Blog Posts

Hay in my Hair and Sweat in my Eyes

It’s been nearly 3 weeks since I pulled the trailer into our driveway with my boys in tow.

Since we are honest folk here at Twisted Sisters, I’m going to lay it out nice and clear for you. If you are a person who dreams of owning a horse and keeping it at home, and also believes doing so is full of nothing but butterflies, rainbows, and unicorn glitter, you are sadly mistaken and living in a dream world. Come back down from the clouds and join the rest of us here in reality. If you are perfectly clean and look like a million bucks all the time, you’re probably doing it wrong.

That aside, it is still in all reality, a dream come true for me. I take pride in hosting my horses in clean stalls, making sure they are fed, and that they always have clean water. If that means I pick stalls every time I walk by and see a pile of poo, so be it. I have that luxury where I didn’t used to and I am grateful for a life that has given me this opportunity. So I will do all the things and I will be happy that I have that luxury. A lot of folks do not. A lot of folks would love to. Some are happy to pay others for the dirty work, but I’m not that kind of gal. I have always dreamed of a life where I could be intimately involved in every detail of my horses care and I FINALLY have that opportunity. I would venture to say most truly hardcore equestrians dream of a life where they can spend it day in and day out doing all the “horsey” things, even the dirty ones. Either way… here’s my experience and things I have learned so far as a first timer having horses at home.

Helicopter Mom: Apparently, that’s me. I installed a camera to spy on the boys. I check it incessantly. If I wake up during the night, I look at it. If I hear a noise outside, I look at it, if I am working or busy and can’t walk outside just to see if they are OK, I look at it. I mean, in the last 2 weeks I have looked at the camera like I believe at any moment either horses legs may detach from their bodies or some other horrific thing might happen. What do I find? Them munching away on hay, looking outside, or laying down sleeping. Perfectly content with life. OR I find Fizz rubbing his tail, and I can scold him through the talk feature on the camera. Both horses now think God talks to them, below is them listening-they don’t know it’s just little ole me.

Hay: I am pretty sure there will never again be a moment in my life where I am not wearing hay as an added accessory to my outfit. It’s itchy and it gets in places no one should have hay, ever. How does it even get there? Does it grow legs and crawl to really weird spots inside your clothing? Just, how?? Also, if you like to watch your money turn to poop… Just look at your horses happily munching on hay.

Sweat: It’s summer here in Kentucky. It’s HOT and it’s HUMID. I spend a lot of time outside and always have but when you’re working with horses it seems like the heat is amplified 10 fold. I can’t explain why. My eyes have never burned so much as in the last several weeks. I think I’ll keep this as opposed to frozen fingers, but still. I am pretty disappointed I’m not skinny yet after all of this sweating. The universe owes me an explanation on this.

Poop: So much poop. Like, I realize they are large animals and I have worked jobs where stall cleaning was a part of it (back in college and as a kid) but there is SO MUCH POOP. Literally they are poop factories. How did I not remember this? And I feel for all of you who have barns full of horses because just these two create so much!!!

Dust: There is literally so much dust. I use a combination of pellet bedding and bagged shavings, which I had read this combo was supposed to be low on dust. I would like to know what definition of “low dust” is on the internet because this is not it. Therefore, I have been researching this. Evidently, I need to “water” my stalls. Um, excuse me? I don’t even water my flower beds. Those things need to live off the water God gives them or they don’t survive well here. Somebody send help.

Crisis: If you think you’ll never feel like you are in a crisis, just give it a minute-one will come and your little fantasy bubble will have been popped. If you have thought about it and planned for every crisis you could think of (like me) and think you know how it will go, just know it goes nothing like you thought it would. Also know that of all the crises you could think of, the one that will happen is something you NEVER thought of. There’s a back story here I might visit later, but my first “crisis” was experienced and it is over now. Bless my husband, my friends, and my very lovely Vet for putting up with me. I probably worry way more than I should.

