannot think of a better year!  I’ve gone to new shows, old shows, won money and ribbons, and had a blast, and I’ve been to several parks, had great drives and also one of the worst drives I’ve been on in my life, too.  All cherish memories and I’m glad I’ve been able to experience them!!!


Chewie 11-15-15b   Luke 11-15-15

And of course, for good measure, Chewbacca and Luke posing for selfies.  OK, I’m bad, but I didn’t take a photo of Dixie.  What a bad mom I am.   Sorry, but Dixie is fine, too :)

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I know, it’s been like forever….

I have had SO much going on lately, I don’t even know where to begin sometimes!

Well, 2015 is * almost * over, and I had a long list of lofty goals for the year, and amazingly, although it hasn’t gone quite the way I hoped, planned or envisioned, I have accomplished many more goals than I thought I would this year, and I realize it still ain’t over!

I got a new truck (Ok, SUV, but I still call them trucks, too), I got one.. (well 2) new horse trailers, and I’ve gone out to shows, parks, and events with the horses.  I’ve taken one out of state overnight photographic journey that pretty much changed my life (and inspired new goals for 2016 photo adventures), I bought a Nikon D7100… and I’m working on major changes in other aspects of my life too.

Not every “change” this year was great or went as I hoped.  Chewbacca started out the year a little “stiff”, and that stiffness turned into outright lameness, which led to a diagnosis of DSLD.  He has been retired since June and I have since sold all of his working equipment.  He is very lame, and I am very concerned.  I’m afraid an unpleasant decision may be in his future, sadly.

Chewbacca 11-07-2015

Chewie, hanging out on the grass 11-7-2015.  I let them run loose on the property, and he was quite happy to be out in the front yard…. not so happy to come back into the barn.
He gets around fine, and probably most people would not notice to look at him, but I can see his lameness and the changes it has effected in his personality.  I love my Chewie very much.  I’m so blessed to have him in my life, along with Luke and Jesse, they are the trio of perfect horses.

Never before in my life have I had a collection of horses that I could basically do anything with.  Truly lucky, I am for that!  I’m sad to see Chewbacca retired, and will be very devastated if the decision needs to come sooner rather than later to put him down.  I’m also growing sadly concerned over Luke!  I guess all my horses are just getting up there in age.  It may be time soon to retire Luke permanently, but I am still hoping to eek out 2016 showing him, and Jesse, who also may be facing pending retirement.

Luke 11-07-2015

Luke saying “yay, I’m free, and you can’t catch me!”  11-7-2015.

Hoping that 2016 will still turn out to be a fun year of shows and events with both ponies, I sold the big oversized trailer and picked up the “just right” trailer at the beginning of October.

After a calamity of errors getting it home, that involved a major blow out and 4 flat tires, and an unexpected overnight stay and a 7 hour return trip that caused medical maladies, too, at least I can say we all got back in one piece and the trailer is perfect.  It fits everything just the way I hoped and looks almost new!

Black Trailer

Of course, though, no trailer of mine is complete in some mundane color like black!  Life is too short for ‘ordinary’ looking horse trailers.

So, a few cans of spray paint later, the trailer is now glittery red and sparkly silver!

Red Trailer 11-08-2015

And! I even got to use the trailer one time this year, with the horses!  We went out to the annual open corn maze ride/drive, and got lost in the stalks for about 90 minutes!  Too much fun!


Luke Corn Maze 11-08-2015 Jesse Corn Maze 11-08-2015 Corn Maze 11-08-2015

It was a great day, with beautiful weather and wonderful horses!  Couldn’t have asked for a nicer weekend!

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Out with Summer, in with Fall

Well, I definitely wanted to see some changes in 2015, and it has delivered and….it isn’t over yet.

So far in the last 9 months, I have lost a car that I had for 11 1/2 years, bought a new (to me) one, sold a trailer I’ve had for 9 years, and bought a replacement one and sold that one within a few weeks.  (I’m still working on the replacement of the replacement).  It’s taken a while, but I’ve finally narrowed it down, and keeping fingers crossed that all goes well.

Additionally, I have retired Chewbacca due to lameness, and am pondering what my 2016 horse year might look like, or if I will drive or show at all.  We’ll just have to see about that.

