Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ridin' Hawses

There's something about a Saturday night rain that makes a Sunday morning feel extra cozy.
I woke up to some impatient squawking out my back window, got out of bed, and released my little hennies from their confinement.  Those girls just rush out their coop door like escapees from Folsom, and sometimes you have to be quick in your early morning sleepiness not to get a wing to the face as they flee their roosting bar.

The air is gray.  It smells heavy and earthy and rich, like dirt.  Rain like last night's comes very, very rarely around here the past few years, so something about it also smells new.  I'm happy I'm the only one awake right now.

Last time we talked I was buzzing with thoughts and goals hanging out under an umbrella of ambition.  That motivation I was feeling must have known the rain was a-comin'! 
I was eager to get m'girl onto a horse for her first time.
I had a tree and about 100 little tiny perennials in flats in my front yard, waiting for me to get planting before they dried up in their plastic seedling pots.

Well, we got our tree in.  I don't have the greatest photo for you, but I can at least prove that it's planted:

 I swear, every. single. day. I have a neighbor stop their car or their feet or their bike or dog as they pass by to ask about that tree, or to tell us how niiiiiiice! it's all looking up front.  I love it, I have to say!  (A lot of times they throw in something about our sweet kiddos :)  I don't realize until I walk down the street what a difference has been made there.  Seems slow moving to me but I guess when you face our house every time you leave that cul-de-sac ahead of us, a little change goes a long way.  Makes me feel good that people can see we love our home.

So anyways, then I planted all of these little sweeties over a couple of free hours:
And we've gotten rain twice since, and temps around 90 or less!  It was meant to be my planting season.
They don't look like much I know, but these little guys pack a punch.
I got them from a little tiny garden shop near our old house.  It's called Al's Pine Garden, even though Dan and his daughters run it.  He starts most of the seeds himself, and sells the little packs of seedlings for next to nothing.  For example, one of the little 6x8" flats, with approximately 10-15 starters in each one, is about $2.49.  And now, middle of summer, everything is 20% off.  I estimate there are about 100-120 little plants here in this collection I exhibit for you in the above photo, and including tax it all cost me $50 of birthday money.  That's including three grasses, which I adore, sweet potato vine, sedum, random ground covers, about 40 daisies, calendula, Cupid's Dart, columbine, etcetera etcetera.  I had a lot of irises popping up in a clump within the burm where this is all being planted, so I chopped out some rhizomes and scattered them throughout the area too.  This is an investment for next year, when all this will have been established and sleeping all winter, waiting to pop up and go nuts next spring.  I CAN'T WAIT.  This is how I did most of our planting at our last house... Bargains this year = crazy yields and surprise the next.

NOW, we MUST talk about a girl and her horse love.

Everything now is horses, horses, horses!

The night we first met this horse family we went over for Tulah's first ride.  Right off the bat they walked her through every bit of responsibility when it comes to riding.  Keeping the horse tethered while you check him over.  Brushing his coat in case of any matting that might get sore under the saddle.  Picking his hooves before you work him.  Blankets, saddles, stirrups, bits, halters, bridles... These gals explain everything as they do it, and they have a very captive audience :)

Now Roo... For a while there I thought she was not always been the most adventurous, per se, but she likes the idea of new things usually, at least.   She's gotten more sure of herself in the last year or so, and it's always fun to see her accomplish something that I wouldn't have necessarily expected from her.  I used to make the mistake of assuming she was my little book-worm type of learner, my little artist, my delicate flower.  I found myself really excited when she started soccer and did pretty darn well with it.  I was definitely surprised when she found herself riding a two-wheeled bike at almost 4 and a half and tearing across monkey bars.  I think I, unknowingly, limited my view of her for a season or two, maybe assuming that her little brother was the "physical one" and that she had her feet comfortably on the ground, nose in a phonics workbook.  But they're both going to do and love a variety of things, hopefully... You should see my "Anti-SIT DOWN for a Minute" Buddy relax and draw funny pictures, and actually color a page from a coloring book!  Whoa.  Crazy stuff going on around here.  And Roo?  Man, she's just as sure of herself as can be up on that giant horse.  Her bottom is sitting 5 and a half feet off the ground, and she doesn't think a single think about it.
Actually, at five and a half feet up, she thinks she's reached Heaven.