Bills: There are just SO many bills. Hay, grain, bedding, vet, farrier, supplements, and the list goes on and on and on into eternity. Some bills can be more than you expect, by a LOT. You might think about finding a street corner to call your own, but in the end you’ll do whatever it takes to make sure your horses are healthy and happy. Even if that might mean eating ramen and never leaving your house again.

Help: Having help is CRUCIAL. I can’t say this enough and to those of you out there doing it by your very lonesome, what kind of super hero DNA do you have and where can I get some of it? Or are you just an alien with weird superpowers I can’t even begin to imagine? Because I would NOT have made it even these last few weeks without my poor non-horsey husband who has gotten a very rude intro on how to restrain a contrary horse, how to work a twitch, and some of the other unpleasant things things that come with being around horses. He has also been learning how to pick stalls and he does so without even being asked. BLESS HIM. Ladies, a lot can be said for a man who isn’t into horses but cleans stalls without asking simply because he knows YOU want your horses living in the cleanest stalls in America. I would also not have survived without my Mom, who comes over simply to make sure I don’t die while working these creatures. She’s a saint.

Work: Having horses at home is work. I work a real big girl job. I spend every other amount of time doing things for the horses and the dog. What exactly is this “spare” time everyone speaks about? Who exactly in this world gets to “sleep in” because yeah, that’s not a thing here (for me). Everyone else is taken care of before me. I am the last to eat, the last to be clean(ish-you know, because hay exists…), and I’m fairly certain the horses stalls are cleaner than my house. I can barely manage to do something as simple as boil noodles and slap sauce on top for dinner most days. Dishes left in the sink? Oh well, maybe I’ll get to those tomorrow. Or not. As long as the 4-leggeds are taken care of those dishes can sit another day. Paper plates? Meals that don’t require silverware? Even better. Sign me up.

LOVE: These animals have so much love to give. They make me laugh daily and they fill my heart with so much joy despite all of the above. I truly enjoy simply watching them exist day to day. Every person has good day and bad days, and I believe all creatures do. Our job as humans and facilitators of these animals is to make sure their days are all as good as possible, and understanding that they too, have days that are “off” and they deserve our compassion and understanding. No one, and no animal, is perfect all day every day. These horses (and our Dog Dixie) give me a break when they know I’m having an off day. They offer me peace and acceptance, despite my shortcomings. The least I can do is offer them the same.

It’s ALMOST Time

LONG post alert, so if you’ve wound up here prepare yourselves. If you’re not willing to stay a bit, please pass on by to other content!! If you’re invested enough to read this whole thing, bless you!

I have dreamed of having horses at home since I was a little girl begging my parents to house a horse on their little 3/4 acre lot as a 6 year old. While that dream never came to fruition, here I am a 38 year old “little girl” a week away from my childhood dreams coming true. I have literally put blood, sweat, and tears (plus some, ok lots, of swear words) into this place for good measure. It’s been a process, and I have to say building outbuildings on this property has been one of the most trying “adventures” of my life. I have laughed, I have cried, I have cursed (a LOT). I have juggled obtaining permits, hiring contractors, contractors not showing up, having major delays, getting inspections, doing physical building, making hundred of phone calls, and trying to keep my husband from divorcing me over this whole process (I kid, I kid) but really… it’s been crazy to say the least. It has not been easy by any stretch of the imagination. But I do think it will be worth it.

So lets talk about the emotional overload that is going through my head right now as someone who has never had horses at home. This is a subject so many horse people experience and yet, few really talk about it. I realize that being the primary caretaker of horses is work. I realize that it’s a labor of love. I am no stranger to doing hard things, but if I am being real and honest, it is a little bit terrifying to know I currently rely on someone else, who provides food, water, stall cleaning, training, and everything in between to my 2 horses… and soon all of those responsibilities will fall on me. Soon, 2 living breathing, very large and complicated animals will rely solely on me for their every need and overall wellbeing. In theory (as a horse person for the vast majority of my life) it sounds easy, but I’ve never been one to pull the wool over my own eyes.