I am also very heartbroken to say that just a week ago, our cat Wasabi, who we also had for 11 1/2 years, passed away.

Wasabi 8-3-13b Wasabi 8-3-13d

We acquired our beautiful boy through a rescue when he was just a year old.  He was a loving, although sometimes pissy, opinionated cat with a perfect combination of sweet, playful, and troublemaker to be charming and naughty all at once, but ultra loveable always.  He was a lap cat, who loved physical contact with us, and was the most outgoing of all the cats, the first one to greet anyone who came to the door or stopped over for a visit.  Wasabi was prim and proper, regal, and he would howl endlessly at night sometimes.  He definitely let you know he was part Siamese.  He was there through an 800 mile move, and 4 new feline additions to the house, and 2 dogs.  Wasabi was the big brother to them all, pleasantly supervising over everyone from his favorite spots up on the cat trees near the ceiling.  Wasabi had a sudden, massive collapse of health, and within 2 weeks he went from “something isn’t quite right” to crossing over.  We don’t know what was wrong, as numerous tests all came back normal; we can only assume he had major cancer of some kind, although there were no tumors.     He will be forever missed.  He left a huge hole in our hearts.

It was a hard loss, and yet another major change that 2015 had to offer.  I’m hoping to still make more major changes as 2015 winds down and 2016 starts up, so we’ll see what happens!

You’ll also notice some changes to the blog appearance, too, as it was long overdue.

Have a wonderful day!

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3 Weeks, 3 shows

It has been incredibly busy for me lately.  Nearly every day, I feel like I am going non stop, and exhausted!

It’s been both good and bad.  I’ve been so busy in some areas that I haven’t been able to make the time for much desired activities in other aspects.  But, I did manage to hit 3 horse shows in 3 weekends!   Busy, but fun!    I can’t say I haven’t been putting having the horse trailer to good use!  I went out a total of 7 times this year, and enjoyed every minute of it!

Although I bought a horse trailer that was a little “overkill”, it was still a good trailer and I made good use of it while I listed it for sale after I painted it up inside and out.   I had bought the trailer with good intentions – with hauling Chewbacca & his cart to parks & shows, or with the intent in mine that it would suit me for years to come as I fill my life with hackney pairs and mini teams and a marathon carriage.

Well…. it only took a couple weeks for a reality check.  Chewbacca was retired due to lameness, and the likelihood of my getting a marathon carriage, a pair of hackneys, or a team (that’s 4!) miniature horses…. and then actually hauling all of said creatures to shows is definitely not probable in the foreseeable future.  So, while the lovely 16 foot stock trailer was suiting me just fine, at the same time, I made the decision to sell it.

I managed to keep myself busy tinkering with it, painting things and fixing up the inside and outside, and between that, photography, and a keeping the lawn from looking like a jungle, I’m amazed (and slightly sad) to say that with September halfway gone, my driving hours for the year are basically in the tank.

While I normally work Chewbacca, Luke, and Jesse 2-3 times a week for anywhere from 30-90 minutes each, and I would typically rack up around 120 hours per driving year from roughly March(ish) through roughly Thanksgiving(ish), this year, with 6 months of driving under my belt already, having started up right around mid-March thanks to some fine weather, I barely have hit 40 hours as of yet this year.

Although my time on the box has declined horribly this year, I’ve actually been quite busy this year, and I’ve been getting in plenty of barn time.  Despite low driving hours, the horses still have done shows – Jesse has done 2 shows and 2 trail drives and Luke has done 3 shows as well.

The last show I did was a fun show with Jesse.  It’s the second time I’ve done this show, and had Jesse both times with me.  I signed up for some different classes and tried my hand at barrels, plug, and poles.  Jesse was awesome!  Too fun!

show 09-12b   show 09-12 

(Jesse contemplating his plug race – and yes, it looked rather ridiculous pulling a single mini and a cart out of that trailer!)