She is so proud of herself here, up there on that horse she loves so much!  She's got the reigns, mommy cheering her on, and new friends/teachers putting their faith and encouragement in her as they give her the freedom to actually RIDE this horse.  Not just sit on it while he walks around, but give him commands, hang on with her little legs, and be the boss.  After a lap around the arena, she declares she's ready to trot.

looking pretty legit.
OH yeah.  That's a dust cloud.

Knoxer got up there too, just a little tiny-looking buckaroo!

Now, none of this would have been possible for Tulah Roo if I hadn't met the right people.  Do you ever just turn a corner and meet, like, the RIGHT people?  At the RIGHT time?  When it just feels like this was what was supposed to happen?  That's how I feel with this family of horse lovers who have taken us in.  Gena (sounds like 'Jenna') is the mom of Andrea, 19, and Alyssa, 18.  And Zach, but he is a busy teenager and we've only met him once. They live over by our old house in Wheat Ridge, and pasture their horses near our new house in Golden.  Gena does home health care, actually has clients/residents in her home, and provides care and support for them 24 hours a day.  She's raised her kiddos on her own.  And they are amazing.  They are so friendly, outgoing, and seem so happy to be teaching us all about horses.

Gena has been doing horse therapy for the disabled as an extension of her health care background.  Right now she's hoping to expand into horseback riding lessons for clients of all types, including your run of the mill typical kiddo.  I found her ad on Craigslist and gave her a call, and that is how we started out this little adventure.

However, I know this is just a stepping stone to get her and her family to their dream.  Their dream is 50 or 60 acres in Eastern Colorado- a dude ranch, horse therapy, home health and lessons of all kinds.  Gena tells me they're two years away from it, and I know she's right.

So here is a mom, working SO hard for her family, building a dream and making it happen.  It's exciting.  I will rejoice one day when they close on their property and prepare for their grand opening!  I want to do anything I can to help them get there.  Gena has told me that she wants Roo to be able to ride, and has made it super affordable for us.  I know she's not going to make money from us, and money is what helps a business get off the ground.  But I hope we can help in other ways.  And I think I can.  They are building a website, planning on their facebook launch, and organizing an open house for the end of August.  Guess who has a camera, editing and layout abilities, and possibly some logo design input??!!  That might be me!  If I could spend some time helping with all of those things, I think it could be super helpful.  As long as I do it well.  I think this could work out!!

Another thing.  We have not had Rooney's 5th birthday party yet because I'm just super-mom, so I had been thinking of having a half-birthday party instead.  Which puts us at the new school year, basically.  How fun would an "Off to School!!" party be, for my little Kindergartener and all of her little amigos also heading off to their first school year?!  Tulah totally wants an Off to School! party, and now my wheels are turning about one themed around horses.  I had a lot of friends asking about Roo's lesson once I posted some pictures on facebook... Seems completely appropriate to have the party at the little arena by our house.  There is a playground there, pavilions and tables... And three awesome teachers probably very eager to show off their 4 horses to 20 kiddos.  I think it would be incredible exposure to their new business offshoot, and the money from the party would hopefully buy them a saddle or helmets or something along those lines.  I asked Gena about it yesterday and she was alllllll about it.  I am so excited!  Time to start planning!

I've gotten to ride the horses too, a couple of times since our first day with them.  I can't help but go nuts inside when Gena talks about me being her riding partner once Roo is in school, heading up the trails in our Golden foothills!!  I love being around the horses, it is pretty daggone addicting to this wannabe-homesteader-mom. I love how excited my sweet girl gets with them, they just light up her already brilliant self.  I figure the more I know about them, the more comfortable we all will be, and hopefully will be able to take on more responsibility with them.  Maybe in a hundred years or so we'll have one of our own.

In closing, more photos for you from our few times riding this past week:

She gets up in that there saddle by herself!  That's a sizeable climb.

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