I will have to procure hay, grain, and bedding and make sure it’s constantly available. I will have to clean stalls. I will have to make sure they are fed and watered. I will have to schedule vet appointments, farrier care, and any other care needed. I will have to make sure broken things are fixed and that every environment the horses are in is the safest it can be. Ya’ll, do I sound crazy for thinking those will be the EASY things? I have to WORK these beasts, continue their education, make sure they are upstanding citizens of the equine world. Basically ALONE. I’d be lying if I didn’t feel a little overwhelmed thinking about that part.

Back when I was working Fizz as a new AOT, I LOVED every second of the planning but lets be honest. I had zero idea what I was actually doing as a “trainer” and I flew by the seat of my pants most days. Looking back, I thank God every day that I ended up with such a smart, intuitive, and TOLERANT animal. That said, I feel like I have grown and I have learned a lot since 2013, and myself and both boys are better off for it. I have gained friends in this industry who have a wealth of knowledge that I have been able to tap into. I have people I can turn to for help now that I didn’t have back in 2013. How lucky am I? How lucky are my horses?

So lets talk about fears as the complete vulnerability of a “new” horse parent exposing everything for the world to see is something I have not run across. I’m not sure if people just don’t talk about this publicly or if I am that crazy overthinker who can’t stop “What Iffing” things to death. I’ve been riding and showing for a long time and I have cared for other people’s horses in the past. My first year of college was spent taking care of a farm of Friesians and Andalusians. But they were not on my property and I did morning feeding and stalls, and afternoon riding. I was not their one and only sole caretaker. I am not exactly a “new” horse owner, but being “new” to caring for them 100% of the time still comes with some real fears.

Fears about training 2 horses as an AOT, and doing it basically alone:

  • What if they regress with an amateur “trainer”?
  • What if I fall off and they get loose?
  • What if I can’t get them hooked to the cart for exercise?
  • What if there is an accident?
  • What if I have problems I can’t figure out?
  • What if I can’t work them enough?
  • What if I don’t do the right things? Or do the right things, the wrong way?
  • What if I get hurt and can’t exercise them?

Fears about keeping horses:

  • What if they get injured?
  • What if I don’t notice if something is wrong?
  • What if I can’t get what they need (hay shortage, etc)
  • What if I can’t be here?
  • What about vacations?
  • What about emergencies?
  • What about holidays? (4th of July and massive fireworks being shot off for weeks on end comes to mind)
    • What if I can’t get them calm?
  • What if I can’t get a vet here for emergencies?

These are things I can only think of off the top of my head as things I’ve thought about previously and had concerns about. However, as an overthinker, a planner, and a “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” kind of person I have taken steps to prepare for most of these and ease my mind to the best extent that I can. Some things will just have to fall into place after the horses are here, we have a routine, and I see that my incompetence isn’t actually as bad as it is in my head a lot of the time. I mean honestly I don’t give myself enough credit. Not to toot my own horn, but I am stubborn. I am tough. I am resilient. I do not give up and I do not lay down and sulk in my own deficiencies. I get up and I research and I ask questions and I strive to do better every day. In my opinion, there is no other option when such smart, also resilient, and talented creatures are relying on me to not only survive, but to thrive. So, lets go through the list again, this time with some answers.