We got 5th out of 15 in both plug and barrels.  He ran the barrels in 31.5 seconds.  Considering this was like the 3rd time in my life I’ve ever done barrels (and Jesse’s first), and he had to pull my big butt through sand while competing against some minis that were slightly larger, heftier, and had younger (and skinnier!) drivers – that was pretty impressive!!  We did the pattern right, too! We were definitely doing great on our pole bending pattern, too- which was just so much fun.  Unfortunately as we rounded the 2nd turn to weave back through the poles, and Jesse, working so hard, digging into the dirt to keep the turn as tight as possible, a trace popped off the singletree.  No big deal, I stopped him grabbed it and popped it back on – but those 5 seconds it took to that most definitely dropped us out of any chance at a ribbon.  There were very speedy miniatures at that show!  Had our little technical failure not happened, Jesse probably would have ran the poles in 5th place as well.

The very next day, someone came and bought my trailer.  I had Luke signed up for one more show (coming this weekend), but with the trailer gone, and the trailer I was supposed to buy to replace it having fallen through (long, but not-terribly-surprising story), I’m trailer-less so I’ll be sitting out the show I signed up for this weekend.

Chewbacca’s cart and harness are also sold and life is making many changes around me this year.  Some of things I hoped to accomplished this year and did not think I would be able to may not be exactly as off the table as I thought, and I’ve also accomplished more than I thought I would, too.   I still am hoping for more good things to come as the remaining months of 2015 tick on, but I have to say, although I am missing out on one scheduled show for this season (which isn’t the end of the world), 2015 has definitely surprised me!  A new car, a trailer to get around in, even if only briefly, a trip I’ll remember forever, a huge improvement in my photography, and major changes  – 2015 so far as definitely been a very fulfilling year.

Dixie has had the recent opportunity to instill an enjoyment of driving and a love of miniatures into the hearts of two young girls (future drivers, I do hope!).  Luke has been helping to educate a more experienced teenager as she progresses in her riding and driving skills.

Chewbacca, though not sound, is doing pretty well.  In fact, he was running like a fool playing with Luke the other morning in the arena, and it was good to see him bucking and rearing (of course I didn’t take photos!).
You may know that Chewbacca is quite the full-of-himself fighter that will attack other horses.  When I put him out in the arena for play time, he often rears, strikes, squeals, and shows off with the horses in the paddocks that share a fenceline with the arena.  Mostly it’s just all show, but sometimes he goes in for an attack and has in the past seriously bit and injured another horse.  He was feeling good enough the other day to launch himself in for a good bite and managed to hook his right front leg over the round pen fence!  Ugh!!  (That fence is 5 foot tall!!!  Chewbacca knows no bounds when it comes to showing off that he’s the king of the castle.

I had a massage lined up for him (lucky horse ~~~ I could use one myself!) just a few hours later, and he clearly enjoyed it, although he was painful on his right shoulder (can’t imagine why :/ )

massage2 massage1

It was a busy weekend, with horse shows, lessons, photography, selling the horse trailer, the replacement trailer falling through, and lots of running around in between, but it was a good weekend, and I hope for more good days in the coming months before the snow hits.

I’ll have to watch Chewbacca during his next playtime to keep him away from the fences.  There’s a new mare in the field – she’s 3 and pretty and he’ll be a little too keen on showing off for her.

Chewbacca has been a wonderful horse, he’s given 5 years of the very best he could during the prime of his life.  He was my hunter that learned to jump courses with me, my dressage horse that learned to be soft, supple, and carry himself, and my driving horse that hauled to parks, shows, reenactements, and all kinds of events.  With hundreds of drives and hundreds more miles driving experience on him, he was always kind, sweet, and willing.  He’s earned a happy retirement, and I sure hope I can keep him feeling his oats (although off the fences would be nice!).

Likewise Luke and Jesse, both getting older and wiser, have given me years and years of their very best. They are both so experienced with their jobs that they are beyond “training” at this point.

Even little Dixie, the capable old lady that she is – got pulled of the pasture for the first time in nearly 2 years and delighted young girls, safely carrying them around the arena for their very first drives.

They’re a good bunch and there is no end to which I love this wonderful collection of horses!  As it stands right now, many changes have taken place in 2015.  Many more changes will come in 2016.