  • What if they regress with an amateur “trainer”?
    • Keep doing things you know work
    • Have resources and don’t be too proud to contact them
    • Be humble enough to own your mistakes and do better next time
    • Don’t beat yourself up. Most horses are resilient and forgiving.
  • What if I fall off and they get loose?
    • Put up barriers on the property to contain them as best possible
    • Duh, ride better, don’t fall off (ha!)
  • What if I can’t get them hooked to the cart for exercise?
    • Teach them to stand quietly until you ask them to move
    • Ground work is just as important as other work
  • What if there is an accident?
    • Accidents happen, have a plan in advance
    • First Aid kit (horse and human)
    • Vet #
  • What if I have problems I can’t figure out?
    • Again, don’t be too proud to ask for help or bounce ideas off someone else.
    • Have a network
  • What if I can’t work them enough?
    • You can only do what you can, and it will have to be enough
    • Set your priorities and make a clear, easy to follow schedule ahead of time
    • yes it requires thought, but it’s important so DO IT
  • What if I don’t do the right things? Or do the right things, the wrong way?
    • If something isn’t working, change it
    • Try new things. Everything great was once just an idea.
    • Ask someone to watch you, give you tips or correct you
    • LISTEN when someone corrects you
  • What if I get hurt and can’t exercise them?
    • Then you ask for help. Remember your circle and keep them close. Support them on their journey, and offer help when they need it and they will, (should) support you too.
    • Otherwise, have (for us: create) a turnout area and let them be horses!! They may not make training progress, but they’ll survive and be happy.
    • If turnout (at home) isn’t possible, arrange for alternative care off property.
  • What if they get injured?
    • Keep vet information handy
    • Read up and have a good base knowledge of basic care for wounds, etc
  • What if I don’t notice if something is wrong?
    • know you can’t be there 100% of the time
    • make sure you know warning signs for common problems
    • know your horses “good” vitals and keep what you can documented
      • Temperature (Average horse should be between 99-101F)
      • Heart Rate (Average should be 36-40 beats per minute)
      • Respirations (Average should be 8-15 breaths per minute)
      • Gut sounds (A mixture of grumbles, tinkling and roars. There is no rhythm but you should hear a sound every few seconds)
      • Capillary refill (should be 2 seconds or less)
      • Hydration (If you pinch your horse’s skin it should return to lying flat within 1-2 seconds. The longer the skin stays pinched up before flattening, the more dehydrated the horse is.)
  • What if I can’t get what they need (hay shortage, etc)
    • Have a standard supplier
    • Have a backup supplier
  • What if I can’t be here?
    • Have a backup plan and arrange alternative care as early as possible
  • What about vacations?
    • Plan early, book a house sitter or arrange to take your horses off site as soon as you set dates
  • What about emergencies?
    • Keep all emergency contacts in an easily accessible location
      • Veterinarian (all contact information including emergency numbers)
      • Farrier
      • Insurance Agency (If horse is insured) to include their 24 hour line
        • details about insurance coverage
  • What about holidays? (4th of July and massive fireworks being shot off for weeks on end comes to mind)
    • Discuss with Veterinarian and have a plan IN ADVANCE (medication, ear plugs, stall fans, music, whatever it is)
  • What if I can’t get them calm?
    • Don’t doubt your abilities to handle a crisis
    • But for real, also don’t live without some reinforcements.
      • Make sure you have something from the Vet (Ace, etc) or otherwise (calming cookies, calm n cool paste, etc) and you know how to administer it incase you need to.
  • What if I can’t get a vet here for emergencies?
    • Get annual exam done so you are on file with local veterinarian and eligible for emergency/after hour calls
    • There is always the option to trailer to an emergency clinic
    • Again, know basic care and make sure you have basic items on hand to use/administer if needed and know what is appropriate for most basic situations.

So there you have it, me in all my uncomfortable vulnerability. Ew. Anyway, I wonder if any more experienced horse keepers have anything to add here? Words of advice, encouragement, knowledge to share, etc. I’m sure there is a lot I am not covering or not thinking about and I’m sure so many other things will pop up over time. I haven’t really talked extensively about this among my small circle, but I am sure if there is anything I need they will have my back.

Overall, I am excited beyond words and I can’t wait to have my boys home with me. So, if you’ve made it through this entire post, congratulations for your exceptional patience, haha, and enjoy these photos! I will make a post eventually on the barn build and how much of an experience the whole process has been! Maybe after I’m happily caring for my horses and the frustration from building has gone to the wayside and I can recollect the process without so many swear words.

A Little Love and a Little Hate

I have come to the conclusion that the horse industry is forever in a love/hate relationship with itself. We all love horses and that is terrific. We all love doing the different things we can do with them, competing, trail riding, watching them eat, whatever each person does with their horse(s) is their version of love. But we hate too. We hate on each other for having different practices. We hate on horses who don’t “fit into the box” that they are “expected” to be in. We hate on other disciplines for doing things differently than we do. We are jealous of this person or that for having more than we do, or judge someone for having less than we do. Last time I checked, we are all in this industry for the love of the horse, so I have to ask…

Why is the horse industry like this? We all have a little bit we can teach someone else. I will be the first to admit I do not know everything. As the years have gone on in this AOT/non-AOT/Back to AOT adventure and throughout my lifelong love affair with horses of all breeds, shapes, sizes, and disciplines I have learned to be humble. I have learned to ask for help and I have vowed to learn something from literally EVERYONE I meet in this industry. Even if what I learn is something I do NOT want to do, it’s something learned and there is value in that.

I love my horses fiercely. I will do whatever I can to keep them safe, protected, and HAPPY. I will love them to the ends of the earth and back and no matter what, there will always be someone out there who hates my horses for some reason or another. Or who thinks I am an abuser because of the way my horses move, the way they are shod, the fact that we show, or maybe even because they don’t like me. AND THAT IS FINE. Ya’ll haters just take your negativity elsewhere.

Can’t we just choose education and understanding over hate? There is so much negativity and anger coming from people who have literally ZERO education on the topics they are mad about. When you see something that is questionable, try ASKING about it before you immediately persecute someone for doing something you don’t understand. And actually make an effort to understand. I’m not saying you need to implement someone else’s practices with your own horses or riding, I’m just saying don’t judge and hate something you have not actively tried to understand first. Keep an open mind and understand that most things have a purpose. The vast majority of us are just trying to do things that are best for us and our horses, for all of our respective activities and disciplines that we participate in.

OK, now that this has turned into rambling about more things than I originally intended, back to the subject at hand. I love, and I hate, many things about the horse industry. But time and again, I keep on keeping on, because when it comes down to it, I enjoy my horses for what they are. For all their flaws, mistakes, and idiosyncrasies. For their wins and their losses, for every time they have embarrassed me or made me proud and everything in between. For doing things on their own timeline and not mine. I love them for loving me, despite everything that I know and everything I don’t know, and everything I have not learned YET. I love them for trying, as that is all I can ask. So, I will keep showing up and I will keep on educating myself, FOR THEM and FOR ME. And if someone doesn’t like that, that’s just too bad.

What’s the Rush?

For all my (like maybe 2) followers, you might have noticed we added a page for a new horse!

Those that need a reminder, check out the post here: DUKE

Anyway, this guy is a 2015 model American Saddlebred. He is ALL BLACK you guys. My own personal black beauty. In real life. Like, how did I even get so lucky? My luckiness has not come without it’s struggles though.

Duke is, for lack of better words, a firecracker. He is bred to be hot. And HOT he is. When I first started driving Duke for his previous owner, the first time I grabbed the lines was at our first show together in Sept of 2020. We had a short little warm up that went really well. The literal MOMENT he stepped foot into the show ring though, I had a different horse. It took me by surprise, and I fell in love. That is a feeling I can’t explain. I have shown in many classes, on many different horses, in many different situations and places and this was a feeling that was completely new to me. I had a show horse. A fancy, fire breathing dragon who stomped the ground like he OWNED the place.

He had barely been pulling a cart for 30 days at that point, and since I had never driven him before we did have our share of mistakes. But we looked pretty good at our first show together and the few subsequent ones if I do say so myself. Evidence below. Disagree? You’re allowed but please kindly take your negativity elsewhere!

July 2021:

Fast forward to April 2022:

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, Fizz and I moved to Brickyard Farms in early 2021, where Duke had been since late 2020. As time has rolled on, it’s becoming apparent that pulling a cart is not where Duke will ultimately excel so over the winter 2021/2022 we began to switch gears and focus more on riding. Duke has had a lot of negative experiences with riding in the past and has not been taught a lot, so we are basically working from the ground up here to re-teach him things that are paramount to his success.