I’m not sure I will be driving next year at all with any of them; we’ll just have to see where we are at after their winter hiatus.  I have no plans to purchase any more horses in the near future, but I do hope for some major changes in 2016 as well, so I’m hopeful and optimistic that the rest of 2015 and the beginning of next year will lead to very good things!

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Another Horse Show

September is most definitely a busy month for me!  I am very happy to be putting my trailer to good use, and getting out there!

Since getting a tow vehicle earlier in the year, I have now actually hauled (myself!) to 2 parks for trail drives and 3 horse shows!  I have 2 more horse shows on the calendar and I am certainly going to try to get out to a park or two before the year is done.  So far, with just going out the 5 times I have since May already, I have actually hauled more times in 2015 than I have in 2014, 2013, and 2012 combined.  Yes, seriously.

I am very happy to be out and about and using the trailer like I meant for it to be used.  Yes, it is for sale, because with Chewbacca’s retirement, it just means I do not need something so big, as Luke has plenty of room in it, and Jesse…. well…. let’s just say I could fit a 4-up of minis if I had a team.  However, until it sells, I am definitely using it, and continuing to make upgrades and put doo-dads on it.  I have a few more things to get for it in the coming weeks.

With one horse show down (with Jesse) on August 30, and another one down (with Luke) this past Labor Day weekend, I am getting not only more comfortable with hauling (at highway speeds, no less!) but also with backing up, too!  Woo hooo!  Here’s to being self-sufficient.

trailer Luke Jefferson 09-06-2015b

Labor Day weekend is a very hard weekend for me each year, because my thoughts are always in another place, with an event I sorely miss that I would love to go to again.  However, it made me happy to get out to a show – and it was definitely the farthest I have ever driven with a horse trailer behind me!   I took Luke about 2 hours north and tried my hand at some ring classes , 2 cones, and 1 obstacle class.

It was 90 degrees, but a strong breeze made it mostly tolerable.  It wasn’t humid, so that helped.  Luke hasn’t seen or done a cones course since the HDT I put him in in August of 2013, so yea…. it’s been a while.    Thankfully, his crazy driver managed to get through all the cones without getting lost, and Luke’s speed combined with a clean round earned him a 2nd place amongst very tough competition with 10 (or 11?) entries.

Our next cones class, I got lost and missed a cone set entirely, so yea…. my bad.  I also made a mess of the obstacle course, so that cost us a ribbon there.  I need to work on my precision driving skills, because clearly I have none.

Our ring classes were tough, tough, tough competition.   Luke and I got a 6th out of 9 in one of our three arena classes.

It was a good show, a long day, but a nice fun experience.  Luke has another show coming up on Sept 19, and it’s a precision driving event, too, so I’m just hopeful I don’t make a mess of things!!!!

This weekend, Jesse will be participating in an open fun show, and I am really looking forward to that too.  We’ll be doing 4 classes for sure.  Weather dependent, maybe 5.

I have a quasi-thought of taking Luke to Lexington in October.  We will see how that pans out.  In the mean time, I am looking forward to the remaining events of 2015, although I find myself questioning what I will be working towards in 2016-  everything may be changing by then, so you never know.

Until next week!

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Changes, changes everywhere

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted last, but I am far from “not busy”.   There’s been so much going on in the last month, I don’t even know where my head is sometimes.  I have my eyes forward, though, and am trying me best to make good life choices (that will be a first ~~ I’ll let you know when I do!!!)

Chewbacca is doing OK.  After a week of very severe lameness, he is holding steady at about a grade 2 lame – which is to say there’s a noticeable lameness at the walk and trot, but it isn’t horrible, and possibly not even something an untrained eye would see.  For a week, he was pretty much grade 4 lame, which is extremely severe (grade 5 would be non weight bearing).  We’re just plugging away a day at a time, and he’s hanging out and enjoying a good life.  He and Luke got a paddock expansion, so they have more space now, too, which is awesome.
Chewbacca’s driving equipment is gone, and my days of driving big horses are over.  I am looking forward to driving  and showing only ponies & minis in the future, although I have no plans to purchase another pony/mini or a 4 wheel vehicle anytime in the foreseeable future at all.  In fact, I may take 2016 “off” to pursue other necessities of life, which a  FAR CRY from how I started out this year – hoping to make 2016 “the year” I attend major driving shows and the National drive……..