So aside from my rambling because I haven’t talked much about this horse, my point is that too often, horses are rushed into situations for which they are not prepared. They are pushed too hard too fast and they do not learn everything they need to learn before they are expected to do all the things right. Then, when the FLIGHT animal shows it’s flight instincts, people misinterpret that as bad behavior. However, is it really fair to assume they are misbehaving, when infact, they just have never been given the chance to understand what is expected of them, and to learn a basic foundation on which they can rely on? The answer, in my book, is no.

Teach them the easy stuff. Let them understand the basics. Don’t expect them to know the hard stuff automatically just because you’re asking it. And if you are asking them over and over, and getting the same results, maybe evaluate how you are asking and ask in a different way. Just as with humans, horses do not all have the same personalities and they do not all learn the exact same way. This complicates things and makes training more difficult, but to me, a good trainer has patience. They have the good sense to know when to change their methods. They research. They learn new things. They are humble enough to ask for help.

All that said. We are still being patient. We are still researching. We are still finding new ways to ask for what we want. Slowly but surely, Duke is beginning to provide the right answers more often than not. We are in no hurry, when he’s ready, he will let us know. Check out the short video clip below. Please ignore my chattering, asking him not to “fall apart” since he was going along so nice!

Is 14 Really the Age they Grow Up?

Ya’ll. Again, it’s been a while. Things have changed, AGAIN. My husband Wes and I are in the process of building a barn at our home. We have been here for a year now, and I have only been trying to get a working barn built for basically the entire time. Hopefully soon it will be a functional space for Fizzy and Duke to come live, but in the meantime, they are happy and healthy over at Brickyard Farms. A little over a year ago when Phoenix Farm shut down their training operation, we were scrambling. We weren’t even sure if shows were going to be a thing for us. Plus, the stupid pandemic, you know. What an epic disaster.

Since Duke (before I officially owned him) had been living at Brickyard for a year, it was the obvious first choice for Fizz to go there too. That way, both horses I was showing could be in the same location and I could work with both of them at the same place. Luke at Brickyard welcomed Fizz to join the crowd there and got to work. And lord has it been the blessing we have been looking for. His alternative thinking and fresh outlook has been just what we needed. Plus, he loves Fizz and Duke like they are his own, and there’s no amount of money that can buy that kind of support.

Anyway, we only went to a few shows in 2021, but they were nice, successful shows. We had FUN. And isn’t that really what it’s all about anyway? So, fast forward to now. We have successfully gone to our first real show of 2022, the BlueGrass Arabian Horse Associations Spring Blast Open Show. Yes, that’s a mouthful. However, LOOK AT IT.

So, yeah. That happened. And I am just over the moon with how well behaved this horse was. He’s fourteen this year. I simply cannot believe it’s now been NINE years with this incredible horse. He continues to keep me on my toes, humble me, teach me new things, and the list goes on but I won’t bore you all. It seems like fourteen is the year my sassy colt has finally decided it’s time to grow up and play ball with the big boys. I do not deserve him. He is literally too cool for me, but I am just going to soak up every minute and feel grateful that he’s mine.

That’s all for now!

Sometimes Maybe it’s YOU

Ya’ll. Again, it’s been a while since I posted here. Things are ever changing and ever evolving and I constantly re-evaluate the horsey things in my life and wonder if I am making the right decisions. Sometimes I regret not making certain decisions sooner. Sometimes I think I suck, and sometimes I think I am a genius. Everyone has their days I guess. But here’s some facts for you.

I am what I would call an experienced rider. I like to think I can hold my own and I like to believe I can handle a tough mount and enjoy a good one with ease. BUT, when I watch a select few others ride my horse and NOT have the same problems I had, I started wondering if it was just ME. SO, a while back (maybe about a year or so-has it really been that long?) I decided to start working with a riding instructor. As an ADULT. Who has been riding since I was 6 years old. She comes to visit Fizz and I and she gives us lessons together. Sometimes she schools him, which is GREAT for both of us, but mostly she coaches while I ride. Do I consider myself a failure because of this? HELL NO.

I consider myself a badass. You know why? Because sometimes it IS YOU. Sometimes you need to be humble and you need to admit that regardless of your experience, you do not, and will not ever know everything. Others have had experiences that can help you. Others have knowledge to share. You need to be open to accepting their knowledge, to learning from them, and to reaching a new level of potential you maybe never knew existed within you. And you know what? IT FEELS GOOD.

That moment when you’re sitting on your horse and you have a ride like you’ve never had before. A ride where you don’t struggle with things you used to struggle with. A ride where you don’t fight with your horse. A ride where you realize for the first time in YEARS, your horse is HAPPY. All the puzzle pieces are there, and you made them fit together. Maybe you don’t have a perfect ride consistently, 100% of the time. BUT, you did it and you FINALLY realized that you’ve moved past the hurdles that once stood in front of you and you didn’t trip and fall on your face trying to jump them.

If something is not working, CHANGE IT. Get help. Keep working, keep training, both you AND your horse can benefit from it. I mean, even professional sports teams have coaches. This is just like that. Go out and DO WORK ya’ll. Respect and appreciate your coaches and learn yourself something. Your horse will thank you. YOU will thank you. That’s all for today, I’ll report on other news soon! ❤

So It’s Been A While

I guess it’s been a minute.  I have not posted to this page in a long time.  I have a lot of reasons for that, but mainly it’s because Fiz is still under the direction of Phoenix Farm and trainer Blair Cecil, and we have been VERY busy.  Let me explain:  Owning horses is hard.  Training horses is harder.  Caring for horses is challenging in many ways, albeit rewarding.  Giving up on training your own horses is the hardest.  I had a hard time letting go, and honestly, I still have days where it hurts me to my core that I don’t see Fiz and interact with him every day-or even every week sometimes.  My heart literally hurts.  Every.  Day.

BUT, I know it is for the best.  When we signed on to this journey, we made a promise to him to make the best decisions FOR HIM.  What we didn’t understand in the beginning is that those decisions may be hard.  They may hurt.  And they may be financially challenging at times.  But a promise is a promise, and we are keeping our word as difficult as it may be.  Blair is an exceptional trainer (and person) and we are grateful for the care and training she gives Fiz, and for the opportunities afforded to us due to having him in her barn.

This June, after showing Fiz primarily saddleseat for the entirety of our ownership (with some occasional trail riding) we have decided to go a new direction.  As the Phoenix Farm resident expert in all things dressage/Hunter/Jumper, our friend Emily showed him in his very first ASB Hunter class at the Lawrenceburg horse show and it’s been a whirlwind ever since.  He really took to this style of riding and we have decided to try and campaign him for the ASB Hunter classes at the World Championship horse show in 2020!  Now, we may make it and we may not, but we are certainly going to try.

For me, this means basically forgetting everything I know and re-learning how to ride in a new way.  Thanks to Emily, I am also learning some dressage techniques that she has used successfully on Fiz to help us in our new discipline and she has also been teaching Fiz (and me!) how to jump.  He LOVES IT, and is actually GOOD at it!  We will see how that goes in the future, but I am looking forward to it.

Also in store for next year is potentially having him carry Cindy’s oldest daughter to her first lead line classes if she decides she wants to.  This is super exciting as we have hoped from the beginning that one day he would be able to carry her girls to some of their first horse shows and the time is near!

This horse is quirky and infuriating on many levels but he has taught me SO much over the last 6+years and he holds a very special place in my heart for everything that he is, and everything that he isn’t.  There really aren’t words for what he means to me.

Emily showing Fiz in his very first hunter class, June 2019:

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Kayla and Fiz winning the Saddle and Bridle Hunter Classic at Owingsville, July 2019


Kayla and Fiz winning the hunter under saddle class at Owingsville, July 2019