Luke is doing great, and had been on a work schedule to meet his needs.  We went out to 2 shows so far this year (yes, I am using that big trailer as I intended!).  We started with a show in July and have also done a county fair show in August – we won quite a bit of money, so that was nice!

Dixie is her usual self, and hanging out as always.  She’s been pretty much retired for most of the 8 out of 9 years we’ve owned her, with just a short stint as my driving horse when I was horseless and a couple months in tandem with Jesse.

Jesse is also working, and doing some shows.  In fact, we just had one show this past weekend, and Jesse did great.  We tried our hand at 4 classes, one of which was specifically why I brought Jesse and not Luke.  Jesse has done oodles of trail drives with me, and he’s done trail obstacles.  But he’s never done a time trail obstacle class at a show, and has no marathon experience.

I would like to take one (or both) of them to a marathon in the future, maybe even in 2016, who knows, so I wanted to try Jesse out on the marathon-like country pleasure class.  He did excellent.  He went over a bridge, under an archway, and around the course with the 3 rd fastest time for the miniature horse division.  He also had the 2nd fastest time on cones!  (Maybe he would have had the fastest time if I was little skinnier, lol!!!!)  He also got a 2nd in pleasure, and then leave it to me to mess up reinsmanship and put us dead last.

Jesse Show 08-30-2015 Jesse FVSA

It was a good show, though, and I have actually have a rather busy show schedule, with 1 show per weekend for 4 weeks straight – can’t say I’m not getting the “show bug!”  Yes I do greatly enjoy having my own wheels and trailer to get there!

However, of course, with Chewbacca no longer working, my needs are different.  I won’t be hauling him and his cart to shows, so I don’t need such a ginormous trailer.  The glittery red trailer stands for sale, and of course, I’ll sell it this month when I’m the busiest with shows!  I do have a trailer in mind to purchase, so I’m not too worried if I do sell it.

In the mean time, Luke has a show coming up this Labor Day weekend, which I am looking forward to.  Labor Day Weekend is always hard for me anymore these years.  Just another symptom of change in my life.  For 22 years, I attended Scranton’s Italian Festival (LaFesta Italiana) over Labor Day Weekend.  Doesn’t sound like much, but trust me – it is.  It’s actually considered one of the best Italian Food Festivals in the country, and if you live anywhere within a 3 state radius of Scranton, PA you’re probably going to it more than once during the weekend.  It is worth it.

When I was 23, I “discovered” Dragon*Con, instead, and drove myself to Atlanta, GA to attend another largest in the country – science fiction convention- and had the time of my life.  So much so that when I moved to the Atlanta area the following year, it was an extra bonus that I would be closer to Dragon*Con.  A 45 minute drive was way better than a 13 hour drive. Sadly, 2004 would be the last year I would attend D*C, and I’ve dreamed of going back ever since.  I did go to LaFesta in 2007, but it’s been now 8 years that I will be missing that, too.

Everything changes in life, I guess, but this is one (well, two) things I would certainly like to change back to the way they were.  Maybe I can flip-flop and do La Festa one year, and Dragon*Con the next.  Wouldn’t that be nice?

I can barely believe 2015 is past the halfway mark.  Heck, it’s almost 3/4 gone and so much has changed this year already.  It’s been a year of setting things in line and making waves for the future.  I can’t even pretend to know where 2016 will lead me, because 2015 worked out so far to be totally different than I expected.

I’m not feeling “lost” or devastated at the end of Chewbacca’s career.  He’s still hanging out and will continue to do so until I am convinced there is no other choice, be it in a month or a decade.  I’m not sad to see the cart & harness go.  I’m completely indifferent to selling the trailer, since I’ll be buying a new one.  So long as I have a trailer, I could care less whether it’s this one or a different one, despite the work I put into the red one.  I have plans for the money from the red trailer that I feel comfortable with, and aren’t necessarily horse related, either.   I’ll just keep going, head strong, and see where the future leads!

Here’s to change.  It isn’t always a bad thing.

More updates soon !

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